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In the teenage pregnancy equation(and the Candies ads): where are the fathers?

May 11, 2009
Anti-teenage pregnancy III
Image by Polina Sergeeva via Flickr

Last week I introduced Candies’ ads regarding teenage pregnancy, and the main thrust of the argument (sorry, couldn’t resist)  has to do with the fact that girls should just not get pregnant, should use birth control or simply abstain.  In this discussion, as in all other about human sexuality, I ask the same question:  what about the men?  Are teenage boys just not expected to be fathers?  Does our society and culture excuse them from this duty?  Because biologically, whenever a teenage girl gets pregnant, her teenage boyfriend is the father, so why isn’t he held socially responsible?

There is a vile form of gender discrimination any time our culture speaks about parenting in the form of worshipping the mother and sidelining the father.  I get annoyed about this for a multitude of reasons, but the one that is most glaring is the issue of responsibility to the progeny.  Why would we consider that fathers aren’t important, teenaged or otherwise?  Why would women have to be the single parents here?  It seems a blatant form of discrimination.

Jenny McCarthy’s ad practices this in a diabolical way with Jenny handing the baby to the girl,and the boy trying to exit the car.  So the message is that all teenage boys are irresponsible jerks who won’t be  held responsible?  Vampire Jenny doesn’t swoop down and attack the boy for leaving the car, the camera focuses on the teenaged girl looking scared with a crying baby.  What gives, Jenny, why not focus on the boy?  Are teenaged pregnancies merely “starter kids” for the teenagers?  Does this make teenaged boys all sexual predators who just want to impregnate their partners and leave?

Look at the ad for teenage pregnancy above there, and do you see a father in it?  By using this type of propaganda, our society continually reinforces the idea that teenaged girls will be punished for their sexuality with babies, and left alone to raise them because we won’t hold the fathers responsible.  Last time I checked, it takes two to tango, except if you are single-celled organism.  If we are so evolved, why are we missing the other half of the parenting equation?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2009 8:21 am

    I totally agree with it, get the young father involve too.

  2. July 2, 2009 12:56 am

    This image you have used is my artwork. It was made AGAINST teenage pregnancy, aka “Babies Having Babies”. Girls are being punished not for getting pregnant, but for carrying out a baby into the world. Bringing a child they have no ability to raise or support. I am pro-choice and that was the idea behind this image.

    Thank you for the attention you have given to my artwork, I appreciate your feedback =)

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      July 2, 2009 2:30 pm

      Dear Polina Sergeeva,
      I agree that babies having babies does offend some people, and while I agree that every woman has the right to choose her own response to her fertility (abortion or carrying to term), it is a woman’s right to do as she chooses. I don’t think many people are “for” teenage pregnancy, but if teenagers choose to give birth, then they have that right, as well as the right to terminate. Why should girls be punished for bringing a baby into the world when the boys are part of the equation? I, too, support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, at any age, but I wouldn’t dream of prescribing to any woman whether or not she should birth a baby. The problem that I see is that boys/men routinely cast blame and share no responsibility.
      I do like your artwork, and I think that it’s provocative. I am using the image gleaned from Zemanta to showcase opinions. I think the artwork stands on its own merits.


  1. The Teenage Pregnancy Equation–from the Mailbag: teenage mothers should not give birth « Unasked Advice

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