Saturday, December 22, 2007

Teen pregnancy... again...

I'm typically not interested in pop culture, per se, but the interest in Britney Spears' sister's pregnancy has caught my eye this week. Yes, Jamie Lynn Spears, at the tender age of 16, star of the hit TV show "Zoey 101" on Nick, is pregnant. And unmarried. And continuing the pregnancy and keeping the child, I assume. What will everyone involved do?

This interests me for a number of reasons. First, I worked in family planning for many years. Back in the '80s, teen pregnancy was a hot topic. It seems to have died down over the years, but every now and then, it rears its ugly head (excuse the mixed metaphors).

Secondly, my son, who is 8, watches this show. I think I've glanced at it, and it's really quite a silly show, with a bunch of young teens living at a "boarding school" which seems more like college (nary an adult in sight), having fun, and rarely doing any school work.

Third, the political climate right now is very conservative, so it should be interesting to see if presidential candidates, for example, start weighing in on what Ms. Spears should do about her unintended pregnancy. She shouldn't have been having sex in the first place, right? But since she did, and since she got pregnant, she definitely has to have the baby. But maybe the right thing to do is to place the baby for adoption. What kind of mother would she be, being a star with a busy career, and a with a sister who can't parent her own kids? (I'm just imagining what, say, Romney or Huckabee might be thinking...)

And fourth, and perhaps most interesting, is that Nick has to save it's behind, so what is Nick going to publicly say? After all, kids in the pre-teen age bracket watch this show, and idolize Spears, and what kind of role model is she providing? So that should be very interesting, to see how they spin this pregnancy.

My thoughts on the matter? Well, my question is, why wasn't she (and her supposed 'long-time boyfriend') using any birth control? So that would be the first thing. They should have known that having sex unprotected would lead to pregnancy. (I'm assuming they weren't using birth control: maybe they were and it failed?) And by announcing her pregnancy to the world, she is effectively eliminating any chance of making a private decision, i.e. if she even thought about abortion, now that's out of the question. Because if she has an abortion and states it publicly, she is effectively ruining her career (see conservative political climate, above). So now, she really only has two choices: continue the pregnancy and parent the child, or continue the pregnancy and place it for adoption. Somehow I doubt she will be placing it for adoption. So now she really has only one choice.

So my thoughts would be, what do we learn from this? 1) use birth control if you decide to have sex. 2) if the birth control fails and you get pregnant, don't tell everyone until you have decided what you want to do 3) if you are a rich and famous TV star, you can probably have a baby and continue your career anyway, so maybe it doesn't really matter after all....

I'm so cynical.

In the best of all possible worlds, Nick would use this as a teachable moment, and would educate its young viewers about teen sex, teen pregnancy, and everything that goes along with it. But that's not going to happen, is it?

P.S. a few interesting links on this topic
Explain that to your kids
Nick mulling post-Spears pregnancy show


BipolarLawyerCook said...

I just feel so badly for those two girls. What a messed-up family. I do wonder what Nick will do, though.

nachtwache said...

I'm not sure who Nick is. Is he the baby's dad? I did read a bit about her being pregnant. I seem to remember Britney saying she'd wait for marriage... whatever happened? What a mess, I feel for them all; it's so human. We all can mess up pretty good.

adena said...

Nick is "Nickelodeon", the channel that the shows are on.