Hollywood’s Portrayal of Teen Pregnancy Does More Harm Than Good

Hollywood movies and reality television shows do not provide a realistic picture of the struggles and outcomes of teen pregnancy. They give teens false hopes and dreams that most likely only happen in movies and on television shows about teen pregnancy. Instead of glamorizing and romanticizing teen pregnancy, culture’s form of entertainment should seek to educate young adolescents about the safety of having sex and the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood.

Reality televisions shows and films give an illusion to teens who are expecting mothers that they are ready to be responsible mothers, when in reality they are immature children themselves. Popular movies about pregnancy, like Juno and Knocked Up, paint a picture that teen pregnancy will be a fun journey and eventually end in a happy ending with a dependable support system of friends and family. But in reality there is more to the story than just a happy ending: emotional and physical struggles, life changing decisions to make, financial struggles, and overwhelming priorities. MTV’s popular reality television shows 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom attempt to educate teens about pregnancy by documenting the daily struggles and life routines of young teen mothers, but fail to do so as they glamorize it and do not show the reality of teen pregnancy. 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom cast member, Farrah Abraham is a teen mother aspiring to become a model who is portrayed as very materialistic and self-centered on the show. Cast member and teen mother, Abraham is famous for her plastic surgery and sexual video.

Due to the media giving teens the illusion they are responsible and mature enough to be mothers, teenagers do not realize how hard it is to raise a child before having the maturity and means. Outcomes of unfit teen mothers raising children eventually lead to long-term effects for their children. Long-term effects include the child also giving birth at a young age, becoming unemployed or underemployed as a young adult, going into foster care, having emotional and physical abuse, using drugs and committing crimes can be caused by the negligence of a teen mother who was not ready or fit to become a mother. Each year, about 1 million of teenagers in the United States give birth between the young ages of 14 to 19 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. According to the Office of Adolescent Health, less than one-third of teen mothers complete high school. Children of teen mothers are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade due to lower performance on standardized tests. Daughters of teen mothers are 22 percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves. Sons of teen mothers are 13 percent more likely to end up in prison.  (Office of Adolescent Health; Hamilton, B. E., Martin, J. A., & Ventura, S. J.)

In an attempt to lower the high rate of teen pregnancies in the United States, television shows and movies should attempt to educate the adolescents watching about the difficulties and outcomes of teen motherhood and safe/protected sex. Also, movies and television shows should provide valuable advice and proper guidance to teen mothers who do not have a proper support system of friends and family instead of glamorizing teen pregnancy. Reality television shows 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom portray a side of teen pregnancy that is glamorized with money, convenience and fame. MTV attempts to educate teens about teen pregnancy, but unfortunately fail. Due to the shows and movies, teens are lead to believe the responsibilities of being a mother is simple.



Works Cited


Horin, Adele. “Television Does Not Provide a Realistic Picture of Teen Pregnancy.” Teen Sex. Olivia Ferguson. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from “Teen Pregnancy Made Easy with a Bit of Hollywood Gloss.” Sydney Morning Herald 29 Mar. 2008. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <>


Benfer, Amy. “Reality Television Gives a Realistic Image of Teen Pregnancy.” Teen Sex. Olivia Ferguson. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. At Issue. Rpt. from “I Actually Was Sixteen and Pregnant.” 2009. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. <>