Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: King Anyi Howell
When newly appointed spokesperson for the Candie's Foundation, Bristol Palin, went on the morning television circuit urging teens to "wait to have sex," my first thought was, "Till when, Tuesday?".
Palin, daughter of Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin, became the object of national focus during the governor's ill-fated campaign for the White House in 2008 for getting pregnant at age 17 by then boyfriend, Levi Johnston. Since Candie's launched the Candie's Foundation in 2001, their mission has been to "educate America's youth about the devastating consequences of teenage pregnancy." Here is a clip of "Lil mama" on the TODAY show:
I applaud efforts to curb teenage pregnancy in America, but only when they're honest, realistic, and free from the kinds of hypocrisy this campaign is rife with. While the messenger, the Candie's Foundation, advises kids that being sexy "doesn't mean having sex" (contradicting the actual definition of the word "sexy"), Candie's, the parent company, makes it's earnings selling risque clothing and shoes directly marketed to young Americans with "sexy" images.
While sexy images don't necessarily mean images of sex, they are designed to inspire the thought of it. Take, for example, actress Jenny McCarthy. The actress was hired by sanctimony loving Candie's to pose almost pantie-less on a toilet, and was also hired by the Candie's Foundation to do this PSA:
And then, there's the spokesperson, Ms. Palin. While the young mother has not convinced me that she is now celibate or practices abstinence, she HAS convinced me that being a single teen mother is tough, both emotionally and financially. Though the latter might be mitigated by her "teen ambassador " contract, which is reason enough to pay lip service to any issue.
Irony seems to be the modus operandi at The Candie's Foundation where the only other "teen ambassador" is Hayden Panettiere, who recently broke up with her ex boyfriend, Milo Ventimiglia, after an alleged pregnancy scare.
My goal is not to combat efforts to curb teen pregnancy, but to point at a major culprit of teen pregnancy in the US: mixed media messages. It seems like every abstinence campaign is outnumbered 5 to 1 by more provocative ad campaigns. The case of Candie's is especially ridiculous. While their sexy ad campaigns are reproduced and distributed throughout the world millions of times over in magazines geared towards young girls, their messages of "waiting" will probably fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. Last time I checked, the TODAY show episode in which Palin appeared, airs while class is in session.
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