The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

Teen Mom 2 (1/14)

EW Description: “Prepare yourself for more tears, joy, and heartache as the girls from season 2 of 16 and Pregnant graduate to uneasy motherhood, coping with newborns, jobs, boyfriends, and complicated relationships with their own parents. Teen Mom 2 delivers hard life lessons in a compelling package.”

A couple months ago, I posted something about 16 & Pregnant. About how wonderful I think that show is and what a great service MTV does by showing it. Basically, read that post, take the opposite of everything I say, and that’s how I feel about the Teen Mom franchise.

My friends have tried to tell me there is no difference between the two, but they’re oh so wrong. Here’s the thing. 16 and Pregnant does a great job at showing the difficulties of being a pregnant teenager. The audience sees the young mothers’ struggles as they try to finish school and navigate life as a parent. It doesn’t sugarcoat anything. The audience sees the difficulties of the last months of pregnancy and we see how these young women’s lives are changing more than they realized.

Teen Mom 2 dramatizes everything. Yes, I realize 16 & Pregnant is also very dramatized, but it comes across as more realistic than the Teen Mom franchise. Teen Mom reminds me of Jersey Shore or Laguna Beach or some other similar crap. The women of Teen Mom are the ones that end up on the covers of tabloids and have their every movement followed by the public. They are the ones that are set up, in many ways, to fail from the outset. The last thing these women need is a camera crew following them around.

Yes, I realize a camera crew follows them around on 16 & Pregnant and this seems like a hypocritical argument to make. Here is the major difference, though. Eventually, the cameras from 16 & Pregnant leave. Once the baby is a couple months old, the mother’s story ends for the show. With Teen Mom, it keeps going. So, they have to keep making it dramatic in order to get people to continue watching. That is where all the bad stuff happens.

For the people who argue that 16 & Pregnant glamorizes teen pregnancy, they’re wrong. It shows a lot of the realities of how much life sucks for these young women. The real problem lies with the Teen Mom franchise.

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