I know the Olympics are over, but let’s chat about it for a smidge. The other day a friend sent over a new meme featuring Gabby Douglas. Here it is:
I wasn’t 16 and pregnant, I was 15 and pregnant. Without the TV cameras. The person who made this is a moron. Why? Because you don’t uplift one group at the expense of another. Plus, Gabby Douglas doesn’t care about your cause. She is 16 and an African American Olympian. She is not a representation for anything except those two things.
Because I am white, I won’t comment on the hair conversation. It’s not my cross to bear, but it is equally ridiculous and infuriating given the long history of hair politics for black women and girls.
I also get the real feeling that this meme furthers the idea that black girls disproportionately find themselves 16 and pregnant. Riight and abortion causes cancer.
From the Centers for Disease Control:
Race, then, doesn’t predict differences in rates of teen pregnancy all by itself. In fact, White teenagers are more likely to get pregnant in some states than Black and Latina teenagers in others.
Being 15 or 16 and pregnant is hard. Everyone knows that. If you can graduate college – like I did – you are a champion. Only 2% of teen mothers graduate before they turn 30.
Just so we’re clear, being a parent at any age is also hard. But at any other age, you don’t have the very real social stigma and absolute bullshit like this meme to make you feel even worse.
Shaming people? That NEVER – let me repeat myself – NEVER changes behavior. It never pushes people to do more, to be better, to strive for the best, to dream and conquer. Shaming, well, shames. It belittles, it causes violence within.
Why would anyone take the very real achievement of this amazing and beautiful athlete and turn it into a public shaming of a very specific group of girls who already have enough hurdles?
Ah, so someone can get a laugh? Maybe feel all high and mighty?
It’s. Not. Even. Funny.
And it’s not uplifting in the least.
It’s not as if Gabby Douglas was up on that beam thinking: good thing I’m not pregnant right now. If someone else was thinking it? Shame on that asshole. Because pregnancy has nothing to do with the Olympics. Unless you ARE a mother. Or just had a baby and, wow, let’s talk about the fact that my knees get creaky when, every so often, I leave this kitchen chair. I popped out my last kid ten years ago. So, if you are a mom AND an Olympian, all the more power.
Every day a teen mom gets up on a beam just like Gabby. She twists, she turns, she jumps, she back peddles, and then dismounts. You know what she’s doing? Just trying to make it through another day without a comment, a stare, or a meme letting her know EXACTLY what other people think.
If you just so happen to be a teen mom reading this: the “older” parents don’t have it all together. Hold your head up. Be a champion.
Oh and I made my own.