By Nicole Johnson, Athens Drive High School, Raleigh, NC
In recent years, MTV shows such as “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant” have become popular with American teenagers. As with many new fads, since the creation of these shows people have blamed them for wreaking havoc on American society. What these critics do not realize is that these are shows meant purely for entertainment and should be treated as such.
The MTV shows that have garnered the most criticism are the ones about teen pregnancy and motherhood, such as “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”. These shows have been criticized for glamorizing teen pregnancy and encouraging teens to become pregnant. The people that say this have likely not watched the show, as it exploits the hardships, not joys, of teen pregnancy and motherhood.
Other critics have said that girls are looking towards pregnancy shows such as “16 and Pregnant” for advice, but if they were then they are probably pregnant already, and this was most likely not because a television show with miserable teen mothers made it look fun. One actually could say that “16 and Pregnant” does educate teens; it educates them on the difficulties of motherhood and encourages abstinence.
Another heavily criticized MTV show is “Jersey Shore”, which follows a group of scantily clad housemates who spend their days, and nights, heavily partying and sleeping with random people. Adults have said that “Jersey Shore” encourages teens to dress like the characters and act like they do.
This is crazy, as most viewers do not take the show as seriously as their parents think they do. Teenage viewers watch “Jersey Shore” like it is any other fictional TV show, such as “Gossip Girl” or “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” that just happens to feature real people that usually do not carry themselves in the real world as they do when filming. It has even been hinted many times that portions of the shows are actually scripted by the creators, as events in “Teen Mom” or “16 and Pregnant” may be as well.
Teenagers do not see “Jersey Shore” as a source of advice. Critics have said the show has created the “’Jersey Shore’ mentality,” which makes teens want to dress and party just like Snooki, “Jersey Shore” star, does. “Jersey Shore” could not have created this style, as the characters of the show, as well as other people on the Jersey shore and everywhere else, dressed this way before the show became popular. It is up to parents to control what their children wear, and television shows should not be held accountable for bad parenting.
When viewers see the stars drink too much then make total fools out of themselves, it is almost guaranteed that they are not thinking about how much fun that looks. Teenagers see “Jersey Shore” as a source of entertainment, as the characters’ antics and fights are just that,-entertaining. Teens turn on the TV to see what trouble the characters have gotten themselves into this week, not to search for life advice.
Criticism of MTV shows makes no sense. Thinking that teenagers consider a channel that clearly does not take itself seriously as a learning tool is crazy. If a person goes to a show like “16 and Pregnant”,” Teen Mom”, and especially “Jersey Shore” for advice, they most likely have a problem that was not caused by a television show. Critics of MTV shows need to learn how to sit back and appreciate what these shows do have to offer, and that is entertainment.the original article from hsjorg, written by Nicole Johnson