|Photo Credit: Dan MacAlpine|
|Photo Credit: Dan MacAlpine|
"A group of pregnant girls at Gloucester High School were mocked in a series of controversial parade floats in Beverly and Salem over the holiday weekend.
The group of 17 girls in Gloucester made international headlines last month after Time magazine posted a story that claimed some of them had made "a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together."
That story spurred several young people in upscale Beverly Farms to create some R-rated floats for the town's annual "Horribles 4th of July Parade," an event that is typically politically incorrect.
Mixed in the parade with marching bands and children were floats that featured men in diapers crawling out from in between a woman's legs propped in birthing stirrups and a flatbed trailer full of young women pretending to be pregnant bumping and grinding at a baby shower.
Some in the parade also threw condoms into the crowd.
There were several other sights that many felt were crude, offensive and indecent. A video of the parade was posted on YouTube over the weekend.
According to the Boston Herald, three of the judges walked off and quit.
"I've been involved with this for 40 something years, but I won't be a judge again," Gail Townsend told the paper.
"I get it, it's a Horribles Parade, but it was overkill with the Gloucester pregnancies," she said. "The thing that upset us more than anything was they were throwing condoms. There were 5- and 6-year-old kids picking them up and saying, 'What kind of candy is this?' "
The Beverly Farms Parade Committee released a joint statement Monday afternoon saying "the hurtful impact of these floats is regrettable and saddening."
"While they were officially registered in the parade, these initial float concepts were considerably different than those that ended up marching. The Committee is currently investigating how this happened to ensure it does not occur in the future."
Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk said the parade insulted her working class fishing village and was "highly offensive."
"The city of Gloucester is deeply offended by certain individuals trivializing and making a mockery of teenage pregnancy, which unfortunately is a national problem that we as a society must confront," Kirk said in a statement Monday.
Beverly Mayor William Scanlon Jr. said the parade is not sponsored by the city. He told the Herald, "It's a horrible story."
City Council President Tim Flaherty told WBZ Radio Beverly hasn't screened the floats in the past, but that might have to change now.
"I'm glad my kids weren't there," he said.
Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy was appalled by the floats and said they were an example of how hard our culture is on girls. "On the one had, girls are taught to be sexy and attract boys and men... and on the other hand, we vilify girls when something unplanned or mistimed like a teen pregnancy occurs. While we all might find it easier to make fun of what happened in Gloucester, our failure to reflect and learn the lesson Gloucester has to teach means we could see that story replayed across Massachusetts."
WBZ's Karen Anderson confirmed Monday that three floats in the Salem Willows Horribles Parade also mocked the Gloucester pregnancies. No pictures or video of that parade have surfaced yet".