Teenage childbearing as a public issue

Stephanie Graham


“Teenage Childbearing as a Public Issue and Private Concern” by Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.



* In U.S. the issue has more to do with how our political culture has responded to ancillary problems than with the threat posed by teenage childbearing.


A. The Dawning of a Public Issue

  • After World War II parenthood was common in the teenage years.
  • 1957 Birthrate among teens stood at 96.3 per 100 women. Nearly 10 % of teens were giving birth each year.
  • Virtually no discussion of adolescent childbearing occurred in either popular or professional literature.
  • During the 60s fertility rates among older women were declining much more rapidly than were rate among women under age 20, which increased the proportions of births born to teens.
  • Larger number of pregnant women began to elect not to marry.
  • With decline of earning power of young black men, marriage became a distinctly less attractive option for young black women who became pregnant out of wedlock.
  • As marriage rates declined, non marital childbearing’s rates climbed rapidly among black teens.
  • During the 60s, children born to non-white teens were nearly six times as likely to be born out of wedlock than were the children of white teens.
  • The enormous disparities could be explained due to income, education and occupation.
  • In 2000 the ratio of black to white births have dropped three More

Got Milk?

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Are people  getting offended over nothing? While browsing the web I came across this ad campaign for milk that tried to be comical but it had ended up being controversial and ultimately being dropped. Its ads suggested that it was men who suffered when women experienced premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The campaign urged men to encourage the women in their life’s to increase their intake of calcium and vitamin D  which can alleviate the symptoms of PMS. The group based the campaign on studies that have found a link between calcium intake and fewer PMS symptoms. The ads direct people to a micro site called EverythingIdoiswrong.org, which shows sheepish-looking men holding several cartons of milk under such captions as ” I apologize for letting you misinterpret what I was saying”. There were also billboards in Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example which showed a man holding cartons of milk with the tag line ” I apologize for not reading between the RIGHT lines.” While the benefits of calcium to women are  widely accepted, the over the top publicity campaign featuring harried-looking men, color-coded PMS meters and “video apology enhancers” may be doing the industry in the nation’s top milk-producing state more harm than good. Many comments suggested women were offended that the campaign portrayed men as the victims of PMS. One comment on the site stated ” the fact is, they’re pretending that women are completely irrational beings during their time of the month and they’re blaming PMS. and PMS has a wide variety of symptoms. It’s having back pains, cramps, irritability. In their mind, it’s something to joke about. ” Steve James, the milk board’s executive director, said the advertising had accomplished the board’s goal of spreading awareness about the benefits milk can have on women who suffer the effects of PMS and on their male partners. The campaign was not intended to be offensive but rather to encourage men and women to have a conversation about a sometimes taboo topic. I see both sides in this argument . I think the ads are quite funny but can see how it can offend some. They were just trying to be funny but it missed its mark.

“Sugar and Spice”

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“Women belong in the kitchen” that is stereotype that a women’s role is to feed her family and take care of the home. During the 1950s the idea that a woman should live for her husband and family became a dominant image. Television, radio, and magazines bombarded them with the assurance that the kitchen was their way to fulfill their role as a mother. Advertisements often targeted women, depicting them in the kitchen, serving dinner, cleaning or rather enjoying cleaning the home.
          As time past, more women would steer away from the stepford wife role. Women left their role in the kitchen to go to college and pursue a career outside the home. Women are making up almost 47 % of the workforce in the United States up from 30 percent in 1950s. Due to the economy many jobs have disappeared from industries dominated by male workers such as, manufacturing and jobs that are majority ran by females like healthcare are flourishing. Employers started giving opportunities to women employees making them financially stable. However, gender discrimination is still a very real issue, it is now being recognized as a problem. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn. It gets worse as women work longer hours — women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn. Federal law protects women and other minorities from discrimination in the work place. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 ended the practice of paying men more than women when performing the same jobs and duties. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act extended this protection to other minorities. Despite these protections, many women still feel gender-based discrimination is a problem in some businesses
Even though, more women are joining the workforce the stereotype still exists that their role is still to cook, take care of the children and keep the house clean.
           I have a few friends that are stay at home mothers and enjoy taking care of the children and the housework. If possible, I would love to be a stay at home mom. Yet, with the economy today its almost next to impossible.

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