Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Pregnancy Project

  "A stereotype is like a box that people put us in so they don't have to deal with the real person."

Crying because The Pregnancy Project.

  I was suppose to watch this movie "Contagion" for my research-plus-presentation for my INPOGEO class but while I was looking for the movie, I came across this movie called "The Pregnancy Project". This movie is based on a true story: Gaby Rodriguez is a high school senior who pretended to be pregnant as part of a social experiment for her senior school project. So she dons a fake baby bump to explore the social stigma and stereotypes that go with teen pregnancy.

 First off, if I were to meet Gaby Rodriguez, I will fangirl over her because of her courage.

    For the experiment to work, only a handful of people know she's faking her pregnancy, including her mom, her mentor for the school project, the principal, a schoolmate, and her boyfriend. The rest, including her own siblings, her circle of friends, her boyfriend's family- virtually everyone else- all believe she is pregnant. The people who are in with her experiment have to take note of the all the things people say about her.

    The interesting thing about Gaby is that she has an impressive academic record and is quite the model student. Pre-social experiment, family members, teachers and friends expect great things from her. Upon spreading the news that she is pregnant, she is suddenly isolated and has to deal with snide comments, gossip, stereotyping, and suddenly losing respect not only from her peers but from her teachers as well.

   Halfway through the movie, I suddenly started crying because it made me realize that I had my own stereotypes about teen mothers. I was quite unconscious about it until I watched the movie. It's not as harsh as the stereotypes mentioned in this film but nonetheless, it's still stereotyping. I consider myself pretty open-minded about a lot of things. I have friends in my age group who had kids when they were technically in their teens. And it's wonderful that they're still pursuing a college education. Some of them are happily married to the father of their children.

  But most of the time, teen mothers aren't that lucky. Some of them have to live with the stereotype that they've thrown their lives away, that they're bound to be pregnant anyway, that they're "stupid" and "irresponsible", that they're on their way to living on welfare. People will tell you they'd rather die than get pregnant. You can forget about pursuing a college education or even a serious career. You can use your pregnancy to get your 15 minutes of fame in talk shows. They will tell you that- le gasp- it's what your kind does anyway. I could mention more but you get my point.

 Living under the shadow of the stereotypes is so hard. In the movie, Gaby describes how hard it is live with all the labels and assumptions that you're not sure how to distinguish yourself anymore and begins to question herself if there's any shred of truth to these stereotypes.

  People have no idea how powerful words are.

So many feels.

   The movie doesn't disregard the fact that raising a child is difficult and that there's a lot of sacrifice that go with it. What this movie tries to address (well, in my opinion anyway) is that we shouldn't give up on people who need help the most. Teen pregnancy does have its obstacles but they're not insurmountable. Mind you, this movie doesn't seek to glamourize teen pregnancy.Heck, if you're all for the glam and drama of teen pregnancy, go watch this reality show called "16 and Pregnant" in MTV and let your brain rot.

    TPP  focuses on the prejudices and stereotypes that society places these girls in. It wonders why teen mothers are suddenly just numbers in statistics. When you're 17 and have a baby bump, people suddenly disregard your intelligence, skills and talents. You are suddenly not capable of making any contribution to society. Your future that was once filled with promise is suddenly just a future of changing diapers.  It implies that being pregnant is equivalent to having a zero future. You are suddenly just a teen mother.

  If you think about it, there is a vicious cycle that stereotyping does. It disregards the person's potential. Instead of providing support, we slap labels on them that socially isolates them. Stereotyping completely disregards the life this teen mother is carrying. We wonder why there seems to be more youth involved in crime, drugs, gangs, etc. You wanna know why? Coz we're so busy slapping fuckin' labels and judgment on their mothers that it didn't occur to us that their children is going to be part of our collective future. OMG RAGE.

 At the end of the day, we must all raise awareness about teen pregnancy: prevention, the responsibilities and consequences involved.

Words cannot describe how great this movie is and how relevant it is. This sneak peek doesn't even do the movie justice. I suggest you watch it. Download it if you have to. Teens and adults should watch!

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