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Someone from the Keystone, Pennsylvania branch of Planned Parenthood took to Twitter to demand a post-abortion Disney princess. According to the same tweet, Disney should have princesses who are pro-choice, undocumented immigrants, union workers, and trans. As you can imagine, it did not fare well in the court of public opinion – with even some “pro-choice” folks saying it was out of line. Planned Parenthood Keystone deleted the tweet about an hour later, but, of course, the internet is forever.
The president of the eastern Pennsylvania branch called the message inappropriate. However, Keystone branch president Melissa Reed stood by the reasoning behind the tweet, but also gave her reasons for deleting it:
“We joined an ongoing Twitter conversation about the kinds of princesses people want to see in an attempt to make a point about the importance of telling stories that challenge stigma and championing stories that too often don’t get told. Upon reflection, we decided that the seriousness of the point we were trying to make was not appropriate for the subject matter or context, and we removed the tweet.”
But Planned Parenthood Keystone did not apologize. Of course they didn’t. Despite branch President Melissa Reed’s claims to the contrary, it seems far more likely that the tweet was only deleted because of the intense and immediate backlash from those on both sides of the abortion argument.
Don’t be fooled by backpedaling; Planned Parenthood Keystone knew exactly what they were doing with that tweet. The job of running a company’s social media accounts is all about public relations. It seems rather unlikely that the person who sent that tweet didn’t understand how inappropriate it was; it’s far more plausible that said individual merely underestimated the negative response from even the pro-abortion side of the argument.
It absolutely is inappropriate. But not simply because, as another Twitter user pointed out, monarchies tend to prefer an abundance of heirs and plenty of subjects, wouldn’t leave their own kingdoms to subjugate themselves to another’s rule as an illegal alien, or that expecting a member of a ruling family to also be a union worker is preposterous. Rather, it is because this tweet is a foul attempt to shame Disney into actually having such princesses: perhaps even a pro-choice trans undocumented immigrant princess, who belongs to a professional union and has had at least one abortion and is jubilant about it.
Consider the target demographic of Disney princess cartoons: girls aged two to 11. Planned Parenthood must recognize that they’re unlikely to convert adults, who, for the most part, bring an already formed set of core beliefs to any argument. Those who believe abortion is murder are unlikely to change their minds, as are those who believe it’s a matter of personal choice. But these young girls envision themselves as their favorite Disney princesses; they emulate their words, their actions, and yes, their values. The highly controversial tweet by Planned Parenthood Keystone may have been a mistake, but it was no accident.