Not so sweet: Bristol Palin is new teen ambassador

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By Erene Abdelmeseeh

By Erene Abdelmeseeh

There are a select few who should not be put in the position as a role model for today’s youth and Bristol Palin is one of those people.

On May 5, the Candie’s Foundation, which promotes abstinence among teens, announced that Bristol Palin would be their new teen ambassador.

That was probably the worst decision that Candie’s could have made; Palin should not be an example of what today’s youth should strive to be.

Since giving birth to her own son last December, 18-year-old Palin is a living example of the consequences of teen pregnancy.

Understandably, she seems to be the perfect choice as the new ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation, making their decision obvious to many.

However, how could Palin publicly support a group with a mission she does not completely agree with?

When interviewed by CNN, the teenage mother openly revealed her belief that “abstinence is the best option, but it isn’t realistic at all.”

Of course, the Candie’s Foundation cannot have their spokesperson speaking against the work they do.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Palin retracted her earlier comment saying, “If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me. Nobody.”

So, how does Palin really feel about the subject?

Her inability to convey one idea will only cause confusion among her target audience.

Many teenagers do not want to be told what to do and even if they agreed with the foundation on abstinence they are not going to respond positively to someone they see as a hypocrite.

Palin should have focused on explaining the hardships of being a teen mother through the foundation’s campaign rather than her personal belief on the issue.

It seems that Palin’s involvement in the campaign may also be too controversial.

Late last year, USA Today pulled a full-page PSA ad from the Candie’s Foundation that featured photos of Palin because they feared it would offend readers.

Regardless of Palin’s involvement with the foundation, Candie’s needs to focus more on what it is promoting rather than who they have promoting it.

The foundation’s Web site says that the it “fuels a celebrity-driven public service announcement campaign that dramatically exposes the devastating consequences of teenage pregnancy, while educating and challenging America’s youth to make healthy decisions about sex.”

The only problem is that the foundation’s only “healthy decision” about sex is not to do it at all.

Their public service announcements include slogans like “Be Sexy: It Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have Sex.”

Abstinence may be the only foolproof way to prevent pregnancy, but that does not necessarily mean that every teenager is going to choose to wait until marriage before they have sex.

Many do not and these individuals need to be educated on the importance of safe sex practices.

After clicking on the facts link on their Web site, I found that the only educating the foundation is doing is giving statistics about teen pregnancy, like how many people wish they had waited before having sex.

It is important for everyone to be informed about the increase in teen pregnancy and its consequences, but Palin might have been right when she said that abstinence is not realistic.

The Candie’s Foundation prides itself on its work, but how many people truly benefit from it?

I am sure there are plenty of people out there whose decision on sex was persuaded by the foundation, but, realistically, there are probably many more who were not impacted by the public service annoucements or celebrity endorsers.

Many teens will still choose to have sex, regardless of who is telling them not to do it. So, what happens to them?

They are not being taught safe sex practices and are therefore more likely to become pregnant and risk the chance of getting an STD, something the foundation’s Web site does not mention at all.

The Candie’s Foundation basically says that the pregnancy is the only risk teens have to worry about when having sex.

It is understandable that many parents do not want their teenagers to have sex, but shoving abstinence down their throats will not tame their curiosity.

If the Candie’s foundation educated teens about the consequences of unprotected sex rather than sending the message that abstinence is the only option, they would probably have a higher rate of success.

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