MTV: Teen Pregnancy Meets Reality Television

It’s a far cry from the days when pregnant teens were packed up and sent away. Just a few decades ago, early pregnancy was seen as a stain on a family that was often elaborately hidden. But when reality television meets teen pregnancy, have we gone too far?

According to a press release from MTV—purveyor of fine programming such as My Super Sweet 16 and Paris Hilton’s My New BFF—they will be premiering ‘16 And Pregnant’ on June 11. Six hour-long episodes will air this summer, according to a report from United Press International.

has a long history of reflecting the lives of our viewers with
compelling reality stories,’ Tony DiSanto, MTV’s president of
programming, said in a statement. ‘16 & Pregnant’ follows the
journey of six young women going through an immensely life-changing
experience at such a young age. Each episode tells a new, unique story
and shows the real-life challenges they face from dealing with family
and friends to school and finances as new mothers. This is the real
secret life of an American teenager.’"

going to face a challenge here. I can’t say I’ve ever been pregnant,
but were I a sixteen year old soon-to-be-mother, the last thing I would
want is a crew of cameras documenting my every move. To me, it sounds
more traumatizing than the pregnancy. Depending on how the producers
approach it-I’m guessing this is of the serious, "True Life" brand of
docu-drama, not a manufactured situation based on competition-this
could make an uncomfortable time in their lives unbearable.

the other hand, it’s encouraging to have a show discuss pregnancy in an
honest and open manner. Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to
Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told UPI that she applauded the
idea. "The stories in ’16 & Pregnant’ are full of hope, heartbreak,
and real-life consequences and should be a must viewing for teens
nationwide." And if it’s as honest and supportive as she seems to
think, perhaps it will be a constructive addition to the conversation.

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  • invalid-0

    I’m not getting it. How is this show going too far? Quite frankly, I applaud MTV for attempting to portray to their typical audience (other teens) what an teen girl will have to face as a young teen mother. Becoming a mother in and of itself is not an easy decision for adult women let alone teens. I also miss your point about MTV facing a challenge. A challenge in terms of what? MTV has clearly managed to find at least 6 teens upon which to base these initial episodes and if teen pregnancy is on the rise again it would stand to reason that if the show continues, they will be able to find more pregnant teens willing to document their life. It almost sounds as if you think these young women should be ashamed and hidden away like the “bad” old days and that showing a program like this is “glorifying” their pregnancies. Hope I’m wrong.

  • colleen


    I don’t think that young women who get pregnant should be ashamed, I DO think that they have chosen to path which will make their lives and the lives of the child they’re carrying immeasurably more difficult.  Add to that being followed around by a camera and it makes A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila look tasteful and a good idea. 


  • invalid-0

    It is very surprising to find that television is casting programs on teenage pregnancy. I think that this should not be encouraged at all rather discouraged very fervently.

  • invalid-0

    Sorry, that still doesn’t make sense to me. This article distinctly gives the impression that these girls should be ashamed and what’s more, falls back on that old meme that other girls will want to follow in their footsteps because they saw it on MTV or saw a pregnant girl at their school. Seriously?

    I’m not sure what their decision to parent has to do with being followed around by a camera to make a TV show. One would presume that they are being paid to appear on the show which for some of them, may be the larger point of doing the show in the first place.

    I also hear that fake concern all the time about how hard it is for teen parents. It’s crap. If we as a society wanted teen parents to complete their education or job training so they and their children have better outcomes in life, we could. We choose not to. We choose instead to punish, denigrate, shame, and withhold resources and then wonder why these poor women and children can’t ever get above the poverty line and act like their morality is the reason they are that position when in actuality it’s society’s confused morality that keeps them there.

    And the mixed messages these girls receive is ridiculous. Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears were practically awarded sainthood for continuing their pregnancies despite their age, they were “good girls” who, oopsie!, made a mistake but are being “responsible”. If one of them had been black or hispanic, we’d have seen a very different reaction, even if they’d had the resources and support Palin and Spears enjoy. So sorry, still calling BS on this article.

  • invalid-0

    BTW, you have your channels mixed up. VH1 shows Tila Tequila and all the other crappy “Love” shows. MTV shows True Life, Made, Real Sex with Mom and Dad and other shows that actually address concerns most teens have and give information that adults routinely keep from them or outright lie about.

    • invalid-0

      you are a fucking idiot. mtv showed tila tequilla and the icki twins and a lot of stupid shows like that that make teenagers and young people look like dumbasses. i am nineteen and fucking pissed off that mtv is actually broadcasting a show this fucking stupid. juno was bad enough, teen pregnancy is on the rise. if you are sixteen and pregnant you are probably stupid. there are such things as condoms and birth control that you can get for FREE at health clinics. plan b is also free at some places. besides, high schoolers should not be having sex, i was in college before i started having sex, and it wasn’t a one night stand. all in all, fuck you mtv for ruining another generation.

      • invalid-0

        Obviously teen pregnancy is not the greatest thing to happen to teenagers but dont call mtv stupid. I applaud them its almost as if they are taking a stand for pregnant and teens and a stand against. Some girls are going to watch these episodes and say “WOW. That looks like it sucks. Lets not for get to have our boyfriends wrap their junk.” Yea, think about it. It’s almost like the show that was a mini hit last summer about the sets of young couples that lived in a house with their significant others and basically had to live through 40 years of life in 2 months. The Baby Borrowers. This was a wonderful show but it was also a show that was strictly against teenagers getting pregnant. THe difference is that MTV is portraying this from all sides of the board. Not one view point. I have seen 16 and pregnant and I personally am fond of it. The viewer is going to see the drama, the ups, the downs and everything in between.I love it and I give MTV a two thumbs up rating for taking the extra mile to be unbiased.

  • colleen


    We choose instead to punish, denigrate, shame, and withhold resources
    and then wonder why these poor women and children can’t ever get above
    the poverty line and act like their morality is the reason they are
    that position when in actuality it’s society’s confused morality that
    keeps them there.

    The reasons you list are certainly part of the reason for the unfinished educations and extreme poverty, the other part being that going to school is a full time job, full time motherhood is a job and a half  and then, of course, there’s the business of earning a living.

    Hopefully MTV will include mention of the fathers (who, statistically speaking, are in their 20’s or older and who take NO responsibility for the children they have fathered.)

    If one of them had been black or hispanic, we’d have seen a very
    different reaction, even if they’d had the resources and support Palin
    and Spears enjoy.


    You’ll get no argument from me there.



  • colleen

    BTW, you have your channels mixed up. VH1 shows Tila Tequila and all the other crappy "Love" shows.

    I wasn’t aware that MTV is superior to VH1 but, then, I seldom watch TV much less reality TV (besides  Project Runway, that is)

    Still, I’m pretty certain  Ms Tequila’s Shot at Love was on MTV.

  • invalid-0
  • invalid-0

    ok im sorry but that is unfair to say not to have sex im 17 years old and had a beautiful baby boy i am not ashamed and i kept him because it was my mistake im not going to just have an abortion if you can do the crime u do the time and i did and i love it i love being a mum i love everythng about it i am renting a house im going to collage there is nothing diffrent about my life i still love it now even with a child so dont go on abotu teenagers are stupid for having sex it happens ok 16 is the legal age to have sex so dont tell people to wait till collegage just cuz u didnt have a proper boyfriend till then doesnt mean girls younger than u havent i am very happy with my life im not scummy like alot of tean mums i love my baby boy and everything that comes with it i made the choice to have this baby because i got pregnant out of stupidity but that doesn ot mean that teens are incabable to lllok after there babys it is no easyer for a 35 year old women as it for a 17 year old it still brings the same requirments no matter how old u r so actually it makes no diffrence if ur yougner older babys still have demands that eveyrone has to meet no matter your age so dont spout of about teenagers because teanagers can do it i dont think its right thst every young mum should have a chill but i thnk that there are young mums out there who do everything for there child and would be highliy offencded but that commit u rote

    • invalid-0

      Very sincere comment. Thanks you.

  • invalid-0

    Yes, we’ve definitely gone too far. What next?

    Big Brother was bad enough for me.

    How about a documentary about it, perhaps not shown on a channel that – most of the time – puts out role models instead of sensible advice? Surely this would be more likely get the message across without even the slightest pinch of glamorization.

    In the end, though, just stick on a DVD and think happy thoughts. The viewer can always choose!

  • invalid-0

    I totally agree with the girl that has a little boy im 17 and im pregnant with my daughter who is due july 22 and it offends me that just because this one lady didnt have sex until college doesn’t mean everybody should. And im still with my daughters father who plays a role a very active role he goes to every doctors appointment and asks tons of questions so he will know wats going on just like a married couple would. Getting pregnant as a teen may be a stupid mistake but it doesnt make the girl stupid and its people like u that should be silenced because u sound like u belong in like the 60’s with your point of view on sex and teen pregnancy.

  • invalid-0

    Teens Should not have kids. They Just want to be sluts , Let state/ Our Money to pay for it and They Don’t have jobs , And there should be a law about it someday there will be a law !