MTV’s Teen Mom glamorizes teen pregnancy

Anna Simek, staff writer

We’ve all heard of the popular MTV television show, Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant, but are these shows brainwashing teens into thinking it’s socially acceptable to be a teen parent? Teen Mom is supposed to show the actual struggles and drama of teen pregnancy. Although Teen Mom shows many of the hardships of being a teen parent, many of the moms from Teen Mom have been on several different tabloid magazine covers. Normally, you would think of celebrities doing stupid things being on magazine covers, not teenage mothers claiming that being a teen mom has ruined their life. The fame of their show has gotten these young women famous for the wrong reason.

Clips and screenshots of different episodes have been seen on shows such as TMZ showing what the teenagers are doing wrong or showing something stupid they’ve done. The point of Teen Mom is to show how difficult being a teen mother is; it wasn’t created for sexually active teenagers to make over $60,000 per season just to be criticized. Though paid big dollars for each season, many of these girls claim that they cannot afford diapers or pay their bills.  Since many of these girls are on magazine covers every week, they’re making a little more than Teen Mom pays them, right? Then how are these girls complaining of not having money to pay the many bills they have acquired with being a mom, if they are getting money from every possible way they can. There are thousands of teen parents who don’t make money from shows like these, but they still find ways to support themselves and their child. 

Most teen girls are influenced by styles, music, or actions of their friends and celebrities they look up to, but these days it seems as if girls are being influenced by these shows. Although Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant are not the only causes of glamorizing teen pregnancy, in 2007, Jamie Lynn Spears, then 17, announced she was pregnant. The following year, Bristol Palin announced that she too would be a teenage mother. The media has always influenced teenagers, but this sort of media could potentially be harmful to us. Sure, teenagers make mistakes, but shows and role models like these are only glamorizing our mistakes and making them seem socially acceptable.

 If we, as teenagers, mimic everything we see, wouldn’t we think being a teen parent is cool? If it’s on a popular television show, people are probably going to think it’s cool. Take for example, the Lifetime movie The Pregnancy Pact. One teenage girl decided it would be a good idea for her and her friends to all become pregnant around the same time. She convinces her friends and they all end up pregnant. Are they happy with their decision? Probably not.  Although, all four of these girls made mistakes, they too were featured in Time magazine, thus glamorizing their pregnancies.

MTV itself is not encouraging teens to have sex or advertising to children that it’s okay to have sex at a young age, but could the popularity of Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant potentially say that being a teen parent is fine as long as you’re on TV or in a movie?