In 2009, 16 and Pregnant premiered on MTV, closely followed by the spinoffs Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2. Because of their controversial portrayals of teenage mothers, the shows have received ongoing media attention. While some argue that the programs could play a factor in reducing the number of teen pregnancies, others claim the shows exploit young women and glamorize their situations. Among these debates, there have been surprisingly few in-depth discourses that discuss the roles such shows have on teenage audiences. In MTV and Teen Pregnancy: Critical Essays on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, contributors from a variety of backgrounds and expertise offer potent essays about these programs. Divided into four parts, the book tackles the controversial representations of teen pregnancy from various disciplines. Part I explores gendered social norms and the shows’ roles as either educational resources or idealized depictions of teenage motherhood. Part II prompts readers to consider the intersections of race, class, gender, and the social and cultural power structures often glossed over in these programs. Part III focuses on teenage fathers, the portrayal of masculinity, and “good” vs. “bad” parents. Part IV draws from TVs representations of reality to discuss the impact of these shows on the viewing audience. This section includes a narrative from a teen mother who argues that the shows do not accurately reflect the life she leads. As the debates about 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom continue, this collection provides a valuable critical discourse to be used both inside and outside the classroom. Those engaged in courses on gender and women’s studies, as well as media studies, social work, and family and childhood development, will find MTV and Teen Pregnancy especially insightful—as will those involved in community outreach programs, not to mention teens and young mothers themselves.
mtv, 16 and pregnant, teen mom, teenage motherhood
Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology
Guglielmo, Letizia M., "MTV and Teen Pregnancy: Critical Essays on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom" (2013). 2013 Faculty Bookshelf. 10.
Essay on Mtv's 16 & Pregnant Glorifies Teen Pregnancy
1582 WordsMar 29th, 20127 Pages
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 86 percent of mothers who give birth out-of-wedlock are teenagers. MTV’s show “16 & Pregnant,” which has only been on air since June 2009, is already reflecting the rapid boom in teenage pregnancy across various cities in America. Since the early eighties MTV has been considered somewhat of a cultural phenomenon for American adolescents and its depiction of gender has a strong impact that continues to this day (Holtzman 2000). Created by Morgan J. Freeman (director of teen shows Dawson’s Creek and Laguna Beach), the show “16 & Pregnant” has been said to be guilty of exacerbating, normalizing and even glorifying teen pregnancy. Perhaps, it’s just reflecting a current social dilemma…show more content…
Her life becomes a lot more complicated when she finds out she is pregnant. Farrah’s best friend turns on her spreading nasty rumors, forcing Farrah to finish school online. Farrah's ex-boyfriend, also the baby's father, begins to harass her after he finds out she is pregnant which leads her to change her number. “I would have never lost my virginity to someone I believed would treat me like this,” Farrah exclaims about her ex-boyfriend. Farrah struggles with single motherhood and has to deal with a judgmental parent who looks down upon her decisions. Episode two again reinforces traditional American cultural beliefs of female gender roles by portraying the woman as the single mother, ultimately responsible for the child, showing the girl dealing with emotional problems while trying to hold the family together, tasks and situations often associated with femininity. These images become engrained on a young viewers minds and being sixteen and pregnant becomes just another fad for young girls to consider. “MTV has a long history of reflecting the lives of our viewers with compelling reality stories," says Tony DiSanto, MTV's president of programming. The program’s featured girls come from rural Mid-Western or Southern states, usually from small, working-class towns, in attempt to appeal to teenage girls of the same background. The implicit message at the