Teen Pregnancy 2 Essay Research Paper Pregnancy

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Teen Pregnancy 2 Essay, Research Paper Pregnancy Among Teens All societies possess social standards that control the sequence and the tempo of important life occurrences. Frank Furstenberg in, Unplanned Parenthood introduces this notion of social standards through what he terms the normative schedule. According to Furstenberg normative schedules are, “prescribed life courses, it is the timing of life events”(Furstenberg pg.2). Normative schedules vary from society to society. They are precise structures imposed by cultural rules and by social constraints. Through normative schedules public as well as private experiences are ’scheduled’ or structured to occur at a specific time and in specific circumstances. The scheduling of parenthood, a private behavior, is subject

to a society’s normative schedule. When and under what circumstances vary from one culture to another, but no society leaves it purely to biological chance. Furstenberg’s normative schedules are direct results of the cultural restrictions on life that Herbert Blumer explores in his book, Society as Symbolic Interaction. According to Blumer, “social theorists have long recognized the universal existence of cultural restrictions on reproduction” (Blumer pg.50). A culture’s restrictions on reproduction allow for the creation of parental normative schedules. In most societies where the normative schedule is followed, individuals are allowed to experience certain behaviors, such as parenting, through the private realm as long as the ‘norm’ of the system is not disrupted.

According to Furstenberg, “schedule disruptions are usually disadvantageous”(Furstenberg pg4). This is because cultural standards are arranged in such a fixed position that any disturbance such as teen pregnancy creates an imbalance in the ‘natural’ benefits of operating within the system. Teen mothers operate outside of their allowable, private, discourse in the normative schedule, thus creating an imbalance in the culture. Normative schedules dictate individuals’ proper places and status in a culture. Disturbances in cultural life, such as premature motherhood, sometimes result in premature status transitions, placing people into positions for which they are unprepared or unable to assume because society is constructed to support those who follow the normative

schedule of life. Arthur Campbell in, “The Role of Family Planning in the Reduction of Poverty” expresses this idea in the following way: The girl who has an illegitimate child at the age of 16 suddenly has 90 percent of her life’s script written for her. Her life choices are few, and most of them are bad. Had she been able to delay the first child, her prospects might have been quite different (Campbell pg30). Barrie Thorne in her essay, “Feminism and the Family: Two Decades of Thought” explores the idea of normative scheduling, the concept of motherhood, and the consequences of entering this status through what she terms ideological constructs. Through this system one is introduced to fixed characteristics that he/she must prescribe to in order to be accepted into any

given institution or community. Thorne would say teen motherhood does not support society’s ideology of the family; rather it challenges it. Although early motherhood does not support the system, teen mothers are still mothers and therefore subject to suffer the ramifications of being a mother in our society. According to Thorne, “the ideology of the family, more specifically motherhood, has reinforced the economic exploitation of all women”(Thorne pg6). Thus teen mothers are thrust, early, into an institution of oppression built on a concept of exploitation and degradation, motherhood. As a result, motherhood is no longer looked upon as a private experience but rather as a public deviance to cultural law and takes on the persona of a public problem with negative results