Netflix’s new wrestling sisterhood show, “GLOW,” includes a completely unrealistic episode portraying abortion. In the first episode of the series, it’s revealed that protagonist Ruth, played by Alison Brie, had an affair with her best friend’s husband. In episode eight, Ruth realizes she’s missed her period, and takes an at-home pregnancy test. It confirms that she is carrying the half-sibling of her best friend’s son, who is now her wrestling partner. Complicated!
While at the abortion clinic, Ruth repeatedly affirms that abortion is what she wants, but her body language and tone make it clear it’s a conflicted decision.
“I feel like I’m supposed to ask you if this is what you want,” says Sam, the show’s director and abortion clinic companion, to Ruth while they sit in the waiting room.
“Yeah. It’s not the right time, not the right baby,” she responds.
We see Ruth in the operating room, staring up at a ceiling tile painted like a cloudy sky, as a female doctor begins to abort Ruth’s child — then the episode abruptly ends. When we see Ruth next, she’s wrestling again like nothing happened. This is not at all what abortion is like in real life.
Typically, physicians say a post-abortive woman ought to wait a week to ten days after an abortion before resuming light, low-impact physical activities like yoga. Obviously, this varies from woman to woman, the type of abortion procedure she undergoes, and how far along she was in her pregnancy, but in order to avoid physical injury, Ruth would need to wait a while after her abortion before wrestling again. Jenji Kohan’s show choses not to show what the abortion recovery process is really like, and instead uses Ruth as a prop to push an unrealistic depiction.
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross recently decided to speak out about the abortion she underwent just a few weeks before competing in the Beijing Olympics to dispel misinformation she says is prevalent within the athletic community. In a recent interview, Richards-Ross said she doesn’t know a single track athlete who hasn’t had an abortion due to myths surrounding contraception and fertility.
Netflix’s “GLOW” perpetuates to both female athletes and women in general the misconception that abortion is no big deal, because Ruth doesn’t even seem to need recovery time before jumping back into the ring. If a show like “GLOW,” which has been lauded for passing the Bechtel test and other arbitrary metrics of feminism, fails to show what an abortion is really like, including the pain, recovery, and bleeding, and gets zero flack for it, that’s telling. It indicates yet again that the abortion agenda isn’t about providing women informed “choices,” it’s about lying to women to make killing a pre-born child seem like no big deal.