Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Rant and An Opinion: Why I Don't Like Teen Mom or 16 & Pregnant

Maybe it's because I'm sweating.  Maybe it's because I'm a little stressed at work with THE BIG TEST coming up.  Remember last night when I mentioned 16 and Pregnant was on in the background and that it was irritating me?  Well, it continued to irritate me for quite awhile.  Hubs was watching it as I halfway listened in disgust.

In a nutshell, here's what I think of these shows:  they are glorification of teen pregnancy at its best and exploitation of children at its worst.  When I say children, I mean baby AND mother.

I got into Teen Mom when I was pregnant with Toph and quickly found it to be a show of what not to do with your child.  I felt sorry for the girls but since I had no experience as a parent, I watched the show with rapt interest. 

Toph is born.  I continue to watch the show but this time, I start to feel a little icky about it.  Watching Amber beat the ever-loving snot out of her boyfriend in front of her child made me squirm on the inside:  what was I being a party to by watching this?

New season of Teen Mom comes on with all new moms.  Toph is about the age of the babies on this show.  My ickyness quickly turns into a range of emotions, from disgust, to sadness, to anger, to disbelief and finally, to tears.  A television program should not make me feel these emotions in the range of an hour.  I quit watching but sometimes hubs puts it on in the background when there's nothing else on; I don't blame him, it's like watching a train wreck.  This proverbial train wreck involved tiny, innocent children and I can't get behind watching that.

My worry is (and I'm sure this is the worry of many) is this:  when do teenage girls start finding this as "cool"?  You see these girls during prime time on MTV (the go to station for this demographic), you see these girls on the cover of magazines and you hear that these girls are making a sizeable amount of money for exploiting their children. I mean, why NOT get pregnant as a teenager if you could be famous?

I'll leave you with something I saw today with my very eyes, the thing that spawned this little ranty rant:  today, after a long day, I rushed out the door to go pick my baby up from daycare.  It's my favorite part of the day, I will never get over the smile on his face when he sees me in the doorway, ready to take him home.  As I'm driving to the daycare, I am behind a school bus.  I quietly pray that it does not stop and hold up traffic while the kids get out, I'm in a hurry (I'm always in a hurry, I would fit into New York City perfectly).  This bus, which is an ISD bus, paid for with our tax dollars, drives into the driveway of the day care.  I find this odd as I think, "surely, they don't let high schoolers in for after school care??"  I get out of my car, try not to sprint to the door to pick up my child.  The three 17 year old high school girls walk in with me.  As I go to the infant room to get Toph, the girls go to the two year old room to get their children.  Yes, one girl had more than one.  I watch as they walk back outside with their babies, get on the school bus with their children in their arms, and leave.  In the school bus.

We've got a problem in this country folks.  And I don't think MTV has found the answer.

Disclaimer:
I have nothing, not one thing against teen moms.  Most teen moms (incidentally, the ones not shown on MTV) are wonderful, hard working mothers.  My MIL was a teen mom (but not single) and my husband is the kindest, most caring and compassionate person I know.  My problem is with promoting it in this manner.  It's one thing to show how hard motherhood as a teen is, but it's another to not address misbehaviors by these young women.  No one is telling teenage viewers that what these girls are doing is wrong or innappropriate, and my fear is that teenage viewers with think it's right or okay.

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8 comments:

Kari said...

First off-awesome post I completely agree with you. Although I have seen many teenage girls completely repulsed by being a teen mom because of that show-so maybe it's working on a few girls? Also (not sure if this is happening to anyone else) but when I read your posts the last few words of every line get cut off on the right hand side-is that just me? I just wanted to let you know in case anyone else was having that problem.

Kari

P.s. Don't be stressed-life is much to short for stuff like that!

Nicole said...

Great post, I agree with you!! I however, kind of enjoy the show. I watch it every week when it is on and write a review of it on my blog (nicolesrandomthings.blogspot.com) But I definitely don't agree with what the show is doing. It is promoting teen pregnancy and showing girls "Ooo..when I'm 16, I can get pregnant and be on '16 & Pregnant'!!" I do agree with you that it is like a train wreck. I actually just compared it to a car accident the other day, you can't help but watch. So I'm not saying that I agree with what MTV is doing, but I do enjoy watching the show. And they definitely should not be getting paid for this. They should be doing it because they want to show the negative sides to teen pregnancy.

Cassi said...

I so agree with you.. So many of these reality shows promote all the bad there is out there and then glamorize it. The teen pregnancy shows, tiara and toddlers etc... just makes you want to cry for the ones who really have no voice in these shows the kids.

Kat said...

Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.

We do have a problem in this country that we brought upon ourselves by teaching abstinence-only education. Yes, it's the best way to prevent pregnancy and STDs, but it's obviously not the most effective in terms of actual use.

That being said, I'm REALLY uncomfortable putting the burden solely on young women. Yes, they'll likely do more of the child-rearing, but it definitely takes two to get pregnant.

The BabbyMama said...

I def. agree! I think that seeing these girls on MTV, with their five minutes of fame, glamorizes teen motherhood - or at least shows it as a pathway to "fame". Being a teen mom is one of the hardest things some people ever have to do. It's not an easy ride, and it's usually one full of misteps and tears.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Could not agree more! I used to love the show when I was pregnant, but now that Wee 'Burb is older, it just makes me super physically ill. I can't deal with the kind of neglect and the way they use their children as pawns. Very uncomfortable!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone can disagree with your thoughts on the MTV shows and the teen pregnancy epidemic. However, you anecdote about daycare was interesting. I mean really what are you trying to get across? These girls leave their children with the same people you do for 75% of their waking hours. I know how upset working mothers get when they think they are being judged by stay-at-home moms, so maybe you shouldn't judge student moms either.

gin said...

Anonymous,
My anecdote was not to judge these mothers; it was merely an observation at the fact the population of teen moms is so big that the ISDs are able to justify an extra stop in bus routes to pick up their children. In a state where bus routes are being eliminated, stops are being condensed and bus drivers' jobs are being cut, it speaks volumes that the population of teen moms is such that ISDs provide a stop for them. They would not do that for only three girls; I suspect there are many, many other teen moms who take their children to various other daycares during the day. I commend them for finishing their education and speaking for the girls who take their children to my son's daycare, I know their children are receiving top notch care in their absence.

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