Expert comment: Media Portrayals of Unwed Teen Mothers

facebook twitter google print email

Dr. Demie Kurz , professor of sociology
University of Pennsylvania

• Co-director of Penn’s Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender
and Sexuality
• Member of the Council on Contemporary Families
• Author of the forthcoming book “ Families and Teenagers in Contemporary American Society.”


“The new movie “Juno” raises important questions about the lives of adolescent girls in the United States. While the heroine makes an informed choice to keep her baby and give it up for adoption, we owe it to teenage girls to provide realistic portrayals of what having a baby is really like and the constraints it imposes on the lives of teenage girls, their education can be cut short, as well as their ability to develop their personal autonomy during their adolescence. Hollywood should take responsibility for representing the full range of options open to teenage girls who become pregnant, not only keeping the baby or putting it up for adoption, but the possibility of the use of the morning-after pill and abortion.”