Are the girls from “Teen Mom” celebrities?

I gave my two cents about MTV’s “16 & Pregnant” back in April, but I haven’t written about Teen Mom in a while. But now it seems unavoidable, because everytime I go to the grocery store I see this:

And this:

And this:

All I want to know is: When did these moms become celebrities? I mean, on a basic level, I get it. They are celebrities in the same way that Snooki is a celebrity and the same way that NeNe is a celebrity. If you star in a reality show in 2010 (on MTV no less) you can’t very well expect public interest in your life to stop once the cameras stop rolling. (Ask Kate Gosselin.)

But where is this interest coming from? Are viewers genuinely interested in these moms as people? Are they interested (like I am) in accurate depictions about the realities of teenage motherhood?

Or, I fear, are they just interested in what they assume will be a slow, entertaining train wreck? Does the show just reinforce all the stereotypes people have about teen (young) moms? Let’s run down the list:

  • Of the four moms featured on Teen Mom, only one couple is still together and they are the couple that gave their daughter up for adoption.
  • Of the three remaining moms, they are either in combative relationships (Maci and Amber) or the dad is deceased (Farrah).
  • None of the moms have a solid financial situation and their educational pursuits are always seemingly in flux.

All in all, the situation ain’t too rosy for the kids involved. There are always fights, things are constantly changing which means no stability for the babies, and the support systems are non-existent. Oh my.

So is this show supposed to be entertaining or educational? I feel like MTV pushes it for its entertainment value but is it really entertaining? Or is it simply real life?

Those arguments the moms have with their child’s father? I’ve said those exact words. The loneliness you feel when you’re an 18-year-old with the responsibilities of someone twice your age? I’ve been there.

I don’t object to the show being on the air but I do question the message it sends, whether intentional or not. Putting them on the cover of the tabloids, making them quasi-celebrities, giving people even more access to their lives? Having their business – see the “I’m broke!” cover above – broadcast to millions upon millions? Is this wise? Will they regret their involvement as the spotlight burns brighter and the kids get older? Or will they begin to crave the recognition?

It frustrates me that I don’t have an answer to these questions. I want to see these girls do well, live happy lives and provide the best opportunities for their kids? Is a reality show necessary for that? I don’t know.


  1. This is quite ridiculous. My fear is that younger girls don’t start believing that teenage pregnancy is a great way to gain publicity or possible stardom.

  2. Tamaira Ogden says:

    I absolutely love watching Teen Mom because it really does depict how it can be and as you said some of the feelings, emotions, hardships, relationships(family, love, support) etc they are going through absolutely are things I have and still are going through even as a 28 year old working woman with a higher education and so I am curious every week to see how they deal with the situation. However I dont know that they necessarily are becoming “famous” to be completely honest I never really noticed the magazine covers you posted in the stores and other than my tv reminder every week the show is coming on the girls of Teen Mom never even enter mind nor do I ever find them to be a conversation piece. I think that once the series is done they too will be forgotten just as so many other “reality stars” are.

  3. This is an interesting post, Tara, and I think really it is all in how you interpret it. I can see all sides of the argument, and while I fear it will make other teens feel like maybe they can get their fifteen minutes of fame by getting pregnant young, I also like the rawness of the show, how nothing is sugar coated. I personally love watching the episodes, and seeing how these girls are dealing with everything. I feel like its a good thing for other people, young and old alike, to really understand the struggles of these couples and how much life really changes after having a child so young. I don’t look at these girls as celebrities. Yes, they are getting media attention, but I don’t really feel that it makes them celebrities…I don’t know how to explain it. In a way, I have respect for them because they are airing their personal lives all over to perfect strangers to critique their every move…and I hope they chose to do the show to document their progress, to look back and see how far they have come, and to show other people that life isn’t perfect and rosy. I just know that I like the show, and I like watching the progress of all of the teen parents. It feels very real to me, and its very emotional and heart wrenching and shows just how challenging being a parent can be. But I do understand where you’re coming from, Tara.

    • @Katie – I understand your point and I think it is good to show all sides of teen pregnancy. My biggest issue came when I saw the cover with Maci and the mag described her new relationship with her boyfriend as her “second chance at love.” That cover and the inside spread of Maci and her new boo talking about how much they love each other, etc., rubbed me the wrong way because somehow, it just felt so…invasive. Too much pressure on these teens.

      • I really can’t weigh in on that part of it, because I don’t read those magazines…or really see them…I’m too busy trying to unload groceries and keep my son entertained to glance at the magazines in the checkout line at Logli. But I think you are right, the article you’re describing doesn’t seem appropriate to me. But I do enjoy the actual show.

  4. I don’t know for certain, but in my humble opinion…I highly doubt that any of them are struggling financially. MTV has to be giving them money in order to film their lives, right?

    I don’t think that all this spotlight is good for those girls, at all. And with Maci & Kyle, I think it WAS too much too soon, her friends were asking her if she wanted to MARRY him…ya know? It’s just too much.

    I want to see them succeed and do good. But I also worry about the popularity that kids might think they’ll get for becoming teen moms.
    .-= jess; [the bottle chronicles]´s last blog ..wants lots of lots of wants =-.

    • @Jess – I know MTV has to be paying them something, but I think a lot of them would be in shambles (even more so) if those MTV checks weren’t coming. I wonder how much they get per episode…

    • Ashley T. says:

      I watch Teen Mom faithfully this season and I really was disappointed with the way things turned out for Maci, but can totally relate when looking for love in all the wrong places, to fulfill that emptiness that any mother any age feels when they are overwhelmed by children/family responsibilities like she said on the show-crazy to think you can still be alone with a child-yes one can because the love for a child and a partner are of course different. Life has lessons and hopefully this will be a stepping stone not an obstacle for her.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve always thought of Teen Mom as entertainment. On one hand I feel like the show portrays some of the real life trials and tribulations one faces as a young mother because I have found myself having similar conversations with my boyfriend or in some similar situations as these girls. Another part of me feels like now they see they can make a little pocket change so they are amping it up for the camera’s. We all know the girls get paid especially since everyone on the show seems to be driving new cars in recent episodes. We also know those magazines like US weekly pay for those interviews. I know if I was in their shoes and already made a decision to air my life to the world I’d ham it up extra to make some bucks and provide for my child. It’s the example our society puts out with all the Octomom (when she was relevant), Kate Gosselin like you said, and Kourtney Kardashian with her baby daddy drama. These issues sell and will keep you financially afloat until the world no longer deems you relevant.

    What really sticks out to me is that the cover stories are mostly about the two girls Farrah and Maci with occasional blurbs about the other two. I think these girls have the know how to market themselves and that’s why there are so many cover stories. Plus they came from more advantaged family backgrounds and have a look our society considers more mainstream which is going to sell covers. The only time the other two girls come up is if something terrible happens like when one went Ike Turner on her child’s father. They hardly ever have positive press or people concerned about their love life, finances, or possible pregnancy scares. In the end I just hope all these girls succeed and their children are well taken care of.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Debating =-.