DJH: Censored PtI

The episode of Degrassi Junior High, Censored, evolves around a parent’s movement to have Spike ousted from the school for being pregnant. Having a pregnant student in the population, they claim, is a bad influence.

(In all fairness, a couple of people point out that Spike might actually be happier at a school created for pregnant teenagers, with all the support tailored for such girls, rather then at a generic state school full of uneducated, judgemental people.)

There’s a mixed reaction to this movement, ending up with a couple of students taking up Spike’s cause. At the centre of this counter-movement is the hypocrisy in attempting to have Spike thrown out and completely overlooking Shane’s part in the process; no-one is trying to have him thrown out.

Whenever this is pointed out, advocates of Spike’s expulsion have no excuse for their hypocrisy. It was a good examination of the double standards we hold towards single mothers, single teenage mothers in particular – let’s heap all the blame on the woman/girl and forget the man/boy had anything to do with it.

(Incidentally, in Australia at least, it’s reasonably hard to get a prescription for hormone-based birth control, or fitted for a diaphragm, if you’re under the age of consent, which puts the onus of birth control onto the guy, so that makes it even more his responsibility then usual.)

I really liked that these double-standards were addressed, and that when confronted, the advocates of these double-standards had nothing to say in their defence. I wish we had more such confrontations of double standards in television – it might get more people thinking about them, and how it’s time to abandon them.

Comments

  1. SunlessNick says

    That is good. At least it will be if the story vindicates calling the anti-Spike crowd on their hypocrisy, which it certainly sounds like it’s doing.

  2. scarlett says

    Well Spike ends up being thrown out, but she comes back after her baby’s born, and I liked that they addressed the hypocricy of it. This whole baby storyline brings up a lot of issues about men’s roles in parenting and how women – particular singly mothers – cop it far greater than the fathers do.

  3. says

    Degrassi was great at addressing all sorts of gender issues. I also like the way they handled the topic of abortion in Degrassi: The Next Generation in an episode that was originally banned in the U.S but recently aired during a Degrassi marathon. It was great how they made it clear that the decision was the GIRL’s to make and that no one could make it for her, and she was actually able to have an abortion without being plagued with regret.

  4. Purtek says

    I wish we had more such confrontations of double standards in television – it might get more people thinking about them, and how it’s time to abandon them.

    I wish I could believe this sentiment, but I feel compelled to point out what I’m sure most of you already know, which is that this episode was made and aired *at least* fifteen years ago. As with Betacandy’s post on Cagney and Lacey, it seems to me like stuff like this only points out the ways in which we’re actually regressing.

  5. MaggieCat says

    this episode was made and aired *at least* fifteen years ago. As with Betacandy’s post on Cagney and Lacey, it seems to me like stuff like this only points out the ways in which we’re actually regressing.

    I think that what bothers me the most is that I’m not so sure it started out regression more than as following a cycle- it seems like a every period of social change is followed by a period where certain people try desperately to put the cat back into the bag and return to the bad old days. The gay 90s were followed by the 1900-10 which weren’t exactly liberating, the 20s by the depression of the 30s, women moving into the workforce in droves during WWII in the 40s followed by the social repression of the 50s, feminism in the 70s and 80s by whatever the hell we’re stuck with now.

    The problem is that instead of trying to regain a cultural norm that they view with nostalgia like they normally do, they’re actually trying to set back things like legal standards- things like Roe v. Wade are in real danger now because people started taking them for granted. Before, the people who fought for those changes were very aware that they could be lost again, but now the media/politicians/et al. pay lip service to maintaining rights while doing the exact opposite. Instead of the usual pattern of idealizing the previous incarnation while reaching a cultural equilibrium, they’re talking up the good points while trying to go back further than ever before. It’s very “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, and it makes me grumpy. And nervous.

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