Tiger stripes? How about an alien or Homer Simpson?
Local and international celebrities from all walks are being sought to add their own designs to wooden male appendages as part of an awareness campaign being run by the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.
“I feel like we have really turned a corner,” said Pam Krause, the centre’s executive director. “This is playful … But what we know is teen pregnancy rates over the past 35 years have gone down, and that’s the case across Canada. At the same time, sexually transmitted infection rates have gone up astronomically. So, you start to think something is wrong here.”
The “woodies,” as they have come to be known, have long been used by community educators like the centre’s Nick Moore to educate teenagers on proper condom use.
Moore came up with the woodie campaign as a way to reduce stigma surrounding the objects.
“There is always a fight over the Angry Birds one,” Moore said with a laugh while organizing a few dozen woodies on a table Tuesday.
So far, the centre has sent off woodie painting kits to icons like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga and Whoopi Goldberg.
In the weeks ahead, Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s artistic ability will be sought and, potentially, Premier Alison Redford’s as well.
“They (the woodies) are novel,” Moore said. “Everybody loves them.”
The Calgary Sexual Health Centre will auction off the woodies that are painted at their 40th anniversary gala in late October.