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Going too far? Penelope Trunk’s miscarriage tweet divides social media types

miscarriage tweeter

Was it TMI or a welcome, candid look into women’s workplace issues?

Penelope Trunk, of The Brazen Careerist, tweeted to her now-19,000 followers during a work function that she was currently miscarrying. Like, that second. Trunk said:

I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a f***ed-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.

The tweet quickly divided readers. Even feminist snark blog Jezebel was scornful, equating the post to hearing about a male colleague’s hemorrhoids. And the most surprising (to me) outrage is coming from pro-choice, feminist bloggers. Jezebel’s Lindsay goes on to chastise Trunk for her levity:

And, unfortunately for everyone, now that this has gone national, the context and way in which Trunk framed this confirms the worst and most fantastical ideas of the anti-choice movement: that women (especially career women!) who have abortions all do so casually and callously on their lunch breaks, the way one might get a manicure. If Trunk thinks she’s done anything to help women in Wisconsin get better access to abortions (her defensive post asks readers to donate to Planned Parenthood), she obviously doesn’t know anything about how the anti-choice movement works.

Okay, I have to admit here that my views on abortion are gray to say the least. And irrelevant to this post. But I truly found that stance shocking because- well, whatever happened to on demand and without apology? If, out of a professional context, a woman has to tread lightly, what progress have we made? (In a follow-up post, Trunk describes the “hoops” she alludes to earlier, using her influence to spotlight the issue many midwestern women face seeking abortions.)

While Trunk may have breached boundaries of professional etiquette (really, who wouldn’t have felt like a total schmuck banging on about ROI only to find out later the person next to them was experiencing a minor medical emergency?), she’s doubtlessly helped along a few women who were feeling guilt at their own pregnancy-ending ambivalence, whether due to miscarriage or abortion. Penelope Trunk is in a strange spot because professionally, because she focuses largely on the convergence of career and lifestyle/life. I doubt liveblogging a pregnancy loss is the next big Twitter trend, but did Trunk “go too far” in her candor? Or did she help destigmatize an event that affects the majority of the female workforce at some point in their careers?

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