I honestly could care less about the whole Britney/Jamie/Mama Spears stories that are dominating the tube and apparently late night cable news as it was the LEAD story on two channels this morning which surprised me, then again sadly did not.
This is what I do know. Teenagers have sex. Sometimes they get pregnant. Sometimes they don’t. Jamie Lynn Spears hasn’t ruined her life, although she will be taking a route I’m thinking she would have rather avoided. She apparently has already benefited financially from selling her “story” to OK magazine.
Rural kids around here that get pregnant don’t have the option to sell their tale of teenage pregnancy to US or People. They have a rough time, needless to say. They don’t have the financial options that celebrities do. They will not have nannys or sell the “first look” pictures of their child.
They will struggle to buy formula and diapers. And raising a child while they are still growing up themselves.
The worst thing that will happen to the Spears girl is losing her television show, which will most likely happen and being hounded by the paparazzi like her sister is having Perez Hilton draw on her pictures with that white pen thing he does.
So the media keeps talking about it. Pundits talk about teen pregnancy creating “compelling” (notice sarcasm marks here) dialogues on countless talk shows about how Jamie Spears’ announcement is either immoral or a reflection of society or something else. Some of it I’ve agreed with, but most of it I haven’t.
Needless to say, this pregnancy has people talking. And I hope we handle it responsibly. The nude pictures of the Vanessa kid from High School Musical also brought up some very blunt conversations in Chez Coma.
And maybe it’s not such a bad thing as we try to deal with these things head on, not in the media flurry I’ve seen but in honest-to-God conversations with the young girls in our life on a variety of levels.
An article in today’s New York Times brings up the reality, which is happening in my home as well, about how to approach young girls (an 11-year-old and an 8-year old are in my family who love Zoey 101) about the reality of teenage/unplanned pregnancy. Homer has handled it well as she always does. The oldest niece brought the situation up to me and used the same references in the article.
Was Jamie Lynn Spears not being good was basically the question. It was one I had to think about and I wanted to avoid turning this into a black or white sort of thing. I wanted to let her reflect that in life, we all make mistakes.
From the Times:
Yasmine shook her head. “I never expected her, of all people, to do this,” she said, referring to the girl who in her mind is both Zoey and Jamie, the actress who plays her. “She’s supposed to be the good one in the family.”
High school girls who had already had their hearts broken by the all-too-public life of Ms. Spears’s older sister, Britney, known as a hard-partying mother of two, worried that their younger sisters would be devastated by the news — or, worse, that their sisters might think it was “cool” to be 16 and pregnant.
I tried to respond that Jamie Lynn Spears is not good or bad. She’s human. If she was going to choose to be sexually active, she should have thought it through. And, that there has been little or no response from the boy who will be the father of this child boggles my mind. He “helped” get her pregnant, did he not? I don’t want my nieces to become sexually active until they are ready to be. And, I want them to know that they can come to me if they do, if they need contraception. I want them to be smart about it.
Because the average teenage girl won’t make a million in cash if she gets pregnant. She will look at limited opportunities during a very important time in her life.
Thank God the whole concept of sex still grosses the oldest niece out. But there will come a day in the next few years that it won’t.
And we might as well deal with having an open dialogue about it. Because, pop culture once again makes it into the average home and brings in the hard questions that we, as adults, have to answer.