To celebrate International Day of Prostitutes (apparently that’s a thing?) on June 2, Brazil’s director of the Department of STDs, AIDS, and Viral Hepatitis devised an ad campaign to encourage the use of condoms in the country’s legal prostitution industry, as well as remove the social stigma surrounding sex work. Unfortunately, it turns out that most people didn’t feel that the ads’ message was quite appropriate. One PSA read, “I cannot be seen without a condom, my love.” But the poster that has received the most attention featured a smiling woman and the phrase “I’m happy being a prostitute.”
I think that we can all agree that it is an unconventional PSA for a government to release, although they claim they were seeking to protect a “vulnerable group,” especially before the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2014. Yet some people found these ads to be disgraceful and appalling, eliciting very strong reactions. Congressman João Campos, for example, told Brazilian newspaper El Globo:
“I am here imagining the titles of next campaigns: ‘I’m an adulterer and I’m happy,’ ‘I’m incestuous, follow me,’ ‘I’m polygamous, join me,’ ‘I’m a pedophile, watch me, I’m happy, I’m accomplished.’”
Although the ad was, admittedly, not family-friendly, this reaction seems a bit rash considering its original intention to reduce the stigma surrounding a legal occupation and to raise sexual health awareness. New ads have been released with a much tamer message: “I am not ashamed to use a condom.” Good advice for anyone!
What do you think of Brazil’s ad campaign about prostitution? Let us know in the comments.
Contact the author of this post at Mary.Odell@TheFrisky.com.