Dear Bill O'Reilly,
Hi. My name is Bekah. You don't really need to know much about me, except that I am a teenage girl, my mother was a teenage mom and I listen to Beyoncé (a lot). I wanted to take a little bit to speak with you about teen pregnancy. May is Teenage Pregnancy Awareness Month, so I feel like it's a pretty fitting topic, especially since you've had so much to say on the topic as of late. There tends to be a lot of stigma surrounding teen pregnancy, so I believe that this month is huge in terms of creating a dialogue on these issues and what we can do to help create a world where pregnancies are planned, mothers are prepared and everyone has the knowledge (and capability) to plan and or prevent pregnancy. Which is why, personally, I have been so incredibly disappointed with your misguided coverage of Beyoncé's effect on teen pregnancy.
You are so angry that young girls are getting pregnant out of wedlock that you fail to acknowledge the actual circumstances that continue to surround unplanned pregnancy, especially at a young age. Beyoncé is a beautiful, talented woman who has made headlines by using her music to express how much she loves being with her husband in the most intimate way two people can be together. She shows women everywhere, and of all ages, that you can be successful, be a mother and still enjoy having sex with your husband. And yet, according to you, the real message she's sending will encourage young women to have unprotected sex and get pregnant.
Because very few people are buying your Beyoncé = teen pregnancy theory, I thought I would do you a favor and put together a list of issues you fail to discuss when you decided to take on the topic of teen pregnancy. You can thank me later.
1. Comprehensive Sex Education
Did you know that only 13 states required that sex and HIV education, if provided, should be medically accurate? Teens are going to have sex. How can we help them make this decision and be safe about it? Hint: It's not by providing them with inaccurate information in hopes to get them to stay away from a natural activity that 95 percent of Americans will have before they're married. Let's talk to students about birth control and contraception and encourage open conversation. As ThinkProgress reports, "The decline in teen pregnancy is 'almost exclusively' a result of more contraceptive use." Students should not leave a health class feeling even more confused about their bodies than before they went in.
2. Slut Shaming in Schools
There has been talk, mostly by you, that Beyoncé is "harming" America's children with her music videos. I understand that children and teens are impressionable, but I think more damage results from schools telling girls that guys would rather marry virgins, because if you have sex, you're like a chewed up piece of gum -- used up and worthless.
3. Socioeconomics and Teen Pregnancy
I know you've never been one to truly recognize income inequality, but I think this topic is a lot more important than Beyoncé's music videos. Teen pregnancy can be related to poverty. In fact, state inequality rates correlate to teen pregnancy. Income inequality is a real problem here in the United States, which has the highest rate of teen pregnancy compared to other developed countries.
I hope you take my advice under serious consideration. There are a lot of issues way more damaging to America's children than Beyoncé sleeping with her husband in the back of a limo. Let's discuss real solutions to creating a world where women have real opportunities to advance beyond their current status, to plan when they would like to have children and know that having sex does not make them less of a person.
Follow Rebekah Bolser on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RebekahBolser