Remember when Britney's little sister Jamie Lynn Spears announced that she was knocked up and everyone was all, HOLY CRAP? Because she was, you know, sixteen years old?
Okay, so that happened in December of 2007 (when she confirmed the pregnancy to OK! magazine). Right away there was a flurry of media interest and parental freakouts, mostly because at that time Jamie was starring in a popular kid-targeted Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101.
Then in June of 2008, 17 girls at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts made a so-called "pregnancy pact", shining even more national attention on the issue of teen pregnancies. Why these girls made that choice is certainly up for debate, but a few of their quotes made it sound like they were looking up to Britney's little sis. One told The National Enquirer,
“Jamie Lynn has a baby, and all the magazines make it sound so easy and so much fun…Hollywood glamorizes having babies, and a lot of young girls get seduced by it.”
Right, so obviously there was some more freaking out about that, because OMGWTF, etc.
One year later, MTV debuted 16 and Pregnant, a reality show (produced by Morgan Freeman, oddly enough) that followed the stories of pregnant high school teens, and six months after that, MTV created a spin-off of the show called Teen Mom. Teen Mom was the highest rated premiere on MTV in over a year, with 2.1 million viewers, and a second season premiered this July.
Now, I know teenagers have been getting pregnant since the dawn of time, but it sure seems like a related chain of events. Jamie Lynn, the massive amount of public interest, the super-successful reality shows.
The genius thing is that MTV could easily capitalize on the hot topic without contributing to the whole "glamorization of pregnancy" thing. Depending on how you look at it, they may be exploiting the hardships of young kids for ratings, or providing a much-needed public look into the realities of having a baby when you're still in high school, but you definitely couldn't say the shows make pregnancy look easy or fun.
Seems like in the end, Jamie Lynn getting knocked up back in 2007 was maybe not such a great thing for Nickelodeon, but an awesome thing for MTV.
Do you think Teen Mom might have been created out of interest related to Jamie Lynn?
Image via JamieLynnSpears.com