‘Teen Mom’ Amber Portwood Is Hated In Her Hometown

It’s not just the entire viewing audience of MTV’s Teen Mom who hates Amber Portwood – an op-ed in her hometown newspaper makes it sound like the people who actually have to live with her aren’t terribly happy about it.

The Anderson Bulletin, the local newspaper for Anderson, Indiana, ran an editorial last week by a hometown resident who is none too pleased about Anderson’s most infamous resident and how she makes their community appear on television. Amber – who is never mentioned by name in the piece – is correctly vilified for abusing her on-again off-again fiance Gary (and the father of her child) on national television. But the anonymous author doesn’t just hate Amber – he or she is angry with MTV’s content as well:

Reality shows prey on featuring people who appear to be under-educated, narcissistic and full of anger. And that’s the image Americans are getting of Anderson.

We in Anderson know we’re better than that.

But for some reason, we can’t convince our own neighbors and friends to avoid portraying this community as a bunch of jobless buffoons.

“Teen Mom” is not the national image Anderson wants. The next time you see our teen mom in the store, point out that she is hurting this city. We don’t push our loved ones down stairs. We don’t take pride that our teenage girls are 16 and pregnant. We don’t all drop out of high school.

Look, I think reality TV has been around long enough that most viewers know to take everything with a grain of salt. And considering how rarely Gary and Amber’s town’s name has been mentioned on the show – I’m actually struggling to think of a time when they said it by name, and I’ve sadly watched every episode – I doubt most viewers are going online to try and find out where Amber lives so that they can cross it off of their “must visit” list. Most of the pushback to the show has been outrage about Amber’s treatment of Gary and her daughter Leah, not about whatever town Amber lives in. This isn’t Jersey Shore, which alleges to portray a particular community or area – it’s an ensemble show that focuses on the lives and personalities of four young women, their kids, and their significant others. The communities that these young women live in tend to be merely incidental, and mentioned only when it serves the storyline – for example, Maci’s move to Nashville wasn’t about Nashville, it was about the drama it caused between her and her family and her ex-fiance.

I can empathize with the author of this editorial. I’m lucky enough to live in New York, and there are so many media representations of my city that no one’s stressing about one of them being seen as the entire community. But I grew up in Raleigh, NC, a much smaller community that rarely gets mentioned in the nationwide media. When I was in college, a former high school classmate of mine – his name rhymes with Blay Staiken – became famous through a reality show. At first, everyone was flattered and excited that our little town was getting national attention thanks to our local idol. But when there’s only one media representation of your community, it’s normal to be paranoid about the way a place you love gets portrayed to others. When I watch episodes of Teen Mom, my takeaway isn’t “Anderson, Indiana sucks,” it’s “Amber sucks.” And I’m willing to bet the overwhelming majority of Teen Mom viewers feel the same way. Of course, every town has its less-than-beloved citizens. And reality TV is known for spotlighting the worst our society has to offer. But I just don’t see Teen Mom on par with a show like Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives series in terms of representing a particular community or claiming to show an entire ethnic group. It’s more about personality conflicts – or, in Amber’s case, outright abuse – than it is about geography. And that’s perhaps a much bigger problem.

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    • Lindsay Hartman

      I agree with your take on it. But I have to tell a story. I live in a city about an hour and a half north of Anderson. While grocery shopping this weekend, the woman behind me in checkout picked up US Weekly or whatever Amber was on and said, “This girl is an embarrassment to Indiana.” And she looked seriously angry about it.

      Honestly, I live near the girl and I’ve never even considered it an indictment on our state. But Indiana, in general, is not often mentioned. So I can understand why people feel a little defensive when someone gives it such a bad image. We still don’t forgive Dan Quayle.

    • Kristen

      I think the reason they’re upset about it though isn’t that Amber’s uneducated & trashy (though she clearly is), I think they’re upset that EVERYONE she affiliates with is uneducated and unemployed. Gary, Gary’s stepdad and his cougar mom (who would have pegged her for a cougar?), and her new felon boyfriend Chris. I’m sure that’s the beef.

    • Kait

      God, I love that The Gloss is as obsessed with Teen Mom as I am.

    • Ashley Sampson

      Okay, honestly, every high school and every town has uneducated college drop outs. Anyone who thinks that this represents a city, let alone an entire state is stupid. Indiana isn’t Kentucky — no offense Kentucky. The image of Indiana is the same as Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc. A northern state with normal people. Every state, and every town, and every high school has its abusive high school dropout pregnant duds — no offense to Amber. The people in the town need to relax and forget about it. It’s not THAT big of a deal.

    • Me

      She’s an embarrassment to just about anything, women, mothers, krav maga (tee hee) but I, as a fellow hoosier, am just glad it isn’t another portrayal of a hillbilly in overalls rolling around a cornfield. And no, I still don’t forgive Dan Quayle.

    • Hannah Rose Siegel

      I’m floored!

    • Stacy Grace

      @Ashley Sampson- Kentucky is actually on the top 10 list of most educated per capita. I’m guessing by your quick wit and ability to stereotype that your state didn’t make the cut :) Just my two cents!

    • Tim

      What upsets me about this whole situation is that if Gary hit her even once, he would be arrested without questions.

    • U dont know me

      She is a horrible person! I dont like her!

      • penny

        how can u call her horrible? can’t u see that she needs help? Try to put yourself in her shoes. Amber has no family and her parents r useless. it ‘s hard to b a good parent/person when u have no examples around u. her and gary both need therapy and have to get it together 4 lea. I grew up with an abusive mom, she’s not horrible it’s all she knew.

    • U dont know me

      She is a horrible person!

      • sandy

        I agree .. she is a horrible person … she let this guy that she met at Walmart change her daughter, Leah’s diaper … I was floored .. has she ever heard of the word molest … and she is constantly after Gary .. and the next person she hits will be little Leah … I heard that she lost custody .. I hope that is true .. she should never be left alone with Leah …

    • Delcie

      I kind of have to agree with this article. The way Amber potrays herself in Teen Mom is just an embarassment. She is constantly verbally abusing Gary, and even putting her hands on him. Domestic abuse doesn’t only pertain to men hitting a woman, but also pertains to a woman hitting a man. It’s wrong, and this show is supposedly supposed to help other teenage mothers cope? How is that even possible when MTV is showing a teen mother hitting her at the time Fiance. & Now there’s the thing going around about how her “new” boyfriend was on the sex offender list due to child molestation? That’s terrible, and flat out disgusting. Shouldn’t MTV be figuring out who these people really are before putting them on national television? Better yet, If your a mother and your new boyfriend says he just got out of jail, wouldn’t you want to know why? Wouldnt you want to keep someone like that away from your child? It’s disapointing. Most of teen mom is about drama, not the lives of these teen moms. If anyone is setting an example on that show, I believe it would be Catelynn and Tyler. They did the right thing, and one of the most difficult things ever. They gave their child up for adoption, Because they knew they were too young and couldn’t give the most proper life for their daughter. Sure, Theres drama but who doesn’t? I think they are very inspiring to teenage parents, to show that if you are too young, and if you don’t think you can provide the best life for a child, Do what’s best not only for yourself, but for that life you are bringing into the world.

    • jamie

      to the jacknuts worried how the town will be portrayed, shame on u. maybe trying to help a poor depressed girl who has no family would b the kind thing to do. ever since the doctor in the season prescribed amber benzo’s she’s changed, they can make u violent,moody,depressed and they’re very very addictive. i think it all started with the meds.

    • purple boots

      Aside from Amber being a generally horrible person, Anderson, IN was never a “must visit” town. It’s maybe more like, I’ll pass by in on my way to Chicago. The person of that article has an inflated sense of the town.

      • Alan

        Amber does bring the town down.. I would never go there because she probably smells so bad it would gag me. You can tell she is a dirty person who does not bathe or shower… she is so ugly she could scare the stink off shit.. Gary is not much better

    • E M K

      I live in Plainfield, IN and I don’t think she is an embarrassment to Indiana. I do however believe she needs help. I also agree about her changing after she was prescribed those meds. We have plenty of resources in Indiana that are available to her for her to seek help , and she hasn’t. With a little help she could be amazing person and mother. Gary should set more boundaries and consequences for her actions. Gary even said a few times that he thinks she’s on something or she’s not taking her meds properly. I feel for them. I hope they get help mow that CPS and the police are investigating them, for the sake of their daughter.

    • learyin

      I watch teen mom every week. Amber is a very angry, depressed, hurt and lost girl. No she shouldn’t be hitting Gary and doing it in front of Leah. But this girl needs help! I am a teen mom myself, I know how hard and stressful raising a child is. But instead of being worried about how the damn town looks, how about you people try and help the poor girl! She’s on meds for depression which do make you moody, not that that’s an excuse for her actions. But that girl is really screaming for someone, anyones help. And I think the best one besides the 2 couple that gave their baby, for their daughters sake… is Maci. She’s raising her child, paying her bills and going to school. I see a lot of myself in her.

    • Poor Leah

      I have to agree with Jamie. We are all only seeing brief moments into their lives. Not one of us sees the entire picture. From the beginning you could tell she suffers with a depressive disorder. There is no excuse for actions, however, she is a kid too. Someone close to her should have seen the signs, stepped up and helped her get the help she needs so she can learn to be a good parent for her daughter. She is suffering and Gary and his friends insults and immaturity doesn’t help the situation. He knows she’s at her emotional limits cuz this isn’t the 1st time she reacted like this. I have seen this behavior before. Instead of cutting her down, Gary (if wanted to stay in the relationship like he claimed) should have made sure that she was following thru with getting help and finding out what is triggering her to do that. Fighting in front of kids in never excusable, but I think most families at one time or another has fought in front of their kids regretfully. You can tell this girl is in trouble. Tearing her kids away and putting her down is only going to cause this girl to become self destructive. She will turn her aggression on herself. I would hate to see that happen. She is like the way she is to begin with because of hateful actions and comments against her in the past. I’m not a doctor and I don’t have all the answers, but it seems pretty obvious what needs to be done. With the right medication and therapy, there is no reason why she can’t recover and be the great mom she wants to be. Its just right now her life is in a mess. She needs real support from loved ones to get thru this. Everyone deserves a second chance. You can tell she did not like the person she saw she was on TV & sometimes that is what it takes for people to get the help they need. Her intentions and heart always started out in the right place. Like Easter for example. She made a adorable loving family oriented day for Leah. Then she happily went with Gary to his mom’s house. Then the insults at the table started. She felt attacked. So seeing the situation escalating, she said her peace respectfully and walked away to avoid a confrontation but Gary and his mom wouldn’t have that. They had to track her down and nit pick her apart until she snapped. What part of “I’m leaving to cool down and avoid a confrontation” didn’t they understand. When he cornered her and nit picked her apart some more, she snapped, everyone was shocked by the way she reacted. How fair is that? She is a kid too. She didn’t see how your suppose to react in this situation at her house growing up. Her parents were just as disfunctional if not worse based on some of the comments that have been made. She needs a hug and some help. She could even benefit from some parenting classes. Not saying that rudely, but from a Christian loving place. As far as the people who have issues with her being in their town, that is just crazy. Are you honestly worried about what a bunch of people think about your town because of her issues? The people who judge an entire town based on one person’s behavior are not the type of people worth impressing. She never gave any impression that the whole town is young, pregnant, and has issues. That is the most obsurd thing I ever heard and I live in a very small town. Put it to you this way, in my small town, there is only stop signs and back roads. There is not 1 stop light. If everyone keeps tearing this girl apart and keep threatening her life with her daughter, she will never get better. If the town is so concerned about their reputation and what goes on in her life, how about knocking on her door, or approach her with some kind words and helpful advice from a loving place in their heart. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Build her up. Offer your help. I don’t know. But do something positive and constructive to help her. You just might be amazed at what you see. You might see that loving beautiful girl inside shine thru. Which in turn would benefit Leah. Thats your neighbor and fellow sister in need. I know many will throw insulting comments at me for trying to be positive and supportive. Thats ok, words don’t hurt me. Im not judging your opinion, just trying to give you a new one to consider. Its the whole glass half empty vs being half full theory.

    • Alan berg

      Amber is a dirty pg. She is not fit to be a mother. Come on Gary wake up and send that piece of crap to the curb… you could easily get custody of the baby… D it befor its too late

    • shiah

      amber is scary to watch.she is the perfect example of women that pedophiles look for low self esteem,desperate and lazy.how can you only know a man for a few weeks and allow him to move in with you and your child and then have him changing her dapers !! not to mention knowing that he just got out of jail !! i dont care what anybody says she need to have that child taken from her and then get some help.gary may be a lot of things but when it comes to leah he takes good care of her and she loves him.when you watch the show you can see it by how she cries for him when left when her mom.she is a terrible excuse for a human being and makes everybody look bad not just Indiana….

    • Ajmcgill

      Ashley Sampson: I disagree with your generalization of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. I have lived in Wis. all my life. My husband and I travel to Indiana each fall for a fall festival we attend. Indiana is struggling with double-digit unemployment caused by the loss of manufacturing jobs sent to cheaper labor markets.

      Sweeping generalizations about different states makes it difficult to understand the special challenges Amber & Gary will face. It’s hard to get a good job when the jobs are relocated out of the country. Catelynn & Tyler’s home state of Michigan has also suffered the losses of the auto industry.

      I think Amber’s lack of effort and drive will make it hard for her to succeed in any job market, but in a slow economy it will be nearly impossible to get the lead out of her butt and get any job. Amber is starting to act like and resemble April. In fat if Amber doesn’t get her vat together, she will end up just like April.

    • Amy

      I kind of don’t agree with those who say Amber is embarrassing for those in Indiana. Everywhere you go in this world people are struggling with money and finding jobs. And I highly doubt people think low of your state. Indiana isn’t the only state in the US that has 16 year olds getting prego or having domestic violence! Yes, I have see the show since it first aired, yes, I have see Amber turn into and ugly person who really needs help, and yes, I don’t like her at all either and what has happen between her and Gary, but the people in Indiana need to open their eyes because their state isn’t the only people going through this kind of stuff. And I mean seriously, they did mention where the other 3 girls live, and I don’t hear the people of their town or state crying, and Farrah’s mother hit her but you don’t hear them crying that Farrah’s mom shouldn’t be near her granddaughter!! I do realize that your state of Indiana is mentioned that it is Amber’s home state/town but

    • Amy

      Opps…anyways like I was saying I do realize that your state of Indiana is mentioned on TV because it’s Amber home state/town, but there are others like her in other states as well. What would make you people of Indiana feel better, having MTV have a show that shows crazy girls who are just like Amber in all 50 states. Sounds to me like you people want the attention, and who cares about what other people from other states that would or do think low of your state, they have no room to talk because everywhere in this world there are problems just like this, they just don’t air on TV. I don’t think low of you people just because of one person and I don’t think every person in that town ” have pride having 16 year olds who are pregnant or high school drop outs”. My hometown have problems just like you people do..and sometimes we get mentioned on the local state news, but yet people still come and visit our small town. We have girls who get pregnant at 15, girls who beat up their boyfriends, we have high school drop outs etc.

    • my thought

      Why do we make excuses for women when they act like Amber does, but if it were Gary we would be screaming to send him to jail. Amber is just to immature to be a mother. It floors me she is always laying down. I have two children I don’t ever remember laying down when they were younger. I agree though she is on something and I am not sure that it was perscribed by a doc. Forget the way she makes Indiana look. She makes women look bad and I use that word very loosley with her.

    • http://www.blogspot.com tammy

      I think anyone that turns this girls struggles into their own must be equally as uneducated. Forgive me for being forward, but if you cared about your community or it’s residents you would offer to help these kids; not bash them. I guess you would prefer being known as heartless than to be known as a community where kids make mistakes. Sorry folks but that is completely normal. What’s not so common is people showing compassion when a neighbor is struggling… try that if you want to give your community a good name.

    • http://www.blogspot.com leah

      … why are we so quick to kick someone that is down? Isn’t that worse than a 16 year old struggling with a baby, depression, anxiety, anger issues. You’re suppose to know better.

    • Amber

      Everyone is entitled to their opinions but most shouldnt say anything at all due the ignorance. Gary is honestly no better whatsoever and he also needs helped. It’s an ongoing cycle Amber went through life with a bad family so Leah is going to however Amber and/or Gary (hopefully both) grow up and take care of Leah because the real issue is her. Leah is an innocent child in the middle of feud that she cannot do anything to fix…

    • J.Lee

      Basically no one cares about what po-dunk town Amber is from. I sure don’t. Its just another piece of sh** where the people call their local Wal Mart “Wally”. Amber has loads of issues..we all do,some more than others though. She let that creature she met at “wally” change her babies diaper. So inappropriate…she is obviously super depressed and shows how little respect she has for herself in various ways: promiscuous,dirty home,no ambition or drive to further her education. She could give to sh**’s if Leah got lost in a garbage pile heap in the “living room”.

      • pamela

        oh yeah I forgot about the guy changing leah’s diapers!why would anyone let some strange man change their childs diapers?What if this man was a pedo?My real problem with gary is he needs to man up and take custody of leah and do what’s right for leah.Also needs to QUIT going back to AMBER she dose NOT LOVE HIM!

    • RNicolekeenan on twitter

      Amber Portwood is a Great Person!!!She had her life on Air on teen Mom and people are portraying her in a Bad Way. All people are different,everybody has things they do that they do differently.All people make mistakes,and they learn from them and it makes them grow more as a person it’s what life’s All about. It’s not about regretting things it’s about moving forward. People on these message boards are redicious talking smak about Amber it’s like Are you her are you? living her life?-No then dont be talking all this because if you are commenting about negative things you must not be worring about your own life. And Nobody in life is perfect. Perfect shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocab. judemental and opinionated people shouldn’t be like that I know Im not and Im not saying Im better I just have allot of respect for people. And the other thing is about Depression it is a hard thing to deal with you feel traped and you feel life is not going the way you want it to,I myself know whats it like I have it.everybody who suffers with it suffers it in the same way yet sometimes a little differently. And on the news and in the Media they should talk about the issue of Depression it’s a ongoing battle and some people are leading to horribly situations. It’s a hard thing,Like they say depression hurts but some people who don’t know about it don’t think they just go to judge. And Amber was a teen mom for a reason(Everything in Life happens for a reason) and she was blessed with a beautiful daughter, Amber deserves the best and all that life has to offer. Her daughter is going to be proud of her no matter what when she gets older she’s gonna be glad of how great and amazing mother she has. And to All her haters it’s just a brush off the shoulder because negative people arn’t worth people’s time And next time we see Amber Portwood in the magazine’s she gonna hold her head up high and stick the middle finger up because that would be a good laugh but not only that but people don’t bother her or effect her. I would love to see her do that hahaa.
      I wish Amber and baby Leah nothing but the best and I wish Gary the very best Also!!

      • jen

        I really love your creative capitalization. I’m not judging, I earnestly find it fascinating.

    • Ailynn

      I love your comment Rachel(Rnicolekeenan) not only because your my sister but because you keep it Real and it’s totally true people should worry about themselves and not be talking shit. I loved the show Teen Mom I thought it was a good show and I thought they all did a good job, All of them are great parents I wish each and every one of them good luck on everything they do.

    • nonso

      pls u guys should stop judging do u know how difficult it is to be a mother?U guys should know that she is just 16 and garry is sooo anoying .she needs help from her family.

    • Sara

      ummmm..no! anderson, indiana does suck! i grew up there & honestly it doesn’t surprise me that this kind of trash is from there either! it’s a sh*thole town, with no jobs, a bunch of car-less, living at home with their parents, dropped out of high school bunch of losers! trust me you don’t wanna visit there!

    • Melissa

      Anderson Indiana is a shit hole. I’ve lived here my whole life and nothing is getting better it keeps getting ran down more and more. I dont think the show really made Anderson look that bad. In fact I think it played it up to be more than it is really. Everyone needs to stop defending Amber. She is a very horrible mom and girlfriend. Hitting gary thats a bad example for teenages. It makes it seem like its okay to beat up on loved ones yeah gary argues alot with her but Ive never seen him once raise and hand or anything to her. So what gives her the right to beat up on him. He walks away like a real man should. Shes not the goddess everyone is making her seem like. Yeah Gary walks away from leah alot and thats a bad examples to all fathers. She got put in jail for a day on a felony charge. I know people that are getting sent to prison for that kind of stuff. Thats what I hate about So called famous people they get treated like kings and queens and they are really just a piece of shit faking to be something theyre not. She should spent more time in jail that is not right. Oh and all her boyfriends shes had are pieces of shit too. They all have a rap sheet. I know they personally. She better stick with gary because all those guys shes dated has kids and up and left them or got them tooken away because they are drug heads. Now amber is posing nude at her friends house and theres pictures all over the net from that if thats not a whore then I dont know what is. Wandering around taking naked pictures at some random friends house and dating one guy one night and screwing him and moving on to the next damn this girl needs something done with herself. She uses her depression as an excuse fuck that. She must not be too depressed if she is screwing around with other guys for real. Gary is trying to better himself people need to get off of him and get on amber. Because we all know she likes the attention.. So thats what I think.. She needs to go back to jail and serve her time for what she did. She deserves everything she gets. I hope gary gets his head on straight and leave her ass if he hasnt already and I hope leah goes to her daddy. Shes the one that is going to have to deal with everything when she grows up. What does your mommy do for a living leah? Oh she goes on tv beats my dad, dates and screws different guys, and went to jail for one day because she is so called famous and too good to be put in jail longer than that. Oh yeah and she takes naked pictures and lets them get on the internet because she likes the attention.. Yup thats what every kid wants to say about their parents. Open your eyes people AMBER PORTWOOD IS NOT A GODDESS.

    • pamela

      I will not and cannot defend amber portwood,why because what she is doing to both gary and leah are abusive emotionally and physically.While she may not hit her daughter she dose hit gary.What she did tonight was horrible I can understand why she would not want her daughter climbing on things but you don’t just grab em by the nightgown or whatever clothing they are wearing and pull them down,you get off ur butt and take them down.She did not even care to see if her daughter got hurt after she pulled her down and she fell to the floor like she did,worst part of the whole thing was gary said NOTHING to her about this.Second when they were in the care she started cussing gary out for NO REASON and IN FRONT OF THEIR DAUGHTER TOO.Gary is way to spinless,he needs to remove himself and their daughter from the situration before child protective services remove her.This poor little girl is going to have a whole lot of problems if she don’t get out of that house and away from amber.

    • shoVel

      Amber is a turbo beeotch and sack of abusive shi! Gary is an ignorant fat lazy lump for taking Amber back too! What is wrong with these idiots? I wouldn’t pee on her if she was on fire! Her attitude makes her nasty!! GO AWAY AMBER, YOU SUCK!

    • egypt

      i think amber needs to work on her self and stop focusing on men while watching season 3 she cant seem to not want to be by herself and its really sad thats she hops from one bad relationship to another and gary dont make it no better by taking her back after all the bull she put him through. he needs to let her go and focus on him and leah cuz she dont care about him or her

    • Bob

      I just want people to leave comments on here that I can actually read. Did any of you stay awake through English class?