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Teenage Pregnancy April 30, 2007

Posted by Melissa in abortion, controversy, in the news, Keisha Castle-Hughes, motherhood, race, teenage pregnancy, Whale Rider.
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I just saw a story on People Magazine’s website about Keisha Castle-Hughes and the recent birth of her child. The actress just turned 17 in March and has been dating her boyfriend (20 years old) for the past three years. While reading the story, I was shocked to realize that this is the first time I have ever heard of any teenage pregnancy in the celebrity world and more shocked to feel that this is a story the website should not be covering. Teenage pregnancy is a huge “problem” in the United States, and to see the magazine cover the story in such a nonchalant manner really bothers me. People Magazine claims to cover the stories of relevant people, both in Hollywood and Old Town, USA, and while addressing the stories of “people that matter” the magazine does nothing to address relevant social issues. Though the birth of a child is a happy occasion (and big money in the news) I can’t help but feel that it is wrong to celebrate a child bringing another child into the world. I guess what is so bothersome is that when teenage pregnancy is usually addressed its done so in terms of how the “problem” effects Black and Latino communities, and now we see a wealthy actress- who should fall into the same category as the other teenage mothers- being celebrated for having the same “problem.” By publishing the story I feel the magazine is saying its okay if a teenager has children so long as they can pay for them. I’m interested to know how other people feel about the trivialization of such a relevant social issue?

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1. sindhub - April 30, 2007

I actually posted about her pregnancy on my blog a while back: http://tweenscene.wordpress.com/2007/04/17/pregnant-girl-power-role-models/#more-5

I thought it was ironic that this girl (who would still legally be considered a child, scarily enough) who played a huge ‘girl power’ role in Whale Rider just a few years ago was pregnant (and is now a mother!); what are the repercussions of that for young girls who looked up to her/her character?

I know that she’s a teenager and therefore has more decision-making capability than a child does and should therefore be able to choose for herself, but I think it’s still a complicated issue, because after all she is still a minor… Motherhood and housework is still seen as the only option for so many girls all over the world, and Keisha Castle-Hughes’ character in Whale Rider may have provided an alternative to that. And while being a mother shouldn’t take away from Castle-Hughes’ career, there’s the chance that it may–or like someone mentioned in a post about celebrity mothers, she might be criticized for not being motherly enough.

That’s an interesting point about the light in which teen pregnancy is usually looked at. However, I’m not familiar with People, but I wouldn’t expect it to really cover social issues like that… But yeah, it’s weird that her extremely high social standing enables us to ‘celebrate’ her teen pregnancy while it’s a ‘problem’ among poor Black & Latina girls.

2. keisha castle-hughes is now a mother! & more on teen pregnancyir « The Tween Scene - April 30, 2007

[…] 30th, 2007 · No Comments There was a post over at the main blog about Keisha Castle-Hughes’ now being a mother!  I talked briefly […]

3. csfogler - May 1, 2007

I don’t think the article was “celebrating” her teen pregnancy or trivializing the issue in general. And actually, I don’t think their treatment of Keisha Castle-Hughes’ pregnancy was problematic at all. I do think it’s a major problem that teen pregnancy among the majority of the rest of the world is treated as such a hugely wrong thing and is so stigmatized.

Why is teen pregnancy considered so anti-girlpower? Isn’t the whole point of female/feminist power lately the ability to make our own choices? And shouldn’t that choice also extend to teenage women? I’m sure your objection is really the same as mine- that teenage women who aren’t rich and movie stars AREN’T given that choice, not that those who can afford it ARE.


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