My Blog__ Teen Mom, Again
Teen Mom Season 2 aired on Tuesday night and I could not have been happier. In fact, I forgot that the new season was starting until I was reminded by this awesome article that popped into my inbox this morning. Anyone who reads my blog knows how I feel about Teen Mom and why I think it is an important program. My views became even stronger last spring when I had a chance to chat with Maci about her experience of sexual education, birth, pregnancy and raising a baby on television.
But back to the "awesome article." Yesterday, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun tossed in his two-blog-cents about my favorite MTV program. Zurawik stated that the problem with shows such as "Teen Mom" is the glorification and attention the girls receive for participating on the show. "It doesn't matter how much peripheral talk there is about how complicated life can get for a teenager once the pregnancy begins or the baby is born," Zurawik says. "The pregnant girl and then the teen mom are the stars." David also believes that the real damaging message in "Teen Mom"(or "Juno") is that "a girl who is feeling unloved suddenly becomes the center of the universe at home and among her friends because she is pregnant." David thinks this seductive narrative of diaper changing, moneyless pregnancy scares, loss of freedom, broken relationships, child support battles, post-adoption stress and physical pain is far too appealing for the average girl to take in. Jump off a bridge or have a baby. Someone to love you back to normalcy, right? Because women just need love--whether it's from a child or spouse--to survive.
David's statement is a good example of treating young women like "moral children" (something I talked about in my article about Maci) who are not critical enough to be exposed to certain situations and material. I think that "Teen Mom" does not romanticize teen pregnancy in the slightest, in fact, it does the opposite.
"Teen Mom" gets people asking questions. In the premiere episode on Tuesday, Amber and Gary went through a pregnancy scare. Both being unemployed and struggling with money, they went to the clinic to get a pregnancy test. It turned out Amber was not pregnant. Quick sigh of relief and the doctor sent them packing without any discussion of birth control options. Perhaps Amber doesn't use birth control for personal or religious reasons, however I think it is wrong that the suggestion is not even made. Isn't that his job as a doctor? To inform his patient to the best of her health? I mean, she had just explained how they are financially unable to raise another child, yet are still sexually active.
As much as I can get why David would think this kind of program is worrisome, his argument belittles young women and makes me annoyed. One commenter pointed out that she--as a former, single teen mom--thinks it's important that subjects like teen pregnancy and women's health are no longer being whispered, but broadcast for all to see. It opens up discussion and change. Another young girl of sixteen, commented on David's piece clearly proving that young viewers aren't as easily swayed as he believes:
I'm excited to see what happens on this season and what kind of questions pop up. I'm sure there will be plenty. Oh, and one more thing. Sick whip, Maci...