Contraception Ad Misses Its Mark Among Audiences For Being Blatantly ‘Sexist’
By Izza Sofia, 17 Sep 2018
A poster created by the National Health Service (NHS) Trust has been hit with a wave of criticism.
The ad promoting contraception has been branded “sexist” among internet users. It features a pair of high heels together with a lipstick, positioned above a pink pacifier. It asks women if they would give up the heels and lipstick for the pacifier, which represents children.
Details on how to obtain emergency contraception if needed were also provided on the ad. The NHS Trust issued a similar poster showing a game console controller with a blue pacifier. It came with information on obtaining free condoms and had the slogan, “bware da baby trap – use a condom.”
Equality campaigner Nicola Thorp called the posters “out of touch” and that they not only “trivialize parenthood,” but also make teenagers feel like they are being “profiled by outdated stereotypes.”
Columinist Caroline Farrow said that she was appalled when she saw the posters. She explained that the ads shine a negative light on parenthood and that the message brought forward was “babies are an undesirable burden.” The ads also exude “blatant sexism and stereotyping.”
One Twitter user described the ad as “ludicrous,” adding, “Advertising emergency contraception is, of course, important for effective sexual health provision, for all ages. However, the ludicrous image chosen for this campaign from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is a reductive representation of child-free women ‘versus’ motherhood.”
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Nicola Wenlock has weighed in on the controversy and apologized that the campaign missed its mark. Wenlock explained that the company has worked hard to understand teenage pregnancy and how to effectively communicate it to the audience.
Unfortunately, the ad has failed to communicate its message on raising awareness of emergency contraception and the advice available to those who wish to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
The campaign plays an important role in “tackling teenage pregnancy” as the issue continues to reduce with each passing year. She added that the Trust will learn to “work closely with all audience” and review its promotional materials closely in the future.
The campaign ended on 2 September. The Trust added that the posters were not intended to refer to any specific gender.
Advertising emergency contraception is, of course, important for effective sexual health provision, for all ages. However, the ludicrous image chosen for this campaign from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is a reductive representation of child-free women "verses" motherhood pic.twitter.com/ePfb754dyx— Katie Paddock (@KatiePaddockPhD) September 14, 2018
Absolutely. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to any focus groups they did.— Katie Paddock (@KatiePaddockPhD) September 16, 2018
Someone on here has made aware of the male equivalent. Which I think is actually worse than the female-focussed ad! pic.twitter.com/e8GnJqDXx7
So off the mark! I own several pairs like this (in red too), have two beautiful children and, shockingly, can still wear red lippy! (For the record my children never had pink dummies...). #walsall this is not the way to go. #WomenED— Liz Free FRSA (@LizAMFree) September 14, 2018
It smacks of lazy, veering on sensationalist, marketing. Agree the objective is well meaning, the portrayal is at best naive, at worst damaging. It typifies the era of ‘shock’ advertising we are now in, much like our general media.— James Power (@Jimbo1001) September 14, 2018
[via Evening Standard, opening image via NHS]
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