Undead sexist cliche: We wouldn’t need birth control if not for all the nymphomaniac sluts around

I’ve written before about the role hostility to sexually active women plays in right-wing opposition to abortion and even contraception. If a woman has sex and doesn’t pay the price of having a baby, this sets all sorts of hackles rising on the right wing, even those who are not particularly religious in their conservatism.
Consider, for example, the right-wing push to strip any government funding from Planned Parenthood: So far as I know, nobody’s suggested that they’d cut the organization some slack if it stops providing abortions, which makes me suspect it has a lot more to do with horror at women actually having the option to have sex without conception——as for example, one Representative who dismissed the group as “invested in promiscuity.”
Obama’s recent, commendable decision to make insurers cover contraception also had right-wingers freaking out with indignation. Sean Hannity, for example, has revisited the time-honored argument that all women have a choice——they can choose not to have sex! So there! Or as he put it in another show, he’s not getting laid, why should he have to pay for the contraception?
By this logic, we shouldn’t cover lung cancer——I don’t smoke, why am I paying for the penalty?——or any of the various diseases that can result from an unhealthy diet (I didn’t choose to eat pizza seven times a week, why am I——well, you get it).
The same article at the link quotes a conservative on Fox News grumbling that if women have contraception they can have “unrestrained” “unlimited” sex. No explanation why that’s a bad thing. Nor any acknowledgement that there might be respectable married women who want to have unrestrained, unlimited sex without having yet another kid. There’s more right-wing outrage here.
Or consider the argument that inoculations against HPV virus (which is only transmitted via sex) are offensive because it sends a message to all our virgin daughters that we don’t trust them to say no to sex: “You establish a culture where young girls are resigned to becoming a sex object. It’s an assault on the dignity of young women.”
There’s no room in that argument for a girl who actually enjoys sex and doesn’t feel it compromises her dignity. Or for the possibility that as an adult, she’d like to have premarital sex without getting a cancer-causing virus.
In this context, it seems unsurprising (even though I was) that the Bush sex-ed budget included money for states to set up abstinence-only programs targeting not teens but 20somethings (please, conservatives, tell us again how liberals love the nanny state). I’m inclined to agree with this writer’s view that a fair number of conservatives don’t embrace abstinence ed because it works (it doesn’t), but because it sends the message Don’t Have Sex: Teaching them anything that would actually be useful in preventing teen pregnancy would require making some sort of concession to the fact that young women might choose to have sex. Of their own free will. And that this doesn’t make them the whore of babylon.
George Will once waxed nostalgic for the days when porn was completely banned, but everyone knew where you could go and find some——official denial coupled with reluctant, nudge-nudge, wink-wink acceptance. I think we’re seeing the same sort of thing here. Or maybe it’s discomfort with women who are not simply sexually available but sexually independent: They like sex, and they choose to have it and not just because they’re madly in love. For some guys (and women), even not of a particularly conservative bent that’s just wrong. The guy who made the Girls Gone Wild DVDs complained in an interview that he hates running into harlots who want to be in the videos; apparently it’s no fun if he can’t get the ego-boost of talking a reluctant girl into it.
Strange to think that in the 21st century enjoying sex and avoiding pregnancy are such controversial ideas.


Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

41 responses to “Undead sexist cliche: We wouldn’t need birth control if not for all the nymphomaniac sluts around

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