A friend of mine has an American boyfriend, who once said that he always had figured that the odds that his girlfriend wouldn’t have sex with him (or have huge hangups about it) would be around 50-50, and I never really understood why. I think I unconsciously imagine American culture as “just like ours except everyone speaks English” (I’m Swedish), probably because American media is everywhere here and thus kind of feels like “home” even though it’s not. I know the gender roles are a bit different but that didn’t seem to be the whole explanation. I thought there must be something else going on, but I couldn’t figure it out.
Then, I started reading http://www.fugitivus.net/ and Tiger Beatdown, and I learned just how hard it can be for Americans to get birth control, plan B or an abortion, even though they’re legal. Here, there are youth clinics that seem pretty similar to PP, except they are not controversial at all. You will probably visit one as part of sex ed around 8th grade. Abortions are free up to a certain age (18 or 20 or something) but even when they’re not, they won’t cost more than 300 SEK (around $45). Minors don’t have to notify their parents. Birth control is subsidized and you can get free condoms from the youth clinics. Some people dislike abortions, but they have no political influence, and absolutely no one thinks the plan B pill is immoral.
Several of my friends have needed plan B, some of them while minors, and they just went to the nearest youth clinic and asked for it. No charge, no hassle, no protestors, no conscience clauses, no having to travel hours and hours just to find a clinic. Just swallow the pill, withstand some friendly teasing and get on with your life.
I think this difference between American and Northern/Western European women’s lives is absolutely fundamental, and to me it completely explains why my friend’s American boyfriend expected that girls wouldn’t sleep with him – not because they wouldn’t want to or because American women are more sensitive to pressure from gender roles, but because they would be taking a huge personal risk. I totally get why a lot of people wouldn’t be up for that. (It also explains why some Americans want to use condoms and the pill at the same time – before understanding your lack of abortion access that seemed pretty paranoid to me, but now I get it!)
I try to imagine not having access to affordable birth control or abortions, and it’s a horror movie level of scary. Just imagining that someone could impregnate me against my will and not being able to do anything about it… holy shit.” —AK, a Swede, commenting on the reproductive rights situation in America, on the Tiger Beatdown post
Language Matters: No, ‘Gypped’ is Not a Good Alternative to ‘Jewed’, by s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’ (via adorianmode)
My history teacher actually mentioned this once. Like, really. I was pleasantly surprised.
Because I’ve always seen it spelled “gipped”, I didn’t really make this connection until fairly recently, but yeah, I need to avoid this term.
(I’ve never heard “Jewed” used as a verb, either. I didn’t know that was a thing. But then again I have heard “so-and-so is such a Jew”, which is pretty much the same thing, so…)
I have seen some seriously awful racist vitriol thrown at Roma people, and that was just on the internet. IRL they are still a very marginalized and discriminated-against group. Don’t say “gypped,” kids.