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What Boys Think of Girls

Cable News Prefers To Ask Men Their Opinions On Birth Control

Birth control has been in the news as of late. President Barack Obama has compromised today by saying his administration will not require religious institutions to provide free contraception to their employees using their health insurance but that employees may still obtain it from their insurance directly. Of course, there have been debates, but something interesting observed? Cable news has been talking to more men than women about the proposal. Which is weird, because I don’t know any men who take birth control to prevent conception… 

Think Progress recently did some research on cable news coverage of President Obama’s new regulation. “From Monday through Thursday evening, the leading cable news channels – Fox, Fox Business, MSNBC, and CNN – invited almost twice as many men as women onto their shows to discuss contraceptive coverage,” they write. “Out of a total of 146 guests who discussed contraception, the cables invited 91 men compared to 55 women as commentators. In other words, males comprised 62 percent of the total guests who commented on contraception.”

I guess women just aren’t as qualified to discuss birth control. After all, if we’re on it, we’re definitely biased. That’s ok, it’s totally cool if men discuss it and make all the decisions for us. I’m sure it will turn out aaaaallllright.

Think Progress broke it down further. “Fox was the most gender stratified network – on the Business network, 10 of 11 guests were male; on the News side, male pundits took up 65 percent of the guest lineup (28 men vs. 15 women). Sixty percent of MSNBC’s lineup was male (44 men vs. 31 women). And while CNN was more evenly balanced, it was still slightly tilted in favor of male perspectives (9 men vs. 8 women).”

This is concerning. I approve of hearing from many different voices when debating politics (or anything really) but having so few women discussing a female issue is a bit ridiculous.

(via Think Progress)

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  • Jen

    Funny, this. That so many (men *and* women) want to take away birth control for “religious liberties,” but how many of those people want to take care of those children conceived, and born, due to their “religious responsibilities?”  

    Men, and women, can get condoms free, anywhere. But women, if we want to make doubly sure we’re not conceiving at a time we don’t want to (and I say this as a single, not-getting-any, parent!, not on the pill, adult woman), we need to consult with someone else, it’s not only maddening, it’s deplorable. 

    And for men to be consulted on the right of a woman to use birth control, when no one questions their [male] rights to carry condoms around in their wallets is, quite frankly, one of the most non-adult things I’ve seen of late. To which I say, bareback it if you want, boys, apparently your religious liberties don’t care if you use condoms or not. But, be prepared to be cock blocked by the pill-using, condom-carrying women. 

  • stevi ferg

    I also “like” how no one that I’ve seen on CNN has discussed how many women who are on birth control aren’t on it only to prevent pregnancy. For many women, it’s used to balance hormones that can make life miserable otherwise (migraines, debilitating cramps, etc.)

  • Anonymous

    Let’s invest in technology to allow men to have babies, then maybe I won’t mind their input so much.

  • Mac Beauvais

    A lot of things about this debate really irk me, but one of my biggest gripes is how little the benefits of birth control (outside of the conception part) are being discussed. Not all women take birth control just to prevent pregnancy. There are many that use it to help quell PMS-related symptoms, combat acne, balance extreme hormone issues, etc. If the pill were called something like “Hormonal Therapy Treatment” or by an overarching brand name like “Viagra” is, would this still be such a huge issue?

  • Frodo Baggins

    I agree with the premise of your complaint, but this: “no one questions their [male] rights to carry condoms around in their wallets” is not the case. Many religious institutions object to condoms.

    Also, it’s worth noting that unlike the pill, condoms are not only a contraceptive, but an STD shield.

  • Frodo Baggins

    “Which is weird, because I don’t know any men who take birth control to prevent contraception…”

    True, though I do split the cost with my girlfriend. Which is why I’m all in favor of insurance covering it!

  • Sera Wohldmann

    The women of the trans community would worship whoever made this possible. Not to invalidate our status as women, but pregnancy is pretty much the one thing we can’t get no matter what.

  • Nelly Dreadful

    Um, small typo. NO one takes birth control to prevent contraception; they take it to prevent CONCEPTION. Contraception (counter-conception) and birth control are the same thing.

    (My apologies for nitpicking. Is there an e-mail address or form for corrections? I usually prefer to do it that way so as not to hijack the comment thread. I agree thoroughly with the gist of the article otherwise!)

  • Anonymous

    I believe it was said at one point that typos should be sent to their Tips email listed above.

  • Jen

    I agree fully with your point about condom carrying. 

    I will, however amend my original argument/complaint with what I was thinking when I typed is that condoms do not have to be prescribed and in no way are in danger of being legislated against. But then my fear becomes the question of what happens when you take away birth control options for women, how far will that movement go to protect religious liberties? 

    i.e. Condoms are now by prescription / married people only? STD screening becomes public knowledge? It sounds outlandish, but so does telling women they can’t use birth control as they see fit. I also point out that men can have much more discreet sex than women, as reproductively speaking, women are the ones that show the actuality of no birth control – pregnancy, wanted or unwanted. I’m not even bringing std’s into this equation. 

    My point being, you are correct, many religious institutions object to condoms, but condoms can be gotten easily, freely, and [mostly] without shame. But as it *is* a contraceptive measure, and frankly, men aren’t going to get caught for having sex by getting pregnant, is the slant my prior commentary on this was coming from. 

    When did it become an issue for women to have a right to choose what happens to their body? What’s next, no iud? No tampons? Outlaw sex unless for pregnancy purposes? Sounds crazy, right? So does saying that birth control, and I’ll even include condoms here, violate a woman’s purpose of reproducing.

  • Anonymous

    Religious questions aside, why should I pay for somebody else to have sex?  When I have sex, I take full responsibility for all the consequences, and I don’t ask other people for handouts.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps, but you will be contributing to child support and whatever other social safety nets those unwanted pregnancies will/might end up needing. So, what seems to be the cheaper solution here?

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

    Make it
    your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working
    with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

  • Adam Whitley

    I was thinking that very same thing.

  • Anonymous

    Um, were did you get the idea that requiring insurance coverage to include hormonal contraception resulted in you paying for someone else to have sex?  You make it sound like this requires you to help pay for someone to patronize a sex worker.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Well said.

  • Joanna

    I always thought it would be an interesting idea to invent a pill to suppress sexual desire.  I’m sure it’s possible.  That’d keep the religious nuts happy and there would be no unwanted babies.  Plus, we’d probably wind up in an Equilibrium-like future with dudes in trench coats that can do gun-fu =D

  • relmneiko

    I hear black liquorice inhibits sexual desire.

  • Anonymous

    crikit, have you forgotten that after conception women can CHOOSE to have a child or not, while men have no choice, only continuing responsibility.   Don’t whine about baring children, the choice is yours.

  • Anonymous

    So you seam to use equality or fairness as a basis for your argument, so would you agree that after conception, both the man and the woman have equal rights to abort the pregnancy?  Do men only have a responsibility to support but no choice? 

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t really feel that I was whining, only making a sarcastic comment.  I haven’t forgotten that women have a right to choose, but this isn’t really about abortion, is it?  The article is about how they’re asking men more often than women about birth control that only women take.

  • Anonymous

    Insurance doesn’t just give you free stuff.  Insurance pays hospitals/pharmacies etc out of the premiums they collect from the inusred.  We’ll all get stuck paying higher premiums.  So, again, why should I pay for someone else to have sex, when I’ve paid my own way through life, not asking for handouts?

  • Adam Whitley

    because birth control isn’t just for sex purposes as was already stated

  • Adam Whitley

    I don’t think it would turn equilibrium on us it would be more like the entire world could channel its energies into more useful things and build the utiopian sky cities we’ve always dreamed of.

  • HannahW

    For me, that was called “the Pill” :P And personally, when my sexual desire was diminished, I got really depressed… I don’t know that they were directly linked, but your hormones and sex system ARE pretty connected with your mental balance.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    And aren’t there already some IUDs which are only given to women who have at least one child, based on non-physiological reasons?

  • Carmen Sandiego

    My college roommate was on birth control to prevent a hereditary condition which killed one of her aunts and had put her mother in the hospitable repeatedly (leading to her mother losing her job).  My roommate was put on it when she was thirteen for health concerns.  She had a strict policy for herself of no sex before marriage but respected everybody’s right to control of their body.  The campus health center had a repulsive pharmacist who tried to shame her out of picking up her prescription and she gave him hell and reminded him that not only was he an idiot for not realizing that there is more than one reason women take certain hormonal drugs but that him raising his voice to her in earshot of other women waiting in line was completely disrespecting her right to privacy.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Or, you know, the PAX.

  • Anonymous

    Oh no!  Covering all peoples full health care needs will cost you a little extra money how terrible!

    The increased premium you are paying is not you “pay[ing] for someone else to have sex” it is you paying so that everyone is offered COMPLETE HEALTH COVERAGE!  Notice how different the words “complete health coverage” and “paying for someone else to have sex” are?

  • Jen Huls

    Do you complain about all other medications and procedures your insurance premium pays for? Do you use your insurance plan to pay for your contraceptive (provided you use it)? If so, *I* don’t want to pay for *you* to have sex. 

  • Jenny Hanniver


    Also, I smell MRA in here.

  • Jenny Hanniver


    Yep, definitely MRA.

    We weren’t talking about abortion.  We were talking about birth control.  That which PREVENTS abortion.  Do try and keep up, sweetie.

  • Anonymous


    Spare me the name calling.  Read what you just wrote.  Abortion is not a form of BIRTH CONTROL?  Wow.  Who’s not keeping up?  Why not answer the premise instead of attack?  Also, believe me when I say, I have the chops to keep up with you, vassar girl.

  • Rose Adams

    For the love of… I admit, as a socialist Canadian I have difficulty properly conceiving of the mindset that would allow such a gaping black hole of illogic, but has no one ever explained to you that the greater the number of people paying into a social safety net, the less it costs for everyone? The same applies, emphatically, to health insurance. P.S. Spare us the bootstraps argument, your privilege is showing.

  • Rose Adams

    It’s not really about equality so much as reality. The day that men develop the ability to carry babies will be the day they gain the right to have any real say in a debate on women’s birth control.

  • Adam Whitley

    Selfishness has won over some people and has caused huge rifts in the American populace.

  • Jill Baker

    Apparently, I need to write my congresspeople and remind them that they are trying to screw with my health. Unless they are going to subsidize me for being physically ill for a week of each month, they need to leave my hormone pills alone.

  • Jill Baker

     Well, you’ll be paying for people to have sex anyway since even the companies that won’t cover Birth Control Pills cover Viagra and Cialis and similar drugs. Also, for the people you aren’t covering Birth Control Pills for, you can now cover maternity benefits, which are still provided by the insurance for those same companies, and then continue paying for the new child for 18-26 years while they are under their parent’s insurance plan.

    While you are busy not paying for people to have sex, you can also not pay for women with PMDD or ovarian cysts to be able to live normal lives rather than being ill every 4th week, or have periods that last for over a month straight, or have extreme pains in the abdomen and painful urination.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, men have every right to weigh in on this issue, since the topic is about the creation of a LAW that forces the free market to act in a certain manner.  You see laws and regulations are created in the PUBLIC DOMAIN not private.  A lot of the public is men, and like it or not when you make laws, they then have a say.  If you wish for men to stay out of ”your business” then don’t make laws; use other forms of influence.  I do agree, there should be a balance of men and women that are interviewed by the media, but an exact bean-counting approach is a little silly.  

  • Anonymous

    The GOP is dead wrong on the issue and Obama’s compromise made me cringe.