all things condoms

Girl Power

Posted by Condomologist on March 20, 2009

A new government campaign in the UK encourages women to carry condoms, tells them it doesn’t make them slutty or easy — but rather makes them more attractive to men — and gives them some sample one-liners to drop on dudes right before they get their freak on. Naturally, there will be widespread outrage about us losing our morals, devaluing sex, and crossing the line into inappropriate government intervention. I have no idea what effect it will have, but whatever we in the UK and the States are doing surely ain’t working (as I note in the previous post); and the idea that any alternative is better has no grounding. Unless we want to impose oppressive religious dictatorships, and as long as we cherish the freedoms and openness afforded us in the Western world, we do better to make marriageless sex a matter of fact and not sin. And as to the opinion that this campaign demeans women and leaves them open to unwanted aggression from men, I say it’s baloney. Objectification of women and sexism surely exists — our promotion of Girls Gone Wild and the like, for example — but condoms in women’s handbags is empowerment and necessary, whatever way you look at it. Yes, guys have a responsibility to use contraception as well, but someone’s gotta have a rubber, and might as well be the lady.




2 Responses to “Girl Power”

  1. Dan said

    I’m all for the campaign, but for the record, I find the suggested one-liners pretty ridiculous. Hard to imagine an actual conversation happening in which one of these lines is used.

  2. Jonathan said

    Fair enough, but the larger point is that all the one-liners we’ve ever heard in our day have been focused on men picking up women — or at least that’s the implication. By throwing these out there, however ridiculous, it sends the message that women can be in the driver’s seat. They can hit on men, pick up men, ask men on dates, pay their fair share of the bill, and insist on how things go down in the bedroom. I hate the word empowerment — it’s just one of those annoying words I hear too much in my line of work — but that’s what it’s about, and there’s some truth in the need to promote it. One of the things that gets lost in the mainstream discussion of condoms, but that many hard-core feminists rightly point out, is that one of the biggest issues of non-use stems from women not able to insist upon safety — that a man doesn’t want to use them and that’s the final word. He may or may not openly intimidate her, but the fear of violence or emotional abuse/blackmail, etc. is very real and thus a woman is put at risk against her will. This is also an important point to make in condemning the Pope, that it’s all well and good to encourage fidelity and abstinence, but what the fuck is a woman to do to protect herself (and her children, if she’s to die of AIDS) if her man’s been cheating on her (with another woman or man) and then she’s not supposed to insist on condoms because the Pope said they make AIDS worse. But back to the one-liners: it’s important to distinguish between the cheeseball lines and the lines that seem pretty realistic to me. “If you make it clean, I’ll make it dirty” — clearly cheesy. But the last 3 seem fair game: A lot of guys say condoms bother them because they’re too big, and sometimes larger sizes solve that issue; I have to do more research on the ribbed/studded ones, but certainly some people thinks they increase pleasure or they wouldn’t remain on the market; and the putting on a condom by the lady, I think that’s good to break the ice, good for communication, good to relax the mood, if not really all that sexy (in my opinion). And for me, I know it’s just easier when my partner helps me, though that’s probably because I have short, fat, uncoordinated fingers. And I’m uncircumsized, which just further complicates things. So are these lines going to solve the problem? No, but they change the discussion, and I think that’s important. As I mentioned, this campaign is pissing a lot of people off, so it’s a fair argument to make that it encourages casual sex. I guess. I mean, casual sex just seems so natural to me in Western culture in the 21st century that trying to fight it seems a losing battle.

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