UPDATE: Just to clarify, this billboard is not currently up (as far as I know). One commenter says it’s from the early ’90s; I haven’t been able to verify that. I knew it wasn’t currently up when I wrote this post, but I realized I didn’t explicitly say that. Sorry for any confusion, or for your disappointment if you’ve been driving around Kansas City hoping to see it.

*****

Timothy H. sent in this billboard (found here), which advertises…actually, I’m not sure because I can’t read the small print in the left corner (I read online somewhere that this billboard was displayed in Kansas City, and I think the second line says “The Kansas City [something] Health Department”). I guess the message was that in order to have a good future you need to be abstinent?

Looking around online, I think most people are taking it to mean “engineers don’t get to have sex,” but I think the message is “if you want to get an education to get a good job, you better not be having sex ’cause it’ll ruin all your plans.” Might be interesting for a discussion of how teen (if that’s what he’s supposed to be) sex is portrayed, often as having immediate and irrevocable negative effects that preclude any type of future…though young people having sex often aren’t provided with the resources (sex education, access to birth control) that would help prevent the negative effects that sexual activity can cause.

Or you could use it in a discussion of public service announcements gone awry. I have a feeling this billboard probably kept more kids from becoming engineers than sex ever did.

And just for the record, and not to deny the difficulties that can arise from teen (or adult, for that matter) sexual activity, my mom encountered one of those difficulties at age 16–namely, finding out I was gonna be making an entrance into the world–and did go on, as far as I can tell, to have a future, with an education and career and everything!

Thanks, Timothy!

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