From Reproductive Choice to Reproductive Barbie

Laurie Shrage

in Abortion and Social Responsibility

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195153095
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870615 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

 From Reproductive Choice to Reproductive Barbie

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  • Moral Philosophy


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Evaluates “pro‐life” and “pro‐choice” media campaigns, featuring fetuses and coat hangers respectively, and shows how both reflect individualistic ideologies about responsibility and freedom. Rather than participate in public discourses that construe individual responsibility and liberty as simple moral alternatives, considers feminist political art that raises questions about our collective responsibilities to support others. Also considers visual and performance artwork that draws attention to the way that pregnancy and persons are culturally constructed. Urges reproductive rights activists to jettison the coat hanger image in favor of images that would promote constructive public dialog on access to contraception, child and family support, the duties of all citizens to provide life‐saving help, the positive aspects of enabling women to control their fertility, and the dangers of religious extremism.

Keywords: abortion; coat hangers; collective responsibility; feminist political art; fetuses; individualistic ideologies; pregnancy; pro‐choice; pro‐life; religious extremism; reproductive rights

Chapter.  13724 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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