I challenge this – On banned books and women’s roles.

I saw this book cover the other day. It is in the “young adult” section.

misbehavingYA

Sure, it is Banned Books Week – so I should celebrate that people have the right to read whatever they want. While I’m OK with choices, I’m still going to question them.

It is the same issue I have with buffets. People can choose vegetables or fried meat. They can choose to eat only one plate of food, or fourteen. But we pay for our choices. And ultimately, society pays for people’s bad choices. My health insurance rates go up every year because people refuse to take care of themselves. Their health gets worse, so the costs go up, so it has to be paid for – by me. Meanwhile, I take care to eat well and exercise. I should not have to pay for their bad decisions, but I do.

We say we are all about free choice, but in some ways we aren’t. Notice light bulbs. We can’t buy regular incandescent bulbs anymore. They aren’t “environmentally correct”. Fluorescent bulbs last five times longer than incandescents. But – they can’t be disposed of in a “green” way. You can’t throw them away legally. You have to take them to a hazardous waste center because of the mercury in them. You can’t even recycle them. So in a way they are better, but in another way they are worse. The strange thing is that we don’t have a choice about it anymore – if we want light bulbs, they are fluorescent.

I’d think that if the government was really concerned about our well-being, they’d ban cigarettes for starters. Then, they’d make sure that all food was healthy – no additives or preservatives. Nothing would have extra sugar in it. We’d have mandatory exercise time during the work day too.

I don’t see any of this happening.

But back to the book cover. I am opposed to this book for several reasons. I’m not going to “challenge” it officially. I’m not going to try to get it banned. But I will bring up questions about it, and wonder why authors and publishers provide this kind of book. I will suggest how this kind of book affects us all.

This book is geared towards teenage girls. Do they really need to be indoctrinated to the idea that they have to be sexual beings? Do they need to be taught that they have to have a boy in their lives to feel complete? Is this a healthy message we need to be promoting as a society?

The “need” to have a mate distracts women from being full people. They spend their energy and money on attracting and keeping a boyfriend to the exclusion of anything else. Perhaps this is part of why women don’t go into science or politics nearly as often as men do. They don’t have the energy for it. They’ve given it all away to the goal of becoming a girlfriend or wife or mother.

Plus, do we really need to get young girls all steamy? They can’t handle the responsibility that comes with sex. Why have books that are explicitly sexual geared to this age group?

We don’t give full driving privileges to young drivers. They have graduated driving licenses. There are certain hours they can and can’t drive, and certain limitations as to who can be with them in the car. They don’t have the maturity to be able to handle the full responsibility of driving when they get their license, so we control it for them.

Sadly, sex isn’t that way. Once you figure out how it works, you can do anything, and anything can happen. Sadly, young people are still growing up themselves, and are almost never mature enough to handle the overwhelming responsibility involved in being a parent.

Sex is like playing Russian roulette with your life.

With this kind of book we are handing young girls a gun and telling them to put it to their heads. Either way, their own life will end. They’ll either get pregnant or distracted. Their energy will go into being a mother or a girlfriend. Their energy will be in relation to someone else. They won’t be their own people – strong, independent.

We all pay for this. We pay for it in teenage girls who get pregnant, who become single mothers and can’t afford to take care of themselves. So they get government assistance – which we pay for. Our taxes go up because of other people’s bad decisions, just like with health insurance. We pay for it in women who have spent their lives taking care of a house and home rather than fulfilling their dreams of being engineers or astrophysicists or diplomats.

How much have we lost as a nation, as a world, because we keep teaching young girls that their only value is to be found in their bodies, and not in their minds? We are prostituting our girls. We are selling them as surely as if we put them on the street.

Advertisements

On adoption.

I’ve met some people with some pretty unhealthy ideas about adoption.

I know a lady who became a grandmother accidentally. Her son and his girlfriend learned that they were expecting. I had written that “he got her pregnant” but that makes her a passive agent. It takes two to get pregnant. They had sex before they were able to handle the possible repercussions. They might or might not have been using birth control – it doesn’t matter now. She got pregnant. It happens.

It happens a lot more than it should. It is stunning that America, a nation that has free education, that we are so ignorant about how to not get pregnant. It isn’t rocket science.

Having sex is like playing Russian roulette with your life. It can be fun, or you could die from a sexually transmitted disease. Or you could end up pregnant, which will end life as you know it. The risks are too high to play the game if you aren’t ready to deal with the consequences.

According to the CDC, the amount of unintended pregnancies in the United States is nearly 50%. Also according to the CDC, women who get unintentionally pregnant are more likely to be very young, unhealthy, and undereducated. They are already at a disadvantage and getting pregnant puts them even further into the hole.

Let’s go back to the couple from the beginning. They are both in their early 20s and they fight constantly. They don’t make enough money to support themselves, so they live with the boy’s parents. The girl’s parents do not provide any money or support at all. The son works in fast food and the girl works as a part-time bartender. They share a car. This has gone on for over a year. The tension in the house is to the point that the grandmother goes for counseling now.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I suggested adoption and the grandmother recoiled at it. No – this was her grandson. Strangers won’t be raising him.

This can’t be better. I’ve never seen this child smile. Just because he is with his birth parents doesn’t mean they are the best for him. It doesn’t mean they are qualified to be parents. They still need parents themselves. They are too young, too immature, and too selfish to be good parents.

I knew another lady who said that if she ever got unintentionally pregnant, she would have an abortion rather than put the child up for adoption. She admitted that she didn’t like the idea of a stranger raising her child. So she would rather kill it. This makes no sense at all.

I think for some people, putting their child up for adoption is like admitting they made a mistake. Their pride gets in the way of making a good decision for the well-being of their child.

Adoption provides a loving home for a child. Adoption means that the child is welcomed and wanted and provided for. Adoption means that the child has the best possible chance of a happy life.

Putting a child up for adoption isn’t a mark of failure. It is putting your child first. It is pride to keep a child in poverty and misery just because you are too stubborn to admit that you can’t do it all.

The weird part about the grandmother in the first example is that she adopted her son, the one who is a father now. She understands what adoption is like from the other side. She understands how long adoptive parents wait, and how relieved they are when they finally get that call that tells them they have a child. She understands all about the background checks and the tests that prospective adoptive parents go through.

Adoptive parents aren’t strangers. Sure, they are strangers to you, but they have proven their merit. It isn’t like the adoption agency pulls some random person off the street and hands them your child. There are a lot of tests involved.

The tests that prospective adoptive parents go through should be mandatory for anybody who thinks they want to have children. There are physical exams. Psychological exams. Financial exams. They are tested and probed in every way possible to determine if they would make fit parents. They are tested to see if they have what it takes in every way possible.

Love isn’t enough to raise a child. It takes a lot of money and a lot of maturity. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit that you don’t have enough of either. Why compound a problem by making it worse?

Ideally, there would be no unintended pregnancies. Ideally, everyone would get pregnant only when they are ready to. Until that time comes, adoption is a loving response.