Thursday, March 19, 2009

At sixteen, we've got it all figured out...right?

This scene shows Juno's encounter with her parents as she tells them that she is pregnant. In my opinion, they take the news better than any parents of a sixteen year old I know! Instead of being angry at Juno for being irresponsible, they mock her boyfriend because they believed that he "didn't have it in him."

At sixteen, Juno believes that she has it all figured out, and doesn't take any advice from her family. She has made the decision to give the child up for adoption, and there is no swaying her. She even quickly decides against her step-mother's consideration of the "alternative." Producers clearly refer to abortion as the "alternative" as a way of ruling out abortion as a possible choice by not even referring to it by name. Juno quickly writes off abortion, and that is the last we hear of abortion for the rest of the film. By denying an abortion, her step-mother calls her a "viking" insinuating that she has made the more righteous choice. Why does one choice have to be "right" one, and who judges what the right choice is? Juno is a production of 20th Century Fox, so they are the likely ones dictating what audiences should believe is the "right" thing to do. For any woman finding herself with an unwanted pregnancy, there is no "right" choice, there is only the "right" choice for HER.


  1. It is slightly possible that in the case of Juno, and most of these films in general, we run straight into the most effective psychological paradigm for encouraging carrying to term: It is laborious (no pun intended) and difficult.

    Teenage pregnancy creates a vast social and moral crisis: you are lambasted for the social "error" of becoming pregnant at such an early age and your morals are called into question by it implying a of both pre-marital and risky sex on the part of the woman. (Random aside: when was the last time men were called out, let alone not rewarded socially, for having pre-marital and/or risky sex?)

    With the social and moral "error" weighing down on these teenage girls, the most social and moral way to "fix/remedy" it is by taking the tough "viking" route of carrying to term; aborting the baby is just additional social/moral humiliation and error, the easy way out.

    So why are abortions not viewed positively, especially in film? Because they make for the "easy way out" and that's just not exciting or interesting enough to make a film over. All of these films that rely on the inherently truthful comedy of trying to "make normal" situations that are simply not, need to have characters taking the harder route to present more challenges that can be amusing from a bystander perspective.

    What makes good comedy often makes for tougher situations for the character to encounter. The problem is that people may choose to take the lessons of not-real-life film (always do the right (SEE: "social/moral") thing because it will work out for the better in the end) and try to apply them to our lives, where there is no writer who guarantees us a happy ending.

    Social/Moral ambiguity in films leaves viewers with a bad taste in their mouths, as most don't go to films to be philosophically engaged but to relax and laugh. Its safer and better to present one strong black vs. white running opinion to accomplish this.

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  4. I'll be honest with you. The first time I saw Juno the only scene that really caught my attention was when an anti-choice female was picketing outside of an abortion clinic. She convinced Juno that at a certain week, the fetus already starts forming fingernails...thus convincing Juno abortion must be the wrong choice.

    You have brought up some interesting points about Juno's mother calling Juno a viking for making the "right" decision. The movie itself praises Juno for taking that route and abortion was very briefly discussed.

    All in all, Juno was not given much of a choice. Severely swayed by the guilty conscience that the anti-choice woman created in Juno by spouting off fingernails mumbo jumbo.

    Hollywood works for the masses. They feed off of the majority. It is sad that the majority does not believe in women having a choice. That is why we have got to stick together and inform each and every woman she has a choice. A choice that is hers to make and not the laws.