As I was scrolling my Facebook feed this afternoon I came across a new post from The PushBack blog. A project of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, the PushBack is a blog where young parents and those who work with and for them can present truthful stories of their lives. The post, entitled ‘Prevention Campaign Promotes Stereotyping’, and written by Natasha Vianna examines a YouTube video by the DC Campaign.
Supposedly the video is part of a campaign to prevent teen pregnancy. Instead the video uses ridiculous stereotypes of teen parents. Natasha accurately states that, “By using a teen mother’s life as a way of scaring people into choosing an alternate life, you are offending and seriously harming that teen mother. You are pressuring her into accepting the failures.” After watching the video, I was angry and offended. Like Natasha, who is also a former teen parent, it hurts to see teen pregnancy continue to be stereotyped, especially by a campaign that is claiming to be promoting teen pregnancy prevention.
This and other stereotypes are largely inaccurate and based on unfounded assumptions. They perpetuate judgement and prejudices. Negative stereotypes, like the one portrayed in this video, may even cause people in the targeted group to view the stereotype and it’s behaviors as the norm, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and setting them up for failure. While our goal is to reduce teenage pregnancy, we also need to support and encourage teenage parents to succeed. Presenting stereotypes such as these, only hurts, offends and alienates current and former teen mothers. And is an ineffective way to decrease teen pregnancy.
To check out the blog post, and the video: