Sunday, April 22, 2007

words, words, words

I believe small talk is for small people

- Alix Olsen, 'I Believe'

This is just a quick rant about language. More specifically, about two terms - 'social abortion' and 'date rape'. 

I've used the latter, although I find 'acquaintance rape' to be more accurate, and I understand that there was a time when it was necessary to push home the point that you can be raped by someone who knows you, even someone that you've been in or have been considering a sexual relationship with. But its continued usage bothers me - it's as though we're watering down the concept of something that can be truly traumatic. Rape is rape - we know that it can be the boy next door, or the guy you're seeing, just as easily as it can be the man lurking in the corner. 'Date rape' is a misnomer, and it can be read as implying a certain amount of consent. And I honestly think that the point where sexual assualt occurs can safely be considered the point where the date is officially over. 

'Social abortion' is a new term, at least to me. Again, it's one of those rather hazy phrases that can mean whatever you want them to. The jist of it seems to refer to any woman who seeks a termination just because she doesn't want the baby. It allows the media to talk about the selfishness of modern women - they would kill babies for the sake of their careers, those ambitious sluts! - and ignore the guys that didn't insist on using a condom, or offering to go with her to get the morning-after pill. 

I remember doing Theology A Level at school and being presented with a case study of a woman who wanted an abortion because the pregnancy clashed with a ski trip she was planning. This is what 'social abortion' is generally seen to be. It never really challenged my opinion, because seriously - baby vs ski trip? Hm, let me think about that one for a moment. 

I don't believe that life begins at conception, and I don't believe that abortion is murder. I don't want qualifiers put on that. If I go to a doctor with the desire to be referred for an abortion, I want them to be making the decision on a purely medical basis, not because they're judging the circumstances in which I got knocked up. If you're willing to perform or condone abortion because the woman's life is in danger or pregnancy occurred in highly traumatic circumstances, why not in all cases? If you don't consider it to be murder, or if that consideration is secondary to the woman's needs, then why not extend that to all women faced with an unwanted pregnancy?

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At 11:35 AM, Blogger thisismarcus said...

Nice cancer spam!

Forgive the off-topic comment. I was gonna mail you about DOCTOR WHO but couldn't find your address on this site. I wanted to invite your intelligent feedback (flattery will get me everywhere) on my weekly episode review and it just became urgent because my main geek friend is offline, moving house. Help!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Kaite said...

That would be awesome! I'm hesitant to put my email address in a comment, especially since it includes my full name, but I'll catch you on AIM at some point this week? Incidentally, I just sat down at my computer to finish off my article on Sarah Jane Smith's status as a feminist icon! Clearly we have sympatico...

At 9:03 AM, Blogger thisismarcus said...

I'd read that! I don't use AIM much but my email and blog are linked from my Blogger profile. Cheers!


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