Teen Pregnancy Shaming in NY ads

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ClairesMommy's picture
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Teen Pregnancy Shaming in NY ads

You really need to click on the link to see the posters, plus the story is short.

Teen pregnancy "shaming" campaign slammed by young parents - Your Community

Do you feel the ad campaign could be an effective one in the prevention of teen unwanted pregnancy or do you feel it is unfair to specifically target teens?

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I think they re aiming it at the wrong population....kind of late to shame teen parents when they have the baby already.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 780

So teen parent includes 20, 21, and 22 year olds?

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

First we teach people that children don't matter, that they can have sex whenever they want, just abort it.. it is no big deal.. Then we wonder why we have so much teen pregnancy.. ROFL

bunnyfufu's picture
Joined: 10/21/05
Posts: 203

"Rivergallery" wrote:

First we teach people that children don't matter, that they can have sex whenever they want, just abort it.. it is no big deal.. Then we wonder why we have so much teen pregnancy.. ROFL

What? I am sorry but I don't understand.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Rivergallery" wrote:

First we teach people that children don't matter, that they can have sex whenever they want, just abort it.. it is no big deal.. Then we wonder why we have so much teen pregnancy.. ROFL

I don't know anyone who teaches their kids to have sex willynilly because abortion is no big deal. I would say that most of us (even those who are pro-choice) would prefer that our children have sex with loving partners when they understand and are old enough to deal with the potential consequences of being sexually active. Most of us also acknowledge that getting an abortion is a big decision and a big deal. Being pro-choice doesn't really translate to "throw your genitals at strangers" as a parenting philosophy. Although I'm not sure what slagging on pro-choice parents even has to do with this debate.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Rivergallery" wrote:

First we teach people that children don't matter, that they can have sex whenever they want, just abort it.. it is no big deal.. Then we wonder why we have so much teen pregnancy.. ROFL

My goodness! Is this a common way your friends raise their kids? No one in my circle of their friends or in my parents circle/my childhood friends was/is raised this way. Heck, 100% of my graduating class went to college, no one was off having babies and stuff.

You seem obsessed with abortion. Did you ever have one?

I don't know how I feel about the campaign. I expected it to show the teen itself, not the child. I was relieved to see that it didn't show the teen, as I was worried that it would show overweight teens Wink Kidding!!!

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

"Rivergallery" wrote:

First we teach people that children don't matter, that they can have sex whenever they want, just abort it.. it is no big deal.. Then we wonder why we have so much teen pregnancy.. ROFL

This confuses me as well. Who is teaching their children that? And why is that so hilarious?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Jessica80" wrote:

I think they re aiming it at the wrong population....kind of late to shame teen parents when they have the baby already.

I think the campaign is meant to make teens (girls in particular, which I'm kind of offended at) think twice about having sex (at least, unprotected sex) before they wind up with a baby, absent baby daddy, etc. But you're right about the teens who are already parents being shamed by the campaign, even though it's too late to target them. No poster with a crying baby is going to deter an already teen parent more than their own daily struggles and circumstances!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Back to the OP - I don't think I like the ad campaign. I get what they are trying to do, but...it rubs me the wrong way. I guess I'm not a huge fan of "shaming" in general.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

I guess I can see the aspect of getting kids to think twice about the long term consequences BEFORE they get pregnant, but I don't like the shaming effect of it on the teens who already have kids. As has already been said, they are already living that reality, and now being slapped in the face with something that to me, essentially says "your kid doesn't have a chance because you had them as a teen" I know the message is not that strong but that's how it comes across to me and I don't like that at all.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

I get that making people feel bad sucks and can have bad consequences, but i get kinda of frustrated with this 'Teach kids about contraception!!!, Get kids birth control!!!" (Imagine it said in a high pitched idealistic happy voice)

We spend SOOOO MUCH time focusing on this already. I feel like this is what we are constantly trying and it doesn't work! Or at least it doesnt' work fully effectively on its own.

Its just like the fat shaimging thread. "Teach about nutrition! Teach about healthy eating!" We DO that a lot...the government has spent money on programs that are supposed to do this. Again, it doesnt' seem to work on its own.

What if a teenager doesn't have a parent around that reminds them of the actual consequences of having a baby or remind them how friggin expensive children are?

This "not talking about the consequences because some people suffer from those consequences at the present time and will feel bad about it" thing is starting to irk me.

I get that we don't want to make people feel like failures or terrible people or whatever else...but I think we need to find a balance. Putting these statistics in the fine print on the back of a brochure isn't reaching anyone. Maybe focusing on the consequences of your actions is actually pretty essential in changing someones behavior.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

See I think there are 3 camps here.
1. Teen parents...so too late and now areshaming them.
2. Teens that are sexually active and have listened and are taking precautions so they are preaching to the choir.
3. Teens who think it won't happen to them.

Seems like the wrong approach to me.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Jessica80" wrote:

See I think there are 3 camps here.
1. Teen parents...so too late and now areshaming them.
2. Teens that are sexually active and have listened and are taking precautions so they are preaching to the choir.
3. Teens who think it won't happen to them.

Seems like the wrong approach to me.

If those are the only three groups that would indicate there is no way to approach the situation and we just live with the status quo.

I think those are three solid groups that do exist, but I think there are 'fringes' of those group that can be influenced and we try to reach them so that those in group 2 stay in group 2 and those in group 3 might go to group 2.

If you view them all as stable and non moving individuals in each group then we shouldn't bother to do anything.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

ETA: AND if there are any that fall into group number three that can be influenced at all...I think a 'HEY this is reality'...'this is what actually happens a lot of the time' campaign is going to work better than a "YAY Contraception!" campaign.

Or better yet, have both types so that once the ones that decide they should think twice then know how to prevent it.

And of course we have to accept that no approach will be 100% effective at reaching all the people it needs to in a meaningful way.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I can remember before kids, seeing a big billboard about how much it cost to raise a baby. At the time I did not believe those numbers could be accurate, and sat down when I got home and did some real number crunching to figure out if it really was that expensive to have a baby.

I can see the argument that it is not a good idea to shame someone, but I do think if worded correctly they can make someone stop and really think about the facts.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Kim you are right..there are fringes and members in my groups could be fluid....this program seems to be an expensive way to approach them and a hurtful one to young parents.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

I don't see it as shaming teen parents. I see it as a wake up call that if you don't want your child to be one of those statistics you have to work harder to make sure it doesn't happen. And it could be a deterrent to other teens to help them make wiser decisions so they don't get pregnant. I don't see anything wrong with them.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"KimPossible" wrote:

I get that making people feel bad sucks and can have bad consequences, but i get kinda of frustrated with this 'Teach kids about contraception!!!, Get kids birth control!!!" (Imagine it said in a high pitched idealistic happy voice)

We spend SOOOO MUCH time focusing on this already. I feel like this is what we are constantly trying and it doesn't work! Or at least it doesnt' work fully effectively on its own.

Its just like the fat shaimging thread. "Teach about nutrition! Teach about healthy eating!" We DO that a lot...the government has spent money on programs that are supposed to do this. Again, it doesnt' seem to work on its own.

What if a teenager doesn't have a parent around that reminds them of the actual consequences of having a baby or remind them how friggin expensive children are?

This "not talking about the consequences because some people suffer from those consequences at the present time and will feel bad about it" thing is starting to irk me.

I get that we don't want to make people feel like failures or terrible people or whatever else...but I think we need to find a balance. Putting these statistics in the fine print on the back of a brochure isn't reaching anyone. Maybe focusing on the consequences of your actions is actually pretty essential in changing someones behavior.

I see the shaming more in how these posters are done, than in the message they are sending. Why not have a picture of a young mother and her baby, with a quote from her along the lines of 'My baby daddy and I broke up, now I am trying to raise my baby on my own and finish school.' Then add your states around the father sticking around. Having the message come from real teen mothers seems more like educating and less like talking down to anyone. More of a girlfriend to girlfriend, 'I love my baby, but this is HARD and I wouldnt recommend it' kind of vibe.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I would say the group this targets the most is the 'Its cool and wonderful to have a baby' group. In our highschool you can pretty much predict who will get pregnant a lot of the time, because they are the ones who hang around with the other teen mothers and their babies, and spend time especially with the babies. There is this subculture that is telling these girls that having a baby will complete their lives, so they are purposely trying to get pregnant.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I think it's also targeting the crowd that just thinks it won't happen to them. I think it has to be dramatic to have an impact. I don't know if it's effective, but I'd be curious to find out.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"KimPossible" wrote:

I get that making people feel bad sucks and can have bad consequences, but i get kinda of frustrated with this 'Teach kids about contraception!!!, Get kids birth control!!!" (Imagine it said in a high pitched idealistic happy voice)

We spend SOOOO MUCH time focusing on this already. I feel like this is what we are constantly trying and it doesn't work! Or at least it doesnt' work fully effectively on its own.

Its just like the fat shaimging thread. "Teach about nutrition! Teach about healthy eating!" We DO that a lot...the government has spent money on programs that are supposed to do this. Again, it doesnt' seem to work on its own.

What if a teenager doesn't have a parent around that reminds them of the actual consequences of having a baby or remind them how friggin expensive children are?

This "not talking about the consequences because some people suffer from those consequences at the present time and will feel bad about it" thing is starting to irk me.

I get that we don't want to make people feel like failures or terrible people or whatever else...but I think we need to find a balance. Putting these statistics in the fine print on the back of a brochure isn't reaching anyone. Maybe focusing on the consequences of your actions is actually pretty essential in changing someones behavior.

Kim, I get what you're saying, and I do agree that we need to talk about the consequences of poor decisions because it's important that people understand the risks. Maybe I'm just hung up on the word "shaming?" I don't know, I connect "shaming" with intentionally making people feel bad, and that's the part that bothers me. Like, it's one thing to present factual information about the risks of a given action, and it's another to specifically try to make someone feel bad about themselves for taking a specific action.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Kim, I get what you're saying, and I do agree that we need to talk about the consequences of poor decisions because it's important that people understand the risks. Maybe I'm just hung up on the word "shaming?" I don't know, I connect "shaming" with intentionally making people feel bad, and that's the part that bothers me. Like, it's one thing to present factual information about the risks of a given action, and it's another to specifically try to make someone feel bad about themselves for taking a specific action.

I agree with this. I think that making teen/young parents feel bad about their poor decision making was incidental to the ad campaign. They were targeting the youth yet to get pregnant, trying to make them think twice and make better judgment calls, it's just that a whole bunch of other young parents were made to feel like $hit along the way. They're the ones shamed, not the group the campaign is targeting.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 780

I was 20 when I had Jace and those kind of ads hurt my feelings and I could see it hurting other actual teen parents' feelings too. Instead of shaming, offer advice as to how their child can be prevented from becoming a statistic. But it's always easier to just shame someone or just offer the quick, "Oh I'll pray for you." Gee, thanks.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

I was 20 when I had Jace and those kind of ads hurt my feelings and I could see it hurting other actual teen parents' feelings too. Instead of shaming, offer advice as to how their child can be prevented from becoming a statistic. But it's always easier to just shame someone or just offer the quick, "Oh I'll pray for you." Gee, thanks.

I agree with you on this one.. and I for one am so grateful to teenmoms that keep the child ;).

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"ftmom" wrote:

I see the shaming more in how these posters are done, than in the message they are sending. Why not have a picture of a young mother and her baby, with a quote from her along the lines of 'My baby daddy and I broke up, now I am trying to raise my baby on my own and finish school.' Then add your states around the father sticking around. Having the message come from real teen mothers seems more like educating and less like talking down to anyone. More of a girlfriend to girlfriend, 'I love my baby, but this is HARD and I wouldnt recommend it' kind of vibe.

Yeah, less shock value/head turning. Too many words. I dont' really disagree with you...it would need to be tweaked to be eye catching enough IMO.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Kim, I get what you're saying, and I do agree that we need to talk about the consequences of poor decisions because it's important that people understand the risks. Maybe I'm just hung up on the word "shaming?" I don't know, I connect "shaming" with intentionally making people feel bad, and that's the part that bothers me. Like, it's one thing to present factual information about the risks of a given action, and it's another to specifically try to make someone feel bad about themselves for taking a specific action.

I understand, but like Kyla said, if you have a subest of teenagers who glorify it...i do think you need to stigmatize it. If its glorified, then no one is going to attentively listen to some statistics to find out why they shouldn't. Glorification of that sort is a cultural thing, you need to change that glorifcation and make it the opposite of glorious. I don't know how you do that mildly.

Same with those who don't think it will happen to them. I do think you need to scare them. Its your last ditch hope on someone who thinks they are (almost) invincible.

Do I feel bad that some people will get hurt feelings? yes, i would get no enjoyment out of that. But if it in turn means a generation from now there are less feelings to get hurt about the situation, seems like it would be a move in the right direction.

I could see wording some of them differently. Like the "I'm twice as likely to not graduate high school because you had me as a teen" Maybe it could have send "If you have me" to not sounds as accusatory.

But really the big baby faces, the personalization by making it come from a baby...which usually tugs at us emotionally. I feel like it could be really effective.

And really, those teen moms who feel hurt by this or previously teen moms who are now adults....would they really object to it if they found out it was helping? I guess some always would...but I think a lot, wouldn't. ETA: I have a hard time picturing someone saying "Well okay it may be working, but it hurts my feelings"

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"KimPossible" wrote:

Yeah, less shock value/head turning. Too many words. I dont' really disagree with you...it would need to be tweaked to be eye catching enough IMO.

Well theres a reason I dont work in advertizing Smile I just think it could be friendlier and still send the same message.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

I have a niece that I would love to slap up side the head with these ads. She really doesnt think parenting would be that hard, and that her and boyfriend of the week would be just fine parents. Never mind that she is in college full time and hasnt ever really had a real job, and boyfriend of the week (Ian I think) works part time as the shirtless guy at abercrombie. All she can talk about is how fun babies are, babies are so cute, babies smell good, I cant wait to dress my baby and pick a nursery out for my baby. It really drives me crazy. My sister sent her here last summer for a month to "help" me, I think it helped a little. But a 2 year old and a 5 year old are really fun. And when you are not the one paying for them it is even more fun.

Not sure how many girls this will help, and I do feel bad if teen moms do feel shame. But this might be bold enough to really make people think

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I guess I'm not overly convinced that social stigma will actually reduce the teen pregnancy rate, tbh. If you look at the states that have the highest teen pregnancy rates, they tend to also be the most religious states, where presumably there already IS a big stigma against pre-marital sex, and the messages that these kids are probably getting both at home and in church, and in their abstinence only school sex Ed is "don't do it!!!" I figure if all of that stigma doesn't stop the kids, a public shaming campaign probably won't either.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I guess I'm not overly convinced that social stigma will actually reduce the teen pregnancy rate, tbh. If you look at the states that have the highest teen pregnancy rates, they tend to also be the most religious states, where presumably there already IS a big stigma against pre-marital sex, and the messages that these kids are probably getting both at home and in church, and in their abstinence only school sex Ed is "don't do it!!!" I figure if all of that stigma doesn't stop the kids, a public shaming campaign probably won't either.

I dont' know...i think that that religious vs. maternal influences work differently. I think teenagers probably find it easier to rebel against religious doctrine than against a maternal instinct (which I think these ads play into). One is something that is taught to you by adults...is cultural and one needs to have faith. All things that a teenager could be very ready to turn their backs on depending on their situation. The other is more internally driven. I mean who can look at a picture of a baby in dispair saying 'please don't do this' and not feel anything at all? KWIM?

I'm not saying I'm convinced it will work either. But what i see...is a lot of years of us focusing on the birth control, the contraception aspect of it and still needs for a LOT of improvement on our results. Just like the obesity thing...lots of time focused on nutrition and education about healthy eating and exercise and revamped food diagrams every other year and yet we still have serious problems.

I guess maybe I'm feeling like we can't be afraid to hurt people's feelings anymore. We may not know for sure whether it will work or not...but I think at this point we know that talking up contraception alone isn't enough. We need new angles and i don't think it servers any population well to be frozen by the fear that we hurt people's feelings.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

To me it's more of an abortion ad than anything else. It's saying to a pregnant teen mom all the things that could go wrong if they follow through with a pregnancy, so therefore they should abort. This is just IMHO. I don't like it.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I was thinking about this ad today. . .it's not actually about shaming. It's about making teens aware of what it means to be pregnant, that they are responsible for a life. It doesn't bother me.

And oh lord, it has nothing to do with telling pregnant girls to get abortions. It's telling them not to get pregnant!

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Starryblue702" wrote:

To me it's more of an abortion ad than anything else. It's saying to a pregnant teen mom all the things that could go wrong if they follow through with a pregnancy, so therefore they should abort. This is just IMHO. I don't like it.

Maybe it's just me, but abortion never entered my mind when I saw these ads. IMO, the campaign is geared toward safe sex and (dare I say) abstinence. Abortion is legal in NY and I don't see the point of needing to advertise abortion. If someone wants one, they can get one. As pro-choice as I am, even I would take issue with an ad campaign that was promoting abortion as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

Even those of us who are pro-choice don't advocate abortion. Yeesh. I'm 100% pro choice but I don't think I could ever get an abortion except for under extreme circumstances (like being raped or something like that). I've never met anyone who would promote abortion to anyone else as a concept.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

It's just IMO that I felt that's what the ads were saying. I don't think the ads would be helpful either way, whether promoting abortion or trying to get girls to not have sex because they might have a baby... They don't bother me but I don't think they will help anything.

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