if you haven’t seen the movie philomena, do yourself a favor and schedule a time to see it. i won’t say too much about the story than is revealed in the official description from the production company:
“based on the 2009 investigative book by bbc correspondent martin sixsmith, the lost child of philomena lee, philomena focuses on the efforts of philomena lee (judy dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock – something her irish-catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of – and given away for adoption in the united states. in following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow for any sort of inquiry into the son’s whereabouts. after starting a family years later in england and, for the most part, moving on with her life, lee meets sixsmith (coogan), a bbc reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son.” source: rottentomatoes.com
there is so much more to the story than that simple description, but i’m very glad i didn’t know more. as the story is revealed through the movie, there are layers and layers of deception and irony, anger, disappointment and some forgiveness. what struck me about philomena lee was her lifelong attachment to her lost child. maybe that would seem like a duh! idea, but it’s so often how we think about boys who father children.
but what occurred to me after i watched the movie was how i would like to see a movie about a teenage pregnancy from the boy’s perspective. i’m going to choose to reject the notion that all boys just saunter along, conveniently forgetting about the girl and a child that is also part of them. i’m also going to reject the snickering hollywood portrayal of sperm donors.
certainly boys are never made to feel the same sense of shame at fathering a child out of wedlock, but they must feel something. or, is it that an unborn baby is just so theoretical to men that they are unable to make any kind of association or connection? i think there are boys who feel badly about the inequality of punishing attitudes toward girls who are sexually active vs. young boys who are. maybe they don’t have the capacity to feel it when they are young, but i’m betting they do as they get older.
there seems to be research being done recently that hopes to examine the thoughts of these fathers and maybe giving them a voice.
and maybe, if we read and hear and watch their stories, or more importantly, when other boys are exposed to these stories we could witness a change in attitude. imagine the benefit to young teenage mothers and most importantly to the children.