Friday, March 2, 2012

I Just Can't Keep My Hussy Mouth Shut...

*** now with an exciting update! Someone said something smart and real in this debate! Check out this post over on XOJane - It's exactly what this debate should look like.

Alright, we’re going to have to talk about this. Talking about politics makes me about as squeamish as talking about periods seems to make most men, but we’re just going to have to do our best to get through it together. I’m going to use the LA Times story because it’s better written than others and has a video embedded. Please educate yourself and then let’s discuss.,0,6050153.story

I have read one too many conservative posts about this that seem to think that the amount of times you have sex is directly equated with the amount of money you spend on birth control. The mentality seems to be that if a woman doesn’t have sex that often, why wouldn’t she just do the math, go off birth control pills and buy condoms for those few and far between episodes.

Generally, I’m all for making financial decisions based on the kind of math and analysis used in these articles (I’m not linking them, I refuse to contribute to their traffic).  A lovely example is choosing between shaving your legs, electrolysis and waxing. All of them have different price points and timelines and many women have a little chart in their head that helps them choose the option that is going to make the most financial sense for them, given their habits.

Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals are a totally different game. Birth Control Pills, like most other drugs, are only effective, safe and comfortable when used consistently over a prolonged period of time. Changing pills or going off them and then starting again can send one through an emotional and physical nightmare of extreme weight gain and/or loss, depression, and a host of other unpleasant experiences from spotting (that’s right, I said it) to headaches.  It’s not fun, and the decision to stay on “the pill” has far more concerns attached than whether or not you will be having enough sex that month to justify the cost.

The only two things that conundrums like hair-removal method and decisions about contraception have in common are that they are 1) Decisions that women usually make, and 2) no one’s business but the woman’s who is making the choice.

Whoops, I got political. The point is this: I fully support the rights of old men to be uncomfortable with periods. I even support their right to argue that they should be able to compromise the health of millions of women in order to save a completely insignificant amount of money. However, I feel like all that “free speech” goodwill that I hold so near and dear is just completely wasted when it’s used to call an individual a slut and a prostitute and to make assumptions about how much sex she has based on her contraceptive of choice. It’s rude, unforgivably sexist, and serves absolutely no purpose except to discredit anything legitimate you might have to say about the issues in question.

You don’t have to agree that the government should provide financial assistance to women who would like to use birth control. However, I think many of us, on both sides of the issue, can agree that it’s a horrible thing to call a woman who speaks her mind and takes care of her body a slut. That kind of discourse is just useless and has no place on our national stage. So I’ll be here, waiting patiently to listen to a legitimate reason why we shouldn’t support funding for women in need of birth control. I won’t hold my breath.

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