Is Ignorance Keeping you Unwell?
For most women we start the path towards
puberty and stress at an early age. Not only are we swamped with
changing tampons, deodorants, and razors but new feelings and issues
about sexuality arise. Although the social pressures on men to have
sex tend to be to be heavier, the pressure for women to have sex
has become stronger. We have slowly moved away from idealistic virginal
expectations of women and have moved into a society that glamorizes
sexy women having sex, virginal women having sex, and every other
woman in the spectrum…having sex. But this enchanting orgy
comes with consequences. Consequences such as: babies, AIDS, STD’s,
STI’s—not to mention heart break and other emotional
Our media doesn’t surface these truths as often as the sexy
ideals. But, in the last ten years there has been a noticeable emphasis
on the “birth-control world.” New and “easy”
ways of tricking our hormones and eggs have made their way into
our lives and bodies. Commercials on TV, ads in magazines, pamphlets
and posters everywhere are advocating that women should protect
themselves from pregnancy. That’s very funny because all along
I thought that it takes a woman and a man to make a baby. But nearly
all of the advertisements are for female birth control. The only
way men can protect themselves from pregnancy are condoms and there
are very few Trojan commercials and advertisements, compared to
female birth-control ads. It’s very “interesting”
that the only birth-control for men has no side effects or cancerous
future. Even the way our society has determined who will be protected
and who won’t be protected mirrors what sex would want to
take the “risk” of engaging in sexual intercourse.
Yes, sex is great. Sex should be enjoyed by two consenting people.
The problem with pushing sex into the lime-light has many consequences.
But, as a sexually active, 19-year-old woman, I see many consequences
of the way we distribute, advertise, and communicate potential problems
associated with birth control to today’s female audiences.
Flip open any Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, or Vogue and you will see
at least two ads consisting of two pages each that advertises different
types of birth control. Yes, it’s great that women are being
encouraged to protect themselves and not be ashamed by birth control.
These are all positive things. But, for new types of birth control
like Yasmin and Ortho-Evra “the patch,”(there are a
ton more), we are still unaware of the long-term side effects that
go along with the long list of new birth-control items that are
now on the menu.
The most important side-effect that has been noticed in early research
is the effect these hormones have on many, women who smoke, over
the age of 35. In the fine print at the bottom of every ad there
is a very important warning that is over-looked by most. It says:
“Women, particularly those 35 and over, are strongly advised
not to smoke due to the risk of serious cardiovascular side-effects
including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.” Liver tumors
(which can cause severe bleeding) and breast cancer are possibly
linked to oral contraceptives (such as Yasmin). These are very severe
Not only are these consequences proven,
but they are life threatening. What the ads do not say are the effects
that they are not forced to put down because of the FDA. Things
such as: a noticeable weight-gain, mood swings/depression, facial
breakouts, and other things associated with cranking your body full
I have many female friends and 80% of them are on birth-control.
Out of that 80% only 20% of them have not had any side-effects.
The other 50% of them have experienced major-mood swings resulting
in their family and friends commenting about their depressed moods
and yelling-rampages. My dear friends are not crazy, they just had
some issues adjusting to the birth control. They kept taking the
pills and patches and their bodies, over-time, adjusted to the hormones
or they eventually stopped using them. It is very important that
we as women talk about these, what some would say taboo, issues
with each other. Out of all of my girlfriends who’ve experienced
negative side-effects only one of the girl’s doctors actually
warned her about mood-swings.
We must realize that we have a say in this. The communication between
women and doctors needs to be pried open. We must leave stupidity
and darkness in the closet that it has emerged from. We must talk
to our girl-friends, female-co-workers, mothers, daughters, and
sisters. We can’t keep paying our hard-worked dollars to companies
that, for some, are poisoning our bodies. Wake up! Go on the net.
Research! Find a community of women who will help you instead of
Ronit is a Theatre and a Women’s
Studies Major at Santa Monica College.