Paraguard

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Harm reduction/refusal to name the agent.  Something that is stressful and painful — like having to choose one dangerous, less-than-100% effective contraceptive product/device over another, then deciding on an IUD which is known to cause pelvic inflammatory disease, among other complications, and then having it medically inserted and subjecting yourself to known and unknown risks for the foreseeable future, is made to seem as if it’s a stress-reliever and the lesser of two evils.  Which, of course it is — but the “evil” of PIV is never discussed as such, even though it obviously is one and that fact is both known and taken into consideration in the reproductive-related cost-benefit analyses women perform all the time.  Here, just because it “doesn’t interfere with your menstrual cycle” it is presented as the lesser of two evils between hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptives — again, this is damage control only.  Hormonal contraceptives and the PIV-as-sex paradigm would not even exist outside a patriarchal context, where women’s reality, including our biological and reproductive reality is bent to fit the roles and uses men have designed and dictated for us.

PIV-centric narrative — Normalize reproductive stress and pain.  Contraceptive commercials are low-hanging fruit but are an excellent illustration of how women’s reproductive stress and pain is normalized and invisiblized — the harms are all right there in list-form and are significant, but they are presented in a way that makes it seem as if they are not significant.

Reversal.  Big pharma manufacturing and marketing a dangerous consumer item to women is “safe”; a piece of metal inserted into your uterus is “natural”; all of this drama, stress and pain is drama-free; being subjected to the harms of dangerous PIV-centric-sex by a privileged male is “love” and what comprises a woman’s “love life.”

Additional notes:  The PR-firm that created this ad makes the following statement attached to this video:

Paragard hired Curious Pictures to deliver work that not only reflected the brand’s message but offered a sensory experience that would be associated with the natural feel of the brand. Curious Pictures’ director Hayley Morris responded to the challenge. It was decided to use hand-cut paper for a stop-motion piece that would convey a natural and physical sense of movement and lighting. The goal was to produce an upbeat and stylish commercial where each character would have a distinct personality seen through their appearance, movement, and even facial expressions. By creating unique characters, the work heightens the sense of identification, emphasizing Paragard’s message and steering away from generic perceptions.

Generic perceptions?  Or very specific associations with other IUDs as a class of medical devices, all of which are known to be dangerous, causing pelvic inflammatory disease; and very specific associations with a prior brand of IUD — the Dalkon Shield — which caused a public health crisis in the 70s and 80s that was so bad that distribution was suspended at the request of the US Food and Drug Administration and the device was recalled?  The company even created a memorable ad campaign telling women about the recall and offering to pay women’s doctors to remove them.  Generic perceptions!   That’s rich.  Leave it to a PR firm to come up with a shameless, epic misdirection preventing women from making “associations” that might save their own lives — and that’s exactly what Paraguard has done here.

See also the post on Mirena, another brand of IUD.

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5 responses to “Paraguard”

  1. Rididill says :

    The Paraguard IUD can have side effects that few people even know about, much less the medical establishment. I had one for 4.5 years, it gave me anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome, which, by the way, is considered a disability. It has been debilitating and scary.

    No doctor had any idea what was causing it, I had so many tests and no one had a clue. I had the IUD out for unrelated reasons – there was a build-up of bacteria called actinomyces, which apparently is common for IUD users. It can cause incredibly serious infections which require hospitalization and IV antibiotics – but the medical literature recommends that women with IUDs keep it even though they have this bacteria, because apparently the risks that it will develop into an infection are small.

    Well, with all my health problems I wasn’t going to risk that. Then I started looking on the internet as it suddenly occurred to me it could have been linked to my other problems. I found this

    http://www.mothering.com/community/t/916122/copper-iud-and-side-effects

    After 6 weeks with it out, I feel like my life has begun again. My health, mental and physical, has improved dramatically. Actually, the improvements were instantaneous, but after 6 weeks I can really be sure that the change is genuine and not some kind of placebo effect.

    At least one other woman has had the same results from taking it out

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2012/02/22/for-your-lady-eyes-only/

    (scroll down to the last comments, can’t work out how to link specifically).

    Even when radfems argue that the medical establishment downplays the risks, as does society, I have less frequently seen it mentioned that the risks aren’t even known because the research hasn’t been done. Women who come to their doctors suspecting the IUD is causing these systemic effects are laughed out of town.

  2. Sargasso Sea says :

    Oooo. I just love how Curious Pictures thought that pieces of paper and some *special* lighting would convey the “distinct personality” of women. Paper, women – same diff.

    Also, I can’t resist: Prefers her life dick free.

  3. tiamathydra says :

    It’s not necessary to be a genius to realize that to men and to the system’s institutions, including the medial establishment, women’s life and health don’t matter as long as they can profit from birth control and from treating the health problems that it causes us, and as long as men can fuck us.

    ”Prefers her contraception hormone-free”, huh? Well, I prefer my contraception hormone-free, but also risk-free, side effect-free and stress-free. There isn’t any contraceptive like that, no? So what’s the other ”choice” I have, unwanted pregnancy? Then forget about PIV, we don’t get pregnant from the air, we do from systematic PIV, so why is PIV taken as inevitable? In a world where men’s right to PIV matters more than women’s health and wellbeing, it’s us who must take care of ourselves, because nobody is going to do it. Men and the medical establishment downplay the devastating health effects of female contraception and the reason is very obvious: they have a lot to gain from it, men, responsibility-free PIV and the medical establishment, money.

    I wonder how long it’s gonna take for women to realize that someone who loves you, would not make you choose the lesser of two evils. Someone who loves you doesn’t want any evil for you and if men loved us they would be against harmful female contraception. But they are not, actually quite the opposite, they are 100% ready to take the privilege the system gives them, all the time. Health is the most important thing in life, if men disregard our health it’s because they hate us. End of story.

  4. Rididill says :

    There is nothing natural about filling yourself with copper.

  5. tiamathydra says :

    I’m thinking that having to choose the lesser evil is one of patriarchy’s favorite tactics, it reminds me a discussion I had with a dood about porn and he said ”an industry that REALLY treats women like shit is the fashion industry, they make them starve themselves etc. etc.” and I was like LOL, because the strategy is so childish it’s like being in kindergarten: one institution of the patriarchy or culture points the other and says ”you treat women worse”, ”no, you do” says the other. Or a dood I know who every time women complain about sexism says, ‘hey, Muslims treat women worse so you must be thankful’. I know doods who complain about how sexist other cultures are and they actually use that as a pickup line or something, because they know women are desperate for validation about their suffering. The day women decide they don’t want harm reduction or the lesser evil, patriarchy will end.