Thursday, October 2, 2008

Judging a Book By Its Cover

While waiting in the doctor's office the other day I saw this:

It says "If you are a REBEL..." Because you know, a tattoo equals rebel. (Robin, I don't mean you, lol.)

Then the inside says "...then you need to know about contraceptives."

Good point, sure, and it's important to teach today's teenagers about safe sex, especially considering "in Mexico, it's very elevated the number of pregnancies in adolescents age 15 to 20 years old." (sorry for the literal translation.)

This advertisement is for a monthly injection that is:

• Effective
• Safe
• Discreet
• Rebellious

Excuse me?

I have a problem with all the stereotypes going on here. I admit, I've seen a lot of pregnant teenagers but none wearing school uniforms, so perhaps this is effective with the target audience. But implying that if you get a tattoo or belly piercing you are a slut and will have lots of sex just pisses me off. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too into this and should just be glad someone is advertising contraception for younger girls.

What do you think?


Turkey Lurkey said...

I'd have to jump into the mind of an average teen girl in Mexico. It is quite a leap, so I may be off.

It is my belief that a young girl has sex for acceptance and validation. When she sees a "cool, rebellious and independent thinker" on this brochure, she might decide that it is more 'in vogue' to use protection. So now her actions to get protection are validated by that "cool chick" on the brochure.

Do I think this is effective? Nope. As long as fathers and mothers are raising girls with low self esteem, there will be teen pregnancy. (I don't believe a patriarchal society is helping matters either.)

Melanie Avila said...

That's a good point. I never looked at sex as something to do to fit in, but my parents talked about peer pressure, etc, so that probably helped. That and a sister who had a baby young - I already understood the ramifications of unprotected sex.

WendyCinNYC said...

What if you are NOT a rebel and are still having lots of sex? No contraception for you?

Janna Qualman said...

Very interesting. I think the use of rebellion with this ad is silly - I can't imagine seeing the same thing here in the states, can you? - but I agree with what Turk said.

Anonymous said...

The rebellion thing is stupid. Teenagers will have sex regardless. Any help and information available to make things safer are a good thing. The ad may be stupid but at least the message is somewhat good.

Jen said...


*scratches head*

Not the most effective ad, methinks. It's an attempt, though, so I guess that's a check in the plus column, but it's a tiny bit offensive to assume someone with a belly ring or tattoo or whatever external thing you can come up with is a slut.


Shadow_Ferret said...

Wow. Is that what Mexican girls look like?

I'll be right down.

spyscribbler said...

It sounds to me like someone way out of touch sat down and tried to make an ad for teens. And he (could be she, LOL, but...) read in a book somewhere that you could reach teens if you related to them on a "cool" level. And he couldn't think of anything "cool" to a teen except a tattoo.

Or something.

And yeah. Sex is inbred in humans. Teenagers are, genetically, SUPPOSED to have sex. That's how the human animal was made.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I think so. All the pregnant teenagers I've seen look very innocent.

Janna, yeah, I'm with you guys.

Aaron, I do agree that at least the information is getting out there.

Jen, that's my problem with it.

Shadow, yes they do. :) What's weird is the girl they used in this ad looks like she's about 30. The youngins here are cute.

Spy, exactly! It's not rebellious, and this type of ad alienates the "good girls" who are interested in sex.

Robin said...

Wow. That sure was a buzz kill for the tattoo idea. Just what I want to be. A 45 year old rebellious teenager. Blech.

I totally agree with your problem with the ad's stereotyping, but I think it's OK for the brainwashing they're trying to do. There are similar anti-drug ads here that show a good looking "cool" kid turning down drugs because they're "uncool". The ads only impress kids up to age 10, but after that nothing's going to get to them because "they know everything", so what the hell?

Why is it always the girl's responsibility, anyway? Let's see a muscular tattooed boy buying condoms!

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, I was waiting to hear what you have to say on this, being a parent of teenagers. I'm sure this type of ad works for some kids so it's great it's there, but I agree, let's target the men!

Stephen Parrish said...

I'm the father of a girl about to turn 13. I think the boys she hangs out with are fine young men. In fact, I like them so much I invite them into my study and show them my shotgun.

Melanie Avila said...

A man after my father's heart. :)

Zoe Winters said...

hahaha, Well, I think the best contraceptive is a day with Demon Baby, as Erica has said hahahahaha. Most Teen mothers wouldn't become teen mothers. ;)

But overall this just cracks me up. I know I'm supposed to be pissed about it, but I can't seem to work up the rage.

Also, if you want to judge a book by it's cover and laff and laff...

Go here:

Robin said...

I decided to go to the real audience - teenagers to get an opinion....

Kevin: I can't tell you much because I'm not a teenage girl. How would you react to a poster saying, "You can be super strong - inject yourself with steroids?" It does make it seem like tatooed girls are sluts.

Alex: It's not effective at all. Nobody is going to think it's cool to get contraception just because an advertisement says it's rebellious.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, LOL. Thank you for conducting this experiment. You just gave me an idea - I should have my almost 15yo niece tell me what she thinks.

Aimless Writer said...

I think I need a tatoo.
Strange market targeting they go going down there. Maybe they're trying to make birth control cool?

Melanie Avila said...

I guess. Seems cooler to me than having a baby at age 15, but what do I know? ;)