FeminismHealthPolitics

Damn it, Planned Parenthood. Don’t Use Sexism to Convince Me to Oust Scott Walker

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:

 

Cartoon image of Scott Walker turning back the clock for women

 

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:

Cartoon image of woman with thought bubbles with headline "You've got a million things to get done."

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.

 

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Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a mom of two, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, public speaker, Forbes contributor and author in Madison, WI. She is also co-author of "The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari's Glass House". Follow her on Facebook and twitter @ksenapathy

4 Comments

  1. October 23, 2014 at 10:57 am —

    I love PPAWI, but you are absolutely right. They really missed the mark. I love the Walker cartoon, but hate their misogyny on the other side of the card.

  2. October 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm —

    I agree, I love the Walker cartoon. Even if PPAWI could somehow target the flyer just to households with moms, it’s still offensive. It just makes way too many assumptions. And I’m not at all easily offended.

  3. October 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm —

    Besides everything you pointed out, it still baffles me that people think these issues affect only women and that only women should care. It’s not like every husband in the country wants to have 10+ kids, or stop having sex to avoid having too large of a family. Or maybe they just understand the benefit to society as a whole.

  4. October 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm —

    Not to exactly defend them but, I think they wanted to make it clear that middle class moms also care about access to women’s health. I think this might be in direct response to the message that only “sluts” need birth control as opposed to everyone (or almost everyone). I agree that they way overshot, but I’m guess that this was their goal.

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