Interview with Susan Wicklund about abortion providers, Today Show nuttery, and a better dialogue about sex education on Reality Cast. Also, Sean Hannity confuses abortion and sex education.
This week on Reality Cast, an interview with doctor and author Susan Wicklund, a sea change in the dialogue about sex education, and anti-choice nut Dawn Eden flies under the radar on the Today Show. Also, why is Sean Hannity calling comprehensive sex education "abortion"?
Hat tip to the online show Mob Logic for cracking me up with their response to recent research indicating that some women have G-spots and some don't, and that you can tell by looking at an ultrasound. Host Lindsay Campbell hit the streets and asked people about their experiences with the G-spot.
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There was some feminist fussing over this, but I don't really get why the research is a problem. For a long time, some women have been saying they have one, some women have been saying they don't. All this shows is that both sides of the debate were right. How often do we get a chance to settle a long-standing argument with an elegant solution?
When you're working on the issues of reproductive justice, looking around at the political landscape can be soul-destroying sometimes. We haven't gained much ground, and what we have gained has been overwhelmed by major losses. We get the HPV vaccine, but the ability of people to afford it has diminished. We're seeing the right to abortion under assault, and even the right to contraception is being chipped away at, one Bible-thumping pharmacist at a time. It's demoralizing.
But there is one area where we're seeing the political landscape changing rapidly, and that's on the subject of comprehensive sex education. For awhile, the abstinence-only propaganda was gaining, getting all this massive funding from taxpayers who didn't realize that it is all lies, withholding of information, and religious dogma. Now people are waking up and the media is giving a voice to pro-choice activists.
The actress Kate Walsh works for Planned Parenthood on their board and was on CBS News exposing the lie that is abstinence-only.
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I'm playing this clip for you because I think she hits the major arguments that you should use when trying to persuade people who might be fooled by abstinence-only nonsense. First of all, it doesn't work. Americans are pragmatic people, and they don't like something that's defined as a failure.
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I think this is a good tactic to use, comparing it to other subjects. That draws down two points: 1) Telling kids what a condom is isn't going to mean they run out and have sex when they wouldn't have before. 2) This attack on sex education in the schools is part of a larger right wing assault on the idea of education itself. They don't want kids to be given a bevy of ideas and options, and then given the critical thinking skills they need to figure them out. This is about getting kids away from thinking for themselves, and instead making them automans who just do what they're told without questioning it.
We need to go the next step and state that the goal of abstinence-only propaganda, which is to make our kids bad thinkers who can't make their own choices, is in and of itself wrong. Not just that it's ineffective.
And then she rounds it off with an argument that I think is critical for our side. Basically, why is everyone hating on sex?
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I can't hammer this enough. We need to call out anti-choicers for being, well, anti-life. Sex is a huge part of life, and education is part of preparing kids for life. Why do we think it's okay to raise a generation that's afraid of their own sexuality? It's not just about the fact that abstinence-only spreads disease and unplanned pregnancy. It also spreads anti-sex attitudes that can lower people's self esteem and make them neurotic about a normal and pleasurable part of life. Life is hard enough. No need to make it harder with this right wing propaganda.
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Bane of feminist bloggers and anti-choice nut Dawn Eden was on the Today Show recently to tout her magic husband-luring plan of keeping your clothes on until you get the wedding band. The fact that Dawn Eden is on mainstream TV spreading her lunatic theories should have been a great moment, because I figured it was only a matter of time before she says something crazy. Unfortunately, they didn't really give her a chance to show the true crazy, though the minor kinds of creepy did come across.
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This is Dawn's whole schtick. Basically, she was having sex and not getting married, so she hypothesizes that it was the sex that prevented the marriage. An intriguing and popular theory that often goes under the name "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" However, it's also a theory that's extremely testable, in the scientific sense. Even setting aside the fact that most women who marry do marry someone they're already having sex with, we have a testable subject in the very person of Dawn Eden. If it was having sex that made her not be married, then surely not having sex would have gotten her married, right? But she's eight years into this experiment and no husband has materialized. A scientist would say that it's time to scrap the hypothesis and look for another cause of the lack of marriage occurring in her life.
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All I can think when I hear someone talk like this is, "Well, even when you're married, he's got to pull out sometime." And seriously, why wouldn't you want him to? But in a way, I can't blame her for having this idealized notion that you fall in love with someone for real, and somehow you stop being separate people. The notion that love is about giving up your identity is all over the place. In fact, the host of the show says something that made me cringe.
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It's this idea, that someone "completes" you, that you are less of a person without a romantic partner, that drives so much dysfunction. You're already a complete person. A partner is just a nice addition to your life, and only then if they really are a value add.
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What is frustrating to me about all this is that Dawn just slipped in some anti-choice dogwhistles and no one called her on it. "Giving myself completely" means that that you abhor contraception, and that you risk pregnancy every time. And that's what makes this whole situation really sad. You buy into this myth that love and sex is about being completed by another person, and that never happens of course. But even though he's got to pull out sometime, if he's constantly knocking you up, well, you're kind of still attached, right? And as long as Dawn stays unmarried, she can keep her romantic notions of what marriage is like.
Meanwhile, I'm once again angry at the Today Show. They had an opportunity to show that the chastity craze is part of a larger anti-choice philosophy. And they dropped the ball.
Now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts. This edition: Sean Hannity lies about something Barack Obama said.
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What did Obama actually say?
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Right. He wasn't talking about abortion, but about sex education and contraception.
But it's important to point this out, because it shows that when a wingnut says they're against abortion, that's usually code for being against education, birth control, and healthy women.