Posts Written by Gretchen

The Blame Game

This post originally appeared on The PushBack.

MTV’s show Teen Mom (and its sister program 16 and Pregnant) aren’t perfect.  We’ve covered that one before.

I don’t like that they show domestic violence on television entertainment, especially when that violence is happening in front of a young child.

I don’t like that they pay the young mothers what is (in the television world) a pittance, but is (in the real world of teen parenthood) a landslide — and then don’t comment on how an extra $60,000 makes this a very-less-than-realistic reality show.

I don’t like that they glorify adoption, lauding the young women who make that choice as “selfless” and “brave” for doing so – as if the rest of them are so selfish and cowardly for wanting to raise their own children and stepping in to the role of young motherhood, even if they know it will be difficult.

But even I, who is more than willing to acknowledge the show’s (many, many) faults, have never claimed that it glamorizes teen pregnancy.  This trope is so overused it shows up in my Google alertsevery. single. day, even though the show has finished its second season (with 16 and Pregnantcurrently in its third).

I don’t think there’s anything glamorous about watching a young woman cry over failing a GED pre-test, or having an engagement called off, or taking her former boyfriend to mediation to fight for custody.  The show doesn’t shy away from documenting the sleepless nights, the missed parties, the overdue bills — and it ...