Because Birth Control Changed the Social Contract Between Men & Women

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 08:58
Submitted by Carlin Ross

Sara Robinson's piece Why Patriarchal Men are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control and Why We'll Still be Fighting About It 100 Years From Now is a must read.

She's boiled down the contraception debate to it's essence: birth control changed the social contract between men and women:

"Contraception was the single necessary key that opened the door to the whole new universe of activities that had always been zealously monopolized by the men — education, the trades, the arts, government, travel, spiritual and cultural leadership, and even (eventually) war making.

That one fact, that one technological shift, is now rocking the foundations of every culture on the planet — and will keep rocking it for a very long time to come. It is, over time, bringing a louder and prouder female voice into the running of the world’s affairs at every level, creating new conversations and new priorities in areas where the men long ago thought things were settled and understood. It's bending our understanding of what sex is about, and when and with whom we can have it -- a wrinkle that created new frontiers for gay folk as well. It may well prove to the be the one breakthrough most responsible for the survival of the human race, and the future viability of the planet.

But perhaps most critically for us right now: mass-produced, affordable, reliable contraception has shredded the ages-old social contracts between men and women, and is forcing us all (willing or not) into wholesale re-negotiations on a raft of new ones."

And she's boiled down the backlash women are suffering across the globe and the rise of religious fundamentalism focused on regulating women's bodies:

"That same frantic panic over the loss of the ancient bargain also lies at the core of the worldwide rash of fundamentalist religions. Modern industrial economies have undermined the authority of men both in the public sphere and in the private realms; and since they're limited in how far they can challenge it in the external world, they've turned women's bodies into the symbolic battlefield on which their anxieties over this play out. Drill down to the very deepest center of any of these movements, and you'll find men who are experiencing this change as a kind of personal annihilation, a loss of masculine identity so deep that they are literally interpreting it as the end of the world.

They are, above everything else, desperate to get their women back under firm control. And in their minds, things will not be right again until they’re assured that the girls are locked up even more tightly, so they will never, ever get away like that again."

Affordable and accessible contraception is a fundamental human right. Growing up in a fundamentalist religious household, I knew that education was my ticket out of a life where I'd be barefoot and pregnant. I refused to be the second sex. I was better than that and birth control enabled me to put myself through college and law school.  Planned Parenthood was my healthcare.

In the wake of SCOTUS's Hobby Lobby decision, it's pretty clear that the male establishment won't give up without a fight but you can't control 51% of the population forever.  And if we unlock women's orgasmic capacity - WATCH THE FUCK OUT.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Tear up the contracts

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 19:03

When I first saw this piece, I wondered what sort of retrograde human being could possibly be against birth control. And then I remembered the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head because she insisted on having an education. The man who fired that shot is the kind of man who, as Ms Robinson says, is living in terror of losing his grip on the world as he knows it. That world is doomed, but men like him refuse to acknowledge it. They would rather kill a child than admit that there is no stopping the drive towards universal human rights and full equality for women. That world will come, and nothing can stop it. If only they could see the ugliness of the world they want to cling to, and the beauty of a world of equal partnerships and fully realized human potential.

People are P.Oed about this....try female castration

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 09:35

I think one of the most brutal of female violations on the planet besides rape, physical abuse...and this topic is - the practice of forced female castration, when the clitoris is surgically removed so to keep the woman sexually 'dulled' so they will be faithful to the husband. Now THAT to me is the worst crime ever. It is bad enough to try and regulate our bodies on whether or not we can use birth control, the religious interference on that decision to attack mentally, or government interference on how many children couples can have (as in China I believe).....but in backwards countries were men are violent by nature, they even have to make their woman a sexual cripple in order to satisfy an insecurity of keeping them under wraps. Get into one of THOSE guy's heads and what snakes you will find ambling there...I shudder to think!

Changing roles:Men & Women

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:31

FGM is horrendous but it's important to note how many women participate in this practice and many other mysoginistic rites and rituals throughout the world. Mothers take their daughters to the (usually) female cutter to have their clitoris removed. They do it for all sorts of reasons, but it essentially seems to boil down to "fitting in" with cultural norms, to make their daughters "clean" or "marriageable" or "just like their mothers".

Writing this, I'm struck by how the reasons given are so similar to the reasons given for male circumcision in the US (a much less drastic procedure usually).

There's a campaign in the UK to try and address girls being sent out of the country for FGM during school holidays. It seems to be focusing on education within the relevant communities, making teachers aware of the signs that this might be happening/planned as well as prosecution if the offence is discovered. Is there the equivalent in the US?

Also, just as China starts to relax it's one child policy, it is becoming apparent how many female foetuses are aborted throughout the middle classes in Asia, to ensure a first born son. The gender imbalance in some areas of China, Korea etc is already leading to a "trade" in young girls, often stolen, from nearby poorer nations. The girls are used as servants until the son is old enough to become her husband. I doubt that this is much of a step up for the poor girl.

The number of unlucky "surplus" men is rising and building a time bomb for those countries at the leading edge of sex selection.

I wish that I could be more confident of a positive egalitarian outcome to changing roles world wide but even in my own developed country, we seem to be taking one step forward and two steps back. The world is a lot more hostile to my teenage daughters than I remember it being for myself and I find that so sad.

NLH I Agree

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:46

Our world has certainly changed. I lived in England for a time, the Lakes District at Windermere. So beautiful...but spent a lot of time in London as well. Within an eight year time span when I left and returned to London, it was unrecognizable! Not the logistics, the people. London was the one city I fell in love with its people, but the atmosphere altered quickly and it became more like NYC...a city I love and grew up in, but that holds a different feel for me now after 9-11. Sadly, the state of affairs for women all over has not improved much, especially for our sisters in the barbaric countries. I had no idea kids were being secreted out of other countries for this practice...unimaginable!


Sun, 07/13/2014 - 11:48
mnx (not verified)

If you want to know what goes on in the mind of someone advocating female castration you need look no further than the writings of John Harvey Kellogg who, among other sick things, advocated pouring carbonic acid on girls clits to prevent "abnormal excitement".

Luckily it didn’t become as popular as some other things he promoted i.e. Infant male circumcision and corn flakes.  

Stable democracies have had a way of steadily pushing fundamentalists, misogynist and racists to the fringes of their societies but unfortunately, as the article highlights, not totally. 

Some of us have come farther than others but we all have a ways to go in respecting the rights, freedoms and dignity of others. 

Mindset of Genital Mutilation Advocates

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 21:33
Frost Crystal (not verified)

What kind of mindset wants girls circumcised? Take all the things you hear that advocate for male circumcision and apply them to female circumcision and you've got it!