adIn honour of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, The Candie’s Foundation launched a celebrity-endorsed anti-teen Pregnancy campaign that is now getting harsh criticism for “shaming” young mums.
Basically, the ads try to discourage teen pregnancy by making motherhood look unappealing and unaspirational as possible. Posters pair the faces of young stars like Carly Rae Jepsen or Lea Michelle with a chiding headlines that include, “You’re supposed to be changing the world…not diapers.”
Last week, Feministing.com described the fashion brand’s PSAs as delivering “teen mum shaming” messages, imparting “no actual helpful information whatsoever.”
Today, the feminist site reports that young mothers themselves “are pushing back…demanding that Candie’s stop shaming young parents.”
Teen mum Natasha Vianna started an online petition at Change.org that denounces Candie’s recent teenage pregnancy prevention effort and requests a meeting with the brand’s foundation founder, Neil Cole.
“Becoming a mother at 17, I knew my life was going to get harder but I never expected to face the isolation, judgment, and bitterness from society. I was an honour roll student in high school, but when my teachers discovered I was pregnant, their treatment towards me changed. In front of classmates, I was shamed for my pregnancy and told my life was over. Faced with fear, I left my school and enrolled in another high school. Even in my new high school, the shaming continued. I never let this stigma deter me from my goals: I knew that I could be successful, not just for myself, but for my daughter. I’m working to change the world for the better, not just for both of us, but for her entire generation.
The Candie’s Foundation is using the same old tired, ineffective approaches to teen pregnancy prevention: spending money and using celebrities to push negative campaigns that shame young parents. We would like to see the Candie’s Foundation radically change its response to and perception of what teen pregnancy and parenting means for young people. This means not only using evidence-supported messaging for educating teens on how to prevent pregnancy, but seeing early parenthood as young parents themselves see it, a critical opportunity to overcome obstacles for the future of their families.”
Vianna is joined by a coalition of like-minded reproductive justice groups such as “Strong Families,” which created a #NoTeenShame hashtag on Twitter to support young mums and subvert messages like the ones propagated by the Candie’s campaign shown below.
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