Not that pregnancy is a bad thing. When planned, it can be wonderful...nausea and months of dry heaving aside, of course. But why is this week in particular filled with not so positive stories of conception? Britney's sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, is pregnant. (If you saw me on Good Morning America yesterday you know that I have some serious concerns about this.) My personal issue is not that a 16 year old was having sex. It's because clearly we have a societal problem when someone who has financial access to information and services does NOT use protection. (Though because her home state of Louisiana is an abstinence-only state, the information part may have been more challenging.) Nonetheless, what happened to condoms? They sell Trojans everywhere! They are not that hard to find. And if for some reason they are locked behind a cabinet (which I admit is counterintuitive on many levels), a sexually responsible person would still walk right up to the counter and ask the cashier to unlock it. Second, what's going on with using tabloid journalism to exploit a personal crisis for financial/PR gain? There is a narcissistic and juvenile element to all of this that I just cannot understand.
That being said, this has been a great week for comprehensive sexuality education and those of us who practice and support it. (Check out the recent findings from the CDC.)
But it is evident that we do have problems talking with our children about sexuality. Yesterday on Fox Business, I talked about how we have an obligation to speak honestly about sex and to challenge the messaging (albeit conflicting and confusing) that we get from our media. (Watch it here.) How can we live in a world where condom advertising is censored by some networks but extreme violence and exploitative sex is glorified? Where are our priorities? Is it any wonder why our youth are so confused about sex and protection?
As for role modelling, may I just propose something: Let us redefine what we mean by "role model". I suggest that role models are not cute, wealthy, press worthy celebs, but people in our lives that are inspirational, give back to the community, and contribute to society in meaningful ways. These may be people from history; these may be family members. But just because someone is on tv doesn't mean that we should emulate their lives.