Simplifying Science

The Benefit of Un-Glamorizing

A couple of years ago, as shows like MTV's "16 and Pregnant" were taking off, I was on the receiving end of a flurry of calls from journalists and TV producers asking me to weigh in. The questions were decidedly biased, things like: "How horrible is it that shows like these glamorize teenage pregnancy and make girls want to go out and get pregnant in the hopes that they will be cast on a show and achieve fame?" It wasn't an unreasonable angle, and I answered them. Now, a slew of articles argue the exact opposite. When you actually look at the data, the teen pregnancy rate is going DOWN. Yes, this may be a result of economic forces at play, but it coincides quite precisely with the airing and increasing popularity of these types of shows. Could it be that reality TV might have un-glamorized something enough to make a social impact? Yes, could be. Do I think the creators of the shows intended for this to happen? Now that's going a bit far... but I will take the results anyhow.

MTV’s ‘16 and Pregnant,’ Derided by Some, May Resonate as a Cautionary Tale

Kailyn Lowry, at age 17, decided to let MTV film her pregnancy and the birth of her first child in the hope of persuading other...Read More