Michael Graham has an op ed in the Boston Herald titled For Gloucester it's so funny it hurts which begins with:
What’s so horrible about shame?
His target for shame is pregnant girls and those who advocate for comprehensive sex education.
No shame for the children having children, but plenty for the condom-tossing revelers of Beverly Farms making fun of them? Welcome to the upside-down morality of Massachusetts, where we have nothing to be ashamed of but shame itself.
When he refers to children having children, make no mistake he is talking about girls only.
He isn't asking that allegedly homeless men who have unprotected sex with children have any shame. He isn't asking that boys who have unprotected sex have any shame. He isn't asking boys and men who try to convince girls to have sex with them have any shame. He certainly isn't asking that boys and men who rape girls have any shame.
Boys and men simply aren't important when it comes to teen pregnancy.
He isn't asking himself to have any shame for acting as if sperm only comes from self-serve outlets. He turns all boys and all men into morality-optional creatures. And this is nothing for him to be ashamed of.
Opponents of abstinence-based education reject shame as a value. When it comes to teen sex, their strategy is to immediately declare defeat and insist that kids are going to have sex no matter what.
This statement is all the more amazing when he goes on to disprove the effectiveness of this supposed strategy in the next sentences in his op ed.
They are wrong on nearly every count. Teen pregnancy rates have been trending down since 1990, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Abortion rates have dropped by half during that time, and the age at which teens become sexually active had been trending up until recently, too. All this amid a media flood of messages promoting teen sexuality, from Jamie Lynn to Abercrombie & Fitch.
Imagine what could have happened in Gloucester if the parade of shame had marched through that city’s streets, if 15-year-olds in puppy love and pregnant felt like they had done something - dare I say - “wrong.”
With an absence of shame and a presence of other strategies our teen pregnancy rates are trending downward despite media images which promote teen sexuality. Yet Graham wants to flip this treatment of teens around and he expects the teen pregnancy rates to not do the same so that they go from trending downward to trending upward?
He says Abercrombie & Fitch is promoting teen sexuality but he doesn't ask them to change and he doesn't ask them to have any shame for using teen sexuality in order to make a profit.
By opposing childcare for teen mothers, he is promoting pushing those girls out of school and by doing that he is pushing them toward poverty. What a hero of morality he is. If he gets any more moral he'd be talking about stoning girls.
Hey, imagine what would happen if a parade marched in front of Graham's office and he felt like he had done something -- dare I say -- "wrong." After all, he said, "In fact, isn’t promoting shame through mockery our civic duty?"
Rather than supporting adults mocking half of our country's children shouldn't we support adults mocking other adults who view mockery as a valid substitute for actual education?
Can't you just imagine the educational trend Graham's logic supports. Let's pass federal legislation designed to mock illiterate girls instead of teaching them how to read. Of course using Graham's example, boys who can't read should never be mentioned unless it's to blame their illiteracy on the girls.
If you agree with Graham, call your legislator and ask them to support all the No Girl Child Left Unshamed laws.
Hat tip: Feministing