Don’t Have Kids If You Ever Want to Visit Paris

Baby? No, Paris is calling. Thanks Beyaz!
Baby? No, Paris is calling. Thanks Beyaz!

No, really, that’s what the makers of Beyaz, a “new” birth control pill from Bayer, want you to think, it would seem.

Watch the commercial yourself and see if it doesn’t blow your mind.

Women Shopping: What a Metaphor!

Birth control is supposed to be a means of female empowerment—making women equal to men. So how do we advertise it? By showing women doing a stereotypical “woman’s thing”, shopping. (I wonder how they could have made this more offensive? Perhaps having a group of women sitting around gossiping?)

How to select a mate
How to select a mate

I hope men, too, are offended by this commercial, which shows men as a group of boxed caricatures that women can mull over (“Which one looks like the best one night stand?”) and pick off a table.

But the part that really got me was the woman breezing past the stork, only to find he’s sneaking up behind her. She thinks about it, shakes her head, and chooses to take a trip to Paris instead.

Like I said in the title, obviously if you have kids you can’t ever travel to Paris. Or own a house. Or take a picnic by a waterfall.

The ironic part about the stork (and I’m sure this is totally unintended) is that babies don’t come from the stork, they come from having sex. That’s the only way to get a baby. Yet this ad tries to pretend that you can have sex whenever and with whomever and that you will never have a baby as long as you take this pill.

Yaz and Beyaz, Both by Bayer, both Unsafe

Pro-life blogger Elizabeth points out how illogical it is to put folic acid in a contraceptive. Columnist Gordon Gibb weighs in on the purpose of the addition:

Folate is a nutrient found naturally in some foods and is otherwise known as vitamin B9 and while an important nutrient for the human condition as a whole, B9/folate is especially important during pregnancy to ward against birth defects, preeclampsia and spina bifida.

The addition of Folate, also known as folic acid, to a birth control pill such as Beyaz is thought to build up B9 reserves and to give both mother and fetus a good head start in the event of an unexpected pregnancy.

Wait—so the makers of this pill are expecting it to fail? Maybe I won’t get to take that trip to Paris after all…because I’ll be spending my money at the abortion clinic instead

Bayer has a different explanation [pdf]: “The product is designed to reduce the risk of a neural tube defect should pregnancy occur shortly after a woman stops taking the pill” (on page 43 of the printed version).

Many are speculating that Bayer added the folic acid so they could begin selling their dangerous drug Yaz again:

But Bayer’s move to add folic acid (Folate/Vitamin B9) to Yaz so they can rebrand it as “Beyaz” while Yaz is under investigation by the FDA and facing lawsuits for causing blood clots – now THAT was clever. I wonder how many women they fooled with that one! That vitamin supplement is sure to negate any otherwise life-threatening thrombosis!

Interestingly, advice columnist Dr. Laura Berman writes,

While our ancestors would be blown away by the options and freedom women now have when it comes to birth control … we still haven’t found a birth control pill that is safe, effective and free of serious side effects. (emphasis added)

Just One in a Pattern of Child-Deprecating Commercials

Ann Scheidler and I have talked before about how much we dislike these kinds of commercials.

Mirena (another Bayer wonder drug) used to have a commercial with all of the things you might plan in the next five years. Among the major life changes listed, the ad says, “A lot can happen in five years … finish a book, finish a sentence.” As Ann says, the implication seems to be if you already have three kids, you won’t be able to get much done—like even finishing a sentence!

But, the commercial tells us, “If your plans don’t include another baby” you should get Mirena. The theme of all-mighty power and ultimate control seems to be a common one in these commercials, doesn’t it? Then cut to a happy baby, “Happily, if you change your plans Mirena is easily removed.” Yuck.

Maggie expressed similar frustrations:

I HATE these commercials! There’s a Mirena one where a woman looks all frazzled because her kids knock over a watermelon stand at a grocery store… ugh.. “Don’t have kids because they ruin your life.” is basically the message. These commercials really frost my cookies!!!

The narrator makes the loving comment, “Once it’s removed, you can try to get pregnant right away. Or not.” In the background an overwhelmed mother wonders how to handle her two children. Later she thinks, “I think two’s plenty. Maybe.” (I suppose that “maybe” is why she has an IUD instead of undergoing tubal ligation surgery.)

The obvious anti-child bias in commercials like these is something that should upset everyone—not just pro-lifers.

But I think for those of us who are pro-life, it also shows us the culture we are battling. A culture with Wal-Mart commercials calling three kids a “big family” and people believing that a trip to Paris and a big empty house is more important than having children.

If Bayer’s advertising—and their birth control products—make you sick, you can fill out their contact form and let them know!

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