The Shouty Woman

May 17, 2006

Baby mother

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 4:18 pm

As someone who had – rarely for a rad fem blogger – an extremely happy childhood, I'm always upset by the stories of girls whose childhoods were stolen from them. This, for example, filled me with a combination of sadness and fury. For those outside the UK who'll have missed out on the whole depressing saga, it's the story of a girl of 11 who became pregnant by a boy of 15. The boy is being prosecuted for her rape.

There's so much wrong with this scenario that I don't know where to begin. First of all, let's be clear about this – an eleven-year-old girl is a child. She's not mature enough, physically or mentally, to cope with a child of her own. For god's sake, when I was eleven I still played with dolls and teddies – if you'd given me a real live baby, as opposed to the plastic kind, I'd have been lost.

Secondly, how warped is the mind of this boy that he thought it was acceptable to have sex with a child? I don't care if legally he's still a child himself – at 15 you should damn well know the difference between right and wrong, and in my book impregnating primary-school age kids is in the second category. We can't pin all the blame on him, though. In the immortal words of Twisty, I Blame the Patriarchy – for sexualising girls from such a young age that they're no longer seen as children, for condoning this and this, for teaching little girls that their only aspiration should be to please boys, and for teaching boys that girls are theirs for the taking, however young.

Poverty is to blame too, of course – both financial poverty and the poverty of aspiration which means that having a baby is often seen as the only option. Perhaps what shocked me the most was the reaction of the girl's mother, who states that she is 'proud' of her daughter for choosing to keep the baby. I'm not saying she should have disowned her, of course, but pride isn't the emotion that immediately comes to mind. Did she not consider that it might not be the best 'choice' for an eleven-year-old to go through pregancy and labour, a traumatic experience even for adult women?

I want to cry for this little girl, this child who will soon have a child herself. With the odds stacked against her, what chance did she have?


1 Comment »

  1. I read about this too. I hate the way that this poor girl is being made out to be some kind of “social ill” rather than an individual who really needs some help (and probably some privacy).

    Comment by Beppie — May 18, 2006 @ 7:51 am |Reply

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