A group of US female advertising creatives have banded together to bootstrap a parody campaign that takes a dystopian view on the potential future for women as abortion restrictions tighten across the country.
The campaign, by Women that Fight (WTF), a coalition of female-identifying ad creatives across US agencies, is called Eff-Urself and advertises a fake dildo as a solution to help women avoid the need for an abortion.
Filmed by Emmy-nominated director Sindha Agha, the film adopts a 1970s style aesthetic to harken back to the era when Roe v. Wade passed. The infomercial style 90-second spot* features a young woman rallying her peers to “swear off semen forever and eff-urself” now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
*The video is age restricted, click the link to watch directly on YouTube
“It’s one of the few choices you have left,” she says as she explains how to use the anatomically representative toy.
“If you have a body but politicians now control it, if you live in a country but you have no free will, eff yourself,” she continues as she hands out boxes of the sex toy to women, one wearing a shirt with the slogan “I came to California and all I got was a legal abortion.”
The spot ends with a young pregnant woman walking up to the narrator and asking: “But, what about me?” as the narrator’s face falls.
The video ends with a call to action to donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) at effurself.com, a network of more than 80 organizations that remove access and legal barriers to abortion. Five donors will receive a limited edition Eff-Urself dildo.
Che-Na Stephenson, group creative director at Venables Bell and Partners and creative lead on the campaign, said that WTF leaned into parody to cut through the emotional conversation happening around the topic.
“Everyone is so enraged and fired up, but after a while, you check out because you can’t absorb all of it,” she said. “Our solution to that was, how can we creatively take part in the conversation in a way that doesn’t add to all of the seriousness, but in a way that people will actually perk up and listen to what we have to say?”
Stephenson added that because a world without legal abortion can seem so dystopian, leaning into absurdity felt like a scroll-stopping idea.
The bootstrapped, pro bono video was shot on film at a house in the Hollywood Hills to capture a retro vibe, while using bright, saturated colors to make it clear that the ad isn’t vintage. Volunteer crew members donated items to make the set feel authentic to the 1970s time period.
“We’re arguably in a darker era than we were when Roe was passed in terms of criminalization of abortion,” Agha said. “So we wanted it to be set in the present with anachronistic details.”
Agha added that it was relatively easy to get people to volunteer their time and resources to create the video because people in advertising are impassioned to do work they care about. There were even a surprising number of “eager men” looking to support the cause.
“These stories should be driven and told by people they directly affect, but it’s really important too that men get involved,” she said. “Too often, abortion access and reproductive rights get characterized as a women’s fight. [Men] have a right, too, to choose whether to become a parent. We need more stories that involve them and speak to them, and we need all of the help we can get from them to spread this message.”
Women that Fight formed in June, shortly before Roe v. Wade was officially overturned by the Supreme Court. The group of about 10 women was angry about the decision and “wanted to put work out that really made an impact and could help in any way possible,” Stephenson said. “We couldn’t just sit on our hands.”
The coalition hopes to grow and do more pro bono work for causes its members care about, such as support for Ukraine and gun control awareness.
“I want it to be able to house anyone’s passion projects,” Stephenson said. “What do you believe in? What do you want to fight for? How else can we try to make a difference?”