Friday, February 18, 2011

Leave Justin Alone!

I have never (knowingly) heard a single note of a Justin Bieber song. I know teenaged girls love him and that he has a movie out. And that he was on Saturday Night Live the other week with Dana Carvey and I appreciated that he seemed to be "in on the joke," which I thought was pretty good for a 16-year old. I know all of these things vicariously, as I exist in a fairly Bieberless world, mostly because I am not a teenaged girl.

But I did catch the headlines yesterday referring to his Rolling Stones interview, and how Justin apparently does not believe in "loveless sex or abortion." One should note that he was asked a question about this; he wasn't using the interview as a platform for his personal beliefs. And actually, if you read what he said, he seems to be unsure and stammering a bit, almost like he's sorting it out as he is answering. Probably because he hasn't given it a lot of thought...

Because he is sixteen. He isn't a female and isn't able to get pregnant. He hasn't really wrapped his brain around the concept because it isn't part of his everyday concern. As well it shouldn't be, if you're a famous child who is probably supervised 95% of the time and doesn't have a lot of time to think about sex or abortion.

But those cackling, opinionated women on The View are all up in Justin's grill today, talking about how Justin Bieber is insensitive, doesn't have a right to comment and how inappropriate he is. How victims of rape and incest surely would not appreciate his limited views.

And here is what I have to say about that: First, I doubt in that moment that Justin was answering the question that he was thinking of abortion as a "solution" for a female who had been impregnated involuntarily by a twisted, evil family member or a vicious, piece-of-garbage-stranger. And second, I would like to see a statistic that says that the majority of abortions performed in the United States of America are on women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Please show me this number. I need to know. What is the percent? Because when I was Justin's age, many girls in my school snuck off to Planned Parenthood to get abortions because they had voluntary sex and didn't bother to use birth control. Yep, I said it...didn't bother. They were in the same Health and Sex Ed classes as me, they took biology and probably got better grades than I did and they knew that penis + vagina (sometimes) = pregnancy and they did not bother with making an effort to avoid that situation.

Certainly, these girls usually got on The Pill or started using condoms after the abortion, but that was an afterthought. And one girl in my class had seven abortions. While we were in junior high (which at our school was grades 7-9). And she was told that she may not be able to get pregnant again. And even in my youth and with my very liberal upbringing, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that it might not be such a bad thing for her to not be able to get pregnant again. Of course I did not voice this opinion because it was not my business and she would have beat me up (she was kind of a coarse chick...)

I imagine the problem stems much deeper than whether or not a teenaged boy is permitted to share his opinions, or whether someone is so caught up in the moment that they forget about birth control, or whether or not it's a woman's right to choose to have an abortion and whether or not a man (or boy being interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine) is allowed to have an opinion about it.

I think it's that we're tangling morals with religion with practicality with fantasy with reality with human decency. No, it does not seem reasonable for a woman to be forced to have a baby as a result of a rape or incest. If we could go all Little House on the Prairie, we might suggest that idealistically, every woman who gets pregnant in that manner should just have that baby and give it to a good family who can care for it and love it forever, and everyone wins! Right? No. The bio-mother would probably live her life even more torn up than before. So am I saying abortion is fine in this situation? Nope, I can't. Am I saying it's not okay? No, I am not saying that, either.

I can't say. It is not my place to choose. I am not that woman or girl. I can't make decisions for anyone on this planet but me.

But I can candidly and opinionatedly address the situation that will more likely be more common for kids who are Justin's age. And that is, if you don't want your child to ever have an abortion, then find a way to teach your kids about abstaining, safe sex and birth control. They are three separate things and you don't have to tie religion into can simply approach it from a place of self respect, encourage lots of communication and honesty, and then pray for the best.

I am not a blood parent, but I was a kid and I remember it well. And, I have been an active part of Young Man's life since he was 13. And while I know it is different when you're a blood parent, I can honestly say - and I have honestly said to him - I'd rather have him come to us and tell us what is up, what he needs and how we can help then to have him go through the heartbreak, stress and fear of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.

I realize that a lot of good folks who are traditionally religious want their kids to not have sex, and they don't want anyone to have an abortion. And that is an okay belief to have and something you can shoot for or work toward in your family and in your life. But pretty much, I'm not sure that it's realistic to have it both ways. Recognize that, like it or not, kids sometimes have sex, and one of those kids may be yours. If you make them feel ugly and dirty about it, or unloved or that they have sinned, they will still have sex, but they will hide it from you and that fear can lead them into bad places.

I think that these cranky ladies on The View, chastizing Justin Bieber for his opinion, send a message to kids that they are going to be criticized when they talk about sex or love or intimacy and that is a shame. Instead, They View might have noted how it's interesting that children are sexualized and teen idols are now asked about such grown up issues. They may have mentioned some good ways to talk to your teenager about sex and abortion, and then maybe have an expert and some real parents on there who have done it successfully. That may have been worth the airtime.


No comments: