Summer is quickly approaching, and with it comes beaches, bikinis and reality television. The fourth season of MTV’s hit drama, Teen Mom, premiered on Tuesday, June 12th, much to the joy of its loyal fans across America. I am not a fan. I believe it glamorizes pregnancy for young gurls. This is not to say that the show overlooks the mental, physical and financial issues that come with having a baby at 16 – but there is still this idea being harnessed by teens that being pregnant at a young age is not a big deal. And being that Teen Mom is a spin-off of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, clearly there was enough interest in the pilot to generate a full-blown series out of it.
My problem with having teen pregnancy in the media is that rather than promote safe sex, it leads gurls to believe that being a young mother has celebrity appeal to it. It is a pretty controversial subject, don’t get me wrong, but when I see young gurls post statuses on Facebook that say, “OMG, Maci [a Teen Mom cast-member] is so cute. I want to be a mom!!!” I just shake my head at their naivety. Pregnancy is no walk in the park, nor is raising a child. I feel like these reality shows are influencing young girls negatively, whether that was MTV’s intention or not, by turning teen pregnancy into a trend. It seems like teenagers in today’s society want to get pregnant simply to have their own cute, tiny, disposable accessory. Motherhood is a full-time job, gurls. You cannot love your little boy/gurl for a year or two and then think that the hard work is over.
There’s no doubt that Teen Mom highlights the hardships that go along with raising a child at 16, but despite MTV’s best efforts to emphasize the consequences of young stupidity, the show’s main appeal is that it insinuates that teenagers are capable of taking on motherhood. I’m sorry, but no teenage gurl, without any support from her parents/baby’s father, has the mental, physical or financial support to raise a child. Granted, I know a handful of teen moms that do a great job with their kids, but more often than not these young women crack under the pressure and sometimes lose custody of their child all together.
For example, Amber from Teen Mom is filming this season from rehab. That is the reality of teen pregnancy. What blows my mind is that even though the cast members of Teen Mom clearly demonstrate how tough having a baby at 16 really is, teenagers across America seem to think that they can handle a tiny little accessory of their own. The fact of the matter is that pregnancy among regular teenagers and celebrities is all over the media, which is turning young motherhood into a trend rather than a real issue.
So to all you Teen Mom fans out there, I’m not saying you should boycott this show all together. All I’m asking is that you please take into consideration how much work motherhood really is. To all you prospective teen mothers out there, ask yourselves if you would rather spend your high school/college years paying for diapers and daycare or bikinis and beach parties.