I knew that I wanted to write about Teen Mom 2 today. Do you ever just wake up and know that you want to talk about Teen Mom? I mean, I can’t be the only one.
While on my totally tragic run this morning, during which I could only run three miles before legitimately almost throwing up and going home to spare myself the humiliation of vomiting in public, through the pain and nausea and massive side cramp and along with drafting my “I’m sorry, I’m quitting” email to the friend I’ve agreed to run the half marathon with, I thought about Teen Mom. And how sad the whole endeavor really is. And how no one has any real agency in their lives. How they all get boyfriends, husbands, pregnancies, abortions, jail time, arrests, domestic abuse charges, new cars, different houses, and tattoos with as much monotone indifference as I select what color socks I’m going to wear in the morning. It’s like watching a show in which hugely traumatic things keep happening to Eeyore and he just takes it, because that’s the way it is. There was one scene recently in which a three-month pregnant Jenelle is discussing her boyfriend’s impending court appearance for his third DUI arrest, and when he mentions that he may be going to jail for a year, she says, to paraphrase, “Yeah, well.” Jenelle, who just episodes earlier had an abortion after getting pregnant with her abusive ex-husband and who currently lives with her mother and the five-year-old son she doesn’t have custody of, is pregnant again by a different abusive idiot who may be going to jail for a full year and her reaction is literally this:
I can’t. It makes me too frustrated and sad. I know the rate of teen pregnancy has dropped considerably in the last several years – MTV just loves to take credit for that. I wouldn’t be surprised if witnessing what total nightmares the lives on this show are deters girls from getting pregnant in their teens. However, there is something basically awful about a show in which teenage girls ping pong their way through major life decisions, putting up with outrageous abuse because they’re desperate for help and aren’t mature enough to say enough already.
Which brings me to my next point, handed to me so thoughtfully by the interwebs this morning. Dr. Drew, America’s most obnoxious celebrity doctor (which is really saying something, because we boast a lot of those), is in hot water for calling endometriosis a “garbage bag diagnosis.” He responded to a male caller’s description of his fiancee’s pelvic disorders by effectively dismissing them as valid concerns rooted in reality and suggesting to the caller that he take his fiancee to a therapist, because her symptoms pointed more to the psychosomatic effects of previous sexual abuse than to actual physical problems.
Ladies with endometriosis, which is a very real, very painful, condition that can cause debilitating periods and infertility, are understandably very upset by this.
I am also very upset by this, because I think it speaks to a bigger issue with how Dr. Drew, with his inexplicably huge media presence, treats the women in his “care.” I’ve found him unpalatable and gross from the very first season of my good friend Teen Mom, when he led the Finale Special and began his reign of patronizing and manipulating the teenage girls sitting in front of him on stage. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that in all the Finale Specials I’ve watched, Dr. Drew has been an inexcusable jerk to 100% of the girls he’s spoken to. These girls are, for the most part, young, stressed, immature victims of abuse, and in addition to never addressing in any real sense how the girls may feel about their situations, Dr. Drew makes them feel responsible for the insane actions of the idiots around them. Every single time.
The vast majority of the girls are dealing with ex- (or current) boyfriends who are horrible, absent, and verbally abusive. These boys call the teen moms terrible names, refuse to see their children, and are just generally despicable. Every time this situation is presented to Dr. Drew (which is all the time), I hope that he will say, “So, why do you stay with him? Why are you putting up with that? Why are you in love with someone who calls you a bitch and a whore? Who is there to help you remove yourself from this downward spiral of guilt and drug use and abuse and anxiety? Do you need help?”
And every time he has the opportunity to redeem himself, like clockwork, instead he says, “Have you ever considered how your actions impact Your Boyfriend? How does he feel? What can you do to make him want to be with you?”
It is the definition of disgusting, watching a grown man parading around as a doctor on television eviscerate a teenage girl because she hasn’t been more understanding of her loathsome boyfriend. Instead of trying to help her escape the cycle of abuse, he perpetuates it, by making her feel guilty about not giving him enough chances or enough attention or enough time. He blames the teen mom, every time. He makes teenage girls cry in shame and frustration on TV for not being able to make their boyfriends love them.
So, with regards to EndometriosisGate 2014: Dr. Drew implied that a woman’s legitimate problems were simply figments of her hysterical imagination?