A cervical cancer screening ad comparing natural pubic hair to different types of, uh, cats has backfired.
Public health campaigning just hit a new low, with a GP digital service in the UK making the awkward decision of comparing female genitals to different breeds of … cats.
The ad, which was posted on Twitter and LinkedIn last week by the doctor digital communication company myGP, encourages women to continue to attend cervical cancer screening appointments even though they may feel embarrassed by their “lockdown look”.
Eugh… at this point, most women would cringe and look away.
Sadly, The Back Page was instructed by our editor to read on.
The ad states that women are less likely to get a pap smear when they are “looking ropey in the inside-the-pants department!” (What does that even mean…?)
Lockdowns have meant that beauty salons are closed, so women need to just soldier on, and “go proudly public with your pubic status – however you’re looking”.
And then, the ad asks for women to take action.
“Join us and share an image of the cat that best reflects your current lockdown look or a cat that reflects your reaction to these statistics and nominate a friend to do the same with #MyCat and help us to remind women everywhere to attend their screening when invited to – whatever ‘look’ they’re sporting.”
The accompanying video helpfully provides examples of the kinds of cats women might want to associate their pubic hair with – such as a tabby or a naked Sphynx cat…
Obviously, this company is trying to alleviate stigma with some tactless light humour.
But if you spend about half a second thinking that ad campaign through, you might hear the mothers of feminism meowing in their graves.
America obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter has this to say:
If you see something stupid, say something stupid… Just go get a pap smear already. Don’t send cat photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.