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Stupid question of the day

It's nothing new to see women questioning the validity, ethics and usefulness of birth control options for men. Dr. Coutinho, who studied a then though possible formula for a male pill, recounts how feminists led by Betty Friedan protested his research years ago. Friedan's accusation that men will lie about the pill to obtain consent is ridiculous in the context of a legal system that pins 18 years of financial responsibility on a man if he and his sex partner conceive, but it's been echoed by feminists every time the idea of birth control for men is brought up. Feminists assert everything from a belief that men are too irresponsible to a belief that despite the risk of becoming an estranged, unwed father, they don't want the option. It's also not uncommon to see the issue discussed in terms of zero sum, writing or speaking as if one partner's use of any form of birth control precludes the other partner's ability or right to do the same. Radhika Sanghani of DailyLife.com is the latest writer to do this, in an article about Vasalgel, an upcoming new innovation in male birth control, titled "Male birth control could be here by 2017 - but will anyone take it?" Her subheading asks if women would "relinquish responsibility." Even before the body of the article, she has hit two of feminism's main talking points on the topic.

Sanghani uses conjecture from a female behavioral psyhcologist to lend credibility to her theory. Donna Dawson is quoted stating that men will either say birth control is a woman's job, or be too squeamish to take the shot. This, despite the fact that men do opt for a more invasive and permanent procedure; Vasectomy.

Dawson goes on to suggest, despite the fact that they make up the majority of workplace deaths and injuries due to being the majority of workers in dangerous, difficult, and dirty jobs, that men won't handle the responsibility because they're not accustomed to it, and have a lower pain threshold than women.

Treating the issue of birth control as a zero sum game in which only one partner may use preventative methods at a time is irrational. There is nothing about a man's use of any birth control method that would prevent a woman from also using birth control. Widening men's access to birth control does not raise a question of trust, but eliminates a need for it. Expanded options for men will not reduce options for women, but they will make it harder for women to use chicanery and lies to become pregnant with a male partner's child against his will. Given that, the tendency of female-oriented media and outspoken feminists to nay-say the upcoming increase in options for male birth control is senseless at its face value. At best, it's a thinly disguised protest against an impending break of women's near-monopoly on control over conception and childbirth by providing men with a new measure of preventative control over their own reproduction.

Equally irrational is the suggestion that men don't want the option. Currently, a man only has two, condoms and vasectomy. Condoms reduce sensation, and are subject to abuse by unscrupulous women. Vasectomy is intended to be permanent, and though sometimes reversible, it is not always, so it's mainly an option for men who are done wanting to have children, or never want to have them. Even when a man does want to opt for a vasectomy, some physicians actually require the wife's consent before the procedure can be performed.

That men do opt for vasectomy even with its potential drawbacks (somewhat painful procedure, some risks, permanence) directly contradicts the supposition that they'll wimp out of using the less invasive, safer, and reversible procedure involved with Vasalgel. The claim that they will smacks of looking for any excuse one can come up with to oppose the option, or an attitude of disdain toward men. It sounds particularly stupid coming from people working in an industry which places little physical demand on the body, writing about the half of the population from which come the majority of workers in industries in which daily tasks cause bodily damage.

The most ludicrous thing, however, about discussion on male birth control by female and feminist media is the presumption that women's opinions on the subject even matter.

If we were discussing the right to use a diaphragm, birth control cream, gel, film, pills or injections, intrauterine or sub-dermal implants, or even abortion, most of these women would shout down any man who chose to express an opinion which contradicted their own. The "my body, my choice" mantra leads the charge to make female birth control and termination of pregnancy a woman-only issue. Even the suggestion that women should be responsible for obtaining these conveniences at their own expense when they are elective has been deemed a shot fired in an imaginary war on women promoted by feminist ideologues. That particular feminist flag has been picked up and carried by the uninformed voter in droves, with the layman... er, woman, knowing no better than to compare medically unnecessary drugs used for convenience to medically necessary drugs used to treat bodily dysfunction as an argument in favor of forcing insurance companies to cover elective use. Any man daring to question this ideological push faces an onslaught of accusations of attempting to interfere with women's choices in what to do with their bodies.

In light of the facts, questioning the validity, ethics, and usefulness of increased options for male birth control is truly stupid, as is making one's support of it contingent on how it helps women. This issue is not about women. A more reasonable question is this: Women's issues ideologues have fought to make women's bodies a strictly female-opinion issue. What even makes feminists like Friedan and writers like Sanghani feel entitled to the slightest consideration of their opinion on what men may do with theirs?

1 comment:

Brave New Man said...

"Expanded options for men will not reduce options for women, but they will make it harder for women to use chicanery and lies to become pregnant with a male partner's child against his will."

This is what it's all about - choice and control. Some women may see it as a threat, but as a man uses a condom as a preventative measure if he does not trust his partner to take the pill, etc, a woman should also be responsible for her own contraception. Responsibility and dare I say...Equality?

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