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Pap Smears: The Gift on Every Woman's Holiday Wish List, Am I Right?

Cbs-logo CBS has launched a new holiday PSA campaign that when broadcast in my home, silenced the room and made me look sort of quizzically at my husband. See the ads encourage men to give the women in their lives something meaningful, like a pap smear appointment! So, pap smears are the new eternity necklaces, I guess? How do you wrap those suckers up?

The ads are weird, definitely, I mean I rewound the commercial just to make sure I wasn't missing something: pap smears? as a gift? from my husband? I know you haven't met my husband, but the man can't remember to take the trash out most weeks; I think it's a little optimistic to think he can track down my gynecologist's number and then cross-reference her availability with my own and then book me an appointment. But the ads are also effective, at least in terms of getting your attention and making you talk about them long after they're done broadcasting. That's the point of advertising, right?

Here's the commercial, yo:

I'm not sure I can fully get behind pimping out pap smears as if they're trips to Hawaii -- they're just not, can't we agree? -- and I don't think these ads are going to actually motivate men to pick up the phones and say to a doctor's office receptionist, "I'd like to book my wife's annual; who can I speak to about that?" But kudos on making me use the word pap smear at least 15 times in this post and for also making pap smears a (still slightly awkward) water-cooler topic.

Truth is, women ignore their own health far too often, and if some quirky little CBS PSA gets anyone motivated to make a long overdue appointment, great. Run that PSA on a continuous loop! But, babe, if you're reading this, stick with the diamonds. I'll book my own appointment. Today, even.

. . . . .
Jennie has now officially said pap smear more than I (or my mother) ever thought I would.

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My favorite part? "get something special for YOUR WOMAN" not... that special woman, not the women in your life. YOUR woman. The one you own.

Correction: "I'd like to book MY WOMAN'S annual; who can I speak to about that?"

Sounds kind of like how I make an appointment for MY DOG at the vet's.

Mrs. D

I just wrote about this a few days ago! So glad I'm not the only one weirded out by this campaign.

These ads baffle me. Yes, good for them for getting the word out. But wouldn't it be more effective to address the ads to the WOMEN THEMSELVES? I mean, I'm a hell of a lot more likely to respond to some carefully-worded and well-researched suggestion to get a pap smear than my husband is to set up an appointment for me.

Also... What a TERRIBLE gift idea. Yay awareness. But come on - that should be an any-day-of-the-week thing. Not a CHRISTMAS PRESENT.


I also keep wondering how the man presents this gift: with an appointment card? a speculum with a bow? jazz hands?


I agree with the weirdness, but I also think they are kind of wonderful. Like you said, women ignore their health all the time. So the idea that my husband might say, "Hey. When was your last pap?" is kinda nice. I mean, I ask him about every cholesterol test and blood pressure reading and I don't think he's ever asked me about my health outside of swine flu and pregnancy. It's just not programmed into men.

And the "Your woman" thing. Okay, I agree it is awkward, but I think the point was that it doesn't have to be your wife, just whatever woman you don't want to see die a long agonizing death by cancer. They could have said it better, but at least they tried.


As a gift, a pap test really sucks. If someone gave that to me, I'd respond with, "No, seriously, where's the gift?" I think a gift should be something enjoyable - would men want a prostate exam gift? If I want to make a doctor's appointment, I'll do it myself.

It's a dumb ad campaign. Lots of men can barely handle buying tampons at the grocery store, so if they think a man is going to make a phone call to the gynecologist's office and ask to make a pap test appointment for their wife/gf, they're crazy.


Oh good grief. If anything, MEN are more likely to need reminders to get physical checkups; I can't remember the last time that my husband got his cholesterol or anything checked. And when I remind him that someday he may very well need to get a colonoscopy, he shudders and changes the subject.

So why don't we have PSAs with women saying, "Hey, get a prostate check for the man in your life"?


I can't see the ad you've posted, but if it's the same one I saw last night - My husband and I both cupped our hands over our mouths in horror when it came on.
The worst part was that the man (I think he's an actor on one of the CBS shows??) kept saying the word as "shmear"...with the SH clearly pronounced. Have I been saying this word incorrectly for the past 15 years?? I don't see an H in it??


There's a Jewish/Hanukkah version as well that talks about it being just a "schmear" and I think that's just taking it to far.

My husband visibly shudders whenever this ad comes on, but did ask me if I do that and I assured him I am scheduled every year. I guess it was effective as possible for our household.


yeah, we saw the Hanukkah one lastnight during HIMYM and we did rewind it to verify because, WTF??? The SHMEAR is a wee bit much. And who is the guy?? But, yeah, they do get your attention.


This is why I don't watch tv. But hey, great that men are being disturbed out of their la-la-ness with reminders that "their women" need maintenance.


Really? I'm going to have to watch something on CBS tonight just so I can see this ad on TV.

I don't know about a pap smear as a gift, but maybe as a stocking stuffer? Makes sense right?



Yeah, Angela, I just spit Diet Coke on my desk.


Hilarious! I'm booking my sister in and putting the appointment card in her stocking.... (gotta love Canada and free health care)


If they get women into the yearly then that is what is important. Just went in for mine last week and surprise! I have a breast lump. Mammograms will be my Christmas present I guess.


Yea... I saw this on TV the other night and just couldn't believe it. I told my DH, oh yea, that's just what I want for Christmas... to be cranked open and have my sensitive parts jabbed... Umm... yea... No Thank you very much. Not my idea of a good, caring, thoughtful gift there CBS.


Lorraine - "Not my idea of a good, caring, thoughtful gift there CBS."

I think it's caring & thoughtful, but not good. I think most women would rather "their MAN" make his own appts for check-ups as a gift to "their WOMAN". In general, women are better about seeing a doctor regularly. My father and brothers have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the doctor.

My oldest brother was in a collision while playing baseball, and hit his head really hard. He had a bad headache, was vomiting, and had trouble with his balance. It was clear to everyone that he had the symptoms of a concussion (or worse, but this was before Natasha Richardson died, so we couldn't point to that specific example), but he was refusing to go to the doctor. I told him if he didn't go to the ER or Urgent Care, I was going to call an ambulance and have them go to his house. He's a single father of two boys and we couldn't even get him to go by asking him to think about his kids.

Threats were the only thing that worked. Luckily, he went and ended up being okay, but this isn't the kind of person who is going to respond to a PSA about making doctors' appointments.

Cassandra R.

I'm sorry, but this ad is ridiculous and offensive. Pap smears, like all medical procedures, have benefits and risks. Women deserve to be given all the information. It's called informed consent.

The relentless campaign to get all women screened without giving them information about the very low risk of cervical cancer and the very high risks of unnecessary biopsy and "treatment" needs to stop. Women deserve better.


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