I Think This Harry Styles Song Is About Abortion
Reading between the lines in “Kiwi”
A song can mean different things to different people, and one thing Harry Styles’s new song “Kiwi” means to me is: Harry Styles is wildly pro-choice, and also understands abortion more than any other man in the entire world.
There are almost no other interpretations you can make from the lyrics to “Kiwi,” if you are me, the listener Lily Puckett, who is also pro-choice. When Harry scream-sings “I’m having your baby,” I know he’s thought deeply about what it means to be a woman in a world where the thing your body can do and man’s can’t is taken away from you entirely, forcibly turned into not an act of creation and purpose, but labor. I’m having your baby, he croons without crooning, just with the space in between the croons. My work is the result of your work, and your sperm grants you ownership, not only over the baby that comes out of me, but of the decisions I make with my body leading up to the baby’s exact existence, he’s saying, without words.
When Harry immediately follows up this statement with a second, screamier scream-sing — “it’s none of your business” — I know he means what I think he means, which is that this is bullshit.
Statistically, most men are bad, or at least insane, when it comes to abortion. Many of them believe that women shouldn’t be allowed to get them, and those are the ones who run for office, which really fucks shit up for us. The ones who believe it’s a woman’s right to choose are nice, thank you, but also tend to never run for office, or even call their senators when they’re about to make abortion illegal again, so it doesn’t really matter. Many men try to fill the gap between personal beliefs and lack of action by writing novels where a woman gets or has had an abortion, and while I can see why they think this might help, it actually doesn’t, because men are bad writers. It’s not their fault, but it is a fact. One novel by a man had a woman who’d had an abortion and she literally never stopped thinking about it, and I think she also called it something really weird, like a bird or a pocket. But she was always talking to it too, so it didn’t even make sense. I’ve never talked to my pocket.
“Kiwi” was written by Harry Styles, but it’s actually good, and I wonder if that’s because Harry has talked to girls before (a lot of writers haven’t). The song was produced entirely by men, like literally no women worked on it, but it’s possible that one woman may have consulted on it, without credit. If so, that’s great, I’m glad she got the work, and you can really feel her presence on this. If not, I think probably that Harry talked to a woman about her own personal experience with abortion, and he wrote this based off of what he told her, which isn’t stealing if she wasn’t even planning to tell this story to a wide audience anyway.
Harry also has these two weird lines in the second verse, which is four lines, and they are: “Holland Tunnel for a nose, it’s always backed up,” and then “When she’s alone, she goes home to a cactus.” A friend suggested that maybe the Holland Tunnel thing was about cocaine, either because of the way you take the drug through your nose, or in reference this article about people from New Jersey coming to New York to do cocaine from 1989 (suspicious). If that’s true, I think cactus probably means weed, which is fun, and makes this whole verse about drug use, but it’s not judgmental. Unlike a lot of men, Harry thinks it’s okay to accidentally get pregnant, even if you use drugs, and supports a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy at any time, and also smoke weed. In my opinion.
At the end of the song Harry says “I’m gonna pay for this,” and I think he’s still talking about abortion there (not sex work), and I also think it’s right that he pays, because he’s worth a lot of money, and I bet he knows about the tampon tax, or at least equal pay, which is a problem.