When a pudgy young girl with no game on the dance floor gets twirled into the finals of Dancing With The Stars because millions of t-bagging Americans frantically called in to override the judges, it’s gonna set off some fireworks.
Suddenly we have a whole new BP disaster in the gulf of understanding.Are you really supposed to win because you are self-described as the “most improved?” It is really okay to win a dance contest when you can’t actually dance – anymore more than to win an election when you actually can’t govern– or like Meg Whitman, never even bothered to vote? And then of course there are the uncomfortable similarities of the rogue contestant from Alaska with no talent kicking off the black girl who actually can dance, has proven it, and gotten the scores to prove it … but maybe I’m just paranoid. As my husband says, it’s just a TV show.
What’s far more troubling is this big, uncoordinated white girl, the most famous unwed mother in Alaska, is now apparently our last best hope in stemming the tide of teen pregnancy. With a commercial for the Candie’s Foundation for abstinence.
When actually, the most powerful and talented advocate for reducing teen pregnancy is that scourge of the right (and damn good dancer), the indomitable Jane Fonda.
In 1995, Fonda started G-CAPP, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, when Georgia had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. Since G-CAPP’s founding, the state has seen a nearly 30% reduction in teen pregnancy rates (but maybe Candie’s is the “most improved?”) Realizing that 80% of teen mothers live at or below the poverty line, and 60% of teen mothers below the age of 15 have been abused, G-CAPP replicates proven, evidenced-based programs that work; partners with other organizations to develop more effective teen pregnancy prevention strategies; provides customized prevention training throughout Georgia; and advocates for policies and programs that support the healthy development of young people. Including programs that address poverty, unemployment, violence, drugs, lack of good parenting, school failure, and dropout, child abuse, alienation from mainstream society, racism and gender bias.
As Fonda writes, “The problem with the ‘just say no’ message isn’t the ‘no’ it’s the ‘just.’ This is not a simple issue and our polling shows that a majority of Georgians understand this.”
Amen to that, Jane! But don’t’ be surprised if a million t-baggers call in to kick thoughtfulness, intelligence and proven results to the floor and declare abstinence the winner. It’s just that kind of show.
My $100 today goes to G-CAPP for the great work they do for all the girls who really need their help. To join me, click here. And p.s. don’t forget to vote for Jennifer Grey. OH YES WE CAN!
typo – Mary Catherine Bateson.
Mart Catherine Bateson has a great chapter on Jane fond a in her new book, further Composing a Life. Nice to see people taking Jane Fonda seriously. as for Bristol, make hay while the sun shines,I suppose.
Who created that amazing photo of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin? I do a double-take every time I see it. Great caption, too.
I hope it is understood that you were referring to the book/play/movie “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” written in 1975 by Ntozake Shange, about the domestic trials and tribulations of seven women, each with a colorful name?
Let me just change it so there is no mistaking anything — sorry!!
Betty L., I think I’ve got a crush on you!
I feel the SAME way, Chris!
You are so right on!
Thanks for a great post (but try and listen to your husband — it is just a TV show, an incredibly dumb, graceless, exploitative and time-wasting one to boot.)
I’m going to respectfully disagree with this one, Betty. There’s no arguing the point that abstinence has a 100% success rate in preventing teenage pregnancy. Whether a teenager chooses abstinence is up to him/her, but you can’t fault Bristol Palin for following her convictions and trying to help others learn from her mistakes (although I by no means wish to infer that a child is a mistake). Bristol learned her lessons the hard way, and she will bear the consequences her entire life, as will her precious child (imagine having Levi Johnston for a dad. Oh my!). As for why Bristol has made it this far on “Dancing with the Stars,” I think the explanation is simple — most folks, at least those of the left-footed variety, can relate to her. And let’s face it — who doesn’t like to see the underdog come out on top? I can only wish Bristol all the best in life. She’s had to face undaunting personal scrutiny, and she’s kept her chin up and danced on. That’s a lesson every teenager could use.
And who is taking care of her child right now, as she spins around the floor on her fat feet? A nanny? her mother, I doubt it. How many unwed mothers have that choice? I thought the show was about dancing well. wrong again.
Exactly! You write so well Betty ☺
Once again I’m floored by the stats i.e.
“….80% of teen mothers live at or below the poverty line, and 60% of teen mothers below the age of 15 have been abused….”
My heartfelt thanks to Jane Fonda for your work with G-CAPP.
You go girl–great post!
Oh — I have to explain that! I had originally written about Brandy — for the colored girl who is probably considering suicide when the ratings weren’t enough —
because I just saw the Tyler Perry movie AND reread the fabulous play … but then I thought that insinuating that Brandy was suicidal over this silly show was
WAY overstating it and not fair to HER … so that’s when I cut the comment. I know it’s a total throwback & I apologize — it’s only in that context that I used it,
and when the context changed, it was probably inappropriate. Sorry!!