Jessica Bacon ACF Abstract FY10

(e)Racing Cervical Cancer: Analyzing Visual Representations of Gardasil

Conference Name: Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) 2009

It is now a given that race plays a role in healthcare education and drug marketing (Dignan, et al; O’Malley, Forrest, and Mandelblatt; Welch Cline and Young). Recent advertisements and political cartoons about Gardasil, the new cervical cancer vaccine, is just another example of how much race matters when it comes to healthcare education and marketing. A rhetorical and design analysis of advertisements for Gardasil and political cartoons from opponents of the vaccine reveal that minorities are primarily marketed to by Merck, but ignored by the political cartoons of Gardasil opponents.

While Caucasian women are conversely unrepresented in Merck’s Gardasil advertisements, they figure prominently into Gardasil opponents’ political cartoons and into other Gardasil advocate advertisements.  It’s unbalanced and under-representations like these that (e)race the importance of cervical cancer education for everyone.