Monday, September 01, 2008

Juno the governor of Alaska?

While brainstorming ideas of things we could do as we wait for mucus plugs and ruptured membranes, I suggested that we watch a humorous movie about birth. One of those films I suggested was Juno, the 2007 Oscar winner for best original screenplay. For the few of you who have yet to see this great film, it's about a pregnant teenager who opts to have her child in order to give it up for adoption to a yuppie couple in need of a baby.

There was some controversy over the movie's popularity and the image it portrayed of pregnant teens. Some fundies were troubled by the message being sent that teenage sex and, more importantly, pregnancy were socially acceptable. Of course, it is reality that teen pregnancy rates are on the rise. So, it really could just mean that Juno represents reality.

The big slip was that fundy pro-lifers (aka anti-choicers) could have pointed to Juno as an example of pro-life choices being hip. In the film, Juno visited an abortion clinic, was turned off by the clinic's dogmatic staff, and opted to have the child. She even made the s
elfless choice of agreeing to give the baby up for adoption. It doesn't get any more pro-life than that. Fundies missed the boat on that one. Of course, it could also be pointed out that the girl had enough agency to make a choice. She weighed her options and chose adoption. Pro-lifers are not interested in young women choosing to give birth; they'd rather strip women of their right to make up their own minds.

Now there's Sarah Palin, John McCain's hastily chosen VP candidate who, earlier today, announced that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Supposedly, Bristol Palin made the "choice" to have the baby and marry the father. That's rich. The daughter of a super pro-lifer and Republican vice-presidential candidate had a "choice."

Feministing called attention to this very issue earlier today. They point out how ridiculous it is that politicians who intend to take away the reproductive rights of women are now claiming that this 17-year-old girl has a choice. As Feministing's Ann points out, the only folks capable of making such an important decision seem to be McCain and Palin.

Lost in all of this is the issue of abstinence only education. It doesn't work, and one would have to assume it didn't work for Bristol either. I don't want to demonize the young girl or her family for this pregnancy. It happens, which is the point. If you have sex, you run the risk of becoming pregnant. You lower your chances of pregnancy (and of contracting an STD) if you use a condom or some other form of birth control. However, it's doubtful that Bristol or her beau, Levi Johnston, were taught this lesson...well, in school anyway. Sarah Palin backed abstinence-only sex education in her 2006 run for governor. I wonder if this even has changed her mind?

Whatever happens, it is interesting that the issue of rising teen pregnancy rates is not going away. Most likely, there will continue to be more Junos filmed and more girls like Bristol Palin will find themselves young and pregnant. It makes me glad that R and I had the agency and know-how to make the choices we have in becoming parents. It's too bad we're failing so many children with the unreachable reality of abstinence-only sex education. I look for this issue to be brought up this fall as we get closer and closer to election day.


Zach said...

comoprozac said...

So, Daniel Giordano didn't like the film? But does he believe in abstinence-only sex education? Will he vote for McCaine/Palin?

FilthyRenditions said...

I think that it is quite evident that Sarah Palin turns her eyes to the irony of her situation.

She lives in a place where the temerature has risen more drastically than anywhere else on the plannet. Literally, her state gets smaller and smaller every year. Yet, she is "not sold on global warming". Ergo she sued the federal government to have Polar Bears removed from the list of endandured species.

This woman will back her party lock step and key.

I only wish that her daughter was pregnant by her father. That would be courage (yes, Palin says that girls raped by their male family members should have absolutely no right to an abortion).

Zach said... answer your questions - I have no idea. But I figured that review was a worthy counterpoint and a fine example of the disparity in the movie's reception between age groups. Which is to say that it was completely unbearable to everyone I know, and also mostly irrelevant to the true purpose of your post.

comoprozac said...

Zach, I sort of figured as much. I was just trying to bring the conversation back to the issue at hand. I'm sort of tired of Bristol Palin. Let's move on.

Filthy, although I agree with you wholeheartedly, I wouldn't go as far to wish incest on the Palin family. Of course, it would have been doubly ironic had the father been the father. However, there's not much sex ed. could have done to prevent that.

comoprozac said...

My friend Anne took this a step further...Check it out.