Every Tuesday for the past few months, I’ve been tuning into MTV to catch up with my four favorite unwed mothers. I’ve followed their relationships (Maci, what were you thinking moving to Nashville for Kyle?), their many fights (Amber you can throw a punch, but I think you need to seek counseling), their troubles at home (So wait, Catelynn and Tyler, your parents are married? Are you related?), and their pending court-cases (Farrah, your mother is a looney tune, you’re right). You could say I’m addicted to the Teen Mom, but I’d say I’m just addicted to the drama (and Ryan’s face, gosh you are an asshole, but you are seriously hot).
“Teen Mom” is a spin-off show of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant”, which follows girls who are (You guessed it) in high school and knocked-up. On “16 and Pregnant” girls are followed during the pregnancy, during the birth, and soon after to see how they are coping with motherhood. Most of the girls seem/are far too young to be someone’s mother, and are captured on camera looking terrified, alone, and overwhelmed.
Teen Mom’s season finale which aired on Tuesday, beat out Jersey Shore’s latest episode, scoring 5.5 million viewers, beating Jersey’s 5.3. With Jersey Shore being somewhat of a phenomenon for MTV by consistently bringing in huge numbers and starting the “Jersey craze”, it is quite impressive that Teen Mom’s numbers eclipsed theirs this week.
“Teen Mom” follows four girls who were previously on “16 and Pregnant” : Maci, the slightly normal one, Amber, the crazed-abusive one, Farrah, the one I actually feel bad for, and Catelynn, the one who actually doesn’t have a baby. Their everyday struggles and attempts at being both teenagers and young mothers are shown and inevitably judged by the millions of people who tune in.
I can’t help but watch Teen Mom, (Okay, I’m actually addicted and am seriously invested in Catelynn and Tyler’s relationship) even though I think/know it sends a terrible message to the youth of today. While the show doesn’t hesitate to show viewers the immense hardships these young women go through daily, I think that the show makes some young, impressionable girls want to get pregnant.
Instead of getting an after-school job at the movie theater, some of these girls might think it’s a better option to get it on with their boyfriend and get paid thousands of dollars by MTV to share their story. Um, I don’t think so. “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” won’t be around for the next 18 years, but your child and your credit card debt will.
While I think that “Teen Mom” glamorizes pregnancy for people in middle school and high school, I think that at 22-years-old it is great birth control. I was equally scarred by the episode when Gary dresses up as the Easter Bunny, and when Amber literally beats the shit out of Gary. After watching I thought, I will never look at any furry bunny the same way again and that I should probably be celibate or maybe a lesbian. That way I can never end up like these two train wrecks.
Sorry girls, that’s what happens when you don’t use birth control.That five dollar pack of condoms that you didn’t spring for at the time, definitely would have been worth it. And FYI teenagers, if one of your friends told you that you can’t get pregnant when the girl’s on top, they’re wrong. The comfort of safe sex comes in a birth control pack, not a sexual position.
Honestly, “Teen Mom” tackles some tough issues like domestic violence, depression, death, unhealthy relationships with parents, and of course teen pregnancy. MTV may see this as an informative show for young people, a sort of “what not to do if you can avoid it”, but with “16 and Pregnant” about to begin it’s third season, I can’t help but think it sends a different message. It’s ironic to me that MTV runs “teen pregnancy is 100% preventable” ads at the end of each episode, while they are probably putting out casting calls in the newspapers or online for young girls who fit the criteria to be featured on their next season.
What do you think? Is the show simply entertainment? Or sending a bad message to young girls out there?
Related from The Campus Socialte: The Worst MTV Shows Ever