Friday, July 14, 2006

Undies and Waxing

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Undies and waxing seems like an odd kind of health promotion message.

My mother always briefed me (sorry, couldn't resist) to wear 'decent undies' when going out. Just in case I might have an accident. Just in case the doctor in the emergency room might be distracted from my medical situation by the state of my underwear.

I guess everyone has heard this from someone at some time. Yet this very advice has raised a storm of discussion in Britain.

Why?

Because this time it's the British police force telling us to watch out for our undies. And, more controversially, because they also have the cheek (sorry again) to suggest ensuring we've had a wax!

"If you fall over or pass out, remember your
skirt or dress may ride up. You could show
off more than you intended - for all our sakes,
please make sure you're wearing nice pants
and that you've recently had a wax."

As a health promotion message, this sounds simply outrageous and it would be laughable, except there is the intention to convey a very serious message with this piece of advice.

Suffolk Police, in eastern England, said the "tongue-in-cheek" advice in the police-backed magazine Safe was intended to curb binge-drinking by young women.

Safe, produced by police, local government and health organisations, is intended as an spoof gossip magazine and is distributed free through shops, clubs and colleges to offer safety advice to young women.

Reaction has been rapid and mixed.

"When you see quotes out of context, it seems
very odd. But when you see it in context
you get the spoof. Perhaps it's gone
a bit too far, but you've got to
give police credit for trying."
Jo Walker, Spokeswoman for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.


Binge drinking among females has become an extremely serious problem. A recent study of risky drinking behaviours in young women in Sydney revealed that 45 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds engage in "risk drinking", drinking five to six drinks in one day or one session, while 27. 8 per cent drink at high-risk levels, consuming seven or more standard drinks on one day or at one time.

One of the study's main findings was a strong belief that heavy alcohol consumption is okay. Although it was generally acknowleged that risky drinking increased the chances of sexual assault, considered more of a concern than the longer-term health risks of a high alcohol intake.

Addressing the issue of binge drinking is a serious matter. The Police message is certainly attacting attention and starting up discussion but is it appropriate?

More importantly, is it likely to be beneficial or dismissed with a snicker?

What do you think?

Added 20/7/06

This post by Alison Tuck discusses the serious nature of binge drinking further.

Resources

Read the BBC story here

20 comments:

Sarebear said...

OUCH! For a second I thought you meant waxing WITH the undies (put hot or cold wax in undie; put undie on; give self-wedgie; pull undie off as fast as one can go.

Again I say, OUCH! Hee hee.

At first I was getting all p.o.'d that those cops would dare ask that but then I read about the spoof part. It's an attention grabber, all right, which is probably what they wanted, to bring the girls up short and say HEY wait a minute . . .

healthpsych said...

Hi Sarebare,

Laughter is excellent therapy and thanks for splitting my sides with that image!!!

But, ouch.

You hit the nail on the head. The cops say they wanted to put it in a language girls could identify with. I guess it will kickstart discussion but, once the novelty/shock value has passed, I can't see it having any lasting impact.

jumpinginpuddles said...

on the flip side, they will simply get waxed and continue to drink. I
wouldnt it have been better to say this.

Yo keep you bits unexposed,
why not hit the sobering code

Tiesha said...

I kind of like the message. Anything that draws attention and stirs up a discussion about a serious matter is good I guess.

healthpsych said...

Hi JIP,
Funny and hip!

Hi Tiesha,
I agree. Anything that stirs up discussion but I think this will be shortlived..and discussion so far seems to be more about the text of the message rather than its underlying meaning.

The Little Student said...

Funny little article. I just wanted to introduce myself. I am a doctoral student in clinical psych who is specifically interested in primary care psychology and neuropsychology. Anyway, your blog is a great resource and very interesting!

healthpsych said...

Greetings Caleb,
I've been reading your blog for a while. Always interesting material.
Thanks for dropping by and saying hello.

Garethf said...

I think it will be laughed off. Smokers laugh off graphic pictures of rotting lungs. A pair of knickers or a few pubes is hilarious in comparison. Most older drinkers have a key drinking story that marks when they started viewing binge drinking as less fun and more dangerous (e.g., got hurt, did something really stupid, got arrested). The event is powerful because it contradicts their previously held view of themselves. Until younger drinkers actually make contact with these types of events, its all too much of a laugh.
PS - thanks for the psychsplash link!!

healthpsych said...

Hi GarethF,
Thanks for dropping in. I agree totally and great point about the role of a key incident in leading to awareness and change.

fjl said...

Love this one!

I have abit of an obsession - perhaps I shouldn't go as far as that- about lovely legs and expensive undies at all times, ( to the extent the workmen coming round at times can't see to get about for the undies all over the place...!!) so this one made me laugh. I'm glad the police are developing their priorities at long legged last.

may said...

thanks for dropping by to attend the BA meeting. and the alphabet cookies, my kids love them!

i'm putting in my old blogger account because your comment section does not allow nonblogger commenters, but you already found out what my new site is, so i hope this is not a problem.

healthpsych said...

Hi FJL
I think this validates what I was saying. The message generates amusement rather than discussion of the real problem.

Thanks for dropping by. No Bridget Jones undies for you then, I guess!
Love your blog.

Hi May,
You have a very interesting blog. I'll change the settings on this account, I never realised that. Thanks for mentioning it.

Dr. A said...

That's funny! I have to go out now and get a wax....

Hey, I'm adding you to my blogroll (if that's ok).

Alison said...

This seems like a great follow-on from the 'Alcohol, Adolescents and All-round Bad News' thing. I see too you are surfing blogs now too!

Go Healthpsych!

healthpsych said...

Dear Dr. A.,
We might have to advert our eyes temporarily!!! Honoured to have you blogroll me, been meaning to blogroll you but got sidetracked at BA!

Hi Alison,
This seemed a rather amusing health promotion attempt, although the message is deadly serious.

Welcome back. Great trip I hope.

Ah, yes, more blog surfing, less work!

David Harmon said...

in the context of a spoof ... well, I've heard worse. From most of 20 years ago, I remember a college magazine (Nonsense, at Hofstra) whose themed issues included a "free meat" issue, that being the local slang for passed-out partiers. Complete with Dr. Suess ripoff, "advice" column, and all....

healthpsych said...

Hi Alison,
Yep, distraction is the name of the game. It is a suitable followup to your post- I wish I'd remembered, I would have added the link..maybe I will now...

Hi David,
Yes, that does make this police message seem tame in comparison!!!
Thanks for dropping by.

Alison said...

Thanks HP!

justanurse said...

you know my mom always told me about the clean undies, then I became a nurse and found out the truth. either they are cut off en route to the hospital, some people are incontinent depending on the situation, nobody looks or cares, or all of the above...

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