There’s An Interesting Reason Behind Venezuela’s Pregnant Schoolgirl Mannequins

The mannequins are up as a publicity stunt to point out how ridiculously high the teenage pregnancy rate is in the South American country...

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by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Over in Caracas, Venezuela, pregnant mannequins dressed as schoolgirls have been appearing all over a shopping centre. While the knee-jerk reaction would be to hunt down whichever idiot clothing brand is encouraging young girls to get pregnant, the mannequins are part of a stunt.

In Venezeuela, 23 per cent of children born have mothers aged 18 or under. That’s a pretty massive teenage pregnancy problem. So two children’s charities – Fundana and Construyendo – teamed up to make the problem a lot more visible.

‘It’s amazing seeing people react as they walk by. This is such a taboo subject in Venezuela, we want people to talk about it,’ said Construyendo Futuros president Thalma Cohen: ‘Some people get angry and complain. Others congratulate us.’

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Responses really were mixed, Reuters reports. While one 18-year-old, Kelly Hernandez, said: ‘I think it’s horrible, awful. If I was a mother, I wouldn’t want my child to see that,’ perhaps missing the point that a lot of women like her are already mothers, her friend, Auriselvia Torrealba, 20, seemed to ‘get’ the campaign: ‘Yes, it’s disturbing to see in a window. But it’s the truth. You see pregnant girls all the time on the streets. So this forces you to think about the problem, doesn’t it?'

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Just a few days ago, the UN released a report saying that not only did they have a ‘deep concern’ for the rate of adolescent pregnancies in Venezuela, but the high rate of maternal mortality in the country. According to the most recent figures (2010), the adolescent pregnancy rate is 101 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 (the UK’s is 27.9, a record low), and maternal mortality is 92 per 100,000 births (the UK’s is 8).

Historically, mannequins have been criticised for showing an idealised version of what people should look like, which can be damaging. But what if the reality is way more damaging than the fashion industry’s ideals?

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If this sparks a wider conversation to improve sex education in schools, something which non-governmental agencies say the Venezuelan government needs to address, then it’s certainly not a bad thing.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

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Why Sex Education Needs To Cover The Pleasures Of Sex. Not Just The Dangers

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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