Does a Man Need the Pill Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle?
By Alexa Day
The best thing about the modern march toward gender equality? Every day, I gain new insight about things men want.
Like a few days ago, I heard Ashton Kutcher’s lament that most public men’s rooms don’t have a changing table, which annoys him when he’s out with his little ones. Now, I’ve observed how much space the changing table occupies in our own bathrooms, and I have on at least one occasion used it to keep my pocketbook off the floor. (Trust me here. That floor was frightening.) I figured the men’s room didn’t have a changing table, although I know those newfangled family bathrooms do have them.
But for whatever reason, I didn’t appreciate how difficult the lack of changing tables must be for Ashton and other single dads — like my brother. My brother thoroughly educated me about the whole public changing table situation, and now I get it. (Ashton, if you’re still looking, my brother and his similarly situated friends suggest Target for your changing table needs.) Still, I wonder why more men haven’t complained about that before now, especially since I’m pretty sure that’s how we ladies got our changing tables.
Now I wonder if my lack of insight is keeping me from appreciating the birth control pill for men. I first heard about the male Pill last week, and now I’ve watched a news brief on it, thanks to my colleague Madeline Iva. So I get how the male Pill works, and I’ll be interested to see if the male Pill gets through the FDA gauntlet before the HPV vaccine for grown women does.
I can’t help but wonder, though — why do men need a birth control pill?
I live in a very selfish little world (population: Alexa Day), and so my first thought was that I don’t mind being in charge of birth control. The world is a safer, more functional place if I don’t replicate. Very few things are more important to me than easy access to my very own reliable birth control. After all, if the birth control fails, I figure I have to make the bigger life change, so it makes sense to me that I should take the larger contraceptive responsibility.
Even if men wanted to shoulder more of that responsibility — and good for you, guys, if that’s where you are — I don’t get why the Pill is the way to go. Aren’t condoms easier, less expensive, more available? Sure, beyond the condom, I concede there aren’t a great deal of options, and the choices that do exist either last forever, demand adjustments to one’s sexual repertoire, or require injections into one’s junk. I just didn’t see that the Pill was a better idea.
But now I think I understand.
A man who wants control of his reproductive life has a dearth of options similar to what women had before the Pill. They’ve got surgery, abstinence, rhythm, and condoms. Men haven’t had to face the consequences of pregnancy in the same way that women have, but those few options are more or less where women were once upon a time, right? I don’t know that a male Pill would be quite the same game-changer that the original Pill was, but I’m okay with expanding their birth control options to include something as effective and easily reversed as the original Pill is.
Fair is fair. Things might be even more fair if men could get pregnant, but science isn’t there yet.
Now if the male Pill shoots through the FDA’s hoops without the usual delays, I might be a little miffed. And I’m definitely not relying on someone else’s birth control when I’m sure of my own.
But generally, the male Pill is okay with me.
So what do you think? Do men need the Pill like fish need bicycles?
Do fish need bicycles?
Do men need bicycles?
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