Get More: MTV Shows
With all the Teen Mom drama, it’s easy to forget that this whole phenomenon started with a little show called 16 and Pregnant. Well, the latest season of Teen Mom 2 is over, so the music network is again following young expectant mothers for a fourth season.
The new moms in 16 and Pregnant range from a mother considering adoption to a model-turned-cage fighter expecting her first child — and she doesn’t seem too excited about it.
“I’m pregnant,” one of the moms says in the trailer. “Like, what fun is that?”
MTV calls the show “groundbreaking” and claims that it helps curb teen pregnancy.
“Every episode offers a unique look into the wide variety of challenges pregnant teens face: Marriage, adoption, religion, gossip, finances, rumors among the community, graduating high school, getting (or losing) a job,” the network says of their flagship teen pregnancy show.
“Faced with incredibly adult decisions, these girls are forced to sacrifice their teenage years and their high school experiences. But there is an optimism among them; they have the dedication to make their lives work, and to do as they see fit to provide the best for their babies.”
Others criticize the network for glamorizing young parenting, troubles and all. Fans of the show are familiar with the constant legal troubles of Teen Mom stars like Amber Portwood and Jenelle Evans.
“We’re seeking out such grossness in human behavior and want such mindless entertainment,” Chelsea Handler, who admitted getting an abortion at 16, wrote in her book, Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me. “…Or 16 and Pregnant. Getting rewarded for being pregnant when you’re a teenager? Are you serious? I mean, that makes me want to kill somebody.”
A media activist agrees.
“It’s hard for me to believe that they are really sincere [about fighting teen pregnancy] when they produce and distribute so many programs that really glamorize irresponsible behavior,” Melissa Henson, director of communications for the nonprofit media-watchdog organization, told the Washington Post in 2010.
“These days, [MTV is] almost entirely focused on kids going out, getting drunk, hooking up with strangers they meet at the bar and fighting with their housemates when they get home.”