In my college years I was a frequent viewer of MTV. Oh, I knew it was stupid, but it was harmless. I could easily get sucked into their youthful programming. I watched Real World like it was my job when I was in college — I loved that shit so much I actually made a VHS tape and sent in with the hopes of being a cast member on one of their seasons. I never got a callback, more than likely because Real World producers weren't looking to cast a back-lit 20-year-old white girl from Texas whose strongest quality was avoiding confrontations. I indulged in TRL (the Carson Daly years). I watched Road Rules. Spring Break crap. Cribs. Pimp My Ride. MTV was my guilty pleasure. As I got older, I backed off of MTV shows and began watching more sophisticated programming like To Catch a Predator and Family Guy. But my youthfulness will occasional stop by to say "hi" to MTV from time to time while flipping through the channels.
A couple of years ago, I noticed MTV had begun airing a show called Teen Mom and I thought to myself, good for MTV, they're really going to roll their sleeves up and show the harsh reality of teenage pregnancy. Here MTV is, tackling a real issue within our society. When I was in high school there were plenty of pregnant teens roaming the halls (and no, I wasn't one of them); there were even plenty of teenage girls who were already mothers and pregnant with their second and third kids. There were girls who moved away for nine months to have their "gallbladders removed," and there were girls who had "abortions." I came from a small town, so there were no secrets. The girls were whispered about behind their backs. Guys flirted with them because they knew girls with kids would put out. They were looked at as sluts and, unfortunately, were treated as such. And now MTV is gonna show the harsh reality of what it's like to be an inexperienced youth in a real adult situation. What parenthood is like. Or so I thought.
MTV did nothing but take pregnant chicks who come from very little money and even less guidance and totally exploit their unfortunate situation. (The Situation is another "thing" I'll never forgive MTV for introducing to society.) Teen Mom was a show about fistfights in the front yard, cheating boyfriends, and the occasional pan to a 35-year-old chain-smoking grandma feeding a baby applesauce while the Teen Mom gets ready to go to a party. They didn't get real, they showed what happens when you let a 16-year-old, whose favorite singer is Ke$ha (I don't trust anyone whose name involves me hitting the shift key halfway through to type it) name a child. Hell, I wouldn't let my 16-year-old stepdaughter name a turd. The show was a total white-trash-o-rama, and I was sure it was on its way to the MTV graveyard with their other canceled shows. Or so I thought.
Next thing I know, there's Teen Mom 2 and 3. Holy shit! These "teen moms" are now stars! They're on the covers of magazines like Us Weekly, People, and Star. They're celebrated, and worse, they're causing other teenage girls who come from nothing to think this is their shot at stardom. Fourteen- and 15-year-old girls are sitting in a trailer park somewhere thinking to themselves, My family can't afford to send me anywhere or pay for college, but hey, I can totally bang a dude without using birth control, have his baby, and be on the covers of magazines! To make matters worse, the magazines put the shittiest girls on their covers: the one who beat the shit out of her baby daddy and went to jail, and the one who had the mega-classy hair-pulling fistfight in front of her parents' home while the toothless neighbors looked on. Really, MTV? Really, media? This is what you're down to? Raise the bar a little. Hell, I thought the Kardashians were the worst thing in our society (yes, they are still awful and are only famous because Kim blew Ray J on camera and sold the tape for profit and fame. Okay, maybe the Kardashians are equally as bad, but you know what I'm getting at). Do society a favor and get your shit together, MTV. If you want to educate your viewers, educate them, don't make a bad situation worse by glorifying it. Okay? Thanks.
Jenny Johnson is a childless comedy writer living in Houston, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @JennyJohnsonHi5 or you're a stupid idiot.