What happened to Responsibella?
Safe sex super heroine disappears, leaving gap in sex education
You’re sitting in the doctor’s office on the uncomfortable bed with a piece of paper covering you from the waist down. Your heart is beating faster because you’re worried that something has gone wrong.
Has your latest rendezvous left you with more than you bargained for? Will you now have to walk with physical regret as well? The doctor comes in and performs the STI test, and now you wait. You spend the next week closer to the phone than you have been all month, waiting forebodingly for the call asking you to come back to discuss the test results.
This is a common experience for those who are sexually active and practicing unsafe sex. Last year Responsibella, MRU’s super heroine of safe sex practices, posted films through the Wellness Centre in order to educate students on how to protect themselves from contracting STIs. Unfortunately, our heroine has been missing.
Ariane Izzotti, marketing major, was the woman behind the mask. In an article published at The Reflector, Izzoti says the campaign started out of a Science of Persuasion class, where the Wellness Centre had asked them to think of ways to get students to change their sexual behaviour.
Following up with the M.I.A heroine, Izzoti says there were multiple reasons on why the campaign discontinued.
“We only had about four people on the team, and one fantastic resource in Wellness.” Izzoti says, “But it was difficult to get commitment from the group when we all had so many demanding assignments to complete for school.”
She also says the team experienced censorship.
“We were granted PG 17 to work with, but we found that it was barely PG 14 after sending out our third video,” she said.
Izzotti explained that she was instructed that cursing wasn’t allowed, but even after bleeping out the words, the Wellness Centre said students could still see mouths forming them.
This is interesting considering most PG 13 movies contain a cuss word or two.
“Even when that got settled, we weren’t allowed to suggest someone ‘going down’ on someone else,” Izzotti says, describing a scene with two fully-clothed people were together and a woman’s head dipped below the screen.
“We thought it was difficult to talk about real issues regarding sex in an amusing and impactful way when we could barely suggest what acts we were talking about.”
As the lead of the project, Izotti said she wanted to address issues like sexual assault, relationship violence and LBGTQ safe sex.
“Being unable to get away with the things Family Guy did at PG 14 was the biggest setback.”
In her opinion, it’s a shame nothing has been put up in its place.
Michael Morrissey, branding and communication at the Wellness, says that one video was a “little raw” for a University Wellness Channel, but did not provide any more details. According to the centre, students became busy again and the project was put on hold.