Teen pregnancy is “icky.”
THAT WAS THREE HOURS SO WELL SPENT.
But seriously, while I was busy tuning out what was actually going on in the class, I was thinking about how this kind of framing (and, yes, I am absolutely not making up the word icky in this context) is really problematic. Yes, perhaps some people’s idea of The Perfect World is one where teenagers never get pregnant and kids aren’t substance abusers, but for better or worse, that’s not The Real World. And everytime I hear someone tearing their hair out about how awful it is that there are teenage mothers, all I can think is–what about those teenage mothers who turn out to be really awesome moms?
I just think that young girls are already bombarded with enough negative reinforcement about their bodies and their choices (or lack thereof). It reminds me of a story my mom told me once about a priest (I think) who spoke in one of her classes when she was young. He was going on and on about how horrible it is when kids don’t have a mother and a father (this was before the hideous spectre of gay marriage, so the sanctity of marriage folks mostly just had divorce to rag on) because everyone knows that children with single parents just can’t have a normal, nurturing childhood. And my mother, bless her heart, finally got up the gumption to say that she was raised by a single mother.
Anyway. I’m not advocating ignoring teen pregnancy or anything. I just wish that education could be more positive, rather than focusing on The Awful Problems Of These Awful Teens And How Awful What They Go Through Is.