I know it seems like National Pro-Life Cupcake Day was just yesterday, but there's another way to engage young people in the anti-choice movement: National Pro-Life T-Shirt week!!
Yep, you can partake in the American Life League-sponsored "Yo, Where's the Shirt?" by taking pictures of pro-life tees and racking up points on an online contest. Now in its third year, the event has harnassed the power of new media, and with Twitter, Facebook, and even an iPhone app the campaign is definitely setting itself up for viral popularity. Although any anti-choice tee will do, NPTWL has two in particular that go for just $6.50 a pop. There's the "Abortion Kills a Person," and the less incendiary and more affirming "It's okay to be pro-life." (I must admit they're a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the fetus-heavy 2008 versions). If you don't want to pony up the cash to complete your anti-choice wardrobe, you can stick the "Personhood now!" sticker (or if you must, just cut it out and tape it) on whatever you're wearing. You earn points by taking pictures that satisfy daily "tasks," which include things like wearing your t-shirt in front of a sign, doing a silly face, or posing with a friend. What's notable is that the most point-worthy tasks are often the most political, or involve sharing pro-life messages with other people. For example:
- Trying to touch your nose with your tongue. 1 pts
- Making some smores. 1 pts
- With a nurse from a crisis pregnancy center. 3 pts
- Find and show us a DVD of one of these movies: Bella, The Waitress or Juno. 3 pts
- Outside, wearing a pair of pants that has PRO-LIFE sewn down a leg. 4 pt
- Help assemble a Cemetery of the Innocents display. 5 pts
- Holding a printed page that says: TEXT RFL TO 90999. [RFL=Rock for Life, a benefit concert series] 5 pts
Notice the disparity? See a full list of tasks and points here.
And the thing is, for every single task, at least one person has taken a picture, these kids are in it to win it! From the benign ("Enjoy a donut in a donut shop"), to the bizarre ("Make a Lego creation with a pro-life message"), to the disturbing ("Dress like a doctor and hold a sign that says End Abortion Now.")
While all I really want to do is make fun of the contest (again, it's actually called "Yo, where's the shirt?") The fact is, the anti-choice movement is hell-bent on targeting young people for their cause, and they're doing it by making it fun and trendy. Who's thinking about a woman's right to choose when you get to do quirky poses? Why consider problematic parental consent laws that affect your peers when you can win a $30 iTunes gift certificate? Like the rest of us, pro-life organizations are adapting to new technology and media to get their message through. Only it seems they're using it to virally encourage kids and teens to recruit others to their cause with a reward system. How bout a task flipping the bird to insidious campaigns?