The XX Factor

’90s Pro-Choice Style Is Back Again

The denial phase is officially over: The ‘90s are coming back. Let us list the ways: A Democratic president that’s causing Republicans to act like they lost their minds. Hipsters shedding their dancing shoes to go back to rock and roll and unfortunate folk rock. Flower print dresses with boots. Half shirts and embarrassing hats, as evidenced by the outfit chosen by Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast for Spin’s day party at SXSW. Beards. And now it’s hip to be outspokenly pro-choice again.

Nowadays, young people facing serious threats to reproductive rights are responding by speaking out loudly and proudly about how pro-choice they are. The defenses of Planned Parenthood, Sandra Fluke testifying in front of Congress, the Twitter outrage about dirty old men wanting to take our rights away all points to one conclusion. Unlike even a couple of years ago, the face of the pro-choice movement is young and hip. Well, kids, this has happened all before: in the early ‘90s. Between an increasingly aggressive anti-choice movement (the ‘90s was the era of nearly routine doctor assassinations) and frightening court cases such as Casey v. Planned Parenthood, young people realized their rights were under attack and moved to fight back. It was an era when L7 put together a show called Rock for Choice, which had Nirvana and Hole amongst the bands playing. It was an era when lady musicians got together to make pro-choice public service ads like this one:

Of course, no trip down nostalgia lane is complete without new-fangled tools to show how far we’ve come when worrying about how far we haven’t come. If this was really the early ‘90s, I’d include a mailing address where you could send requests for a mix tape of all the fine artists standing up for choice in the ‘90s, but now I just have to fire up my computer and put together that list on Spotify. It’s been taken from the first group of Rock the Choice musicians and from the fine ladies in this ad. So enjoy and spread around, if you want.

Alas for the anti-choice movement, while being openly pro-choice waxes and wanes in the realm of the hip, being anti-choice has never been cool. It’s the fanny pack of political stances, an immoveable fashion item that always marks the wearer as unnervingly committed to the anti-sexy.