Germaine Greer Has Written A Provocative Op-Ed About Teen Pregnancy

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It is entitled “Bastardy: for thousands of young girls it will always be a legitimate choice.” Excerpt below:

About the only strategy available to any quango that aims to reduce teenage pregnancy is to increase sex and relationship education in schools and elsewhere; this is what is assumed to have kept the rate in Sweden and Holland down to a fifth of ours. But children in Cuba have been given such education from the time they are four for the past 30 years and Cuban women are still having their first and second babies very early. Sixty-seven out of every thousand births in Cuba are to a teenage mum. In Latin American countries, between a quarter to a half of all 18-year-olds are mothers.

What the global view of teenage pregnancy suggests is that, in particular communities, teenage motherhood is a way of life; rather than trying to stamp it out, we should be making sure that communities are not harmed by it. Poverty and disadvantage are thought to accrue from juvenile motherhood, when they actually proceed from the failure of the social system to recognise reality, and organise education and employment appropriately.

Beverley Hughes prefers to”target”BME girls. A BME girl is a”black minority ethnic”girl; women of Asian descent, who have the lowest rate of unmarried pregnancy of any ethnic group in the UK, are included under this condescending and misleading acronym. (Islam has very effective ways of curbing sexual activity outside marriage, but it has no quarrel with teenage pregnancy; the average age of mothers at first birth in Bangladesh is 15.)

If the minister understood the word”ethnic”, she might realise that the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy among certain BME groups is an aspect of their shared culture. The pundits have noticed, as they could hardly fail to, that the best predictor of whether a teenager will become pregnant is whether her mother was an unmarried teenage mother. But the pundits have failed to take into account what this tells them. Both women, mother and daughter, know what teenage motherhood is like, none better, yet they repeat the pattern, because it is their pattern and they are not ashamed of it. People whose lives follow this pattern will not apologise for it, no matter how much opprobrium the Prime Minister and his henchwomen heap upon them.

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0 Responses to Germaine Greer Has Written A Provocative Op-Ed About Teen Pregnancy

  1. Kristina says:

    And once again, the third variable is completely missing from the equation. Time and again, political economists have pointed to a strong, negative correlation between fertility and women’s education (for example, Barro). The differences between Holland (listed by Ms. magazine as one of the most equal places in the world for women) and Cuba are not explored. Why? Because really, we all know that teenagers are whores. Pardon me while I fetch my eyeballs: they have rolled out of my head.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    I think what Greer is saying is that sex education won’t prevent teens from having babies if they have babies because they want to have them. Your point (if I understand it correctly) is that women with higher levels of education and equality have fewer children. I guess I don’t see the two as contradictory. Greer is saying that if some teens want to become mothers, it makes more sense to try to give them the support the need to be healthy and successful parents, rather than to devote a lot of resources into trying to talk them out of it. It is a provocative suggestion, but I don’t think she is calling anybody a whore.

    Or maybe your point is that the current “increase sex ed” approach Greer describes treats teens as whores?