The movie Juno is about a young teenage girl who at the age of 16 had to confront an early pregnancy. Through the protagonist, Juno, the movie sets out to present the various challenges, conflicts, stages of development and restrictions that teenagers face during their transition to adulthood. Juno faces a very big dilemma that demands her to act more like an adult despite her young age. She has to make a decision on whether to keep her pregnancy or to get rid of it through an abortion. It is a challenging decision to make considering that she is still very young and it takes an experience in the abortion clinic to help her decide on keeping the baby with the aim of giving it up for adoption later. The movie portrays how she had to make the right decision by dealing with the pressures of an early pregnancy, the emotional conflicts associated with it and the dilemma in the decision-making process. The movie portrays several ethical issues. The issue of early pregnancy is the most discussed along with others like abortion, adoption, single-parenthood, relationships and cultural diversity on various cultural values (Willis, 2008).
There is no doubt that the writer wished to address the mentioned ethical issues. With the rise in the number of teenage pregnancies in the world, the rise in the number of abortions being done daily and single-parenthood, it shows how these issues are intertwined hence the need by the writer to address them and the attitudes towards them. The presentation of Juno who is a 16-year-old pregnant teenager is therefore very intentional and the challenges she faces while making the decision about her life portray what most teenagers go through. However, the writer also acknowledges the cultural values relating to early pregnancy and abortion thats why Juno makes a sober decision of not aborting her baby but instead giving it up for adoption. The today`s society frowns upon those who become victims of early pregnancy, but the writer here seeks to change this attitude by presenting a case whereby these issues relating to sex can be discussed openly and addressed in a more mature way. Single-parenthood is also an emerging issue in society, so all of this is purely intentional as it is timely (Cates Jr, 1984).
The movie Juno makes a great attempt to create awareness about the ethical issues presented, especially teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy remains to be an issue of concern even in modern times. With the various cultural values expected from teenagers in different cultures, many teenagers who tend to go against those cultural values or expectations is bound to face some criticism from the society. This explains why when teenagers become pregnant, most become embarrassed to address the issue, some are reluctant in accepting the pregnancy and most become afraid of sharing the issue with their parents for fear of the reactions the news will elicit. This, according to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Sciences, contributes to many pregnant teenagers not being able and comfortable enough to access and use antenatal care services. The movie aims to address this issue as seen in the case of Juno. Contrary to the usual reactions expected from parents, hers are presented as being very understanding and supportive about the whole issue. Throughout the whole pregnancy her step-mother in collaboration with her friend, support her and even help her get the antenatal are. Her dad too shows great concern by inquiring about the couple who will adopt the baby. Through this, it is possible that the writer wants to create awareness on the need to provide good, healthy conditions for expectant mothers. The story also suggests that teen pregnancies can be handled in a responsible and mature manner and overreacting is not always the solution when it comes to early pregnancy. The movie does inspire the views about cultural diversity especially regarding specific cultural values. The culture presented in the movie shows great acceptance and openness towards early pregnancy. This means that the value of people losing their virginity during the adolescence period is regarded with openness in this culture. The openness helps the concerned individuals to handle the issue comfortably with the support of those around them like in the case of Juno. Generally, the significance of being surrounded by supportive people especially duringhardship times is well portrayed in this movie.
Juno is the main protagonist in the movie and therefore holds the leadership role. Confronted with the issue of pregnancy at only 16 years scares her, just like it would for any teenager in her place. However, unlike most of her agemates in the actual world who would revert to making rush decisions that could affect them later, Juno demonstrates great strength, maturity and wit as her character develops throughout the movie. She is very self-reliant although she still seeks advice from reliable people close to her who end up supporting her throughout the decision-making process and in also dealing with her pregnancy. Through her it is easier toaccept and understand that there is a healthier and responsible way of handling and dealing with teenage pregnancies. How she handled herself in the whole pregnancy period is also a thing to admire.Even though the whole pregnancy is expected to be hard and challenging for her as a teenager, she demonstrates the ability to maintain a positive attitude in the whole process. As a protagonist, she teaches the world the importance of being defined by how one overcomes the challenges thrown to them by life rather than being defined by the challenge itself.
Gauging from the various conversations and reactions that the movie elicited, it is right to say it has a great effect on culture. The controversial nature of the topic of teen pregnancy contributes to it having this effect. The movie shows how the family values are upheld depending on the culture. Those who are liberal minded; see family values that advocate for honesty and openness in discussions about sex and in which teenage pregnancy is viewed as a completely normal occurrence. This is not the case for those who advocate for abstinence as they view sex before marriage as immorality and as something that has to be avoided at all possible costs. Another cultural issue that has sparked deep conversations is the culture of abortion. Out of the fear of being a young mother, Juno`s obvious option is to abort the baby, and from the story, it is evident that most teenage girls opted for abortion and it was widely practiced as shown by Juno`s friend who admits to have helped many other girls through it. This makes some people to almost dismiss it as a show of humanist decadence but just in good time, Juno changes her mind about the whole thing and decides to keep the baby. Adoption is also a crucial area in this movie and it affects the reams of both marriage and childrearing. The movie`s perspective on this reflects most of what is happening in the world, where it is done voluntarily and the mother has a say to whom will adopt the child and the terms of the adoption without exploiting either side. The perspective on the issue of single-parenthood has an impact on the culture. The movie celebrates single parenthood and this is why it is easier for Juno to hand over her baby to a now single mother Vanessa, after her divorce. This could also be attributed to Juno`s seemingly strong stand on feminism (Tarancon, 2011).
Culture influences a bigger part of the life of human beings. The various cultures lay down norms, traditions and values that have to be adhered to by the members of that culture. However, in adhering to these values and traditions, there is also the need to consider the existing cultural diversity and therefore give room to accommodate some values, which though not in our culture, serves to benefit humanity. For instance, in this movie it is easy to criticize the act of early pregnancy since some cultures value chastity and abstinence. But by considering that some tight values seem to shut out the youths and force them to engage into even worse mistakes like abortion, it is only responsible and mature to handle such cases with care. Leadership is supposed to show the way through certain traits such as confidence, reliability,responsibility among others. This movie provides the kind of leadership that is to an extent, exemplary. One can easily admire the confidence, determination, the self-drive and resilience of Juno. Even though her early engagement in sex depicts irresponsibility on her part, how she handles it makes her a good leader. Concerning decision-making, people at every level and stage in life have to make decisions. Decisions can be made personally or by consulting others. Depending on the magnitude of the issue at hand, it is only wise to seek the opinions of others especially those who are more informed on the issue in order to make decisions that wont lead into regrets. Juno had to consult and confide her parents and friends. The entertainment industry and the media have a very big effect on mankind and this effect extends to the culture, leadership and even decision-making. How these factors are presented through these industries and media go a long way in shaping the lives of individuals. Due to this great influence, the entertainment industries and media should consider inculcating the appropriate cultural values, desirable leadership qualities and the best decision-making processes in their programs. People believe more in what they can see, so by including these in their programs it will help provide a much healthier society (Jenkins, 2004).
Jenkins, H. (2004, March 1). The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies,, 7(1), 33-43.
W. Cates Jr. (1984). Teenage pregnancy and abortion. Fertility and Sterility, 699-710.
Tarancon, J. A. (2011, May 23). Juno(Jason Reitman, 2007): A Practical Case Study of Teens, Film and Cultural Studies. Cultural Studies,, 26(4), 442-468. Retrieved March 11, 2017, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2011.591496
Willis, J. L. (2008, December). Sexual subjectivity. A Semiotic Analysis of Girlhood, sex and Sexuality in The Film, Juno. Sexuallity and Culture,, 12(4), 240-256. doi:10.1007/s12119-008-9035-9
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