Danielle over at Being Pregnant uncovered this hilarious PSA produced by The Candie’s Foundation in which Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame accidentally bumps into “B. Palin,” who we are to assume is perusing the costume rack backstage on the set of Dancing with the Stars. They proceed to have a yuk-yuk filled conversation about her belief in abstinence, which he “totally respects” because “it has the word abs in it.” (Buh-dump-bump.) Palin in turn tells The Situation that she doesn’t need to borrow one of his, ahem, magnum sized condoms because she “avoids situations.”
Dennis DiClaudio over at the Comedy Central Indecision blog says, “I don’t even know what it is. A PSA for abstinence? A debate over safe sex vs. no sex? Some kind of a fetish video for people who like pain in their eyeballs?” Exactly. This video is laughable not only because of the corny script and bad acting, but because it completely lacks focus. Take a look:
In her post on the subject, Being Pregnant’s Danielle says, “While the message being provided is certainly something we need for our young people today, especially with the rising teen pregnancy rates… couldn’t they have picked… better spokespeople for the public service ad?” I don’t question the choice to cast Bristol Palin or The Situation as spokespeople to reach today’s teens; I think they’re both ideal candidates for a safe sex PSA. Both celebs are famous for simply being themselves, and everyone knows they’re talking from personal experience on the subject, which gives them cred among the demographic that needs to hear the message, “Pause Before You Play,” the most.
What I do question, however, is The Candie’s Foundation’s choice to promote abstinence as an effective means of preventing teen pregnancy. Certainly abstinence is the most effective way to prevent the exchange of STD’s, but abstinence education has been proven ineffective time and time again as a means of reducing teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. Additionally, Palin’s outright refusal to even throw a condom in her purse “just in case” seems pretty flagrant in light of the fact that she is already a teen mother. Sure, you can plan to be abstinent, but what happens in the heat of the moment when you suddenly change your mind and you’re without birth control and protection from disease? My problem with this PSA is not that it’s using the wrong people, but sending the wrong message. Let’s not shoot the messenger here, but instead question The Candie’s Foundation and their dedication to their own mission statement.
A quick visit to the foundation’s website reveals that their aim is to “shape the way young people in America think about teen pregnancy and parenthood” and to “educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teenage pregnancy.” A noble cause, to be sure. The foundation reports that “teen girls who have been exposed to the foundation and its messages are more likely to view teen pregnancy and parenthood as stressful and negative, and they are more likely to be skeptical of the media’s portrayal of teen pregnancy and parenting. They also think teens should wait longer to have sex than girls who are not aware of the foundation and its messages.” Again, great. As a mother and the aunt of a tween, I’m especially concerned that the young girls in my life might have sex before they’re really ready to understand the emotional and physical consequences of the act. But if The Candie’s Foundation is working to make young girls critical of how the media portrays teen motherhood, why allow Bristol Palin, totally relaxed and dressed in sequins with no baby in sight, to make motherhood seem like such a breeze?
This Spring, The Candie’s Foundation used Bristol Palin to great effect in a very convincing PSA about the negative effects of teen pregnancy. The script acknowledged just how lucky Bristol Palin is to come from a wealthy and supportive family, and how if she weren’t in the position she is, her life would be much more difficult. It’s a shame Candie’s couldn’t have made a PSA using The Situation’s goofy demeanor and reputation as a ladies man to focus on condom use as an effective means of preventing pregnancy and disease.
More from Strollerderby: