September 21, 2011 11:26
Advertisements aimed at raising awareness of birth control among university students are raising eyebrows at campuses across the country for being too "in your face" and praising the virtues of contraceptive pills.
One ad, placed in the lady's restroom at one university, reads, "Are you still worried about spending the night with him? Now, all you need is some practical knowledge and an honest conversation!" The poster, part of the ongoing Wise Woman Campaign, aims to get young people to visit the organization's blog.
As part of the campaign, hosted by the Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, eight teams of university students were asked to submit ideas to promote birth control over a two-month period from August to October.
The teams are entitled to receive up to W2 million (US$1=W1,152) to carry out activities promoting awareness of safe sex, while the winner will get W10 million in prize money and an internship opportunity.
The students are evaluated based on how creatively and successfully they promote their ideas, with many placing ads on Facebook pages and creating blogs.
The ads have been criticized for being too racy as the competition intensifies. One carries an article about the rising number of university couples living together and features the caption: "Take birth control pills and you can have a healthy sex life with your partner."
Some of the posters go so far as to extol the virtues of birth control pills, claiming that they ease acne symptoms and make users' skin cleaner. One Internet blog says the pills are not harmful and can lower the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as help prevent cysts in the uterus and inflammation of the joints.
Students who saw the ads showed mixed responses. One female student said, "They make me feel uncomfortable, because they seem to cast a positive light on premarital cohabitation or extramarital affairs."
But others thought they served a useful purpose. "Times have changed and I think effective ads need to appeal to younger people," said another young lady.
The KAOG said, "We began the campaign as we have noticed that the sexually active population is getting younger and younger. In advanced countries, high school students are already taught how to avoid pregnancy."
Choi Young-shik, a professor at Yonsei University medical school, said, "We cannot treat birth control pills as an absolutely safe form of medication. Some parts of the campaign are going too far."
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