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Pregnant teen mannequins shock and shame in Venezuela

Pregnant teen mannequins shock and shame in Venezuela

Mannequins of pregnant schoolgirls are seen in a shop window at a shopping mall in Caracas

Reuters reports that these “pregnant” mannequins, dressed in school uniforms for girls under 15, are a statement about an adolescent pregnancy rate that is one of the worst in South America.

Created by Fundana and Construyendo Futuros, the mannequins were set up in a popular Caracas mall.

“It’s amazing seeing people react as they walk by. This is such a taboo subject in Venezuela, we want people to talk about it,” Construyendo Futuros president Thalma Cohen told the media. “Some people get angry and complain. Others congratulate us.”

A woman reacts in front of a display showing mannequins of pregnant schoolgirls at a shopping mall in Caracas

The campaign is similar to a pregnant mannequin stunt perpetrated by the Milwaukee United Way in 2012. And it has some of the same problems.

On one hand, I see this campaign as very shaming for pregnant teens, which is contrary to current social marketing “best practices” (as well as being potentially harmful to girls). On the other hand, one in ten Venezuelan teens (or more, depending on the source) gets pregnant before age 18, and the maternal mortality rate is high, so perhaps I am not in a position to judge the tactic. What I do know is that while the campaign is intended to prompt adults to think about a “taboo” social issue, a public campaign of such notoriety is bound to have unintended consequences, both in Venezuela and — through media — around the world.

Construyendo Futuros
Additional credits:
Photos via Reuters

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more