reproductive health


Topic from class discussion:
great article concerning the woman who wanted to have a vaginal delivery for the birth of her child but was being forced into a C-section:

Mom fights, gets the delivery she wants

disturbing statistics here: 1 in 3 babies are delivered by C-section

I was trying to find a current image of the Duggar Family to place into this post.

But then I realized that each picture I found had me questioning if the latest Duggar child was present in the shot.  Since the purpose of this post to alert you all to the fact that the 19th Duggar was born—three months premature—just today, means that finding a current image will be a futile google search.

I doubt that the American media, and especially TLC, will advertise the image of a baby that weighs only 1lb, 6oz and is currently in stable condition in neonatal intensive care as the representation for celebrating babyhood.  I cannot imagine that the baby has that newborn glow that we are constructed to “ooh” and “awe” over (even though many newborns actually look like odd amoeba-like sausages).  Sadly, at only 25 weeks, this child is in for a possible lifetime of health issues.

There will be a lot discussed about this latest Duggar baby from many communities, from the conservative Christian Right to the far leaning Left and everyone in between.  After all, it’s less than 24 hours since baby Josie Brooklyn was born and I am already blogging about her arrival.  One of the first articles I read was on Salon.  I found it interesting because it actually is about Michelle Duggar and how her health can be affected by this latest pregnancy.  You can hit it up here:

The Duggars’ quiver grows fuller

Teeth: Female Empowerment at its Greatest

In case you have not heard of this fantastic film, it is a movie about a young girl who finds out her vagina has teeth. The main character, Dawn O’Keefe, is a High School student who has pledged to wait until marriage to have sex. But once a boy she likes rapes her, she discovers that her vagina is something of mythical proportions; during her rape, her vagina proceeds to bite off his you know what. After his screams of terror, and her own screams of terror, she is left wondering what the hell is happening in between her legs. VAGINA DENTATA (dentata is Latin for teeth) is what Dawn has, and she is afraid of the monster inside of her.


At first she blames herself for the rape, and is upset over her lost chastity. A scene where she drops her promise ring into the water is symbolic of her shame. But in reality it is obviously not her fault that she was raped and therefore had sex before marriage, but her lack of knowledge about sexuality leads to this conclusion.

The movie pertains to our discussion on sex education. Dawn is an abstinence girl, which includes hilarious shirts about waiting until marriage. The awkward situation between Dawn and her boy crush is hilarious. Tension is in the air when they even think about kissing and vagina shapes appear in the trees of the forest around them. Classic. But the scene in the movie where the picture in a textbook is blocked because it is a vagina pertains to our class discussion. The school board had forced the teacher to cover up the picture, while penises are okay. Dawn then proceeds to mention how women are naturally chaste and modest in her best I am saving it to marriage voice. Yuck. Kids in the room laugh. End of scene.

Teeth has to be one of my favorite films because there is a sense of empowerment in Dawn’s character. At first Dawn is ashamed of her sexuality and upset about her rape, but figures out that she should have pride with her own sexuality. When men fuck her over, she uses her power to castrate them. While many men might be cringing at the thought, the reason why Dawn ends up castrating some men is because they are taking advantage of her. And it is not like she does it on purpose. The teeth in her vagina is a defense mechanism. If she is enjoying the sex, they will not hurt the men. But if she is feeling used or coerced into sex, then bad things happen. So moral of the story: treat women with respect and do not use women as mere sexual objects. Should be common sense but apparently it isn’t.

If you have not seen this film, I highly recommend it. It is more funny than scary and the storyline is fantastic. I mean, her vagina has teeth, how much better could it get?

Melissa is doing her Final Project on reproductive health and is trying to collect some data for her research.  I am asking you to help her out and take this online survey.  There are only ten questions and it is completely anonymous.  It will only take a minute…please help your fellow student!

What do you know about Reproductive Health?

Sorry for the external link…embedding just did not work for me tonight. You may have some ads to tolerate but they are short:

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

QuiverFull.com

The Impending Double Standard…
The Difference Between Bristol and her Ex- Boyfriend

palinLevi

Oh Bristol Palin. I give her kudos for being the daughter of Sarah Palin and a teen mother under the spotlight. Political views aside, I read a recent article about how her baby’s daddy has been offered to pose for…oh no… playgirl. That seems appropriate right?

Levi Johnston gets to play the stud while Bristol campaigns for abstinence (ugh, her choice I suppose). Johnston’s offer exploits the unfortunate double standard between men and women, something we lightly brushed on during class. While Bristol now has a bad reputation and has probably been called a slut among other atrocious names, Johnston gets glorified in a pornographic magazine. If Bristol was doing the same for playboy, there would be a media frenzy. But Johnston’s offer has only some media coverage and no one really cares about his reputation. It is what men do. But I suppose the joke is on him since he probably doesn’t realize that the main demographic for playgirl is of the homosexual nature. Here comes the new gay icon from Alaska Levi Johnston!

Bristol has been working hard to maintain her dignity after her pregnancy. It could not be easy to be the pregnant daughter of a Born Again Christian that was running for vice president. Since then she has preached for abstinence under the idea of becoming a born again virgin. I am not at all for abstinence and as a lesbian with negative experiences with the Assembly of God Church, Born Agains make my skin crawl. But Bristol Palin has been trying to fix her mistakes and stay composed under the media spotlight, not an easy endeavor. While her preaching ignores how much teen sex actually does happen and ignores the great side effects of contraception (like not getting pregnant in the first place) it is her belief and that is protected under the constitution. I have a new found respect for Bristol Palin, which shocked me, because she is attempting to regain self respect while her ex-boyfriend gloats about his sexual prowess.

Of the people that have commented on the Duggar’s post, several have mentioned the fear of giving birth to so many babies. Imagine my giggles when I saw that MTV is running a 16 and Pregnant marathon. On Labor Day. Get it? Labor? Labor Day?

I got sucked into this show this summer. I swore I wouldn’t watch it because it was MTV and I figured it would pull a Juno and glorify teen pregnancy.

juno
After a year of Jamie-Lynn and Bristol having babies,

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bristol

did we really need to see 16-yr-old girls celebrating the impending birth of their babies by registering for the latest Baby Burberry, dressing their kids like Suri Cruise?

burberry

But the show surprised me. Instead of glamorizing teen pregnancy, the network came through and managed to show an honest, if not gut-wrenching display of the realities of life as teenage parents.

While the show is not perfect—of the six, only one teen gave her baby up for adoption and the show never once presented the emotional turmoil that comes with the decision of abortion (not to mention the legal ramifications)—it does come close to giving an idea of how difficult it is to be a teenager and pregnant, difficulties felt by both the teen female and male.

What we know is that teen pregnancies are on the rise. Many health care professionals are attributing this to the slow down of education where sex education is concerned—Abstinence Only education has failed, an issue we will certainly discuss later this semester when we move into discussions regarding reproductive health.

Teen pregnancy is certainly not a new issue; as we know from our reading, girls were often shipped off to relatives or another “safe space” out of town when they got pregnant in high school, only to return to rumors and whispers of gossip.

How did your high school handle teen pregnancy? Do you recall anyone leaving the school because of pregnancy? Were the pregnant girls allowed to continue attending classes? Did they face verbal abuse when signs of their pregnancy became clear? How did the boys fare in all of this? How did the community as a whole respond?