When MTV unveiled its new docu-series 16 and Pregnant back in 2009, producers felt that it was important to show the plight of teenage pregnancy in the hopes that the struggles of being a young parent would prevent more teens from the same fate. As the show swelled over into multiple seasons and spin-offs, viewers felt that the show began to stray from its direction and started to glamorize the lifestyle of the teen moms, but did it really lose its message?
As it popped out spin-offs Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2, some viewers seemed to think so. In a recent article on the Today Show’s blog, the Teen Mom franchise came under fire for no longer maintaining its initial image, and instead becoming “somewhat of a 90210-esque soap opera.”
It’s true that we were no longer were we watching the cautionary tale of unplanned pregnancy. And yes, we’re being exposed hookups, shouting matches, dating, cheating (or being cheated on), addiction, cosmetic surgery, and house hunting instead of crying babies. But aren’t some of those “soap-opera”-esque things the reality of growing up?
OK, the girls were getting a substantial income and didn’t have to struggle as much as they did before. And yes, we admit, their lifestyles did change a bit, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re still young mothers dealing with life as it comes to them. People tend to forget that teen moms do not stay teen moms forever. And as these teen girls grow into young women, they will contend with many of the same issues other young women their age go through. Granted, their cash-flow from MTV puts their lives on another plane, but their questionable choices in men and experimentation with substances isn’t something we haven’t seen before.
Just because these girls aren’t constantly shown on screen with a screaming baby bouncing on their hip, it doesn’t mean that their lives haven’t been affected. And in that same token, just because a girl has a baby at 15, it doesn’t mean that her life should stop or end in self-pity and wallowing for that matter.
Like the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. These girls became parents before they were able to handle it. And while their struggles proved to be a cautionary tale for many young women out there who believe the show has had a hand in the drop in teen pregnancy rates, their journey into adulthood shouldn’t be attacked. Their mistakes in the choices they make can still serve as a lesson to young women everywhere.
What do you think fans — has the Teen Mom franchise lost its image? Weigh in below!