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How do you feel about this teen's faked pregnancy?

kenny

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42711421/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/


A senior at a south-central Washington high school faked her pregnancy for the past six months as a social experiment for her senior project.

Gaby Rodriguez revealed she was not pregnant Wednesday by taking off the belly bundle in front of a stunned student assembly at Toppenish High School in Yakima, Wash., that ended with a standing ovation.

For six-and-a-half months, Gaby wore a homemade prosthetic "bulge," made out of wire mesh and cotton quilt batting. The Yakima Herald-Republic reported only a handful of people knew Gaby was faking, including her mother, boyfriend and the principal. They helped keep the secret from some of her own siblings and her boyfriend's family and students and teachers.

Before the revelation, she asked several students and teachers to read quotes people said about her during the course of her experiment.

"Her attitude is changing, and it might be because of the baby or she was always this annoying and I never realized it," her best friend, Saida Cortes, read.

It grew quiet in the gym as more and more quotes were read aloud, Yakima Herald-Republic reported. Then Rodriguez dropped her bomb: "I'm fighting against those stereotypes and rumors because the reality is I'm not pregnant."

She had been nervous about how the crowd might react. After all, she had been lying to them since October.

The surprise presentation was part of her report about the perceptions of a pregnant student. The 17-year-old A-student will share her findings in May before she graduates.

Gaby's story caught the attention of media outlets across the country.

Read more: Student's story attracts attention of national media

"It's gone big; it's been quite a day," school principal Trevor Greene told The Herald-Republic. "We didn't anticipate that by the end of the day we'd be getting calls from, like, the TODAY show."

At least one college recruiter wanted to speak with Gaby, and a local business owner was so impressed with her that she wanted to offer Gaby a college scholarship, The Herald reported.

"In essence, she gave up her senior year," said Greene. "She sacrificed her senior year to find out what it would be like to be a potential teen mom."

"I admire her courage. I admire her preparation. I give her mother a lot of credit for backing her up on this," he said.

At first Rodriguez's mother wasn't sure what to make of the idea, either.

"I thought she was crazy," says 52-year-old Juana Rodriguez, adding it was difficult to lie to family members.

But she felt she needed to support her daughter, who enlisted two mentors from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital's Childbirth Education Program to help her with the project.

Rodriguez began wearing her homemade, basketball-sized, prosthetic belly to school after spring break. Before that, she wore baggy sweaters and sweat shirts to conceal her faux pregnancy.

Her supposed due date was July 27, not quite two months after graduation.

Rodriguez and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jorge Orozco, met at the homecoming game when she was a freshman and he was a senior. They started dating just over three years ago.

When Rodriguez told him her plan, "I thought she was nuts," the 2009 Toppenish High School graduate said. "I thought I was going to end up getting into problems with her brothers. I didn't really want to get into problems with anybody."

"I was doing it for her," he says, adding, "My parents thought it was going to be a boy."

Rodriguez — who has a grade-point average of 3.8 — came up with the idea during her sophomore year Advanced Placement biology class with Shawn Myers. She's in his anatomy class this year.

"You saw the side comments and the looks at her stomach," says Myers, who says he wasn't disappointed — "just concerned" — when she told him she was pregnant.

He says he wondered: "How are we going to take all of the potential that's in this girl and make sure it manifests itself and not let this define who she is and let it be a roadblock to what she wants to accomplish?"

It's a question Hispanic teens are more likely to face than white teens, Rodriguez found in her research. Black and Hispanic teens continue to have higher pregnancy rates than white teens.

And most teens at Toppenish High School — about 85 percent — are Hispanic, Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

Rodriguez plans to attend Columbia Basin College to study social work or sociology in the fall. And, she said, "I'm not planning to have a child until after I graduate."
 

missy

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I don't know think any new info came from her experiment. I think she did it to further herself and she succeeded. Everyone is saying how wonderfully brave she was and how amazing a young lady she is yada yada yada. The experiment didn't yield any new info but just reiterated what we already know but kudos to her for undertaking what is sure to be a boon on her record and begin a successful road path for her future.
 
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For a high school student to do it, I think it was pretty important. Now, if a friend in college did this I think I'd be weirded out.
 

junebug17

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I guess I'm not really sure what the point of this was. Was anything really new revealed or learned from this? Isn't it pretty predictable how various people will react to a teen pregnancy? Don't know...she gave up almost a year of her life, deceived family and friends...not sure for what. JMO
 

zoebartlett

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junebug17|1303587455|2903503 said:
I guess I'm not really sure what the point of this was. Was anything really new revealed or learned from this? Isn't it pretty predictable how various people will react to a teen pregnancy? Don't know...she gave up almost a year of her life, deceived family and friends...not sure for what. JMO
That's what I thought when I heard about it.
 

kenny

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I think the point was to expose people's stereotypes and intolerance for diversity.

Seems like every group of people want to be respected and not be treated differently just because they're a member of a group that many in society still want to poop on.
 

JulieN

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I don't think being pregnant is an issue for diversity.
 

qtiekiki

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junebug17|1303587455|2903503 said:
I guess I'm not really sure what the point of this was. Was anything really new revealed or learned from this? Isn't it pretty predictable how various people will react to a teen pregnancy? Don't know...she gave up almost a year of her life, deceived family and friends...not sure for what. JMO
Agreed.
 

kenny

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JulieN|1303587952|2903508 said:
I don't think being pregnant is an issue for diversity.
EXACTLY!

I think a pregnant teen feels differently.
Hence this whole topic.
 

JewelFreak

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It was for a biology class -- I don't see what it had to do with biology (except the obvious, which presumably she already knew ;)) ). Didn't expand her knowledge of anything. Seems like a waste of time to me. The teacher could have guided her toward something more profitable intellectually.

--- Laurie
 

kenny

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There are a billion reasons it is not a good idea to get pregnant as a teen.

But if it does happen, after it happens, shouldn't that girl be treated with respect rather than contempt?
IMHO, that was the point of all this.
 

zoebartlett

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kenny|1303587818|2903507 said:
I think the point was to expose people's stereotypes and intolerance for diversity.

Seems like every group of people want to be respected and not be treated differently just because they're a member of a group that many in society still want to poop on.
I think we all know what the stereotypes are, and I have no idea what that has to do with intolerance for diversity.

Her efforts seemed to be pretty dramatic and I don't know that any of it was to really raise awareness about teen pregnancy. IMO, people know about it already, but advice to be abstinent falls on deaf ears often times.
 

JulieN

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kenny|1303588188|2903514 said:
There are a billion reasons it is not a good idea to get pregnant as a teen.

But if it does happen, after it happens, shouldn't that girl be treated with respect rather than contempt?
IMHO, that was the point of all this.
If we just LET people get fat, because in today's world, we have an overabundance of calories and not enough exercise, you get disease like cancer and obesity which are really scary, and rising healthcare costs.

If we just LET girls get pregnant, because in today's world lots of teenagers have sex, we will end up with a poorer, unhealthier underclass with more crime (Freakonomics.)

Having RESPECT for your body means taking precautions against pregnancy, and having an understanding and hopefully loving partner who supports that. Doubling up on condoms and hormonal contraceptives is like 1/1000 chance per year. And I do personally know people who were that serious about preventing pregnancy. No one is going to respect you if you don't respect yourself.

You cannot have public health campaigns against obesity and teen pregnancy without ostracizing the obese and teen moms. It's not possible. If it did, then the public health campaigns aren't working.
 

kenny

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JulieN|1303588788|2903529 said:
kenny|1303588188|2903514 said:
There are a billion reasons it is not a good idea to get pregnant as a teen.

But if it does happen, after it happens, shouldn't that girl be treated with respect rather than contempt?
IMHO, that was the point of all this.
If we just LET people get fat, because in today's world, we have an overabundance of calories and not enough exercise, you get disease like cancer and obesity which are really scary, and rising healthcare costs.

If we just LET girls get pregnant, because in today's world lots of teenagers have sex, we will end up with a poorer, unhealthier underclass with more crime (Freakonomics.)

Having RESPECT for your body means taking precautions against pregnancy, and having an understanding and hopefully loving partner who supports that. Doubling up on condoms and hormonal contraceptives is like 1/1000 chance per year. And I do personally know people who were that serious about preventing pregnancy. No one is going to respect you if you don't respect yourself.

You cannot have public health campaigns against obesity and teen pregnancy without ostracizing the obese and teen moms. It's not possible. If it did, then the public health campaigns aren't working.
I totally agree 100%
Teens getting pregnant is bad.

It should not happen, but sometimes it does.
I say, and I think this girl's point is . . . once they are pregnant, treat them with the same respect as you treat everyone else.

Are you saying treating pregnant teens like crap is appropriate punishment and an effective deterrent for other girls?
 

kenny

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Zoe|1303588691|2903522 said:
kenny|1303587818|2903507 said:
I think the point was to expose people's stereotypes and intolerance for diversity.

Seems like every group of people want to be respected and not be treated differently just because they're a member of a group that many in society still want to poop on.
I think we all know what the stereotypes are, and I have no idea what that has to do with intolerance for diversity.
IF you don't want to be a pregnant teen don't be one.
Do what you can to prevent your daughter from being one.
Do that you can to prevent your son from creating one.

Now, that you've taken care of the only people you have any say over, respect others.
Tolerate diversity.
That girl next door is not you or your daughter.
Treat her the same as if she was not a pregnant teen.

That is tolerance of diversity.
People vary.
Respect others and be clear that you have any say in your own family.
 

junebug17

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She gave up almost a year of her life, she lied to her family and friends, to prove that some people are jerks? That some people will look down on a teen pregnancy? Don't we know that already? I stand by my initial opinion - nothing new was revealed by this.

I always thought the point of a senior project was to learn something new. I agree with Jewel freak that her project should have involved something more intellectually challenging.
 

JulieN

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People have a natural revulsion or fear of the unknown or unusual. I mean, I feel kind of icked-out when I see pregnant moms, no matter their age.

I think healthier PSAs regarding contraception are like what you'd see in Europe: condoms and loving relationships go hand in hand. The US unfortunately is too Puritanical for that. We also don't have a culture of adoring/respecting mothers and motherhood like other countries.

And, YES, public ostricization is an effective deterrent. Fair to an individual, no. But if the net effects to society are calculated, it is still positive.

A better senior project would be to compare pregnancy rates for her high school in the past, the years for students who saw her, and the years after. Or to take surveys of students about their attitudes toward teenage pregnancy, and graph that against the local teen pregnancy rate. Maybe she would learn something.
 

kenny

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I think there is a long list of things that society, family, community, church should do to deter teen pregnancy.

Treating pregnant teens like crap should not be on that list, IMHO.
 

JulieN

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Kenny, do you think public shaming is not a deterrent?

I didn't read the article, but treating like crap is not the same as being treated differently. I treat little kids differently than I treat senior citizens.
 

kenny

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JulieN|1303589937|2903545 said:
And, YES, public ostricization is an effective deterrent. Fair to an individual, no. But if the net effects to society are calculated, it is still positive.
YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is this 1936 Germany?
 

JulieN

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Let's not get dramatic and compare Nazi Germany's deliberate social campaigns and violence against Jews, gays, and other undesirables to people's /instinctual/ fear of what is socially unfamiliar. As social animals, people get in-line with what's accepted or they get kicked out.
 

janinegirly

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Zoe|1303588691|2903522 said:
kenny|1303587818|2903507 said:
I think the point was to expose people's stereotypes and intolerance for diversity.

Seems like every group of people want to be respected and not be treated differently just because they're a member of a group that many in society still want to poop on.
I think we all know what the stereotypes are, and I have no idea what that has to do with intolerance for diversity.

Her efforts seemed to be pretty dramatic and I don't know that any of it was to really raise awareness about teen pregnancy. IMO, people know about it already, but advice to be abstinent falls on deaf ears often times.

Agree - do not see the link between this story and stereotypes at all. Seems like it was done more for attention and really had no point.
 

janinegirly

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Zoe|1303588691|2903522 said:
kenny|1303587818|2903507 said:
I think the point was to expose people's stereotypes and intolerance for diversity.

Seems like every group of people want to be respected and not be treated differently just because they're a member of a group that many in society still want to poop on.
I think we all know what the stereotypes are, and I have no idea what that has to do with intolerance for diversity.

Her efforts seemed to be pretty dramatic and I don't know that any of it was to really raise awareness about teen pregnancy. IMO, people know about it already, but advice to be abstinent falls on deaf ears often times.

Agree - do not see the link between this story and stereotypes at all. Seems like it was done more for attention and really had no point.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Well, I'm not sure if what she did proved anything to anyone (as we all know how most feel about teen pregnancies) but since she's planning to study social work, hopefully she learned something from her experiment that will guide her in her future endeavors.

Got to admit, the girl has major guts playing that part out and risking being picked on by peers and adults. It's unfortunate that she had to lie to so many individuals to complete her project.

I just want to add that Toppenish High School is rated low as a 3 out-of-10 by greatschools.net in test areas. Maybe Gabe felt that by conducting this experiment, she would gain potential learning that the school cannot provide. The following link shows that only 16% of students in 10th grade met WA state standards in science...

http://www.greatschools.org/modperl/achievement/wa/1998#from..HeaderLink

She thought outside the box and maybe she deserves credit for that!
 

rockzilla

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junebug17|1303589908|2903544 said:
She gave up almost a year of her life, she lied to her family and friends, to prove that some people are jerks? That some people will look down on a teen pregnancy? Don't we know that already? I stand by my initial opinion - nothing new was revealed by this.

I always thought the point of a senior project was to learn something new. I agree with Jewel freak that her project should have involved something more intellectually challenging.
Maybe you and I "know this already," but I'm guessing not all of the kids in her HS know or realize this. We do experiments all the time to prove (or disprove) things we already "know." I think the value in the project was in the observation and recording of the reactions of her classmates, and then presenting those findings back to the student body*

How often has one of us said something unkind or thoughtless about someone else, that we would be embarrassed to hear again if read back to us? How many of us have truly been confronted with our own prejudices and lack of compassion? I think there is value in exposing cruelty to the harsh light of day. Especially at the age these kids are, where perhaps it still has a chance of making an impact and shaping their character. Obviously it is too late for many of us by the time we are adults in this cynical world.

It's not about approving of teen pregnancy or not, its about treating individuals like human beings. I don't want teen girls avoiding pregnancy for fear of being ostracized, I want them avoiding it because they understand the implications for their future and have made an informed, rational decision. Maybe its "easier" to heap shame and scorn upon people than take the time to actually educate and mentor them, but that doesn't mean its the right way to achieve your goal.

*I think the project could have achieved the same goal, had she chosen/been able to replicate the experiment as a member of another marginalized group, such as someone who was overweight, gay, or a different race, etc. I think this was just one of the more easily executed ones.
 

ksinger

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JulieN|1303590562|2903556 said:
Let's not get dramatic and compare Nazi Germany's deliberate social campaigns and violence against Jews, gays, and other undesirables to people's /instinctual/ fear of what is socially unfamiliar. As social animals, people get in-line with what's accepted or they get kicked out.
Yep. Kenny just lost. First one to mention Hitler or Nazis automatically loses. It's the law. ;))
 

MichelleCarmen

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rockzilla|1303592069|2903579 said:
junebug17|1303589908|2903544 said:
Maybe you and I "know this already," but I'm guessing not all of the kids in her HS know or realize this. We do experiments all the time to prove (or disprove) things we already "know." I think the value in the project was in the observation and recording of the reactions of her classmates, and then presenting those findings back to the student body*

.
Yep, actually I was skimming your post Rockzilla and was about to add that of course this 17 year old really cannot comprehend what it's like to be a preg teen. She's a kid!
 

ksinger

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JulieN|1303589937|2903545 said:
People have a natural revulsion or fear of the unknown or unusual. I mean, I feel kind of icked-out when I see pregnant moms, no matter their age.

I think healthier PSAs regarding contraception are like what you'd see in Europe: condoms and loving relationships go hand in hand. The US unfortunately is too Puritanical for that. We also don't have a culture of adoring/respecting mothers and motherhood like other countries.

And, YES, public ostricization is an effective deterrent. Fair to an individual, no. But if the net effects to society are calculated, it is still positive.
A better senior project would be to compare pregnancy rates for her high school in the past, the years for students who saw her, and the years after. Or to take surveys of students about their attitudes toward teenage pregnancy, and graph that against the local teen pregnancy rate. Maybe she would learn something.
Oh amen to that. I got jumped on for suggesting something similar recently - on this very topic no less, although my wording was such that it got fixated on rather than the actual intent. At some places (like my husband's school) where teen pregnancy is rampant, I doubt she'd have gotten much notice there, or if she did, she'd be mobbed for her ultrasound pics, and congratulated and cooed over. :rolleyes: So much for a deterrent. I guess an individual's FEEEEEEEEEEELINGS must always trump what's better for society. And there's not a single person here who is going to convince me that having a baby as a teen is merely a "preference" to be tolerated. It's bad for the teen, the baby - who will be raised by a baby, the extended family who has to support said teen and baby, and society as a whole that gets to foot the bill both monetary and social going forward for decades . It NEEDS to be disapproved of. At all levels.
 

Circe

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JulieN, I agree with you ... but there's something about both the word "let" and the comparison of obesity and teen pregnancy that gets my back up. For one thing, there are some gaping questions as to whether weight and health correlate as closely as we assume (there are some very fit fat people out there: conversely, I know some skinny folk who, what between the coffee-and-cigarette diet and the lack of exercise, can barely get up a flight of stairs ... and nobody ostracizes them). Teen pregnancy, on the other hand, we can generally accept as a negative - for the young women and men in question, for their offspring, the whole shebang.

Now, as for "letting" them do it ... education is something we're providing on the obesity campaign (right alongside sugary soft-drink in school-sponsored dispensers and a McD's on every block), but not for the prevention of teen pregnancy. Abstinence-only education has been shown, time and time again, to raise the rates of everything from teen pregnancy to rates of transmission for every STD under the sun ... and yet, what do the bulk of American schools provide these days? Our puritanical mindset is, a) getting in the way of any practical prevention, and, b) encouraging the kind off scape-goating and bullying this girl highlighted in her experiment.

As for the experiment itself? While it might make a few of her classmates think, I don't see how this was worth it in the long run. It's the line from the boyfriend about his parents thinking it was going to be a boy that really highlights the collateral damage, I think ....
 

Maria D

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The article doesn't elaborate on the results of her "research." In the high school I teach in, sure, some people look down on pregnant girls. But lots of students and teachers pretty much ignore it and treat the student the same. (I'm one of those -- I treat pregnant high school girls the same way I'd treat a pregnant co-worker, pretty much like everybody else but with the understanding that there's extra pressure on the bladder!) And then there are MANY students who celebrate the pregnancy! There's lots of fawning behavior and attempts to draw adults into the conversation (come see the ultra-sound!).

So, to think that the girl was necessarily shunned is a stereotype as well.

I also don't get the point of the project. The days when girls left school to "go live with their aunt on a farm" are gone. Whether or not some may look down on them, the law provides pregnant teens a free and appropriate education. Kind of like public breast-feeding -- by law I'm allowed but it's not going to change the fact that some people aren't going to like it. What was the big revelation once the student body found out she wasn't actually pregnant? Oh, here I thought she'd made a big mistake and now I'm relieved to find out it was just a hoax? (That would have been mine.)

edited to add:
I was writing while ksinger was posting. If I had read her post first, I could have saved lots of time with

+1!!!!!
 
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