Lifestyle

Cervical cancer advert slammed for comparing pubic hair to cats' fur

Bizarre NHS cervical screening advert asking women to share pictures of cats that resemble the state of their pubic hair is branded ‘insulting and childish’

  • An NHS cervical cancer campaign shared by the myGP app has come under fire 
  • It urged women to share a snap of a cat that showed their ‘vulva’s lockdown look’
  • The poster boasted the motto ‘bushy, bare or halfway there’ next to three cats
  • But the poster was blasted by women who complained it had ‘missed the mark’
  • Many women argued it would dissuade women from going to their routine tests
  • MyGP said women avoid going to screenings as they can’t get a wax in lockdown

An NHS cervical cancer screening advert has come under fire for comparing women’s pubic hair to cats’ fur.

The campaign poster, which was shared to Twitter by the myGP app to raise awareness for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, featured three cats with varying amounts of fur.

The bizarre advert urged women to share an image of the cat that ‘best reflects your undercarriage’s current look’ and tag their friends to remind them to get a cervical cancer screening.

The poster used the motto ‘bushy, bare or halfway there’ next to the pictures of the three moggies, and urged women to share their intimate ‘lockdown look’.

An NHS cervical cancer screening advert, created by the mpGP app, has come under fire for comparing women’s pubic hair to cats’ fur in a post for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

The tweet alongside the campaign read: ‘It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

‘Here’s how you can help to raise awareness:

‘Share an image of the cat that best reflects your undercarriage/flower/bits (technical term vulva) current look. ‘Use the hashtag #myCat.

‘Tell and tag your friends to let them know.’

The myGP app is widely used by the NHS and the cervical cancer awareness advert featured the NHS logo in the corner.

But the campaign poster has been blasted by women who took to Twitter to complain that the poster is ‘offensive’ and ‘completely missed the mark’.

Hoards of women claimed that pubic hair had ‘nothing’ to do with cervical health and argued that it would dissuade women from attending routine appointments.   

The advert urged women to share an image of the cat that ‘best reflects your undercarriage’s current look’, boasting the motto ‘bushy, bare or halfway there’ next to snaps of the three cats

One woman raged: ‘I’m all for female empowerment and health advocacy… but I think this has missed the mark completely.

‘Hair has nothing to do with cervical health, and is another perfectly normal thing that women are guilted into ‘fixing’.’

While another tweeted: ‘This is insulting and childish.

‘Talk to adult women like they’re adults, or get in another line of work.’

A woman called Helen, from the At Your Cervix cervical screening support group, commented: ‘It would be amazing if you were able to use the feedback to create something different and better that does not alienate your target audience and isn’t patronising, and well, just awful.’

And a third woman also fumed: ‘This is seriously inappropriate.

‘Making crude, sexualised jokes about women’s reproductive health will only put more women off attending clinic appointments. Read the room!’ 

But the campaign poster has been blasted by women who took to Twitter to complain that the poster is ‘offensive’ and ‘completely missed the mark’

One woman even created her own parody of the advert, jokingly urging men to share pictures of their pubic hair alongside pictures of three chickens.

She quipped in her mock-up advert: ‘Time for testicular cancer screening Help to raise awareness:

‘Share an image of the chicken that best reflects your chicken tenders, beanbags, gangoolies (technical term testicles!) current look. Use the Hashtag #myChickenBalls

‘Tell and tag your friends to let them know’

However, cervical cancer survivor Gayle Maxwell shared her positive views about the unique campaign, saying that any form of awareness is ‘fantastic’. 

She penned: ‘I’m a cervical cancer survivor and I think any form of awareness is fantastic.

‘This is actually funny, I laughed hard at it, and unbelievably true.

However, cervical cancer survivor Gayle Maxwell shared her positive views about the unique campaign, saying that any form of awareness is ‘fantastic’

‘Women will definitely be talking about this campaign for whatever reason, which is the whole point, keep up the good work.’

While another women agreed, saying: ‘I agree, if it’s getting people talking about smears, then isn’t it a good thing?!’

The myGP app, which boasts 1.9million users, responded to the criticism arguing that ‘three in five women’ avoided going to screenings as they ‘couldn’t get a wax in lockdown’.

What is cervical cancer screening?

By law, every woman in Britain is invited for cervical cancer screening – known as a smear test – between the ages of 25 and 64.

The test involves removing cells from the cervix with a speculum and examining them for abnormalities.

If someone tests positive, they are sent for an examination to definitively check if they have the disease.

If they are diagnosed with cancer, the affected parts are removed either with laser or freezing treatment.

Some 3,200 women develop the cancer in Britain each year, and the disease kills nearly 1,000. But experts think another 2,000 women would die every year without the programme.

In 2004, the start age for screening was raised from 20 to 25 because the disease seldom affects women so young.

But the death of Jade Goody from cervical cancer aged 27 in 2009 led to calls to lower the screening age again.

However, the development of a vaccine for HPV, which was rolled out to all British schoolgirls from 2008, is thought to have allayed some concerns.

They explained: ‘I wish hair didn’t have anything to do with cervical health, trust me. 

‘But sadly almost three in five women avoided going to their screening as they couldn’t get a wax in lockdown. 

‘It was at 30 per cent in 2018. ‘Nobody cares about the hair – just book the screening!’

The app later shared their research about women who put off cervical cancer screenings in lockdown, urging people not to let ’embarrassment’ get in the way of their health. 

The myGP app, which boasts more than 1.9million users, responded to the criticism arguing that ‘three in five women’ avoid going to screenings as they ‘couldn’t get a wax in lockdown’

The app later shared their research about women who put off cervical cancer screenings in lockdown, urging people not to let ’embarrassment’ get in the way of their health

Hillary Cannon, Chief Marketing Officer at myGP and cervical cancer survivor, told Femail: ‘myGP’s mycat campaign was designed with two main objectives – to start conversations, and save lives. 

‘myGP is a free health management app that gives its two million+ NHS-registered users improved access that enables better health outcomes. 

‘The mycat campaign was created by a team of females, was based on current and strong data, and backed by GPs and experts responsible for UK cervical screening task forces. 

‘Since the start of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, 25K people have downloaded the myGP app. Based on the fact that one percent of all cancer screenings result in an abnormal reading, we are confident that the campaign has met its objectives.

‘By giving millions of patients free and simple access to their GP surgery via their Smartphone, our technology has saved hundreds of lives. 

‘The SMS reminder service that myGP provides to GP practices throughout England encourage the booking of, and attendance of, cancer screening appointments.’

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