Editor’s Note: Today’s Guest Post is by Kavin Senapathy, who also blogs over at Grounded Parents. This is a great example of how speaking out about an issue can end up in real change. Good job, Kavin!
If you read Grounded Parents, you may have shared in my aversion to a recent mailer sent by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (read the post and view the mailer here.) To recap, I received a flyer in the mail from PPAWI as a reminder to vote on November 4th. The front depicted a comical caricature of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, turning the hands of a clock back to the 1950s. The image induced a chuckle; I was reminded why I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood.
The reason for my aversion was the image on the back of the flyer. The flyer stated “You’ve got a million things to get done. Make sure voting is one of them.” Plastered around the cartoon image of a thoughtful woman were thought bubbles limited to these six duties: “Take the kids to soccer practice,” “pick up groceries,” “pay bills,” “help kids with homework,” “pick up Grandma’s prescriptions,” and “VOTE.”
As a feminist, I was offended by this image. The flyer made assumptions about women and mothers, neglecting our complex identities as far more than caretakers. I was conflicted about disagreeing so heartily with a message from a commendable and leading women’s rights organization like Planned Parenthood.
Accordingly, I was happy to receive an email from PPAWI with a request to discuss the matter. I came away with renewed confidence in Planned Parenthood after speaking with the Wisconsin VP of Development and Communication.
She explained that the thought bubble image was finalized after extensive conversation based on the target audience of “drop-off women voters.” These are women that primarily vote during a presidential election but not during midterms. Still, because the target is based on imperfect data, non drop-off voters will receive the flyer as well. (This makes sense, because I received the mailer, and I vote in midterms!)
She went on to explain that many of these women are single-parents, often juggling caring for multiple family members on a tight schedule. Nevertheless, she agreed that the image was an oversimplified stereotype and that it missed the mark.
For that reason, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin came up with a far more well-rounded image on their Facebook page here, taking several of my suggestions for additional thought bubbles. I look forward to engaging in an ongoing discussion with PPAWI, voters, and feminists about the crucial issues of women’s health care this election.
I definitely approve of the new and improved image. Whether or not you agree, I hope we’re all on the same page about this vital message: Make sure to vote in the midterm elections; there is far too much at stake. If you’re able, help get a friend or family member to the polls as well.