China’s newest internet trend is a bit unexpected–teen moms are beginning to attract followers and views on social media platforms.
According to The New York Times two video apps were taken off the market this past week when state CCTV said that they were “promoting underage pregnancy.” This segment from CCTV shows a compilation of some of the popular teen pregnancy videos that are drawing attention online with millions of views.
The response to this trend may be a result of China’s initiative to curve online content that is seen as “pornographic” or “unwholesome.” Kuaishou is one of the apps that was hosting these videos. CEO Su Hua commented, on the issue, “I am very grateful to CCTV and other media for criticizing Kuaishou, so that I could clearly see my own deficiencies.” The other app involved in the “scandal”, Huoshan, expressed similar sentiments.
It has yet to be announced if either app will be allowed back on the market. Kuaishou has a large following, claiming to have 100 million daily users. The reaction to these teen mom videos is representative of a larger trend in Chinese media. There is an increasing censorship of content and services.
The issue of teen moms is so concerning in China because of the stigmas attached to young pregnancy. An interviewee in the CCTV clip warned that these videos will have a harmful influence on young Chinese girls, “She will think that in her world, this kind of abnormal or illegal behavior is normal.”
This article is interesting because it shows distinct differences in Chinese and American media trends. In the United States, the teen mom fad lasted in our popular culture for years. MTV devoted an entire TV series to teen moms, many of whom continued on to reach celebrity status. It would also be interesting to study what cultural context these teen mom channels exist in and how they become popular.