Producer: Second Look Community Arts, Toronto, 1990

Funding: Health and Welfare Canada — $69,000.00, Ontario Ministry of Health, City of Toronto Board of Health, AIDS Prevention Program

Classification: Confused

Do you know what your 12-year old could hearr in her grad 7 class if she’s shown What’s Wrong with This Picture?

“Out there under the full moon, it’s easy to forget your rubbers –especially when your hormones are in control.”
“Always use a rubber when you screw in the anus or vagina and also when you give [oral sex].”

One girl to another. “There’s nothing I like better than [performing oral sex] on a woman as long as she’s not having her period.”

Lyrics include:
“I want to play you like my favorite record over and over.  You can play me all over and over.”

And another, “Pull it out while you’re still hot and throw that thing away”

What if it just happens? It feels so good.  What if it just happens – like it should?”

Should? And you paid for this with your tax money!

Street kids

Health and Welfare Canada claim they funded What’s Wrong with This Picture? Under the assumption that it was intended for street kids.

Second Look Community Arts stated so in their grant application, but it was classified for “youth in school” in the AIDS Resource Directory, (Health and Welfare Canada, June 1991).  Moreover the scenes were clearly intended for and depicted students.  Many occur in classrooms and school halls.

A brochure from Second Look claims the video is “suitable for 12 years and up.”  When The Interim contacted Second Look, they were happy to recommend it for Grad 7 students, but after some bad publicity they are now verbally warning of the need for viewer discretion.

How can a student practice viewer discretion if she is made to watch it in class?

Health and Welfare finally admitted that an error in classification had been made, but that the mistake lay with the Canadian Public Health Association, the agency running the AIDS clearing house where the AIDS resources listed in the Directory are available.

Would Health and Welfare review other in-school resources to see if they were appropriately classified, The Interim asked? “No.  We have better things to do.”

Student reality

What’s Wrong with This Picture? Doesn’t honestly face student reality.

Even though 52 per cent of grade 11 students are not sexually active (according to The Canada Youth and AIDS Study, 1988), there are no roles for chaste students in this video.  They have no script, no part, no lines, no existence.

According to the same study, 8 per cent of grad 11 students have had intercourse only once, and 21 per cent only a few times.  Yet there is no attempt in this video to reach out and encourage these groups to rethink their sexual lifestyle and consider “secondary virginity.”

Strange because all the school drug, alcohol and smoking programs are based on re-thinking destructive behavior and teaching refusal skills.

Vital health information is withheld from students.

At the end of all the eroticism and “condomania,” no one in the audience will have learnt that the condom failure rate in preventing the transmission of AIDS is 17 per cent over 18 months in heterosexual partners [Journal of the American Medical Association, 257:640 (1987)].

What’s Wrong with This Picture? Assumes that every teen is promiscuous:
–    The ethics of premarital sex are never addressed.
–    Condoms and promiscuity are condoned and aggressively promoted with humour and eroticism.  These “Condom comfort” techniques desensitize students.
–    “Outercourse” (everything but), homosexuality and lesbianism are portrayed as cool.
–    Gutter language prevails
–    What’s Wrong demonstrates how to bleach a syringe for intravenous drug use, never mentioning that possession of such drugs is a criminal offense.  With this video, Health and Welfare appears value-neutral, and non-judgmental on drug use.

If students don’t feel like “everyone’s doing it” before they view this video, they sure will afterwards.

Peer pressure is hard enough.  Our young people don’t need their educational and health institutions pressuring them further by portraying promiscuity and drug use as cool.