The Representation of Teenage Pregnancy in American Visual Culture on the Example of 16 and pregnant and Teen Mom.
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Visual culture is a broad field of studies embracing aspects of cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology and communication studies. It recognizes that the contemporary culture is build on various images which are not only presented as print images or graphic design, but also transmitted by television, Internet, different display technologies, photography and architecture. Those images construct and represent system of meanings, various phenomena and trends. The aim of this thesis is to present and analyze the representations of teenage pregnancies in American Visual Culture on the example of popular MTV series ‘Teen Mom’ and ’16 and Pregnant’. My intention is to juxtapose the statistics and research conducted in this area with the way teenage parenting is presented in media, particularly addressed to teenagers. The problem of teenage pregnancy should not be seen as a problem of a single unit, but rather an international issue. It is estimated that there are around 450 million currently living teenagers (aged 15-19) from which 13 million gave birth to babies. This phenomena is clearly a nuisance for young and unprepared for motherhood women, their families and government. In the publications I encountered the notions discussed most frequently concern psychological aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and bare statistics about births in a given year. At the same time there are hardly any resources on the portrayal of teenage motherhood. It should be seen as a serious negligence and injustice towards young women who often are vulnerable for critique and are not aware of the power of media images. I would like to explore this field and present my insights into the representation of teenage pregnancies in massive pop culture.