Ebony&Baby

16&PregnantCroppedAnyone who’s traveled beyond the hallowed cul-de-sacs of Colorado Springs’ exurbs knows that most people who don’t live here see our city the way we’re portrayed in the mainstream media: “The Evangelical Vatican,” “that place with the pretty rocks,” etc. Last night’s episode of 16 and Pregnant about local teen-mother Ebony Rendon on MTV probably won’t do much to change our image in the eyes of America. But if you’re paying close attention, you might just see that our fair city has produced an individual seldom seen in the mainstream media: a strong, young black woman who not only had a child in high school, but managed to get amazing support from her family, her peers and her school. Not only that, but she graduated, kept her man (she’s now married and her daughter is 2 months old), and she’s starting college next year at PPCC. Rendon is also a Christian and a was a member of JROTC. But she also talks a lot of smack and curses like a sailor. In a lot of ways, she’s not unlike the character Juno from the 2007 movie of the same title, which the show makes no attempts to hide. Strangest of all, she’s no naif. She knew that she might get pregnant, was prepared to accept the consequences and knows she has a long road ahead of her. Wow!

Is this a good thing? Will her portrayal encourage teen pregnancy? Does Rendon signal a new wave of Obama-era Christian feminism born from Colorado Springs’ odd mixture of evangelicals, military culture and neo-post-hippiedom? Please watch the episode HERE and let us know what you think in the comments below.

You can also read an article I wrote about Rendon HERE at the Gazette’s website (don’t miss the dozens of surly comments there, either!).

(Please let us know what you think of The Big Something or give us your ideas in the comments below or by emailing us at TheBigSomething@KRCC.org. Thanks!)

 

3 Responses to A Local Star is, er… Born

  1. Nancy Wilsted says:

    Wow! Big anger over at the Gazette. All she did is have a baby. Whether she’s young or old, married or single, she didn’t commit a crime. Birth control can work but isn’t a guarantee. Those eggs and sperm find one another, as some six billion of us can attest. And at least a few are not planned – I say this with confidence.

    To me,the more interesting issue is our culture. Why do we criticize? Our young and their young deserve our help.

  2. Ari says:

    Is it a good thing for MTV viewers (read: teens) to be presented with positive portrayals of teen pregnancy? In two words, HELL NO.

    There is, perhaps, a reason why teen pregnancy has been frowned upon by most people in the US and Europe besides ultra-orthodox christians, jews, and muslims. The reason is that once a woman has a child she has much less time available for pursuing higher learning and more advanced technical training.

    In our post-modern, moral relativist world, plenty of folks are going to stand up for this young woman’s “courageous” choice but perhaps it would have been more courageous to not give herself that “out” (a baby) and instead, rigorously pursue some sort of path besides Army reserves and community college (which, admittedly, is perfectly acceptable, but certainly not what MTV viewers should be presented with as an advisable course of action).

    To my fellow media professionals (especially those in branded content develop/production): Ya think there’s any chance this content was sponsored in part by the Army, or designed to sell advertising slots to Army? Is the staff at KRCC blissfully unaware? Are they blinded by their pride for Colo Spgs? Maybe they think its cute or something. In any case, giving this shabby example of pop culture even MORE publicity is a shame. but hey, what am I doing by writing this post? Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all I guess.

  3. Noel Black says:

    Ari,

    Your adamant comment about the negativity of teen pregnancy seems to take a lot for granted, the main thing being that we’re “promoting” this show by asking questions about it. To simply ignore pop culture in a society dominated by it seems as foolish as blindly having a child in high school.

    But what struck as interesting is that she was aware of her choices and she has family, peer and community support. You don’t see this very often, and young women certainly aren’t going to stop getting pregnant or having babies… ever. The larger question, in my opinion, is why our society, particularly here in Colorado Springs, which claims to value life so much, doesn’t support more young women who have children so they can be mothers and achieve all the things you seem to think they can’t achieve if they have children.

    Obviously, you raise a good point, which is that MOST women don’t get that support in our culture.

    No offense, but your comments also seem to imply some fairly classist presumptions about the options of women who come from military and working-class families.

    I know countless people who’ve gone to college, grad school, developed careers, etc. after having children. I’ve also known lots of people with higher educations who have children and end up living on the margins of poverty.

    Which is to say, having children is almost always complicated and it’s always a good thing when one feels like she or he has as many options open as possible. We’re simply pointing out that it’s rare to see a pop-cultural portrayal of an intelligent, fairly well-informed black woman getting the support she needs.

    As far as the military goes and any propaganda… uh. This is Colorado Springs!

    Our coverage of this had nothing to do with Colorado Springs pride. We’re just curious about our city’s many complex issues and interested in asking questions. Thanks for responding.

News

NOAA
October 20, 2014 | NPR · The agency says if 2014 continues to be this hot, it’s on pace to be the hottest year on record.
 

Reuters/Landov
October 20, 2014 | NPR · Officials in Galveston, Texas, meant well when they tested a passenger while she was still at sea. But some say the rush (which included a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter) was needlessly alarming.
 

AP
October 20, 2014 | NPR · Since 2008, almost 16 million vehicles have been recalled over worries that airbags might explode if exposed to high humidity for long periods of time.
 

Arts & Life

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 20, 2014 | NPR · Joel Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding. His new book is called The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.
 

iStockphoto
October 20, 2014 | NPR · When police pulled a gun on Bryan Stevenson as he was sitting quietly in his car in Atlanta, he knew he had to effect change. His memoir describes his attempts, including freeing men on death row.
 

AFP/Getty Images
October 20, 2014 | NPR · The Nobel laureate taught at Princeton University for 17 years. Now, her papers — some 180 linear feet of them — are returning to be housed in the school’s library. Also: a roundup of new releases.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
October 20, 2014 | NPR · The singer and activist tackles jazz standards, including “Strange Fruit” and others, on her new album. Here, she and NPR’s Steve Inskeep discuss how she connects with the present through the past.
 

NPR
October 20, 2014 | NPR · D’Amato’s new album The Shipwreck From The Shore can feel Motown-y, garage-y and Springsteen-y, and all that production serves his songs well. But here the Tiny Desk, his music is sparer.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 20, 2014 | NPR · The pop singer and songwriter sounds more comfortable and assured on her second album, Tough Love. “This life is quite bizarre sometimes,” she tells NPR’s Audie Cornish.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab