Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bring That Baby Mama Drama

It's no secret that I watch a lot of trash television. I don't watch many thought-provoking shows, I rarely listen to the news, and I prefer to just run endless syndicated episodes of How I Met Your Mother than anything else.

Among the crap I watch on a regular basis, that takes up coveted space on my DVR, is MTV's Teen Mom - specifically, this season's Teen Mom OG; MTV has brought back the original teen mom's from their first season of the show. Now 22-24, the four girls are back, and we're getting a glimpse into their version of life 3-4 years later. The overwhelming message? Life is still full of baby-daddy drama.

There are 4 girls from the original cast who are back for another season: Catelynn, Farrah, Maci, and Amber. Catelynn and her still-around, now-fiance Tyler, gave their baby up for adoption. Maci and her then-boyfriend Ryan co-parent semi effectively, as much as you can co-parent with someone you can't stand. Amber is no longer with her once-fiance Gary, and there is very little effective co-parenting going on through all of the fighting. And then there's Farrah. Farrah's baby-daddy died before the original show ever aired, and she has since been super judged for leaving her daughter with her own mom in order to pursue a rousing porn career.

Yes, I've Googled it. Yes, I watched it (I had to, my curiosity got the best of me). No, it's not sexy. And no, it is by no means the accidental sex tape leak that her and her doe-eyes would want you to believe.

Anyway, why am I bringing up my slightly embarrassing obsession with horrible reality television shows?

Because when the OG season was scheduled to begin shooting, Catelynn, Amber, and Maci refused to participate if Farrah was allowed to be on the show. They were embarrassed by her, disappointed in her choices as a mom and as a woman, and unwilling to be associated with her any further.

On the one hand, I see their point of view. I would argue - with my limited expertise on what makes a "good" mom - that Farrah has not made the best choices in parenting Sophia. She's been in porn. She's more plastic body parts than real ones. Her face is so full of botox she can barely alter her expression. She even sold a mold of her own vagina to a porn site, so anyone and everyone who wants to spend the money can, in fact, put their D in Farrah. It's gross. I get it. She once left her kid across the country with her mom (her mom who was arrested for abuse just a year prior) so she could pursue God knows what and "find herself."

So I understand the desire of one of these other moms to have nothing to do with her. As a viewer of the show, I could do without Farrah too. I don't fault the other moms for their opinions or their expression of said opinions.

That said, can we all just think for one minute about why we're not okay with Farrah and her vagina-selling being on the show week after week, but we're okay with Amber being there? Amber who spent time in prison for beating her fiance? Amber who got her daughter taken away from her following an addiction to prescription narcotics? Amber, who screams and yells and is unable to control her emotions in front of her toddler?

Why are we willing to watch an hour of domestic violence, to tolerate a man being abused by a woman...but we are unwilling to watch a young woman exploit herself sexually for money?

What in the actual fuck?

First of all, let me just make my own opinion blatantly clear: I believe that MTV has handled both the violence and the pornography pretty well, considering they are mostly after the ratings. But they do use the Teen Mom show as a platform to educate other young people, and I see that reflected in the show. So overall, I am supportive of both Amber and Farrah remaining on camera, because MTV does use them to share information on what to do if you find yourself in these similar situations.

And honestly, I don't really care that Farrah did porn. I mean, it's not good porn. It's not well done porn. It's not something I'd actually watch in an effort to do the things you're intended to use porn for. But really, whatever. To each their own. Someone's gotta be out there having sex on camera for the benefit of the rest of us, right? I am less okay with the fact that she abandoned her child for several months. But again, I don't have a child and I don't know how hard it is to be a teen parent. If I had a baby to support and no one supporting me, can I honestly say I wouldn't get that desperate? I don't know. Farrah's mom once physically assaulted her and was arrested; during this time, Farrah was much more independent - because she had to be. There was no one else to do it for her. In those moments, in those episodes, we were able to see Farrah as a more determined mother - because there was no one else there to raise her kid for her. And those made for the coachable teen parent moments that MTV was after when they created the 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom shows in the first place.

Amber, however, continues to exist in a hostile, angry, and violent lifestyle, where she assaults her child's father regularly. And there are no other moms refusing to be on TV with her. None of the other moms are taking a stand about what emotional damage is being done to the little girl sitting idly by as her mom berates her dad day after day. This kid lives in violence. She watches violence. She watches abuse and will grow up thinking it's okay. That's what happens to kids who witness abuse; they become immune, tolerant, and accepting. They let people abuse them. Or they become abusers. Why are these moms so busy judging Farrah and her money-making lady biz, that none of them have stopped to judge Amber and domestic violence?

Because domestic violence is something people turn their heads at. It's easy to call a woman a whore because she sells her ass on video (or as my equally-obsessed-with-the-show friend calls it, her "butt-hole money). It's less easy to admit that someone you know is abusive. We are raised to judge women based on the number of men she sleeps with, the clothes she wears, how she does her makeup. Society dictates that when women are raped, it's because we somehow asked for it. It's just the way it is. It's much more taboo, though, to openly discuss domestic violence and abuse. People think it's shameful and we let it skirt by like it isn't happening right in front of us...on television...week after week.

Domestic violence towards men is equally - if not more - taboo than toward women. It's practically unheard of, and often it becomes a joke. If your female counterpart beats you, assaults you, belittles or otherwise hurts you, you're a pussy, not a man. Because of course, men can't fall victim to women.

The whole thing just irks me. How is it still, in the year 2015, possible that domestic violence is such a hush-hush issue? People don't want to talk about it; it makes us uncomfortable and we tend to look the other direction because we don't know what to do. We watch it unfold in front of toddlers on our favorite shows every week, while we simultaneously refer to someone else as a slut. It doesn't make sense and it's wrong. Domestic violence happens every day. Someone you know is currently being abused. Someone you know has been raped or assaulted, or her boyfriend is hitting her, or his girlfriend has him in a choke hold.

Every day a parent is abused in front of their child.

Just let that sink in. Violence begets violence. And Amber Portwood's daughter, will - statistically - abuse, or be abused. We watch the grooming weekly on MTV, but no one says anything. We're too busy talking about how disgusting Farrah looks with all her botched plastic surgeries. #priorities, right?

I know, I know...I just wrote a blog about Teen Mom. I'm as embarrassed to have written it as you are to have read it.

But really, the next time you sit down to watch an episode of this season, ask yourself why it's okay to abuse your daughter's father, but not okay to get plastic surgery and make a little bit of pornography, anal style.

Just saying.