Will MTV's '16 And Pregnant' Be Part Of The Solution (Or The Problem)?

Will MTV's '16 And Pregnant' Be Part Of The Solution (Or The Problem)?

Below is an article from YPULSE, which is basically a teen culture tracking blog.  What I was most interested in were the comments from teens, they hit across the board.  This is important because it points out the reality that there is not a homogeneous youth culture.  One comment in particular, “quit profiling and report on the truth”, points out the reality that many in the youth culture are getting their “news and information” from sourcese like MTV as opposed to other places.  All of this shapes their worldview and understanding. I would love to hear your comments…

16 And Pregnant

Last night I watched an episode from MTV’s new series “16 and Pregnant.” Watching “Maci” attempt to ride a four-wheeler at the end of her pregnancy made me wonder if critics who have said the series is more interested in entertaining than educating were right. That’s the challenge of taking on a social issue in a series for teens where ratings are equally as important. The cutesy notebook/hand drawn graphics and standard MTV soundtrack that plays throughout the show (complete with where to buy the songs) almost make you forget that you’re watching the often gut wrenching reality of being a teen mom. Almost.

Maci quickly goes from four wheeling to bringing her baby home and suddenly juggling childcare (grandma is daycare, of course) and college without much help from her boyfriend, Ryan. We see the couple struggle and argue and hear Maci acknowledge she had to grow up fast, quit the dance team and fight to save her relationship. Ryan continues to hang out with his friends and spends more time out of the apartment than with his new son. As an adult viewer, it’s so clear that these kids were not ready for this situation and are struggling. When Maci puts the baby down in the bed next to Ryan who is attempting to sleep, and the baby starts crying with her point being, it’s your turn to do something, you just feel really sorry for the baby. All the cool music playing in the background can’t erase that reality. MTV has also partnered with the right prevention organizations (like Stayteen.org) to provide resources and support online (though they are way below “the fold”). Still, I wondered if teen viewers would have a different perspective? Will this show be a deterrent or will seeing the cute babies actually encourage some teens who want somebody to love and feel loved back?

For some very unscientific insight, I decided to check out the show’s message boards to see what teens were saying. Here’s a quick sampling of what I found:

What a HORRIBLE idea for a show! I’m completely disgusted by this new idea. I could understand a documentary about being 16 and pregnant, but to have an entire show written around it to make these young girls stand out is simply ludicrous. I haven’t found a soul yet that I know that doesn’t feel the same way. I won’t be tuning in for this one, nor will I let my little 14 year old sister be tuning in either. This = FAILURE!

I THINK that MTV is doing a good thing in a way. FINALLY getting to the issues we as teens go thru every day. I remember last year when i had a TERRIBLE case of “baby fever”. now i’m not even thinking twice about havin a kid and im proud of myself 🙂

I mean seriously…Not all 16 year olds who get pregnant have trashy eyebrow piercings and no teeth….come on now; is this a version of 60 minutes of the Appalachian Trail or a series about pregnant 16 year olds?? Don’t get me wrong, it could just be the commercial they’re showing that make all pregnant 16 year olds look like scum, but I bet that’s not the case nation wide…MTV: don’t mask it – just because slummy 16 year olds get pregnant does NOT mean it doesn’t happen in our ritzier areas either…quit profiling and report on the truth.

Me and My friend Trina just watched the show and we had tears in our eyes. I felt so bad for the girl Maci, but I was also really impressed by her courage and strength even though her boyfriend is a HUGE jerk and needs to get his **** together. I did not have high hopes for this show, but it was a really thoughtful portrayl of these kids lives. Hopefully it influences people in a good way. If Maci reads this, me and Trina send you lots of love and hope everything works out for you and your little baby Bentley(who is super cute!)

I’m curious to know if other Ypulse readers tuned in and what you thought of “16 and Pregnant”….

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