I was listening to Mike Church on Sirius Patriot this morning and he had an interesting section that was based loosely around the death of Helen Gurley Brown, creator of the Cosmo magazine brand, and based largely on the current topics of Women's Rights. While his talk on this subject might have made some people angry, or made their toes curl in fright, I had to agree. As a woman. With pretty much every word he said.
Women - we wanted our independence and our sexual freedom - so why are so many demanding that others pay for our choices? How independent is that exactly?
This is also based on the Sandra Fluke saga in the US, where she has somehow become some sort of spokesperson for 'the movement' of making contraceptives free for all (I realize this would mean for men too if you are talking about free condoms, but it is mainly about women and their rights to healthcare).
Scooting back to Cosmo for a moment, Church mentioned that he will put copies of Good Housekeeping and other related magazines in front of the Cosmo magazines when he is in store lineups. Why? Well that is his own to tell you, but I took a peek at the Cosmo website and here are some of their current article titles on the main page: '30 things to do to a naked man', 'Steamy ways to turn you on', 'Why every woman needs a gaggle of guys', 'Quiz - are you a good flirt? On the hot-sauce scale of sex appeal, how do you rate?', 'Sex Positions', 'Foreplay Ideas', 'How to give a hand job', 'How to give a blow job', 'Places to have sex', 'How to talk Dirty', 'Shower sex ideas'... Okay I think you get the idea lol.
I am not a prude, I might go back and read some of those articles myself to see if there is anything to add to my repertoire of ideas ;) However - I am not going to ask YOU to pay for the condoms or pills I might want in order to follow up on some of the above article ideas. And if my pill schedule fails me and I end up pregnant, I am not going to ask YOU to pay for my abortion.
I am supposed to be an independent woman, born in the 70s and growing up teenager in the 80s, ripe for the taking with women's sexual freedom becoming more and more on display and accepted and celebrated. So why would I then turn around and think that YOU should fiscally support my choices?
If you think back and imagine how women were basically not allowed to be sexual beings by their own voice and choice - instead they were allowed to be sex symbols but not talk about sex or let on that they too enjoyed it as much as men, you can see why so many women fought to be heard and it broke open a huge wave of new ideas, products, markets, etc. I can't imagine going to a 'toy party' 100 years ago, with dildos and bumb-beads being laying around - yet those parties are now advertised on tv, facebook, etc, for all to see, and with no shame. What a massive change!!!
However, then you look at the contraception debates. First women wanted more options - so they got them. Massive contraceptive pill industry, condoms on the front counter of gas stations and in high school bathroom vending machines, condoms being thrown to crowds at nightclubs (I snagged an orange glow in the dark one once), even the female condom for awhile (it's probably still around but I first saw one in about grade 9 and dont know of any friends that ever used one). Implants, IUDs, spermicidal jelly,,,, the list goes on and on. Don't forget the Elaine character in Seinfeld and the hysterically funny Sponge episode (still laugh my butt off at that one)... We had so many choices, it took forever to decide what you wanted to try. I've used various pills, depo provera shots, spermicidal cervical film, and condoms. You could take all day to list every brand and product out there.
But that was not enough. Women got what they wanted, but now it's become a health issue that these things should not only be available, but be made available for free or at greatly controlled and reduced cost.
Oh. Was that what the main idea in the original sexual freedom for women movement was all about? Cosmo is still a huge selling magazine (I think I've only bought 2 in my life tho, if that), and the cover page on the website is filled with endless articles revolving around sex, as well as the cover of the hard copy magazine - so women got their freedom and now want it FREE too. Oh. Okay.
I'm not an idiot - I realize that teenagers becoming pregnant, or addicts, or whoever, can be a health concern as well as a drain on the social system, but at the same time, don't we have to acknowledge and understand that the sexual freedom women wanted has also contributed to this? The marches and the groups that women led and fought through decades ago have led to this greater need/wish for contraception to be made available on the cheap, or free. Has it not? The prevalence of STI/Ds that is also draining the system and leads to the call for free condoms has also been influenced by this sexual freedom, has it not?
That does not sit well with me. Mike Church was basically saying this morning, and I am paraphrasing here, that 'Sure! You want to go out and have sex whenever you want, with whomever you want, even if you wont even recognize the guy on the street the next day, then do it! Go right ahead! Exercise your sexual freedom all you want. Get out there! Enjoy it! But DON'T expect ME to pay for it'. I agree with that.
To me, when these women are out there shouting about free contraception as a right and necessity in women's health, they are actually saying 'We want to screw whoever we want and it's not fair that they might be carrying a sexually transmitted infection or disease, and it's not fair that we might get pregnant, so it's important that contraceptives be made free and available to all women through their insurance or programs like Planned Parenthood. We want to have our sex, dammit, we have the right and the desire for it, so it should be law that contraceptives are free or really cheap'.
I'm sorry, but I am a 39 year old woman and that is what I hear when those women are out there pounding their hands on the podium or getting together to post videos on youtube. I am not a prude. In fact, I have had sexual partners in the double digits. Yikes. But I have. Gotta be truthful if I have any hope of getting my point across. I had a bad rep in high school for being too easy (wish I could change that, but I cant, so I move on). I have been married and divorced, lived with someone for a few years and split up, and now live with someone else. I have three children with 3 different fathers through the 3 long-term adult relationships I have had. Whoops. I have to share that because you have to understand that I am not a prude or a stereotypical churchy bible lady, waltzing around all prim and proper and tsk-tsking at women with skirts cut above their knees. Farrrr from it. But I do not agree with this whole push to dump billions and billions of more dollars into the CHOICES that people make in their independent, sexual lives.
When I was 16, I went on the pill. My boyfriend and I paid for it, cash. I wasnt about to ask my dad if the pill was covered on his insurance lol. My friends were all on the pill and the only one who got her's covered by her parents' insurance was the girl who was on the pill from age 12 to control extremely violent and prolonged periods. The pill in that case was directly for her health - she would practically hemmorage during her periods and had such violent cramps she could not physically function for hours on end. That is a health need and that was covered by insurance even back then in the 80s. The rest of us bought the pills ourselves, even though we only made around $5 an hour, and hid them lol. Or we bought condoms and laughed while dividing the box up amongst our little group of friends. Counting out your quarters to buy a box of 12 condoms to split between 4 girls was a fun adventure. Drawing straws (figuratively) for who would have to go into the obscure corner store on the opposite side of the city was the next part. Maybe we should not have had to hide, but it was our choice not to bring our parents in on our sexual lives.
Today, apparently, everyone else is supposed to be responsible for those choices. Why? I thought women wanted equality and freedom and sexual independence and acceptance? Did that include the words FREE CONDOMS anywhere in it? Hmmm. I don't think so?? It was to be made available, as in physically available for women to purchase without being shunned or shamed. We did that - and now the word 'available' has been altered to mean 'available for FREE'. Oh. Really? Why?
I guess it's just another change in the signs of the times, but I do not agree with it. The system is already buckling under pressure, with the US being over 15 TRILLION in debt, but people should just suck it up, tax the rich some more, and pay for contraceptives for all females in the population. If you don't, then you are accused of being anti-women, or anti-health, or a long list of unsightly names and verbal abuses.
You are accused of wanting to control another woman's body - no, I'm trying to get HER to take control of HER OWN body, thank you very much! Is that so hard to understand?
You get hit with talking points about the high rate of teen pregnancy (hey, guess what, it's also pretty darn high in countries that DO have free or very cheaply available contraceptives), you get hit with blurbs about the high incidence of children born into single poor families and growing up poverty stricken, you get hit with the lessons about how women should be able to have an abortion for any reason because it's their body and they should make that choice alone - but those concepts are turned around on their heads when it comes to contraception - they want it available and they want YOU to pay for it. That does not mesh with my ideas about female independence. If the highest earners around the world are still mainly made up of men, then women are asking men for their freedom at the same time as requiring that these men pay for it. Huh? Complain about how men make more than women, and take part of it away by trying to make laws that the dish out the cash for us. My my , how independent.
But my main point is still this - Women wanted their sexual freedom, they wanted to be more in control of their reproductive system and choose when to become pregnant, they wanted control of their own bodies. They got it - but now are asking you to pay for it, or they will accuse you of wanting to control them. Having control over your own body means HAVING CONTROL. So - if you dont want to get caught up in getting and STD, buy some condoms and use them. If you don't want to become pregnant, carry those condoms around with you in case you met a hot guy and want to follow some Cosmo advice, or get the pill, norplant, depo, mirena IUD, or heck go all out and get your tubes tied or remove the whole thing if you never want children, and BE IN CONTROL of your own body and your own life by PAYING for those items. Don't cry out that we cant manage all of this sexual freedom we fought for by asking others to pay for our daily choices in the bedroom (or in one of the Places To Have Sex listed in the current issue of Cosmo online).