MTV’s hit show Sixteen and Pregnant introduced us to 12 new teen moms during its 4th season, bringing the grand total of teen moms featured on the show over the past 3 years to 47.
After only watching a few episodes of this show, I learned that almost all these girls tell the same story. They didn’t use birth control correctly — or worse they didn’t use it all. These aren’t girls who are getting pregnant on purpose, these are girls who don’t know enough of the basics to understand how to have responsible sex.
Let’s look at 16 and Pregnant Season 4 star Mackenzie Douthit as an example because she decided not to use birth control out of fear that she would gain weight. If only someone or some show (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) had explained to her that taking birth control does not automatically equal weight gain.
After featuring 47 teen mothers with similar stories to Mackenzie Douthit, you’d think MTV would take action and commit themselves to stopping teen pregnancy. That they would use their popular show as a platform to informing teenagers about birth control. That knowing they reach over one million viewers each week would be all they information they’d need to make major changes to their show.
But if you thought that, you’d be wrong. The show’s far more concerned with its ratings than it is about actually discussing teen pregnancy. Yes the show’s defenders will say the show’s documentary style speaks for itself. That anyone who watches these teens struggle with their pregnancy and their infant will avoid becoming pregnant.
And on one hand, that’s true. These stories are powerful reminders that having a baby’s not a decision to be taken lightly. However, I think teens already know that. What they don’t know is how to avoid getting pregnant and having that baby.