Where's the "16, Parenting, and OK" Reality Show?
While the article focuses on the role of media in the stereotypes, the problem goes beyond that to the whole of society.
Here are a few paragraphs ~ but the entire article is a must read:
...Teen pregnancy and parenthood has almost always been framed as the beginning of the end of a young person’s life
Then there’s the fact that the media often overrepresents adoption, especially when it comes to teenage mothers. “The adoption story line is often used as a way to fix the ‘problem,’” sociologist Gretchen Sisson, whose work focuses on teenage pregnancy, parenting, and adoption, told RH Reality Check. “Teen parenthood and abortion are both very stigmatized. So adoption is kind of the way out and a way for the character to redeem themselves. Before abortion was legal, adoption was a way for white women to ‘undue’ the sins of sexuality outside of marriage. Adoption is used as a solution for teen pregnancy and abortion, when really it is neither of these things.
If one does not give their child up for adoption or marry the father of their child (if the father did not leave them already, as the narrative goes in the media) the identity oft given to parenting teens is one of a desolate existence for both mother and child.
While the media has taken on the role of “teaching” about teenage pregnancy, mostly through shame and stigma, media makers need to acknowledge they are influencing how gatekeepers—including school administrators, health-care providers, and other adults in a young person’s life—perceive and treat young pregnant people.
We have to start asking ourselves, as former teen mother and #NoTeenShame member Christina Martinez recently mentioned to me, “What if we were to surround young parents with messages of hope, support, and encouragement? How might that alter the confidence in which they approach their role as parent?”
I try to not imagine what my life might have been like if I would have had someone to surround me with messages of hope, support, and encouragement...