Using “cell clustering” to describe unborn children has become untenable by advances in ultrasound technology. The preferred strategy now is to change the subject, speculating on a series of catastrophes and misfortunes associated with the birth of a child: “If I don’t get this abortion, I won’t be able to finish college, go to law school, marry the man of my dreams.” ” etc. Or it could be retrospective, as when Michelle Williams, in accepting her Golden Globe, said she wouldn’t have been able to win the award “without employing a woman’s right to choose.” Whatever the specific circumstances, the justification is always the same: my abortion is (or was) necessary, and I know it for a fact.
‘Blonde’, a biographical film about Marilyn Monroe written and directed by Andrew Dominik and released last month on Netflix, challenged that narrative. By seriously engaging with the humanity of the unborn child and the uncertainty involved in choosing an abortion, he may have proved unpopular with abortion advocates. Feminists went into an uproar after the release. THE Planned Parenthood condemned her as having “contributed to the stigma of abortion.”
The film, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, is fictional but remains true to the general arc of life. from Monroe. Norma Jeane Mortenson (later Marilyn Monroe) grew up without a father at home. Her mother was mentally unstable and Monroe spent time in foster care. Monroe sought her fortune in Hollywood, where she sold nude photos and slept with producers to advance her career. As for abortions, in his biography, ‘The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe’ [O gênio e a deusa: Arthur Miller e Marilyn Monroe], Jeffrey Meyers wrote that Monroe had up to twelve clandestine abortions, which “may have caused infections and adhesions that prevented pregnancy or led to abortions. ” This is especially sad since Monroe supposedly wanted children.
In Blonde, Monroe (played by Ana de Armas) experiences two miscarriages as well as a miscarriage. The first, the result of her ménage à trois with Charlie Chaplin Jr. and Eddy G. Robinson Jr., Monroe is forced to complete after changing her mind. The second, after an affair with President John F. Kennedy, is performed on her when she is unconscious and unable to consent.
With each pregnancy, the film uses CGI at a high level. level of detail to show the unborn child. Not only are unborn children given screen time – they are also given a voice. During her marriage to Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody), Monroe, before her miscarriage, squeezes her abdomen as the child says, “Don’t hurt me like you did last time.” When she replies that she didn’t want to, the child’s voice says, “Yes, you did, you chose that.”
According to pro-choice dogma, Monroe’s abortions must be understood in the context of a confident woman who knew what she needed. What we see instead is a very successful but devastated woman with deep wounds from her childhood.
Despite her deep desires to meet him, the Monroe from ‘Blonde’ is abandoned by her father. She calls each of her lovers “Daddy”. Her mother tells Monroe it’s her fault that her father abandoned them and tries to drown her in the bathtub. After the attempt on her daughter’s life, Monroe’s mother is sent to a mental institution and Monroe to an orphanage. As an adult, Monroe tries to have a relationship with her mother, but is ignored. Her acting career begins when she undergoes painful and degrading sex in exchange for a role. This kind of attention follows her throughout her career as she soars to the heights of fame and fortune. In one scene, as malicious men crowd around her, her mouths are huge and distorted. It’s like she’s being consumed by them. After several failed marriages and nervous breakdowns, Monroe dies in drug-induced despair at the age of 2022.
How different Monroe’s life might have been if, early in her career, she had become pregnant and withdrawn from the cruel world of Hollywood. De Armas’ Monroe has untapped maternal potential. But that potential is thwarted by fear. Her childhood fear—the fear of being the kind of mother her own mother was. In addition, there is also the fear that without “Marilyn Monroe”, her escapist identity, she would be lost. In the end, Marilyn Monroe kills Norma Jeane. At the premiere of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she mutters, “Did I kill my baby for this?”
What Monroe seems to realize is that having a child could have been a balm against the abuse and rejection she suffered in her own childhood. Not only could she have saved her baby, her baby could have saved her. ‘Blonde’ never resolves this issue decisively, but leaves it open to the public. Apparently, though, this is enough to provoke the condemnation of Planned Parenthood: “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone who has an abortion can see themselves on screen. It’s a shame that the creators of ‘Blonde’ chose to contribute to anti-abortion propaganda and stigmatize people’s health decisions.”
What Planned Parenthood is really demanding is that women who have had abortions see only representations of women who have had abortions without doubt, conflict, or regret. And may they be spared representations of the child’s humanity and any hope associated with their future. What’s irritating to abortion advocates about ‘Blonde’ is that the film’s narrative does not imply that women need abortions, only that some women need to believe they need them.