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Do we live in a celebrity-dominated consumer culture?
Journalism & Communication
Pages 10 (2510 words)
Vlahos, K. B. (2011, July). Born to Consume: For MTV, Teen Pregnancy Is Big Business. The American Conservative, 10(7), 22+. "FOR THOSE WHO don't watch MTV, it may take a hundred turns through the grocery aisle to realize who these attractive young women are…
They look familiar, but you can't place them--unless you're familiar with MTV's top-rated "16 and Pregnant" or "Teen Mom" reality-television shows. These young women are celebrities all right: they're famous for having babies in high school. Big media corporations--which liberal scholar Robert McChesney once compared to the 19th-century British Empire, with teens "like Africa"--have drilled the depths of youth exploitation once more, successfully packaging the titillation of teen sex, the burgeoning "baby mama" market, and the old voyeuristic pleasure of watching someone else's domestic dysfunction unfold. MTV would have us believe this human spectacle is a public service, a "cautionary tale" for young girls akin to the "after school specials" of the 1970s. But one glance at the marquee-name advertisers taking up real estate in MTV's pregnant teen universe--on the programs' websites and weekly broadcasts--and it's obvious this is big business. ...
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