Sage Therapeutics is studying a drug to treat postpartum depression, and has launched a media campaign to raise awareness. The lead images show women sucking on a pacifier, crying, and the text is simple” Silence sucks. Online, the lead image isn't a still shot. The woman rears back her head and spits the pacifier out, like toddlers do when showing defiance.**
STAT, a publication for medicine and scientific discovery, summarizes the opposing ways that Sage’s media campaign has been received, and closes their article with the statement: “There are many women who suffer in silence.”
YES, there are women who suffer in silence. Can we please not perpetuate the status quo by infantilizing and sexualizing them?
Additionally, the ads I've seen at bus stops in Boston are women of color, just tacked-on tokenism rather than visibility when portrayed in this light.
I want to emphasize that my criticism is entirely about the marketing campaign. I am all for more and better treatment options for women, particularly how attitudes towards women and our perceptions of them in our culture impact their mental health. Many professional conversations divert to the clinical trial of this drug, and that MUST BE a separate conversation, as that is not the issue here.
**UPDATED TO ADD: The lead image on the website is now a still image.