Juno: Best Feminist Movie of 2008?

Or just another whimsical, quirky rom-com?

Anyone have thoughts they’d like to share?

Here are mine:

I really really enjoyed it. To be honest, I was moved by it… Almost to tears. And I’m not a sap.

There’s nothing more fem than pregnancy. It’s an experience that a man will never be able to drag his way through. And being that Juno was written by a woman, there’s a tenderness to it.

That said, critics have said that it takes teen pregnancy too lightly – that the movie was unrealistic.

To me, though, what those critics perceived as ‘too lightly’ was an inspiring take. Juno’s parents did not freak out when she told them. They supported her choice to adopt, and helped her along the way by meeting the adopting parents, taking her to doctors’ appointments and getting her prenatal vitamins.

I thought it was a very honest take on the situation – and it portrayed a way of how teen pregnancy doesn’t have to ruin lives.

I also liked how everyone acted responsibly, and made mature decisions – once you overlook the basic premise of the movie, which is rooted in irresponsibility.

What do you think of the movie? Am I way romanticizing it, falling for the snappy dialogue and cool soundtrack? Or am I right on?

–Natalie

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11 thoughts on “Juno: Best Feminist Movie of 2008?

  1. Hell to the no is this a feminist film.

    1- Juno is convinced to not have an abortion because of what clinic protester tells her

    2- the clinic staff is a GROSS misrepresentation of the fine women who work in clinics around the country.

    If those two points had been worked out in a less pro-life political slant I would have bought that it is a feminist film.

    As it stands, this is the best piece of propaganda the Pro-Life movement could have asked for.

  2. Well, I can finally enter the fray here because I finally saw the movie on Saturday. I have to admit, I loved it!

    While I think grimwomyn has good points, I think she may be taking things a little too seriously. I agree that it was disappointing to see the abortion clinic represented as an unpleasant place. However, didn’t see that as a pro-life agenda moment but more about Juno’s feelings about abortion. Frankly, I think some people would read “pro-life” into any way that Juno rejected an abortion, no matter how it was handled. And really, it could have been handled a hell of a lot worse.

    Sometimes I worry that as pro-choice women we get overly sensitive about the abortion topic. If it’s not represented 100% positive and filled with sunshine and lollipops then it must be a tool of the pro-life movement. But that kind of thinking is really just a mirror of the pro-lifers, in my opinion. (BTW, best movie EVER about abortion is “Citizen Ruth,” which lampoons both sides equally.)

    The fact is that even though I’m very, very pro-choice and am the daughter of a very, very pro-choice woman, having an abortion is not the right choice for everyone. What makes me pro-choice is that I believe that women should have safe and affordable access to abortions. They NEED to be legal. They NEED to be safe! Period.

    But just because I think they should be available to everyone, that doesn’t mean that I think every woman who finds herself in a situation of an unwanted pregnancy should have an abortion. I think that kind of thinking minimizes the very serious decision it is to have an abortion. Just because it should be legal, safe and available doesn’t make it an easy procedure to have.

    And as feminists, I don’t think we do ourselves any favors by acting like the only “right” decision is to have an abortion in that situation. The point of feminism is that we have choices — choices that we have fought very hard to have. (Choices I will continue to defend and fight for!)

    Additionally, I loved that Juno decided to put her baby up for adoption. I believe that adoption is a wonderful thing and can be a miracle for families who want children. And the fact that Juno bonds with the adoptive mom is, in my opinion, a very feminist and loving act. Women helping women and lifting each other up is the core of feminism!

    And while nobody really has been talking about her, I loved, loved, loved the step-mom played by Allison Janney. I had a dead-beat parent and several step parents over the years and I can really appreciate the scene where Janney’s character defends Juno. To me it also subtly highlighted the maternal love someone can have for a child not their own (the core of adoption). Very touching.

  3. very good point– but name ONE hollywood film where the character has an abortion and is mentally healthy afterwards–

    If images about the inside of an abortion clinic were commonplace in mainstream media it would be one thing– but that isn’t the landscape of film that we have—-

  4. and I wasn’t trying to say that having the abortion would be the “Right feminist” thing to do–

    but making a decision in the face of harassment and indifference isn’t very feminist– or human–

    Citizen Ruth was amazing…

    But now all the Prolife movement has to do is take this film on a tour across the country to encourage protesters to continue– because here you go– “It works!”

    Scream at the lady and she will keep her baby.

  5. I definitely feel you on that. Abortion protesters are assholes! No doubt about it.

    In fact, when I was in high school I lived down the street from an abortion clinic and there were protesters there every day (says something about Alaska, I think). I had to stop using the bus stop near that clinic because of those protesters! I didn’t even go to the clinic for any reason. I was just waiting for the bus and they would harass me! So I really don’t have any compassion for abortion protesters.

    I guess what I figured was that the movie was making fun of both sides on that (although not as well as Citizen Ruth). The lone abortion protester was a silly teenage girl. The person working the abortion clinic counter was a silly teenage girl. I saw that as symmetry. Both sides have ridiculous elements!

    I know that pro-lifers will use whatever tools they can to make their arguments. But I don’t think that should stop people from making art that speaks to them. I don’t get the impression that Diablo Cody is a pro-lifer or that she was trying to make a “message movie” for pro-lifers. I think she wanted to make fun of the ridiculousness of the entire teenage pregnancy situation — from abortion protesters, to abortion clinics, to the adoption process (I mean, she found the couple in the Penny Saver?). Maybe I’m naive.

  6. Also, I think if they had really wanted to push the pro-life issue then Juno would have become friends with the protester girl. Or the protester girl would have started helping Juno with the baby plans.

  7. Thought I’d jump in and add to my original post. I didn’t want to give too much originally because I wanted to hear what others thought, and some people hadn’t seen it yet.
    So. Originally I pointed out that some criticism was that the movie wasn’t realistic, and then I went on to say how honest it was. So, re: the abortion protester and abortion clinic: there’s a difference between reality and honesty. Especially when you’re using comedy. Since Cody was writing pretty autobiographically, I’d say Cody’s probably had experiences like going to a woman’s clinic before and was basing the fictional one on ones she’s been to. And, as Emmily said, clinics aren’t always sunshine and roses, totally welcoming and comforting. On the other side of the coin, abortion protesters aren’t always of the completely evil sort that Emm ran into in Alaska – sometimes they’re just silly teenage girls. Being that this is a comedy, did you really expect anything but a surreal experience at the clinic?
    That said, I stand by my honesty comment because, well, there’s truth in comedy. I’ve been to clinics and they’re not always pleasant. I appreciate you sticking up for women’s clinics, grimwomyn. But I think for Cody to get from Point A’s pregnant girl to Point B’s adoption, there had to be some explanation. And for Juno that meant a weird visit to the clinic to make her think twice.
    Because of the premise of the movie being that Juno DOESN’T have an abortion, it wasn’t the hit-you-over-the-head obvious feminism that society would recognize as such very easily. It was more subtle feminism rooted in choices – making choices and standing by them. Making dumb choices that lead to hard choices that lead to even harder choices. And because of Juno’s string of choices, we got to see some fabulous reactions. From the dad and stepmom (two great actors, btw, playing great characters). From her friend. From the supportive sort of boyfriend. From the adoptive parents.
    And that’s what touched me. 🙂

  8. Grimwomyn–you are right on. But explain to me, has the American IQ dropped so low that people actually think this crap passes for good storytelling?

  9. Hi all,
    I thought this was a refreshing, well made film with some wonderful newcomers. I liked the fact that it told it’s story without trying to making a political point, even though it does make people think.
    Abortion clinics are not the most pleasant of places really, are they? In the UK women would usually have an abortion in a hospital, though there are some clinics both private and NHS.

    This film rang true for me in some places, I speak as a step-mother to a (now 18year old) girl who had her child at 16. She briefly considered abortion and I’m pro-choice, but she decided to keep her daughter. I’m glad she did.
    I think the film was as realistic as it could be. Seeing the girl dressed in her teenage gear and looking so young with an obvious pregnancy brought back memories of my daughter in her uniform going to her exams. There’s a whole range of emotions going on as you can imagine. It is a shocking image.
    Having an abortion can be traumatic. For some it’s the right thing to do and for others it can have devastating consequences. What women need is rational guidance and support for whatever decision they make. Both before and after. So that they make the right decision for themselves.

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