A new Teen Pregnancy Prevention ad campaign from New York's Human Resources Administration (HRA) has come under attack for using 'slut-shaming' insults to deter unwanted pregnancy.
The campaign, which launched on March 3rd in bus shelters and subway stations, features pictures of toddlers next to messages that read: 'Honestly, Mom… Chances are he won’t stay with you' and 'I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.'
The ads are being accused of using threats and ridicule to 'promote the difficulties of teen pregnancy,' instead of offering assistance and eduction to address what the HRA calls 'the real costs of teen pregnancy for teens and their children.'
Helpful or harmful? A new Teen Pregnancy Prevention ad campaign from New York's Human Resources Administration has come under attack for using 'slut-shaming' insults to deter unwanted pregnancy
New York City's Planned Parenthood have denounced the ads, saying they are not the answer.
Haydee Morales, Vice President of Education and Training explained early today: 'The latest NYC ad campaign creates stigma, hostility, and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people.
'The City’s money would be better spent helping teens access health care, birth control, and high-quality sexual and reproductive health education, not on an ad campaign intended to create shock value'
An interactive component to the campaign also offers young people the choice to 'Text "NOTNOW" to 877877 for the real cost of teen pregnancy.'
Once teens text the number, they are faced with 'sobering facts about teen pregnancy,' according to the campaigns press release.
Different scenarios depict how a teen mother will likely gain an excessive amount of weight, be ignored by the child's father, and shunned by her parents. However the texts offer no information on how to avoid a pregnancy.
'The ad creates stigma, hostility, and negative public opinions... rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people'
One text message received by MailOnline came from a hypothetical 16-year-old teen named Anaya, who wrote: 'OMG! My BF Louis and I got pregnant. He was going to take me to prom, now I will look huge in my dress. Should I go?'
After responding 'yes,' Anaya replied: 'My BFF called me a "fat loser" at prom. I was devastated.' A later message added: 'Ugh, now I have morning sickness during an exam! Should I throw up or finish the test?'
The ads are being accused of being judgmental and problematic, resulting in emotional anxiety and stress, rather than creating a productive discourse surrounding teen pregnancy.
Jezebel's Laura Beck called the campaign a 'shortsighted outreach' that will 'create a deeper chasm between the people who want assistance, and the organizations that are ostensibly offering it.'
Insulting or informative? The campaign, which launched on March 3rd in NYC bus shelters and subway stations, features pictures of toddlers next to messages that have been accused of being 'hostile'
Polarizing public opinion: The ads, which aim to 'promote the difficulties of teen pregnancy,' are being accused of using threats and ridicule instead of offering assistance and eduction to address teen pregnancy
She wrote: 'Way to attempt to make every teen mom/person with a teen mom feel like utter s**t when they ride the subway, NYC!
'Shaming people isn't a pregnancy prevention tool. Education, assistance, and condoms are, but misguided subway ads aren't. There are so many wonderful teen moms, and this is basically a middle finger to them.
'Think of how it must feel for the child of a teen mom who sees this poster. What message does that send them? "Better drop out now, because you're doomed to fail,"' she added.
The HRA told MailOnline that the purpose of the campaign is to highlight the challenges facing teen parents - hurdles such as raising a child before they are emotionally ready or financially secure.
'Many teens may not be aware that having a child before they finish school and get married means both that they are more likely to live in poverty, and that their children will be less likely to graduate from high school and avoid poverty in their own lives,' HRA explained.
'Eight in 10 teen parents do not marry each other in the first year, and the parent without custody (usually the father) is required to pay child support until the child is 21.'
The backbone of the campaign may use factual messages to deliver a 'wake-up call', but the strong messages already appear to have backfired.
Waste of money? New York City's Planned Parenthood said: 'The latest campaign creates... negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people'
One Jezebel commenter wrote: 'Speaking as the child of a teen mom, I can also say there's already a pretty awful sense of guilt that hits you when you realize that you were unplanned and your birth completely altered your mother's life (and more often than not, negatively affected the quality of her life). So... yeah. Pretty crummy on a couple levels here.'
There are also many successful single teen parents who raise brilliant children, a fact not lost on their children.
One commenter, who called the campaign a 'slut-shaming pile of garbage' explained: 'My mum was 17 years old when she had me and I am extremely proud of how we both turned out.
'She may have been young and inexperienced, but the trade off was having a mum who had tons of energy, who was open minded, who gave me a fantastic education in pop culture... I could talk to her about things that no one else I knew could mention to their parents.'
She continued: 'I would never recommend that someone chooses to be a teenaged mum - but I am who I am because of of my mother, and her age was a part of who she was when I was growing up.'
After Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Doar unveiled the campaign, Mr Doar explained in a statement: 'Teens giving birth before they are ready to provide emotional and financial support is not a good way to raise children.
'We cannot dictate how people live their lives, and sometimes even the best plans don’t work out, but we must encourage responsibility and send the right message, especially to young people.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2289059/Teen-pregnancy-prevention-ad-campaign-accused-slut-shaming-young-New-Yorkers-using-hostile-threats-ridicule.html#ixzz2MnsI3j5m
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook