During my sex education days, I was a 7th grader in Catholic school, and their idea of informing us about the birds and the bees was . . . different. I remember watching what must have been an old VHS tape from the early '70s about a young girl who said her favorite color used to be blue—until the stick she peed on to find out that she was pregnant consequently also turned blue. Guilt. Shock. Panic! But what did it all mean?
I still really don't know. We didn't learn about how to prevent pregnancy, just that sex was basically bad and that it was reserved for a man and a woman who were married. Two years later, I would know at least three girls who got pregnant their first year of high school.
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So when people start complaining that today's pregnancy awareness campaigns for teens are too harsh, I strongly disagree. It's important to put things in terms that teens will understand. And based on the in-your-face world we live in today, the stronger the message the better.
According to the Candie's Foundation, nearly 750,000 teenage girls will become pregnant this year alone. Their hard-hitting campaign features some of today's most popular actresses and popstars (think Carly Rae Jepsen and Lea Michele) spouting tongue-in-cheek phrases like:
You're supposed to be changing the world, not diapers.
You think being in school sucks?
And my favorite:
Not really the way you pictured your first crib, huh?
But these are just the beginning. There was uproar over last year's Brooklyn New York subway ads that paired pictures of the cutest babies with the hardest facts.
"Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars a year."
"Honestly mom, chances are he won't stay with you. What happens to me?"
"Dad, you'll be paying bills to support me for the next 20 years."
And speaking of dad, this last grouping of ads from the Chicago Public Health Department might be the most effective based purely on shock value. And, it's time some of the onus laid on dad anyway. The ads, which feature teenage boys, doing very teenage things, with huge pregnant bellies read:
"Unexpected? Most teenage pregnancies are."
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In short, I want more of these types of ads. They're informative and honest and that's exactly what they need to be. Moms, do you think they work or are too harsh?