Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Utah High School Students Get Reality Lessons On Parenthood


Junior Amy Ormond is waddling down the hallways at Ben Lomond High. You may guess she's pregnant, but actually she is wearing a fabric belly to simulate being pregnant. Full story aired on October 30th, 2006 from KSL Channel 5 in Salt Lake City.

It's often said that you can't know what it's like to be a parent until you become one, but a program at several Utah high schools is trying to teach students just how many responsibilities come with the job. This story focuses on one such program at Ben Lomond High School, located in Ogden, UT, and a part of the Ogden City School District.

Students of both genders wear fabric bellies (like the one pictured above left) to simulate the experience of pregnancy, and are also given a computer-programmed infant doll for 24 hours which cries and fusses at varied intervals until the user provides the apporpriate response, whether it be "feeding", "rocking", or "changing diapers". The students can't pawn off the babies on someone else... they [the students] wear a bracelet that activates the baby's responses. The computer chips register how the baby is handled and how many times they've been fed and changed.

The goal of this program is to put realism into parenting and to counteract the inundation of media and advertising propaganda glamorizing gratuitous sex and whoremongering. Participation in the program is voluntary at this point.

These days, a lot of high school kids are sexually active. Teachers told KSL reporters that sometimes teenage girls actually want to be moms because there's a special attention that comes with being pregnant at a young age.

Teachers say the fabric belly is pretty realistic. The first piece wraps around your midsection, making it harder to breathe. Once the suit is on, a fake bladder is put underneath to press against your own.

Here's some initial reaction to the fabric belly from students. Junior student Amy Ormond said, "The walking is different, the pressure on your back is different, and being able to stay focused in school, it's a lot harder." Senior student Jesse Bryan responded, "It's kind of heavy, warm, hurts my neck a little bit." In general, participants agreed that wearing the stomach for a day has taught them a lot about pregnancy.

Students also reacted to the experience of carrying the computerized doll around. Sophomore Stacie Thorsted: "When I would feed it, I would just have to sit there and not be able to do anything." Senior Amanda Thornock: "I had other things like homework and activities I had to do, and I had to drop everything when [the "baby"] cried". The students say the babies kept them up for hours at night, but they're grateful for the experience and all learned that parenting is not a game.

Participants cited some common lessons learned. Amy Ormond: "I definitely learned it's a lot harder than I thought it was. If kids know what it's like, they're probably not gonna want to do it as soon." Amanda Thornock: "That I definitely wasn't ready to have a baby yet." Stacie Thorsted: "You're so young and you have your own responsibilities right now."

Commentary: Many young girls have romantic notions about boys and motherhood. This experience requires them to confront some of the attendant hard-core realities. Requiring boys to wear the fabric belly as part of the experience drives home the lesson that their "fun" can cause a girl nine months of hard work and possible derailment of a girl's future plans due to the demands of unexpected motherhood. It shows teenage boys that there's more to being a man than "getting your rocks off".

However, this program was offered at a predominantly white high school. It is well known that out-of-wedlock births disproportionally occur within the Latino and black communities. These communities have a much more critical need for such a program, despite the risk that some dysfunctional black parents might be tempted to pawn the computerized doll to get money for alcohol or crack.


Countering the deleterious effects of media advertising and the resulting sexualization of kids is of paramount importance. They are inundated with gratuitous sexual propaganda at all levels and from multiple sources. One of the latest outrages took place in the United Kingdom when Tesco's offered an accessory for Barbie dolls known as the "Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit", discussed in a Daily Mail article (pictured above left, with outraged family, courtesy of the Daily Mail). Some interesting background information on Tesco's is posted on the White Revolution blog. After a significant outcry of protest, Tesco's withdrew the product. Note there was NO OUTCRY from any professional feminist organization. Feminists profess to be concerned about the welfare of women, yet their obsession with absolute equality and their visceral hatred of men prevents them from confronting trends and practices promoting the marginalization and commodification of women. The patriarchal system, properly executed, protects women from harm far better than any ball-busting, man-hating, Hillary wannabe ever will. Kindly refrain from bringing up Islam as an example of patriarchy. The Islamic system is a PERVERSION of a proper patriarchal system.

Likewise, when a company called Pimpfants decided to market hip-hop style clothing to infants and toddlers, there was no real outcry from the establishment media, although many faith-based and conservative organizations took issue. The company continues to market these items. Everybody knows how misogynistic hip-hop culture is, with its reduction of women to the level of two-legged sperm banks, punching-bags, scullery maids, and human "bling-bling" to be worn in public like an ornament. No feminist outcry here, either.

And what about the Anchorage School District, right here at home? Nah, they probably think it's more important for girls to play flag football. Must train our young people to gather round the tube every Sunday to watch overpaid, overamped gladiators knock each other senseless. I look forward to the day when non-sectarian character education designed to prepare students for responsible decision-making and ethical success in life is mandatory in every public school district in America. Such education should include the experience described in the post.

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