Wednesday, May 9, 2007

'Life's Short. Get a Divorce:' the Chicago Billboard Controversy

First of all, I live in Chicago but initially heard about this on boston.com (The Boston Globe online). Granted, that's my home page (you can take the girl out of Boston but you can't take Boston ... ) but still, it's a little weird to hear about national news happening in Chicago from a Boston newspaper. Secondly, the fact that this is getting so much press (at least outside of Chicago) is only helping the firm that put the billboard up in the first place, not hurting it. I realize I'm contributing to that but admittedly the whole thing is difficult to ignore.

Based on articles I read, apparently an all female law firm had an ad placed on a billboard that states: 'Life's short. Get a Divorce,' displaying a female torso with cleavage and a male torso with a six-pack. According to all the reports, the ad has helped generate business for the firm. Many divorce attorneys are upset because it makes them look bad, others are apparently jealous they didn't think of it first.

As a mediator who has worked with many divorcing clients, I've come to realize that they are as diverse a group as our nation itself. If this billboard helps an adult considering or going through divorce, who am I to put it down?

What no one is talking about, however, is the impact that this billboard may have had on the children, teens, and twenty-something who may have viewed it during the week in which it was displayed. What of the kids whose parents are on the verge of divorcing, are going through a divorce, or have already divorced? So many kids with whom I have met already know too much about parental affairs or mom and dad sleeping in separate beds. This billboard merely re-states for our nation's youth that love - falling in and out - is all about sex.

Why is no one talking about that?

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