I recently covered a story on a Chicago campaign that used photos of pregnant boys with the goal of reducing teen pregnancy rates. It seems like using shocking pregnant photos is the trend of late. A new ad campaign called “Get Britain Fertile” is making its way around media using Kate Garraway, a 46-year-old TV presenter, to portray a “heavily pregnant 70-year-old.” First Response, a pregnancy testing company, funds the campaign.
This campaign is absolutely misogynistic. It shames women who personally choose to have children at an older age or women who just do not want to have kids. I understand that the campaign is trying to relay the message that older women may face more difficulties during pregnancy. In reference to in vitro fertilization (IVF), “the chance of success with one cycle of IVF treatment drops from 41 percent at age 35, to 4 percent after age 42. Studies have shown the general public is not aware of the extent of this decline, the researchers said.”
If the general public is unaware of certain statistics and facts, then it is perfectly okay to inform them about it. But do not start a campaign centered on a “heavily pregnant 70-year-old” (even though most women cannot conceive after age 50) and with the title “Get Britain Fertile.” This may not be offensive to everyone but it certainly is offensive for women who exercise their right to choose to delay pregnancy or to not get pregnant at all.
Garraway, the woman in the photo, chose to be the face of the campaign. Her reason: “I do look back now and realize that leaving pregnancy late can be a risky bet as diminishing fertility can stack the odds against you. In some ways I wish I’d had my babies younger.” I do believe that her motives are genuinely for good but Garraway needs to realize that her perspective and thoughts on this issue do not represent all women.
Some have already responded to this campaign on Twitter:
The campaign’s goal was to shock women and make them reconsider their decision to delay child rearing. However, in a time period where women’s goals are not always to raise children and be a housewife, this campaign is backfiring. The real shock is that it is 2013 and we are still advocating for traditional gender roles and norms. Go ahead and inform women about the facts behind childbirth, but do not tell women about when they should and should not get pregnant. That is their personal choice and I highly doubt this photo campaign will change that.
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