The Glamour of Teenage Motherhood

Has teenage pregnancy increased in this generation? No, the amount of parents who jump into marriage due to this has decreased. In the YouTube video, “What’s Your Issue: Romanticizing Teen Pregnancy,” different shows and famous people’s are portrayed; this demonstrates how media has highlighted the life of a young pregnancy.

   

Different shows/movies are shown here: Juno, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and 16 and Pregnant. All of which show the highlights of being pregnant while a teenager and unwed. This video is a protest towards such media. It petitions for media to stop showing the highlights and start showing the real hardships these parents face. Along with the shows it also charges celebrities to be open and honest about the difficulties they face when having a child at such a young age.

Just a few of the hardships these parents face are custody battles, child care, strained relationships, and school. In the article, “There’s No Honor in Unwed Motherhood,” Kay S. Hymowitz expresses the difficulties that have occurred to unwed mothers. The main point of the article focuses on a court session over two teenage unwed mothers suing for being refused the right to be in the National Honor Society in their high school. Hymowitz begins the article with a shocking test result. “When 10th-graders were asked whether they would consider having a child without being married, only 53% said no. The remaining 47% said either they would or they weren’t sure.” This shows the shocking evidence of how “normal” unwed childbearing is. She goes on to express how schools have begun to accept the teenage pregnancies. They have begun to appoint such students as high “spirit” leaders. On top of that, some schools have established “day care centers for students’ babies.” According to the article this is not always the case. The court case focusing on two girls being rejected from schools National Honor Society. The school boards argument is “The admissions committee did not feel that someone who had engaged in premarital sex should be held up as a role model.” In retaliation, “I made a mistake,” concedes Ms. Glass. “It’s just that others haven’t gotten caught.” Her argument was that many people participate in sex, boys and girls, but only the girls who become pregnant are reprimanded. Hymowitz last point is that as the girls point out, not every pregnant mother is a lost cause. One of the girls states she wants to be a teacher and hasn’t dropped out of school yet. Motherhood

I have three brothers who have had kids out of wedlock while in their teens. Witnessing all different types of custody battles has opened my eyes to see that unwed parenting while young is not idealistic. They have had to deal with custody battles, both in and out of court; child care, deciding money based off of both parent’s pay check; and school, having to spend time away from the children in order to continue to enrich their future. I agree with the YouTube video, media has created a fairytale view of having a child while still young. The show The Secret Life of the American Teenager illustrates the happy lifestyle one lives while in a custody battle. The underlying story is that the mother has to learn a whole new routine at life at a pivotal moment where she should be deciding her future. Sadly, the two parents do not always come together and fall in love. None of my brothers have gotten with their children’s mothers.

Along with the article, I agree that it is difficult to succeed in school while trying to take care of a child. At such a young age, not many people have enough money to put a child in day care. This results in the parent having to take on a job while trying to go to school. Many teenagers have a job but when trying to pay for child care; a fast food restaurant might not cut it for high expenses. Other jobs require more of one’s time. On the other hand, I do not feel one should be reprimanded for having a child. I would never wish my brothers children to not have been born. Children can be a wonderful gift of joy.

Many people partake in having sex but having a child is a different story entirely. I still feel media should take more time to express the hardships it places on people and everyone should take into account the difficulties a child brings before having a child.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Glamour of Teenage Motherhood

  1. It seems that much of the reason for this glamorization of teen pregnancy comes from the familiarity of it, and reality type shows such as Teen Mom, etc. appeal to a variety of audiences. One reason why these programs are so popular is that many people know of young unwed mothers in similar situations, and thus find the programs somewhat relevant to their list of personal interest.
    Another topic to be considered is how the pregnancies are viewed by others. Sixty years ago, this glamorization was unheard of. Pregnancy wasn’t a topic of open public discussion- especially if the couple was not married. Instead of a TV show, the girl would have been sent away to boarding school out of state or to “live with relatives.” Why? Because at that time it was culturally unacceptable to “expecting” and not married. More specifically, it was viewed as a moral issue.
    With the popularity of Judeo-Christian moral standards during that time period, “illegitimate” pregnancies were viewed as a scarlet letter that could ruin the family name. Why? Because an unwed woman having a child was proof that at least one of the “Ten Commandments” had been broken. (More specifically, the “Thou shalt not commit adultery” rule. [Exodus 20:14]) It was popular practice to teach youth that sex outside of marriage was not appropriate, thus -out of respect, etc.- some of the youth abstained.
    Also, women didn’t have as many opportunities in the time period, so an unwed mother was without many of the modern American resources/programs that many individuals utilize today. If a girl was a shame to her family, there stood a chance that she might not be able to change that. In today’s culture, young women have more of a chance of social redemption.
    With that being said, I think it is good that women have the opportunity for success no matter what choices and/or mistakes they make. Society should be forgiving, but it shouldn’t glorify less than ideal situations.

  2. I agree whole heartedly with Tori’s statement. Teen pregnancy is far too glamorized, causing teens to view it as more of a current fad, rather than an actual lifestyle. In my opinion, pregnancy is viewed by young adolescents in a completely different way than ever before. I somewhat see it as a goal that teenagers are trying to achieve, more than likely to “fit in” and “feel accepted.” Because we live in a different time period than before when pregnancy wasn’t socially acceptable and glamorized, you don’t think twice about how young a girl is when you hear that she’s your age and having a baby.
    But, girls are finding out and deciding themselves that getting pregnant at the age they are is ok because it’s happening in Hollywood. Like Tori argues, the movies and shows don’t show the hardships and struggles that teen moms (and dads) are facing. Finances, school, etc. The parents of the teens support their kids, which makes the teens take advantages of it. “Oh, if it happens, my mom will help me take care of it.”
    It’s saddening that teen pregnancy is viewed as an “okay” thing these days. Some of the consequences aren’t bad enough to make teen pregnancy stop happening. In spite of the given facts and opinions, the glamorization teen pregnancy will continue to happen unless the beautification of it is revoked.

  3. While teen pregnancy is slightly glamorized in movies and TV programs, there is still some truth to what they portray. I also don’t agree with the video because they say that teen pregnancy isn’t manageable. Even though it’s a difficult experience for mother and child, it is still manageable. My grandmother had my mom and 14 and my mom had my oldest brother at 19. Even though there were hardships present, they still got through it. Even one of my cousins gotten pregnant in high school. She’s now in school for nursing and presently takes good care of her two children. I can count more than five friends who gotten pregnant in high school that are living normal lives while taking care of their child. In “16 and Pregnant” dramatization is present but the situation it is in no way beautified. The show is about a group of young soon to be mothers who don’t really know what to do, and its true in some cases. We need to show high school students more information about pregnancy and sex instead of soley pushing abstinence to them. Otherwise things aren’t going to change.

  4. Nicole Knight

    I could not agree more and I can remember when the movie “Juno” was released and a lot of my friends’ parents would not allow them to see it because of it glamorize teen pregnancy. However, with “Teen Mom,” though I do not watch the show, I do think that it had started out with good intentions. Dr. Drew wanted to show what it was really like but all too quickly did the girls let their so-called fame go to their head and everything was instantly dramatized and any real merit in the show was lost after the second season. Teen pregnancy is an all to real issue that we face in our society. In my high school, there was a free nursery service so that teen mothers could drop off their children while they were in school. Yes, this is a great service but I worked in the nursery all 4 years of high school and I can remember my freshman year in 2009, there were only 2 babies and my senior year we had 11. This has clearly reached the point of an epidemic. Garrett makes a very good point, teen pregnancy really is viewed as okay. It may still be frowned upon in some small or religious towns, but not anymore than it’s frowned upon to smoke or drink underage, which is a whole new argument in itself.

  5. I do not think at all that shows/movies like, Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, Juno, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager glamorize teenage pregnancy in any way. Teenage pregnancy is a tuff thing to go through, but it is definitley not impossible. All of these shows came out after the rapid increase of young pregnancies to show the difficulties, there intensions are not you influence you to have a baby while your in your teens. Schools aren’t supporting their students’ to have babies, they’re just trying to find a way to keep the young mothers in school so that they can provide for their children easier in the future insteading of dropping out. As strict as high schools are on PDA, they are definitley not trying to support teenage pregnancy. My philosophy is that if your not in a place in your life where you can handle a baby, then you shouldn’t have sex. To make it clear, I do not agree with teenage pregnancies. These television shows teach me all the heartache, difficulties, joy, breakups, marriages, and family conflicts that come along with having a baby young. These shows are well rounded with showing the positive and negative aspects. I do agree that a lot of television is more influential than it should be. Shows like Jersey Shore and The Real World glamorize parties, drinking, and cussing without showing you the negative effects. They only show you how much of a good time they are haivng.

  6. I do agree that it is of course possible to make it in the real world while raising a child. Once again I have three brothers who have children and they are making it, trying to create a great life for their children. I also know this would not be possible if it were not for the mother’s and my parents. If it were not for the “grandparents” my brothers and their babies’ mothers would have never made it out. But many teens do not have such a great support system. I witnessed this when my friend, Bridgett West, became pregnant. Her parents did not help her one bit. She was stuck because she had no job to pay fees a child demands, had no place to live where the child would be healthy, and had no hope. She has only one option, to give the child up for adoption. My parents then decided to give her some assistance to get up on her feet. If a teenager becomes pregnant and their parents tell them to “get lost” what are they supposed to do? How can a teenager get a job, go to school, and take care of kid without having a normal income to do such things? Day care costs more than many would think and when a teenager doesn’t have a job yet they cannot afford such facilities. On top of day care a parent must pay for doctor’s visits for checkups on the mother and child, food for the child, diapers, etc. I do agree that it is of course possible, in some instances, for a teenager to make it in the real world while raising a child, but it is not always ideal.

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