Sexy shows have consequences

Renee Rosenow

In the past couple of years, anyone can see that everything about the world of celebrities has become racier. Hollywood starlets are being hauled off to rehab and gossip blogs constantly have pictures of young celebrities walking out of clubs extremely intoxicated. Unfortunately, these stars are the ones kids look up to today.

The main female stars that kids look to as role models are definitely the Disney stars, such as Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens and Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears. Though all of the aforementioned celebrities have starred in squeaky-clean movies and television shows, their personal lives are anything but clean.

Sixteen-year-old Cyrus, who prides herself on being a good Christian girl, is currently dating 20-year-old underwear model Justin Gaston. Parents of “Hannah Montana” fans everywhere must be proud. Cyrus has also had her fair share of racy pictures on the Internet, showing her in nothing but her underwear and in seductive poses.

In 2007, then-18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens got herself into a little problem that no song and dance from “High School Musical” could begin to solve. Naked pictures of her spread like wildfire on the Internet.

And 17-year-old Spears, star of the hit Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, announced that she was pregnant last year.

More than a decade ago, adolescents could watch “Clarissa Explains it All” on Nickelodeon without the fear of cancellation because Melissa Joan Hart was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby.

It’s no surprise that television shows and their stars have become racier as years go on. There are networks like The CW, which primarily has teen-oriented material, showing advertisements of the stars of the highly-popular “Gossip Girl” naked in a pool. People of all ages see and remember that.

A study, conducted by the RAND research organization, shows that television may play a role in the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States.

The researchers surveyed 718 girls at three different times between the ages of 12 and 17. They asked the girls about pregnancy and their television viewing. In the three years the study took place, 91 of the girls became pregnant. The girls who watched the shows that were considered “most sexy,” were at higher risk of getting pregnant than the girls who didn’t watch the shows, according to the study.

Network television shows push the envelope in what they show in terms of sex. However, they rarely demonstrate the risks of having sex. Once in awhile, a character has a pregnancy scare, but it seldom turns into anything.

Currently, the only show on TV that is really dealing with the teenage pregnancy issue head-on in America is ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

In the show, the main character, Amy, has sex for the first time and then finds out she is pregnant. The show focuses on Amy’s struggles with telling her family and still attending school while going through the ordeal.

Television needs to take more responsibility for the content it shows. Though everyone knows that sex sells, especially television executives, they also need to understand that what they are showing has consequences.

Young girls see their favorite character on their favorite teen drama have sex and they may think that is what they want to do as well, but without knowing and understanding the consequences that may occur.

Television is meant for entertainment, but using it to educate adolescents on the dangers of sex can also be extremely beneficial. Television executives may fear that without sex, their show won’t have an audience. This can be proven wrong with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Though this is a show about the consequences of having sex, “Secret Life” is both highly rated and critically acclaimed. Adolescents can look up to the character of Amy and know they don’t want to be in that situation.

In the world of television, sex definitely sells. But in real life, it may come with major consequences.

Proite is a senior print journalism major and staff writer for The Spectator.