My Blog__ Teen Mom: But What About The Kid?
Home sick today, I decided to spend the time catching up on Teen Mom, my favorite MTV addiction. My friend, Geoff says he can't watch Teen Mom because it is "too real". I, on the other hand, think that is the best part of the program, until tonight's episode which made me re-evaluate the relationship between Amber, Gary, the film crew, producers and how this effects baby Leah.
Amber and Gary's relationship saga has been tragic and unstable at best. They are constantly swearing at one another, yelling, fighting, proposing to one another with cheap jewelry and then breaking up. Amber, who in Season One started taking medication for her depression, has exposed her issues with rage - or the show has exposed it. When she is fed up with Leah's crying or Gary's lack of financial income towards the family home, she will throw the f-word into Gary's face followed by balled up fists or, as in the case of tonight's episode, a kick in the back.
As someone who has issues with anger and frustration which often results in an uncontrollable rage, I empathize with her. The feeling that over comes you in that situation is disgusting and demonic. It never feels good to break something or hurt yourself when you can't control your anger. What follows is always guilt, fear and embarrassment. "I'm ashamed of the type of human being I am," Amber said in an exclusive after-show with Gary. I can't imagine what it must be like to know that these psychotic moments are documented forever and viewed by millions of North Americans each week.
Every time Amber and Gary fight - which is every single episode - their toddler, Leah stands alone watching as they scream names like "bitch", "fat ass", "mother fucker" or "asshole" as if it's just part of their daily vernacular. During tonight's episode Gary finally lost it and took Leah away from Amber to his mother's house. This spurred on even more of Amber's rage which ended with her chucking his belongings down the stairs and slamming her foot into his back. Amber has been taking boxes classes which she is obviously excelling at. When she punched Gary in the ear tonight her fist connected to his skin like a fire cracker.
What makes me so confused is that MTV will allow this damaging situation to persist even though it is clear that this mangled mother-father relationship is on it's way to fucking Leah up for good. Not only is the kid going to have a tough enough time living with the fact that her childhood was broadcast on international television, but she is also going to be able to see the destructive, confusing relationship between her parents. What is also crazy is that MTV does nothing to intervene when these moments between Gary and Amber escalate. I can understand not stepping in when Snooki and one of The Situation's so-called "zoo creatures" are going french tip to french tip over the last bit of Ron Ron Juice (they are adults), but to let a toddler be exposed to this violence is disgusting. It's television. It's about ratings, not social justice and humanity, I get that, but tonight I just felt so terrible for Leah. MTV cuts into commercial breaks with advertisements that offer informational help for people struggling with domestic violence. This is the most they are willing to do when it comes to the child's well-being - place a 10 second ad that notes their concern but changes nothing.