Abstinence-only programs typically teach that abstinence is the only way to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STIs. In some school programs, teachers will even go to the lengths to shame sexually active students by holding up a piece of gum, chew it and ask if anyone wants the gum now – comparing them to a chewed piece of gum.
In an effort to bring awareness and drive conversation around sex ed censorship in schools across the country, leading condom brand, Trojan, working with non-profit Advocates for Youth took the notion of a chewed piece of gum to create an installation on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
On October 30th, ‘Information is the Best Protection’ took the scare tactics in sexual education and turned the lesson on its head, making the chewed piece of gum a symbol of protest and message to the world that information is the best protection.
Despite all available public health evidence showing its ineffectiveness, government institutions continue to pour money into abstinence-only programs and deny young people access to truthful information they need by the very institutions meant to educate and protect them.
“Trojan is a brand built on sex positivity and accurate information,” said Tony Kalathara group creative director, 72andSunny New York. “So when we heard young adults were being taught sex in schools through shameful metaphors like chewed pieces of gum, we had to take a stance.”
On October 30th, ‘The Chew-a-thon’ was displayed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Passersby were also invited to chew gum and stick it to the wall, helping the message come to life. People can visit here
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