Misopolis Campaign

The Abortioneers Blog introduced me to an interesting new ad campaign that was released earlier this month. It is a series of ad’s set in “Misopolis” a fictional city where the factory workers have the right to control their own lives/bodies and can get abortions on demand and without apology. Some of the ad taglines are “Abortion Pills are a Gift from God” and “Immaculate Contraception- When the Bubble Bursts, Unplanned Pregnancies Happen.” The web URL for the campaign is DieselForWomen.com and on first glance, the campaign seems to be actually from Diesel the clothing company. The ad has a similar style to those that Diesel regularly uses and there is even a faux-press release on the site.

For those of you unfamiliar with sweatshops they are factories, usually in poor and developing countries, with very little regulation. The workers are frequently women and children who are forced to work in brutal, unsafe conditions to produce clothing, electronics etc for brands that sell in more economically advanced areas. The campaign announces a new type of factory for Diesel workers in which they are treated as more than just glorified work horses. The “press release” explains that Misopolis is a factory for women workers to be treated as successful people with fair wages and proper working conditions. The release also states that the site will soon feature opportunities to view videos and photos from Misopolis as well as to donate the abortion pill to help the workers and even buy “worker’s rights friendly clothing”.

In reality the campaign is from Women on Waves, an organization that provides abortions to women in need in countries where abortion is illegal. They sail around the world providing misoprostol tablets to women seeking abortions. Misoprostol is a medication approved for treating ulcers but is commonly used to induce a miscarriage. It is one half of the medications commonly used in the U.S. for medication based terminations. Usually in the U.S. women are given Methotrexate or Mifepristone to stop fetal growth and then misoprostol is used to induce a miscarriage. Misoprostol can be used alone, though it is slightly less effective. In countries where abortion is illegal it is usually the only safe option women have to terminate a pregnancy.

Women on Waves released a statement (posted on the Diesel for Women website) detailing their motives for releasing the ad campaign. In it they state “Women on Waves designed the hoax to expose the violations of women’s rights that take place in the garment industry. The hoax is a parody on the PR campaigns and the reluctance to address human rights by the fashion industry in general and Diesel in particular. It intends to show that violations of human rights never happen in isolation and that the right to a safe abortion is connected with the broader framework of social rights, workers rights and the right to autonomy.”

I don’t know about you, but I think this is a fascinating way to raise awareness for 2 very big problems, the lack of abortion care in so many third world (and some first world) countries as well as the plight of factory workers stuck in unsafe environments. A lot of people are outraged, including Diesel, who released a statement announcing they will be taking legal action against the campaign. What do you think, is the campaign brilliant or copyright infringement? Or both?

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