In Fast Times at Gloucester High, Michele Catalano blames parents for raising daughters who think having a baby at 16 is a good idea. As one grandmother says: At least her daughter, who dropped out of high school to have a baby, isn’t a prostitute or a junkie.
This is not an issue about sex. This is a much deeper issue, one about young girls with no direction, no guidance and no boundaries, whose role models are the pregnant classmates who came before them. As much as one wants to point to the economic factors of this struggling, isolated fishing community as reasons why this happened, thatâ€™s doing a disservice to every young daughter in that community. Itâ€™s a cop out. Itâ€™s shrugging your shoulder and saying â€œwe canâ€™t help it, itâ€™s the way things are here.â€ There are millions of parents out there who are struggling financially and emotionally, whose daughters donâ€™t decide to overcome the hopelessness of their lives by becoming a mommy at 16. It takes education. First and foremost, by the parents, with backup education by the schools. By giving in this disturbing trend and not being outraged by it, the parents of this community are only ensuring that this will no longer be a trend in Gloucester, but commonplace.
She asks: Where’s the scarlet letter when a society need it?
Some of the girls say they got pregnant by accident, then formed a pact with their pregnant friends. That doesn’t explain why the pregnancy rate quadrupled in one year.