Okay, I think we should all just admit to each other that we’ve all been watching 16 and Pregnant.
Don’t be ashamed. I’ve been formulating a theory as to why it’s okay to indulge in this bit of MTV edutainment. The show satisfies the same sweet guilty-pleasure sensors as The Hills or The Real Housewives of New Jersey–but it also actually does what it’s supposed to do. At least it’s scared me into not wanting to spawn any time soon.
Basically, I think the show works on two levels. The twentysomethings I know who watch it do so because it validates their life choices. (And by “life choices,” I mean “not accidentally getting pregnant as a teenager.”) We get to feel smart, smug, and superior because, so far, we have not:
*ridden dirt bikes while pregnant, inducing labor.
*responded to pregnancy by getting a big-ass tattoo of the baby’s name.
*bought a dirt bike for an infant.
*put on makeup immediately before delivering a baby.
*decided not to breast feed because we mistakenly think it’ll lead to saggy boobs.
*bought a video-game system that cost more than the crib.
*demanded C-sections when none were necessary.
*given up educations or careers for a guy who wants to, you know, hang out with his friends.
On the other hand, I don’t really hang out with any current 16-year-olds, but I can’t imagine they’d watch the show and get the same thing out of it. If I watched this when I was 16, I’d definitely vow abstinence (or cautiousness) and immediately stop sexting pictures of myself to the entire tenth grade. (How glad am I that that wasn’t around when I was in high school?) The show really does get the message across that, if you’re a teenager and have a baby, you’re not going to get to play house with a supportive baby daddy and everything is going to be fun and adult. The daddy will play with the kid when it’s being cute, then hand it back to you when it’s time to change the diapers. And smug childless twentysomethings will snicker about it while eating popcorn.
4 comments July 9th, 2009