Why Our Pop Stars Speaking Out About Roe v. Wade Matters
A slew of pop stars spoke out against the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade over the weekend, and they lent support to protests in a big way.
While celebrities including Taylor Swift, Cher and Charli XCX took to social media to lambast the highest court's decision, which did away with nearly 50 years of precedent, as the weekend went on, other artists spoke out publicly at events.
"F--k you, Supreme Court," Janelle Monáe said at the start of the 2022 BET Awards Sunday (June 26). The "Pynk" superstar wasn't alone in voicing negative feelings about the court during the awards show. Taraji P. Henson, Jazmine Sullivan and Latto added their voices to the conversation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, across the pond during Glastonbury Festival, a handful of pop stars blasted the Supreme Court.
“I'm devastated and terrified,” Olivia Rodrigo told the crowd, according to Elle. “So many women and so many girls are going to die because of this." She welcomed Lily Allen to the stage for a performance of the latter star's song "F--k You," which the pair dedicated to the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe.
"We hate you," Rodrigo said after explicitly naming each of them.
The Los Angeles Times notes that abortion rights were addressed during several other performances at the festival.
Phoebe Bridgers led the audience in a chorus of "f--k the Supreme Court." Lorde had the same message. Billie Eilish referred to it as "a really, really dark day for women in the U.S."
Megan Thee Stallion took a moment "to call out these stupid-a-- men." The audience booed along with her as she highlighted Texas' response. "My body, my motherf--king choice," she shouted. The audience joined in with a chant as she continued to speak.
Back in the U.S., several artists highlighted a person's right to choose during Pride festival performances.
"I don't think gender should define what you can and can't do with your f---ing body," Kim Petras said, according to Billboard. Although she didn't explicitly reference the Supreme Court's decision, she voiced support for people who were at risk: "You know what it is, I just wanna let you know I'm f--king here for you."
Kesha also addressed the issue. "I don't want to bring down the mood, but it's important that we understand that we are a family," she said, according to People. "This is not going to be easy, and we are not done fighting. But today we're here to celebrate who the f--k we are."
Meanwhile, Halsey, who had already highlighted the fight for the right to an abortion during their ongoing Love and Power Tour, spoke out during a recent show.
"It is up to every single one of you, myself, every single person in this building to do our f---ing part to protect bodily autonomy and bodily integrity," she said on stage, according to Stereogum.
These pop stars and more positioned the issue of women's rights and bodily autonomy center stage for their fans, using their collective voices to advocate for change in the process — and they have the potential to make a large difference.
Newport Academy reports celebrities have the ability to "raise awareness and reduce stigma" that surrounds topics such as drug use, addiction and mental health. The same rules apply when a celebrity such as Bridgers speaks about their own personal experiences with abortion, normalizing a medical procedure that is largely stigmatized and politicized.
"I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour. I went to planned parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy," she tweeted last month. "Everyone deserves that kind of access."
This type of message has the ability to make others who have received or are considering an abortion feel more comfortable addressing them. It also shows them that they are not alone.
Pop stars speaking out have led to documented changes in the past, too.
When Swift urged her fans to vote in 2018, there was a notable increase in voter registration. While The Washington Post notes the spike could have been partly attributed to the fact that voter registration closed around that time, a sizable amount of people who signed up to vote fell between the ages of 18 and 29. Many of Swift's fans fall in that age group.
"Taylor Swift’s visibility on this issue is driving a lot of coverage of voter registration, and it’s reaching many of her fans who would not otherwise be following news like this,” Kamari Guthrie, a spokeswoman for Vote.org, told the outlet at the time.
With big stars such as Rodrigo speaking out about abortion rights, it is safe to assume that artists' younger fans will learn more about important topics. This can, of course, lead to increased advocacy and more opportunities to bring about change.
The "good 4 u" star previously joined forces with President Joe Biden's administration to encourage her fans to get vaccinated, according to CNN, so she's already a pro at using her voice for advocacy work.
With the stakes so high, every pop star who rallies loudly against the tragic overturning of Roe v. Wade serves an essential role in the fight for women's rights and the right to choose.