16 & Pregnant

I guess I started watching MTV’s 16 & Pregnant by accident, but now my gf and I are watching them all the time.

The show mostly has a formula. A teenager is pregnant. Those involved fight with their parents. They fight with each other. Nobody can pay the bills, so everybody has to settle for less. The relationship tends not to work out because of, usually, the mental and economic vulnerability of teens compared to others around them who have their own designs, plus the teens-in-question’s unwavering unpreparedness for the realities of having a baby.

Sometimes there is a twist. One time, the pregnant teen’s mother was in jail on drug charges, and not getting out anytime soon. Another, the pregnant teen’s teen fiance drowned in a freak accident. It is surprising how dramatic the show can be. It is (usually) the frowney-face in this- it can be so sad :frowning:

There are little silver linings here and there, though most episodes still end with a cautionary statement from the new mother, such as, “You think you’re invincible, but you’re not. Don’t get pregnant.” or a tearful, “I just wish I could have waited.” and so on. There is an aspect of train-wreck-watching, but then again the problems teens have when becoming parents can be the same problems anyone has when becoming parents. Everything is exacerbated by the teens’ generally extraordinary vulnerability, so really the show is about the universal tragedy of human frailty.

The only message that gets trough is “if i get pregnant i can get on mtv and be a celebrity”.

Well, if that is the case one might think there are things more important than celebrity. Then again, poor judgement is, intentionally or not, one of the themes of the show.

Recent evidence suggests those shows are actually responsible for helping lower teen pregnancy rates. While the moms might be briefly famous, the shows actually show how hard screaming, vomiting, demanding babies can be.

I have always thought it was an overtly craven exploitation of pregnant teenagers. I mean they aren’t even adults yet, there are babies involved, and they’ve preselected for potential train wrecks, then thrown both fame and money into the mix. Yuck!

Hasn’t one of them already turned to porn? Another been to jail? One had her child taken away?

And it’s only going to get worse. Stop and think about how ‘where are they now’ will likely look, years from now. I’m scared for all of them and their children.

Can’t watch it, makes my skin crawl.

Still, this.