Thursday, November 17th, 2011
“How many train wrecks do we need to see?” -Jack Johnson
In the midst of the recent highly publicized false accusations of 17 year-old Justin Bieber being a dad, I can’t help but keep thinking of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. I’ve made several random jabs at the show, vaguely proclaiming my passionate hate for it; but I figure today I should explain why exactly I hate 16 and Pregnant more than I loathe Two and Half Men.
1. It glorifies teen pregnancy. Granted, I want no part in casting stones against a teen mom who is willing to keep her child as opposed to aborting him or her. But it’s pretty hard to deny that the producers of the show find ways to make the event girly, using a cutesy diary theme with cartoon drawings and voiceovers from the teen moms.
2. It makes stars and role models out of the teen moms. I personally know a 20 year-old girl who is pregnant with her 2nd child. She had her first child when she was 19; different fathers for both babies and I’m pretty sure she never really loved either of the baby’s fathers. About a year ago I remember her bragging to me: “Maci from 16 and Pregnant was here in Nashville a few weekends ago. Some people said she was at the mall…”.
The fact that it makes headline news when a 16 and Pregnant couple gets arrested unfortunately demonstrates this.
3. It doesn’t prevent teens from having unsafe sex. Sure, I can’t prove this; but I assume that there is some underlying message that the show somehow scares teenagers into being more careful about their actions. I’d say if anything, the show is more likely to promote abortion as 16 and Pregnant goes through great lengths to show how a baby is an inconvenience.
4. It capitalizes on the unfortunate. I personally believe that a lot of these teen moms subconsciously get pregnant on purpose because they are so deprived of love and attention in their lives. They are living a sad story which they are desperate to improve somehow. Like much of reality TV, the show draws in millions of viewers who secretly want to watch a train wreck to make themselves feel better about their own lives.
5. The teen dads are usually awful fathers. Of course they are; they’re still in high school, playing football and hanging out with their loser friends. On the show, the teen dads often admit to their (ex)girlfriend, the mother of their child, that A) they are not in love, B) are only still together because of the baby, and/or C) wish they didn’t have a baby. As if dads didn’t already have a bad rap in the TV world, these guys aren’t helping.
I’m not saying the show should be taken off of the air; the banning of anything is typically the best way to promote it. In fact, with the link below, I’m technically promoting 16 and Pregnant myself. But ultimately, I believe I have shared 5 solid reasons why even the mention of the show makes me cringe.
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