Wow. Can’t believe it’s been a week since I wrote here. Granted, I was really sick and really medicated so in my brain I “wrote” about eleven blog posts. Imagine my surprise when I logged in to WordPress only to realise that none of my great witticisms from the last seven days actually made it on to the page.
This one HAS to make it on to the page because I’m about ready to pull my hair out over it, and if I don’t get it off my chest there’s a chance that I’ll accidentally rant at the Panera cashier or the library shelver or somebody else unfortunate enough to be in my line of fire.
It starts with a new television ad for a Birth Control Pill from Bayer. I can’t remember the name of the pill, of course. Only that it comes from Bayer–that I remember because I swear the ad is designed to give me a headache for which I need to purchase Bayer Extra Strength Aspirin. The commercial starts off with several well-dressed youngish women entering what is supposed to be a department store. The Voice-Over says something along the lines of “It’s good to have choices…” and then tells you about how you can basically use this pill to keep all your options open. Meanwhile, the women are shown “shopping” at the various display cases. One, filled with scrolls (diplomas, presumably) is marked “Grad School”. Another case has a small model of the Eiffel Tower, and so on.
But where it gets me is when they get to the table with a sign above it that says “Significant Other”. Stacked beneath the sign are–of course–a dozen lucite boxes, each containing a little man dressed in a way as to signify what KIND of little man he is. We have Cool Dude, Business Dude, etc. One woman is running her fingers along the tops of the cases and another quickly snatches the box of Cool Dude eagerly away. The lingering woman looks at her now-rival angrily.
It’s this moment in a commercial about protecting yourself from the sexually-transmitted consequence of unwanted children that is supposed to be lighthearted and funny. But I swear that it is the ENTIRE PROBLEM of unwanted children played out in 2.4 seconds.
1. It’s all about what the woman wants. There’s no discussion with anyone about what they both want or what their shared goals might be. Why?
2. BECAUSE THE MAN IS A LITTLE OBJECT IN A GLASS CASE. He’s something you pick up and throw in a basket and take home and keep on the shelf in your life. He’s not a partner. A lover. A friend. Heck, he’s not even a person. He’s a little dolly in a box.
3. Other women are your natural rivals. There is no bond of sisterhood. No sense of a community. Women working together are one of the fundamental building blocks of the creation of community. It has been that way as long as there have been people. But when you turn the women against each other, making them rivals for the “prize object”–a man, you break that fragile web.
I swear, I know they just want to sell birth control. And I love the idea of prophylactic conception control. (Frankly, we need to change the name. Because I am not in love with ALL birth control. But if it prevents conception–you betcha.) But I so hate the idea that men are objects and life is a lark.