READ ENTIRE ARTICLE AT:Young Feminist: Response to Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice for All Conference nwhn.org
One of the conference’s most compelling moments was when Malika Redmond, an inspiring young activist and the founder of the Black Youth Summit, spoke about the marketing of Gardasil, the vaccine to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. As she spoke, I could feel the young women in the audience leaning in. We had all seen the “One Less” Gardasil ads and experienced aggressive marketing of the vaccine both in the media and in our doctor’s offices. When the moderator’s timer beeped, indicating that Redmond’s presentation was over, the audience actually protested. That moment was just one of many in which the feeling of consciousnesses being raised was palpable in the air. Redmond explained how the much-lauded vaccine was rushed through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and then marketed directly to young women (particularly young women of color) through commercials specifically targeting these groups. In a country where a new and relatively experimental vaccine can be tested on the bodies of young women of color — much like the way birth control methods were historically tested on this same group — it is necessary to raise our voices and advocate for our bodies.
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