I chose to live-tweet during the season finale of Teen Mom 3, which makes me glad we watched it during class because of the now background I had on it. I also knew it would feature a lot of vitriolic tweets. Hating on shows like Teen Mom 3 because you think they’ll make girls want to get pregnant to be on the show? Fine, I sort of understand that. But hating on the shows because the girls are stupid, bitches, etc. who had sex and deserve to live with the consequences? That kind of dominant ideology is exactly the kind I was looking for while watching the tweets during the show.
It’s interesting the differences in tweets for a reality show versus a drama. For the sake of comparison, I also decided to pay attention to the tweets while watching the CW show ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Most of those tweets were commentaries on the show, the plot, and the character relationships. I personally did not actually see any tweets that were mean-spirited in any way. Most of the tweeting viewers were female, and they all clearly enjoyed the show. This was not the case with the Teen Mom 3 viewers as a whole. The main events for this episode of Teen Mom 3 were Mackenzie and Josh fighting, Alexandria and her mom going to Bermuda, Briana’s daughter’s birthday, and Katie trying to spend time with her ex for their baby. There were many positive tweets – people commenting on how Briana was flawless, perfect, etc. (female viewers), and how they felt for Mackenzie and Josh fighting and how they hated it. Then, there were the trolls. A wise lad commenting on how ‘these btches were pretty descent‘, a girl disgusted with how Alexandria was going to Bermuda with the hashtag #whitepllshit, and another girl who decided that boys were dumb (more than likely in reference to Josh.
There were more vitriolic comments, and I’ve only picked a few. I think this kind of vitriol goes to show that there are people, most likely regular viewers, who definitely watch the show with the sole intent of making fun of the cast on the show. They watch it because they want to show off their ability to rag on low-income girls whose choices they don’t favor. Or, as our resident wise lad said, stick to the objectification. These comments also can help to further the sex negative society we live in. Teen pregnancy rates are up in states without proper sex education, and while I have no proof that any of these girls are a direct product of lack of sex education, I would not at all be surprised if they were. In my experience, teenagers that are properly educated don’t get pregnant because they either use protection, birth control, or in the best case scenario, both. By oversimplifying the cause of the pregnancy of these girls by just calling them dumb, as several commenters did, you’re saying that they are simply just bad people and they should regret what they did. Commenters like this don’t take into consideration their financial state, their relationships at the time, or maybe they did use protection and it failed for whatever reason. It simply furthers the hegemony.
Again, it’s important to note the significant number of viewers that just commented on how they liked the show, how they were going to bed after watching it, etc. While the assholes are outspoken and noticeable (even if they are awful at writing), they do not reflect the general culture of support for these television shows. It is very important to distinguish between the exception and the rule.