I love the movie Dirty Dancing. Yes, even though I’m a straight male. And I love it unironically too (I don’t do irony): the music, the setting, the cars, the coming-of-age story, and yes, the dancing. And like everyone who loves this movie, I break out in a huge grin at the climatic moment when Johnny announces that “nobody puts Baby in a corner.” It’s one of the all-time great cinematic “feelgood” moments, isn’t it?
But people tend forget a very significant subplot of Dirty Dancing, the whole reason Johnny and Baby are thrown together in the first place. The fact is, this “cute” little movie has a rough edge just below the romance… a rough, dirty, damn-near-fatal edge…
When we think about Dirty Dancing, we often picture the bottom image. We forget that the whole reason Baby has to fill in for Penny is because Robby gets Penny pregnant and refuses to take responsibility.
We forget that the abortion is so expensive Penny cannot afford it, even from a questionable practitioner, and when Robby refuses to pay for it, Baby has to get the money for her.
We forget that Penny nearly dies because abortions are illegal. We forget the horrible conditions she is forced to endure in order to get the abortion and the incredible pain she was in afterwards.
We forget her tears.
We forget her shame.
We forget the judgment and condemnation towards her.
We forget Robby’s endorsement for college and smug attitude as his life remained unchanged.
While this is a movie, there have been real life Pennys. We must not return to the time where this is the norm. Abortions have never been an issue for the wealthy. Money affords opportunity and secrecy.
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate amongst industrialized countries. Banning abortions is not going to help that number.
#DirtyDancing #WarOnWomen #abortion #maternalmortality #womensrights