“But we only did it a couple of times.”
This was the response from Lonnie, a main character in the new Internet series 9INE, to his girlfriend when she unveils that her period is late. He adds, “I’m supposed to be graduating this year.” As she begins to cry, he asks her, “What am I supposed to say. Tell me what you want me to do.”
This scene, along with the powerful scenes that follow showing their parents’ reactions, has hooked me as a viewer. According to the show’s website:
The show examines teen pregnancy from the young father-to-be's point of view, and is a realistic and empathetic portrayal of issues facing expectant teen parents, including firsthand accounts from real teens woven into the end of each episode. 9INE provides a powerful spotlight on the decisions teens face when confronted with pregnancy. Viewers are directed to resources and information that take into account many diverse perspectives.
I applaud the effort of the director's to tackle this tough topic and to focus on the male perspective. Too often males are left out of the conversation altogether. People like to focus on young women and their actions, but fail to remember this is not a one-sided issue.
For example, just this past week, a young lady in Chapin, SC has been told she cannot compete in the Miss Teen USA beauty pageant because she is a teen mom. Yes, she is a teen mom, but one who has taken responsibility for her actions, is continuing her education, will graduate from high school, and is taking good care of her child. Yet, we are keeping her from competing in a beauty pageant because she would not be a good "role model" for others. But when was the last time you saw the star of the football team get kicked off the team for getting his girlfriend pregnant? My assumption would be that you have never seen this happen because we live in a world full of double standards.
So thank you 9INE for showing us that males should be just as involved in this conversation as females. I look forward to watching your series and to also meeting Brian White, one of the producers/actors of the show, who will speak at our 12th Annual Summer Institute in Myrtle Beach in June!
By: Cayci Banks, Director of Communications for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy