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'Drop Your Pants' Smear Campaign Axed After Backlash Over 'Pervy' Message

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'Drop Your Pants' Smear Campaign Axed After Backlash Over 'Pervy' Message

A social media campaign created to encourage cervical smear tests has been withdrawn after its slogan, 'Drop Your Pants', drew widespread criticism online.

The slogan was made into a hashtag, which was subsequently dubbed "crass and pervy" by many who spotted it.

The scheme, by States of Guernsey, intended to do the very noble job of encouraging eligible people to attend appointments, but when people saw the branding, they thought it totally missed the mark.

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The hashtag appeared in two separate posts published by the States on its Twitter and Facebook pages on Monday.

The smear campaign has received criticism since it dropped online (Credit: Twitter)
The smear campaign has received criticism since it dropped online (Credit: Twitter)

But the States said it had removed the phrase after it realised it may cause offence to some of their followers.

It has been taken down from the Facebook post, but the tweet has not been deleted.

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One Twitter user described the slogan as "crass and insensitive," with another calling it "pervy at worst".

A fellow social media user said the hashtag was "not a phrase to be associated with an intimate, invasive medical procedure".

Meanwhile, others described it as "totally insulting".

The initiative was hoping to encourage people with a cervix to get a smear (Credit: Shutterstock)
The initiative was hoping to encourage people with a cervix to get a smear (Credit: Shutterstock)
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The posts form part of a three-week long campaign to improve cervical screening rates in the island.

As of March, estimated screening in the Bailiwick stood at 60 per cent for those aged 25-49, and 63.5 per cent for those aged 50-65, according to the States of Guernsey.

It said it aimed to achieve 80 per cent screening for both groups.

Responding to the online reaction, a government spokesperson said it wanted to ensure anyone eligible for free screening was aware.

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They said: "As stated in the original media release, this includes women, trans men, non-binary and intersex people, aged between 25 and 65, and the States has sought to clarify this on Twitter too.

"With regard to the 'Drop Your Pants', this was a slogan devised jointly with third sector and primary care partners who have come up with a creative pant-decorating campaign to further the awareness of the screening programme.

"We referenced it to support this project, but appreciate that some people have taken offence and we have removed it from our own social posts."

The campaign is still active but the posts have been removed (Credit: Unsplash)
The campaign is still active but the posts have been removed (Credit: Unsplash)
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Samantha Dixon, chief executive of the national charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, told the BBC it was important the message about screening reached as many people as possible, despite the less than impressive slogan.

So, if you *do* want to book a smear test and you live in the States of Gurnsey, you can check out how to do so for free here. Those in the UK can find out more here.

It's important - however shoddy the messaging might be.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Health

Joanna Freedman
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