Do you all remember those ads a looooooong time ago intended to keep kids off drugs? One of the famous ones was the famous egg in the frying-pan “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.” I can’t lie, that commercial did not want me to stay off of drugs. It made me want to fry an egg and more specifically see if I could get an egg to sizzle like that in a frying pan. I was an adventurous scamp. Once, I wanted to smoke a cigarette. I thought cigarettes were just rolled up paper. I lit a piece of rolled up paper.
I didn’t burn the house down that day. But I did come close. Somewhere along the way I did learn that if there’s a fire you stomp it out. In fact, the A-town stomp? Yeah. All me.
My point here is that kids don’t give a flying fig about ads intended to scare them into NOT doing something. In fact, I’d almost be willing to bet that most of those ads in subway cars aren’t exactly shaming any teenagers into not becoming pregnant. Hell, the kids are probably looking at how cute those kids are. They’re totes adorbs.
A lot has been made of the ads with talking heads from various arenas taking their shots at Bloomberg and the ads (and some supporting by saying that others are missing the point). And real talk, if I thought that teenagers really cared about a subway ad, then I might agree, but the truth is, kids are not reading those ads and thinking about how being a single mother is going to ruin their life (not that I think this way, but one of the ads implies this). Or thinking that they’ll avoid poverty if they have their kid within a “stable”, married two parent household. Those are thoughts and convos many of us had after college, when life got real and we started to give f*cks.
In fact, I’d wager that any teenager who cared about those ads, cared before the ads showed up and they’re just reinforcing what they already think and know. And the kids who haven’t had those influences placed into their lives to give them that type of knowledge, well, again, they’re not really going to internalize how much money a kid costs. Hell, adults aren’t able to fully grasp it until you have one and you have to figure out insurance and schooling, etc.
And trust me people, the school struggle…that’s that sh*t I don’t like. It might be the most frustrating part to date. Then again, I live in a city where school choice is a hot topic because our public schools are questionable unless you live in the well-to-do (read: white) part of the city, our charter schools are allegedly siphoning off the public schools ability to do its service, and private schools cost as much as my undergrad education.
The point is, kids aren’t adept at making those leaps and fully getting the gravity of a situation. This is why ads like that don’t sink in. There are a million cautionary tales running rampant everywhere. One more subway ad isn’t going to do the trick. [Panama Note: I do think that something is better than nothing, but it does help if the something is actually a something.] Thing is, my guess is (and Melissa Harris-Perry alluded to this in her clip, I’m too lazy to look up stats) that teen pregnancy is down everywhere. What has happened is a focus on prevention via protection and knowledge about STDs and the like. Scaring a kid with a cute kid ain’t going to cut it. Scaring a kid with a picture of a burnt up looking wang? Yeah, that might do the trick.
And yes, I just placed a “note” in a post I wrote.
Scaring little girls into thinking that if she lets Dontelquestejuan get her goodies, her ladybits might start to resemble a metal barbed wire fence in East Germany? Yeah, that can do the trick. When I was in middle school, we were forced to watch a live childbirth. Man that scared the holy hell out of me.
I’m inclined to believe that while many little boys can talk a girl into some sexing, that smarter little girls and boys leads to less sex at an earlier, unprepared age. So scaring the sh*t out of little chilluns with bodily harm and damage? My guess is that worked somehow. Plus, it seems like kids nowadays are just that much smarter in a worldly sense regarding the dangers and ills of society because of overexposure to all of them.Â Even teen smoking is down.
At the end of the day I get the criticism of the ads. Even if they’re target is teenagers who probably don’t care, the message is still one that tends to attempt to assume that a single mother (assuming most of these kids end up with their mommies) is going to have a harder go at it than necessary if they make the “right” choices. And that’s probably accurate. Hell it’s not probably, it is accurate. Kids, and specifically babies, are a lot of work. It’s doable and a vast many of us have experienced a one-parent household. But many folks from that life also didn’t want that life for themselves so they attempted to make other choices. A little support and communication about life and the lessons you’ll learn goes a long way.
And if you throw a burnt out wang in the mix, well you just might scare somebody into becoming a 30-year-old virgin.
So, VSBers, what do you think about the ads?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. I GOT A KID, KEEP IT MOVING aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3