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American Academy of Pediatrics on Sexy TV

September 7, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a new statement on “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media” in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics, and I can’t help applauding some of the organization’s recommendations, like this one:

Pediatricians should urge schools to insist on comprehensive sex education programs (to counter the influence of sexually suggestive and explicit media) that incorporate basic principles of media literacy into their sex education programs…Federal money should be spent on comprehensive sex education programs but not on abstinence-only programs, which have been found to be ineffective.

Yes, please. As somebody who both supports comprehensive (i.e., not “abstinence-only”) sex ed and is a librarian who supports media and information literacy, I’m all for it. Hey, I have a perfect opportunity for school librarians…

And then there’s this:

Pediatricians should urge the broadcast industry to air advertisements for birth control products. The federal government also needs to encourage the advertising of birth control, especially emergency contraceptives.

I’m not so sure about this one, because I finally got that damn “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…” birth control song out of my head. 😉 Is birth control not advertised now? I guess I see ads for oral contraceptives and the patch, but not so many focused on condoms, IUDs, or emergency contraceptives. How is it in your markets?

There’s also a bit about not airing ads for erectile dysfunction ads until after 10pm – those ads can be irritating, but I’m not sure hiding them in the wee hours is necessarily consistent with the openness and discussion and information-sharing promoted in the rest of the statement. It kind of feels like saying, “well, sex is normal and healthy, but sex-related drugs need to be hidden – unless they’re for birth control!”

There is also some good stuff in the statement on “urg[ing] the broadcast media to include healthy messages about sex and sexuality in their programming, especially in media that children and early teenagers use most frequently.”

This, however, is completely hilarious:

Madison Avenue and advertisers need to be encouraged to stop using sex to sell products.

It would be easier to convince teenagers not to have sex. Snort.

[here’s the press release, for those without access to the full text]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 6:55 am

    I wrote about this last week as well on A Woman’s Page ( I am thrilled to see this report but had to search around to find much information-never saw it hit the front page of NYT or Washington Post.
    I think the point, for me, about all the ED ads was the emphasis on having sex but no mention of possible STD contraction. The only side effects mentioned are health risks associated with the meds and prolonged erections!
    There are birth control ads on TV, but they’re vague things about women having fewer periods and don’t specifically address contraception. Condom ads are a rare thing in the US and never on mainstream TV. As usual we get lots of sexual content but no direct informational content of a helpful nature.

    I agree that the directive to Madison Ave. is challenging and seems a bit absurd, but if we don’t keep pushing them to change it won’t happen.

    • September 8, 2010 8:16 am

      Walker, thanks for your comment – I can see your point about the ED ads. And of course now that you mention it, the birth control ads I can think of off the bat do seem to be about convenience (like fewer periods, or less work in administration), but they are never explicitly about “to prevent unwanted pregnancies.” I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on that! I’m also going to go check out your post!

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