The Juno Debate

Since its release last year, Juno, the little movie that could and recipient of the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, has been the subject of a highly contested debate. Does the film glorify teenage pregnancy? It doesn’t help that in December tween star Jamie Lynn Spears, age 16, announced she was expecting her own little bundle of joy.

I never saw Juno as a celebration of teenage pregnancy. Yes, Juno got pregnant at 16. But her story is both atypical and typical. She has this overwhelming support system but at the same time, the stigma of Juno being a pregnant teen still exists and in some scenes, it overwhelms the narrative.

Yet Juno, as the title indicates, is about Juno. That’s why the communities reception and most likely disapproval of her pregnancy is barely mentioned throughout the film. It’s about her relationship with her parents, her best friend, Paulie Bleeker, and the adoptive parents. But most importantly it is about her growth, maturation, and much-needed reality check. The difficult decisions Juno makes (and we, the audience, see her make plenty of them) help her transition from an overly sarcastic teenager to a slightly less sarcastic young adult.

One last thing which this article completely ignores. I think the increase of teenage pregnancies in the US has more to do with the fact that more teenagers are having sex. And what do you expect will happen when sex is so stigmatized and is not discussed as openly as it should be. Clearly no one told Juno to use a condom and maybe if someone had, we wouldn’t be stuck having this debate in first place.

But like the article says: everyone isn’t going to be satisfied and the issues that Juno raises will be debated forever.

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