There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with you to take Preniva, you just have to be scared

Looks like someone other than Tina Fey is bringing the feminist funny to the Saturday Night Live writer’s room. I’m missing Sarah Haskins’ takedowns of lady advertising (and hoping her replacement will be able to find the funny) so I was excited to see this spoof of osteoporosis drug ads:

Transcript after the jump.

Hi, I’m Sally Field. I want to talk to you about a problem that lots of women face: bone loss. Even if you don’t have it now, no matter what age you are all women are inherently weak and very fragile. You get this one body and this one life. You have to take care of this now. Are you bummed yet? That’s why there’s Preniva. There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with you to take Preniva, you just have to be scared. Which you should be. Preniva makes sure you’ll be able to keep doing your favorite everyday low impact activities like doing yoga, spritzing your plant, fanning out your magazines, swallowing pills for other things your doctor scared you with, and having bangs. Preniva won’t solve all your problems: you’ll always be a woman. This is the average woman’s spine, and this is your spine without Preniva. I’m not f*cking around you guys.

Preniva: your weakness is our strength.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

Read more about Jos

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  • Comrade Kevin

    As if you didn’t have a reason to be afraid of being somehow less of a woman than society says you should be, now you can worry about a debilitating illness!
    Remember, ladies, fear sells! So keep micromanaging every aspect of your lives, making yourself miserable in the process!

  • Daniel Koffler

    Sorry, screwed up the link
    This is the best parody of gendered advertising I’ve ever seen.
    (It’s from That Mitchell and Webb Look, a BBC sketch show by the same duo that stars in Peep Show.)

  • Amanda Marcotte

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s bothered by those ads. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with preventing osteoporosis, but all this is fed by a culture that discourages women from taking on “masculine” exercise that builds muscle and bone mass, instead of just doing calorie-burning cardio exercise. If our culture didn’t glorify weakness in female bodies, osteoporosis wouldn’t be nearly the problem it is.

  • Daniel Koffler

    The real payoff is at the very end.

  • cattrack2

    This snark is irresponsible & offensive. My mother broke her shoulder in two places & tore her rotator cuff picking up a a cup of coffee due to osteoporosis. After two years she’s just now to the point where she can drive again. She may never regain more than 40% of her range of motion, and she has trouble carrying more than a bottle of water.
    Osteoporosis is poorly understood & frequently unrecognized by thousands of doctors and here you’re spinning it into some kind of ideological issue. We shouldn’t be playing politics here. If anything we should be advocating on behalf of greater osteoporosis awareness campaigns, and drugs without the negative side effects that many of them have. Geez, what is it with you guys???

  • LivingOutLoud

    Unfortunately, this is an ideological issue. Sally Field represents big Pharama industries, who make a huge profit selling women Boniva through FEAR MONGERING. Boniva and other bisphosphonates have been proven to be incredibly harmful, including leading to an increase of bone fractures, heart disease, etc.
    I am sorry your Mom had an osteoporosis related injury, but there are many things women can do to prevent bone less and maintain bone health that do not require dangerous drugs. The way big pharma markets their drugs is a huge ideological issue that we need to directly address – and the way they market to women, men and children needs to be addressed as well.
    I understand where you could find the ad snarky, and it was. But I don’t think it was making fun of women or the activities like fanning out your magazines – I think it was taking on the issue that Boniva ads obviously view women in an incredibly limited and sexist lens, and this satire was trying to point that out.

  • Toongrrl

    You are a Godsend Amanda. I hate how this culture discourages women from showing any sort of spine (pun intended) or being full of strength and body. I come from a long line of very physically strong women, and from what I see in my mom and aunts, women’s health problems come from a more sedentary lifestyle and less strength building work. Stay strong and active girls! My almost 80 grandma has been lifting large boxes and bearing 13 children and strangled snakes in her youth and middle age. She only has arthritis and still does lots of garden work (not just watering plants, lots of shoveling and hoeing).
    On an unrelated note Amanda, my BFF Amanda (!) is moving to Houston, Texas; got any tips for her?

  • kellowaythekeen

    I’m with cattrack2. At least mostly.
    No doubt it’s true that “glorifying weakness in female bodies” has some effect on the incidence of osteoporosis. It’s CERTAINLY true that there’s an element of fear-mongering in these ads, and that there’s a subtext about female weakness.
    But — the part of this sketch with the yoga and the magazine-fanning is just nasty, as frankly is the suggestion that we can blame women with osteoporosis for having failed to “stay strong and active”.
    A lot of women in my family have osteoporosis, but I’ll take my grandmother, who once broke her spine picking up a teacup, as an example. As she got older, she broke a lot of ribs simply from coughing (she had frequent respiratory infections in her last few years); she also broke an arm from a fairly minor fall, and ultimately ended up in a nursing home after breaking her hip. (We’re no sure how that happened, but it seems likely that she was simply getting up out of bed.)
    To be clear, though she was a small woman, she also did a LOT of hard physical work in her life. She and my grandfather were really poor, so no doubt nutrition was an issue — but that wasn’t a question of trying to be ‘attractively weak’, it was a question of making sure her kids had enough milk first. I’d think, too, that she balanced that off as much as possible with things like doing laundry for her seven children with a hand-crank machine until the oldest was grown and married.
    If a drug like this one had been around in the 80s, it might have helped her enormously. We need to separate the digs at the marketing of the drug from the digs at the people who need it, and from the digs at the efficacy of the drug itself. It’s only funny to think about people needing medication to let them do things like stretching or watering plants until you’ve seen people you love with in real pain from bones they’ve broken by coughing, or sneezing, or walking, or being hugged, or picking up a damn teacup.

  • naath

    I don’t think the problem is the existence of a drugs that (I assume) can usefully treat what is a real and nasty disease…
    The problem is the way these drugs are marketed to the general population. Which is with fear. Osteoporosis is not *inevitable*, many people never suffer from it; do they even bother to inform people how to spot symptoms of it?
    Most people lack the (expensive and challenging) medical education required to be able to evaluate drug manufacturers claims without other information. Frankly I think the direct-to-consumer marketing of such drugs is extremely irresponsible.

  • OKathyS

    The sad thing is, there are some people out there looking for the whatchimacallit. Preniva.

  • A male

    I sometimes mention my mother’s disability on Feministing, and how I worry this educated career woman with an able mind is increasingly unable to live independently, or even sometimes unable to get out of bed or make it to the bathroom. She doesn’t want help and would rather lose her property paying for a nursing home than having me, a long term care nurse, take care of her or live with her.
    My mother’s disability is severe osteoporosis. She’s being treated, but the kind of exercise discussed as preventative or restorative measures is really out of the question, as it would simply be more risk for injury. Her own body weight is what caused her vertebral compression fractures and a six inch loss in height.
    National Osteoporosis Foundation
    “Approximately one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their remaining lifetime.”
    “According to estimated figures, osteoporosis was responsible for more than 2 million fractures in 2005, including approximately:
    297,000 hip fractures
    547,000 vertebral fractures
    397,000 wrist fractures
    135,000 pelvic fractures
    675,000 fractures at other sites”
    “A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.” Complications of fracture kill more women than breast cancer each year.
    “One in five of those who were ambulatory before their hip fracture requires long-term care afterward.”
    “At six months after a hip fracture, only 15 percent of hip fracture patients can walk across a room unaided.”
    There are some manageable risk factors, like diet and activity. But the really important ones like age, sex, and menopause can’t be changed. Whether or not osteoporosis can really be reversed is debatable, regardless of treatment or lifestyle. Once bone density peaks about age 30 – that’s thirty – it starts downhill. Nothing will return my mother to how she was before she started having fractures.
    Half of women who live past 50 will have fractures? A significant percentage of them will be permanently affected, not able to care for themselves, or even walk unassisted? Complications of fractures kill more women each year than breast cancer, but people don’t hear about it or raise money for osteoporosis research and prevention? That’s not scaremongering. That’s a fact.

  • kellowaythekeen

    Right — which is why I agreed with both of those points.
    I’ll say it again: We need to separate the digs at the marketing of the drug from the digs at the people who need it, and from the digs at the efficacy of the drug itself. And that’s not happening in this forum, or in that clip.

  • supremepizza

    “Unfortunately, this is an ideological issue.”
    This is not an ideological issue. This is a health issue. No one is “pro-osteoporosis”, everyone is “anti-osteoporosis”. This isn’t Us vs Big Pharma, this is our Mothers & Grandmothers vs Osteoporosis. If the worst thing that happens to people is that they view these commercials & then query their doctor about osteoporosis then I’d call this a home run. The doctor is the fail safe here. If people don’t need or can’t take osteoporosis drugs the DR doesn’t write the ‘scrip. What, you think people doctor shop for Boniva???
    Stop politicizing my health. This is no different than what the Right does wrt reproductive health. And its aggravating. Good Lord…

  • supremepizza

    Direct-to-consumer marketing is an important source of awareness & information. While your doctor should be the primary information source, no way they should be the only one. They shouldn’t be some unquestioned, unchallenged gatekeeper. The commercials aren’t written to make consumers adequate evaluators of their claims, they’re meant to spur conversation with your DR and encourage research on your own.
    Average doctor has been out of school for 20 yrs. Average doctor doesn’t take the time to adequately get to know their patients. Patients have to own their health. Commercials are just an additional source of information. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve known doctors let serious health issues go undiagnosed simply because they didn’t take adequate time with their patients, or didn’t take time to adequately stay abreast of new information. Own your own health.

  • NapoleonInRags

    Are you joking? Your health emphatically is politicized. Health care has be the number one political issue for nearly the past two years.
    And yes, unfortunately, this is us vs. big pharma. There is a very, very good reason that, until recently, direct marketing of prescription drugs to consumers, er “patients”, was illegal. The potential conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and the health of the populations they serve is staggering.
    Obviously, we need pharmaceutical research and we need the companies that provide distribution for the products that result. But we also need meaningful regulation of this incredibly important component of our economy, our lives, and our political structure.

screenshot of video of staceyann chin and daughter

Watch: An adorable reminder that a toddler is capable of understanding consent

In their latest “Living Room Protest” video, poet/activist Staceyann Chin and her ridiculously cute 3-year-old daughter, Zuri, offer a lesson in “no means no.” 

(h/t Colorlines)


In their latest “Living Room Protest” video, poet/activist Staceyann Chin and her ridiculously cute 3-year-old daughter, Zuri, offer a lesson in “no means no.” 

(h/t Colorlines)