Weekly Feminist Reader

What’s behind the birth-control price spike?
A hilarious review of “daddy” comedies.
On the serious harassment problems with a high school ROTC instructor in Tennessee: “Flash your breasts at the chief and you could smoke cigarettes on campus, students alleged in statements to investigators. Run topless in the gymnasium during an unauthorized sleepover and the chief turned a blind eye to drinking rum in a West High restroom.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez decries the trend in his country of teenagers getting boob jobs.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye.
Iraqi refugee women and girls are being forced into prostitution in Syria.
Ok, ok, I know it’s Rush Limabaugh and I should expect this. Still.
Jodie Foster talks about her latest role as a woman avenging a group of men who assaulted her. She says:

But is there a streak of feminist empowerment in your character’s actions? A cop in the film says, “Women kill their friends, husbands, shit they love.” You kill strangers in the street.
Such a big part of the female psyche is that we hate inwards. What if there was a woman who said, “I’m not going to be that kind of victim. I’m not going to hurt myself, I’m going to hurt you.” What would that feel like? This was no feminist design on my part — although I call myself a feminist — but that’s exhilarating to women who see this movie.

The fembot, reconsidered in light of the new Bionic Woman show and those awful Heineken ads.
A conference this weekend devotes itself to advancing the science for a male birth control pill.
Clarence Thomas says of Anita Hill, “She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed. That’s not the person I knew.” In other words, that sexual harassment was totally warranted! If you’re not demure, you can expect it.
On what happens when the Tyra Banks show tries to tackle the topic of women and porn.
Congress approves yet another 90-day funding extension for abstinence-only programs.

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116 Comments

  1. piotrek
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    “avenging a group of men who assaulted her”. It had to be very convoluted kind of action: the men assaulted her, then they got killed/maimed/whatever, and then the heroine avenged the men by punishing people who did the whatever.
    After the convoluted reasoning of Rush Limbaugh anything seems possible. Men show confidence by being more interested in using tools for removing errors. If women were more prone to use debuggers, it could be attributed to their lack of confidence. Moreover, I am a man, I do remove errors from my programs every so often, and usually I find that debugger is useless. It is really a meaningless aspect of programming style. It is like: do you patch things with duct tape, or with baling wire?

  2. alawaric
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Clarence Thomas says of Anita Hill, “She was not the demure, religious, conservative person that they portrayed. That’s not the person I knew.” In other words, that sexual harassment was totally warranted! If you’re not demure, you can expect it.
    I’m sorry Ann, but this just seems like a totally dishonest characterization here. He didn’t say anything like that at all. Shame on you.

  3. maeve314
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to disappoint you, Rush, but the bra WASN’T invented by a man. It was Mary Phelps Jacobs.

  4. noname
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    aleric is correct. Ann’s representation of Thomas’ remarks is way off-base.

  5. UltraMagnus
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    And didn’t I read somewhere that it was female nurses who came up with the awesome idea to have the male doctors wash their hands so they didn’t spread infections? Then again, that was just them being naggy and bitchy.
    I totally enjoyed the review of the “daddy” comedies, but, and I’m going to reverse MRA(tm) here but, WHAT ABOUT THE WOMENZ!?! Let’s not forget all the “cute kid changes adult” comedies include the career woman who had no time for kids (or didn’t want kids) but then had them thrust upon her (by her selfish sister going and dying on her for christ’s sake) and then low and behold! Even though her life is thrown into total turmoil, even though she never asked for (and in some cases didn’t want) kids, BY GOD MAN SHE LOVES THEM!! And she realizes what she’s been missing this ENTIRE TIME is the love of a little one. And her heart is filled with joy. *sigh* [/sarcasm]
    And I watched Violet Blue’s vlog and man, I didn’t like Tyra before but now I don’t know if I can even stomach looking at her.

  6. Posted September 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    It was pretty sad that Rush talked about the lack of contributions from women in computer science, going on about “debugging,” with a pronounced lack of awareness that Grace Hopper (early pioneer in computing and the developer of the first compiler for a programming language) is often credited with coining the term “computer bug.”

  7. Interrobang
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Jix, Grace Hopper did invent the term “computer bug.” The notebook with the moth attached to it is in a museum. I’d say the two other big-time women in computing who come to mind are Lady Ada Lovelace and Gail Thackeray. There are any number of pretty high-level female computer scientists doing good work now, but a lot of them aren’t yet in the stage of their careers where they have gotten lots of recognition.
    Part of that is, of course, that the culture of computing is (overall) a mystery-religion dominated by men. I’m a female software tester and technical writer. I work for a small computer firm, and the only other woman in the place is the office administrator…
    Besides which, Rushbo doesn’t know a debugger from a hole in the ground.

  8. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Jodie Foster is hot.
    So is male birth control.
    (There are my deep comments for today)

  9. JenLovesPonies
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I really do hope we can get a male birth control, if only to stop the pro-lifers from whining about how women get a choice to have an abortion and men don’t get any choices blah blah blah. And yet, whenever there are surveys, men are nervous about going on male pills. Duh, boys, we are trying to give you a choice, and you dont want side effects.

  10. LebAnonymous
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071001/ap_on_re_us/single_gender_classes
    You should add that link on there.
    Apparently, South Carolina thinks that boys do better in schools when assigned to read action novels while girls do better when they “evaluate makeup for science projects.”
    Approximately.

  11. FemiDancer
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    From Limbaugh:
    “I want to know how it works so if something goes wrong I can fix it, or I can describe to the tech what it’s doing wrong so he can fix it fast. Women don’t care. It better come on when you turn it on, and if it doesn’t, there will be hell to pay. There won’t be any curiosity about why it doesn’t work. There will just be anger. This is not anything to do with intelligence. It just has to be with different ways that they use their time.”
    Yes, I, as a woman, hate technology and have no desire to learn how it works. If my computer isn’t working, I just have my boyfriend fix it and complain about my make-up smearing when I cry about it being broken…This idea that women are dull home-makers who have no innate curiousity regarding the world around them kills me.
    Side note: I showed my boyfriend the article on male pills, because he had talked positively about them before. In reaction to the article he says, “I don’t want to take any hormonal pills.” I told him all of the male bc pills they are working on deal with hormones, and I take hormones 3 weeks out of every 4. He said that he had read recently about a non-hormonal pill. Has anyone heard of research on a non-hormonal male pill? I’m still slightly pissed at the “I won’t put hormones in my body but I’ll enjoy the freedom we have while you put some into yours.”

  12. oenophile
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Re: the male Pill.
    Yeah, well, no kidding, they don’t want side effects. Women don’t, either.
    For y’all who think that this will stop pro-life talking points… um, yeah, talk about missing the point. The whole sexist notion of a girl “getting herself pregnant” is out the window the day this thing comes on the market.
    As for women trusting their male partners to take it: I’m disappointed that this is framed as a battle of the sexes thing, or a “men are irresponsible” thing. After all, men trust women to take the Pill every day; why is it different?
    Personally, I like the idea of a male Pill because it distributes the biological risks between the two partners in a much more equitable manner. Before such a thing, there would be NO drawbacks for men; women, however, would have the physical problems associated with contraception and the risk (no matter how slight) of pregnancy.
    This is also a great back-up method of contraception. Male Pill + female Pill (or variant) + condom = no pregnancy.

  13. JenLovesPonies
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Oeniphile, I was speaking specifically about the idea pro-lifers (and MRAs, for that matter) often talk about- that it is unfair that, once a woman is pregnant, she is the one that gets to make the decision about the pregnancy and the man has no say. Don’t worry, you can still think we are all ripping fully grown babies out of the womb and slaughtering them to make our slut stew, but at least men won’t be putting women in that position to make abortion decisions, or making men pay child support for life (cause men don’t have any choices, ya’ll).
    As for women trusting men to take the pill verses men trusting women, the sad fact is that women are always going to suffer the burden of the pregnancy. A man can run, and he can hide, and he can escape paying child support, but a woman can’t hide from her own uterus. This is why it would be different.

  14. Mina
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    “As for women trusting men to take the pill verses men trusting women…”
    Maybe someday there will be couples in which both he and she are on the pill because neither trusts the othr one to take it regularly enough?

  15. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    JenLovesPonies — Hate men much? The survey I’ve read shows two-thirds of men would be interested in taking a male pill. Of course men would worry about side effects; I’m sure would did too when the female pill was introduced.

  16. SassyGirl
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    “Don’t worry, you can still think we are all ripping fully grown babies out of the womb and slaughtering them to make our slut stew”
    Yummm, slut stew! Can I get your recipe ;) ?

  17. JenLovesPonies
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t hate men. Every time there is an article about mbc, the author will interview men, and they almost always qualify their “I would take it” with “as long as there are no side effects”, if they don’t flat-out reject the idea. In my own life, every man I have ever asked has said the same thing.
    I like men- I date them and befriend them. Right now, I am dating a man who is very forgetful. He doesn’t mean to be, and he’s otherwise smart, but if he can’t even remember to take his cell phone with him places, how could I trust him to remember a pill?
    And for the record, I am on the NuvaRing precisely because I couldn’t take a daily pill either. I dont carry a purse, really, so I never had my pills with me, even if I remembered I needed to take them.

  18. werechick
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Even if they each trust each other, they might both still be on their respective forms of the pill as a “just in case my partner’s fails” back up plan. It seems reasonable. Plus, I guess if each had a daily pill, they would remind each other.

  19. Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Maybe since I’m no physiologist, I’m missing why it’s “more difficult to turn off sperm production than egg production”: after all, egg production is something that is pretty much already happened long before puberty even whereas sperm production is a continuous process.
    It is true that it is more difficult to put a hormonal wrench in egg maturation/release than in sperm production, because only one or a small number of eggs get released at a time in the first place, and this under the control of an easily disrupted hormonal cycle (the disruption of which generally is considered to be a benefit of b/c rather than a problematic side effect) whereas disruption of the hormonal control of continuous sperm production would involve hormones having problematic side effects and not be as effective anyway.
    But why need we limit ourselves to hormonal-based b/c for men. The fact that sperm are continuously being produced and that this production involves so many delicate steps — meiosis, packing of DNA, etc. — unique to spermatogenisis means that there are many druggable targets to disrupt in the sperm production process (which targets don’t exist in oogenisis as the key steps have already happened before the desired point of b/c administration).
    Perhaps it’s because I’m in the wrong field of biology (as a biochemist, I can only understand life when its ground up, separated into purified components and placed, in solution, in a test tube), but it seems to me that spermatogenisis offers many targets for b/c that simply don’t exist in oogenisis … that, while hormonal b/c might not really work for males, the opportunities for non-hormonal b/c are legion in males whereas they are all but non-existent for women (what can you do if a woman simply can’t handle hormonal b/c?) …
    I see male b/c as an opportunity not a challenge … so why is the b/c development community so stuck on trying to develop a male (hormonal) pill just like the female (hormonal) pill, when spermatogenisis offers so many targets for b/c development even if it’s more difficult to stop using a hormonal b/c pill?

  20. isfa
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Re: Justice Thomas
    I was actually blown away by the Thomas interview. It was fascinating. I am far from a fan of his jurisprudence, but as a human being he has a fascinating life story. I think his point wasn’t that she “deserved it” but that if she had been harassed, she would not have been the type of person to keep quiet about harassment for ten years.

  21. Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’m still slightly pissed at the “I won’t put hormones in my body but I’ll enjoy the freedom we have while you put some into yours.” – Femidancer
    I am agnostic as to whether the double standard is one of sexism (female cycles are something that needs to be fixed whereas there is nothing hormonal that needs to be fixed in a man), just an opposition to sexuality in general (female hormonal b/c = no periods … male hormonal b/c = man being more, um, male, so to speak) or if there is something biologically sound here (arguably women are not “designed” to have so many periods, so female b/c really is a good thing, and not just for b/c purposes … OTOH, it’s not for nothing we discourage androgenic steroid use — outside of some hypothetical male b/c pill) … but for a woman to take a hormonal pill is quite different (in terms of social constructs and likely in terms of biology as well) than for a man to do so.
    It isn’t just a case of “it’s ok if you, a woman, take hormonal b/c, but I’m not taking that #$%&” … the male hormones involved have potentially a very different effect on men than women — i.e. any side effects of the male pill will be, either for social or perhaps bona fide physiological reasons, “bad”, whereas the chief side effect of the female pill is generally considered (for either social or physiological reasons) to be more of a feature than a bug.
    So, while I don’t want to discount the double standard here — “I won’t put hormones in my body but I’ll enjoy the freedom we have while you put some into yours” is not so much a statement of personal sexism as it sounds — we’re talking about two very different (obviously) sets of hormones here!

  22. Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Oy … need to learn to proofread …
    It is true that it is more difficult to put a hormonal wrench in egg maturation/release than in sperm production
    obviously should read:
    It is true that it is more difficult to put a hormonal wrench in sperm production than in egg maturation/release

  23. Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    So, according to Rush Limbaugh, the important point in judging one’s group vis-a-vis technological innovation are their historic contributions to computer science?
    I guess then we should be proclaiming the technological superiority of homosexual men, then. I do seem to remember Alan Turing having a lot to do with computer science.

  24. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    JLP – Well, I’m already on Crestor and Propecia, so one more pill wouldn’t be a big deal. But I’d still probably want to wait a year or three after any “male pill” came out before taking it, just to amke sure that any side effects don’t include things like heart attack, stroke, cancer or shrunken gonads. There’s decades of research on the female pill — I know some women do experience unpleasant side effects, but they stop once they go off the pill, right? And doesn’t it also cut the risk of cancer?

  25. SarahMC
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    How come whenever a woman points out the fact that women have more to lose if they forget their BC and that because of that many men are unwilling to take hormonal BC, she’s labeled a “man hater?”
    I don’t care how long we’ve been together or how much I trust him; I will never leave pregnancy prevention in the hands of the man I’m sleeping with. If he forgets to take a pill, I’M the one who’ll be pregnant.
    Men simply have less to lose when it comes to pregnancy prevention, and I think that would affect how careful men would be about taking BC perfectly. Not that they’d take it at all, since they’re not cool with putting hormones into their bodies.

  26. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    RE: Sexism and Male Birth Control.
    I don’t think that sexism is main reason there isn’t a hormonal male birth control, or why men are nervous about taking them.
    To some extent, most female birth control pills mimic what the body does naturally. When pregnant or lactating, women’s bodies naturally suppress ovulation through regulation of their hormonal profiles.
    There is no real equivalent hormonal effect for males that I am aware of. Older males produce less testosterone which ultimately lowers sperm count, but that is because testosterone wears down the body – there is no on/off hormonal switch to sperm production in men like the on/off switch for ovulation in women.
    Of course women should be concerned and aware of the potential effects of hormonal birth control. It would worry me if I was a woman. But a hormonal pill is especially worrisome for men because nothing hormonal like that exists naturally for men.
    As DAS points out, there might be a different mechanism for stopping sperm production.

  27. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    “Not that they’d take it at all, since they’re not cool with putting hormones into their bodies.”
    That’s good. They shouldn’t be cool with it, not without a great deal of evidence backing up its safety.

  28. under_zenith
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    And male contraception is a difficult sell to pharmaceutical companies. “It’s taking normal young men without a disease and testing a drug in them for years — that’s an issue,”
    But doing the same thing with a normal young woman, that’s just fine.
    I think a male bc pill would be pretty neat, but personally I’d rather not leave bc up to my partner. Not that I don’t trust him, but I’m the one who has to go through pregnancy and childbirth (or have an abortion) if the bc fails, so I’d sooner not put it in somebody else’s hands. I think if there were a male pill though, my partner would probably take it as backup in case mine fails (we’re not fond of condoms).

  29. buggle
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Alaric- calling a woman a man-hater on a feminist blog? NOT cool.
    And why would it be worse/riskier for a man to take hormones than for a woman? How would you even know that, at this point?
    DAS- the major side effect from the pill is a “feature?” What side effect are you talking about?

  30. Jem
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The first time I heard about the possibility of MBC, I was in high school, and it was through an article that included an interview with a young woman who was forgetful enough not to trust herself with taking the pill. Instead, she gave the responsibility of keeping track to her boyfriend, who was as adamant as she was not to have a baby. He actually kept a timer, and she never missed a dose. I thought that was great (in spite of the tone of the article). I still think that is great. So perhaps I am in the idealistic minority, but I do think that some men understand the enormous responsibilities that come with having a child and understand that they are not ready, and will do whatever it takes (those nifty pill ‘alarms’ that were posted here come to mind) to not become a father. Of course women risk the most, but this isn’t something that is akin to forgetting to lock the front door at night, this is a serious matter – absent-mindedness is not acceptable in my book, not when it comes to my body and our lives, and frankly those kinds of excuses indicate a huge lack of responsibility. I don’t think I would want to be with a man who I could not trust with our family planning. I am sticking with giving men the benefit of the doubt on this one.
    As for side-effects, I kind of understand that fear but still feel like that’s a piss-poor excuse. Why? Because in spite of the decades of research that someone referenced above, there is still a lot that is not known about FBC and while some studies show a cut in the risk to cancer, others actually show a spike after many years of pill taking. All this means to me is that nothing is absolutely certain, our bodies are still guinea pigs, our bodies process substances differently many (if not most of the) times, and there will always be people with predispositions to certain diseases with or w/o drugs like the pill. Lots of what if’s – so to get back to the topic of MBC side-effects, one, two, 5+ years after it is made available, I guarantee you that scientists will still be debating its side effects just like they do now with FBC.

  31. FemiDancer
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    DAS: Thank you for the well-written post. I agree that women see a lot of positive aspects of bc, whereas men’s hormonal birth control might have more negative effects in general, and I certainly would not want my SO taking something that hadn’t been thoroughly researched. However, I have had problems with hormonal birth control. A few months ago I had to up my dose because before that I was having significant breakthrough bleeding and sometimes two periods a month. Now that I’ve upped my birth control, I’ve gained ten pounds and go through strange cycles where almost everything makes me cry. I also have a mother who died of breast cancer that was considered to be possibly genetic, and breast cancer risks increase for women while they are on the pill and five years after they get off the pill, so hormonal bc isn’t the best option for me. So, if the male pill comes out and is hormonal, is well tested for possible negative effects down the road and has fewer negative effects for my bf than for me, I would like for him to be open to that option.

  32. Posted October 1, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    And why would it be worse/riskier for a man to take hormones than for a woman? How would you even know that, at this point?
    DAS- the major side effect from the pill is a “feature?” What side effect are you talking about?
    – buggle
    Of course, it’s speculative as to how side-effects for a targetted, hormone-like b/c pill for men would compare to the b/c pill for women, but considering the general effects of giving adrogens (to either men or women) — e.g. ‘roid rage, heart problems, etc. — vs. the very low appearent (c.f. Jem’s comment) side-effects of the female pill.
    And this stands to reason, as UCLAbodyimage points out — the female pill mimics the hormonal changes that occur in women without any medical intervention. The male (hormonal pill) OTOH …
    As to specifically the side-effect to which I was referring: I was referring to inhibition of menstration.
    Anyway, though … I still don’t get why non-hormonal male b/c pills aren’t being pursued more actively. There are potentially many interesting drug targets in sperm development; and, once a (non-hormonal … again, would you really want your male partner on ‘roids?) pill is produced, it’ll be a blockbuster. So why isn’t there more of a push? Why are people so stuck on this paradigm of “a pill for something involving teh sex must be based on a sex hormone”?

  33. Posted October 1, 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    FemiDancer,
    My mom couldn’t take b/c, either. Actually, I think that one advantage of trying to develop a male pill is that inhibition of sperm production would seem to be a far easier pharmacological target than doing something with the development of eggs, which is pretty much all done (except for some final maturation steps entirely under hormonal control). I.e. while in women you’re pretty much limitted to hormonal b/c, in theory, you could very easily develop non-hormonal b/c for men.
    Which is why I am puzzled to read an article about male b/c that seems to be focusing only on hormonal b/c (in fact a quick perusal of wikipedia indicates that there are indeed a variety of leads, both hormonal and non-hormonal for male b/c compounds!).

  34. buggle
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the idea of looking for hormonal AND non-hormonal birth control, both for men and women.
    I disagree strongly, however, that it is somehow worse for a man to take hormones than for a woman. That is just silly. Sure, there are nice side effects to the pill for some women, but not for all. Also, there are tons of bad side effects that cause many women to not be able to use hormonal birth control. Men would likely experience a similar thing-some of them would find good side effects, some would find intolerable ones. Just like women.
    So I’m really not buying this “oh noes, the pill would be so BAD for the menz!” I call BS on that. I think that’s all about men’s fears about taking a pill, which is BS since women have been taking dangerous hormones for decades.
    I really don’t know what UCLA is trying to say with his whole “the hormonal methods mimic what happens to women naturally.” What does that mean? When I put these hormones in my body, they cause something to happen that does NOT happen naturally. If it happened naturally, I wouldn’t need my IUD. It sounds like UCLA (and others) are trying to say that there is something “natural” about women taking hormones, but something “bad” about men taking hormones. I’m not sure what’s up with that?
    Just FYI DAS, not all women have inhibition of their periods with hormonal methods. And not all women would want that, either. I have an IUD, so after a year and a half, I went from a 6-7 day period that was very heavy, to a 2 day light period. Nice! But it doesn’t happen like that for every woman. When I was on the pill, I just had my same old cycle. Just to clarify.

  35. DrkEyedCajn
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Buggle, I think what UCLA is trying to say is that hormonal birth control mimics the effect of pregnancy, which stops ovulation. Which is what my ob/gyn told me back in the day, so if that’s wrong, someone please correct me. Isn’t that what causes all the other fun side effects, like morning sickness and sore breasts? (It’s a joy, guys, let me tell you.)
    I can also see how it’s easier to stop one egg, once a month, by mimicking a natural process, than it is to stop the emissions of millions of sperm every time a man has an orgasm.
    That said, Teh Menz saying “I don’t want to take birth control because it might make me uncomfortable!” is a slap in the face to all us wimminz who have put up with the unpleasant side effects of hormonal birth control for, oh, 40 or 50 years now.

  36. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    buggle – Y’know, in retrospect, I do think that my comment was a little shrill.
    That said, it’s completely legitimate to worry about side effects with any new drug, esp. considering what happened with Vioxx. Of course you wouldn’t know whether male b/c is worse/riskier than female b/c, that’s the point, I think many people would hesitate to take a new drug until it has been on the market for a little bit and proven safe.
    I disagree strongly, however, that it is somehow worse for a man to take hormones than for a woman. That is just silly.
    Umm … you’re talking about a pill that is completely hypothetical at this point. Your comment is the one that’s silly. Until it’s clear how a male b/c pill would work, you can’t say whether it would better or worse for men, or ignore the possibility that there might be long-term side effects far worse than with female b/c.
    The reason why JLP’s comment irked me is that there seems to be a trend on this site of dismissing, trivializing and belittling male concerns. If guys are made uncomfortable by breast-feeding, it’s because we want those breasts for ourselves. If guys are insecure about dating a woman who makes three times our salary, it’s cause we suck. If guys might hesitate taking an unknown pill because of side effects, it’s because we’re silly. Sigh…

  37. Melissa Rose
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Anybody notice how in the Rush transcript, Hillary didn’t laugh, she “cackled?”
    Hey Rush, I think your language bias is showing…

  38. buggle
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Alaric-I’m glad you recognize that calling a feminist on a feminist site, a man-hater, is not appropriate behavior.
    As to the “silly” comment- you and other males here are the ones all worried about a pill that doesn’t exist, and the potential side effects that may or may not exist. I’m not ignoring the possibility that a male b.c. pill might have worse side effects, it’s just pointless to discuss at this point. Since the pill doesn’t exist.
    As to you feeling dismissed here-well, sorry, but if you are uncomfortable by breast-feeding, that is YOURS to deal with. That is YOUR issue, not the breast-feeding woman’s. Same with the dating situation-that is YOUR issue.
    It is not silly to “hesitate taking an unknown pill because of side effects.” That’s not what I was calling silly. I was saying it was silly to jump to the conclusion that it would be worse for men than women. THAT is silly. You just don’t know! Yet you and UCLA are assuming that it would be worse for men. Even though the pill doesn’t exist.
    Cajun- I am still confused. I mean, I understand your explanation, and I’m sure that’s what UCLA was referring to-but being pregnant is not a natural state for me, or for most women. Hmm, I don’t think I am expressing this right.
    I guess it all just smells like excuses to me- and that slap in the face that you mentioned-right on. It’s totally true. That’s what I’m reacting to-this idea that god forbid any man take something that might have side effects.

  39. ShelbyWoo
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    DAS & UCLA: I realize you guys are trying to defend a man’s position for not wanting to take hormonal birth control and your points are valid.
    However, the reality is, most of the men that have the knee-jerk reaction of “I’m not taking a birth control pill!” have no idea how female hormonal B/C works (and it’s been around for a long time), much less male hormonal B/C. You are discussing things that that the average joe just doesn’t know or care about, but think is ok for their female SO to use(again, even though they don’t know or care to know how it works). That makes it sexist.
    If these men put as much thought into it as you two, we’d have a variety of male B/C to choose from, but, sadly, they don’t.

  40. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    buggle – No, I think it’s fair to call people who express hatred (of men or women) on it. And there’s no reason why that should be any more or less appropriate on a feminist site.
    I’m not assuming that the side effects would be worse for men than for women. I’m just saying that until we know what the side effects are, it’s legitimate to be concerned about it.
    Re: dating and breast-feeding … not particularly issues that keep me up at night, honestly. It is not that I personally feel dismissed; I think there is a tendency here to sometimes dismiss the male position on anything. It’s basically, “You don’t even have a right to feel this way.” Which is somewhat anti-male, IMHO.

  41. SarahMC
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I can think of a bunch of men who frequent this site & aren’t dismissed. It’s because they aren’t sexists. :shrug:
    If your sexist attitudes aren’t your fault, maybe you should sit down and think really hard about *why*, really *why* breastfeeding, the dating issue, etc. makes you or other men uncomfortable.

  42. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, it is not that I personally feel dismissed. I just think it is odd how male concerns are so frequently belittled here. Your comment goes to my point — maybe you need to think really hard and try to understand why men might find public breastfeeding uncomfortable, or why dating a woman with a higher net worth would be intimidating, rather than dismissing those concerns as “sexist attitudes.”
    I mean, heaven forbid that guys worry about taking the side effects of a new drug! That’s sooo horrible and sexist of them!
    P.S. Shelbywoo – I don’t know how a lot of prescription drugs work, including the two that I take daily. And I wish I had the power to create new drugs just by thinking about them!

  43. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    BUGGLE: “UCLA was referring to-but being pregnant is not a natural state for me, or for most women. Hmm, I don’t think I am expressing this right.”
    I know what you are trying to say. There are two ways that the body suppresses ovulation (both hormonal). The first is pregnancy.
    The second is “lactational amenorrhea”. After women give birth, as long as they keep nursing, they will stop ovulating. This is an evolved adaptation to preven women from having too many young children back-to-back because of the hardships associated with having multiple fragile offspring.
    So it’s actually unnatural to be having as many ovulatory cycles as most Western women do, because the windows in which women in hunter-gather societies are most often pregnant or nursing for the majority of their reproductive years.
    http://www.fhi.org/en/RH/FAQs/lam_faq.htm

  44. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    SHELBY: “DAS & UCLA: I realize you guys are trying to defend a man’s position for not wanting to take hormonal birth control and your points are valid.
    However, the reality is, most of the men that have the knee-jerk reaction of “I’m not taking a birth control pill!” have no idea how female hormonal B/C works (and it’s been around for a long time), much less male hormonal B/C. ”
    I think there is a lot of truth in what you are saying. I think that’s one of the two main reasons guys would react that way.
    The other main reason (or at least my reaction) is that I would be scared to try a new drug, especially one that might harm my reproductive organs. It’s fear of the new with unknown risk to me vs. knowing that birth control for women has been around for a long time without any consistent seriuos side effects for most women.

  45. DrkEyedCajn
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    UCLA, I don’t think most men, or their partners, or actually most posters here on Feministing, would advocate a male birth control pill, if said pill makes your wang fall off. I think we would all agree that the pill, or whatever method, should be tested for safety first, just like any drug.
    Please understand the source of our celebration at the news: it gives us hope that guys might be able to contribute to family planning with more than abstinence or a condom.

  46. Peepers
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, too bad it’s a crap-shoot to find out whether or not you are one of “most women.” The stakes, in addition to the crap FemiDancer pointed out, include incapacitating migraines and projectile vomiting.
    Folks like to discuss the female pill as if it were as simple and carefree as popping a handful of Skittles. It’s not.

  47. alawaric
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Well, I think if you could guarantee that a male pill had similar side effects for most men as it does for most women, guys would be excited to try it. I know I would.

  48. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    “Please understand the source of our celebration at the news: it gives us hope that guys might be able to contribute to family planning with more than abstinence or a condom.”
    I agree!

  49. DrkEyedCajn
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    …”had similar side effects for most men as it does for most women…”
    Hee. The vindictive side of me would LOVE to have a man experience the kind of morning sickness and mood swings that “adjusting” to BC caused me.

  50. Mina
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    “I know what you are trying to say. There are two ways that the body suppresses ovulation (both hormonal). The first is pregnancy.
    “The second is ‘lactational amenorrhea’. After women give birth, as long as they keep nursing, they will stop ovulating. This is an evolved adaptation to preven women from having too many young children back-to-back because of the hardships associated with having multiple fragile offspring.
    “So it’s actually unnatural to be having as many ovulatory cycles as most Western women do, because the windows in which women in hunter-gather societies are most often pregnant or nursing for the majority of their reproductive years.”
    You forgot the third reason: starvation.

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