Sunday, June 28, 2009

16 and Pregnant

MTV reality shows are like crack. I don't want to watch, but once I do, I'm hooked. It's happened with True Life, I Want a Famous Face, The Newlyweds, Engaged and Underage, and now 16 & Pregnant. It's strange watching these girls who are a few years younger than me go through very adult things that I know I'm not ready for.

I was watching an episode today, and got curious to see what others thought of the show. Specifically when the knocker-upper bought a $20 engagement ring from Wal-Mart after returning a $500 PS3. There were a few comments about that, but most of the threads were concerned about the girls parenting ability, tax implications on the married and working, and the girls decision to have sex in the first place.

You'll always get that right-wing nut-job who doesn't say anything except wait until you're married to have sex, which is easier said than done. People give this advice to teens all the time, but what happens when that teen doesn't get married young?

When you tell a 16 year old to wait until marriage, you're asking her to wait years to have sex. In 2007 the average marriage age for women was 25.6. If you were hungry but were told to wait 9 years to eat, could you do that? Not that sexual appetite is the same as the need for nutrition, it is hard to ask someone to wait that long for something that seems so urgent.

I'm not saying be an enabler, but I think we need to cut this "wait until marriage" crap once and for all. Young girls will never grow up to be strong, independent women if they have hang-ups about the moral implications about sex.

Telling girls that they're whores because they have sex before marriage will turn them into whores. Giving them proper birth control information and reasons to wait until they are legal adults (aka at least 18) with honest answers to any questions they may have has been proven again and again to be the best option.

As painful as it can be for people to admit, sex and love do not always go hand-in-hand. This is another one of those horrible facts that make being a productive member of society so much easier after a break-up. I'm not saying Sex and the City's Samantha Jones is the best role model, but she does have some good points. Separating those amazing bodily feelings with those amazing feelings in your heart will help save a lot of pain down the line.

I guess the most important advice to give a young girl about sex and relationships is that you can live with out them. No one ever told me that, not explicitly. Most of the people in my family got married to their high school sweethearts, and the group of couples I hung out with in high school all got married, except me. No one told me that it was okay.

But I learned on my own. I've survived, in fact, I would say I've prospered.

No comments:

Post a Comment