The reaction to 16 year-old Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s younger sister and star of Nickleodoen’s Zoey 101, announcing she’s pregnant and keeping the baby can be summed up as “what…?” (As if it was possible to be appalled by Spears family shenanigans.) But this is the third major entertainment-industry indicator that 16 year-old pregnancies aren’t that weird, which obviously telegraphs to teenage girls that it’s at least…you know, an option.
There’s Juno, of course — the Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody dramedy about a 16 year-old (Ellen Page) who can’t go ahead with an abortion after getting pregnant. Speaking for the filmmakers, Page’s Juno realizes from the get-go that she’s way too young to try and raise the child so she finds a yuppie couple looking to adopt. But the film is obliquely saying it’s not altogether terrible for a 16 year-old to go through 40 weeks of child-carrying. Juno matures, gets in touch with her identity and emotions. It’s not a good or advisable thing, Reitman and Cody are saying, but not 100% bad either.
And of course, Whale Rider star and Oscar nominee Keisha Castle Hughes got pregnant last year at age 16. Her daughter was born last April.
The 16 year-old Spears has told OK magazine that the father is Casey Aldridge, who she has been dating for some time and first met at church.