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Beware! Gossip Girl Will Impregnate Your Teen

by Lauren Gitlin November 4, 2008 12:26 pm
Beware! <i>Gossip Girl</i> Will Impregnate Your Teen People just loooooove making connections between TV and human behavior, don't they? (Full disclosure, I eat this shiz up.) Between the political preferences that your TiVo allegedly reveal and the fact that Law & Order makes you fat, it seems turning on your tube is a fraught endeavor these days. 'Course this is nothing new, but it sure seems like the conspiracy theorists that propagate these myths are coming out of the woodwork of late to make us afraid to tune in to our favorite shows. Maybe they're just feeling left out cuz they can't afford to upgrade to digital in February? Who the hell knows.

The latest "report" to be released links teenage pregnancy and shows like Gossip Girl that depict "risque" sexual situations. OK, I love me some GG and will fight for it to the death. If we're going to make sweeping generalizations, who's to say that the connections lie simply in the fact that people who watch Gossip Girl are with-it, sexy young things who just get laid more than the chaste little angels who don't?

I'll admit, last night's episode did feature a teen sex double-whammy, what with Blair's young charge who was dead set on losing her V-card lest her frenemy Muffy Something-Or-Other beat her to the proverbial punch. And let's not forget young Jenny Humphrey, who I'm loving more and more each week the more she turns into a platinum-haired trainwreck. But since when is being fifteen and snogging your older bro's hot friend a crime?

The truth is that if the young folks who watch Sex and the City (in syndication of course) and Gossip Girl are so susceptible to the alleged moral messages that these shows are putting forth, there'd also be an uptick in the sale of ridiculously expensive footwear and suites at The Palace. These sorts of shows may or may not glorify sexual promiscuity, but they do so not without some eye to the repercussions of such actions. And anyway, the more these sorts of ideas and behaviors enter the mainstream, the more a dialogue is opened up, so that issues that were once the whispered stuff of girls' bathrooms and rec rooms are now topics of discussion. That can only be a good thing.

Teen pregnancy has been around since teens have existed. Sure, it's not necessarily the best path for everyone on a personal and a financial level, but it's not going away anytime soon. In some ways the most realistic things about these shows is their depiction of teens with active sex lives. After all, not everyone can afford Hermes luggage and a standing reservation at Le Bernardin, but we've all got the equipment to go to the bone yard.

What do you think? Are shows like Gossip Girl chipping away at the moral fiber of our nation's teen population? Or should the experts behind these studies take a long walk off a short dock?

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