Monday, June 23, 2008

Week of 06/23/2008

“Pregnancy Pact” Proves Parental Elitism
– by David Matthews 2

The headlines were shocking.

A single community in Massachusetts started reporting a flood of teenage pregnancies. Where normally underage teenage pregnancies averaged four per year, the small town in Gloucester suddenly had seventeen pregnant girls, all under 16, and most if not all of them in their sophomore year in high school.

Even more disturbing were the reported behaviors of these girls when told that they were pregnant. They weren’t shocked or horrified. They seemed EAGER to get pregnant. They would high-five each other and plan out the baby showers. In fact, they would be depressed if they were told that they WEREN’T pregnant!

Remember, we’re talking about underage teenage girls! Girls that should be worried about pimples and making the cheering squad, not buying strollers and planning for baby showers.

But then came the big headline: the new flood of underage pregnancies was part of a so-called “pregnancy pact”. These girls were INTENTIONALLY getting pregnant!


Predictably, the liberals and conservatives started chiming in with their prefabricated scripts. The liberals claimed that the desire for pregnancies was caused by the lack of proper sex education and the lack of contraceptives. Conservatives countered that this was all part of our “over-sexed” society and that the presence of sex in the media and on the Internet and the lack of so-called “family values” was behind it all.

And of course both groups are WRONG.

First of all, this is not from a lack of sex education, and certainly not from the absence of contraceptives. These underage girls weren’t looking for sex; they were looking to get PREGNANT. That presupposes they at least already know how it works. The sex was simply the means to the end, and they certainly wouldn’t use the contraceptives even IF they had access to them.

Second, contrary to the beliefs of the conservatives, you’re dealing with a blue-collar fishing community with STRONG CONSERVATIVE Roman Catholic beliefs. We’re not talking about some experimental liberal commune in California. These folks have “family values” in spades!

So… why?

It’s not about playing house. In at least one instance the supposed father was a homeless man. Playing house usually involves marrying the baby’s daddy and living with them. These girls were supposedly planning on all raising their babies together. Not exactly smart, and not exactly what you would call “playing house”.

The so-called “experts” are saying that these girls are in desperate need of “love”, and that they believe that having a baby will fix that need. Well so would getting a puppy or a kitten, but I seriously don’t think that’s the real reason either.

No, there’s still something missing from this equation… something that the media doesn’t want to talk about and the liberals and the conservatives really don’t want to dwell on.

The very concept of being a teenager in society is a series of Catch-22 situations. You’re not a child, but you’re also not yet an adult. You’re still growing physically, mentally, and emotionally, and not everyone grows at the same time and at the same rate. You’re treated differently than you were as a child, but yet you’re not given the benefits of being an adult.

I have also heard the argument be made that having sex and getting pregnant can be seen for teenagers as the fast-track to being treated as an adult. After all, if you can prove you’re just the same in this aspect as an adult, then maybe people would treat you like one in other aspects.

In truth, though, it doesn’t work like that. Promiscuous teens aren’t seen as being on the “fast track” to being adults. They’re seen as just being young and stupid. Besides, teens don’t need to go all the way to passing Biology 101 to pretend to be adults. Usually it’s getting a fake ID, dressing up like an adult, and showing up at the local nightclub that does the trick. Either that or passing out drunk every weekend at the local keg party.

But it’s not really adulthood that these young girls seem to be shooting for. They want to be MOMS. In other words, they want to be PARENTS.

Now why is that? Why go the extra step?

The media hints at it. They point out that we glorify pregnancy through celebrity “baby bumps”. They point to a surge of celebrity mothers like Jamie Lynn Spears, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, and Jessica Alba. They point to the movie “Juno”, whose star Ellen Paige was nominated for an Oscar award for playing a pregnant teen.

But they don’t really come out and say it. They hop around the issue, just like the liberal and conservative activists do, but they don’t come out and say what needs to be said.


Let’s get brutally honest here… being a parent is the preferred social class in America.

We REWARD parents. We give them tax breaks and extra money for having children. Remember the last economic stimulus payment? $600 per person and $300 for each child. And back in 2002 there was a so-called “stimulus package” that was just for parents! Single adults need not inquire!

And that’s not the only time that extra money is given to parents. Child support, welfare services, charity organizations, they all bend over backwards to help parents. If you’re just a poor schlep, then you’re pretty much on your own. But if you’re a parent, suddenly you become special.

Sure the argument can be made that they need that money for children, but how many parents really spend the money ON the children? And the young girls in Gloucester probably don’t see money being spent on them. They just see mommy (and/or daddy) getting an extra check from the government.

Being a parent actually trumps being an adult in society. Being a parent in society is like being an instant expert on any subject you talk about. All you have to do is start off your argument with “I’m a parent of…” and instantly your words carry more weight than saying that you’re an adult or you’re a taxpayer or even that you’re an American.

Researcher be damned! Scientist be damned! A PhD means nothing compared to someone who is an MoM or a DaD!

Politicians care more about the words of a parent than just the words of a taxpayer. That parent doesn’t even have to VOTE and they will get preferred treatment from those in government!

Here’s a certain infamous saying that I’m sure the Gloucester girls heard a lot… “Well when you grow up and you become a parent yourself, THEN you can make the rules.” Getting pregnant sort of completes both of those quantifiers doesn’t it? It’s not only the fast track to being an adult, but it’s a fast track to getting the preferred status in American society.

The ultimate goal of parents has not been to raise children to become adults, but rather to raise them to become PARENTS. Never mind having the kids worry about what they want to be when they grow up… they know what the kids are going to be when they grow up, they’re going to become mommies and daddies.

This is the real reason why gossip columns and celebrity magazines spend countless millions on getting the wedding and baby pictures of celebrities. Weddings and baby pictures are the reaffirmation of that preferred status in society, because you’re considered to be NOTHING until you become a parent!

Now I know what you’re thinking… what about the fathers? Don’t babies need daddies? Sure they do… for the baby-making process. But there is this social trend called a “starter marriage”. That’s when you marry young… VERY young… sometimes in or right after high school. You pop out a couple of children, and then not long afterwards, the marriage breaks up. You get divorced and you become a single parent for a couple of years, worried about the alimony and child support payments and raising the child on your own. A few years down the line you find someone new and you marry that person, and that marriage seems to last and that child has a “new” daddy.

We GLORIFY being a mother. We have a special day on the calendar just for them. Daddys? Well, daddy is just a support payment… and that’s only IF daddy keeps up with them. Daddy’s have a special day on the calendar too, but not too much emphasis is placed on that particular day.

And remember, you’re dealing with a heavily Roman Catholic community over there in Gloucester. Who are the two biggest figures of the Roman Catholic Church? Jesus and his mother! And Joseph? Mary’s husband? He was just some poor schlep that was there to give Mary a ride and to pay the taxes. Motherhood is glorified and sanctified in the Catholic community. Fathers are just there to make the payments.

Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn’t it? A bunch of teenaged girls in a fishing community that is suffering from entropy; possibly coming from a low economic class to begin with. They’re eager for their adult lives to start, or at the very least to get away from the mess that they’re in now. They all agree to become mothers, because being mothers gives them so much more prestige and recognition in society. And the physical and emotional burdens of pregnancy? The hassles of being a mother? Well if Jamie Lynn Spears can go through it, then so could they, right? And they’ve probably seen “Juno” a few times so there are no big surprises for them. Besides, they’re all friends, and if they stick together they can raise their little bastards without having to worry about the ickiness of getting married. And then later on they can find their true loves and that marriage will last and they can all live happily ever after. It’s the New American Dream for teens and tweens.

The point of the matter is this… the “pregnancy pact” in Gloucester exposes the hidden truths about parenting in society. We have placed WAY too much emphasis on being a parent and on raising children, and almost NO emphasis on being an individual first and foremost. Through our actions and through our words both passive and overt, WE, collectively, as a society, fostered the notion in those girls’ minds that motherhood was the end-all-be-all purpose of their whole lives. They got the idea through the examples handed to them that they were destined to be baby-makers, and nothing more. They simply decided to skip a few of the steps.

Surprised? Shocked? No, we should be neither. We should be ashamed, because this is the fruit of our overall dysfunction.

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