Mothers have long been used in advertising to sell everything from toothpaste to cars—even cigarettes. What's new is the present-day strategy: PR firms devise campaigns that appear to be grassroots movements or "spontaneous" trend pieces. This kind of marketing is referred to as "Astroturf" because of the way it mimics true grassroots movements—legitimate citizen campaigns for clean air, land, and water. Astroturf marketing that uses the mom-brand is particularly insidious because the very products pushed may be harmful to real families.
Like a pap smear or tax season, it happens every year: People wear racist and sexist costumes on Halloween. Hell, maybe you've done it yourself! You didn't know what to be for that one party so you jammed some feathers in a headband and called yourself Pocahontas. Or you grabbed a toy donkey and a poncho and went as a cartoonish Mexican. We've all made mistakes and hopefully learned something from them, like how not to be the offensive asshole hanging out by the pumpkin keg. Because seriously, you really shouldn't wear that stuff.
Last night's episode of Call the Midwife veered away from the familiar topics of abortion and birth control and provided a reminder of something that often gets lost in policy discussions about reproductive health: In so many ways, these issues have to do with love. Reproductive health is about sexual relationships, the emotional turmoil of motherhood, and the promise of the future. It's about the relationship women have to themselves, their spouses, and their families of origin. It has to do with economics, education, gender norms, and heteronormativity.
We know how the current Republicans party feels about abortion and free contraception. But what about the myriad of other reproductive health issues? Here are three questions for Republicans about women's health that don't have to do with preventing or terminating pregnancy.
Is it just me or have cartoon mice really been letting themselves go lately? A cute hairbow can go a long way, but no amount of polka dots will slim you down on the runway at Barney's, which is where the new, skinny Minnie Mouse (along with several of her Disney pals) will be this holiday season.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the porn site Pornhub.com is promising to donate money for every 30 "boob videos" viewed on its website during October. Perhaps the most craven example of pinkwashing yet, a visit to Pornhub.com reveals that the site's logo has been decked out with Pepto-Bismol pink and adorned with a breast-cancer awareness ribbon. Below a call to "Help Save the Boobs!" a pink "boob views" counter records the number of times videos tagged as "small tits" or "big tits" have been viewed on the site. (Below that, there is an ad for "squirting" videos. Thankfully, it hasn't been pinkwashed.)
There's just one catch to Pornhub's plan: After announcing its intentions to donate the money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the research stalwart unequivocally told Pornhub to keep their dirty money to themselves.
If you watched the second US presidential debate last night I've got four words for you: "binders full of women." (If you didn't watch the debate, here are a few more words for you: In response to a question about equal pay for women, Romney told moderator Candy Crowley that while he was governor of Massachusetts, he sought qualified women for his administration by going to "a number of women's groups asking, 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women." Yeah.)
If you're suffering from awareness overload, you're not alone.
When it comes to breast cancer, we're inundated with what health studies professor Samantha King calls a "tyranny of cheerfulness." Rather than addressing the more complex issues of inadequate health insurance, environmental pollution, and stalled research, the public face of breast cancer advocacy veers toward to what Barbara Ehrenreich calls "the breast cancer cult," an ultra-feminine, consumer-driven approach drenched in sentimentality and good cheer.
The ubiquitous pink ribbon often overshadows the actual achievements of breast cancer organizations.
If there's one thing the Internet loves, it's cat videos. If there's a second thing the Internet loves though, it's when someone is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore. So it went with yesterday's viral Christina "Xtina" Aguilera quotes about being fat, which were shared widely, applauded by many, and totally fake.