Netflix's Glow aired the most important ten minutes of TV you'll see all year.

The whole world is talking about GLOW, the latest original series from Netflix (FYI it stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).

The dramatised version of the very real, very camp ’80s activity stars Alison Brie as Ruth Wilder, an aspiring actress who’s down on her luck in just about every area of her life. She’s failing auditions, sleeping with her best friend’s husband and has to beg her parents for money to make her rent. Again.

Then she ends up as part of a women’s wrestling group trying to get their show funded and televised.

Glorious. (Source: Netflix.)

GLOW is packed full of camp moves and '80s glamour, but it's much more than that - and there's one scene in particular that's changing TV as we know it.

The abortion scene.

Listen: Why Glow is the most important show on TV right now. Post continues after audio.

Despite that fact it's 2017, abortion is still a rare sight on mainstream TV. While Scandal and Girls have addressed it, Glow gave it a totally different treatment - that of normalcy.

After a conversation about periods among the GLOW's, Ruth realises hers is late. After a test confirms what she dreads - she's pregnant with her best friend's husband's baby, she enlists her wrestling coach-director Sam Sylvia to take her to the clinic.

He asks her if she's sure about the decision, to which she responds "It's not the right time. Not the right baby." Then she goes through with it and by the time we next see her on screen, she's back to her everyday life.

Timewise, the actual decision and procedure took up just a tiny portion of the episode, but what the episode did show spoke volumes.


There was no tears, no dramatic breakdowns, just a woman taking control of her body and making a decision that was right for her.

While some critics have argued that it wasn't given enough airtime and her reaction was unrealistic, Mamamia Entertainment Editor and The Binge podcast host Laura Brodnik believes it was "groundbreaking".

Image via Netflix.

"I don't think it was meant to be a throwaway scene. When I was watching it I was trying to think when the first time I saw abortion on TV and it was Dirty Dancing," she said on the latest podcast episode.

"Through that movie, all we saw about abortion was that it was on a dirty table and it was a shameful secret. The character got really sick and it's almost like she's being indirectly punished for what she's done. It's passed off as a cautionary tale and not something that would ever happen to a 'good girl' like Baby.

"But with Glow, it made me think of Lindy West's comment who said 'Not having an [abortion] would have been the traumatic thing'... and seeing Ruth go in and make that decision about her body, get the medical care she needed then get back into her life and not really have to explain it or feel shamed about it... it was one of the best scenes on TV. We need more scenes like this."

That doesn't mean it was devoid of emotion though - it just wasn't a huge, dramatic moment that placed blame on anyone. Abortion is an experience that is different for everyone. And the "ordinary" treatment accurately reflects the stats that show abortion is actually rather common.


Alison Brie who plays Wilder told The Hollywood Reporter she thought her character's "realistic" attitude was really important.

"It made so much sense to me when I read the script. I responded to it immediately. That’s how I would react if I were Ruth, and I didn’t question it at all," she said.

According to GLOW co-creator Carly Mensch, the writers talked long and hard about the show's treatment of the abortion, deliberating about whether they should show it or not.

Image: Netflix

Given the current political climate and conversation over women's health, Glow's portrayal of the issue becomes even more powerful.

"It’s really important, especially right now, to highlight that women should be able to make that choice and that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world,” Brie continued.

"What I especially love about that episode is that it’s a very easy choice for Ruth to make, whether or not the emotional repercussions will continue throughout her life.

"They might or they might not. This is a show about women’s bodies and about them taking control of their own bodies, and that’s highlighted beautifully in that episode.”

For the best TV and entertainment news of the week, listen to The Binge podcast. 

The first season of GLOW is streaming now on Netflix. 

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