Teen Mom’s in Popular Culture

Alejandra Hernandez
Professor: Daneen
Teen Mother in Popular Culture

We all have seen many young women between the ages of fourteen to eighteen years becoming pregnant. Teen Pregnancy is something that has been around for ages, and isn’t all that uncommon now day in our society. Teen Moms are often portrayed in a negative light in popular culture media; however, some artifacts in today’s popular culture media are beginning to change those negative stereotypes. There are some common stereotypes that stick out about teen moms. A lot of the time they are portrayed as being high school drop outs, drug-addicts, and being irresponsible. According to some of our popular culture media, teen moms may not know how to care for their children. While teen moms are often portrayed in a negative light through reality shows, some artifacts are changing those negative stereotypes.

Personally, being a teen mom myself has been a challenge but it has shaped who I am today as a person. I got pregnant when I was 16 years old and still in high school. I still remember all the negative stereotypes that were portrayed in my school from teachers and from students as well. One teacher asked me if I was going to drop out from high school, because I was pregnant. I laughed and said “Even though I am pregnant that does not mean I am going to drop out just like other people do”. I know that she did not believe me but I knew to myself that I was capable of finishing school. As the months passed by, my delivery was getting closer and I had time to plan things out before I had my baby. After I had my baby, I manage school and motherhood at the same time. When I graduated I was able to show everyone that I was capable of finishing school while being a young mom. I think that all the negative stereotypes that were portrayed were false, and I prove everyone wrong. My experience as a teen mom, has been great, I have been capable of taking care of my daughter and keeping up with school work. In my opinion, being a teen mom is difficult but I think that it makes you a better person and a more responsible adult.

Teen Mom is a reality show viewed on MTV that has opened up to society what a teenage mother goes through as she raises her first child.” The show presents four teenage girls, who are now eighteen, struggling with money, school, and dating as well as dealing with insecurities, their parents, the father of their children and for a couple and a mother and daughter, domestic violence,” which says a lot about how teen moms are portrayed in popular culture media. This show has had the criticism of paying these girls in order to let people into their lives and see how they live is only in the beginning of their reality show world. Teen mom has affected the society’s perception of teen pregnancy.

Teen Mom reflects how the media has changed the way society views teen pregnancy as whole, because of the way it has “glamorized the lives of these young mothers by having them as a star in a reality show, getting paid thousands per episode, and living a celeb-reality life by making public appearances and doing various broadcast and published interviews.” This makes them sound like they are just there for the fame and to get money and that is exactly how these girls are portrayed in this show. Personally, I think that this are negative stereotypes that teen mom is getting, since all the girls act so dramatic as the episodes keep on going,

One show that does the opposite of portraying negative stereotypes about teen moms is 16& Pregnant, which is also shown on MTV. This are rarer and harder to find, because it highlights the difference of those negative stereotypes, and it gives a more accurate portrayal.This show also shows the lives of four young women who are dealing with pressures of “being teenage mothers, and along with the struggles of everyday life like, going to school, maintaining a social life, and a love life. “ This show shows the challenges teen parents have to face when having children at an early age.

16& Pregnant focuses on the difficulties of raising a child at such a young age, which make these four girls struggle throughout the episodes. This show allows these young girls to see how they feel about being a mom, and make them become more responsible adults. In one of the episodes, one of the girls accepts her unintended child and makes him wanted and grows to be a responsible mother, which I think shows the positive outcomes of teen pregnancy. I think that there are differences between unintended and unwanted pregnancies. Teenage pregnancies are unintended but it does not mean the child is unwanted, depending on the support system the mom and child get in the surrounding environment.

One born every minute is another reality show, about teen pregnancy. It starts off with Janet and Ralph who are both eighteen and recently married. They are also having their first unplanned baby. This show looks at the drama and emotion of a maternity unit, from the parents to be and the maternity staff. Even though this show is different than the other two, it also shows the different stereotypes that are often portrayed.

It is important to point out that these shows are popular amongst young viewers because it shows the drama and difficulties of being a teen parent. The successful television series lets viewers in on the lives of these young parents and how having children has affected them. These shows were originally broadcasted as a way of diverting young women’s desire to be pregnant. I think that all these tv. shows show how one can have a difficult time raising a child at such a young age, but it also shows how one can become a responsible adult.

While teen moms are often portrayed in a negative light in today’s popular culture, some TV shows are beginning to recognize that these stereotypes are often not true. The shows Teen Mom, 16& Pregnant, and One Born Every Minute are just a few media artifacts that give teen moms a chance to be represented in a more positive view rather than negative.

 Work Cited

Dolgen, Lauren. “Teen Mom› Main.” Teen Mom. N.p., 8 Dec. 2009. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. http://www.mtv.com/shows/teen_mom/season_4/series.jhtml.
Dolgen, Lauren. “MTV’s 16 and Pregnant› Main.” MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. N.p., 11 June 2009. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
Hartley, Steven. “One Born Every Minute.” Channel 4. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.

5 thoughts on “Teen Mom’s in Popular Culture

  1. Alejandra, you did a great job on your paper! I was so interested in what you had to say about being a teen mom because I do not know what these girls are going through. I think that it is really great that there are sources in the media that are starting to portray teen moms in a positive light because they are usually portrayed very negatively. In a lot of ways I respect teen moms because they are juggling so many things and yet they have such a huge responsibility. Your paper was well organized and you chose very relevant sources. I enjoyed reading it!

    • Hello Kfrey,

      Thank you so much on your comments. I choose to do this identity, because I was a teen mom myself and I know that there are negative stereotypes that are often portrayed through popular culture media. I agree, that teen moms have such a huge responsibility and they do everything they can in order to succeed. I think that some of the negative stereotypes that are portrayed are not true, and I hope those negative stereotypes will go away someday.
      -Alejandra H

  2. Hey Alejandra,
    First off great job on the paper. Your essay was laid out and very specific to the point. I think your essay applies to what many young teenagers are going through or how many people have friend/know someone who has a been teen mom. I agree with your statement saying how the 16 teen and pregnant makes the audience look at being having a baby at 16 is glamorous. I think that these shows are bad and good because it promotes teen pregnancy in a way but shows how hard it is to be a teen and pregnant. A young teen can look at these shows and want to be pregnant so they can be on a show like this and make thousand of dollars. I think that you picked out the right movies to example your paper. Again good job on the paper

  3. Hello Alejandra! While browsing through essays to read, your topic caught my eye. I have always had negative feelings about the topic because I feel that if we as Americans were more educated about sex, it could be prevented. Even though there are happy stories of families with teen pregnancy (like you! I can tell by your avatar thar you and your daughter are very happy!), there are still many cases in which the teenager is not mature enough or do not have the means to take care of a child. I have watched those shows before and I do not like h I w they try to glamorize teen pregnancy, but I do appreciate how other shows show the reality and struggle it takes to be a teen mom. You wrote a wonderful essay, I enjoyed reading it. I just wish I could’ve read about your experience being a teen mom. Great job! 🙂

  4. Hey Katie,
    I did the same thing this topic really jumps out there because it has become part of so many peoples lives. I have had the same point of view about the topic that there needs to be more prevention in the school system about safe sex, but also that if you do become a teen mom their are programs that can get you in the right direction with graduating on time and getting a job/college.

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