Sunday, July 19, 2009

16 and Pregnant--Social Commentary or Precautionary Tale?

I watch a lot of TV (hard to believe, huh?) and I love reality shows. From the Real World in New York to Survivor, this genre exploded into a huge industry that threatens the very fiber of television as we know it. Give a group of people who wouldn't normally interact a topic and an opportunity and watch what happens....makes for pretty good TV in general.

Then producers (mainly MTV, where these pictures come from) thought it would be fun to expose the lives of teenagers.
From Made (I suck as an individual, but I want to be the popular kid/prom queen/cheerleader/football star/skateboarder/ladies' man) to

True Life (I'm the Black SHeep/I Have Tourette's/I'm Broke/I'm Jealous) and

my favorite, Parental Control (My gf/bf is incredibly disrespectful to me and my parents think that I need another woman/man;

[Sidebar: If my boyfriend ever talked to my parents like some of these kids do, he would be a memory, right after my dad kicked his ass. End sidebar.]

these teen-themed shows are an interesting look into how different their lives are compared to mine 10-15 years ago. Then I look up and what do I see?

This show is about several young girls who share something in common (obviously): They're 16 years old and they're pregnant. The show doesn't focus on girls from any particular background or socioeconomic status. There's the small-town girl who didn't have anything else to do; the cheerleader whose boyfriend left after he found out; the girl who dreamed of going to the military; the girl whose mom was also pregnant; and my favorite, the girl whose mom was married to her boyfriend's dad (it was after the boy and girl started dating, but still), among other girls.

I was concerned about what this show was saying to young ladies. Is this telling young women that it's okay to be knocked up and you can make it through, or is it telling them that a baby is not a joke and that they should reconsider getting pregnant when they can't take care of themselves? The other interesting thing was the parents/guardians for these kids. One parent nitpicked at her princess about everything, including dismissing her concerns about the delivery. Another didn't want her child to give the baby up for adoption (she and the father did anyway). This girl was the only one who chose this option, although one other girl thought about it, but decided against it.

All in all, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I admit, it's by the grace of God that I wasn't one of them. I talk to the young people in my life and remind them that it change your life! I will be watching the last show of the season, where the girls come back and discuss their feelings about their episodes and about how motherhood is now that the baby is here. More to come....

What do you think?


blissraine said...

Its definately a sad thing to see, However teen pregnancy is a real issue and I honestly think that some of these little kids out there having unprotected sex need to watch this show.......

sabrina said...

True, but how much will this show do to change this statistic?

[fŭng'kē] [blak] [chik] said...

I think b/c it's on TV it's glamorizing the whole teen pregnancy issue and isn't a remedy at all.