Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady, is not down with her image being used by anti-vaxxers
Don’t use The Brady Bunch to promote anti-vaccination because the real Marcia Brady will school you really, really quickly. Maureen McCormick, who played the oldest of the Brady girls, spoke out after her image was circulated by anti-vaxxers to reinforce their arguments against shots. Prepare to say “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” in the best way possible.
Let’s back up a little bit. A report from NPR noted that anti-vaxxers have been using the Brady Bunch episode “Is There a Doctor in the House?” to argue that measles is no big deal. In the episode, all six of the siblings get the measles and they have a fun-filled day that includes coloring each other’s spots, playing monopoly, and being very glad that they don’t have to go to school. Please remember this episode aired in the early 1970s. Things are, uh, a little different now.
In the episode, Marcia Brady became the accidental spokesperson for anti-vaxxers when she declared, “If you have to get sick, sure can’t beat the measles!”
Basically, some people are using this episode to back up their claim that measles shouldn’t be taken seriously. Yup, an episode of a fictional television show.
“I grew up in the 70/80’s I remember it just like this ‘if you’re going to get sick get measles’ mild childhood sickness like the common cold or chickenpox, mom didn’t even take us to the doctors,” YouTuber Celebrate Truth wrote, alongside a clip from the episode. “Now we have this media scaremongering & germ-a-phobic society.. what have we come to!!! Now it’s getting a vaccine for everything! Look into all the evidence that vaccines might not just be the best thing for you.”
So, what does McCormick think about her old character Marcia being used as a pawn in the anti-vaccination fight?
“I think it’s really wrong when people use people’s images today to promote whatever they want to promote and the person’s image they’re using they haven’t asked or they have no idea where they stand on the issue,” she told NPR. “As a mother, my daughter was vaccinated.”
She added that The Brady Bunch‘s depiction of measles wasn’t an accurate snapshot of what it’s actually like to get the infection. “Having the measles was not a fun thing,” McCormick said. “I remember it spread through my family.”
Lloyd J. Schwartz, the son of the late Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz, was also displeased that his father’s show is being used for this movement. “Dad would be sorry, because he believed in vaccination, had all of his kids vaccinated,” Schwartz said.
This is all particularly timely because measles outbreaks, as we all know, are on the rise. There have been 704 cases of measles nationwide and more than 500 of those people infected had not been vaccinated, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the highest number of outbreaks in one year, reported in twenty-five years.
“Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” the CDC wrote on their website. “Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella…The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective.”
Hear that, everybody? Both U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Marcia Brady are telling you that it’s very, very important to vaccinate your kids.