That Popular Pill: DailyCandy and Bayer on Board

Dear DailyCandy and Bayer,

Thank you for your email today, alerting me to your campaign “50 Years of the Pill.”

Things you take for granted: morning coffee, the Internet, nonfat frozen yogurt. (How is it so delicious?)

And, of course, The Pill.

Well, here’s your chance to show some appreciation. Bayer® is teaming up with DailyCandy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill by assembling a time line of choice milestones in women’s history over the past half century.

The series of personal profiles, trivia, and videos — which will roll out during the next few weeks — covers everything from the historically significant (way to go, Sally Ride) to the presently impressive (congrats, Kathryn Bigelow) and everything in between (thank you, Spanx).

I also looked at your time line, and all of it left me itchy.

1.) DailyCandy: I originally subscribed to your emails to find out about products that I would miss.  I have sometimes relied on your website to find good gift ideas…but am ALSO sometimes horrified by the breezy generalizations and errors in your daily copy.  I sometimes think they are written by 18-year-old interns who are looking to Sex in the City episodes that aired when they were 10 to find some kind of “voice.”

2.) But this is not about that.  Today I just want you to know that I don’t take the Pill for granted. And I never think about nonfat Frozen Yogurt.

3.) How does me going to Bayer’s website show my appreciation for the history of the Pill?  Are you trying to trick me into a faux commercial feminism?  Are you trying to tell me I am powerful shouting women are grrreat and then telling me to think about low calorie yogurt? Are you suggesting that Spanx (which I do appreciate, but do not honor as a great stride of bold empowerment) has anything to do with the history of contraception?

4.) The tagline for this promotion is “The Chance For You To Carry The Torch.” The torch of what? Empowerment? Great—but it’s not Bayer’s or DailyCandy’s to pass.  Of not having babies? Still not their torch.

5.) And, powerful women did amazing things before the Pill.  The timeline here suggests that the Pill was the genesis of all strides in equality and achievements of women.  This all smells of your marketing department catching on that women’s issues are trending right now, and that it’d be goodwill strategy to smack up a quick website.  The Bigelow deserves  kudos, absolutely, but please don’t try to take women’s greatest hits, dazzle them with pink graphics and cliche’ motivational phrases, and tell me that this is how I can show my appreciation to anything.

I know. You try to do something nice for a gal, and all she does is bitch.You started it, mixing up the intricacies of the Pill and empowerment with yogurt and underwear.

I will be a lady, and read lady blogs and buy lady things.  I especially like fringe and big sunglasses.  But none of this makes me an idiot.


Riffle Raffle

Dear Millicent,

I am grading speeches my students made.   None are gorgeous examples of oratory elegance.  Some are shocks of poor logic.  Most are pretty much unengaged.  Yesterday, in class, I had to actually mentally cool my blood as two students gave wildly inarticulate speeches about abortion.  If I teach this class again, I now know that there are some topics to avoid.  One argument was that abortion should be legal because all unwanted babies are abused if they are born, and they are innocent and never asked to be born or abused (this was accompanied by lots of graphic child abuse pictures).  And then, ending our day, was a speech which started off about Prop 4 (the abortion parental consent proposition on the ballot in our golden state (it is nice, though, to say our ) but somehow ended up being a vivid description of “partial birth abortion.”  Internally I got all ranty, not at my student’s views, but at their lack of information and their lack of critical thinking.  I understand my politics have no place in the classroom, although I did have to bite my lip (the student discussing Prop 4 also mentioned that she was pretty sure abortion was illegal here, which is so painful, because, if it wasn’t legal, then why are we voting about something as bureaucratic as parental consent!), but is it too much to suggest thorough sources (beyond videos watched in Confirmation class)? It reminded me of Alabama, and the student’s assumption that Christianity was the lingua franca of any group.  It irks me when people disagree with me (childishly so), but it triple-irks me when my total agreement is assumed pre-message.  And if you were wondering, yes, I am feeling ranty today.

Also, I offered the play Wit as a bit of off-syllabus reading to fill in for a obviously boring research project, and all of the students nixed it.  They thought it sounded blah.  I might force it on them anyways.  And then see them writhe as we examine John Donne in order to have a fuller appreciation for what is at work. Ha!

And they aren’t even bad students.  I should calm down. 

On other fronts, I visited my old town last weekend.  It was strange, but all still there. 

How are you? Is the world aligning? Thickening? Making new structures of ions and glitter?  Do you think, before this year is out, that we should adopt babies and name them after fabrics…mine will be Damask, yours can be Peu de Soie? 

Or, we could just eat Sara Lee, and read war novels?

Do you have a Halloween costume, darling?