Holiday gift shopping is tough. I mean, if commercials have taught us anything, it’s that women reeeally care about getting presents (especially pricey ones) and if you get a woman a gift she doesn’t like she’ll probably never speak to you again. What can I say? I guess we’re ridiculously materialistic and shallow. So materialistic and shallow, in fact, that we can’t be bothered to make our own doctor’s appointments. (I guess we just care about shopping more?) That’s why, this holiday season, what the women in your life really want is for you to make them an appointment to get a pap smear or a mammogram:
Oh, and it doesn’t stop there, folks. The makers of that video, CBS Cares didn’t want to leave the Hannukah fans out of their special holiday push to get men to schedule women’s doctor’s appointments for them. Behold, the festival of lights:
Do you recognize that guy? Not has he rendered you unable to stomach a bagel ever again (nice shmear joke, dude), he also played the gynecologist in Teeth. You know, the movie where he gets his fingers bitten off by a vagina filled with sharp fangs because he tries to molest one of his patients. Now there’s a PSA for you.
CBS is not the only organization that cares enough about women’s health to target men with their message instead. The Noreen Fraser Foundation’s Men for Women Now campaign features male celebrities talking about why men need to convince women go to the darned doctor already:
Ohhh … See, it’s in men’s best interest to help us women with early cancer detection because they love boobs! BOOBS! BOOBS! The creepiness doesn’t stop there, unfortunately. Why? Because Bob Saget is in the house:
Ladies, haven’t you always wanted Bob Saget to sexually assault you and serve you pap-smeared sloppy joes? (Trick question: Of course you have.)
So what’s up with these campaigns? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for spreading the word about women’s health, and that includes letting men know about the importance of regular pap smears and mammograms. But why the focus on men making the appointments for women? And why make it sound like men are doing us a creepy favor (even giving us a holiday gift) by making doctor’s appointments for us?
My guess is that most of the hearts involved in these campaigns are in the right place, but these organizations are infantilizing women and suggesting to men that we can’t deal with our own health care. Leaving the creepiness of boob and sloppy joe jokes aside, these campaigns still leave us with the message that not only do we women not want to handle our own health business, we want men to do it for us. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I certainly don’t want my brother wrapping a Planned Parenthood appointment slip for me under the Christmas tree (I asked for a ukelele, not a pap smear, thank you very much).
Can you imagine a campaign like this that reversed the genders? What if the Noreen Fraser Foundation launched a series of PSAs of female celebrities telling us to save men’s balls by getting them a prostate exam for the holidays? (The Christmas ball jokes are writing themselves here, but the idea is still creepy and wrong.) Can you imagine someone like Blake Lively or Rutina Wesley telling women to surprise the special men in their lives with a colonoscopy or a testicular exam? “It’s cool, dudes. Jessica Alba is just going to come to your door and do a prostate exam, and then you can all eat chili dogs together. Trust us women with your sexual health, because you clearly can’t handle it alone.” It’d be weird, right?
So this holiday season, tell the men in your life that you’ll be making your own doctor’s appointments, and they can get you something you really want instead. Like a time machine, so that you can travel back to a time when you didn’t have the mental image of Bob Saget filling your vagina with sloppy joes burned into your brain.