Recently, I saw this article posted on one of my friend’s wall on Facebook. Now, I originally clicked it because the title of the link was “The Left’s War on Women”. Of course that title intrigued me, considering the left is generally known for protecting and advancing women’s rights. Now, I also knew that this friend (and a few of her other friends) consider themselves to be feminists. I’ve heard them say quite often that they believe men and women should be treated equally. However, they are quite vehemently against abortion, contraceptive rights, and pre-marital sex (just to name a few). While a lot of these views have to do with their religious upbringing, they expect everyone else to hold the same views even if they are not Catholic. They view these as political notions rather than what they truly are, religious dogma. However, that itself is another topic, so I will get back to my point. If you haven’t read the article I linked, you should do that right now before reading my response to it.
Now, on to the article itself. It is written by a white, cis male (I actually have no idea what his sexual orientation is, but considering his religious and conservative background, he would never admit to being gay if he was. So basically he identifies as a heterosexual, not that he necessarily is), who has the highest level of privilege among any other social groups. This being said, I am not quite sure how he is qualified to talk about gender inequalities, having most likely never experienced them himself before. Ok, now down to the actual article itself. One of the, if not THE, main topic(s) of this article is that “The real war on women is being waged by those who refuse to treat women as women and men as men.” he uses this as an argument against contraceptives saying that “men don’t need pills to make themselves equal.” The problem with the latter statement is that men don’t need to do anything to equalize themselves with women. (They also can’t get pregnant if we are talking cis males, which I am assuming is the only type of males this author would actually accept as a male.) Men aren’t the ones being oppressed. I’m sure we’ve all heard that on average, women get paid 77.6 cents to every man’s dollar. However, it is even lower for African American women who earn 67.7 cents to every man’s dollar, and Latinas who receive 58.7. The author says that all men and women are created equal. It is lovely to think this, but just by saying it, does not in fact make it true. Along with the unequal pay, women have to worry about things that men (specifically cis males, since that is where the author is coming from) rarely do. Of course there is the period, but that’s not really oppressing women on a political scale (just a painful one). Women grow up learning to protect themselves from men. Never wear revealing clothing so that men don’t get the wrong idea. Never walk home/to your car alone at night or you might fall victim to assault. Of course, the worst of all is that of rape society which uses slut shaming as an excuse to rape. The insane idea that if a woman is raped, she was asking for it because of her attitudes, behavior, or clothing. Woman (as the majority of rape victims) cannot stop rape. Only rapists (generally men) can do this. So that is another important way that men and women are unfortunately not equal. This article blames contraception for gender inequalities. Coming from a strict religious background, I would argue that sex shaming contributes far more than anything else to gender inequalities. Girls are taught that they should grow up to be a housewife and produce lots of kids for their lovely husband. The author blames the media for contributing to the sexualized image of women. I’m actually going to agree (finally) with him on this one. However, he even pointed this out, the media is run by mostly men. Therefore men are making the decisions to portray women this way. I fail to see how he can blame the Woman’s Right Movement for this when, as he pointed out, women have very little say in media.
Last, but certainly not least, this author fails to realize that there are other uses for contraception besides preventing pregnancy. Many women use it to regulate their periods (which isn’t just convenient, it can be life saving in some cases if women are having too frequent or too long of periods). It can also help with other issues such as cancer, acne, cysts, etc. So I fail to see how “contraception does not help women” as it has so many health benefits. Also, I don’t understand why contraception is not covered by health insurances when it has so many health benefits, when Viagra, which has no health benefits (aside from its ability to help men have sex, which isn’t as necessary as say… CANCER or anemia) is covered under the majority of health insurances. So if men can have a pill to aid them in having sex, then why shouldn’t women have one to protect them from unplanned pregnancy and many other health conditions?