Reality TV comes in Handy!
It’s no secret that a lot of people feel that “16 & Pregnant” encourages teenage pregnancy, in a very glamorous way, because after each episode airs, these teens become famous. On the other hand, there are people who believe that this show is here to bring awareness to teenagers and warn them about what could happen if they were to practice unsafe sex; I’m on this side.
How it all Started
Almost three years ago, Maci Bookout, who was a 17 year old, high school junior at the time, participated in a television series on MTV that would change her life forever. “16 & Pregnant,” first aired on June 11, 2009 with her story. Viewers watched closely as the cameras followed her pregnancy, beginning when she was 28 weeks pregnant until 2 months after the birth of her son, Bentley Cadance.
That season, America saw the stories of six, young high school girls, who all experienced being pregnant teenagers and dealing with the consequences of having unprotected sex.
Every Tuesday, viewers witnessed the young ladies dealing with different decisions regarding their actions, from deciding to keep their babies, to adoption and strongly considering abortion; although, that decision has never been made throughout the three seasons of the show.
Each episode constantly begins with a “fairy-tale” teenage life. The young, soon-to-be mothers and fathers all talk about the possibility of marriage, moving in together, building a new life, working and furthering their education. However, viewers quickly see how fast fairy-tales can turn into nightmares.
Some of the girls are forced to drop out of high school during majority of the episodes. The fathers, who promised that they would be there, leave them with all of the responsibilities. Statistics show that 90 percent of mothers under the age of sixteen will never finish high school. What makes the situation even worst is that, as a result, of strictly caring for their children, these young mothers will find themselves with no education or job skills to better their future.
Maci Bookout, along with the other teen moms, is well aware of the negative comments that come her way about the show. Despite all of the negativity, Bookout decided to do something positive; she is a public speaker for teen pregnancy prevention. However, she isn’t the only one turning a negative situation into something beneficial for others. Majority of the girls make it their duty for other teenagers to understand just how difficult parenting, at a young age, can be.
The issue of whether this show is brainwashing its teenage viewers is something that will always have many opinions surrounding it. In any case, whether America agrees or not, some may think that the show is glamorized; however, it is a show that affects thousands of teens and their families, when a “spur of the moment” decision goes wrong.
Safe sex should always be practiced, and even though the girls on the show are different, each one says the same thing, in a different manner at the end of their episode, “If I could do it over, I would have waited.” There is no rush to grow up, and this show quickly generated that message to viewers.
It’s obvious that in every episode, all of the mothers realize that their lives have changed forever; you can’t undo a baby; so, therefore, they have no choice, but to grow up. These teens are forced to make the most adult decisions of their lives before they are even out of high school. Regardless of both sides (bringing awareness or if it encourages teenage pregnancy), the show actually does a bit of both. MTV has to make money; however, they’re still providing the country with a documentary styled, reality show of a controversial issue that can’t be avoided.
Preaching the same message over and over to kids can become repetitive and sometimes make them not want to listen and rebel against what they are being told, because let’s face it, kids have to learn from their own mistakes. Sex can be difficult for parents to talk about with their children, because they don’t want to think about their child having sexual intercourse, but it’s something that must be done and they have a program on television that does it for them.