Knowing firsthand how much an unplanned teen pregnancy changes your life, I am 100% supportive of preventing unplanned pregnancy. I am grateful for the organizations that primarily focus on this issue. However, there are ways of promoting an organization’s mission without offending teens that are already parents. It’s really not fair.
For example, The Candie’s Foundation is a major foundation created by the head of the Candie’s fashion brand, Neil Cole. Bravo, Neil! After its creation in 2001, the campaigns have reached millions of teens and helped spread awareness. However, there is a little message on the website under the “About Us” tab:
Teen girls who have been exposed to the foundation and its messages are more likely to view teen pregnancy and parenthood as stressful and negative…
So the message is to turn teens away from having babies but why put teen parents in one “negative” category? They have either clearly overlooked the condescending message they are sending or they are proud for perpetuating it. Telling other teens that teen parenthood is negative only encourages teens to look at teen parents as bad figures of society. Now we get to receive prejudicial treatment solely for being a member of the “teen parent” category. Yay. If that’s not discrimination, I don’t know what is.
Oh and if you haven’t read it… here is the Candie’s Foundation’s mission statement:
The mission of the candie’s foundation is to educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy.
Pardon me, but my decision to keep my child and become a parent did not cause severe distress and grief. Candie’s, you make it sound like teen pregnancy causes terminal illness or paralysis. It changes your life, but it’s not to be described as “devastating”. The word “devastating” is the same adjective the media uses to describe earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and terrorist attacks. But let’s just add teen pregnancy on the list because clearly they are all equivalent.
Then, of course, there is the 2007 United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Ad:
I love that they brought attention to the boys but the message gets misconstrued. The choice of words is super offensive. Was my pregnancy “disturbing”? Was my walking around with a protruding belly causing dismay? We all know it takes two to make a child.
While a teen girl is hoping her period is just a few days late, the boy is getting high fives in the hallway. Boys aren’t receiving equal treatment and they get to slide off the radar when a girl gets pregnant. He can walk away just as how he walked in. We can’t end something unless everything is being addressed properly. So with that said, here’s my last question for today’s post: Why aren’t teen pregnancy ads equally targeting young boys and the effects of teen pregnancy for them?