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View Diary: Teen pregnancy in the Red States (325 comments)

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  •  Shame (none)
    will never work.

     The only thing you could ever hope to gain by shaming someone is to fluster them while you are arguing with them, get them mad, make them lose their train of thought.  

    Beyond that, it is useless.

    Besides, I read somewhere that about half of all pregnancies, among married people, and unmarried, tennager and adult, about 1/2 of all pregnancies are unplanned.

    So, you better have a pretty specific way of shaming only the ones who "deserve" it, because human beings definitely tend to procreate no matter what the social mores are, and I think we all hate the self-righteousness that all serious shamers possess.

    And, if you are going in the shaming business, you better make sure all of the babies in your neighborhood are well taken care of first.

    •  Not so (none)
      Real shame is a very strong emotion, and it has pretty powerful effects. Shame is just a strong version of embarrassment, and if you really do feel ashamed of what you've done you may well stop.

      Shame is generally not an emotion you'd want to rely on, though, because it's debilitating. Shame induces feelings of inadequacy, and often doesn't lead to a personal transformation but instead a state of self-hatred...and that in turn leads to an externalization of the hatred to save oneself from misery...and that turns it right back around sooner or later to vilifying "others" like foreigners or city-folk.

      I think what you meant in your post was that these attempts to shame really don't achieve the intended effect in the first place, though. We don't have the power to shame the rural conservatives by pointing to performative contradictions. All this does is make them angry. But this is not because there is no such thing as real shame. It is because we are already "other" to the average Bush voter, and not within the circle of peers whose judgment matters, as soon as we speak as liberals or urban sophisticates.

      A final thought: human beings do NOT tend to procreate equally no matter what social mores are. You could not make a bigger mistake here. Look at the global relationship between education (particularly for women) and birth rates. It is one of the strongest correlations you will ever see for large, complex social phenomena. The evidence just doesn't get stronger that women who are educated and look forward to careers that require education have fewer children and start later than women who don't. There are all kinds of changes in social mores involved here. Just look for them.

      Feel ashamed, yet? :)

      the spirit is restored by wounding

      by jd in nyc on Mon Dec 06, 2004 at 07:44:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think I conflated... (none)
        ...two arguments.

        The one I began with is that you can't shame voters out of their convictions. You can try, but it won't be very effective, especially among a group that already sees you as "elitist" in your politics.

        The second point, which I now see is not even related to the first is that even married,  very well educated, upper middle-class professionals sometimes have too much egg nog at the christmas party and have mischevious, just-this-once unprotected sex, in their uncles' garage, and that sometimes leads to "unplanned pregnancies."  

        Or so I hear.

        I guess I was trying to stick a finger in the eye of the illusion that education and money and class make us pregnancy proof, but I don't for a minute dispute that the more educated and higher economic class a woman is, the less likely it is that she will get (and remain) pregnant until she wants to.

         I know that is true.

        I just wanted to refute the corollary that those teens and adults (in both red and blue states) who do get unexpectedly pregnant are somehow stupid or inferior.

        Looking around at my well-heeled friends and family, anecdotally speaking, that is not true.

        Of course, maybe it is just true that Southerners are more sexually active.  

        I just didn't like the tone of a lot of the posts.

        All kinds of people have unplanned pregnancies, just ask around.

         Weary of the all South-bashing, I guess.  

        We did invent Jazz, Rock and Roll and the Civil Rights Movement, after all.

        •  LOL (none)
          Oh, I know about unplanned pregnancies. My well-educated and middle to upper-middle class family is full of them.

          But it's also full of people waiting until 32 or 36 (to pick two numbers out of thin air and not having anything to do with me and my brother), who go on to have a modestly-sized, planned family.

          That's the unusual part. Being a parent at 18 is common the world over, going back millenia.

          the spirit is restored by wounding

          by jd in nyc on Tue Dec 07, 2004 at 07:48:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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