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I Agree With Camille Paglia on This Kind of Family Planning for Teens

It's not that we want to limit a girl's choices; rather, we want to help her realistically envision what her future might look like under various scenarios as a result of life choices she makes as a teenager.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

December 30, 2013 - 12:24 pm
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Camille Paglia gave a wide-ranging interview to the Wall Street Journal last week, covering everything from diminished respect for the military to radical feminism as a threat to all of Western civilization. Paglia, a liberal feminist and lesbian who voted for Obama and excels at destroying sacred cows, said that “our culture doesn’t allow women to know how to be womanly” and falsely promises them that they can “have it all.”

Paglia also broached a topic that’s not discussed nearly enough, even in conservative circles. Saying that sex education classes focus too much on mechanics, she said that girls should be taught to consider how vocational decisions they make as teens can impact their futures:

I want every 14-year-old girl . . . to be told: You better start thinking what do you want in life. If you just want a career and no children you don’t have much to worry about. If, however, you are thinking you’d like to have children some day you should start thinking about when do you want to have them. Early or late? To have them early means you are going to make a career sacrifice, but you’re going to have more energy and less risks. Both the pros and the cons should be presented.

In our “have it all” culture, young people — young women in particular — are told to go to college, have a career, and then, perhaps somewhere way off in the future,  get married and have kids. But no one really explains to young women about the requisite costs and trade-offs along the way. If a girl thinks she would like to have a family and children some day, it’s essential for her to consider how and when that might happen and whether that goal conflicts with other plans she has for her future. Despite the stereotypes fed to us by Hollywood, for most families, babies do not just pop out into designer 5-bedroom homes with live-in nannies. A 17-year-old girl may not want to think about such mundane things as child care when she is dreaming about a glamorous career as a CSI investigator, but better to consider them at age 17 than to have reality come crashing in later when she has less flexibility to make career-related decisions. Unfortunately, this kind of “family planning” is not only absent from most sex education classes, but it’s also rarely mentioned in career and vocational planning for teens. 

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Top Rated Comments   
Boys also need to be taught about divorce--if they get married, the wife can divorce him for any reason, and be entitled to half his assets and most of his paycheck for the next 20 years or so. They should also understand that the divorce rate is around 50% now. Girls need to understand that this is a reason why it might be very difficult for them to find a man willing to marry them, or at least a man with good earning potential.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...having babies and then throwing them on the tender mercies of the community as wards of the state is not an acceptable option."

Unfortunately, this is now SOP. It's called "school."
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only career planning advice I got from school or the culture at large was "You can be anything you want to be!" It took me a few years to learn that that was a crock of s**t.

On the other hand my father, a military chap who possibly knew less about "real life" than any civilian, insisted that there are no choices - you just do what you have to do. That wasn't especially helpful, either.

The truth, as it turns out, was somewhere in between these two extremes.

I could have used the sort of educator or parent Paglia envisions - someone who's "been there" and can tell you what to expect. What's it like to *really* be a business person or a firefighter - or a working mother?

It occurs to me, though, that many - if not most - young women today probably have working mothers. Whatever those mothers were like when they started having children, fourteen years later they should have plenty of advice to give their daughters.

So it seems like the problem, if there is one, is still the culture. Specifically, the liberal, non-grown-up culture that teaches us that everyone can have everything - that, in fact, everyone DESERVES everything just for showing up.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
We had a class in high school (I didn't take it) called "Family Life". It taught that with children comes great responsibility. It filled in the gap left by the sex ed classes focus on "mechanics". However, there was nothing covered on career "options".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
What needs to be taught, in no uncertain terms, is that childbearing MUST be delayed until one is married and has an income. Insist that to do otherwise is irresponsible, selfish, and destructive to the child and the society.
It's long past time we got judgmental about reckless breeding.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
AMEN!! I did not have children at all because it occurred to me that to do so was just "for me" & NOT in the best interest of any child I might bear as a single woman. I met "Mr. Right" in my 50's & married him (1st, last & only marriage) at 57. Hubby & I agreed that we would have had children if we had met much earlier in life. Some things in life have to be sacrificed (like me having children) in order to "do the right thing".
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Duh... Of course these things should be taught, to boys and girls. But isn't this the job of parents? Along with handling half of a classroom that doesn't speak English, a third of the boys on prescribed Ritalin, and the rest of the students on drugs, booze, or a cellphone, we're going to dump this into the laps of teachers who are either overworked or mentally challenged themselves, or who are hard leftists who would wail "academic freedom" and refuse to teach it anyway. Education begins at home.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
'Career and family planning as if children mattered.' What a concept !

'If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.' particularly with Hard
Times coming soon, and technological change proceeding at a pace
which makes it impossible to plan even twenty years ahead.

If one plans on raising a family, move to Texas, settle in a medium-sized city
(~100k) in a conservative, middle-class neighborhood. Make friends.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent! My only quibble is "twenty years" regarding technological change. In all seriousness, it is more like 14 months.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boys also need to be taught about divorce--if they get married, the wife can divorce him for any reason, and be entitled to half his assets and most of his paycheck for the next 20 years or so. They should also understand that the divorce rate is around 50% now. Girls need to understand that this is a reason why it might be very difficult for them to find a man willing to marry them, or at least a man with good earning potential.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hate that "50% of marriages end in divorce" statistic that gets thrown around so much. It is horribly misleading and leads to a bad view of marriage. It is achieved by summing ALL marriages, when in reality:
~30% of first marriages end in divorce.
~40% of second marriages end in divorce.
~50% of third marriages end in divorce.
~70% of 4th marriages end in divorce.
~85% of 5th marriages end in divorce
From there the numbers get really sad: you are 95% likely to get divorced in its your 6th marriage or more.

18-year-olds need to understand THAT when making their life plans. :)
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"~30% of first marriages end in divorce."

And most of those shacked up together before marriage. Those that didn't? I don't have the figure handy, but it's a lot lower.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
You'd think that by the 3rd or 4th marriage these people would realize being single isn't bad & has a much higher success rate.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only career planning advice I got from school or the culture at large was "You can be anything you want to be!" It took me a few years to learn that that was a crock of s**t.

On the other hand my father, a military chap who possibly knew less about "real life" than any civilian, insisted that there are no choices - you just do what you have to do. That wasn't especially helpful, either.

The truth, as it turns out, was somewhere in between these two extremes.

I could have used the sort of educator or parent Paglia envisions - someone who's "been there" and can tell you what to expect. What's it like to *really* be a business person or a firefighter - or a working mother?

It occurs to me, though, that many - if not most - young women today probably have working mothers. Whatever those mothers were like when they started having children, fourteen years later they should have plenty of advice to give their daughters.

So it seems like the problem, if there is one, is still the culture. Specifically, the liberal, non-grown-up culture that teaches us that everyone can have everything - that, in fact, everyone DESERVES everything just for showing up.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also what should also be made clear is that having babies and then throwing them on the tender mercies of the community as wards of the state is not an acceptable option. Not if you wish to be regarded as anything like an acceptable human being. Excoriate underclass tendencies vigourously and up front. If the usual suspects complain, crush them even harder - the life of the world and civilisation depends upon it. Melt their faces off....'>.........
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...having babies and then throwing them on the tender mercies of the community as wards of the state is not an acceptable option."

Unfortunately, this is now SOP. It's called "school."
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed that 'education' is a flimsy construction to justify this, same with 'employment'. Both of these conditions are to be back-filled by a solicitous and rather apologetic, errm...... 'infrastructure'; but never EVER to be contemplated prior to the occurrence. That would require planning and a degree of self-denial, and it's oppressive and unjust to ask that.....'>>....
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agree with the substance but why is this the school's job? It is the parents' job to do things like this.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
A agree wholeheartedly that it's the parents' job!
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's everybody's job. The village, the clan and the heads of household. We're all in this together, that's what culture and civilisation is.....;>.......
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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