Wow, being a woman these days is hard. I have so much on my mind it becomes overwhelming. In fact, I'm so busy thinking about hair appointments, cupcakes, puppies, and whether or not my boyfriend will propose that I don't even have time to take my birth control. What's a girl to do?
At least that's how NuvaRing sees my life. In a new ad for the once-monthly birth control, NuvaRing tackles the burden that is a once daily pill. Now, don't get me wrong, as someone who forgets to take the pill sometimes this isn't a bad strategy, after all it is annoying to remember.
Where NuvaRing went wrong is that in an ad meant to appeal to busy, modern women they represented those women as vapid air-heads whose only real obstacles during the day consist of high heels, puppies, and flowers. Like, how is daydreaming about flowers getting in the way of my birth control?
Women on Reddit agreed. "I can't believe it made it through an entire agency without anyone pointing out how it might be seen as a bit offensive," wrote one Redditor.
Another added, "I think about flowers floating in the sky on a regular basis".
Of course this isn't to say that women don't think about fashion and puppies. I freaking love puppies! But it would be nice if somewhere in that "busy" day of ours more substantial thoughts were at least mentioned like careers, classes, hobbies, or activism.
After all, women are already battling stereotypes in the workplace in which they are viewed as less qualified than their male counterparts. So do we really need advertisers to present them as baked-good daydreamers? Isn't that just giving more credence to pervasive, inaccurate stereotypes?
And it's not just NuvaRing. Birth control commercials often feature common themes of dancing, frolicking, tutus, and weddings. As if when a women is "set free" from her womb she has nothing better to do than twirl around!
But here's why it's even more problematic. You may have noticed that reproductive rights have taken center stage these days, you know, as more and more of them keep disappearing. Companies are battling not to cover birth control, states are limiting access to abortion as we speak, and the GOP is in a constant war with Planned Parenthood. If we can't even get a birth control company to take women's issues seriously, how are we supposed to get the rest of the world to?
You can watch the ad on NuvaRing's website.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.