Teen Mom Jenelle Evans is making things even harder for Latina teen moms
So here is the truth, presented with no judgement: 52% of Latinas get pregnant as teenagers. There are a lot of reasons that is the case but it is an unavoidable fact--the words teen mom and Latina are automatically linked in the United States. There are also a lot of stereotypes out there about the Latina teen mom that just aren't true and this crazy girl from MTV's Teen Mom 2, Jenelle Evans, isn't helping matters at all. I know, she isn't Latina, but teen mom and Latina go hand-in-hand and every time I hear a news story about her I think, damn it, our teen moms aren't like this!
OK well, some may be but the large majority are not. The majority come from families like the actual Latino on the show, Jo Rivera, father to baby Isaac (although he is far from perfect, what is his problem with paying child support?). Jo's family, however, are a much more realistic portrayal of Latino families supporting young parents.
What I think is dangerous about a girl like Jenelle, and Amber Portwood for that matter, is that they capture the mainstream audience's attention so much that the expectation is that all young mothers get arrested every other week and do drugs. What employer in their right mind would hire a teen mom if this is their only example? Young parents really need to be supported, they already have some strikes against them. This doesn't help teachers understand that teen moms should be encouraged to stay in school or landlords to rent to young families with no credit history. Come on! It isn't the show I take issue with because I do largely think that these girls show the true and difficult side of being a baby raising a baby. It is Jenelle, who uses this platform for notoriety rather than use it as the opportunity it is to make a better life for herself and her baby.
What is worse, those young ladies completely ignore their children. Back to Jo, who again comes with his own drug and parenting issues, we do see that he loves his son, that he sees him regularly and in past seasons have watched as his Latino family explains to him that he has responsibilities and helps with housing and jobs and supporting the baby. Jenelle's mom just screams at her all day and does nothing to teach her how to be a parent. In fact, she sits by as Jenelle screams at her about needing to smoke weed. Disrespect! Unacceptable!
I have known my fair share of teen moms, statistically we all have. They are largely good people who could use a little kindness, who go on to raise good kids and finish school and get college degrees, like Amanda:
Do you know a teen mom like Amanda?
Image via MTV