Update from author at 2 pm Oct 23rd, 2014: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin reached out to me early this afternoon. I had an informative and cordial conversation with the VP of Development and Communication. She and their team appreciate my input and are planning to post a revised version of the flyer on the PP WI website tonight.
I’m a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood. I’m pro-choice, and strongly believe that women deserve reproductive and comprehensive health care at affordable costs. I won’t delve into further details of why I support this organization. It’s with a heavy heart that I recount this story to my beloved readers.
Tuesday evening I walked into the kitchen and saw a glossy flyer on the counter. I’ll admit I was ready to remind my husband of one of our household rules: Junk mail goes directly into the recycling bin; no need to add to our clutter!
Then I glanced at the flyer and realized that, as usual, my husband deserves more credit. He wanted me to see this particular piece of junk mail. I looked at the front and saw this:
This is a succinct and amusing depiction of the deplorable governor of Wisconsin, my state since I moved her from Washington D.C twenty-seven years ago. People like me abhor Scott Walker, and undoubtedly will vote for his opponent Mary Burke on November 4th. Make no mistakes, this man is a misogynist and has caused Wisconsin and in turn our United States more than enough harm.
This is why I was initially bewildered, followed by amused, and finally offended when I turned the flyer over to see this:
Really, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin? This is what you think of women voters? The assumption that women are the grocery shoppers and soccer parents is sexist. Reducing women to a stereotype is not becoming of a leading women’s rights organization. The idea that I need to be reminded of my list of womanly duties is somehow patronizing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this whole side of the flyer seems demeaning and unnecessary. The irony of trying to influence presumably feminist voters with a sexist image took a few moments to percolate to the forefront of my frazzled little female mommy brain.
Next time, please make the thought bubbles more varied. Perhaps include tasks like “prepare work presentation,” “write research paper,” “run for public office,” “work on my fitness,” “do some coding,” or even “kick my feet up with a frosty Wisconsin beer.” On second thought, there is no way to be sufficiently inclusive. A comprehensive image of female voters should be a large, diverse group of many ages, ethnicities, and occupations, with one cohesive message we should all agree with: “Make sure to vote on November 4th!”
I still stand by Planned Parenthood. But here’s a message straight from one distinctive, individual feminist to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin – Don’t homogenize millions of women into one incomplete, stereotypical image.