Monday, October 27, 2014

The Media and Pregnant and Parenting Teens

I have a problem with the ways in which the media represents pregnant and parenting teens. The stories that are often shared and how they are shared seem to either show pregnant and parenting teens in a super negative light or not show us parenting at all.

From story lines that only further societal stigma and shame, to having virtually no background story as to who we were before becoming pregnant, to not even showing us juggling the several roles we do in life for our families and ourselves I'm kind of over how we are presented.

"While they might never admit it, I firmly believe the negative ways in which the media—television, film, print journalism—portrays teenage pregnancy and parenting influenced how the adults in my life treated me after I told them I was pregnant. 
When I became pregnant at 15, the adults in my life believed my life was over. In addition to explicitly stating this to me, they began to treat me differently and even stopped helping me look into colleges because they believed I would not finish high school.
These stereotypes about teen parents also affected my self-image and already low self-esteem. Thankfully, over time I was able to overcome my self-doubt and my family members got over their issues and started supporting me. But not every teen has the same experience. The way the media represents teenage pregnancy and parenting has real-life consequences and effects on teen families, including depression and poverty because of lack of support from society. By moving away from these stereotypes, and featuring more positive story lines and outcomes, people in the media can make it easier on teens to create thriving families."
Click HERE to read the rest of my thoughts on "Where's the '16, Parenting, & Okay' show.  
What do you think? Does the media have a responsibility to show more well rounded portrayals of pregnant and parenting teens?
Let me know below in the comments on on Twitter at @TeenMomNYC