Sunday, January 06, 2008

Get That Hussy Off Of My Television

A teen mother? And they think she belongs on television? What sort of role model could she possibly be. Cancel her show!

But enough about Oprah.

Have you noticed that much of the coverage of the Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy is beyond insipid? To the point where Lisa Whelchel is the voice of reason?

Here's one which... well, what can you say. After concluding that teens were extra-careful about birth control during the Reagan years due to fear of stigmatization, the author notes that the answer can't lie in stigmatization because teen birth rates were actually higher during her teen years than they presently are.
So why the increase? Some experts say it's because condoms are not quite the must-have item they once were now that AIDS is increasingly being perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a manageable disease rather than a death sentence. But I also have to wonder if, in the grand scheme of things, pregnancy is just not as frightening to the current crop of teens as it was to past generations
We have had the Bush Administration actively trying to suppress sex education throughout the country, and that may also play a role in the reduction of condom use. But isn't it interesting how, after the author recognizes that her stigmatization theory is bunkum, she just can't keep herself from returning to it? This leads her to call for society to find a "balance" between stigmatization and acceptance in order to... what? Keep teenage girls from having sex? (Because it's all about the girls - and always about the girls - right? The L.A. Times column is about consequence, not actions - the reasonable inference from the column is that the author was particularly careful with birth control, but that she didn't "say no.")

I don't know if the writer's strike is making media coverage of the Spears family better (in the sense that there are no zingers on the late night talk shows, SNL, or The Daily Show) or worse (in the... same sense - with the media trying to fill a void). Maybe somebody should take note that, whatever other faults she had, big sister Britney got it right on this one.

My uninvited suggestion for Britney at this point would be to check into a secluded rehab facility for a few months, even a year, and work on her sobriety and her mental health. She got cold feet the first time she went to Crossroads, but I expect they can find her a room.

My uninvited suggestion for everybody else is to refrain from attacking Jamie Lynn Spears over doing something that most teenagers do, or excoriating her for choosing pregnancy over a secret abortion. And that goes double for self-professed conservatives who purport to be "pro-life". Because, just in case I need to spell it out, the message you're sending is that Jamie Lynn Spears could only have remained a role model had she chosen to have an abortion.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, the horrors of journalism that result from the unholy marriage of "I have a deadline" and "Kids these days..."


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