Jeremy Kyle, give women some credit!

So you think you can blog

A SYTYCB entry.

It’s a guilty pleasure and rather cathartic on a sleepy morning, to take my coffee downstairs and vegetate in front of people with worse problems and fewer teeth than me. My name’s Roswell and I’m a Jeremy Kyle-o-holic (but please don’t stop reading here- I draw the line at Jersey Shore.)

It was during a week that focused on DNA testing that I realised the steam was coming from my ears and not my mocha.

Now, there are always going to be accidental pregnancies, and sometimes when there are three possible fathers, two of whom are brothers and the other too drunk to remember having sex with the mother and they’re all claiming there’s a fourth father because the baby inexplicably has ginger hair, the people involved decide to sort the issue out once and for all by making it a spectacle for the British Public (and now also the American public due to JK USA). However, no matter the variables involved, according to JK it is always the father’s fault.

“You should have put something on the end of it!” bellows the grey-suited one.

Actually, looking at Mr Kyle’s suit, his hair and insufferably smug manner, I have started to worry that he is actually a bad caricature of a 50s man who somehow fell through time and has no idea how he got here. Either way, women have a problem, as despite the rather attractive vintage revival going on at the moment, this is not the 50s, and we do not live our lives as the property of our fathers before becoming the property of our husbands!
While I’m sure that for five minutes it could be a hilarious thing to make as many bad decisions as possible and just blame our surrounding men, I for one wouldn’t fancy spending the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of the day being treated like a sex-crazy and slightly stupid china doll.

We have the right to vote, (or rather, the right to choose whether or not to vote but that’s another rant) but if the wrong candidate gets in, men aren’t to blame for not checking on us and guiding us to the right person!

In the western world, we have the right to decide what to do about an unwanted pregnancy. “My body, my choice“, scream the posters- of course they do because if we find ourselves pregnant it should be up to us and not the man who produced the sperm to choose the best option. (Though I hope that in a committed relationship, a discussion would at least take place). And so I have to wonder whether the word ‘responsibility’ should have a place on that poster as well.

We take care of our bodies: we feed them, we can get smear tests and check our breasts for cancer, we can decide what to do if we find an extra body where there isn’t one wanted and since the 60’s when the pill was introduced, we have been offered power over our reproductive system. And as the wise Ben Parker (Spiderman’s uncle, words written by Stan Lee) said, “with great power must also come great responsibility”.

There are now myriad ways we can try to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the best thing is that many are tamper-proof and only rely on us! I know that very occasionally contraception fails but I certainly find it an empowering feeling taking that tiny little pill every day, safe in the knowledge that I have a safety net of my own making and should it break, I can take myself to the doctor for a morning-after pill. My body, my responsibility- for I wouldn’t entrust it to anyone else!

On the other hand, until the male pill appears (in the making, apparently) men have only one way of trying to prevent their wife/girlfriend/fuckbuddy/one night stand from becoming pregnant, and it’s only 97% effective!

I’m far from anti-condom. Of course it’s a good idea to wear one- of course other methods of contraception don’t prevent STIs, but still there are exceptions to the rule. In many long-term relationships there comes a point when heat-of-the-moment slippery fumbling for a condom packet becomes less giggly and more irritating, and so reproductive responsibility shifts solely to the women because guess what: we deserve this level of control! Not that we needed to, but women have proven time and time again that we are more than capable of looking after ourselves. Owning our bodies is absolutely our right and when accidents happen (as they sometimes do), we have options, and we can pick one alone… if we choose to do so.

So WHY is it that Jeremy does not bellow at those possessing a X chromosome that they should have put something on the end of it?? I believe that learning to put a condom on a man (and telling him ‘no glove, no love’) is a life skill equal to money management and having an argument without involving your fists!

More than once, a man has whimpered “but she told me she was on the pill…” I can’t imagine being trapped like that and believe that tricking a man into becoming an unwitting sperm bank should be against the law… but having informed the man of his stupidity, does Jeremy ever round on the woman in the next chair over her absence of morals? Does he, hell.

“You, boy, still should have put something on the end of it!”

While this is probably good hindsight, is it really a man’s job to take responsibility for a woman’s reproductive system? Anyone who is outraged at the idea must conclude that we must at least share the responsibility for ensuring we do not get pregnant unless we wish to!

Jeremy Kyle, we are not mindless vessels that men can just ‘get pregnant’- we bear responsibility at least in part for that outcome and while for the woman on stage it may be nice to hear you exercising your vocal cords at someone who is not her, please credit her with some responsibility too. She’s strong enough to take it.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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