Healthcare companies use feminist messages to sell services without a scientific basis

2024/02/21 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

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Companies are using demands and messages from feminist movements to offer services and health products without a scientific basis. This has been denounced by an international group of researchers in the British Medical Journal.

According to the article, the market has always used the empowerment and power of women as an excuse to sell anti-health products, such as alcohol and tobacco. Now they use similar messages to sell other services and products, but on this occasion they claim they are contributing to health. However, researchers have denounced that there is not enough scientific evidence to say it, but can also harm it: they generate unnecessary concern, favor medicalization and, in addition, enhance individualism. In fact, marketing campaigns suggest that you can buy health and equality, forgetting the influence of social conditioners altogether.

Researchers have cited in the article some examples: tests to diagnose breast cancer, hormone treatment to relieve menopause, medication to treat sexual dysfunction (flibanserin), applications to put the menstrual cycle, offers to freeze eggs… All of them promote the idea that control of health and reproduction depends on each one, knowing better the body and helping it (knowledge is power). But what they sell, even if it's not directly harmful, is a false idea that they broadcast and that can be dangerous. For example, egg freezing offers do not mention that, in principle, they do not guarantee that they are then suitable for fertilization.

They also remember that women’s health is under-researched, so the influence of marketing is more evident. They believe that limits should be set and that more transparency should be made. They are aware that criticism can be considered misogynistic or paternity, but reaffirm that, to respect the autonomy of women, it is essential to clearly convey transparency and uncertainty and strictly regulate health marketing. And at the same time, more effort needs to be made to investigate women's health.


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