I don’t know whether to puke or to be thankful that a reality TV series is actually going to chronicle the life of a young adult choosing to wait. If it is anything like TLCs recent attempt I would rather they pass. If you don’t know what I am talking about then watch this promo video for the series. It seems like they found every person that fits a caricature of this decision and multiplied it with a kiss that looks like a bird regurgitating its food! Again…watch this video and learn what I am talking about.
Although I don’t think TLC did a good job with the subject matter I have some hopes that MTV will do a little better. That is, if the producers are truly trying to document the life of those that have chosen to wait. I think it could be good to see teens that have made this decision yet it doesn’t consume every part of their identity. That means seeing them do life like hanging with friends, going out, and even….dating.
There are certain stigmas and caricatures of those that have made this decision…can’t get sex if they wanted, nerd, don’t like sex, etc. This is a chance to take this decision and point out its rewards and benefits while not making the teens look weird. I also think that it can raise the bar for those that have thought about this decision but never given it much credence. It can become a learning opportunity for those that watch this show and a point of discussion in homes. Maybe even a chance for parents to share their own values with their son or daughter.
But let’s be honest, this is MTV. This is the network that brings us Miley Cyrus twerking on stage with Robin Thicke. It is also the same network that made JWOW and Snooki household names for their drinking antics on the reality TV show “Jersey Shore.” So my hopes are pretty low for what this show will accomplish when it comes to changing the cultural landscape surrounding this discussion.
This dynamic is rooted in two facts that I’ve discovered in my research on the show. First, this show will serve as an opportunity to highlight MTVs safe sex campaign, “It’s Your (Sex) Life”. It aims to empower youth to make better decisions about their sexual health. However, almost none of its material that it distributes or discusses on its channel talks about abstaining from sex as a viable option. If you want to see a PDF of what they’ve compiled you can click here.
As you can tell its discussion on abstinence or choosing to wait to have sex is super limited and almost an afterthought. Now maybe this guide will change in light of this new show but I highly doubt that. More than likely it will be sold as a show highlighting a teen’s decision to wait and the difficulty of making this a reality. Maybe even scripting situations where they are set up to fail.
Second, this show spawned out of another idea it had called My First, which was going to highlight teens on the verge of losing their virginity. The idea was dismantled after there was some protest over the show. So now the show is about a group of virgins that may or may not have sex. That in and of itself gives me great fear about its content and outcomes. But I hope I am wrong….we will have to wait and see.