With a big scarlet letter on the back as a sign of their shame
In the US, teen fashion chain ‘Forever 21′ has launched what has been labelled a “controversial” maternity line called Love 21 Maternity. The range can be found in Forever 21 stores in five states. Apparently, three of these states have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. Some are claiming that Forever 21 is deliberately endorsing or encouraging teen pregnancy. They’ve made quite a thing about it. See this and this and this.
It’s obvious really, isn’t it. The impressionable young woman sees a baggy dress or elasticised pants and says to herself: “I think I’ll get pregnant so I can get some of those!”. And let’s not even mention those cool maternity bras with the little hooks allowing release of the flaps for easy breast feeding.
I love this quote: “The maternity line has some cute, fresh and very young clothes, which only proves that they were targeting young soon-to-be moms”.
Only proves it? Oh that’s right, I almost forgot. Mums who are not in their teens are expected to look dowdy, unfresh and old.
I wonder what the critics prefer? That a pregnant teen not have something half decent to wear? Like she doesn’t already have enough problems to contend with. Is it better we send her off to the sackcloth and ashes shop where she can find something really ugly and punishing to wear, a point I make here:
I’m not making light of teen pregnancy. Yes it is a serious issue. It’s also has complex causes. Reducing this to a debate about whether a few items of clothing in a few stores in a few states in America encourage it, is trivialising the importance of the issue.
Not every young woman wants an abortion. They are overrepresented in research findings on negative mental health outcomes after abortion. Some shared their distress in my book Giving Sorrow Words: women’s stories of grief after abortion. But if a young woman has decided to go ahead with her pregnancy, surely she should be given every support. Including some clothes to wear that won’t make her feel worse.