Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Birth control is really a plot to harm women! has another paranoid conversation going about new ideas in birth control. (I've spoken before about how hard those folk are to satisfy when it comes to contraceptives, back in the first days of F-words when absolutely no one was reading it.)

If there are two things I do not believe are tools of the patriarchy, they are birth control (yes, even hormonal birth control) and tampons.

A commenter on the feministing thread calls herself one of "the small minority who does not have problems with pills" and I am calling bullshit on that one. It is the most popular form of bith control in this country, and while many women do experience side-effects, I think it's pretty silly to say that the vast majority of women have problems with birth control pills.

As for tampons, I know they are not a type of birth control, but they tend to come up in these conversations about the essentially misogynistic medical establishment. And I just want to say right now that I love tampons. They are simple to use, easy to dispose of (I have heard of Instead, Diva Cups, etc, but I have a hard enough time washing my dishes - I'd rather just throw my menstruation-related products away, thanks) and I find them to be perfectly comfortable. And, judging by the way they sell, I think a lot of other women do, too.

I don't know what it is that makes perfectly reasonable feminists go nutty when it comes to these two issues. I have had friends solemnly tell me that they don't use tampons because they are filled with fiberglass so as to make you bleed more and buy more tampons.

Capitalism does not exploit women at the expense of making a buck. That is, if there were easier ways to make hormonal birth control work, it would be made because it would sell. Ditto "feminine hygiene products," which I think can be observed in the recent diversification of the market (hello, Instead!). It's not like conservatives have ever been able to stop other money-making enterprises that infringe on their ideal picture of how the world works, like pornography, prostitution, horror movies, so I don't know how they would be able to suppress the magically perfect birth control pill that scientists are refusing to find. I know that a culture with deep-rooted misogynistic tendencies will seep into medicine, but I seriously do not think that these are examples of seepage. After all, people put the pill and the women's movement hand in hand all the time. If you feel like raging against the machine, please bother weight loss surgery, diet pills, and cosmetic surgery, because I think many of us would agree that the birth control pill is the greatest recreational drug of all time.
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