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Putting the Sex Back in Birth Control: Why the Dominant Narrative on Contraception Undermines Young People

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Written by Andrew Jenkins for RH Reality Check.This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

While I applaud Elizabeth Banks for her new ad supporting Planned Parenthood, birth control, and President Barack Obama -- and wholeheartedly empathize with her personal story -- I'm reminded of a sobering fact: the progressive community is deathly afraid of talking about sex and young people.

That's right. I said it.

Between Banks new web promo aimed at female voters, Sandra Fluke's testimony before Congress last February, and the reactive messaging around Rush Limbaugh's vile comments, one thing has remained clear: our movement is far more comfortable elevating stories about birth control when they don't involve sex. Pure unadulterated sex. Sex without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. You know… the primary reason young Americans use birth control.

And for arguments sake, maybe there's a good reason for this. Maybe -- just maaaayyyybe -- we're trying to appeal to conservatives. Perhaps we're making our funders happy. Or maybe we're just trying to sell a message that is palatable; easy to consume.

Nope. Bullshit. Not buying it.

As sweet and good intentioned as these justifications sound, what we're ultimately doing is playing the game that our opponents want us to play and operating under a set of rules that threaten the long-term success of our movement. 

 

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