Let’s Get Physical: Healthcare Campaign Doing More Harm than Good?

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Ad copy reads: “OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance.”

“Susie and Nate: Hot to Trot”

“*The pill doesn’t protect you from STDs, condoms and common sense do that.”

ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative have recently released a new ad campaign promoting ObamaCare that is offensive to young people, especially women. One ad specifically appears to target young, white, middle-upper class, heterosexual women, most likely aged 18-35. It portrays young women in an unflattering light, showing a woman holding a pack of birth control pills and giving a thumbs-up with her mouth open wide in an excited smile. Next to her, a confident looking man has his arm around her. In the ad copy, the young woman boasts about her birth control pills and hopes that the man next to her will be easily convinced to sleep with her.

The ad reinforces heteronormative ideas that women constantly think about having sex with men. The ad makes it seem that birth control is the only healthcare issue women find important. While birth control is “a fundamental prerequisite for the emancipation of women” (Davis), the attitude that women will only support the Affordable Care Act to have sex with men is not only demeaning to women but harmful to the overall cause for safe and accessible birth control methods and affordable healthcare.  Ad campaigns like this one turn a serious issue (contraception and healthcare in general) into a joke and make women appear shallow and driven solely by sexual desire for men. It over-simplifies feminine needs and “reduces women to sex organs and one night stands” (ColoradoPeakPolitics).

Ads like this are reflective of how women are viewed in society, as they reinforce the attitude that women are “biologically speaking, specialized for one function and one alone – sex” (Ehrenreich and English), and that this function consumes their consciousness and determines their opinions on healthcare plans, which women have various and complex reasons for supporting or not supporting.

Sources:

<http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2013/11/13/stay-klassy-obamacare-got-insurance-ads-under-fire/&gt;.  Web.

Davis. “Racism, Birth Control, and Reproductive Rights.” (202-221). Print.

Ehrenreich, Barbara and Deirdre English. For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women. New York: Anchor Books, 2005 (2nd ed). Print.

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