Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One story reminds us that not all teen marriages are forced or failures

While we are unsure if Bristol Palin married by choice or force, one story tells us that teens can freely choose to marry...and find happiness.

This is not to say that parents and other adults should use this story to justify their coercion of pregnant teens to marry. It is worth noting that the above story did not involve an unplanned pregnancy. When a teen gets pregnant and then gets married, and her entire adult support system is anti-abortion, we should be wondering whether or not they pressured or harangued her to get married. It's a laughable fallacy to think that "traditional", anti-abortion parents or adults wouldn't condemn a teen who chose abortion or unmarried parenthood. She then chooses against those things, not because she wants to, but because she doesn't want to "betray" the adults that she's supposed to trust.

Such ethics of "betrayal" plays a role in the purity ring practice, where daughters who have sex before they are married are considered traitors to their fathers. If any pro-lifer disagrees with this statement, I'd ask them to imagine how else a father would view his daughter if she "broke the promise". If someone can break a promise without committing betrayal, I'd love to hear how. And then see how your answer - abstract, hypothetical - compares with how these fathers actually feel upon discovering that their daughter broke the pact.

How do these families move forward? Well, they don't have the option of abortion, because that's what their world calls murder. They also can't have a pregnant teen running around - a living evidence that Mr Jones daughter broke his pact. But they can't hide her, so how do they clean it up so they don't look like they let this happen?

She has to get married. She gets married and we still get to have our clean myth: women marry when they have babies. She "fell in love". There's a big celebration. No one at the wedding talks about their real thoughts, because that's the code of politeness. A clean image. That's what needs to be maintained. Whether or not the teen girl wanted to be married, or even be a mother was a non-discussion. Things were done to make it right. The free choices are not allowed.

I am grateful that the lady in the story did not suffer as such. I'm glad she married for love, for choice, and not to keep the adults comfortable in wishful bliss. Those that demand parents have full control - notification allways - don't really believe they are perfect enough to have such unquestioned power. They just want the power, because they want it and feel entitled to it. They'd happily risk their child's welfare for the control they feel entitled to. If their child pays for it, well, that's just bad luck - the price of the freedom of "parental rights". If the parents feel good about their decision, then any facts that contradict that self-love, that indicate the child is paying for it, that's "none of your business".

I am glad the woman in the story had true choice. My best to you.


FreeWorld Community said...

This subjects sensitiveness is judged as to its location. Of course no teen pregnancies, and marriages are failures, but society tends to brand it one.

If a teen gets pregnant before marriage is a strict Muslim society, the end result is usually a harsh punishment. On the same context, it would be just "another event" in a modern western society.

H4736 said...

Yes, the responses differ from place to place. Though I feel conservatives here in the states share the same resentment for teen pregnancy that these strict Muslims have. Ironic, because U.S. conservatives also fear Muslims as terrorists. Obama's gotten flak for baseless accusations.