Lessons They Didn’t Teach in School Part 3

lessons they didn't teach in school

Ads in New York aren’t just selling sex anymore they’re selling safe sex, wise decisions and anti-teen pregnancy. New York has started a new ad campaign plastering ads of forlorn children all over its subways, public buses and Times Square in an effort to prevent or decrease the rate of teen pregnancy in the city.

Statistics showed that teen pregnancy rates had dropped from 1990 to 2010, but then began a slow climb from that point on.

The New York ad campaign features children looking uncared for, depressed, and miserable with taglines like these:

“I’m twice as likely to not graduate from high school because you had me as a teen.”

“Honestly mom, chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

“Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars each year.”

“Dad, you’ll be paying to support me for the next 20 years.”

The advertisements use shame, guilt and cold bluntness telling youth some of the harsh realities of being a teenage parent. But the American mainstream advertisements sell nothing but harsh sexuality on billboards, magazines, posters and television commercials. The media seems to be contradicting it’s anti-teen pregnancy attitude when many of the popular ads sell the pleasures of sexual activity which makes it hard for teenagers to put pregnancy and sex together.

But the messages that are repetitive are: Sex is good, Pregnancy is bad—which could also be seen as pro-abortion to teenagers because sex is enjoyable, but pregnancy is something so stigmatized and shameful. So naturally the plan is to get rid of the problem. But sex is highlighted as incredible, amazing, and pleasurable. How can something pushed so much on teens by the mainstream media lead to a harsh realities of pregnancy?

The ad campaign has been put into effect by New York’s Human Resources Association Department of Social Services in order to show the hardships of being a teen parent and how it affects more than just them. But this is not the first time New York has been using advertising to promote safer sex practices among it’s young adult and teenage populations.

The city has been using advertisements to teach about safe sex practices for over 30 years.  Since the mid-80’s when HIV and AIDS became an epidemic in the city, New York has been making an effort to support not only safe sex practices like using condoms, but also about getting tested for sexually transmitted infections and protecting themselves.

While the advertisements definetly don’t glorify or condone teen pregnancy—they certainly don’t scorn sex either.

Next: An editorial on the advertisements of teen sex and lack of sex education.