Women: Teen Moms

17 Sep

Staying on the topic of the portrayal of women in the media, I want to reflect on how the media has a habit of making things look good just for tv and over simplifying the lives of women just for viewing purposes. I am sure most or you have seen or heard of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant or their spin off show Teen Mom. But if you haven’t these two shows are about, go figure, teenage girls having children. This show is the epitome of the glorification of teen pregnancy. In this show MTV basically pays a group of random pregnant teens to profile them throughout their pregnancy as well as a few years after their child is born. One of the moms is a needy damsel in distress waiting on a new man to come and sweep her off her feet after her child’s father died in a car crash. Another mom is addicted to prescription pain pills and went to jail for domestic violence against her child’s father. The next mom is a raving you know what who after breaking up with her child’s father after years, was soon locked down in yet another relationship. There seems to be an obvious pattern in the instability in these moms don’t you think? Yes they are teens, but come on; I know there are some level headed teen moms out there who aren’t looking for a man to satisfy their lives and are perfectly capable of raising their children even at a young age.

During the time this show has been aired, MTV has managed to exploit the lives of these young girls and unfortunately because they are teenage mothers, they opt to take a check rather than maintain their privacy. Not that I see a problem with the concept of the tv show. But the bigger issue is that young girls watch MTV, and young girls are watching this show and developing a false sense of what being a teenage mom really looks like. From watching a few episodes from the show I gather the idea that none of these girls really had to face the real life consequences of becoming a teen mom. In the real world, most of the time you do have to drop out of high school and even postpone college. I know so many girls who got pregnant right out of high school, my sister included, that are 9 years later, still struggling. Being like a second mother to my sister’s 3 children I get to see firsthand, the struggles of being a single parent.

Now I don’t expect MTV to come out give statistics about the teen pregnancy rates on their show. But I will:

I really think there should be some sense responsibility on MTV’s part to not only show the good times, or the staged “bad times” and arguments with their children’s fathers. MTV needs to show more of the real hardship that mothers really have to deal with. For example, on the show one of the girls sends her daughter to live with her mother while she attends college in another state. Now I am not saying that doesn’t happen, but the likelihood is very slim that a family in the inner city (people who are actually watching these programs) will actually have that same opportunity. What they don’t show and should is these young girls having to get on welfare or live in subsidized housing units (aka the projects) just to make it by month to month. They need to show young mom struggling to get their children to day care, and then having to go to work or school, all on the bus because their county check won’t cover the rent, bills, and the expenses of a car. They should be showing these young moms losing their jobs because they keep having to call off of work because of a sick baby. Or how about MTV show moms not being able to afford child care and since they may not work or go to school full time, not being able to get assistance from the government to pay for it. The teens portrayed on this show are buying homes and new cars… with NO job o_0… come on now. We all know that MTV is paying for it which is fine. But it’s just not reality and they shouldn’t market it as such. These young girls watching the show can get the impression that having a child that young is easy or not as hard as it looks… but trust me it’s much harder.

The underlying meaning behind this show is not that motherhood is hard, instead it shows young viewers that having a child at a young age is not as hard as what “grown ups” tell you it is. Unfortunately MTV is not going to pull the show from the air just because it may not be politically correct. So my advice to young girls would just be to not take anything shown in the media at face value. Trust real life experience over made up tv propaganda and all of its glorification’s.

Here is one of the more controversial clips from the show:

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