The Power of Storytelling at The Power of Pink
This summer I got to attend Planned Parenthood’s Power of Pink conference and participated in an abortion storytelling workshop. As someone who has attended and run numerous storytelling trainings I understand how empowering stories can be. Not only are they a way to share human experience, but they also allow people to put a face to issues that are not directly impacting themselves. Coming into this workshop I expected to experience the same thing that I had seen numerous times with other storytelling workshops, but in the end I was able to witness the power of people creating and telling their stories for the first time. The workshop started with research that had been done on the effectiveness of particular stories on certain populations of people. The researchers investigated which stories were most impactful for people of different groups such as religious beliefs or African American men and women. They also found that stories that don’t dwell on talking about the reasons behind getting an abortion are much more impactful than stories that do go into reasons. All this research only further confirmed for me the importance of diversity and emphasizing intersectionality in the reproductive rights movement. It is clear that we need to uplift the stories of everyone that is willing to share to create a more inclusive and representative movement. You never know which story will provide someone with their own reason to get involved and support this cause.
Another interesting aspect of the research presentation was the idea of good abortion and bad abortion narratives, which is the concept that all abortions are justified no matter the reason and it is not our place to judge that person for their reason for getting an abortion. An example of this is a women in an abusive relationship getting an abortion vs a women getting an abortion because she wasn’t on the pill. This is something that I have thought about, but this workshop allowed me to solidify what it means to avoid these narratives when talking to other people on campus.
The last portion of the training was people sharing their stories with everyone in the room. The room was quite full and I was genuinely impressed with how brave and willing people were to share their experience with a roomful of strangers. Many people were sharing their story with people for the first time, which was inspiring to watch. Stories ranged from extreme circumstances and a perfect storm to the impact of stigma on people who were able to have easy access to an abortion. This workshop taught me valuable skills that I can’t wait to use with Brazen and gave me a front row seat to the power of storytelling.