Jamie Lynn Spears, 16 year-old sister of Brittney Spears and star of Nickelodeon’s hit show Zoey 101 is making waves with her announcement Wednesday that she is three months pregnant.
The media and bloggers have been adding their two cents to the issue for the last couple of days. Everyone from feministing.com to The Washington Post has covered the story. I hadn’t given the news much thought until I found this article in The Washington Post online. The article itself is similar to the others out there but at the end is a poll that asks:
Who is most to blame for Jamie Lynn Spears’s underage pregnancy?
The public is given five choices:
-Jamie Lynn and boyfriend Casey Aldridge, who should have known better.
-Sister Britney for setting a bad example.
-Mom Lynn, who seems to be a two-time loser at this point.
-A society ill-equipped to teach teens about sex.
-Blame? Let’s make a silk purse out of this: ‘Zoey 101: Sex Ed!’
I looked at the choices, laughed a little and casually clicked what I thought was the most logical answer: A society ill-equipped to teach teens about sex.
With the surprised comments from Jamie Lynn and her mom, it seemed obvious to me that there is a serious lack of sex education in the Spears household.
Jamie’s mom, Lynn: “I didn’t believe it because Jamie Lynn’s always been so conscientious. She’s never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby.”
Jamie Lynn in OK! magazine: “It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected, I was in complete and total shock and so was he.”
Yes, Lynn, your “baby” can get pregnant without breaking curfew, especially when her boyfriend lives in the house. Yes, Jaime, you can get pregnant if you have unprotected sex.
Maybe it’s because I’m more attuned to the horrors of the sex education in this country, but even so those statements seemed like there was some misinformation.
However, it seems that the majority of Washington Post readers feel that it is Jaime’s fault (51%) and followed by her mothers fault (35%). A mere 5% thought it was the failure of sex education.
Of course Jamie and her boyfriend should have been responsible, but if no one ever educated them about how to be responsible, they can’t bear the brunt of the blame. The same goes for her mother, it would be nice to think that she would know by now, but her comment clearly shows her lack of understanding of teenagers.
National Polls have shown that most parents are in favor of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, yet (unless Post readers are significantly different from the rest of the nation, which I doubt) the poll results indicate that there is a disconnect between support for sex education and understanding why it’s needed.
Instead of putting blame on Jamie or mom, why not take this time to highlight the need for comprehensive sexuality education? Parents and children alike should be educated in human sexuality and understand their bodies and be able to have a consensual and safe relationship. Thankfully, many news outlets have highlighted the issue in segments about how to talk to your children about sex. The Today Show had author and psychologist Dr. Gail Saltz on the show to give advice to parents on how to talk to their kids. Unfortunately, the Today Show anchors countered that with their worry about talking to young children and the possibility that maybe you don’t have to.
This story is undoubtedly going to reach the children that watch Zoey 101. Message boards discussing the event have many posts from parents and teachers that say kids as young as eight are talking about the news. Let’s hope that parents take the time and advice from Dr. Gail Saltz and others to give their children age appropriate information about sex instead of just condemning Jamie Lynn.