Sex, pregnancy, birth control, more sex. original series, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” an original series on ABC Family (really) does not try to hide the fact that these topics are the focus of the show. And “Good Morning America” didn’t try to hide the fact that they think its great.
The female stars of ”Secret Life,” Shailene Woodley, India Eisley, Francia Raisa, and Megan Park appeared on Good Morning America on June 29. Weatherman Sam Champion asked the girls if they ever got uncomfortable with the issues they covered, while implying that their characters act as role models. “You guys take all the tough topics” he said. “We started out with the teen pregnancy thing, so right off the bat we got that one down. Is it ever uncomfortable for you? Because you're young women and you’ve got to give, you know, kind of the great advice to teens today. Ever uncomfortable?”
In all likelihood Champion has never seen the show. Nobody who has could possibly say that these girls bring “great advice” to teens, beyond promoting “safe sex.” (Birth control and condom companies should be paying the show, as it might as well be a commercial for their products to high school students.) Woodley’s character got pregnant at 15, Raisa’s is known for her sexual promiscuity, and Park’s abandoned her Christian beliefs and lost her virginity in the new season opener. Would any parent want these characters giving advice to their young girls or their girls emulating the actions of these characters? The boys in the show are not much better, all of them just as obsessed with sex as the girls. The show teaches no morals. It just chronicles the lives of a group of high school students with raging hormones, who are suppose to represent the “average” high schooler.
Shailene Woodley answered Champion’s question for the group, claiming that she does not feel awkward about the topics they cover because they are so realistic: “It's so true to life. I feel like in normal high schools, you know, these things do go on so I think that, you know, it opens conversations for adults and teenagers, and I think that's important.”
It may be important for teenagers and adults to talk about these things, but an ABC Family original series that idolizes and normalizes sex and birth control isn’t going to spur many serious conversations. This show takes teenage sexual activity as a given, with no thought to abstinence, and implicitly assumes the same of every teenager who watches the show
If “Secret Life” retains its popularity and continues in failing American teenagers with its message, the show’s assumption may become a reality.