When Jamie Lynn Spears revealed she was expecting a baby back in 2007, the question of whether a pregnant teen should have a starring role on a television show that targets a young audience was broached (Spears played the lead on Nickelodeon's "Zoey 101.")
Now the magazine world enters into a similar dialogue as Teen Vogue’s November issue, which pictures a pregnant, unmarried 19-year-old model on its cover, hits newsstands.
There’s nothing about the cover that would indicate that Jourdan Dunn, who is the first black model to walk a Prada show since Naomi Campbell in the 1990s, is pregnant. She looks no different than Chanel Iman, who is also pictured, and the accompanying cover line says simply, “Teen Supermodels Jourdan and Chanel on their rise to the top.”
Not until you read the accompanying piece does the subject of Dunn’s pregnancy come into play. Toward the end of the interview, Dunn says her unplanned pregnancy was “really hard,” and “all I could think about was what my mom was going to say, my agency, my boyfriend.”
From all indications in the piece, all parties are supportive of Dunn, who is due in December.
A representative for Teen Vogue said that they didn’t know Dunn was pregnant until after the photo shoot, and production schedules, among other factors, led to the decision to keep the cover in place.
Whether or not you think it was right of Teen Vogue to go with the cover, it's obvious that the coverage of teen pregnancy continues to evolve. Spears’ pregnancy forced a lot of families to have a conversation about why the young star was no longer on the television and was instead pictured in tabloids posing at her baby shower.
More recently, there are the challenges that came with Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. While Palin has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since giving birth to son Tripp in December, the baby's father, Levi Johnston, has become a part of mainstream media for no reason other than impregnating the right politician’s daughter at the right time.
If Spears and Palin weren’t enough to spawn a dialogue about teen pregnancy, Teen Vogue will certainly advance the conversation, whether we’re ready for it or not.
Keeping tabs: People’s Jaycee Dugard exclusive
Next to People magazine's current issue, which displays a shockingly fresh-faced image of kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard, the cover of Star featuring Lindsay Lohan and the headline “Rock Bottom” seems a bit ridiculous.
With all due respect to Lohan’s struggles, I’m pretty sure Dugard is the one who knows rock bottom better. And yet, the story, for all its horror, is an uplifting one in People.
“I’m so happy to be back,” is the cover line, and the accompanying piece goes on to tell a story of the two months since Dugard’s rescue in a way that’s uplifting. Suffice to say then, People will be the most compelling magazine on the newsstand this week.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc