High-school senior Katelyn Campbell was dismayed by what she called a “slut-shaming abstinence assembly” at her school, promoted as “God’s plan for sexual purity,” featuring abstinence-only speaker Pam Stenzel. Stenzel told students that “if your mom gives you birth control, she probably hates you” and “I could look at any one of you in the eyes right now and tell if you’re going to be promiscuous.” Campbell feels that she and her peers need less slut-shaming and more accurate information about birth control, and she contacted the ACLU and the media to let them know.
In response, George Washington High School Principal George Aulenbacher called Campbell to the office to ask, “How would you feel if I called your college and told them what bad character you have and what a backstabber you are?” (Wellesley, the college in question, has since tweeted, “Katelyn Campbell, #Wellesley is excited to welcome you this fall.”) Campbell has filed for an injunction against Aulenbacher to keep him from following through on his threats. Her classmatesT have started a Facebook page, “The Average Teenager is NOT A SLUT,” and intend to raise the issue of Aulenbacher’s behavior at the county school board meeting today.
Eight-year-old Aamina Fetuga was upset at a proposed bill before the Tennessee legislature that would cut welfare benefits for families by a third if their children performed poorly in school. (Because sure. Nothing promotes academic excellence like cutting a kid’s food budget and ratcheting up family tension at home.) So Fetuga went to the state capitol to confront bill sponsor Senator Stacey Campfield. When he refused to talk with her, she followed him through the hallways, asking him why he wanted to cut benefits to schoolchildren. (Fetuga: “I’m worried about the lights being cut off.” Campfield: “That won’t happen as long as you have a decent parent who can show up for two [parent-teacher] conferences.”) Fetuga was able to present Campfield with a petition signed by 2,500 opponents of his bill.
Any time you have a situation like this, of course — a kid this young expressing political views and taking action — the question is raise about using children as political props. And it’s a reasonable question to raise. To me, it comes down to a matter of motivation and whether the kid or some adult in a position of authority is behind the action. (I happen to believe that an eight-year-old can be politically aware and engaged enough to take some initiative in this kind of situation.) Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses:
No matter how you look at it, the law was absolutely using children to further a political goal.
Aamina Fetuga was just such a child and she resisted. She followed the legislators around asking the tough questions many adults, like myself, only asked while sitting on our duffs. And she seemed to have made an impact.
Campfield has since dropped the bill.
And finally: Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis gets in a kid-size dance battle at the MTV Movie Awards afterparty.
[h/t The Grio]