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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Teen Mom’ exploits with no real shame

    I’m only 38 seconds into my first ever episode of MTV’s “Teen Mom” when I realize I hate this show.

    The presentation reeks of too much post-production and the premise expounds on MTV’s semi-recent “do nothing with your life, bro!” sense of tragic identity.

    Filmed as yet another “reality” TV show, “Teen Mom” revolves around the personal stories of four teenage mothers (clever title, huh?) and their struggles going through pregnancy or raising their children, showing off a flashy interface and presenting the situation in as bright a light as possible. The girls have their issues, no doubt, but all’s well that ends well — or so it appears.

    But the show has a huge, idea-breaking problem: This isn’t some sort of fairy tale and it shouldn’t be presented as one.

    In real life, teen pregnancy isn’t something to be glorified, but MTV does this and then some by presenting this borderline pathetic, happy spin on the stories for audiences at the end of every episode.

    It’s true that there has been a decline in teenage pregnancies in the United States since the 1990s, when the rate of teen pregnancies was 117 in 1,000, but the statistics are still abysmally high. Each year, close to three-quarters of a million women in the United States, from 15 to 19, become pregnant, with two-thirds of all teen pregnancies occurring with 18 and 19-year-old women, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Guttmacher Institute. That’s 73 in 1,000 teen women.

    Pregnancies are expensive, personally taxing and time-consuming, but as illustrated on “Teen Mom,” many of these girls encounter severe difficulties at school and with their families. Some drop out and some (barely) stay in.

    It’s not cute, it’s not heartwarming, and in the end, it comes off as a shameless attempt to cash in on the kind of person that is wallowing in the same kind of situation.

    It’s easy to say “it’s just trash TV,” but there are people — specifically teenage girls — who watch MTV for more than just entertainment. Television has the ability to sway people more than most forms of entertainment, and it’s precisely for this reason that “Teen Mom” is so dangerous for the wrong crowd. It reeks of irresponsibility.

    Having recently ended its third season, “Teen Mom” remains in steady rotation for MTV — “Teen Mom 2” is coming back for its season next month.

    That first episode will be my last.

    In the end, a popular and wealthy station like MTV should be ashamed of producing something of such low quality — both from an entertainment standpoint and a humane one.

    — Joe Dusbabek is a senior studying linguistics and French. He can be reached at arts@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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