Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Unwanted and Teen Pregnancy in the Media

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Have you seen the movie "Juno?" It is a great movie about teenage pregnancy, but I have to admit, it pretty much normalizes teen pregnancy, continues the myth that it is "the girl's problem," and presents a year of Juno's life as just a blip - the result of one sexual act - and at the end everything pretty much goes back to the way it was and everyone moves on,which is not quite accurate, but I guess realism is not why we go to the movies.

I loved the character of Juno. She is bright, self-assured, sarcastic, and definitely dances to the beat of her own drum. The movie allows us to "peek" into her thoughts about what to do when she realizes she is pregnant, her decision, and the consequences of that decision in her rural town. She has to make difficult decisions with the support of her best friend, dad and step mom. I will not ruin the movie for you, but it is a good one to see with your teens - lots of opportunity for conversation will follow, trust me.

Another very interesting, but more mature movie about another type of unwanted pregnancy is "Waitress," which may be a little too mature for some teens. The heroine in this story also is young, lives in a rural place, makes amazing pies, is stuck in a very emotional abusive and unhappy marriage, finds herself pregnant, has an affair with her doctor during the very unwelcome pregnancy, and then ... there is a surprise ending! Sorry, but you should see it yourself, I promise.

Our reality is that one million teenagers in the United States become pregnant each year, 40% abort the pregnancy, and only 3% give the baby up for adoption, although much of the young adult literature focuses on keeping the baby and adoption. Abortion is not much fun to write about I guess, in spite of it being the decision made by half of the teenagers who find themselves pregnant.

Photo credit: numberstumper
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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