Funds for abstinence ads have better use
Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 15:04
Earlier this month it came to light that Bristol Palin had been paid more than $260,000 by the Candie's Foundation to promote abstinence in teenagers in America.
Bristol at 18 was an unwed mother. With her new gig with Candie's, she might as well be running around telling the world her son, now two years old, is the biggest mistake she's ever made.
While I'm not agreeing with teenage promiscuity and pregnancy, I am saying that as a parent, instead of using her son to convince teens not to have sex, she should use her experience to teach teens how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
There is nothing glamorous about it — although MTV's Teen Mom might beg to differ — and teens need to know that. In real life, there are no cameras following your every move and certainly no paychecks from television networks direct deposited into your bank account. It's messy, hard and sometimes young moms feel like giving up. That's what teens need to be told.
I grew up in what might have been the world's most liberal household. My parents were not religious and were not conservative with the media and books that my siblings and I were exposed to.
Sex education was never an issue either. It was what it was and when it came time in middle school/high school to take that class, my parents didn't think anything of it. It was a part of my education and that was that.
Most parents are not like mine. Some don't want their teens to be exposed to the idea of sex because if they knew what it was, they might get curious and do it. Parents think it's better for them to say, "Don't have sex, you'll go to hell," then alternatively, "If you have sex, be responsible. Use a condom so you don't get pregnant or get an STD."
My take on sex education is as follows: If teens are told not to do something, odds are, they're going to do it. On that same note, being told "no" with only an explanation such as, "It's wrong," or, "You'll go to hell" isn't good enough. Teenagers, as it is, are full of chaotic hormones and in most cases need a real consequence. One that they can relate to.
If, instead, a teen is taught how to use a condom, about birth control, about annual exams and STD screenings then perhaps when they do decide to have sex, they'll go about it the right way, the safe way.
The common alternative to teaching safe sex is teaching abstinence. While it is never completely ineffective, I don't agree with those that say it is the best thing for teens in America. One aspect of abstinence is a Virginity Pledge, while it has been deemed effective by most conservative and religious groups, a study done by Add Health in 2008 found that the pledge only delayed sex by an average of 18 months and only worked best among ages 15-17 and was hardly effective in older teens.
The money that was paid to Bristol Palin to basically tell teens "no" could have been put to better use. It could have paid for condoms and reading materials in the school nurse's office. Or better yet, it could have paid for a sex education teacher to speak to students about the benefits of education and ways to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
Furthermore, shouldn't the celebrities who are being paid by these nonprofits want to promote a cause that he or she supposedly believes in for free? It seems to me that if someone is really passionate about something, a cause or an event, then they would support it for free, because they believe in it. Not because it'll add to the balance in their bank account.
I'm just sayin'.