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Why Did a Supposedly Feminist Website Advocate Using Plan B as Regular Birth Control?

Unraveling a baffling, dangerous, and irresponsible post by the health/beauty editor of women's site XO Jane.
 
 
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Photo Credit: M Markus at Flickr

 
 
 
 

  A little over a month ago,  Latoya Peterson of Racialicious submitted an all-too-ripe-for-criticism article to Carefree White Girl. After reading it and writing my normal perfunctory response, I quickly pressed the “delete” button, feeling that it was just some stale scrawl. Days, and then weeks went by and I still hadn’t composed the post I wanted. I blamed it on not having Internet in my new home (got it today), and having to work too much (still have that problem). At the same time I began to look at the unwritten entry as my chance to craft some sort of revelatory tome on the radical social effects of the Carefree White Girl’s image. I began to feel dejected. I, as many who are normally steeped in the goings-on of the Internet wondered if the post was irrelevant. I even began to second-guess the work I do here, believing it to be futile in its crassness. 

But then this morning happened and I decided, actually, ehh, this shit is mad important, right? As I was waiting for the 4 train on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, I overheard a group of High School aged African American and Latina women talking about their recently impregnated classmate whose “tiny white-girl body that be lookin cute” in today’s fashions would be forever changed by the advent of her first born child.

I know man, sad, right?

***

 On October 13 th Cat Marnell of XOJane, a popular women’s beauty, lifestyle and fashion website,  posted a flippant, sardonic piece saluting the emergency contraceptive pill known as Plan B.  Hers was a self-congratulatory send-up to the drug’s efficiency that “zaps the sucker [baby] at its source.” Marnell compiled a list of alternatives to Plan B that she  could use, but doesn’t. Why? Welp, Birth Control “makes [you] fat,” Condoms “Nope!” and Diaphragms, “The Wild Card!” she fielded during her collegiate “slutty,” “cocaine and champagne” hazed years was just too inconvenient.  Lets go to the text, shall we?

 The first line reads:

OK, so for the exactly three women left in this world, apparently, who don’t know what Plan B is, it is sort of the world’s greatest contraceptive 

At its best, the hyperbolic opener is a (not even funny) joke, and at its worst, a grave postulation. Marnell presumes her readers already know what Plan B is, and if they don’t then they are basically subhuman and should probably be “zapped” off the earth’s rapidly warming surface; all have (financial and physical) access to Plan B; and all abide by her same moral code.

I know man, sad, right?

I decided it best to handpick highlights from her text:

1. “AND  you can get [Plan B]  WITHOUT a prescription, for like $50, at any pharmacy. So it’s genius.

2. But WOMEN. We are clearly abusing it. OK, at least I am. Once I took it three times in one month! And that is seriously extreme; I know; I know. So besides that horrible month — I was f*&king around with someone REALLY sexy; what can I say — I’d say that I take it once every, like two months, and OMIGOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M WRITING ABOUT MY SEX LIFE. I meant to be writing all of this to condemn all of YOU.

3. Women of New York City and the world: resolve to step up. Fifty bucks is fifty bucks — that’s practically  a new fall fragrance!

Marnell’s gaffetastic post makes the on-line publication, XOJane - started by Jane and Sassy Magazine’s founder, Jane Pratt - seem completely out of touch with current cultural trends that shun the type of reckless spending Marnell embraces.  On the basis of that alone  Cat Marnell wins Carefree White Girl offender of the fucking year.  But there are other more glaring issues in her post and thankfully throngs of feminist bloggers have identified them.