By now you’ve likely seen the “Got Insurance?” ads encouraging enrollment in ObamaCare – ads that are painfully cheesy and would be laughable if they weren’t actually real. Those that pertain to young people, at best, are full of immature phrasing and poor grammar and seek to appeal to such a demographic through drinking, birth control, and sex.
Kristi Burton Brown has already written on the matter. As a young person, I am particularly offended.
As mentioned by Kristi, many thought the ads were mocking ObamaCare. In fact, as reporting from TheBlaze mentions, even Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado thought that the ad was a parody and that it contained “slutshaming.”
TheBlaze also links to a piece from Business Insider, which includes a statement from Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, one of the groups responsible for the ads:
“We wanted to come up with a campaign that would attract attention and inject a bit of humor, and try to approach educating people about health insurance a little bit differently,” he said. “It was really just brainstorming, ‘OK, what are some of those risky activities we could work with that would tie it all together?’”
The creators behind the ad may have tried to “attract attention and inject a bit of humor,” but Fox and his group could have made the ads funny without being so demeaning.
Fox also refers to “some of those risky activities,” but in the ad, they’re not portrayed as risky. One of the main complaints surrounding the “Let’s Get Physical” ad is that it just barely warns that birth control pills do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), in saying at the bottom, in fine print, that only “condoms and common sense do that.” Perhaps common sense could also come into play when considering whether one should have sex with someone he or she has just met.
There is another ad that mentions birth control. This ad does not mention STDs at all.
It’s not just that the ads fail to adequately address the physical health risks of sex, but that there is no mention of emotional consequences, particularly when it comes to the easy and casual sex represented in these ads. And I’m not even using the term “easy” on my own. Both of the birth control ads use it, in being “excited about easy access to birth control” with the “Hey Girl 1” ad and hoping that the guy in the “Let’s Get Physical” ad is “as easy to get as this birth control.” All emphasis is original. The ads are suggesting not just that women are “easy,” but that men are as well. The ads are offensive to both sexes.
According to the ads, there are very few factors to consider when having sex with someone. The ad actually says “…all I have to worry about[.]” Never mind that sex is an intimate act, with a lot of emotions involved, and the possibility for attachment. That’s not a sexist statement; it’s just the nature of sex.
To protect one’s health, physically and emotionally, one should be aware of that. I don’t expect a short ad to have a full disclaimer about every risk to sex, but the ads are being deceptive if they feature a young woman saying that since her “health insurance covers the pill … all [she has] to worry about is getting him between the covers.”
The ads also completely reject the notion of personal responsibility. Why should birth control access have to be provided by one’s employer in order to be easy? Before the HHS mandate required employers to provide it, birth control access was not impossible. And birth control has not been illegal, a move nobody is proposing, for almost fifty years.
It is not unreasonable to expect young people to have enough personal responsibility to afford their own birth control. I do not use birth control pills, not only as a Catholic, but also because the pill has health risks and other side effects and because some forms can act as an abortifacient. I do not believe that employees should depend on their employers to pay for their birth control even if it is used for other reasons. After all, I do not expect my employer to pay for my prescription medicine.
I know so many young people who are concerned with more beyond who is paying for their birth control. They’re worried about paying for school and getting a job. You would think that young people were obsessed with sex, though, from these ads. It’s okay to have a passion for a wide range of issues, but how the “Got Insurance?” ad campaigns seek to appeal to young people is offensive and deceives my generation.