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Reality nothing  like television

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Updated: August 22, 2013 6:43AM



Keep an open mind, I told myself the day I opened the press kit for “Pregnant & Dating,” a show that debuted in May on WE tv.

But honestly, I thought my head was going to explode. Really, this is Women’s Entertainment?

I am not a fan of reality TV. I don’t get the fascination with watching people behave badly. Everyone talks sooo slow, like forming a thought takes too much effort. No one sounds as if they ever have read the side of a cereal box, let alone a book.

I take issue that so many of these shows have females yelling and fighting with their supposed friends. (A real-life friend asked on Facebook why young girls are so mean to their pals now; emulating the behavior they see on reality shows perhaps?)

The only purpose — besides arguing — women on reality shows seem to have is to look hot. At least in the reality shows based on males that I have seen, the men are showing off their occupations (albeit some unusual ones) and working as a team.

So when I saw that title, “Pregnant & Dating,” my first reaction was, boy, just when I think we can’t dip any lower, we hit a sub-basement.

And yet, I remember when I first saw “Teen Moms” and while fascinated, I worried about the impact it was having on impressionable teens. At the time I interviewed a nurse practitioner who works with vulnerable teens. She said that when the show was watched and discussed with a parent — important distinction — there was anecdotal evidence it made teens think twice about having sex at an early age without protection.

So I made myself check out “Pregnant & Dating.” Despite the provocative title, the cast featured in this first season seemed to be women who really just wanted someone to love. Who can find fault with that?

I told myself to give the show credit for taking the stigma away from unmarried moms. Do we ever brand males who father children and expect them to stay dateless? Lighten up, I kept telling myself.

That is, until I saw a story on s

untimes.com that reminded me of what my underlying objection really was.

This fake-reality show displays a glamorized version of moms-to-be dating men who are not their babies’ daddies. The news story shows the brutal reality of what happens too often when young, usually financially strapped, women are with men who aren’t the fathers of their unborn or young children.

In last week’s case, police said a 23-year-old man hit his live-in girlfriend — who was seven months pregnant — repeatedly in the abdomen and her unborn daughter died. What the young woman thought was her water breaking turned out to be blood, according to the news story. What’s the chance we’ll see something like that on “Pregnant & Dating”?

I know nothing I say will stop people from watching “Pregnant & Dating.” But remember, it has nothing to do with what is real. And when faced with the true reality of what can happen, females should think long and hard, not only about themselves, but their children, too.



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