When "16 and Pregnant" ( http://www.mtv.com/shows/16_and_pregnant/season_2/series.jhtml ) premiered last season, I was instantly swept into MTV’s newest reality show.
When I was in High School, the mere thought of getting pregnant was the best birth control I ever needed. While none of my immediate friends struggled with what is now a teen epidemic, you couldn’t help but notice the girls in HS that did. Coming from a somewhat young, Southern family, I had family members that could share their own experiences of being a teen mom.
The thought was frightening and so I pledged, like a lot of girls, to “wait till marriage.” While that’s kind of a grey issue now, I took it very seriously in HS. I was the President of a faith based group call “Worth Waiting For” (or WWF.) Yes, I was that girl who wore the shirt with the intertwined wedding rings and a big “WWF” on the back. As nerdy as it may seem now, I truly had a passion for preventing teen pregnancy.
As part of the organization, I would go to area Middle Schools and talk to the 8th grade Health Ed classes about the risks of teen sex and why waiting would allow them to do everything they wanted to in High School without the worry of STD’s, emotional issues or pregnancy. I guess at the time, I felt it would reach them better than a teacher getting up and reading about it out of a book.
I think most parents try to scare the hell of their child by preaching about how “it only takes ONE time.” For some kids, that works. For others, they push the envelope and insist on making their own choices. Combine that with a lack of education on the subject, sadly, some of those girls end up on a show like “16 & Pregnant.”
The MTV reality show has seen its fair share of controversy. Some opponents think that MTV is glamorizing teen pregnancy. I can see where some people might think that because some of the show’s “stars” are showing up on magazine covers, telling their story. But if you really watch the show, it is heartbreaking. It features a wide range of girls – middle class families, low-income families, black, white and everything in between. Southern, Northern, Mid-West girl. Girls from married parents, girls from single teens moms. Cheerleaders. Band geeks. Homecoming queens. It does a wonderful job at showing that teen pregnancy can happen to anyone.
It chronicles from when they found out they were pregnant, to how they told their parent(s), dealing with their baby’s father involvement (or lack there of,) delivery and raising a newborn. It features real struggles like money, not finishing high school, pushing off college, losing friends, making ends meet, challenges with their parents and the father of their child. In my opinion, it never makes teen pregnancy look glamorous or easy.
In my opinion, I truly feel they should incorporate this show in middle school and high school sex ed curriculum. There a lot of kids that never learn about consequences of teen sex and I feel this show brings a very real feeling to something that ultimately should be experienced in a loving marriage between two consenting, committed adults.
Anyways, that’s my take on it. In my next blog, I’ll address being damn near 30 and pregnant.