Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Safer sex billboard versus fretful mother

AdFreak has a story about how a resident of Van Nuys, California, successfully lobbied to have a safer sex billboard in her community taken down from a public thoroughfare. 

The ad in question?

According to local news outlet KTLA:

"Eve Ragsdale worried about having to explain the billboard to her 6-year-old triplets. 
Ragsdale had contended that her children, who read now and ask questions about everything, were not developmentally ready to have the AIDS-condom relationship explained to them. 
'It's just an inappropriate image for all of the children in the neighborhood,' she said."
I am raising a young child in an urban environment, too. He's also a kid who is curious about everything, but he rarely asks awkward questions about the condoms we see on the sidewalk, or the streetwalkers we drive past. It's not that he doesn't notice. He just doesn't care much about those things at his age.

But as a 7-year-old obsessed with nature, he knows what sex is. (He surprised an after school caregiver last year by pointing out two "mating" squirrels.) If he asked me straight out what a condom was for, I'd tell him in an age-appropriate manner. Even though young ones don't yet have those feelings, it won't be long. My belief is that it's better to normalize condom use before the occasion... arises?

But, of course, other parents may have different views. My major concern here is a very important public health massage being stifled by an individual's feeling that it is not appropriate for the public media. And the media company, who decided to take the knee-jerk approach, gave in without so much as a second thought.

According to the LA Daily News:

"Van Wagner Outdoor Vice Chairman Bill Crabtree told the Daily News that the billboard would be changed on Wednesday or Thursday. 
'I told my operations manager to move it,' Crabtree said. 'We listened to (Ragsdale), we don't necessarily agree with her, but if it's offensive to her, the last thing we want to do is offend anyone.' 
'We don't put up (ads for) strip clubs, we don't put up anything that is lewd," Crabtree explained. "But the AIDS thing is educational, quite frankly. I know people might look at some of the designs askew, but they're trying to get their point across.' 
'We don't put up ads for strip clubs, we don't put up anything that is lewd,' Crabtree said."
 Ironically, as AdFreak's David Kiefaber points out, Van Nuys is literally The Porn Capital of The World. And a recent LA law requires all adult performers to wear condoms in their onscreen couplings.

But hey, Ms. Ragsdale. Heaven forbid you should have to explain that billboard to your children.

If I were the AHF, I would not take this lying down.

1 comment:

  1. They don't want to explain the condom/AIDS connection because that might *gasp* mean talking about sex with their special little snowflakes.

    I don't think they should have caved either. There is nothing inappropriate about prevention.