Monday, October 21, 2013

Jenelle Evans and the Meridian of Morality

This issue appears nasty. I did not want to write about it. After grappling many a turn with some serious questions, I sat down to write it. I could not stop, but wonder, where on the earth are we, right now. The issues in this article appear to be from some stupid dimension, but only to disappoint ourselves. These are from this world of ours, proof that we are getting increasingly vulnerable to defective identification of stupidity. Hell, I would not ask you to read it, if you have other interesting things to do. But then, if you do read, you will not be able to keep quiet that thing inside your head you call mind.

In MTV's second season of "16 and Pregnant" a young girl appeared, her name was Jenelle Evans. She was born in 1992 and the world knows her as the ‘Teen Mom star’. An Indian audience may take it farfetched; Teen Mom series is a reality show that “follows” four girls and their journey into motherhood. When the Malayalam Movie Kalimannu released, a scene portraying child delivery raised furious controversy in Kerala. In a culture that is vulnerable to such levels of open display, how could the theme of four girls moving onto childbirth work? Did I tell you all these girls are teenagers? OK, it is evident from the name of the show itself.

Teens getting pregnant and being pushed into raising a family of their own seems a cultural dilemma in the US. Teenagers are in fact, children. To think they can take charge of a family emotionally and financially is to think asinine. The epithet to such a social system should be little short of ‘disaster’.

The problem of moral disintegration is the backbone to such issues. It’s the lost struggle for virtue, as Stevenson puts it. The struggle to keep moral order is destined to fail. It is inherently flawed. Even the concept of morality in the contemporary Indian context is close-read with religious order and the rule of Ram or Allah or God. When all these excuses involve, violence erupts and people kill each other, simple as that. What is morality? This question must be answered, here, right now. This is a humongous risk, since all the people I know of or I will know or those who lived before me or live right now in another altered dimension would be waiting for the answer to tear it apart and study it. On this question, there have been so many answers. Mine is simple, because it is essentially mine. Morality is the moment of pause when you think would I like this to happen to my mom, sister, father, or girlfriend.
Image Courtesy: National Geographic

Disintegration of moral values is not just a cultural and social problem. It is an imbalance in the personal level too. I am not saying it is morally wrong to get married or to ‘get laid’ in an early age. I am just saying you should not procreate too often. Our already congested social system would burst out with no scope for all these “new arrivals” in the womb of the earth mother.

Moreover, there is a political problem too. From what I heard, Sharia, the law of Islam promotes child marriages. In addition, Hinduism once promoted child marriages. In Kerala, recently, a similar discourse sprang up and bit all of us—peace loving, and sleep loving—Keralites. Someone somewhere said that the age for marriage in girls should be 16—teenage. The court and governments seem to agree with this notion too.

The fundamental problem in this stand is that the groom for a 16 year old would be at least 25, so that the male candidate can achieve financial independence and emotional maturity, to raise a family. Twenty-five, however, is only in the case of those who are exceptionally lucky to get a job at the right time and managed to set up fiscal security.

Twenty-five minus sixteen: think about the age difference. Think about the vast majority of those men, who start their job hunt when they were boys and end up, after the quest of a lifetime, ‘new adults (29-30 something)’ or middle aged men, until they find a job and a steady income. Think about the age difference between a 16-year-old girl and 30-year-old man. Think about their family life.
 
Image Courtesy: Google
If, in Kerala, they are legitimizing the imported social system from gulf countries, in America it’s already a well accepted cultural phenomenon--Teen Moms. They talk about vigor and sexual energy, the capacity to childbearing and moral corruption of girls if they are not given proper orientation in familial life as the causes for supporting child marriage. Fine, but I cannot say how moral it would be to molest a 16-year-old girl, making her believe it is marriage, and it is for the common good of all. 

Jenelle Evans has a broken marriage, a controversy over the custody of her child, and a heroin case, for which she is even jailed. This is where, in my opinion, Sharia, and all other arguments supporting teen childbearing loses its value. This is when it becomes immoral to push a child over the edge into the abyss of familial responsibility. It is not the sexual energy, or family orientation, but the aftermath to the individual, that matters. An uncommon level of immorality is at its best play, only to bring a worst future for us all.
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