jamie lynn spears
Remember Britney’s cute but controversy-riddled little sister, Jamie Lynn Spears? She was on All That and then had her own show, Zoey 101, until she got pregnant in 2007 when she was just 16–and then she pretty much disappeared from the face of the planet.
Well, Jamie Lynn is back. She’s 21 now; is the mom to a super cute little girl named Maddie; and is working on a new album in Nashville, Tennessee. In an interview in Glamour magazine, she talks about the pressures put on girls to be good role models and says that she was afraid of what people would think if she (as a Disney star!) asked to be put on birth control.
When she got pregnant, lots of parent groups freaked out and said she was “glamorizing” teen pregnancy–but in reality, she was just a scared 16-year-old girl, like a ton of girls in America who get pregnant every year. Being in the spotlight made it extra hard to deal, which is part of why she disappeared for all this time.
A while back, Gaby Rodriguez, a girl who went to high school in Washington state, pretended to be pregnant for a class project–and recently, Lifetime made a movie about her called “The Pregnancy Project.” Only her mom, her boyfriend, her best friend, her principal, and a few other key people knew that she was pretending to be pregnant to learn about stereotypes and perceptions.
What she learned, she told me, was that “when people think you’ve made a mistake, the way they see you completely changes–they look down on you, they think of course you failed, of course you screwed up.” When her classmates found out she’d been faking her pregnancy, many were angry, but they also saw just how unfairly they’d treated her when they thought she was expecting a baby.
I hope people learn the same lesson from Jamie Lynn Spears–girls who get pregnant generally know that they’ve made a mistake! I mean, they’re the ones who either have to go through with the pregnancy or make the difficult decision to have an abortion. It’s not up to us as a society to vilify them or make them feel like they’re unwanted.
What we should do instead, is recognize that although some girls do make the choice to stay virgins until they’re older, nearly half of all unmarried teens in America admit to having sex (and that doesn’t include the many girls and guys who are probably too shy to say they’re doing it!). Shame, finger pointing, and nasty tabloid headlines aren’t going to fix the problem of teen pregnancy–but good sex education, easy and shame-free access to birth control, and a whole lot of support and open discussion can make a major difference.
I love that Jamie Lynn is talking about her experience, and wish her all the best. Don’t you?
What do you think about Jamie Lynn’s recent interview? Do you think she deserves a fresh start? Tell us in the comments!
jamie lynn spears