‘Teen Mom’: The Line Between Reality & TV

Posted: August 5, 2011 by jerkmag in POP - pop culture

I can’t even count the number of people I’ve heard say something like “16 and Pregnant makes everyone think it’s okay to get pregnant because MTV will make them famous.” Yes, I’ll agree with that. Why? Because the show carried on past the first season, not because it existed in the first place. I think that if MTV wanted to broadcast a show that followed the lives of knocked up teenagers, it should have been a one-time deal to show what life is really like once a baby is involved, and how hard it is to properly raise a child when the mother is still a child herself.

Before I get slammed in the comments, I believe it is possible for SOME teen parents to properly raise a child, but it is not possible for the majority of teen parents. If you’re that exception, kudos. But realistically, I’m not about to sit here and tell people that because you are such a fantastic exception, they should get knocked up and experiment for themselves to find out if they too can raise a kid of the same caliber.

I think that having a second and third season of this show is what would really plant the idea into people’s heads that applying to be on the show is just another option they could have once becoming pregnant. So for that, I’d say MTV is irresponsible. That’s when you know it’s about making money, and using teenaged Fertile Mertiles for their own selfish gain.

However, a few nights ago I tuned into MTV to watch the latest “Teen Mom” episode. “Teen Mom” is a spin-off of the first season of “16 and Pregnant” that follows moms from SAP into their new lives, as, you guessed it: teen moms. Amber Portwood is one of the four moms on the show who has been all over the tabloids with stories highlighting domestic violence as well as her mental health struggles. MTV obviously captured these moments on video, and Amber has since been harassed by anyone who has seen the show and thinks she is a crappy mom.

This was the first time I’ve ever seen someone talk honestly about the negative consequences of being on a reality show, DURING the actual show. I am a huge reality television junkie; I know my reality TV. When it comes to shows like these, speaking about the cameras and the effects of the show on their everyday lives is completely taboo.

But, MTV allowed Amber’s comments to be aired on television, which I was really happy to see. She talked about how she’s been getting such bad press and how she can’t even step out of her house without someone yelling at her or throwing something at her for being a bad mom. I won’t give MTV my full support, because I still disagree with their decision to continue both series, but I will give them a high five for being responsible enough to air Amber’s segment.

-Julia Fuino
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