Monday, April 12, 2010


Perhaps you've seen Bristol Palin's not-so-thinly-veiled classist message on teen pregnancy, wherein she thanks her lucky stars that she was born privileged. If not:

Bristol is working with the Candie's Foundation, an off-shoot of the Kohl's-distributed clothing company that also brought you this advertisement:And, more recently, oversexed images of other Candie's Foundation spokeswomen like (teenager) Hayden Panettiere and (classy ladies) Fergie and Britney Spears, awash in porno-pink, glitter, and usually toying with the straw of a whipped-cream and sprinkle topped milkshake.

The Candie's Foundation website directs parents to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, whose website was very excited to announce:
A Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
about a New Study Published in the American Medical Association’s
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Jemmott JB, Jemmott LS and Fong GT: Efficacy of a Theory-Based
Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months

Some highlights:
"Americans have long supported abstinence as a message—for example, surveys consistently show that adults and teens think that young people should be encouraged to delay sexual activity. With the publication of this new study, we now have a well done, strong evaluation showing that a particular abstinence-only program can help young teens do just that."
"It is unreasonable to expect any single intervention, curriculum, or program to solve the teen pregnancy problem. True and lasting progress requires not only good programs in schools and communities, but also supportive social norms and values, informed and active parents, good health services, a positive media culture, and more. Given the recent rise in teen pregnancy announced last week—the first since 1990—efforts in all these areas need to be more creative, more focused, and more intense."

Well, NCPTUP, where are America's 12-year-olds (the "young teens" the study focused on) supposed to find this positive media culture? Surely your sister site, which The Candie's Foundation website directs teens to, has some answers., an insanely obnoxious Degrassi ad reiterates "Fact: 6 in 10 teens who have had sex by age 18 say they wish they'd waited longer" at any given opportunity. Their "Pregnancy and the Media" page reminds you not to miss any episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, a show that's all about the real-life consequences of getting pregnant in an upper-middle-class family. I found this to be a really excellent breakdown of that particular show's destructive, delusional message. The contributor makes several good points, including:
"Not only are Amy and her friends na├»ve about pregnancy, they know nothing about sex. Amy mentions multiple times that she doesn’t know if she and Ricky even had real sex. After all, good girls shouldn’t know about sex. They certainly shouldn’t think about it…unless they want to end up friendless and clingy like Adrian. The only solution Amy and her friends can agree on is having Amy marry her boyfriend, Ben. ABC Family tells their viewers that when a girl is in a pickle, she must trick a guy into liking her and he will take care of the rest."

Which brings us back to Bristol. Remember the magical union of Bristol and Levi? How that restored order and sense into their lives? How it put them right in the eyes of God and America? Whatever the message the Candie's Foundation and Friends are trying to sell, Bristol herself has waffled back and forth between promoting abstinence-0nly and comprehensive sex education. The one message we're getting loud and clear from her ad is that money makes things okay. With money, having a child transforms you into a classy, pearl-wearing glamor mom in a luxuriously-furnished apartment. Without money, having a child will ruin your life. It will make you "not pretty." It will make you ugly.

The one thing everyone can agree on, from the Neutrogena-commercial universe of Secret Life to the former-clog-makers-turned-authority-on-sex-education is that abortion is not an option. Sex equals babies and babies equal living hell. Just read the small print on this ad: