Hot Topic Tuesday: Pause Before You Play?

When I first heard that Bristol Palin—who became a mother at age eighteen—had decided she wanted to be “a living example of the consequences of teen pregnancy,” and “an advocate to prevent teen pregnancy,” I was intrigued.

When I found out that her message was that sexual abstinence is the only answer, I was annoyed. After all, I’d seen the interview in which she'd said, “Everybody should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.”

It made me wonder how she could believe that a stance so clearly in opposition of her own actions would reach young people and change their lives.

When I was a teen, I would get all contrary when people suggested that I should learn from their mistakes. In fact, I’m still that way fifteen years after graduating from high school. In this case, the message I take from it is that she chose to have sex before she was married and then got pregnant, so now she feels that the only advice she can give is that no one should have sex until they're married. WHAT?!

As someone who writes contemporary YA novels, I love to see young people making smart and safe choices. I do not agree that they should be taught that the ONLY correct choice for their lives is to wait to have sex until they are married. I also do not agree that teens aren’t able to control themselves and/or will be influenced to have sex if they are educated about it. Nothing is as simple as that. Comprehensive sex education can—and does—give teens information that will help them throughout their lives to prevent contraction of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy.

In a new commercial on YouTube, Bristol and Mike “The Situation” talk about sex and encourage viewers to “Pause Before You Play.” Essentially, Bristol says that she’s committed to her new stance of sexual abstinence, but at the same time, she recognizes that not everyone is going to make that choice. She supports and encourages use of contraceptives and “safe sex.”



All the corniness aside, I really do appreciate the message. But from what I've observed, the vast majority of commenters seem to consider these two anti-role models and feel that their involvement in the video is hypocritical.

What do you think of the “Pause Before You Play” campaign? Do the life choices of the spokespeople make you any more or less interested in what they have to say? What are some of the best YA novels you've read that show the choices teens make about sex?

11 comments:

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I think that this video is corny, but it's combining the two fronts--Pro abstinence and pro protected sex in a great way. Not all kids are going to respond to the abstinence message and not all kids (or parents) are going to respond to messages about protecting yourself.

Thanks for the video. It's encouraging to see minor celebrities using their influence for public service.

Ginger @ GReads! said...

I think "The Situation" advocating anything about safe sex is ridiculous. Have you watched him on Jersey Shore? He makes it his mission to find a girl & bring her home every night. Regardless if they use protection, how is that setting a good example??!! I don't care who he "plays with" but he is NOT pausing for one second before he does that. Sex is a game to him & I think that's very disgusting.

As for Palin - obviously she screwed up. Obviously she is still very young & dealing with those consequences. I don't think I'd listen to her until she was 10, 15, 20 years down the road. It's still too raw, in my eyes at least.

Btw - Mindi, I thought you did a great job of portraying the "love scene" between your 2 characters in Freefall. It was kept very clean, and very realistic. You did not over-dramatize the actual act of it. I find that some people (and not just books - it's in movies & tv shows too) show sex as being something that it's not. Almost glorifying it. I prefer reading something that I can relate to.

Micol Ostow said...

I appreciate that the two of them are trying to do something positive with their visibility, even if they seem like unlikely role models.

Lindsey Leavitt said...

I'm sorry. My ears are bleeding from overuse of the word sit--- I won't say it.
Despite the fact that... Micheael, is that is real name?... lacks human decency and treats women like walking vaginas (grenades, really?), the message does ring true.
Except it would probably ring louder if the messenger wasn't so ridiculous.
Not that I have strong feelings about the guy :)

tiackk said...

Jersey Shore really gets on my nerves. I'm a 17 year-old high school student and I'm around kids (ages 6 to 13) quite often. I work as a camp counsellor during March/Summer break, and a Pre-Teen Dance supervisor year round, and what I have seen is that kids, pre-teens, and teens absolutely IDOLIZE the cast of Jersey Shore and "The Situation". All the cast promotes is partying, drinking, and sex sex sex. And the kids are extremely impressionable. I've seen young children imitate how the cast members walk, talk, act, and dress. Heck, we even found condoms on the floor of last months Pre-teen dance. Anyways, all in all, I find it ridiculous.

Best YA book referencing sex: Forever (by Judy Blume). It's great! Realistic. (Personally I think I'm going to wait.)

Anyways, nice blog! Feel free to email me,

i-love-popcorn@hotmail.com

courtneywrites said...

I'm so out of the loop that I've never seen Jersey Shore...

Do you know when/where the PSA airs? Network TV won't run condom ads during primetime. Don't even get me started on that!

Mindi Scott said...

Mrs. DeRaps: You're right. It is nice that there is something for everyone in this commercial! :-)

Ginger: I've not seen Jersey Shore, so this is enlightening to me. And thank you for your kind words! I'm so glad you found that scene in my book to be relateable. That's what I was hoping for!

Micol: I agree! Whatever their own pasts or motives, I really hope it helps to get people talking and thinking.

Lindsey: Yeah, now that I've posted this, I'm hearing some very nauseating things about this guy. I'd never heard of him until I watched the commercial. In fact, I couldn't figure out why he kept using that "sit-" word.

tiackk: Jersey Shore sounds like a bit of a nightmare. And I agree with you about Forever. Love that book!

Courtney: I haven't seen Jersey Shore either. According to the Candie's Foundation regarding this commericial, "Clips have been seen by millions of TV viewers on every major cable and broadcast network."

I found out about it via the Yahoo! home page, I believe it was.

Claire Dawn said...

Love the concept.

Think about it. And either don't do it. Or do it the safe way.

I don't remember ever seeing a campaign combine these two...

Melissa Walker said...

I have to admit that the video gave me dumb chills, but I do appreciate the messages, and combining the two POVs is a good idea.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I agree with you, I don't think abstinance is the only answer...except where my son's concerned. Just kidding. well sort of.
I think kids ARE going to make other choices and it's important to make sure they are prepared if they do.
The DUFF is a great example of a book where teens make another choice and are responsible in the way they handle it. Great post!
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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