Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie-Lynn Spears: A case study in teen pregnancy

Last week I wrote an entry about how lightly Juno took the issue of teen pregnancy, and how it was kind of, well, fucked up. The movie came on the coat tails of the NYTimes article declaring that teen pregnancy rates have risen for the first time since 2001. I argued that this has a lot to do with the ineffectiveness of absitnence-only sex education and that the federal government needs to take a very serious look at the damage these programs are doing to young girls. It seems that the Spears camp is intent on making me look like a goddamn genius. Enter, Jamie-Lynn Spears. 16 and sperminated. Yes, Britney's little sister. The media proclaimed her "the good one." She has a popular show on Nickelodeon. (Sidenote: I'm never going to be able to spell Nickelodeon without having to look it up). But just like millions of other 16 year olds around the US, she's pregnant. The paparazzi even caught her leaving a showing of Juno with her mom, Lynn, in New York. And the whole nation is now in an uproar.

But what does this say about girls today? It's hard to tell if Jamie-Lynn had an "accident," (i.e. the condom broke, she was one of the unlucky girls who get trapped by the 1% chance the Pill doesn't work, etc), she was "unknowledgable," (cue: abstinence-only sex ed), or she "just didn't give a shit" (dicks feel so much better condomless). But her decision to not get an abortion is the strangest part of this whole thing for me.

I'm not saying that I don't trust teenage girls to make the right personal decision about their bodies. I think a lot of girls are way more informed about their options than their parents/the government would like to believe. But I also think that movies like Juno, and tween celebs like Jamie-Lynn, can have an impact on the psyche of the American youth. It's hard to say how many girls, struggling with the secret of pregnancy, are going to see Jamie-Lynn and Juno and say: Well, let's have this thing then. But it's a definite option. Juno made having a baby look so easy that, for a split second, I even considered doing it; and that's saying something, because there are few things on this earth I hate more than children.

Having a baby at any age will change your life. Having a baby at 16 will most likely change your life for the worst. When Diablo Cody, screenwriter of Juno, glossed over the idea of Juno getting an abortion in order to progress the plot, something very important was lost; teen pregnancy is not easy, no matter how jaded and soaked in sarcasm you are. Little Jamie-Lynn is going to stand testament to that. She will be the real life example that disproves the Juno theory: she will probably end up a crackhead, like her sister, and mom Lynn will raise the baby in some backhome Louisiana compound, feeding it Ovaltine and teaching it sad Christian values.

So if girls take anything away from this, it should be something positive: Jamie-Lynn fucked up her life. Don't you fuck up yours.

-Jess

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

diablo cody wrote it, didn't direct

Justin said...

Even worse, now everyone who sees Juno is gonna start talking like James Dean in 1980s Rebel Without A Cause.

Anonymous said...

Wait, it's ok for a girl to choose to get an abortion, but it's not ok for a girl to CHOOSE to keep her baby? What part of pro-choice don't you want to understand? Also, do you really think that teaching abstinence has anything to do with girls getting pregnant -as if drug education has something to do with people getting stoned? You guys ARE stoners.

Jess and Josh said...

Of course it's okay to choose either. My problem comes with the way the media portrays it. In reality, going through with the pregnancy is not as easy as "Juno" makes it seem. Jamie-Lynn will stand testament to that. I respect her right to decide to have the baby, but she may serve as a real-life example of why "Juno" is marred by fiction.

And yes, if you read anything about abstinence-only sex education, the fact that they don't teach contraceptive use DOES have something to do with girls getting pregnant. There are statistics to prove it.

I don't know much about drug education, because as you so aptly pointed out, we are stoners.