Thursday, March 8, 2012

on the consequences of being a woman.

via here.
i'm confused.
and, really, i don't mean to political here. and i don't think this post is. i usually use this blog to write about what's on my mind or happening in my daily life. and well, this has recently been running through my mind lately.
as i'm sure many of you know, there are quite a few debates going on in the country about contraception. and this post isn't really about that. i'm sure we all have different views on contraception and sex and marriage and babies and everything in between. and this isn't about that. it's about how people are talking about those issues.
i've noticed that rush limbaugh has called women who take birth control "sluts" and "prostitutes". and a rick santorum fundraiser said that women need to hold aspirin in between their knees to prevent pregnancy, i.e. keep their legs closed. and the ny times has taken polls to see how many women have used birth control.
and this is where i'm confused.
does it not take two people to make baby? did i miss a crucial lesson in biology? are women spontaneously able to become pregnant?
because many men sleep with women on birth control. know they're partner is on birth control. like that they're on birth control. think it's fine that they're on birth control. are they not sluts? do they not make the prostitute cut?
and why are we the only ones tasked with holding the aspirin in between our knees? are men not responsible and tasked to prevent sex or pregnancy or both? are we saying that men are such wild animals, with no self-control, that if any woman gives them an opportunity to have sex they'll take it? why are women the only gatekeepers of sex? why do we think so lowly of men?
we poll women to find those that have taken birth control and again - doesn't a partner consent to this? if a man didn't approve of this medication, wouldn't he ask the woman to stop taking it? or refuse to sleep with her on moral grounds? shouldn't the poll ask - who has used or consented to the use of birth control in a sexual situation?
and finally, there is a law that they tried to pass in virginia. the law would require a woman to get an invasive ultrasound before receiving an abortion. and i ask - why isn't the father required to be in the room and see the image too? i know sometimes abortions are decided by the mother and the father has no say. but many, many fathers have a say and many consent. why aren't they in that room? why aren't they also made to look at the image? why aren't they mentioned in the law?
as i said before, i am incredibly confused. in the many opinions i've heard in the news - conservative, liberal, independent, fox news, msnbc - never do we talk about a man's role in all of this. and yes, i understand. they don't swallow the actual pill. the effects of pregnancy are most acutely felt by the woman. some women make decisions and never tell their partners. i get that. but...a lot of women do tell their partners everthing. and i'm confused as to why we don't question and judge the couple's decisions and only the woman's.
has this bothered you or have you thought of it this way? am i completely wrong? are you not wanting to read something this heavy with your morning coffee? lay it on me thick. i've got all day.


  1. Colleen,

    I agree that this doesn't make sense. I agree that all parties involved should be polled, held accountable for their actions, and written into the law somehow.

    But this is so confusing to me, and such a difficult topic, that I usually just stay out of it completely. Which I know is a cowardice thing to do, but it's one of the ways I keep my head on straight.

    I sometimes wish I was more outspoken, but another truth of the matter is that I hate being in a situation where I am talking about something like this, and I don't have enought facts and I feel belittled by those that know more (or think they do)... Do you know what I mean? I hate that feeling. It just makes me want to cry and I always wish I never opened my mouth.

    But I do applaud what you've written here. And am glad you gave something to think about today.

    1. i know exactly what you mean. i dislike when people act like they know more or use their knowledge to belittle others - it doesn't futher the discussion, in fact it usually stops it, and it's just mean. i suppose that's why i was little afraid to write this - anyone could come by and say something nasty and move along. a face to face discussion is more accountable (luckily not a lot of people read this ;)

      but i suppose it's why i put it out there as...i'm confused. and i'm glad to hear from what you said that perhaps i'm not the only one that sees the missing link. i feel like the discussion is missing something, i.e. we're talking about one party and not both parties involved. it's such a touchy subject as you said, and in every way possible i tried to keep my opinion to myself, but put out there my opinion on how we're discussing the issue.

      thanks for taking the time to read it.

  2. So glad we are on the same page about Nat King Cole, because that led me here, and I am glad I read this.

    I think you have pinpointed something that is not just a problem in our conversations about contraception, but about feminism period. Sometimes it feels like in trying to be strong women, we reject the notion of strong men. I like conversations that recognize the importance of gender relationships and mutual recognition of power and diversity.

    You've also identified, I think, an underlying lack of respect for both sexes when the conversation gets skewed like this. It's like women aren't allowed to be sexual and men get no credit for having good judgment.


    1. clair - i think you said it better than me with that last sentence. because, really - some of this is insulting to men. as if they can't have good judgement?

      and kudos on the NKC. how great is he? so happy to have found a kindred soul.

      thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is so very true. Men get out of trouble because "they can't help themselves" so I guess it's only women's responsibility to uphold moral ground? This really does not make any sense. I'm not going to state my beliefs on abortion and all that political stuff, but I totally agree that women and men are still not treated as equals, after all we've accomplished in the past 100 years. I believe that men and women have different roles, but definitely should be held equally responsible for their actions.

    Thanks for voicing this, this is a great post.

    1. thanks laura! i totally agree - no matter what someone's opinion is, why isn't it applied to *both* people and not just one. and from what i see in the media, everyone, no matter their beliefs, seems to be only talking about a women's role in these decisions. it's definitely a little troubling.

  4. Colleen this is so true! I've always wondered why pregnancy, contraceptions, etc. always fall on the woman's shoulders and the men get off easy- this is totally not fair! No matter where you stand on any of the issues, let's just all agree that it takes two to tango, right?

    1. you stole the words from my mouth! it does take two to tango and no matter what you think, let's apply that to both people. amen Sherri Lynn.

  5. I absolutely agree with you and I've brought this up with the boyfriend when he insists on watching cnn. I hate how the conversation is skewed to place more responsibility on the woman. I can't decide what's worse - the male politicians and news correspondents who do this or the females. It takes two to make a baby, people. Why are we shouldering all the pressure and responsibility on only one of those two?

  6. I have had the exact same thoughts myself. I am having such a hard time watching the coverage on the news because I find so much of this upsetting. Why are the men not sluts? Why do the women shelter all of the responsibility for this? If there were a bunch of women running for office, would we still be having these inane and frankly, sad conversations about this? I feel like we are going back in time instead of progressing. I don't want my nieces (and future maybe kids) to grow up in a judgmental chauvinistic world.



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