Monday, March 10, 2008

de-valuing young women

I'm warning you...I'm about to go on a rant here.

Every time I see one of these commercials I just get so irritated! It is for Gardasil, a vaccine now being promoted to young girls, in an effort to guard against diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), such as cervical cancer and genital warts. Yes, we are talking about a vaccine to help protect against STD's. If you check out the commercials, you will see they are targeting girls that would be junior high and high school ages, (and their moms). This is what outrages me. These girls look like they could be friends of my 11 year old daughter...and we are telling them they can be "1 less" to have to get cervical Not by ABSTAINING from sexual activity, but rather by getting a shot! (A shot that doesn't even guarantee that it will prevent the disease, by the way.) This is listed under the "Important Information" section of the website:
"GARDASIL may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue regular cervical cancer screenings."
But this wee bit of information is listed along with the information about how you get HPV (which, by the way, the only way you can get it is through sexual contact - "Anyone who has any kind of sexual activity involving genital contact with an infected person can get HPV—intercourse isn't necessary" - per the website itself.):
"According to the CDC, the only way you can totally protect yourself against HPV is to avoid any sexual activity that involves genital contact. HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18 account for the majority of HPV-related clinical diseases."

Let me re-cap this for you, folks. We are facing a disease, which is completely preventable. BUT, rather than shout from the rooftops how to nip the thing in the bud, we are choosing to come up with a medical solution which may or may not work for some people. Then, we promote this to young girls. The commercial and the site both say it is recommended for girls ages 9 to 26!! 9 years old?!?!? Does anyone else realize that this is the same age girls that are buying American Girl Dolls and going crazy for anything with 'Hannah Montana' on it?!?!? Exactly what message are we sending them to say that after they're finished bopping to High School Musical they should head over to the doctor's to get a shot to protect them from diseases they might pick up while having sex???

What really irks me is this: The world tells girls today that they can be and do anything that they want. It says that women are strong, capable and intelligent. And then it assumes, and conveys to them, that the one thing they are incapable of is saying no to sex. What a conflicted culture we live in!!

I want my daughter to know that she IS strong, capable and intelligent. That God has fully equipped her to accomplish whatever His purposes for her are. But the only way to do that is to follow his guidelines - which, of very high importance - includes saving herself for her husband.

Look, you can call me an idealist if you want. I'm not naive (believe me...), and I understand things happen, people make mistakes, and that I cannot necessarily expect the world to hold the same moral standards I do. But let's face it...moral standards aside...we are talking about a potentially dangerous situation. Cancer causing. Also, preventable. Why, WHY on earth would we not choose the 100% guaranteed prevention option to champion. I'm all for the "be 1 less" campaign...but the way to be "1 less" is for girls to learn to value themselves and their bodies, to understand that they are not powerless over their physical urges (has anyone else noticed this is the only physical 'urge' that society seems uncontrollable??), and that as part of respecting themselves, they can actually choose to not become sexually active until marriage!

Yeah, I'm still boiling about this, but can't put any more words to it at the moment (and you've probably heard enough ranting anyway...), so I'll shut up now. But I'd definitely welcome any discussion on this topic.


Bets said...

Of course I totally agree, but what I wanted to say was that you have this post up twice, did you know that? You know I'll always be your personal editor - I love you!

Jessi said...

I was trying to delete the lower one and only post the upper one...I had started working on it this morning and came back to it tonight, but it apparently posted it as if I had posted this morning. Anyway, I think it should only be up once...but I'm still working on part 2 of it anyway!

Jessi said...

But thanks for always having my 'blogging back'!! :)

Laura said...

Jess, the commercial I saw have even younger girls. Crazy.