Tag Archives: contraception

A Human Right

18 Nov

The UN recently declared that birth control is now a universal human right. Women deciding when they have children and how many directly effects their quality of life.  The UN study reports:

“Studies have shown that investing in family planning helps reduce poverty, improve health, promote gender equality, enable adolescents to finish their schooling, and increase labourforce participation.

When a woman is able to exercise her reproductive rights, she is more able to benefit from her other rights, such as the right to education. The results are higher incomes, better health for her and her children and greater decision-making power for her, both in the household and the community.”

I’m very happy that the UN has acknowledged the importance of birth control access, but real change can’t come until society changes. One example the report cited is that the Catholic churches influence in the Phillapines has completely prevented poor women from getting birth control. Lower income countries also suffer access problems. Hopefully, family planning will be more affordable and accessible as time passes.

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Les Miserables

5 Oct

This Christmas, the critically- acclaimed musical, Les Miserables, is coming to the big screen! This is a film that I am really looking forward to, having seen it performed on stage; I think it will be interesting to see how it translates as a film. Setting aside the artistic genius displayed on stage, the story provides several complex issues involving women, one of which I thought related to the recent topics in class.

A female in the musical, Fantine, bares an illegitimate child. Upon discovering this, the women of the town shun her and they band together in hope of having her removed. The men begin thinking of her as a whore.

It is with this mindset that the foreman makes an advance, which Fantine blatantly rejects. Fantine is thrown out because of this.

I find this interesting for multiple reasons:

  1. The women are coming together to tear another woman  apart. It is amazing that they can be so cold to one of their own; however, it is common in so many scenarios. We have seen this in Women and Politics. It occurred during the Women’s Movement and during the introduction of contraceptives. Women will react to the situation without placing them in the other female’s shoes. They don’t think: What if this happened to me?
  2. Although it is frowned upon that Fantine has an illegitimate child, the men encourage it by making advances on her.
  3. The reason she is thrown out is opposing the advance. I think it is the idea of expectation. Society expects you to fit into the mold it creates for you, or else. Women shunned her because she did not fit the mold of a wholesome woman. Men shunned her because she did not fit the stereotype of a slut.I have included the trailer for the movie. It’s EPIC. Check it out.

What do you think the mold for women in society looks like today?

On Sex Education and Latinas

20 Sep

Lisa brought up sex education and I started preaching on a tangent, so I’m making a post about it.

I’d say easier access to birth control would help to correct the larger part of a massive problem, but for any progress made to be sustained we need sex education that extends beyond abstinence and that it needs to be offered bilingually. For the largest minority in the U.S., Latinos, birth control isn’t the silver bullet with Latinas, it’s better sex education AND birth control.

I personally can attest to this in Latino culture. My father is 100 percent Mexican and a Pastor. I attended a Christian school through elementary and middle school. My mother’s attempt at sex education was taking me to a Cracker Barrel (for breakfast…appetite eliminated) and flipping through an illustrated book she borrowed from the church. My sex education was essentially reading a borrowed copy of Cosmopolitan magazine under the covers with a flashlight at night (PITY ME). Sex does not exist in the Latino household.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center Study,  Latino parents aren’t discussing sex or birth control. “Just over half of Latino youths (53 percent) report that their parents talked to them about sex when they were growing up. A smaller share—39 percent—report that their parents talked to them about birth control.” Young Hispanics are having about the same amount of sex as other kids their age, but for some reason Latinas end up pregnant far more often than other races and ethnicity. I draw a parallel between the lack of transparency surrounding sex and the 51 percent of Latinas that will become pregnant before the age of 21, and one-fourth (26 percent) of Hispanic females that will be mothers by the time they reach age 19. Now, luckily for me I’ve never been pregnant. If I had, I probably would not find myself among the 32 percent of Latinos that have attained some level of a college education.

In summary…easier access to  birth control is a fantastic stride, but bilingual sex education that extends beyond abstinence is vital in sustaining any progress we make. Also, Cosmo Magazine does not get enough credit. Yes, they preach a very nasty shade of lipstick feminism and the sex tips are often ill-advised…but they taught me how to use a condom 🙂