I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard about the PETA “win a vasectomy campaign” in honor of National Infertility Awareness week.
Some bloggers, like Mel, are choosing not to add fuel to the fire because they feel that this kind of attention is exactly what PETA wants. Mel also recognizes that offensive publicity stunts like this are not unusual for PETA and therefore should not be taken seriously.
Mi.Vida agrees with Mel. He doesn’t understand why our community is paying any attention to an organization that he feels few even give credit to. Aren’t they trying to get us all riled up? Aren’t we just playing along with their plan?
I’ve thought about this a lot. Mel asked these same questions at the end of her post – when do we respond and when is responding counterproductive? I understand both sides, those who feel compelled to stand up for and defend the IF community and those who feel it only bring more attention to that which we find offensive.
Obviously there are no easy answers. Each specific situation needs to be considered individually. While one could find merit in raging against, and therefore sending traffic to, one controversy a later dispute might be better left unmentioned. It all depends on the specifics of the situation.
In this case I support my fellow bloggers who are speaking out against the distasteful and misinformed contest that PETA is holding in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. I believe that in this case, the benefits of asserting that this campaign is hurtful and wrong are worth the extra attention that it creates. In fact, their reactions might be a good thing because of that attention.
Infertility is often misrepresented and misunderstood. Most people who are not afflicted with the disease don’t even know it is a disease. They might think it’s a lifestyle choice (as PETA is so ignorantly claiming) or they might think it doesn’t affect very many people. They may believe there are easy solutions in adoption or living child free (despite the fact that they personally would probably scoff at such restrictions for themselves). Many believe (as PETA does) that infertility only helps the Earth by controlling the population without causing suffering to those it afflicts (though again, any efforts required by the fertile to do the same would be laughed at). Most probably just don’t think about it much at all.
Mi.Vida thinks I’m pulling these assumptions out of thin air but I’m not. I’ve heard these things said time and time again in the comment sections of blogs and online articles, I’ve heard them voiced on television and, most hurtfully, in real life. I know people think this way, I’m not making it up.
And when I think that those types of people are hearing about a campaign like PETA’s without being exposed to the offense it’s causing our community, it bothers me. I want people to know how much it hurts, the damage it does, the pain it causes. I want people to stop and think, if only for a moment, that infertility has a face and a name and a heart. I want them to realize it has 7.3 million faces and names and hearts in the U.S alone. I want them to get a glimpse of the weight of the infinite and immeasurable lost hopes and crushed dreams of the people who are faced with infertility and forced to live in its shadow. I want them to understand that even if they “overcome it”, it never truly goes away.
I’m not sure if reading a letter or blog entry or signing a petition against this campaign will do that for most people, but if it provides even a modicum of understanding to even a few of those who just didn’t get it, then I think it was well worth it.
Oh, and PETA is a bunch of douche bag assholes that deserve to get shit heaped on them indefinitely for their insensitive, offensive and hurtful stunt so bring on the hate mail and the angry tweets and the well supported petitions. This ridiculous sham of a contest needs to stop now.