This is all kinds of wrong:
In what might just be the most awkward public service announcement ever taped, Bristol Palin and MTV's "Jersey Shore" star, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, team up to discuss safe sex.
Oh, where to begin?
Let's put aside for a moment the obvious fact that this is just a really bad ad. The writing is awful, the "acting" is worse, and the whole thing is just so cringe-inducingly awkward that any kid who can actually watch the whole thing should get a lifetime supply of condoms.
But that's not even the worst of it.
And it isn't that the ad is so full of mixed messages, start to finish, that it's hard to believe anyone thinks this will convince a single American teen to abstain until marriage. Or at least use a condom. Or at least pause for a second before going ahead with it after all, without a condom, of course, because if you think you're planning to abstain from sex until marriage, there's no reason for you to have protection in your possession, you know, just in case.
But then, the Candies Foundation, which produced the ad, is all about the mixed messages.
Candies is the company that purveys hooker-wear for teens with mixed messages like its “Be Sexy Tees” line. (Get it? Be a sexy tease? Funny!) The tee shirts, which come in a range of sizes, from skin-tight to super skin-tight, say, “I’m sexy enough...to keep you waiting.” (Get it? She’s sexy, but since she’s a “good girl,” she won’t give it up. Except that, statistically speaking, she probably will.)
Candies wants to help fight teen pregnancy, but not in any way that might actually, you know, work. Its whole strategy is to tell teens to wait. Wear sexy clothes, but don’t have sex. Just don’t have sex. Its page of “tips” are all about sex -- not safe sex, mind, you, but how most teens who end up pregnant hadn’t really considered the consequences of sex. So, you see, just don’t do it, and then you won’t have that problem.
With Candies and its ambassador Bristol simultaneously trying to sell sex and abstinence, is it any wonder 88 percent of teens who, just like Bristol, promise not to have sex before marriage actually break that promise?
And Bristol even knows (sort of) that she's sending a mixed message by dancing provocatively in skimpy clothes while at the same time promoting abstinence:
"I go around and I talk about abstinence, then I'm out here in my underwear," she told Extra.
Sure, she'd intended to dress modestly on the show, but just like her promise to save herself for marriage, that went out the window.
The "Dancing with the Stars" cast member will steer clear of the skimpy outfits favored by many of the ABC show’s female contestants when she hits the dance floor on Sept. 20.
"I think I will be the most dressed [contestant and have] the most modest outfits for sure because that's who I am," she told People.com.
So a few months ago, she was modest, but now? Now she revels in scandalous lap dancing on national TV.
But as horrible as the ad's mixed messages are, they're not the worst part either.
The worst part of the ad is that it's all a lie.
"I know you're all about that abstinence thing, but come on, B-Palin, are you serious? You're not gonna hook up before you're married? For real?"
No. Not for real. Because B-Palin didn't refrain from hooking up before she was married. She had sex, got pregnant, and became a teen mother. Those things happened. Those are the facts.
But, like her mother, Bristol doesn't care about facts. She thinks she's doing America's teens a favor by repeating the instruction she herself couldn't follow: just don't have sex. She makes it look and sound so easy, just repeating over and over and over again that she's not going to have sex until she's married.
But we know that's not true. We know it's not true because Bristol is also cashing in on speaking about the hardships of teen motherhood. And the failure of the ad is that it completely ignores the facts. Sure, Mr. Sitch offers Bristol a condom, but Bristol doesn't take the condom, just in case. Instead, she laughs it off and says she doesn't need it because she's not planning to have sex.
The ad could have made a relevant point. Bristol could have said, "Even though I plan to abstain, I'd rather be safe than sorry. So thanks, I'll take this condom, and just in case I find myself in an unplanned situation, I will use it so I don't get myself knocked up again." Or something like that.
But that's not what the ad does. Instead, the ad offers a false choice: either be the sleazeball who is always prepared with condoms, or be the good virgin who doesn't need them because she's not that kind of girl.
Except that Bristol is that kind of girl. Lots of American teens are. And they'd be far better served by a real and honest discussion of how to prevent pregnancy with more than an empty and already broken promise. Because most of those teens who think they don't need protection and then find themselves pregnant don't have rich parents to help them. They won't be embraced by America's rightwing Bible thumpers for their "virtue." They won't be able to sell their family photos for six figures. They won't be paid to talk about how hard it is to be a teen mom. And they won't be invited to dance on national TV.
They'll be living with the real-life consequences of what happens to teens who refuse to educate and protect themselves because Bristol Palin made it look easy to cash in on teen pregnancy and then pretend the whole thing never happened.
And that's for real.