It’s time for another season of MTV’s hit reality show Teen Mom, which means young people everywhere are tuning in to receive valuable information about safe sex and the realities of raising a child when you’re still a child yourself. Only that’s not what’s happening at all when folks tune in to the show. So I make this plea to people the world over — myself included — please. Can we all stop supporting this terrible series (that is also strangely addictive if you like to watch things that make you really, really angry)? Here are a few reasons to boycott this madness.
Actually, Teen Pregnancy Looks Pretty Awesome
Wait. So, if I’m a teenager in America, and I get knocked up, there’s a chance that I might end up on television? And if I have enough drama, and get into enough Twitter beefs with my fellow co-stars, I could get my own spin-off series? Oh, and then there’s the part where I’ll get paid as well? Sign me up (10 years ago).
Parents Everywhere Achieve A False Sense Of Superiority
Confession time. How many of us watch this show and -- 15 minutes in -- are suddenly parenting experts and/or the best parents ever, because we never once demanded that our Mom babysit for us so we could go on a date with some guy who was not the father of our child? And how many of us pat ourselves on the back because we never got into a screaming match with our babydaddy on the side of the highway? This show makes even the most mediocre parents look top-notch, and turns the rest of us into judgmental, unsympathetic, know-it-alls.
The Adult Parents Of The Teen Parents Are, Often, Equally Horrible
While there have been some parents on the show (teen and otherwise) who were actually not so cringe-worthy, most seasons are just filled with bad parenting left and right. Now, granted, the label of ‘bad parenting’ may be complicated, but let’s just say that many of the teens receive so much “help” from their parents, one gets the sense that they’re not even getting the full brunt of [teen] parenthood, and -- as a result -- neither are the viewers.
An Entire Demographic Of Teen Moms Are Inexplicably Left Out
After years of this show being on the air, you’d think there would have been a handful of teen parents from inner city neighborhoods. Not that diversity would necessarily make up for everything else that is problematic on Teen Mom, but the fact that so many of the girls live in decent-sized homes, in decent neighborhoods adds to a certain glamourized depiction of teen motherhood in America.
Teen Moms Get Turned Into Reality TV Stars
Granted, we are living in an age where fame is not necessarily relative to possession of a particular talent or skill. But one of the most devastating truths about the Teen Mom series is that it turns young, often troubled mothers into celebrities. It’s like taking a troubled child star and handing her a baby, and then sitting back to videotape the results. We’ve seen many of these girls (Jenelle Evans, Farrah Abraham, Amber Portwood, etc.) become walking trainwrecks and fodder for the tabloids. And in all that drama and junk entertainment, it’s easy to forget the children.