Arts News

Why a gay woman wrote the play ‘P.G. Anon’

by Julie Jensen

written from the playwright’s point of view.

P.G. Anon is about three women, all pregnant. One is too old, one too young, and one is not up to the task of raising a child. It’s the time between suspecting pregnancy and any decisions about what’s next. Women are alone at those times, living in two heads, one firmly planted in the present, the other threatened by a future turned upside down.

Why should a gay woman write about this subject?

I am telling these women’s stories because no one else will. Virtually all women have had experiences like these; few have ever spoken about them.  We must share these stories and remember our own. Otherwise, we leave out a very important part of women’s experience.

Why can’t women talk about this subject? 

Women are under great pressure to be silent about the subject. Those who have had children are conflicted. They cannot tell others, particularly their own children, that their pregnancies were unplanned, a surprise, perhaps unwanted. They loathe ruining the illusion that all their children were fervently wanted. In the meantime, the fact is that fully half of the pregnancies in this country are unplanned, amounting to three million each year. That’s three million women going through an emotional upheaval and adjustment largely by themselves.

All girls are taught from the beginning of their lives that what they want or should want is to be a mother. Take a look, for example, at this Mormon song for little girls.

            “When I grow up,
            I want to be a mother,
            And have a family.
            One little, two little, three little
            Babies of my own.
Of all the jobs for me
            I choose no other.
            I’ll have a family.
            Four little, five little, six little
Babies in my home.”

If women are not in lockstep with their socialization, they are pressured to keep still.

What happens to women who do not accept their socialized role?

From an early age, I was aware that my mother had a job she did not care for. She did a good job, I think, but she was far from happy with her work.  In her case, she was a victim of her times. She had children to keep my father out of the war. She did her duty. But given other options, she would not have chosen motherhood. She had a degree and wanted to go to graduate school. She never did. That saddened her. 

But don’t all women adapt to motherhood and are happy for it?

I should not have to be a nurse if I sicken at the sight of blood. I should not have to be a teacher if I dislike the chaos of children together. Not all women will be good at motherhood, and they shouldn’t have to do a job they don’t want. And, no, we’re not all the same, just as all men are not the same.

What’s the point?

I hope at the very least we can all remember our own experiences with the threat of unplanned pregnancy. Virtually all women have had the experience, some of us several times. In remembering our own fears and fury, perhaps we can be less judgmental, more sympathetic and helpful. When subjects are kept a secret, we harbor the wound, when subjects are opened to the light, we can heal.

Playwright Julie Jensen is Utah’s most-produced playwright. Plan-B has previously produced her plays SHE WAS MY BROTHER and CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS. The world premiere of her latest, P.G. ANON, opens Plan-B’s 2021 Audio-Only Subscription Series, streaming February 25-March 7 on their website or on the free app in partnership with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

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