Just when I thought that we were close to achieving gender equality, I came across this.
When it comes down to discussing birth control, the burden falls mostly on women. It appears that women are more engaged in addressing the issue than men. In a survey by Bustle, it showed that only 39 percent of 226 women reported that the sharing of birth control responsibility was equal. Only 57 percent of women also felt that they are more involved in preventative measures than their partners. And, apparently, there are a lot of surveys that show the same results. In the same survey, one woman said that she tracks her cycle closely using a diaphragm, making her solely responsible for birth control. A diaphragm is used when you are fertile and you want to have sex. It is a “soft and flexible disk that blocks the cervix” and you insert it like a tampon.
Moreover, Daniel Sher, a registered clinical psychologist, also explains that this problem exists because of the “power differential that exists between men and women in society at large.” There you have it, male privilege rises again. Surprised?
Not exactly. In this society where men are still deemed as “superior,” settling this issue could take us years. For instance, they still haven’t legalized abortion here in the Philippines, with some public officials indicating it as the same as extrajudicial killings. It seems like women are always the ones putting up with the most responsibility. As far as we know, men aren’t as concerned about sharing the responsibility for birth control as they should be. We get that “No uterus, no opinion” saying, but not having a uterus doesn’t mean you’re excluded from your obligations.
Do men still expect us to handle all the responsibilities, from taking pills to getting check-ups alone to putting up with stress and anxiety? Some women go to doctor appointments without their partner and I find it really unfair. “Going to the doc is seen as not a ‘manly’ thing to do and I really feel that men have been taken out of the sexual health conversation,” says sexuality educator Heather Alberda. It appears that people have forgotten that men are important reproductive health clients. Men should also realize how much they are needed in situations like this, and how much influence they have in terms of making decisions about birth control. They shouldn’t be subtracted from sexual health discussions, because both men and women share the exact amount of responsibility in these things.
Also, the pills women take cause a lot of harmful effects on their bodies. They suffer severe side-effects. Aside from experiencing nausea, breast tenderness, or migraines, birth control pills have been linked to “an increase in blood pressure, benign liver tumors, and some types of cancer.” With all these troubles that they have to go through, how much can it cost them? Women should not have more at stake just because they are the ones who can bear children.
It’s funny how some men always dictate what women should do with their bodies, but when it comes to discussing birth control, poof! They’re out. Men also tell women to take the pill because wearing a condom is not “pleasing” for them. Why are women still expected to adjust for them? As if sex is only meant for male pleasure. Sex and intimacy coach Xanet Pailet tells Bustle that it could be “related to the patriarchal society that we still live in and the fact that at least with respect to birth control, only women can get pregnant.” Obviously, men still have the mindset that they have more power over women and this is exactly why this is still an issue. What they should realize is that they are an integral part of discussing reproductive healthcare.
Although there are also women who like to handle this by themselves, men should still take initiative and do their part. They should be willing to participate because birth control is a shared responsibility. I mean, let’s face it. Women already deal with a lot of issues, including fighting for legal abortion, proper healthcare, access to contraception, and so on. That is why men should step up and help women feel secure and comfortable. Men are part of the process and the solution. Partners, or even non-partners, should deal with the responsibility together and discuss it as openly as possible.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
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