Anti-Vaxxers Will Fall For Anything, As Evidenced By The ‘Vaccinations Are A Gateway Drug’ Meme
There’s a meme making its way around Facebook this week. Unfortunately, it’s not a grumpy cat or a funny baby — it’s a parody image that has been co-opted and spread by a Facebook group that calls themselves “Feminists Against Vaccination.” It’s not surprising that a group of people dim enough to turn away from the medical miracle that is immunization to infectious disease would miss satire. Boy, did they miss it.
First, the page. Its description is, “This page exists to support women in their decision to abstain from vaccinations for both themselves and their children.” Now, the meme:
The caption the group chose when sharing this nonsense is, “Studies have shown that vaccines serve as a gateway drug to heroin. The patriarchy has been known to employ the use of heroin to keep women under their power by keeping them addicted. #ResistVaccines#ResistHeroin”
I ignored it the first few times I saw it pop up on my newsfeed, because it’s so clearly satire that I didn’t stop to think there were actually people taking it seriously. Then I decided to visit the page to see some previous posts. It’s not satire. I repeat, the page is not satire. The meme, however, is. But it went very far over the heads of those from the group who shared it.
EvidencePlease.Net explains its origin:
This graphic was created as a part of Something Awful’s Photoshop Phriday in 2013, in which SA forum participants tried to create over the top parodies of anti-vaccination posters. After showing some examples of actual anti-vaccination memes, the SA admins issued a challenge: “If they can take anti-vaccination posters to this level of absurdity, imagine what we can do!”
Unfortunately, as EvidencePlease points out, this one has “escaped its context and repeatedly gone viral.”