A while back, I was stating that I didn't think that MTV's 16 and Pregnant solely prevents teen pregnancies - I think it causes some as well.
And now, this seems to have been proven. Jennifer Del Rio, a teenager, and now mother of twins, allegedly got pregnant so she could get her slice of reality pie. This came out when her boyfriend filed a restraining order on her. Josh Smith claimed that Jennifer lied to him, saying she was already pregnant, so Josh wouldn't wear a condom, and would therefore impregnate her. He claims she used copies of her friend's sonograms and everything to pretend that she was with child.
What makes this story even more twisted is that the two have a history of domestic violence, and are now locked in this legal dispute, with both Jennifer and Josh holding restraining orders against the other. So much for spending time raising their twin boys!
According to this article, 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom producer Morgan J. Freeman even has doubts that 16 and Pregnant is really a positive thing for society. He states, "Frankly, it’s a challenge to stay focused on the real issues, stay focused on the real challenges in all of our girls’ lives with this sort of larger cloud of the tabloids, the media circus, the glamorizing and glorifying aspects of it."
The article goes on to make other good points, like the fact that 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom often ignore the financial aspects of raising a child. For example, Leah Messer and Corey Simms must have some major cash coming in from somewhere to pay for all of Ali's doctor visits as well as their wedding (which resulted in a six month marriage). And Amber Portwood, of course, is doing fine, on her $180,000 a season salary.
Additionally, probably because it won't bring in viewership, we don't see any really tragic stories on 16 and Pregnant. While people struggle, everyone kind of ends up okay in the end. I'm not saying they do well, I'm saying that they survive. We don't see anyone with their lights off and no running water or something really awful. Of course, I would never wish that fate on anyone, but MTV isn't showing a real portrayal of what could happen to a down-on-her-luck teenage mother.
I stand by my original statement on the subject of Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant: The first season of 16 and Pregnant was great, and did a lot to show the struggles of teen pregnancy. (Didn't we see something sick like a girl and her mom being pregnant at the same time?) Teen Mom let us see the continued struggles of the teenage mothers. But by continuing with the show, MTV is just playing a ratings game. They know people are watching 16 and Pregnant, as well as Teen Mom, and are enjoying the monetary benefits...and not caring about the societal negatives. Do I blame MTV? No. The cable network is raking in millions of dollars and paying out pennies. Their ratings are high. People are getting pregnant just to show their faces on MTV...and millions of others are watching in envy. So, honestly, if you were MTV, would you stop showing 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom? I don't think so.
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