no choice at all: the subtle feminism of captain america: civil war

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a number of articles floating around about the politics of Captain America: Civil War. From its US-centric viewpoint on global conflict resolution, to its potential signaling of a conservative swing in Marvel’s messaging, to its friends-turned-enemies similarities to Hamilton (fortunately without any of the emotionally shattering Hamilton-lyrics-imposed-over-Marvel-gifs images that are all over my dashboard on Tumblr), it seems like half the internet has an opinion on the deeper meanings that can be found within the script. As a comics geek and a political junkie, I’m 100% here for it, and hope to see a lot more of the same as more people see and discuss the movie. The Russo brothers did a fantastic job of creating a film that, despite previews suggesting that it might be a too-busy mess, explored a multi-faceted conflict with a complexity and attention to character over witticisms, which isn’t something you see a lot in superhero movies.

There’s one viewing of the film that I haven’t seen discussed, though, and considering how clearly it stood out to me, I’m surprised.

MAJOR SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT

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#readingwednesday: crow after roe

Alright, kids, we haven’t done an angry feminist/social justice post here for awhile, but I’ve had a cranky week topped up with a rage-inducing book, so buckle your seatbelts; we’re going for a ride on the S.S. Furiosa.

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beep beep.

I picked up Crow After Row at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference at Hampshire College back in 2012, just after the book was published. At the time, a significant focus of the conference was on abortion rights and the influx of TRAP laws coming out of state legislatures. Since the 2010 midterm election and the flood of Tea Party Republicans taking hold of seats at both the state and federal levels, there have been exponential increases in the amount of anti-choice policies enacted across the country, and in 2012 states were already beginning to see the impact of those policies on pregnant and parenting individuals.

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Written by a political reporter and a legal analyst/attorney, it’s no surprise that Crow After Roe offers an incredibly in-depth legal examination of the multitude of laws that have been proposed, challenged, re-challenged, and sometimes (despite all efforts to the contrary) enacted. What this book really accomplishes, however, is creating coherent connections between laws, cases, regulations, rhetoric, and concepts of constitutionality, personhood, agency, and choice. While some of the statutory information feels a little outdated–four years is a long time in the policy world, especially in this legislative area, and things change quickly–the analysis is still sound, and the recommendations for readers to take action through grassroots organizing, political participation, and outspoken defense of their own rights remain deeply, deeply relevant.

I’ll be honest, team, I had plans for this post–I was going to rant and rave against the misogynistic bullshit that fuels the anti-choice movement; I was going to cite sources on the economic and professional and mental health benefits of the availability and accessibility of abortion; I was going to throw out anecdotes and statistics on all of the reasons why the way abortion access is treated in public discourse is so rooted in sexism and imperialism and paternalistic crap that it makes me want to rip my hair out. But in all honesty, there’s no point. If you’re already pro-choice, I don’t need to preach to you–you’re in the choir. If you’re anti-choice–first of all, fuck you; second of all, what are you even doing reading this?–I doubt that reading another pro-choice essay on the internet is going to convince you, since you apparently get your jollies by forcing people to carry unwanted or unsafe pregnancies to term.

So instead, I’ll leave you with this: If you believe in reproductive freedom, in reproductive justice, in the human right of people capable of pregnancy to make their own decisions about the outcomes of those pregnancies without input from the state, then please, please, do not sit quietly by. Volunteer. Stay informed. Participate in your state and local politics, not just in federal elections, and for the love of all that is holy, vote.

And, if you have it in your heart and in your wallet, consider making a donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which makes abortion accessible to people who might otherwise be unable to afford it due to economic barriers.

Every little bit helps. And heaven knows that if things continue the way they’re going, we’re going to need every bit.