Is It Less Masculinity or More Responsibility?

I came across this meme and it struck me because not just an hour before, I discovered that there was such a thing as a male birth control pill being created. So the creator and supporters of this meme should have no fear. It is clear that this meme is intended for couples or individuals that are having sex and is tired of using “uncomfortable” or constant contraceptive methods, such as condoms and birth control pills. Not a lot of people know about male birth control pills that are in the making because anything that can diminish a male’s masculinity is usually overlooked by the male population; therefore, it could be overlooked by the majority of the female population as well because men has some sort of influence on women’s reproductive activities according to C. H. Browner’s article, “Situating Women’s Reproductive Activities” (2000). If that is the case, then a woman’s femininity is undermined if she takes birth control because it is taking away her right to have a baby and her right to become a mother. Women are typically the ones to be held accountable during sex to make sure there is a birth control method being used in order to lessen the chances of becoming pregnant. Throughout this media analysis, I will explore how men perceive contraceptives while also giving examples of how sex is geared towards pleasure enhancement methods for men. I will also examine how women are categorized as the responsible ones during sex and how this may affect them emotionally and physically.

According to Planned Parenthood, men have a total of five options for birth control, two of which says not to have vaginal sex in order to be completely sure there will not be a pregnancy. Men usually go for the condom when it comes to sex, but some are fed up with the use of them. The article “Pullout Generation” in 2013 by Ann Friedman informed the reader that there has been a study on the withdrawal method. Friedman inserts that women who have been in long-term relationships are also tired of condoms, but they are extremely tired of taking birth control pills because they have “suffered physically and emotionally as a result of hormonal birth control” (Grigg-Spall). Even though the male birth control pill has not been released into the market yet, one side effect from research is having a fear of becoming impotent, therefore, a refusal to take the pill. This is an unfair choice because women have been taking birth control pills for years. They should not have to be solely responsible and suffer through other fears of having physical or hormonal changes while men have the only responsibility to seek pleasure.

There are multiple choices of sex enhancement options for men to choose from to enhance their sexual drive. In a commercial for Viagra, an older gentleman accidentally threw the Viagra pill out of the window and it eventually fell into a Fiat gas tank. The small Fiat grew into a “bigger, more powerful and ready for action [car]” due to the Viagra’s power (www.adweek.com). This could benefit both individuals who are participating in this sexual interaction, but it is intended for the user to seek the most pleasure because it helps erectile dysfunction in men. Therefore, Viagra is directed towards men even though they have a sexual dysfunction, they are given a medical method to help them perform at their best.  cAlso, companies are trying to refine their condoms to make it seem skinless and more natural because men “describe the experience of using a condom as having sex with gloves on” and it takes away from personal pleasure (menshealth.about.com). In addition, men “view condoms primarily as a contraceptive tool” and “many men still see contraception as solely a female responsibility” (menshealth.about.com).

Furthermore, there are over sixteen types of birth control for women that can be used from as short as six hours to as long as 12 years. Birth control for women has developed over the years into more intricate methods. There has even been an invention of the female condom. Having such detailed research and creations for women birth contraceptives has made it more of a burden on women to choose which contraceptive will be best to use. It is easy to see how women are held more responsible because there are more options for them than men. Also, it is the woman’s body who is affected throughout the reproduction process, so it is automatically assumed she should do everything in her power to protect herself and the relationships around her by using contraceptives.

In Molly Fischer’s article, “The IUD: Can Birth Control Be Too Good?” (2015), Fischer was uncertain about the idea of her getting an IUD, even though she already had it inserted. I felt sorry for her because she seemed anxious of having a semi-permanent birth control tool that actually helped her body to not become pregnant. Many of the comments that were written to Fischer because of her article described her as immature and crazy for not knowing if she wanted an IUD even though she had one inserted in her. Hundreds of women are uncertain about their reproduction aspect of their life because of the many factors that surround them. Their jobs, community, family, and most importantly, their partner are extremely influential in their lives. Within Fischer’s article, the topic of a “boyfriend” came up when Fischer was asked about the day of her insertion. “Was [your boyfriend] kind, clueless, worried, calm? Did he hold your hand, buy you nice snacks, drive you home?” (Fischer p.2). It was automatically assumed, in Fischer’s eyes, when an IUD was inserted into the female body, it was because she was having sexual intercourse with a male and the couple did not want to have the responsibility of a child. In addition to the male being an influence on the female’s reproductive choice, Browner explained how women look to men to make the final decision of whether to have the child or not. Many women in the article claimed that the men brought home the money therefore if he didn’t want to have the child, she would abort it because she depends on her male partner to support her financially. However, when the women had an option to get amniocentesis the men did not want to dictate the women’s decision because he did not want to decide if the woman should be stabbed about “20 times with a 20-inch needle” (Browner p.780); he did not want to be held responsible for the child having severe birth defects or even a miscarriage. Men have such an impact on women’s decisions, therefore they should try and take some responsibility for deciding which contraceptives should be used as a couple instead of one person.

Overall, it seems that with time, a structure has been built for women to be the responsible ones when it comes to sexual intercourse. Of course not all men are careless and irresponsible, but there should be more effort to promote male contraceptives. Sure, the female body is affected more when it comes to pregnancy, but that does not mean they should be held responsible. It takes two people to conceive a child, so two people should take that responsibility.

 

Citations

Osterweil, N. (n.d.). A Birth-Control Pill for Men? Retrieved February 07, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/news/20000105/birth-control-pill-for-men

Birth Control for Men | How Can Men Prevent Pregnancy? (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2016, from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/men/birth-control-men

Birth Control Methods – Birth Control Options. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2016, from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control