Using gimmicks to attract people to a cause isn’t new.
My father grew a mustache this year to help raise awareness of prostrate cancer and just the other day I noticed that my brother-in-law was wearing an “I heart boobies” bracelet in support of breast cancer.
This month I myself discovered another “gimmicky” campaign that in my opinion is less gimmick and more problem.
The Julyna campaign is a month-long campaign held in July to raise awareness of cervical cancer. Now here’s the gimmick — the campaign calls on women to wax their pubic hair into a creative design and solicit donations for doing so.
Yes, you read that correctly. The campaign’s website even has a section detailing different design options for women to choose from.
According to the website this is how it works:
Women will spend the month of July exercising creativity and personal wellness by choosing a style for their hair down there and sticking to it — as a fundraising technique. Women don’t have to leave it au naturel, or choose a standard pattern like “The Charlie Chaplin.” They can make something up. Get creative! Not only do we hope that Julyna raises funds for cervical cancer, but also that the added attention drawn below the belt will inspire women to take care of this area in other ways, i.e. through scheduled Pap tests or by discussing the HPV vaccine with their family doctors… And, if you don’t want to style your hair for money, please donate to the cause by sponsoring someone who is participating in Julyna this year.
The campaign was inspired by the Movember campaign which calls on men to grow mustaches to raise awareness of prostrate cancer. The campaign has become a worldwide phenomenon, raising over 80 million dollars in 2010.
The Julyna campaign, which is backed by the Canadian Cancer Society, has some women’s health experts worried who say the campaign objectifies women and sends inaccurate messages about prevention of the disease.
I could not agree more. Growing a mustache on your face is very different from soliciting donations for waxing your pubic hair which, not to mention, causes pain and money itself. The concept also clearly links a woman’s sexuality to cervical cancer which is hugely problematic for a disease that typically develops after contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
As the Globe and Mail reports, “…instead of fostering acceptance of cervical cancer, Julyna risks undoing efforts to destigmatize a disease that has traditionally been associated with promiscuity. The main risk factor for developing cervical cancer is contracting human papillomavirus (HPV), typically transmitted sexually.”
I understand that the Julyna campaign’s main goal is to raise visibility and funds for cervical cancer, but I don’t think that having women wax their pubic hair is going to get the disease the serious attention it deserves. Is waxing your pubic hair into a heart or arrow really the only way to draw attention to cervical cancer? In addition, there is nothing about waxing your pubic hair that encourages women to get vaccinated or screened for cervical cancer, which are the prevention measure the campaign should be encouraging.
What do you think about the Julyna campaign? Would you wax your pubic hair and solicit donations from others in the name of cervical cancer?
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Photo credit: Photo by Living in Monrovia used under a Creative Commons license
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