"Xiu Xiu Has An Awful, Self-Congratulatory Pro-Choice Single"
I think I can safely say that Xiu Xiu’s new track “I Luv Abortion” is probably not going to be a chart-topper, and not just because of the discordance of the synths and brass:
First, there’s the fact that Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart says of the song:
A young friend of mine, who had gone through period of cutting herself eventually mailing me the knife which now sits on my recording desk, found herself still a teenager and pregnant. She knew that it was not time for her to be a parent to her future child but she could love him or her when it good for them both…It was so striking to me that she could have an abortion out of love. The song is also a big FUCK YOU to the Right wing in America.
I’m not that sympathetic to people who just want to tell other people to fuck off because it makes them feel bold. I’m also not that sympathetic to men who take women’s stories about their health, their bodies, and their lives, and presume to speak for them, even when they’re presenting themselves as pro-choice.* Appropriating a woman’s words and experiences, particularly a woman whose emotional distress you appear to be turning into some sort of proof of how cool and dark you are, so you can tell the “Right wing in America” to fuck off feels like you’re using her, rather than writing some sort of tribute to her.
And the lyrics themselves are not exactly what even the most pro-choice of us would call on-message. I was really struck—and turned off by—the lines: “You are too good for this life / a hyena infected with rabies would give birth to you / there are too many important things i can’t be for yooooou.” Now, I am all for people being able to control their reproductive health so they don’t get pregnant when they don’t want to be, and for them being able to have abortions or give children up for adoption if they feel they can’t raise children. Kids should be wanted. But comparing girls who do give birth to “a hyena infected with rabies”? That’s ludicrous and disgusting. I may worry for teenagers who have babies. But the only right thing to hope for them and their children is that they get the support they need so their kids grow up healthy and they can become self-sustaining. Treating them like they’re animals, or pretending you’re superior for getting a medical procedure that is not always easily available, is no way to start that conversation.
*All of which is a reminder that you should check out the awesome Men Who Trust Women tumblr on the subject.