When Did Being Female Become a “lifestyle choice”?

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control"

1926 US advertisement. “Birth Control” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was passively enduring talk radio on the drive back from Dee’s soccer game this evening and caught the FOX shoutfest that is Hannity. They were yelling over each other about small government, which no American under 55 can seriously claim to have ever lived under or even have the slightest idea of what small government means in terms of daily life, but nevermind. Small government diatribes these days almost inevitably detour through the vaginas of America’s women, who are the true root of the horror that is big government.

“If they want birth control (I love it when “they” refer to us as “they”, don’t you?) then they can pay for it themselves,” Hannity opined like a Catholic bishop from the pulpit. “I don’t need to pay for their lifestyle choice.”

Lifestyle choice?

Let’s see. I have breasts, a vagina, uterus and two XX’s. And that’s a choice I made?

Being female is not a “lifestyle”.

Why is it that everything small government conservative types are opposed to is slapped with the “choice” sticker?

First it was choosing to be gay and now, apparently, one can choose to be female too. Like anyone would, knowing the world as the female non-friendly place that it is. Who wouldn’t choose to the male? And straight and white while one was at it. Why not? If life were a simulated reality video game, as was recently pointed out, smart money is on picking the easiest setting – straight, white male. A penis is like finding a gold ticket in a Wonka Bar.

But here is the real beauty behind the “lifestyle choice” strawman argument, it allows “them” to define “us” as sluts. Only a slut would use birth control. My mother certainly never used birth control. Except if she is a baby boomer, she most certainly probably did. Just as your sister probably did. And your girlfriend because the god of your straight white maleness forbid that you deny yourself anything by stuffing your burgeoning manhood in a condom as opposed to a sassy wet slutty cunt.

But your daughter, and likely many of her friends, use birth control. Your nieces. Your cousins. The women you work with.  The one who checks your groceries at the store and the one who cleans your teeth, make your lattés and tells you to “have a nice” day when you are strolling out of Walmart, all have a better than even by a long shot chance of having used birth control at some point in their lives.

Damn slutty female lifestyle choice. Can’t escape them. They are everywhere, tainting the landscape with their tending to their femaleness and thinking you don’t know it. They should be ashamed of their lifestyle choice.

I know I am.

If only I had chosen to be my brother, who’s had two children out-of-wedlock to my NONE.

But no, I chose the female lifestyle. With its monthly bloody shedding of uterine lining and sole burden of child incubating and birthing and breastfeeding and putting nearly all my own wants, wishes and desires on hold for ten or twenty years, so it can grow, learn and hopefully leave home before I am too old to get back to focusing on me for more than snatched minutes here and there.

Being female is a perk-filled lifestyle. I can’t imagine why more men aren’t choosing it.

When we are not bleeding, pregnant or lactating, we are being paid less for the same work and bruising ourselves against glass ceilings, doors, and walls. We cart home the bacon after having shopped for it only to cook it, be criticized for getting fat if we eat more than a bite of it and then clear it from the table and wash the plates from which it was eaten.

If we show cleavage, we are whores, but if we try to disguise our breasts, we are anal prudes with no sense of humor who should, “Just smile, Sweetie, because you are so much prettier when you smile. Don’t look so serious all the time.”

We get to have a special “place” and straight white god in heaven forbid that we shouldn’t recognize it and plant the asses we should not let get too fat right there where they belong.

What kind of bullshit is this lifestyle choice crap?

No woman on the planet would choose to be female. Why? Because as lifestyles go, it sucks. Lifestyles should be rich, famous, and packed with privileges. Being female is none of those things.

When the small government folk go on and on about “lifestyle choices”, they are attempting – and in the US with great success – to redefine what being female, or gay, really is. It’s not a choice. It’s a condition of being. Part of being female is managing the plumbing, and no one gets to stick his nose up my plumbing unless he’s my husband or has an M.D. behind her surname.

I am female by random chance, and I have lived a female’s life of which I am not ashamed of. Nice try, Hannity.

10 thoughts on “When Did Being Female Become a “lifestyle choice”?

  1. I agree “Lifestyle choice” was a bad phrase. But what of the underlying argument? Should taxpayers pay for birth control? If so, should they also pay for surgical birth control and the occasional reversal of it? I thought when Hannity/Limbaugh were railing on this, they were referring to women who were having indiscriminate sex. But the economic question is still there. I don’t think they were saying birth control should be banned, only that those who want to use it should have to pay for it themselves. The problem with paying for birth control (and/or other medical aid) is that it moves you down the slippery slope of socialism. Why not pay for breast enlargments and all other forms of cosmetic surgery? Why not pay for breast reductions if it “improves quality of life.” I don’t have the answers. But I really don’t want to pay for other people’s birth control. I’m all for open access and availiability, but I think if you’re old enough and responsible enough to have consensual sex, you should be able to afford to pay for your own birth control.

    1. Many health insurance plans do cover tubal ligation and vasectomies in addition to IUD’s, so why not cover birth control pills too?

      And the “indiscriminate sex” thing is just code for unmarried women who have sex. It purposely chooses to ignore the fact that the majority of single consenting adults, male as well as female, are in monogamous relationships. It would be nice, as it is the year 2012, if we could get past the “looking for Mr. Goodbar” scare tactic stereotype and acknowledge that women who have sex with their boyfriends are not sluts.

      And the surest way to keep many women from birth control access is make it a totally out of pocket expense and ignore the fact that birth control pills treat real medical issues like PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Disease), endometriosis, fibroids and hormonal imbalances, which insurers often refuse to cover even if your DR vouches for your medical condition.

      And this brings me to the bigger picture, if my DR writes me a prescription and I have coverage through an insurer, it’s not their business or place to second guess.

      This argument could be easily settled if the FDA would allow the pill to be sold over the counter and there is no reason why it can’t be. But OBGYN’s make a lot of money forcing women to come to them for yearly pelvic exams (which aren’t necessary according to the latest research) to get their scripts renewed and Big Pharma makes a lot of money from insurers b/c as long as a prescription is needed, they can vastly overprice the pill.

      And insurance already covers breast reduction in cases were it is medically warranted just like they cover breast reconstruction for cancer patients.

      This isn’t about being old and responsible. If that were the case then middle aged and older men should pay for their own Viagra because most of the time it’s just for sex and not about treating an illness. This is about singling out women who have sex outside of marriage which offends some ppl’s religious beliefs. It’s not about tax dollars paying for things that voters don’t want b/c there will always be something that some voters don’t want money spent on.

      If we don’t want to cover prescription drugs as part of an overall health care program, so be it. In Canada ppl pay for their drug coverage if they don’t have the benefit via an employer, but to assign moral value to some drugs over others begs the question of why really are we doing this? Religion shouldn’t count for squat in that debate. You can’t use a person’s health insurance to shove your religious views down her throat, and if religious based schools or hospitals feel they need to stick to their somewhat suspicious ideals, they should simply quit providing health care insurance for their employees. No one is forcing them to have coverage in the first place.

      There is no slippery slope here. If women exerting control over their own reproductive systems wasn’t at the heart of the matter, it wouldn’t even be a discussion.

  2. I cheered out loud several times – quietly as I’m in the Barnes and Noble reading it. Sometimes it seems that being female is a no-win situation, but I wouldn’t want to be otherwise. I posted this on my public FB page Lotus and Thorn for my readers to enjoy and cheer as well. Thank you for a clear, witty, biting articulation of the current climate.

  3. Isn’t it great to be a modern woman, where contraception is a “lifestyle choice”, while Viagra is an absolute necessity which should be freely available with federal subsidies (at least in my country).

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