Friday, June 20, 2008

Two Sides of One Coin: Side B (Babies)

Most stereotypes exist for a reason. Some seem to be maybe 1% true, while others hit the mark more often. One of the many stereotypes surrounding teenagers concerns their developing and rudimentary decision-making skills. I want to explore two ways this can majorly affect the health of young women (in the words of Young Jeezy) "sexually, mentally, physically, emotionally".

In Gloucester, Massachusetts "a pact [was] made by a group of teens to get pregnant and raise their babies together". None of these girls are over the age of 16. "...students were coming to the school clinic multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and 'seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were.' Some of the girls reacted to the news they were pregnant with high fives and plans for baby showers, Sullivan said. One of the fathers 'is a 24-year-old homeless guy,' Sullivan told the magazine.
Employees at the school categorized these girls as "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life." These girls, unlike those in Side A, are trying to become pregnant. They are hoping to bring someone into this world who will have no choice but to love them and depend on them. If only they understood just how dependant this person would be and just how much they still depend on their own parents.
These girls represent a large culture of young women who try to force love into their life by dangerous or ill advised means. Think of all of the poor girls who, as a result of sexual abuse, latch on to older men and seedy men or anyone who gives them the time of day. Imagine the underage prostitutes who think of their pimp with adoration because he is a man who feeds them, gives them a home and says he loves them. Think of the young women who grew up with parents who were absent, abusive, emotionally unavailable. We crave love and affection as humans and when we are denied it one place, we will simply find or create it elsewhere, however unhealthy.
What kind of message can we spread to these girls that will keep them from rushing into the harsh reality of adulthood? What can you do in your community?

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