Booze has a gender, didn’t you know?

We’ve all heard–and probably even used–the derogatory slang of “girlie drinks” to refer to anything that is not all that alcoholic, or very sweet, or fruity, or whatever.

I’m a pretty big fan of locally owned businesses and I’m particularly fond of DownTown Wine and Spirits in Somerville. They recently came out with what I thought was a cute and funny idea–a brown paper bag full of nips, for a low price. They’re calling it the “Bag O’ Nips” and they’ve been pretty entertaining with their publicity for it.

Today, however, they revealed that they would be selling a MEN’S Bag O’ Nips and a WOMEN’S Bag O’ Nips. When they alluded to the fact that such a thing was in the works, they said that men’s bags would contain whiskey whereas women’s bags would most likely contain Midori. So, it was obvious where this was going. Then they announced the lineups:

As we’ve told you, our Bag O’ Nips come in both a Mens and Womens variety. Here’s what’s in the Mens bag this week: Fighting Cock (naturally), Seagrams, Harlem, Herradura, Jack, Jager

As this was on their facebook feed, a few women pointed out that they didn’t like this being gendered and that really, women might like those alcohols too. So this was their rebuttal when they posted the women’s bag contents:

And here’s the Ladies Bag O’ Nips lineup: Parrot bay, Van Gogh Chocolate, Segrams, Honey, Pocket Shot of Gin, Cuervo Silver And yes, you are welcome to take offense at what we project as nips enjoyed by the ladies….and no, we don’t really care that much

What happened to liberal Davis Square?

I’m really, really disappointed. It’s stupid little shit like this–both the gendering of the bags and then their flippant disregard for what people had to say about it–that can get so frustrating. It’s when thing when I see idiocy on TV. It’s another thing to see it right here in front of me, in my community, by people who seemed otherwise so cool.

Ultimately, there’s so many liquor stores in Boston. In a way, they did me a favor by crossing themselves off my list.


02/26/2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

More On The Designer Vagina

The designer vagina: it continues to baffle me.

I mean, I know dudes get anxious about the size of their disco stick and apparently hairiness is a growing concern amongst the more “discerning” menfolk, but I am truly boggled by the ways “desirability” is being defined for the female naughty bits. They must be as smooth as a well-polished linoleum floor, be just the right shade of pink, be tighter than a parking space in the North End, be naturally wetter than monsoon season, smell like a florist while tasting like Cinnabon, and be like a Hungry Hungry Hippo for dick. OM NOM NOM.

This blog just got SORDID. Gents, don't you just wanna slip it into that?

So, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that there’s an actual laundry list of problems and solutions. Over at Alternet, they’ve put together a list of the 6 Weirdest Things Women Do To Their Vaginas, along with the explanation “why.” I put why in quote marks because honestly, none of it makes a damn bit of sense to me.

I guess what particularly confounds me is that there’s all this hype about how DIRTY and SMELLY and FUNNY TASTING and PROBABLY EVEN EVIL vaginas are, and yet dudes still hunt them like trophy animals on the Serengeti. They will spend all night discussing their terror of vaginas, and yet they seek to “score” as many vagina trophies as possible. (Granted, I am speaking in some pretty serious hyperbole here, but you catch my meaning.) I don’t understand why it is that something so AWFUL can be such a focal point of our culture–female sexuality is basically the foundation of, well, practically everything–and such an integral part of how men define their masculinity, achieve happiness, etc.

It makes me laugh, I suppose, but it’s definitely in the “horrormirth” category. There’s really nothing funny about people doing these awful things to their vaginas in order to be appealing, and there’s nothing funny about the shame and criticism being thrown around. Sometimes, though, I just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of the entire situation.

Ultimately, this is one of those things that I just don’t know how to fight back against. I can speak up and write blog posts–cause, you know, this blog is totally changing the world–and write papers for school, but what am I accomplishing? I don’t know. I don’t know how to combat this kind of institutionalized ridiculousness.

I didn’t mean to end this on a downer. Hopefully I’ll find something cute and happy to end the week with later today!

02/26/2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Love in the Time of Feminism

Hello, my name is Cuppy van der Cake and I am a single feminist.

Dating as a feminist isn’t actually as glamorous as you might think (for starters, the expressions of genuine surprise when I show up on a date wearing a skirt and heels–“Wow, you look amazing. Wait, you’re a feminist. Are you allowed to do that?” Foot In Mouth Disease continues to afflict huge numbers of our nation’s men). Feminism is such an “f-word” in our society and so loaded with so many connotations–most of them patently false–that just casually dropping the word into conversation can lead to more melodramatic facial expression than a college performance of Hamlet. On the one hand, it’s a great litmus–if the guy immediately looks like his genitals just took up residence high up in his abdomen, he’s probably not compatible with me. I’ve also gotten some great teaching opportunities out of it, such as with my friend who, when out with me once, remarked, “I still can’t get over the fact that you’re a feminist. I mean, you’re so much fun!” (While I enjoy elucidating my politics to him semi-regularly, you’ll note he’s no more than f riend.) Sure, it’s always great to demystify feminism and have the opportunity to help someone better understand what this whole racket is about.

Trust me, I’ve got my fair share of aggravation that it requires the guy hoping that he’ll get laid to make him willing to actually listen to me.

There’s also been the fair share of people who respond really poorly. That’s terribly disappointing, believe me, but also disappointing is the fact that they receive such mixed signals that it’s almost hard to blame them.

This morning, one of my friends linked me to an article on CNN about first date rules for guys to help them get a second date.  I don’t even know where to begin with disappointing this article is, and should be, for both women and men. For starters, the entire thing is just one constant reinforcement of gender roles in the worst way.

We do not want to decide where to go. We will never tell you this, but it is true. Ask us what kind of place and/or food we like; then, pick a place like that. Do not leave it up to us to choose. You are the man. Act like one.

Really? Is that REALLY necessary? Why does picking the place have to fall on the burden of the MAN? What does it have to do with gender? I’ve always thought that the person who does the inviting should make suggestions on where they would like to take the other person. I mean, why ask someone out if you have no ideas about what to do? But likewise, person being asked out, why would you agree to go out with someone if you can’t come up with something or someplace that you’d like to share with them?

Ultimately, this is a disgusting reinforcement of the idea of women as receptacles in the dating world–we are passive objects, upon which dating is an action that men perform. Why on earth would we want to show any agency in making any decisions or being active in the potential relationship? Our willingness to conform to whatever our man wants, and to prop up his ego with grateful appreciation that he has spared us from the agonizing pain of having to make a decision, is really where our charm lies. Or at least it must be, because our charm is apparently not in the fact that we know a really great hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant with a fantastic cocktail list that we’d love to share with someone interesting.

If you forget, we will feel angry and want to leave. Then you will be sorry.

Are we on a date, or are we negotiating a hostage situation? Yes, that’s right, do as I wish or NO VAGINA FOR YOU! Listen buddy, I’m not screwing around here–either you start listening and asking thoughtful and sensitive questions, or I will start letting my pubic hair grow in! YOU’LL BE SORRY!

Feminism, shmeminism. Take care of the bill without comment. That is what we want. Wave off any offer to go dutch. We lied. We don’t want to pay half.

Oh. My. God. Do I even need to say anything? I can’t even decide which part of this comment to bold for emphasis. It’s just all so finger-lickin’ good rage-inducin’ IDIOCY. I can’t bring myself to sell short any of it by emphasizing one part over another.

Sweet merciful apeshit pogosticking christ on a fuckshingle.

MUST we push women back fifty years every time we turn around? Really? Look, I’m not saying I don’t appreciate it when a guy picks up the tab because my dates usually make more than I do–I’m a grad student and I work in the education sector, so if you think I can afford, well, anything, then you’d be wrong–but to expect it, and to suggest that not paying the whole tab could be the reason why a guy doesn’t get a second date… That is incredibly insulting.

It is 2010. The age demographic that is reading CNN and stumbling upon these dating tips are presumably all in at least their 20s. Therefore, we have jobs, we have apartments, many of us have crippling student loans, possibly even car loans or mortgages. Gym memberships, cell phones, all of that jazz–modern living is not cheap, and yet us ladies are managing to pay our way through all of that. So why, for fuck’s sake, can we not pay for our share of a dinner? What happened to being independent and competent?

Don’t even get me started on my reaction to the “feminism shmeminism” bit. I think I burst so many blood vessels from my rage that I have permanently discolored my face (bonus: no more need to navigate the tricksy dating landscape!). THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG. THIS IS WHERE MIXED SIGNALS COME FROM.

Women: are we still children? Do we need our dates to be our fathers? If the answer is NO, then find that backbone that you surely must have somewhere inside that body of yours and pay for your fucking dinner! If that’s too challenging, then maybe offer to pay for after dinner drinks. Basically, this isn’t the 50s anymore–women can, and do, work. We have our own income, so there’s no longer a RATIONAL reason to have the men pay. It’s just upholding a gender imbalance, encouraging restrictive roles, and continuing to relegate women to commodities that are purchased (sure, he’s not actually handing you cash and saying “that’ll be one blowjob, please,” but there’s a heavy cultural subtext in that direction).

Anyways, continuing on down the line. Let’s say the date is successful, despite all these ridiculous expectations and bullshit norms flying around, and we keep on seeing each other. We make it to the sexytimez. Awww yeeeaaah.

First off, as Lady GaGa has so aptly observed, “When a guy says, ‘Oh I fucked all these chicks this week,’ there’s a high-five and giggling. But when a woman does it and its publicised or she’s open about her sexuality or she’s free or liberated, it’s, ‘Oh, she must have a dick.'”

So, that certainly launched into the “oh god it’s hard to be a woman and have sex” segment of this post!

But yeah, it’s hard to be a woman and have sex. The virgin/whore dichotomy is so popular and so prevalent that it almost doesn’t need a name; it’s just “our culture.” Women need to be sexy and sexualized and utterly sexually available–but also to just one man. He shouldn’t have to exert any effort to obtain her services–because that would make her a tease; she’d be blueballing him!–but nonetheless he should be the only man who ever has or ever will touch her. (Why is this? Is it because every man secretly knows that Captain Kirk is the coolest, so they too want to go where no man has gone before? Is it rampant insecurity about their performance? Is it the ability to claim ownership of the woman’s sexuality? I have no idea. I prefer not to hypothesize too much.)  So if you can even manage to get to the sexytimes, they are fraught with the peril that you will suddenly transform from desirable partner into shameful hussy, all in the matter of minutes.

As it turns out, sex is FUN. It feels good. The female body is wired incredibly well for sex. Ladies, our bodies kick ass. Even without another person present, our bodies are capable of some truly awesome stuff. So really, there is no shame in enjoying sex.

But of course, now sex has become a performance. Jezebel had a great piece about skin mags in Britain that talks about the pornification of sex. In it, author Natasha Walters observes “sex was now seen much more as a kind of performance rather than the intimacy and communication and emotional experience that it was once seen as, and I think that’s clearly tied in to the rise of pornography.” Now, as Anna, the author at Jezebel, notes, sex isn’t necessarily about intimacy and communication and emotions (and it doesn’t need to be), but it shouldn’t really be a performance. Real life sexual encounters and porn are two different things. The “pornification” of sex is getting ridiculous (no, really. If I was more into sharing my personal life, I’d have some stories!) and it’s leaking into the ability of people to have healthy, enjoyable sex lives.

I’m not saying it’s not fun to smack the occasional ass, pull some hair, shove up her skirt and go at it doggie style on the kitchen counter (because it’s fun. It’s really fun). However, porn is about sex LOOKING interesting. Sex is about sex ACTING interesting. Like with fancy shoes, just because it looks good doesn’t mean it feels good.

There was an article a while back on Salon that I just never get tired of linking: How Not To Make Love Like a Porn Star. I laugh so hard every time I read it, and I just keep coming back to it because it just keeps being true.

But I will conclude (because I’ve been working on this entry too long and really need to get to class) with the simple question of: how do you make it work? How do you own your sexuality and get what you want in bed without having to deal with enormous fallout from the social implications? How do you have a satisfying dating life without being a passive receptacle? How can you be a force for positive change in the dating paradigm without being so over the top that you lose people’s attention? It’s easy to be sexually aggressive, get what you want, etc, but if you’re too overwhelming, you get branded a “slut” and no one will listen. It’s frustrating and ridiculous, but there we have it.

I’m passionate about the concept of “every day feminism” and making how you live your life and conduct yourself in everyday ways be little acts of feminism. Live your dissent! So, it seems to go without saying to me that how I date, engage in relationships, and have sex absolutely must be informed by my feminism (thank god I’m nowhere near worrying about cohabiting or marriage, because that’s yet another can of worms that I occasionally reflect on, and then pretty much go into the fetal position from feeling overwhelmed). But how do I balance my personal feminism with the ability to make feminism more accessible? Teaching and opening minds is quite possibly one of the single most important things in my world (oops, is my grad school showing?) and I recognize that sometimes in order to bridge gaps, you must compromise. How does one achieve balance?

All that said, I’m glad that I live in a time when my concerns about dating and sex are how to balance them with my feminism. We don’t live in a golden age of women’s lib or anything, but I’m still glad that we’ve come far enough that I even have the option to worry about how to conduct my sexual relationships (that do not need to involve marriage) and so on. “How do I best live my feminism?” is the kind of pretty awesome problem that I’m okay with having to work with.

02/25/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

On Miss Piggy and Feminism

When I was little, I loved to watch the Muppets (I wouldn’t be surprised if Statler and Waldorf are where I first learned to be a snarky jerk). However, right from the getgo I was always disappointed by the lack of female characters. Along with that, I was very uncomfortable and a bit angry with the depiction of Miss Piggy.

Miss Piggy is the only featured female character on the Muppets, and she’s grating at the best of times. She’s narcissistic, self-centered, and a high-maintenance diva. Her “relationship” with Kermit is such a stereotype–the whiny, demanding, shrill woman who takes the sweet, gentle, caring man for a ride. I had a hard time believing that the snobby Miss Piggy had any genuine feelings for Kermit, other than a sense of ownership, and a constant desire to nag him about marriage (which, despite being a sweet, gentle, caring man, Kermit stereotypically avoids). Despite being theoretically involved with Kermit, Miss Piggy constantly flirts with other men, behaves brazenly, and throws around her sexuality. While I have no problem with women owning their sexuality, even as a kid, I rankled against the concept of a woman attempting to use her sexuality and flirtation to get what she wants, particularly when there is allegedly someone else in her life. Furthermore, when her attempted seductions failed (which they often did), she would storm off in a self-righteous rage, but not without it being made perfectly clear that the audience should be laughing at her and mocking her attempts and subsequent unhappiness. My distaste was reinforced by the fact that she never got anything she wanted any other way–she was generally depicted as ditzy or even stupid, and tolerant Kermit often had to solve her problems. Other characters on the show actively disliked her, and rightly so–she was rude and haughty toward any other characters that she could be bothered to interact with at all.

I hated Miss Piggy. I hated that I couldn’t identify with her, and I hated that she was a perfect example of how women were viewed. Even to this day, I hear people rattling off lists of traits that I hated in Miss Piggy as examples of why women are so awful. I have to wonder, though, if I would’ve hated Miss Piggy just as much if she hadn’t been the only female–what if there had been another female character on the show, who was intelligent, capable, independent, etc? Would I have hated Miss Piggy as much, or would I have been able to relax a little, realizing that there were other avenues of womanhood that didn’t involve being such a terrible negative stereotype?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Muppets and I think Jim Henson was an amazingly talented person. However, it’s important to consider all the angles of the culture we consume. If you have kids, or work with kids, I think it’s important to keep an eye out for all of these “teachable” moments. I know I strike upon them often in the literature I read, and I’m trying to start actively keeping a list to help me work these opportunities into my classroom when I start teaching next year (a post coming soon on Brett Ashley from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises). We can watch and enjoy the Muppets, but it’s important to keep in mind what kind of idea of womanhood and femininity Miss Piggy represents, and how that can be damaging to people who internalize it, of both genders. It’s not just important how men perceive women–are little boys growing up with the perception that Miss Piggy is what womanhood is?–but it’s also important how women perceive themselves–do we want to raise our little girls to believe that Miss Piggy is what a woman should be? It’s like the Barbie debate (I was thrilled, by the way, when “computer engineer” won out as the new Barbie occupation!) and what are we teaching girls they should look like, act like, etc.

Again, it’s not necessarily best to cut these things out, because they are everywhere in our culture so one would have to become more or less a hermit in order to avoid them, but rather it is important to be critical and always consider things from multiple angles. Semiotics: it’s for everyone!

All that said, I really wish I had a picture of the Swedish Chef in my kitchen (granted, that’s yet another can of semiotics worms) and Beaker was always one of my favorites. Is it any surprise that I grew up into a tomboy nerd with a fondness for cooking?

02/24/2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

At Long Last, Someone Has Solved the Cupcake Manliness Conundrum

om nom nom femininity!

For centuries, scientists have struggled with a way to solve the Rubik’s cube of dessert dilemmas: what can men eat that is as delicious and delight-inducing as a cupcake, but without compromising their masculinity? After all, cupcakes are horribly un-manly. They might have been made by grandmothers. EGAD!

Fortunately, Butch Bakery has solved the entire issue with their Cupcakes For Men.

No frills. No cute frosting. No sprinkles. Just camo, wood grain, beer, and TESTOSTERONE, BABY!

Nothing is manlier than STEALING your dessert!

Although, to be honest, I would kind of LOVE a cupcake with houndstooth print on it. Just sayin’. Also, I love beer, and one of my favorite cupcake recipes involves stout. Again, just sayin’.

Anyways, here’s the original article from Sociological Images. I really need to remember to check that place out more regularly, because everything I ever see from there is GREAT. So, give it a look!

02/19/2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Hilarious Safe Sex Video

Oh man. This video is freaking hilarious and awesome.

I’m all about funny, self-aware safe sex campaigns that don’t demonize human sexuality or make it sound like having sex is guaranteed DOOM DOOM DEATH. Sexuality is fun and healthy, as long as you use safe sex practices. That is cute, funny, and fun to watch, and that will help it spread as well as stick in peoples’ minds. Those are all great attributes for a successful sexual health campaign.

Good job, whoever made this spot!

02/18/2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Domestic Violence is a “pre-existing condition”

I am so angry. SO ANGRY. I can’t even come up with words to express how enraged I am.

According to LiveStrong, domestic violence is considered a pre-existing condition and nine states allow healthcare companies to deny coverage over it.

There’s already an arsenal of reasons why women don’t report domestic violence or get the medical care they need when suffering from DV; adding to the equation the risk of being unable to get health insurance in the future is a very compelling reason why women may continue to keep quiet about violence.

I disagree completely with the idea that insurance companies should be able to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions; in general it’s a ridiculous concept. However, denying coverage based on having experienced domestic violence is even worse. DV victims are already undergoing severe emotional strains, so to deny health insurance (which they may need to cover their children, or potentially to actually escape their violent relationship) is only going to make the situation worse.

One of the worst parts about denying coverage to DV victims is that it suggests that they will be a continued expense. IE because they have been victimized before, it will probably happen again, and therefore they are high-risk to insure. That smacks of victim-blaming and saying that women are somehow responsible for DV. After all, if the DV incidents weren’t somehow related to the battered person, why would the insurance assume that the violence will continue?

I’m absolutely broiling with anger and sadness about this. I’m fairly certain I have a lot more to say, but I just can’t get my thoughts coherent right now.

Although, as a closing note, I’d like to make mention of the fact that because of my own bias, I did constantly refer to DV victims as women. First off, yes, men are victims of DV as well, and in many ways, they face at least as many hurdles as women do in getting help, due to the stigma on men seeming “weak,” especially compared to a female partner. However, female-on-male DV is only a tiny fraction of the DV problem. Also, homosexual couples often have high rates of DV, and that is certainly not to be overlooked. I wonder, though, how often their DV is actually recorded as such in medical records; do doctors file, say, a gay man who has been battered as being in a fight, or being a DV victim?

Domestic violence is an enormous problem and it stretches umbrella-esque over the lives of victims and into the lives of those around them. Something that may seem contained–such as being unable to get health insurance–is not just an isolated problem but rather a problem with far-reaching ripples of influence, and it is indicative of how many challenges and stigmas still permeate the DV issue.

On top of all that, I’d like to also note that pregnancy is considered a condition for which “most” insurance companies will turn down applicants.

I had so much more I wanted to write about today, too, but then this article showed up and kind of trumped all the less depressing stuff I wanted to write about. Thanks, world, for breaking my heart.

02/17/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Circumcision as genital mutilation?

I don’t have much of an opinion on circumcision. I don’t subscribe to any religious beliefs that mandate circumcision, and I’ve been with men of both varieties and it didn’t really make a difference to me. I’ve never become particularly interested in the topic, so I haven’t bothered to learn much of anything about it.

However, Massachusetts will be voting on a bill on March 2 that would make illegal any “genital mutilation” of children under the age of 18. It would outlaw circumcision, without any exceptions granted for religious purposes.

My first instinct is simply that this can’t be legal–freedom of religion is one of the major rights, which this bill would be flagrantly contradicting. On the other hand, there’s also the right to bodily integrity.

The thing is, I firmly stand against female genital mutilation, and as soon as you start making laws that apply to only one gender, you stand on shaky ground. It becomes easier and easier to undermine something the more stipulations you put on it.

Admittedly, I don’t suppose we have a very high rate of FGM in Massachusetts. (Then again, now that I’ve said that, I will probably regret it, as I will discover depressing statistics or something.)

I don’t know. I can’t really come to a decision on where I stand about this issue, but it’s certainly an interesting one to turn over in my head. Again and again and again. There’s a lot of ways to look at it, and a lot of issues interconnected with it. I’ll keep thinking on it.

[original article]

02/12/2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

The Public Art Project

I love my city. I’ve lived in Boston for about two and a half years now, and although I grew up elsewhere and have lived in several other places, I think of Boston as home. However, I’m far from blind to the failings of my city (in an acronym, MBTA!) or my neighborhood (Allston). I’m all about people interfacing with their worlds and challenging their surroundings. I’ve been lucky enough to know some really interesting, really creative people who have helped me come up with ways to interact with the world.

One of my personal favorites is what have been dubbed “memebomb stickers.” Take your average sheet of 5160 format return address labels, then print them up with whatever inspires you. Carry them on your person and stick them places. I usually have a folder in my purse with several sheets of them, so I format my sticker sheets around having an entire sheet of my favorites so that I don’t have to refill as often in order to always have my go-to stickers on hand.

My newest favorite go-to sticker is the public art sticker. I saw the above graffiti in the Park Street red line station ages ago and snapped a quick cellphone picture because it just delighted me so much. After bouncing some ideas around with friends, the public art sticker was born. Use it jokingly–in public restrooms, on trash cans, etc–or use it in all seriousness when you see some graffiti or something awesome that is probably escaping the notice of most people.

I have a couple other sheets that I like to carry, but the public art is my current favorite. I like the idea of reframing how we look at surroundings, both seriously and tongue in cheek. If nothing else, it keeps me entertained on my commute!

02/10/2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Dudes: Now Slightly Safer To Try At Home

I have to admit, “how recently he’s had a needle in him” isn’t normally one of the first things I contemplate when considering a potential partner. This might change, though.

The FDA has approved the Gardasil vaccine for men and boys!

The vaccine, given via three doses over a six month period, will cover males ages 9 to 26, protecting against HPV types 6 and 11 (the kind that manifest as genital warts). I’m a little bummed that the vaccine only covers types 6 and 11 in men, when the vaccine for women covers 16 and 18 as well, which can lead to precancerous lesions and cervical cancer. I’d like it if my men were non-precancerous for my pleasure. However, it’s still exciting to see the vaccine approved for use for men, and I hope to start seeing men going out and getting it.

On the other hand, this is WAY overdue. Gardasil for women was initially approved in June of 2006. It should not have taken nearly four years to expand the vaccine to cover men as well.

From a purely selfish standpoint, now most of my friends don’t qualify. 4 years ago, when I was just shy of 21, it seemed like 26 was a perfectly reasonable ceiling. Now I’m only a year out from 26 and most of my friends are over that age mark, yet the majority of us are not in committed monogamous relationships, so an HPV vaccine would be really great. (For those who don’t remember or aren’t in the know, HPV is one of those STDs that isn’t fully prevented by condom use, even if you practice “perfect condom usage.”) We’re talking about a vaccine that can help prevent women from getting cancer–it shouldn’t have taken 4 years to get the vaccine approved for men, and they should be constantly expanding the age range of who can get the vaccine.

I’m happy that they’ve finally got approval for men; I was worried for a while that this would be like the elusive male birth control pill, which keeps getting promised, but never happens (because let’s face it, since us girlfolk have the uterus, it’s totally 100% our responsibility to keep from getting knocked up. The penis is basically irrelevant!). Men and carrying HPV, and if anything, it’s extra important to vaccinate them, because they are less likely to show any symptoms; genital warts represents only a tiny fraction of HPV cases, whereas huge numbers of women will get abnormal pap smear results from HPV. HPV is so prevalent that about 50%–half!–of all sexually active Americans will contact it at some point in their lives. Therefore, it’s absolutely integral that we do what we can to minimize the damages done. In the majority of cases, HPV will be cleaned out by the immune system and you’ll never even show any symptoms, but with such a high percentage of carriers, do you really want to risk ending up with a strain that leads to warts, lesions, or cancer?

Like I said, I’m happy that Gardasil is approved for men. However, it should have happened sooner, and it should be covering more strains. Let’s get on that second part, and while we’re at it, let’s expand the age range of both men and women who can get the vaccine. Then, for the icing on the cupcake, let’s make sure we give access to the vaccine to as many people as possible.

Now that’s a sexy world.

02/09/2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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