MTV's Brand Of Birth Control: 16 and Pregnant
I admit that when I first saw the previews (yes, I'm in my 30s and watch 16 and Pregnant...don't judge), I was worried that the reality series -- which follows girls who are (guess what) 16 and pregnant -- would merely glamorize the idea of getting knocked up at such a tender age. Like, wow! Who knew Juicy made maternity pants? And such.
But I admit I've been impressed. The show has shown the terrifying reality of teen mamahood, complete with deadbeat teen dads and wailing newborns who refuse to sleep through the night, if at all.
One of my personal faves has been Maci, an overachieving Tennessee teen whose dumb-ass boyfriend actually wants to take her riding on a four-wheeler during her ninth month. (When the blessed moment arrives and she tells him, "It's time," he actually says, "Time for what?") Despite her situation, I found myself cheering for Maci as she struggled to stay in school, hold down a job, and take care of her son, mostly on her own. She never whined or blamed her station in life on anyone but herself.
Less appealing but probably more realistic is the episode starring Farrah, a cheerleader who shows up for labor in full make up. Eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, the whole nine yards. She then goes crazy apologizing to the hospital staff for "having to stare at my crotch" and begs her world-weary mother to take turns watching the baby once she arrives. While my first instinct was to roll my eyes and laugh, I softened when I realized this kid is sixteen. When I was sixteen, I spent my nights blissfully alone in my room reading and listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival (which is probably why I didn't turn up sixteen and pregnant, but I digress.)
In the season finale airing this Thursday, a young girl named Catelynn struggles with her decision to place her child for adoption, and the sneak peek on MTV's website made me tear up instantly. It's great the program is showing adoption as an option despite how painful it must be.
But I have to admit what bums me out more than the tough places these girls and their babies find themselves in is the fact that so many of the teenage ladies in the series have discovered themselves knocked up by the laziest, most shiftless boys on the block. With the exception of the third episode's Amber, whose boyfriend wishes to be "a stay at home dad" and who seems deeply concerned for both partner and child, the pile of sperminators profiled in this program make me super depressed.
Why are these girls dating these losers, much less opening their legs to them? While 16 and Pregnant tackles the tough realities of being a teenage mother, I'd love to see more about why these girls Did the Deed with such a bunch of morons in the first place. These young women are worth more than that, and it kills me that they've had to go through such a tough lesson to realize it -- if they've even realized it at all.