So, my sometimes-friend pointed me in the direction of some blog I’d never heard of, and it’s so hilarious you have to go read it. It’s got some occasionally non-hilarious stuff, like posts reminding us that even Marxists can be victims/perpetrators of partriarchal norms.
But its also full of of some high-octane wackaloonery which is entertainment par excellence. For example, this exchange that occurred during one of the internet’s usual arguments about circumcision:
Clarissa: I don’t think anybody is likely to get an STD when one is a newborn. At least, unless we are talking about families of pedophiles. So I don’t really see the point of bringing up STDs in the context of newborn boys.
SciLiz: So is it wrong, from a public health standpoint, to vaccinate 9 year old girls with the HPV vaccine because they aren’t sexually active yet?
Clarissa: I am profoundly opposed to the HPV vaccine.
SciLiz: Why? (full disclosure- my best friend from grade school got cervical cancer at age 21; my best friend from grad school researched HPV- although not on the vaccine. It is possible I am not terribly impartial on this issue)
Clarissa: http://clarissasblog.com/2010/04/30/why-im-against-the-hpv-vaccine/ (Summary: Patriarchy sees women as inherently icky and diseased and in need of being modified to help maintain control and ultimately the patriarchy. Feel free to correct me if I’ve got that wrong.)
SciLiz: Uhm, hate to break it to you. but it’s an HPV vaccine. Not a cervix vaccine. The pathology is the (nasty, excessively mess-with-your-cell-cycle strains of the) virus. I don’t see how the HPV vaccine is “pathologizing” women anymore than the measles vaccine is “pathologizing” children. Also, they are now recommending it for boys as well. Or are you pro-anal cancer?
Clarissa: I’m against the unhealthy American dependence on medication.
SciLiz: And I’m against cancer. I win.
That would have normally been hilarious enough, with SciLiz winning the internets, but the retort deserves some deconstruction:
Clarissa: This country has been addicted to guzzling down meds for three generations already. And there is still as much cancer as ever. I understand that people want to assuage their anxiety about cancer this way but there are less unhealthy, non-chemical, non-invasive ways of doing that.
As is usual in such exchanges, people have a tendency to let their anger lead them to places of profound ignorance. The points enumerated by Clarissa are wrong and idiotic:
- Addicted to guzzling down meds: what does this statement even mean? That pneumonia patients are addicted to antibiotics and should suck it up?
- There is still as much cancer as ever: reminds me of the “then why are there still monkeys” retort. There is still a lot of cancer in the world. We have gotten very good at preventing and treating many cancers (you have to follow that link deep into the article).
- People don’t want to “assuage their anxiety about cancer”; they want to not get cancer, and here’s where she fails to understand some fundamentals of medicine and feminism simultaneously.
One thing the HPV vaccine does is give a little control back to women. A woman who has sex may or may not be given a choice to have sex. Additionally, she may or may not be given a choice to use a condom. She is never given a choice about being raped.
The HPV vaccine prevents a sexually transmitted cancer, allowing women to feel just a tiny bit safer. Would it be better if women had complete control over every sexual encounter? Of course. Should we punish a woman for not having that control? Or for choosing not to use a condom? Or for her significant other fooling around on her without her knowledge? (HPV affects women who exclusively have sex with women too.)