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Five Reasons Why “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” Should Be Taken Off the Air

By HERWriter Guide
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The general view of the MTV shows "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" is that they are train wreck television in all its tacky, dramatic and salacious glory.

MTV said it wants to show the gritty reality of teen pregnancy, and that these shows serve as a warning to other young teens. Television shows need to be watchable, and garner enough interest to bring viewers back every week. But what MTV actually does to get these viewers is to fill these shows with high drama, sex, violence and story lines that would shame a soap opera.

From make-ups to break-ups to domestic violence and loss of custody, "Teen Mom" has it all. And because of this, five good reasons emerge why these shows serve as nothing more than an invitation to be a star – as long as you’re a pregnant teenager with a back story to rival the characters from Beverly Hills, 90210.

Inspiring pregnancy:
Many teens who watch "16 and Pregnant" end up thinking that these girls and boys have difficult lives that offer no appeal. But ironically, having spoken to many teens on this topic, it’s clear that the kids who feel this way are the same kids would probably wouldn’t end up as teen parents anyway. These kids don’t look up to the teen moms, they use them as warning signs. If this is cool, they’ll take a pass. But the demographics most in danger of getting pregnant--young girls from poor and broken families, having a history of abuse or neglect or having had a teen mom themselves--are the ones inspired by this show. Not inspired to choose a different way of life, but to copy these girls and have a baby. Girls are trying to get pregnant in order to be on the show. This is simply a fact. Pregnancy has suddenly become a career opportunity. Girls talk about how famous the teen moms are, and how it must be great to be on TV and have their faces plastered on the covers of magazines. Because that’s the real reality of this “documentary” – it’s inspires others to follow suit, the very opposite of what MTV claims to want.

Exciting auditions:
MTV asks that teens apply to the show as soon as they’re pregnant because, obviously, “time is of the essence”.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

What a disappointing article. I admit I read the whole thing, but it was hard to finish after reading "Girls are getting pregnant to be on the show. This is a fact." ...Is it, though? As a writer, when you clearly state something is a fact (ie: many girls purposely getting pregnant to be on the show as a "fact") you need to cite your sources to back up this claim. It's truly Journalism 101. For decades the teen birth rate was climbing- the US had some of the worse statistics in developed countries. But then after the show aired a funny thing happened- out of nowhere, teen birth rate began DECREASING...drastically. Researchers have actually coined this "The Teen Mom Effect" because it correlates so strongly with the show beginning. I'm not sure if we're allowed to post links of here, so I'll err on the side of caution. But I highly suggest reading the latest research on the subject. One such study (very detailed and polled teens in all 50 states) said that one of the main contributing reasons they began using birth control when the previously had not was due to something they saw on either "16 or Pregnant" or "Teen Mom". EIGHTY TWO percent said the show had an impact on them. Do you understand how huge that it? This SHOW does *not* glamorize being pregnant in the least. I have a hard time believing you've watched it much if you claim this. Physical abuse, a crying, sick infant, crumbling relationships, court cases, and loss of normalcy--what's glamorous about that?. Some of the situations these girls go through are heartbreaking to say the least. Of course, being on a TV show of any kind comes with media attention. While the girls are recognizable to certain demographics, they are not A-list stars by any means. And to say that "lots of young girls" are purposely getting pregnant is preposterous (again, please site your source). To begin with, 16& Pregnant is not even on the air, and hasn't been in several years now. They're not casting for it. Like anything, there will be copy cats. But for every 1 girl (who would most likely be mentally unstable to begin with if they got pregnant to try to get on a TV show that's not even in production) taught 200 girls safe sex methods and prevented unwanted pregnancies, that's not a fail- that's success. I once heard someone rebut this argument by saying "It's the equivalent of a thin person trying to become obese to get on a weightloss show". The thing is this show DOES reach the low economic young women- those most at risk. And throughout each show information on safe sex and resources to find out more is heavily worked into the store line / ads. I never understood the "it's so bad!" argument, when many researchers themselves praise the show and it's effects, which they dub "The Teen Mom Effect"

August 17, 2015 - 12:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Very very very well said. The writer of the article seems to have forgotten how to use fact check. Are people really still arguing that this shouldnt be a show when its done so much good and changed the teen pregnancy rate??!!!

August 17, 2015 - 12:43pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon! 

My post was an opinion piece and as far as 16 and Pregnant not being cast anymore, I wrote this in 2011.  An opinion piece that can be checked by looking up MTV's reality show "tryouts" and reading the requirements and reading my piece properly although you did say it was hard for you to read so no worries there.

Opinion pieces do not need to quote sources. They can, but they certainly don't have to.  Most don't. This piece was tagged as an "opinion piece" before publication. 

Teen pregnancy rates peaked in 1990 and has been going down ever since.  This has nothing to do with the MTV shows that started well after this.  In fact, 16 and Pregnant debuted 19 years AFTER the start of the decline of teen pregnancy!  

"Teen pregnancy rates fell 40 percent from 1990 to 2008, the latest year for which complete data are available, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

The report, which details pregnancy rates for 2006 to 2008 for U.S. women aged 15 to 44, also found pregnancy rates were declining among women in their 20s and increasing among women in their 30s and 40s.

Overall, there was a total of 4,248,000 live births, 1,212,000 induced abortions and 1,118,000 fetal losses in 2008. The estimated pregnancy rate for 2008 was 105.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, which is about 9 percent below the 1990 peak, the new report showed.

The U.S. teen pregnancy rate declined continuously during this time period, except for a brief upturn from 2005 to 2006. This decline was more pronounced in younger teens. The pregnancy rate for teens aged 15 to 17 declined by almost one-half from 1990 to 2008, while the rate for older teenagers declined by about one-third over this time period.

Some racial and ethnic gaps in teen pregnancy rates exist. In 2008, pregnancy rates for black and Hispanic teenagers aged 15 to 19 were two to three times higher than the rates for white teenagers.

The overall decline in teen pregnancy seems to be continuing. The researchers report that more recent birth data for teenagers show that the birth rate has continued to fall from 2008 through 2010.

So what is driving these trends? "The overall fertility has dropped a good bit in this country, and pregnancy rates are also going down, presumably because people are more careful about contraception," said Dr. John Santelli, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist who is the chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York City.

"Women are increasingly delaying childbearing into their late 20s, 30s and sometime even their 40s, which will lower the rates right there," he said. The reasons are twofold: Some women are pursuing careers and the contraceptive use has also improved.

There have been pretty consistent declines in the teen birth rate and teen pregnancy rates since 1990. "This is good news," Santelli said."


I'm not sure if I should respond anymore since you just responded and agreed to your first post which makes me wonder what your point is. Why are you responding to yourself as if you are a third person?   You just told yourself that your post was "Very very very well said." Maybe I should not interrupt the self-congratulatory two- way conversation you're having with yourself! 

Take care! 


August 17, 2015 - 1:32pm
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