Andrea’s ‘90210' Defenders Skip Reality
I applaud the way that the “Beverly Hills, 90210" family has rallied around Gabrielle Carteris and supported her decision to have a child and keep working (“That ‘90210' Piece--It’s Rubbish”; “Television Doesn’t Need Any More Women ‘Victims,’ ” Counterpunch, March 28). But, in their Counterpunches responding to my commentary, “On the Dumping of a ‘90210' Role Model” (March 15), there is a certain confusion between what’s good for the actress, a 30-year-old woman with a well-launched career, and what’s good for Andrea Zuckerman, the character she plays on the show, an 18- or 19-year-old girl in her first year at university.
The “90210" producers and writers are not parents standing by their teen-age daughter who wants to keep her baby after getting pregnant by mistake. Rather, they are opinion makers who have a responsibility to a very large teen-age audience who may face pregnancy before they have finished schooling.
Having a baby is hard--financially, emotionally, physically--under the best of circumstances. Total up the stress of earning (or borrowing) enough money to pay for tuition, rent, food and clothing; finding and affording suitable child care; shopping, cooking, cleaning and looking after a baby when you’re not at school or work; and studying enough hours to get the high marks required for medical school admission--all on just a few hours of sleep a night--and it becomes evident why scriptwriters Rosanne Welch and Christine Pettit think Zuckerman should be “canonized.”
Of course it’s possible--and eventually desirable--to have both a family and a career, but the point is that Zuckerman, unlike Carteris, is doing it the hardest way possible. By making Zuckerman have a baby before she finishes her education, the “90210" team has narrowed, not widened, her choices and made teen-age pregnancy appear to be an attractive option. In the real world, her chances of ever becoming a doctor would be slender indeed.
I wish her luck on the rocky road the “90210" writers and producers have selected for her. But I wouldn’t want my daughter to follow her example. Or my son, for that matter.
JUDY SKLAR RASMINSKY
If Zuckerman is a modern, intelligent woman, then I’d like to know how she wound up pregnant. Isn’t she aware of birth control? Has she considered that her partner may be HIV positive, or have they both been tested?
Writers Welch and Pettit posture themselves as ‘90s feminists. Their Counterpunch assures us that they are “not anti-men” (as though that were relevant to this debate). I am left to assume Welch and Pettit consider it anti-male to insist that a man take some responsibility for birth control. Andrea is hardly a modern young woman. She is the same young woman we’ve been fed for years--one who is victimized by her own passivity, unable to demand her partner use protection and yet not willing to take responsibility for it herself.
Carteris (“On Andrea and Motherhood,” March 28), and the show’s producer, Charles Rosin, have rationalized Zuckerman’s pregnancy to avoid the economic and creative problems that Carteris’ real-life pregnancy poses. They throw around such words as choice when explaining why the TV character is keeping her child. Statistics show that single mothers don’t have many choices. They end up living in poverty.