It all started with a chair,” said Juno MacGruff (Ellen Page) at the beginning of the Oscar-nominated film, “Juno.” Apparently there was no condom under that chair. “Juno,” a popular film with teens and young adults, is this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” the dark-humored indie flick that held rave reviews with almost every critic. However, unlike the innocent tale of a nerdy young girl whose dream is to make it to a beauty pageant, “Juno” focuses on a 16-year-old spunky girl who becomes pregnant after one night with her then friend, Paulie. While most girls in Juno’s situation would become deeply stressed about the prospect of an abortion or adoption, Juno takes the pregnancy easier than a straight-A student getting a “B” would. Young girls watching the movie will think they can easily go through with a pregnancy, give away their baby without any emotion and end up dating the boy that got them pregnant in the first place.
Planned Parenthood reports that more than 80 percent of teenage pregnancies are not planned.
I am wondering what teen pregnancy is planned, because I do not see any teenagers emotionally or financially ready for that sort of commitment.
The character of Juno is shown as mature beyond her age, but even then, she does not keep the baby. The movie shows a very unrealistic example of an accidental teen pregnancy. Juno announces her pregnancy to the father very casually. Though I, like everyone else, can admit that “Juno” is an entertaining and fresh comedy, the message that it sends can be confusing to teen girls.
To top off the buzz about “Juno,” Britney’s little sister, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn, has been on the cover of every nearly every entertainment magazine for the past couple of weeks for her unplanned pregnancy with her longtime boyfriend (though there are rumors that it may be another guy). With teen pregnancies the highlight in entertainment news, one can only ask, what is the country doing to protect and teach young girls from becoming pregnant at such a young age?
Teenage pregnancy is the highest in the most developed countries, where girls and boys are more likely to receive a proper education and medical care than those in underdeveloped countries. Of the developed countries, America has the highest percentages of teen pregnancies, with over 40 percent, indicated Planned Parenthood. This is almost 9 times the percentage of teen (girls ages 15-19) pregnancies in the Netherlands.
“Juno,” as much as it shows an unrealistic look at a teen’s girl’s pregnancy, can also perhaps scare or warn teens of the consequences of having sex without protection at a young age. Juno, as much as she appears emotionally stable and comfortable with her pregnancy in the movie, is made fun of and stared at by classmates as she develops. A light comedy might appeal to teens, plus it can get them to learn about teen pregnancy in an entertaining way. Teenagers might pay attention more to a movie than an educational video show in a health class.
Even if this may be true for some, teen pregnancy is out of control in the United States. Why do all of the European countries, as well as Canada, have 3 to 9 percent less pregnancies among teens than in our country?
They are not ashamed to offer condoms and forms of birth control to teenagers. It is more socially acceptable in these other countries than the U.S. to talk about, and distribute contraceptive devices. America should not try to hide the fact that teens are having sex and encourage abstinence.
Instead, they should let teens know about all of the options they have to protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy. Obviously, we are doing something wrong if we are the most developed country, yet have the highest birth rate.
“Juno” not only shows a happy ending to a teen pregnancy, but also shows the option of adoption, which is rare. Less than 10 percent of babies had by teenage girls are put up for adoption, Planned Parenthood’s Web site indicated.
Using a social issue which affects many girls every year as entertainment may be convenient for getting an Oscar nod, but it doesn’t show the reality. For a country that prides itself on higher education, it is sad to see that we are still trying to sweep the fact that teens are having sex under the table.