We were approached a few weeks ago to do a web site revamp on an existing Abstinence Only program (i.e., the “Just Say No” of sex education). As if you couldn’t guess, we believe abstinence is a very narrow view. Sure, teach abstinence as part of the whole package – but research has shown that kids who are taught abstinence only engage in a wide variety of sexual behaviors that can be just as risky – oral sex, anal sex, to name a few – and truly believe they are not having “sex.” But I guess “it’s all good” as long as they don’t get pregnant, right?
We have a sexual health expert on staff now and are currently putting in a grant to create a DVD that contains the whole spectrum of sex ed topics, but also has a menu for parents to turn off and on the topics that they feel their children should or shouldn’t view. That way, we feel we are presenting all the info, but parents still have control over what their kids see. Win, win – don’t you think?
The thing that was hard about this request for proposal is that it was the first time we were approached by a client who was in such a gray area for us. I mean, if RJR wanted a web site – the answer is an easy no. Or, maybe FUCK YOU, HELL NO.
But abstinence is technically correct. You aren‘t going to get pregnant or an STD if you don’t have sex. But obviously the proponents of this way of thinking don’t really remember what it’s like to be a teenager!
And to further complicate matters, the source of funding for this project is pretty lofty… and could be a great client to have long-term. Not to mention, we were recommended by another good client to these people. So we certainly didn’t want to come back and say, “Your content sucks.”
Luckily for me, they use a different programming language than we do for their back end. So I politely declined the RFP on that basis.
Whew. Dodged a bullet on that one.
The funniest comment throughout the whole decision? Dave says to me after I sent the decline email, “I fully support your stance on promiscuity.” To which I yelled back, “Free love, brother!”