Teenage pregnancy has recently been the new “hot” topic of the mass media everywhere from movies to families of high governmental status and everything in between. It seems lately that the media is ‘glorifying’ and ‘normalizing’ teenage pregnancy by making it a widely accepted subject. The media makes teen pregnancy look easy, but what isn’t shown are the actual hardships and struggles of a child raising a child.
Another issue about teenage pregnancy in the media is that it rarely mentions the use of contraceptives or STD testing. “‘It's the missing three C's: there's little commitment, no mention of contraception and rarely do we see negative consequences,’ says Jane Brown, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina who runs the Teen Media Project. ‘What's missing in the media's sexual script is what happens before and after’... They also seem to be glamorizing unprotected sex. Every girl on the television show Teen Mom, admitted that they were engaging in unprotected sex at the time they became pregnant. Shouldn’t we be showing teens how to appropriately use contraceptives and get tested regularly for STD’s? It is shown that television shows such as 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have brought the issue of teenage pregnancy to the viewers’ attention, who are mostly teens themselves, that teen pregnancy can happen, but if the girls on television can do it and have their own television show, so can they.
One of the major controversial pregnant teenagers was Bristol Palin who was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. The daughter of Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin, who spoke openly and highly about her abstinence-only sex education plan, took the U.S by surprise when she announced that she was pregnant. The same goes for Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears, the little sister of pop singer, Britney Spears, who found out she was pregnant at the age of 16. The second controversial issue surrounding pregnant teens is the “Pregnancy Pact”, which was a pact, made by 18 girls in Gloucester to get pregnant together. This was a major story on the news and in the media for weeks and was still mentioned months after. Lifetime even turned it into a hit movie. Please view the MSNBC for more information:
What are your thoughts on this report?
This new “hot baby fad” is striking our nation and it doesn’t seem to be dying down at anytime soon. It seems that many people in the United States have become more accepting of teen pregnancy, but it all depends on the different cultures. Different people in different cultures view teen pregnancy in different ways, and that’s okay, but is this “fad” going to last? How far will the media go to make a buck? Will teen pregnancy become a viscous cycle?
Jayson, Sharon. Does ‘Juno’ Show Strength or Glorify Teen Pregnancy? USA Today 2008 May 27. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-03-09-juno-pregnancy-main_N.htm
Kilff, Sarah. Teenage Pregnancy, Hollywood Style. Newsweek Exclusive. 2008 Jul 23.
Lowen, Linda. Teen Pregnancy in Pop Culture—Media Images of Teen Pregnancy in pop Culture. http://womensissues.about.com/od/teenpregnancy/tp/TeenPregnancyPopCultureMedia.htm
Please enjoy the following video clips:
This video clip is an interview of a pregnant teen and her hardships.
Becca Jo, Charda, Courtney, Hiroyo, Rebecca
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