Yesterday I showed you the first of this semester’s Sex in the Media projects – and now here is the second!
As part of their Sex in the Media project, my students often investigate how teen parents are represented in the media. It’s a mixed bag, frankly, with sometimes glassy-eyed-approval of the beauty and sweetness of teen pregnancy, as with Jamie Lynn Spears, mixed in with dreadful don’t-get-pregnant-or-your-life-will-be-over stories. Neither of these allow for the far more common and far more complicated mixed-bag that is parenting (particularly unplanned parenting) for anyone of any age. So when a student wants to analyze teen parenting, I talk with them about what a positive media image of teen parenting might look like. It’s not the happy-go-lucky, everything-is-coming-up-roses view that we often get from celebrity teen parents, because even though that is positive, it’s also unrealistic. But teenagers have the capacity to be good parents, particularly when they are offered the level of support that any new parent needs – which is a whole lot.
Alexis Garcia took my words to heart this semester when she was creating her final project. She did a really amazing job of creating images for a public service campaign that, while acknowledging the hardship of teen parenting, tries to point the parents of those teen parents in the right direction.