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Chantelle Steadman: The invisible mother 
16th-Feb-2009 09:10 am
I actually have some sympathy for the ultrasound technician in Juno, who expresses relief that the 16 year old will be adopting out her baby and is jumped on for saying that  the teen mothers she's seen provide a 'toxic environment' for their offspring. Simply put, and not only do I agree, but I don't think it's a controversial point of view, children shouldn't have children. I think irresponsible pregnancy is morally dubious if not wrong, and teenage pregnancies are usually, if not always, irresponsible ones. Also that age of consent laws are there for a reason; under a certain age  - where chronological age is used as a very rough proxy for emotional and intellectual maturity  - a person is not suitably equipped to make important decisions for themselves.

Having said that, of course, teenagers are damn well people, and in theory at least, own their own bodies and their own actions, and deserve to be treated as such.

That Chantelle Steadman had a daughter at the age of 15 is, in my absolutely irrelevant opinion, a shame and a bad idea and I would have liked the event to have been avoided. But what makes me shakingly angry is the way Aidan Radnedge reported the event in today's Metro.

In ten short paragraphs, Chantelle is the subject of exactly 0 sentences, and the object of two, as three boys, including the real object of the article, 13 year old Alfie Patten, all 'claim to be the father' of baby Maisie. References to opinions held or choices made by Chantelle: 0. Opinions offered by people not Chantelle: the three potential fathers; Chantelle's parents (who, I kid you not - gave "consent" for one boy to sleep with their daughter*); one other putative grandparent, Iain Duncan Smith =m Tony Kerridge of Marie Stopes, and a random Catholic Priest - who apparently thinks all this is fabulous.

Anyone who dares suggest to me today that women have bodily autonomy is getting punched in the face. I do still have autonomy over my fist, after all.

*In case you were wondering, let me assure you, consent laws in the UK DO NOT WORK THAT WAY

ETA: I apparently got Chantelle's name wrong. Not sure why.
16th-Feb-2009 09:16 am (UTC) - rant rant rant!
I dunno, I completely agree that underage people should not be having children. I'm not so sure about the age of consent.

By the age of 14 you've made your GCSE choices & 16 your Alevels (if you choose to do either), which I think makes a far bigger impact as an impotant descision on your future than if you decide to sleep with someone or not (unless you're completely useless at contraception).

I completely agree with you about the girl concerned not being given her say. But I think this country has a very hyporitical attitude to children in general.

If you're poor or posh & in the media, you can do/are expected to do whatever at any age. If you are middle class, the idea of having any kind of autonamy till you've finished uni at the earliest is debatible.

& then theres the whole contradiction of its not alright for these kids to carry on in Britain, but if they were Indian & making our clothes, that would be fine (& even for the girl in question legal!)

(Deleted comment)
16th-Feb-2009 09:22 am (UTC) - Re: rant rant rant!
yeah,I agree with you, but thankfully these days sex doesn't automatically have to lead to pregnancy.
Its surely contraception for under 16's thats the issue, not that they are having sex in the first place.
16th-Feb-2009 09:23 am (UTC) - Re: rant rant rant!
Sadly, a lot of people are usless at contraception; this being a case in point.

I'm not offering any opinion of whether 16 is a good age of consent; I WILL say that our age of consent is far too simplistic, compared to other countries where the ages of both parties are taken into consideration, but age of consent laws protect people from being sexually coerced by adults, and I can't argue against them.
16th-Feb-2009 09:33 am (UTC) - Re: rant rant rant!
I absoltely agree with you on that.
16th-Feb-2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Not just the fact that she didn't get her say, but at the end of the day this girl has to live with what happened; what's done is done. And if I were her, I would feel like someone stole my dirty washing to hang out in public.

She's fifteen. She has to cope with being a mum, either finishing school or trying to find some way to support herself without any qualifications, and she is going to have to live with the stigma of being a teenage parent every time she steps out of the door with that kid. The last thing she or her kid need is what is clearly intended to be added scandel.

I'm not condoning it (I am reserving judgement because I was a very sheltered child and therefore am biased), but right now, I have sympathy for her.
16th-Feb-2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
* is pretty telling on the bodily autonomy front, though.

Comments that I would have on the catholic priest shall go unposted, for they are truely beyond inappropiate.
16th-Feb-2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what the hell. The article I read this morning was basically the same, everyone talking about the girl, no one talking to her. No one even speaking on her behalf (although that could just as easily backfire). Like she's some thing to be fought over. I'm surprised no one's peed on her yet.
16th-Feb-2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Just that they were all going on about who might have slept with her made me want to scream JESUS FUCK, YOU LOT, SHE'S A *FUCKING PERSON*! God. *headdesk so hard*
16th-Feb-2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
See icon.

Oh mah gawd.
17th-Feb-2009 12:11 am (UTC)

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