I haven’t seen all the posters, but for me, the core message of the one above (“chances are he won’t stay with you”) is a) clearly factually true, based on an overwhelming body of scholarly evidence; and b) clearly worth knowing, if you are a teenager, or if you care about teenagers.
I understand that some communications tactics can backfire, and I certainly agree that, as Tennessee Williams put it, deliberate cruelty is unforgiveable. But anthropologists will tell you that stigma is often pro-social and is an essential component of any good society, including ours. Today in most of the U.S. we certainly don’t mind stigmatizing cigarette smoking and racist, sexist, and (increasingly) homophobic speech. So I begin with with sympathy for the rational use of stigma, when the goal is clearly pro-social.
In the several decades that I’ve been involved in this issue, I’ve come to think that there are three basic things you can say to teenagers, if you are trying to get them to think twice about having a baby or getting someone pregnant. The three are:
1. Don’t do it, it’s morally wrong.
2. Don’t do it, it will likely mess up your child’s life.
3. Don’t do it, it will likely mess up your life.
It seems like these posters are going for the last two. What do you all think? Good idea, or bad?