an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Advice 4 Parents is Problematic

Posted by Rosepixie on September 14, 2009

This ad has been bouncing around the blogosphere for a little while now and that’s how I first encountered it, but it was only after researching the website it came from that I decided to discuss it here.  It was produced by the Parents Speak Up National Campaign (an organization that is run by the Office of Public Health and Science).

So, I have some problems with the ad by itself.  How do you reasonably discuss sex and not having it with your kids without taking about “the parts”?  I mean, how are they even supposed to recognize it if they don’t know what it is and how it works?  It may make you uncomfortable, but doesn’t that seem like sort of important information?  Do we really want to go back to the days when young women got married as virgins without knowing what was really going to happen on their wedding nights because no one thought it appropriate to discuss “the parts” with a young lady?  And apparently this is being shown during kid’s programing on television, which seems to defeat the purpose since it’s more likely to make kids go “what are they talking about?” and ask more questions than anything.

But beyond the ad itself, the part of the website where you can download it showed me something else that bothered me:

4Parents Ad BreakdownNotice the headings at the top?  The video I have embedded is the “General Audience” version.  There is a version of the exact same commercial with African American actors and voices as well (although only in the 30 second version) and yet another version with Latino actors and the voice-over in Spanish (again, only in the 30 second version).  While I’m glad to see a commercial made with actors of different races, I have to say that I was a little offended that the white version was called the “General Audience” version as if white was somehow more universal than any other race.  I mean, I know that that is the general perception  in marketing and all, but actually labeling it that way seems a little obviously racist.  Maybe I’m making too much of it, but it kind of bothered me.  I guess I just wondered why an African American father/daughter ad wouldn’t speak to all the many races that are present in a “general audience”, but a white father/daughter ad would.

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2 Responses to “Advice 4 Parents is Problematic”

  1. Eva said

    A refusal to discuss sex frankly telegraphs to your children that it’s something they should be ashamed of. That their bodies are something they should be ashamed of. When we had our first separated sex ed. class in 5th grade to discuss puberty I had a teacher with this sort of attitude about sex and even in 5th grade I could identify it as inappropriate of her.

    There’s nothing disgusting about physically being a human being and that is exactly what folks are telling their children if they refuse to name their “disgusting parts.” I don’t care how you feel about sex or what it’s appropriate to do with your sexual organs, you shouldn’t be raising your kids to be ashamed of having them at all.

  2. Kathleen said

    Yuck. And on top of all the icky bits that you mentioned, the father is a terrible mime. Why couldn’t they have cast someone with real skill? It is a seriously maligned art, but no one will ever know how good it can be because we only ever see schlock like this.

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