Farrah Abraham of the MTV reality television series Teen Mom has attracted plenty of salacious media gossip and slut shaming. Chrissy D‘s review (just posted) explores the cultural landscape behind the programme and the hype surrounding her recent sex tape. Here’s an extract from it:
…Programmes like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant are depressing and bleak. They occupy an expanding domain where young women are presented as nothing more than charming debris, while their life struggles are framed as mere entertainment. They get pregnant and are shamed for it; we watch them suffer and are implicitly told to feel better if our lives worked out differently and that these women apparently don’t matter. But we’d better watch out, because treading the tightrope between ‘slutty’ and conservative is what we have to do to be successful.
It’s a cultural landscape where young people who attempt to break the mould are labelled as too bold and confident: too big for their own boots; we can look to Cher Lloyd and the women at Glasgow University Ancients for proof of this. And a proportion of such ridiculing is done by other women, some of whom seem to be so saturated with the male gaze that they can’t see beyond it.
I’m not sure if the ‘teen pregnancy crisis’ has gone away or if I’ve just got older. Is pregnancy an inevitable side effect of the pressure on teenage girls to be seen as ‘sexy’ according to current cultural norms or a comparative non-issue? Either way, the media’s treatment of women’s bodies and obsession with their reproductive decisions seems to have hit a ruthless peak…
Pink background overlaid with light blue MTV logo (top left) and a red/white/blue pom pom (top right). Underneath this is a grey book (possibly depicting a yearbook or photo album) with line drawings of an orange-beaked rubber duck (top left), a blue-topped safety pin (top right), a green-ringed dummy (bottom left), a red heart with a ribbon over it (bottom right) and ‘TEEN MOM’ in large yellow print (middle). This is the cover for the Teen MomSeason One DVD.