Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm working very hard before the New Year,

so enjoy these insightful posts from people I've never met, mostly via Feministe:

On Being First, by Jay Smooth at ill Doctrine.


Godwin’s law: NEW RECORD, by Sara at Sara Speaking. Emphases mine.

. . . So all of that I’m holding in mind as I’m reading this advice column about “professional” language. All told, it’s not a bad column, and I’m not here to pick at it. I’m just here to pick at the concept of “professional” language period. And I’m wondering if I’m smart enough to really unpack it the way I’d like to — but hey, that’s what other people’s blogs exist for, right? Surely someone else out there has deconstructed it more meaningfully than I will here.

But: professional language. The language of professionals, of people who know their shit (but probably do not name it), the language of power. Who is in power? Well, white guys. Straight white able-bodied Christian cisgendered [defined here] heterosexual (did I miss anything?) guys. So when we’re talking about “professional” language, isn’t that what we’re really talking about? . . .


Most Dangerous Person 2007, by Christina at Saying Nothing Charmingly.

First runner-up: Mike Huckabee. If this man should, by some conspiracy obviously organized by Satan himself, win the Oval Office, we will see a theocratic kleptocracy the likes of which The Shrub only fantasized about in his most fevered wanking sessions . . .


Boo Urns., by Red Stapler at Me and My Red Stapler.

The movie Idiocracy is on cable right now. I'm excited about this, because I never got a chance to see it.

The wonderful Sara Rue has a small role. As usually happens when I watch movies with my laptop in front of me, I looked her up on IMDB.

I saw some photos of her there, and I was so appalled by what I saw . . .


Finally, my favorite: Jamie Lynn Spears: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t, by Emily at Planned Parenthood. Emily says much of what I have been thinking for the past month. Emphases hers.

I would agree that consequences of teenage pregnancy (here in America) have generally become less dire. But even today, it can mean losing a shot at college (b-ball player Darnellia counted on sports to secure her a scholarship), losing your job (in Jamie Lynn's case, her TV show) and losing your reputation (from role model to "trailer trash whore" ).

That's a whole lot of loss. Yet our message is--- we want young women to keep unplanned/unwanted pregnancies but we're not going to give them respect, decency or even a great number of options . . .

. . . I talked about this with a friend and was shocked when she told me, "She better be fired from that show!" When I asked, why, she said, "Because she's a role model!"

Perhaps she is. But she's also a human being. Is it so unreasonable to think that a 16 year old might have a sexual relationship when she's a working actor and treated like an adult in so many other aspects? Why does Spears lose the right to her job because she's pregnant? . . .

. . . We can all agree that teenage pregnancy is nothing new, so can we find common sense middle ground between "slut-bashing" and "don't do it"? Could we please talk about the obvious? Birth control! Sex education! And forget reducing girls to "role models" - teenage pregnancy is an issue so much bigger than one 16 year old girl. If we want to send better messages, we need to start from a broader cultural standpoint that frankly discusses reproductive functions and consequences. Because let's face it, no young girl's world is G-rated anymore.

And trust me, we aren't doing young women any favors by crucifying their former idols as "sluts."

That's what I'm saying, yo. I grew up on an island whose public high schools had to install an official uniform for pregnant students because they had so many girls in a family way. Let's not act like Jamie Lynn Spears is the only undereducated 16-year-old who has ever gotten pregnant. Let's not pretend that her young American fans--who are growing up in an increasingly oversexualized culture--don't already know where babies and STDs come from. Let's not demonize a teenager whose parents didn't seem to mind that she was allegedly living with her 19-year-old boyfriend. If parents can't handle teaching their children about sex and its consequences, they are in for a rude awakening: if you don't explain healthy sexual behavior to your children before someone else does, your children may end up pregnant or dead.

For more insanity on this topic, I give you Sherri Shepherd's take on The View: Should Nickelodeon Take The Knocked-Up Jamie Lynn Spears' Show Off The Air? A Very Special 'View' Debate, via Defamer.

Happy New Year!


Christina said...

Thanks, Bianca.

Bianca Reagan said...

You're welcome, Christina!

Tobes said...

Hey totally rad! I can't believe I made your blog-- the BJ clip and the Jamie Lynn Spears article. Thanks so much for the shout out and I'm mega happy I know about your site now!

~ Tobes aka Emily

Bianca Reagan said...

You're welcome, tobes!