Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie Lynn Spears kicks puppies, sells heroin to 8 year olds, and drowns dolphins!

Actually she's pregnant, which really doesn't seem like that big a deal compared to kicking puppies, oh and compared to all the other things she could be doing with a terrific role model like her sister. (<--sarcasm, for those who don't know me...)

All the tabloids, radio stations, and even legitimate news programs are covering this like it's a surprise for 16 year old girls to get pregnant, especially with the appalling sex education in our country (or lack there of). For more info, please check out the recent Federally Funded Abstinence Only Education Programs report for current and ongoing problems of teaching our children abstinence only. How are children supposed to stay safe when there are people out there like Tina Marie Holewinski saying things like:

  • there are cancer-causing agents in latex condoms

  • 80% of teenage girls who seek abortions are already on birth-control pills

  • the human papilloma virus is small enough to pass through condoms

  • condoms lead to cancer

  • birth control pills are only 20 percent effective

  • sexually transmitted diseases are spread by skin contact alone

Other *shocking* news that reporters are eating up in response to this is that Lynne, Britney and Jamie Lynn's mom, postponed her book on parenting. Lynne comments that she was "very upset because it wasn't what she expected at all" but "a week after, she had time to cope with it and became very supportive." Give me a fucking break. Cope with it? Your child is pregnant. You should have taught her the importance of safe and protected sex because expecting that she remains abstinent is not an example of good parenting. Put that one in your book.

Since Jamie Lynn plays the lead role in Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, of course Nickelodeon released a statement: "We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn's well being."

This get me totally fired up... "Jamie Lynn needs to take responsibility for this personal situation":

1. "Situation"? Apparently now being pregnant is a "situation." What Nickelodeon can't say the word "pregnant" or talk about S.E.X.? Maybe they should, maybe if Nickelodeon takes this opportunity to advocate the need of adequate sex ed it would really help teach young girls and boys about the birds and the bees...

2. Jamie Lynn is not alone "responsible" for getting pregnant thus making it simply a "personal" decision... which leads me to my next rant:

Here's my biggest problem with this whole thing:
Girls and women do not (usually) get pregnant on their own. There is barely any mention of the baby's dad, Casey Aldridge, who should take just as much responsibility for this child. Neither Casey nor Jamie Lynn should be shamed by the media for this because all it does is speak to the abysmal sex education in our country, however, Jamie Lynn is being shamed and targeted and Casey is not. Why isn't Casey the focus of news broadcasts and interviews about how "sad this situation is" and "how young they are?"

However much I try to make this a generalized example of teen moms, it just simply is not. Jamie Lynn Spears is a privileged and rich girl who will probably never face the worries of teenage parenting. She has the resources (specifically financially) to provide this baby anything it needs. This simply is not a generalizable example of the struggles of teen parenting. However, it is one of many other things such as: double standards, lack of adequate sex education, and privilege.


sirbarrett said...

Ya, I hadn't even heard of her until she got pregnant. Apparently that's what makes girls famous these days?!?!

It's really not that big of a deal. Some teen mothers are excellent mothers. Humans have been making babies since we crawled out of the ocean.

Hopefully the media doesn't do to her what they did to her sister.

Anonymous said...

While driving into work today, I was listening to Cosmo on Sirius (I know, it's classy radio) but they were having a discussion about this. The host was upset that the trend in hollywood is to get pregnant unexpectedly and be all "Oh well!" and not really think it through (goes along with the whole privlege thing).

A mother of a 12 year old called in and said that her daughter was all excited that Jamie Lynn is pregnant. The mother of course was apalled - Jamie Lynn is 16, the father of the baby is 19. I certainly hope the mother has a talk with her 12 year old today.

You would think with privlege would come access to prophylaxis.

She's going to end up like big sis - no childhood and then rebellion in her mid twenties when she has kids to care for.

I vote mother of the year - LYNN SPEARS!


Fidelbogen said...

"There is barely any mention of the baby's dad, Casey Aldridge, who should take just as much responsibility for this child."

I think that is because Jamie Lynn is the sister of Britney, so it is only natural that SHE would attract the media spotlight rather than her unknown beau.

But let's swap the shoes around and see what we get. Suppose that Casey Spears was the brother of the famous Britney, and he got this unknown girl Jamie Lynn Aldridge preggers. In that case, all the attention WOULD be on him because of course HE would be the "celebrity" - or next in line to it, anyway.

Sometimes it is only a short walk to a more pedestrian (hence more "boring") explanation of things.

Erhart said...

Question...with the idea of awareness to younger kids that is stressed by you in your writing, how soon do you start? How soon do we convert our kids to adults? When do we lose our innocence?

Please keep in mind I do advocate the sex education ideas that you present in this writing. I think with the way society is these days we need to present every option allowed for people out there.

My humble side cries that kids won't have the worry-free child-hood that I was so fortunate to have. I guess I lived in a fantasy world.

Feminist Gal said...

Fidelbogen, you may be right, if he was the celebrity he may be the one in the spot light, however, i just learned (after writing this) that they are living together and have been in a relationship for some time now... i had to really dig for this info though, the media was trying to make her out to seems too young, too single, and too much a skank...?

I wholeheartedly hear your concern and it is one i often share. However, to answer your question, i think we need to start addressing these issues with our kids as soon as they are old enough to be bombarded with them by the media and by their peers.
I learned in a social psych class (and of course now can't find the research article!ugh!) that the biggest predictor of a child's sexual activity is PERCIEVED activity of peers. So basically, whether or not the peers are actually having sex, if the child percieves that they are, the child will as well.

When sex is normalized by our media (through movies, tv, music videos, etc) and then not talked about in school and at home, childs recieve mixed messages. Particularly ones that say: sex is cool, but it's also bad...?

The only way for children to remain educated about the decisions they are sure to face at a younger and younger age is if these issues are addressed at home and at school in constructive, instructive, and truthful ways.

Smirking Cat said...

If the only explanation for the attention focused on Jamie Lynn is because she's the one in the celebrity family, then there wouldn't be a similiar concentration on the mother and not the father when neither party is a celebrity. When a teenage girl is pregnant, it's not uncommon to hear comments ranging from "she should have kept her legs together" to other ridiculous and judgmental snipes about her morality and character. I am hard-pressed to recall much being said about the fathers, however, or the fact that most teenage mothers became pregnant with older males who should equally bear the responsibility but generally do not. Phrases like "she got knocked up" demonstrate the twisted viewpoint that somehow getting pregnant is 100% the responsibility of the female involved, and somehow all her "fault". Certainly telling of a need for sex education, if this many people believe females get pregnant all by themselves, like catching a cold!

Feminist Gal said...

hear hear, Smirking Cat! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Erhart said...

that makes sense...thanks

PhD in Yogurtry said...

I wouldn't say my kids are "excited" about this pregnancy but they did get worked up about it. In a shocked, confused sort of way. I'm actually kind of grateful to JLS. Her announcement is giving me one of those teachable moments we parents look for.