New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has recently launched a new ad campaign aimed at teen pregnancy that has caused quite a stir — and rightfully so. The campaign employs some of the most shameful tactics I have ever seen in the name of preventing teen pregnancy. These offensive ads (pictured after the jump) feature crying babies and blaming language that the HRA hopes will turn teenagers off from becoming parents.
Much of the wording places the onus of teen parenthood directly on the mother. Only one ad talks directly to young men (focusing on how much money he’ll have to pay in support), while the rest weigh heavily on the shoulders of young women, with one specifically focusing on how it’s highly likely a teen mom will end up raising her baby alone.
Is becoming a teen parent ideal or easy? No. Nobody is saying it is. But the way to go about preventing teen pregnancy isn’t by shaming and blaming those who already are young parents. The money that was spent on this horrible (and most likely ineffective) ad campaign could have been put to better use in more widespread comprehensive sex-education programs within the city. Keep reading »
It’s no big secret that one of the many battles the feminist movement fights against is its own poor PR. Many see feminism as the other “F-word” due to stereotypes that paint feminists as mean harpies with no sense of humor who hate men, makeup, bras, and shaving their legs. Despite the majority of feminists falling way outside these parameters, there are still many people — women in particular — who write off feminism as “not for them,” without bothering to dig a little deeper and explore if that’s truly the case.
Enter: Sexy Feminism: A Girl’s Guide to Love, Success and Style by Jennifer Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudúlph. Their book, out this month, acts as a guide to help young women understand how feminism is not only great for the world, but for all aspects of their own lives as well. Keep reading »
For all intents and purposes, I had a pretty textbook pregnancy. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred, but that also didn’t mean it was all rainbows and unicorns.I’ve always wondered why they call it morning sickness, when for many people it lasts all day. At least, that’s what it was like for my when I was pregnant with my son. I’d wake up feeling nauseous and no amount of Saltines or ginger chews left by my bedside table to nibble on first thing ever helped. I felt the equivalent of sea sick all day: unbalanced, dizzy, and foggy. For the first few months, my weekends were spent in gentle yoga classes when I could afford them or lounging on my couch catching up on grading.
My weekdays were much less bearable. I taught high school social studies and I always had to be “on” and engaging, despite my roiling stomach that hardly gave me a minute’s relief. More than once I would call out a hasty plea to “please read page 44 and I’ll be right back” before booking it to the nearest bathroom and hugging the questionably clean toilet. But “morning” sickness was only the tip of the iceberg. I also had to deal with sweaty teenage boys who thought cologne was an acceptable coverup for post-gym stink (it’s not), as well as whatever horribly pungent odors wafted up from the cafeteria. Keep reading »
I recently received an email from a talent agent who is working with a production company specializing in reality television. This particular company, which has produced a number of popular (and apparently award-winning) reality shows, is looking to turn their lens on families. They reached out to me as a potential subject.
The talent agent started his email by complimenting my writing and said he enjoys following my work. Flattery will get you
nowhere everywhere. He suggested that this opportunity might be a way to share my “expertise and insight” with a larger audience. He provided a few more details, then invited my to set up a time to have an on camera interview with them to see if it was a good fit.
And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest bit tempted. Keep reading »
New York Times’ writers KJ Dell’Antonia and Bruce Feiler recently went head to head over parenting for the latest “Room For Debate.” Their discussion focused on whether moms or dads more often take the lead when it comes to parenting, and more importantly, why?
This particular debate is an age-old parenting topic. In an era where women are constantly reminded about “having it all” despite stereotypical gender roles being enforced, it’s no wonder that we’re still discussing who takes on what when it comes to parenting. For a long time, parenting actually meant mothering by default. It was traditionally assumed that men were the wage earners while women were the caretakers, no matter how much that “ideal” didn’t match up with families that needed two incomes to stay afloat. Regardless of the advances in equality accrued by feminism, that traditional framework has been a hard one to shake off and families still have trouble when it comes to equal parenting. Keep reading »
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I spent the day reading, writing, and thinking about abortion. I’m clearly not quite done.
I’ve never had an abortion, but that doesn’t mean that I — like many women — haven’t been in a position where I ended up considering having one. I certainly thought about abortion when I was 17 and completely freaking out after my first time having sex, both an unexpected and unwanted event. In the painfully long two weeks that I had to wait until I was finally able to take a pregnancy test, I considered all of my options, among them abortion. While I thankfully didn’t need to make any sort of choice in the end (except to head to a doctor for a full battery of STD testing), just knowing that abortion existed provided me with some sense of comfort in all of the swirling chaos that comes with being a teenager suffering heartbreak and confusion. Keep reading »
I’m not sure if you all heard about it or not, but Kim Kardashian is pregnant. I’ll wait a moment for the shock to sink in.
We can now look forward to six more months of paparazzi falling all over themselves for the newest baby bump shots, interviews with Kim and Kanye’s potential nannies, photoshoots of their nurseries, and “in depth” articles that pontificate on everything from what Kris Jenner will go by (something tells me she doesn’t dig “Granny”) to whether Kanye will cut the cord, to dissecting which potential weight loss programs Kim will utilize/shill to get back into her “pre-baby bod.”
And I can tell you already, I’m over it. Keep reading »
My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.
I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »
Motherhood is one hot topic. From magazine covers that pushed people’s buttons to daily headlines on both news and gossip sites, moms were praised, targeted, and questioned.
While most headlines were pure click bait, some were actually attached to insightful, thought-provoking pieces. As we head into 2013, let’s take a look back at the good, the meh, and the ugly when it came to motherhood in mainstream headlines from 2012: Keep reading »
“It’s unthinkable.” That’s what headlines are proclaiming and friends are telling me about the absolutely devastating massacre in Newton, Connecticut.
For me, it’s the complete opposite. I can’t stop thinking about it. Since the first moment the internet started buzzing with slips of information, my mind latched on and couldn’t let go. Days later and it still hasn’t. I’m not sure it ever will.
Why? Keep reading »