Nikki Brown challenges us to think differently about birth control being a “women’s issue”.
There’s been some talk over, what, the last couple months, regarding ladies and their access to birth control. Or basic health care. Or abortions. Or breast exams. Really, pick any of them. Now, while I could (quite easily) get going regarding Komen’s debacle with Planned Parenthood or the #issacircus of a hearing that ruined my day, that’s not what I’d really like to discuss with Good Men today.
Of course, some of you might tell me that you don’t want to hear my rants because, hey, those be lady problems and why would you rant to men about them (*please note* I did not say all of you – just… some).
And that, now that you mention it, is exactly my point.
All of these controversies, from Komen to birth control, have been overwhelmingly framed in this way: religious/moral freedom vs. women’s rights. Or something along those lines. Here, the details aren’t what’s important –the point is the vs. women part.
X, Y, Z vs. women. Period. Just us ladies, out there all on our own. Wantin’ things like breast exams and the pills. It’s a woman’s-issues thing, right?
I am so done with these arguments being framed this way. These are not women’s-only issues and rights. These are far far more than that.
Why? Well, since you asked, let me try to explain.
First, let’s just pretend we’re talking about birth control – namely, birth control pills, or maybe even morning after pills. For sake of simplicity, let’s also narrow that into birth control only used for avoiding pregnancy – the idea that ladies be only wanting the birth control so they can be having the sex without the procreating. Forget all other arguments. For now.
I find it rather interesting that no one seems to bring up with whom all those ladies be having all the sex without the babies with. Well. Lesbians don’t really worry about getting preggers all that much. So that leaves… menfolk, or ladies born as men. And, ya know, I would hazard a guess that a great majority of that sex involving penses would be within committed, monogamous relationships. I would also hazard a guess that, in those committed, monogamous relationships, part of the reason the lady be on the pill is because she is not using condoms with her partner. Why? Because she probably trusts him and they no longer have need to worry about STIs, being in a committed, monogamous relationship. And a lot of people don’t really like the whole condom thing, and will avoid when it becomes safe to do so.
Some of those relationships are probably marriages, where both would like to avoid having a kid/having more kids. Both husband and wife are being responsible to what they want and the children they can provide for.
Sure, some of the ladies who be on the pill are probably not in committed, monogamous relationships. Maybe a few of them throw caution to the wind every night. Or something. But, you know, if pregnancy is on the line, they’re still engaging le sexy times with a dude. A dude who probably as into getting someone pregnant as his ladyfriend is.
Am I getting my point across? All these “X, Y, Z vs. ladies rights” conversations keep kind of saying that it’s only the ladies having sex without the babiez. All by themselves. When, um, hello. Hi there. Birds and bees calling.
Yes, the women are the ones who have to take a pill as a very consistent method of engaging le sexy times without le bébéz. Men don’t have that option (yet). But that doesn’t mean these aren’t men’s issues. If you want to be having sex without procreation, this is how you do that – men and women. Both of us. Together. Doing this deed. Together. Does it matter who is swallowing (ahem) the pill?
Moreover, yeah, we can also talk about the fact that women take birth control for more than just freaking sex. For crying out loud. It is a way to deal with many basic health issues. Take me, for example. I have periods that are out of control. It’s genetic – my mom and aunt are the same.
I pass out from my periods. When I was 14, I passed out and threw up due to the intensity of my periods. My mom put me on birth control after this (and way before I was sexually active) so I could freaking function. It worked – and I don’t have another option. A few years ago, I was in a relationship with a woman so I decided to get off the pill (again – not really worried about the pregnancy thing). Two months later, cue me facedown on the bathroom floor.
I live by myself. I drive a car and ride a bike in traffic. I cannot be passing out from my periods every time I get them. I have a very busy, full life. I cannot spend three to four days in bed on heating pads and prescription ibuprofen once a month. And I’m not the only person who requires the pill to treat non-sexual concerns.
Moreover, it’s not just self-identified women who need access to birth control and these basic health needs. Constructing the argument as if it’s just women who, say, use Planned Parenthood marginalizes those who do not identify as female, but may still have those needs.
In addition, it’s not just women and FTM peeps we’re talking about here. What, men don’t want affordable and available health care? They don’t have sexual health needs? They aren’t involved in family planning?
Photo courtesy of brains the head