Friday, April 9, 2010

Bristol Palin PSA: Insulting to Teen Mothers?

Recently the Candie’s Foundation released a Public Service Announcement about teen pregnancy, starring none other than America’s favorite teen mother, Bristol Palin. This ad has come under fire by several different blogs, including Jezebel and The Frisky, for it’s portrayal of teen pregnancy. The opening of the ad is Bristol with her son Tripp in which she says: “What if I didn’t come from a famous family? What if I didn’t have all their support? What if I didn’t have these opportunities?” The ad shows Bristol and her son well dressed in a nice home. It then fades into her looking ragged and saying if she didn’t have all of that “it wouldn’t be pretty.”

Although the ad has good intentions, it comes off insulting to those who were and are teen moms. I’m sure it was not supposed to come off like it, but this ad makes it sound like teen pregnancy is okay if you’re from a prominent family. Just because someone is not from a prominent family, it does not mean that they don’t have any support from their family. She acknowledges that she is fortunate to have the support (and money) of her family, but the ad comes off classist. The imagery of the ad makes it seem as if a girl isn’t from a privileged famous family and becomes pregnant; she will end up poor and without anything.

The ad fails to address that a majority of teenage pregnancies come from girls who are already in poverty. The ad also is noticeably missing Levi Johnson, the father of Bristol Palin’s son. This ad only features Bristol, which makes it seem as though the unintended pregnancy was her “fault.” The media and society often place the fault of teenage pregnancy on young girls. It is not just the girl’s responsibility to practice safer sex.

Although the ad is poorly created, Bristol Palin, in interviews, does offer some words of wisdom on her ending message “pause before you play.” In an interview on Good Morning America, Palin stated: “"It could be pause and go get a condom or it could be pause and think about your life or it could even be pause and wait until marriage.” This message does not promote abstinence, but offers abstinence as one method, alongside the use of contraceptives.

This message is associated with what Palin said last year about abstinence not necessarily being a reality for teenagers. Although the ad is aiming to prevent teenage pregnancy, it glamorizes Bristol Palin’s situation, and almost seems to say: “As long as you’re privileged, it’s okay to have an unintended pregnancy.”

The Ad Presented by the Candie's Foundation:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree... This commercial is unfairly stigmatizing being a lower-class teen mom....

It also bothers me that Bristol has changed her public opinion on abstinence only education so many times... so frustrating.

Great blog post though!