Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

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This Utterly Embarrassing Moment Could Have Been Prevented If You Used A NuvaRing

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NuvaRing has these new commercials where women Real Talk with each other and one in particular really caught my attention. It’s not embeddable, because for some reason the people at Merck don’t want it to become a viral sensation, so I’ve used my powers of transcription and excerpted the most salient part below:

Oh!verheard at a Gym

Black friend with natural curly hair that is well tamed: So the date’s going great, until I reach into my purse to pull out my phone; out comes my pill pack.

White friend who is blonde and blue eyed: (GASPS/Laughter) Oh shut up! What did you do?

BFWNCHTIWT: What could I do? I started laughing — hahahhaha ha ha ha.

WFWIBABE: Oh that is awful.

BFWNCHTIWT: I know.

WFWIBABE: You know that wouldn’t have happened if you were using NuvaRing.

Right, it makes sense to be embarrassed about a guy seeing your birth control on a date because it sends the signal to him that you’re sexually active and practice safe sex, two things that are totally unattractive to all members of the opposite sex.

A Conversation about the HPV Commercials That Plague Hulu Watching Times

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Amulya: have you seen the HPV commericals on hulu? they literally make me want to vom.
i wish i had written my BA on HPV scare tactics
Kate: OH MY GOD IM WRITING A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT. (sorry excessive caps). i’ve been talking to everyone about these
Amulya: im really concerned about them!!!! i wrote a research proposal about it for my gates cambridge application that i never submitted, looking at how the discourse around HPV changes between our healthcare system. big pharmacies like Merck can duel it out here, but in Britain, its nationalized and government approved — especially compared to how things like this are implemented in the developing world. Like what’s the discourse of fear/micromanagement of bodies in these scenarios? i think its a really interesting case. because its halfway between like everyday problem and pandemic. its really neither one. but that means its perfectly poised to generate major fear. you can’t calculate your risk in an efficient way when it comes to HPV.
Kate: definitely not
Amulya: and it plays into all these existing fears about womens bodies and how illegible they are. it just sucks.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. So I didn’t. I’ve been unable to find a linkable version of any of these ads, but they’re pretty long, about a minute or a minute and a half, and feature general pictures or drawings of women with voiceover. In one ad, a story is told: “You meet a guy. You fall in love. What if he gave you HPV? What if it didn’t go away? What if you got cervical cancer? What if you couldn’t have kids? What if you got really really sick?” The other ad that’s getting a lot of play is basically the same story, this time told from the perspective of the woman herself.

There’s apparently been a small amount of blog posting about this issue, as well as commenting below videos that people are watching on hulu. Case in point: A 30 Rock thread entitled “Enough with the HPV Ads!” where one commenter finds them “wayy too intense and unwarranted!”, and another refers to the use of “scare tactics” used by Merck, the company behind the Gardasil vaccine.

They’re avoidable, however. Hulu ads target people depending on their gender, so if you change your chosen gender in your hulu profile, you change the ads you receive. Unsurprising, but interesting nonetheless. I’m all for education about the risks of sex, but these tactics seem to be off target. It’s hard to believe in the HPV vaccine when the discussion of it uses biased language and is connected to purely capitalist motives. There’s definitely a way to inform people without resorting to fear-mongering about women’s behavior and their bodies.

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