Only a few short months ago, October 2010 to be exact, I had never heard of the MTV reality show, Teen Mom. Then my friend, Megan, changed my life. Well, okay, maybe not my life, but she did give me a new favorite show and another soap box. With Teen Mom 2 recently airing, the television show has been receiving a lot of negative media attention, most of which with I do not agree. Accuse me of defending "trash TV" all you'd like, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
A lot of people close to me beg to differ with my love of and opionion about Teen Mom, my dad to name one. About equal numbers stand behind me. Please feel free to leave your opionion on my blog; I welcome the controversy!
Here goes nothing:
In my opinion, Teen Mom certainly does NOT promote or glamorize teen pregnancy. Now, I can entertain the opposite opinion as well. I understand the standpoint that the show might encourage young girls to try to get pregnant. However, I personally do not believe that to be the case. Becoming a pregnant teen requires a series of decisions that reality television can neither prompt nor carry to completion. The teenager must choose to engage in sexual intercourse and fail to use protection or use it incorrectly. Now I'm really going to play devil's advocate and argue that I think these decisions come NOT from watching "been there, done that" examples (like Teen Mom) but from the opposite entirely. I think poor sexual decisions come from ignorance--often due to parents refusing to face the reality of sexual promiscuity in their child.
Stop reading. Take a deep breath.
I am 100% not saying that parents should encourage premarital sex. Quite the opposite. I fully believe in instilling a deep respect for abstinance before marriage. However, I also believe in being real. Open communication is key. So is a healthy dose of reality. In my opinion, if sex is something that is openly discussed (in a collaborative parent-child way), it won't become taboo. If the topic isn't taboo, the teenager will be comfortable being honest with the parent regarding his/her sexual decisions. If this is true, and the teenager has been equipped with the appropriate knowledge and chooses to engage in sex, he/she will be able to discuss this choice with a parent. Hopefully the parent will then be able to face reality and educate about birth control options. In a nut shell, the contraception aisle is not the place for wearing rose colored glasses.
What does this have to do with Teen Mom? Basically, if a teenager had the knowledge and confidence to discuss sex and teen pregnancy with a responsible adult, he/she would not be "vulnerably" affected by reality TV. It is not MTV's responsibility to raise your children. It is not Teen Mom's fault that teenage girls are becoming pregnant. And this is coming from a proudly conservative Rupublican to boot!
I fully intend on teaching Jackson what the Bible says about sex and the marriage covenant. But call me crazy, I also plan on telling him what a condom is! Believing in and teaching abstainance in your household does not excuse you from reality. During a dinner conversation with an ex-boyfriend's little sister, I heard first hand what a danger this way of thinking can be. My mom always openly discussed sex with me, and I feel I was pretty responsible with these decisions.
Back to Teen Mom--anyone who has ever really watched the show would have to agree that the show does anything but glamourize teen parenthood. Who wants to struggle for your GED, be unable to enjoy senior prom, deal with the pain of choosing adoption, move in with your parents when all of your friends go away to college, or constantly fight with your partner? Actually, I think this show displays mostly the ugly truth about teen parenthood. First steps and story time are certainly overshadowed by financial struggles and a lack of sleep.
If you have been following the media controversy but haven't acutally seen the show. I challenge you to watch it. Tell me what you think. At very least, enjoy an hour of "trash TV." It'll be fun.
This should be good.