Reality Shows on Teen Pregnancy: Glorifying or Educational?

It seems congratulations are in order for Leah Messer and Jeremy Calvert.


Leah Messer of MTV’s popular reality show Teen Mom 2 and her husband welcomed a daughter on Monday, Feb. 4. The new addition is the third child for the 20-year-old TV star.

Leah’s new addition is welcomed by her 3-year-old twin daughters, Aliannah Hope and Aleeah Grace Simms, from her previous marriage to Corey Simms.

So just to summarize: Leah is 20, has three children, on her second marriage, and a reality TV star on MTV.

Does this not seem wrong?

But let’s not just pick on Leah. Her costar Jenelle Evans has been making headlines of her own recently with a quickie wedding (to baby daddy No. 2), a second pregnancy with a Twitter baby bump reveal, and a subsequent miscarriage and marital split — which dramatically played out over social media, of course.

Did we fail to mention that Janelle does not have custody of her first child, 3-year-old son Jace, due to her past drug abuse and multiple arrests? And she is 21.

And of course there’s Amber Portwood of Teen Mom fame. No, she’s not pregnant again, but the troubled reality star is currently incarcerated.

After battling her drug addictions and anger management issues for four seasons of Teen Mom, the 22-year-old mom of daughter Leah, 4, began serving a five-year sentence last June.

The list goes on.

Jamie McKay of MTV’s 16 And Pregnant (yes, MTV has two reality shows on teen pregnancy) took to Twitter, sharing her decision to terminate her second pregnancy with boyfriend Ryan McElrath.

“Thank you all for the love and support but I want you to know I did not miscarry. I chose abortion. I chose it out of fear. I feel like I made a mistake and I can’t take it back,” the reality TV star revealed to her followers.

It’s been a rocky relationship for the young couple, including Jamie’s court filing in May 2011 for sole custody of their daughter Miah, claiming that Ryan had “a history of driving while under the influence of alcohol” and a “history of cocaine abuse.”

Is this really educating our youth?

Admittedly, I have not watched a second of any of these reality shows. But it sure seems MTV is cashing in on today’s troubled youth. Why don’t we see shows celebrating successful teens? Let’s pitch this reality show to the television executives: Teens Talk Kindness, Anti-Bullying & Educational Goals. Not an easy sell, I’m sure!

In a frank discussion, talk show host Chelsea Handler opened up about her personal ordeal with teen pregnancy and the current reality TV shows that seem to glorify this controversial topic.

“We’re seeking out such grossness in human behavior and want such mindless entertainment,” Chelsea said, and added, “…Or 16 and Pregnant. Getting rewarded for being pregnant when you’re a teenager? Are you serious? I mean, that makes me want to kill somebody.”

Chelsea knows this situation personally, admitting that she terminated an unwanted pregnancy in her youth.

“I had an abortion when I was 16,” she said. “Because that’s what I should have done. Otherwise I would now have a 20-year-old kid. Anyway, those are things that people shouldn’t be dishonest about it.”

The best-selling author and host of Chelsea Lately went on to say, “I wouldn’t be a good mother. I have no regret at all.”

What do you think? Are these reality shows educational or do they glorify teen pregnancy?

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