Teen MOM exploiting Teen MOMS?

So I haven’t had a chance to watch the season finale of Teen Mom yet. I’ll probably watch the finale this weekend.  However from what I’ve read online this was the last season that we will be seeing Farrah, Maci,  Catelynn, and Amber.  I think one of the unique aspects to this show is that we’ve been able to watch these girls transform within the last 2-3 years from teenagers to teen moms. We’ve been able to watch babies transform into toddlers–talking, walking and saying “mommy” for the first time.   The best thing about the show is the ability to see what it’s like to be a teen mom from each girl’s perspective.  This brings me to a blog I came across this morning. http://cassieboorn.com/2010/08/teen-mom/.

This blog was written by a woman who for all intent and purposes can be described as a “Teen mom” (she had her baby at 18).  And she admits that she didn’t watch the show and doesn’t care to and she has some really VALID reasons that I really want to discuss.  One  key point is the idea that people are shocked when a young mom succeeds. In other words teen mom’s are expected to fail and expected to make numerous mistakes which is why people often turn to shows that display the negatives of teen parenting. It’s expected that a show like Teen Mom will showcase “bad-parenting”, which is the reason the show is so popular.

Another key-point: having the whole world looking at you while you “fumble”, make mistakes, and have personal issues(relationships, depression, finances) makes parenting that much more difficult. Imagine making a “mommy” mistake(all mom’s make them) and having everyone critisize you, laugh at you, “analyze” you, and paint you as a villain. This is precisely the case with Teen Mom. Another important point: people are always telling “young moms” what they should and should not be doing as a parent.  This is particularly true with Teen Mom. Everyone has had something to say(me included) about each one of these girls parenting boo-boos. This is extremely limiting for a parent–I can imagine that when these girls read comments, articles, and blogs there has to be a point at which they feel like “crap” for not being the perfect teen mom.

The most significant point that she made is that the show exploits teen moms’.   I wholeheartedly agree. We are using these young girls unfortunate circumstances for entertainment purposes. We make fun of these girls, call them names, analyze their decisions, paint the girls as heroes and villains and read about their horrible parenting styles in magazines and blogs. That isn’t healthy for these moms.  The show itself doesn’t  seem to be reducing teen pregnancy either. I’m still not sure what the show’s “message” is anymore especially since the show is heavily manipulated-with edited scenes, cuts, and “spinning”– to give off a certain image of teen parenting.  This current image is doing diddly-squat to change our minds about teen pregnancy. We already knew it was hard. We already knew the stats.  Teens didn’t seem to care then, and many don’t care when they watch the show. You’d be amazed at the series of comments  I’ve seen ranging from: “I want a baby” or “Bentley is so cute” to “I want to go on the show”.

As Cassie Boorn stated in her blog, teen parenting is tough, extremely tough. And yet this show only gives us “angles and snippets” of how tough it is. The only good about this show, in my opinion, is the ability to see a “small snippet” of each girls own experiences in teen parenting(though the same can be said about a lot of these mommy shows which paints a story about how each mommy parents).

So my 2 major questions are: what lessons if any has this show taught us about teen parenting and is this show exploiting teen moms?
Any input is appreciated.

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