Study Finds Giving Young Girls Fake Babies Doesn’t Deter Teen Pregnancy
Just last week MotherJones highlighted the findings of a research study in Western Australia debunking the idea that giving high school girls babies would prevent teen pregnancy. It is no surprise that researchers are now finally understanding that giving young women dolls to deter teen pregnancy isn’t such a revolutionary idea. The misguided scare tactic comes at a hefty price for school districts, and an even larger pay out to families of girls intrigued by the idea of motherhood.
“When they compared girls in Australia who participated in the program to girls who did not, eight percent of the girls who carried the doll gave birth at least once while they were still in high school, compared with four percent of girls in the control group who never worked with the doll. Rates of pregnancy overall were higher in girls who used the infant simulator—nine percent had at least one abortion, where the control group’s rate was six percent.”
-Becca Andrews, MotherJones.com
One might almost deem it moronic to subscribe to this method of teen sex prevention when toy companies make a substantial profit marketing and selling “babies” to young girls. How many variations of Barbie, as a mother have we seen? Matel even went so far as to creating a Barbie with a pregnant belly, and baby to go inside. How can we hand our children babies to take care of, and play mommy with from ages 2-12, then attempt to use that same method as a means of deterrence?
This issue dates further back than 1993, when the baby simulator was created. The paradigm of our patriarchal society has institutionalized the idea that women are the caretakers, and homemakers for families. Yes, it is 2016 and women are “allowed” to work, and vote, and wear pants, and short hair. However, it is no secret that not too long ago, women were sent to school to specifically be taught how to cook, sew, “keep house” and be good wives.
“An analysis by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) also found use of the Baby Think It Over simulators problematic. Female students reported that their male classmates weren’t taking the exercise seriously, because they expect the mother to take care of children in real life. “
-Becca Andrews, MotherJones.com
Now in an age when everything is as accessible as your wifi allows, young adults, and even children are being exposed far more quickly and in depth to sex, and those things related. It was not too long ago that I was sitting in my high school cafeteria listening to a friend recount her sexcapades. At first the stories were enough to kill my curiosity, but eventually her second hand tales would not be enough to subdue my natural inquisition. Just like any other instance I would find out that some things just aren’t what they are cracked up to be. One can only imagine, that some teen moms lured into the grandeur of motherhood, by the false representation of dolls experience the same underwhelming shock when reality sets in.
Losing my virginity was no movie romance scene, and being a teen mom is no “Secret Life Of An American Teenager” episode. The harsh reality of trying to juggle motherhood, and school when you’ve barely mastered taking care of yourself just doesn’t translate well after one weekend of mechanical baby duty.
Although I was fortunate enough to skip teen baby fever, I am a mom now. Though there are many lessons I try to instill in my daughter, I make it a point to let my daughter know that her doll is just that, a doll, not her baby. Young girls should not have their heads filled with maternal thoughts before they have imagined their best life. Girls should not know how to change a diaper, quicker than they can conceive ideas of executing their biggest goals. Why don’t we give our girls things they can build in their classrooms? We should be exposing our girls to innovative avenues of creativity. It should be a social standard for all women that education, and exploration trump all distractions. Instead of forcing sex down our kids throats, let’s have open and honest dialogue, in addition to exposing them to things that are much more fun, and far more safer.
Did you experience the baby simulator class? Was it eye opening or tempting? Are your teens taking sex education? Comment below and tell us about your experiences.