Planned Parenthood’s latest attempt to improve its image (without actually changing anything)
In the past week or so, I’ve been exposed to this facebook advertisement constantly:
You might think: “Hooray! Planned Parenthood is finally focusing on breast health instead of just being an abortion business!”
Not so fast. I visited the website, and was dismayed (but not at all surprised) to discover that this is a public relations stunt.
Planned Parenthood is soliciting videos containing “personal stories about why breast health matters” and “why breast health is important to you, your community, and your family.” First of all, nobody disputes that breast health is a good thing. Reams of articles have been written about why breast cancer “awareness” is a waste of time and money that could be spent instead on actual help for breast cancer sufferers, and on research.
Second, the contest is promoted with the hashtag #ppbreastpartyever, which has the effect of associating Planned Parenthood with the submitted stories—even though the stories need not involve Planned Parenthood at all. They are trying to become synonymous with breast health by appropriating the stories of women who may have never even stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood. This goal is reinforced by the fact that the winner will be announced “at the Breast Party Ever in Atlanta, GA, presented by Planned Parenthood and Black Entertainment Television” and featuring various musical performers.
Third, the entries are not just judged on how well they convey the importance of breast health; they should also demonstrate “support of Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood’s breast health work” (emphasis added). Not just the breast health work—all of Planned Parenthood.
The assignment, essentially, is to create an advertisement that associates Planned Parenthood with breast health. This is despite the fact that Planned Parenthood’s provision of breast health services has dropped 20% since 2009, according to its own annual reports. (Of course, PP’s annual abortion numbers are constantly on the rise.)
But hey, why actually increase your breast care services when you can just pretend to do mammograms and whip together a meaningless video contest?
Hey, image is everything.