Posted by: emjb | June 21, 2008

New blog, same old griping!

I’m hoping to get my redirect from grabapple.net working. Deanpence was the one who got tired of me whining that updating was hard, I don’t wanna, and told me to just let WordPress do all the work. Certainly, it’s not uglier than my old one. Content-wise, I hope it will be better

OK, on to griping.

Did you know that teenage motherhood will KILL US ALL??? It’s true. The absolute worst thing that a girl can do is get knocked up when she’s a teen! I can tell, because of all the hand-wringing over this story in the media.

The sort of wide-eyed shock that so many seem to have that a teen would actually get pregnant on purpose, without wanting to get marred is…kind of revealing. The usual story has always been He Done Her Wrong, or else She Tricked Him–either he was a cad (and she apparently too innocent to know about rubbers) or she was a psycho who wanted to live off his vast teenage boy paycheck. Anyhoo, since you can’t accuse these girls of not knowing that Teh Sex leads to Teh Babies, then you have to fall back on “psycho.”

Superintendent Christopher Farmer confirmed the deal to WBZ-TV, saying the girls had “an agreement to get pregnant.”

He said the mothers-to-be are generally “girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life.”

This is the more acceptable version of psycho, where she is not a conniver so much as just someone with low self-esteem. Although it does seem that planning and carrying out such a scheme took, if not self-esteem, then some kind of self-determination.

I have another theory. These are girls in a depressed fishing town, the kind of place that doesn’t promise its kids a lot of opportunity. For at least some of them, college may be out of reach, and a good future not too visible. They can’t change that. But they do have the power to become mothers, and they decided to exercise it.

What we don’t talk about much in our society is that reality; regardless of consequences, the power to create life, to create another human being, is something that we are uncomfortable leaving in women’s hands, especially young and/or single women. When they use that power outside of the boundaries we set, we crack down on them and judge them harshly. We say it’s because they are ruining their lives, but we don’t know that that is true. Maybe they aren’t. For poor teens, waiting may confer no benefit at all, and some downsides. They’ll be older, have access to less parental and state help, and no more likely to be in a stable situation.

I’m not saying “teen mom with kid” is optimum for anyone. But for some of these girls, looking ahead, it’s not worse and may be better. Because if they are cut off from education and meaningful work, then at least they can do the necessary work of childraising.

So the question really shouldn’t be “why do teen girls act so crazy and get knocked up” but “what are the alternatives for these particular girls? What would make delaying kids seem like a good idea to them?” It’s not as easy as writing them off as lazy or stupid, but it’s bound to be more useful.

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