A key component that is often left out of the blame-riddled teen pregnancy/single mom conversation is the fathers. Considering that there are, and have been, prominent shame-y ads pointed directly at young mothers, there isn’t quite as much directed at the fathers. Fathers who also made the same decision to have sex, whether unprotected or not. With all the rampant single mommy blame, you’d think these young ladies were getting themselves pregnant all on their own. Which is just what a new anti-teen pregnancy ad campaign in Chicago is underscoring with their “pregnant boys.”
TODAY reports that the campaign debuted last month, plastered onto bus shelters, transit buses, trains, and platforms. Organizers have reportedly intentionally placed the ads in near high schools and in neighborhood with high teen birth rates. The Chicago Department of Public Health says that their intention was to highlight how teen pregnancy isn’t just a girls’ issue:
… it aims to “spark conversations among adolescents and adults on the issue of teen pregnancy and to make the case that teen parenthood is more than just a girl’s responsibility,” according to the Chicago Department of Public Health…
“We wanted to create an ad campaign that would cut through the clutter and get people thinking about teen pregnancy and teen births, and how it can affect more than just teen girls,” [Brian Richardson] told TODAY Moms.
Spokesperson Richardson describes the response to the pregnant boy ads as “overwhelmingly positive,” with some reportedly being not so into the images of knocked up adolescent boys.
While the pregnant boy play is obviously a blatant eye balls grabber, the tactic effectively asserts an impact on young fathers from conception. We have yet to see how successful these ads will ultimately be in terms of lowering teen pregnancy. But the shift in narrative — one that that holds our sons responsible in a dialogue that has for much too long solely blamed our daughters — is a win all on its own.