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Random thought for the day

Ever see Mallrats? The second of Kevin Smith’s New Jersey series, and usually considered the weakest, it had a character who was a teenager writing a book about sex, which she researched by having lots of sex with different men that she carefully recorded.

I’d completely forgotten about the movie and the character until out of the blue this morning when I suddenly thought: “Her results are going to be skewed because all her subjects were guys who were willing to have sex with a 15 year old girl.”

Considering the already pessimistic tone she had for the content of her work, that can’t have changed things in a happy direction.

The American Life League: Fun with Numbers!

Can’t believe I forgot this in my last post! On the bright side it lets me get two posts out of one subject, so that’s handy. (On the down side, it’s kinda dull)

In that video, the American Life League shows some numbers for abortions provided (329,445) and birth control pills dispensed (315,399,600). No sources are given for these numbers, nor is there a time frame provided, though I was able to find the abortion figure from Planned Parenthood’s report for 2010.

Trying to figure out the birth control figure was interesting. As you know, unless you’re a right-wing media personality, most birth control requires a woman to take a pill every day, regardless of whether she’s having sex or not. So on average a woman requires 365 pills every year. Simple enough.

Depending on what you use for the length of the year, whether you count leap years etc, 315,399,600 gives us 863,517.04 to 864,108.49 women who could be provided birth control over a one year period with that number of pills. For simplicity’s sake, let’s round that off to 864,000 women over one year. This is all still assumption, of course, because neither sources nor time frames were provided. But I wanted to run with it a bit because the perspective is interesting.

According to the US Census, in 2010 there were 308,745,538 Americans, of which 50.8% were women. That gives us 156,842,733.304 women in America. Since we’re already rounding off to the nearest thousand, let’s call that 156,843,000. That means that huge number of birth control pills, 315,399,600, is enough to provide 0.55% of American women with birth control for one year. A little over half of one percent, just five or six out of a thousand women.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood’s own information tells us that they provide various forms of contraception to 2.2 million people every year, about 39.5% of which are oral contraceptives. I fiddled with that a bit and came close to AL’s figure, but not quite there. Curious. You’d think all contraception would be equally evil, but for some reason the pill is worse.

It’s almost as if female sexuality is considered weird and bad, while male sexuality is normal. Thwarting God’s Will by taking a pill to get an erection is fine, but doing it by taking a pill to prevent ovulation is bad.

This is boring and getting depressing, so I’m going to wrap it up. Planned Parenthood is one of the few organizations out there that seem to genuinely make the world a better place with everything they do, or at least everything they aim to do. Their website is wonderful, filled with useful information that everyone should have access to, and I strongly recommend that you visit it. Maybe make a donation while you’re there.

You can click on over now, I’m done here.

The evil addictions of Planned Parenthood!

I’m running into Poe’s Law here. I genuinely have no idea whether or not this is a parody. If it were just the videos I’d assume it was, but after looking over the website a little I find it hard to believe that anyone could work this hard on a parody. Here’s the video:

It’s just amazing, isn’t it? I saw this Monday on a post by Christina at WWJTD, who probably wrote more coherently about it than I will. Frankly I’m tempted to just point and laugh.

If you don’t feel like spending six and a half minutes of your precious life watching this shit, and I can’t say I blame you, it directly compares Planned Parenthood to drug dealers. Seriously. Saying that PP gets kids addicted to sex so that they can sell abortions. I am not making this up, it’s right there in the video. You see why I’m not sure whether they’re joking or not? Read the rest of this entry

Turning back the clock on sex.

So, I was looking at this page about a GOP Rep lying about the morning after pill and whining that religion should have some privileged place in the law. I looked at the links in the sidebar, so many of which are about political attacks on women. I thought of Rush Limbaugh’s insane demand for sex videos from women who use birth control. And I tried to imagine the world these assholes are trying to create.

It made me think of My Secret Life. First published in 1888, this anonymous sex diary is a fascinating uncensored look into the side of Victorian culture that was so carefully hidden in published work from that era. “Walter” holds nothing back in describing his sexual adventures and it can be uncomfortable to read at times. Read the rest of this entry

Two out of four ain’t bad?

The remarkable Greta Christina recently posted an article titled “Wealthy, Handsome, Strong, and with Endless Hard-Ons: Is Masculinity Impossible?.” It’s an interesting read which I recommend, and discusses how sexual stereotypes can be hurtful to men as well as women.

This was still fresh in my mind when I had the opportunity to join Google+ (expect a Social Networking Junkie post about that in the next week). Joining Google+ was very simple for me, I just had to add a few things to my Google Profile and click “Join”. One thing they wanted to know was my sex, and this was not optional.

I thought about it a bit, and realized that that’s one of the things that’s almost always required for just about any internet site you can sign up for. They not only always want to know your sex, but they usually just have a dropdown or radio buttons with the choices of “Male” or “Female”. I guess intersex people just have to knuckle down and choose which box to get squeezed into. (In fairness, Google does include an option for “Other”. Personally I’d prefer just a textbox to say whatever you damn well please in.)

But this isn’t just about recognizing the intersex or the transgender or any other person to whom the answer is not so simple as “M or F”, this irritates me on a deeper level. Why should it matter? What does Facebook care what my chromosomes are, why is it any of Google’s business what’s between my legs? Like so many other things that annoy the fuck out of me, the answer is marketing.

Advertisers want to know. Presumably they use different strategies to try to convince men to buy more shit than women, and they want data both to plan with and to target with. I’m quite sure my Google ads will be different if I edit my profile to give myself a sex change. And what interests me about this is that they aren’t merely working from sexual stereotypes, but actively contributing to them. It’s like a weird feedback loop.

It also feels very unnecessary to me, especially if the typical result is something like this Burger King sandwich in Japan that’s advertised as “suitable for women”. It seems stupid & derisive to treat people as cardboard cutouts like this, especially in a world that’s rapidly leaving gender roles behind. It may even be counterproductive, marketing to stereotypes is only going to appeal to those who feel they fit that stereotype. Anyone else is either buying it in spite of your ad campaign or shopping elsewhere.

More than anything I hate it because it tells people who they are “supposed” to be and how they should act. Men should be obsessed with sports, sex, and shiny toys. Women should be focused on clothes, cooking, and cleaning. Everybody should be as stupid as possible. Intersex people shouldn’t exist. It’s getting broader now, the repertoire of stupid stereotypes is growing, but it’s all still the same shit. And I hate it.

So, in defiance of stereotypes and in solidarity with those who don’t quite fit into the roles or the underwear society would force them into I told Google my sex was “Other”. I don’t want to be in your box, I’ll make my own.

True Blood Season 1 mid-season review

I’m halfway through the first season of True Blood, and that seemed like a good place to write about it a bit. Although the show did intrigue me a bit on its own, I’ve been pretty tired of vampires the last decade so I’m blaming this entirely on Renée.

SPOILERS AHOY! If you haven’t seen this show or read any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, you should probably skip this post. You also may want to skip it if you don’t want to read a stream-of-consciousness brain dump of my thoughts & opinions on the show. Seriously, I go on for like 700 words. Read the rest of this entry

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