In which I get SHOUTY about how equal pay for women and women’s need for contraception might weirdly have something to do with each other

From a comment on yesterday's binder post:

"Tomorrow I'll look for your blog on Obama's answer on this question – and how women's need for contraception has something to do with equal pay."

I will happily tackle this request! And I thank you for asking.

I would like to apologize for not going the full on snarky route where I point out that Obama's argument during the debate followed the natural flow of the question, which began, "In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace…" and ended with "…specifically, females earning 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn." I will not go into the nitty-gritty details of how he eloquently answered the question, listened to Romney's answer, and then followed up by bringing the question around back to general inequalities in the workplace. If I did that, then I would be pointing out that maybe some people didn't listen closely or smartly to the conversation, and then I might worry about inviting bad karma upon myself for calling you, basically, inattentive and clueless.


How does equal pay have to do with workplace equality and contraceptive choices?!


(We can worry about karmic retribution later.) 

Let's pretend I am a lady. And let's pretend you have a penis. Now let's pretend we work in the same office and have the same job title and I make 72 cents for every one dollar you make. Let's also pretend that I have to get an IUD because birth control pills give me ocular migraines and so increase my risk of having a stroke, thus rendering them unsafe for me to ingest. And let's further pretend that my health insurance is not legally required to cover contraception. My out-of-pocket expenses to get an IUD would be around $1000. Or maybe I don't get ocular migraines, but my body chemistry requires a certain type of hormonal pill that costs $75 a month. That's $900 a year. So now I don't just make 72 cents on the dollar compared to you, I am also out another $1000 for the year. My salary just took a hit because of my ovaries. Again.

BUT GET THIS. I am married. And let's say you are married, too. I work outside the home and your wife works outside the home. I am not interested in having another child at the moment and you and your wife are also not interested in having a child at the moment. Both our families are paying for birth control. Both women in each family make 72 cents on the dollar compared to male counterparts. Both women pay upwards of $1000 for family planning. Both women ARE GETTING PAID LESS than both men. YOUR WIFE gets paid less. This means YOUR WIFE BRINGS HOME LESS MONEY TO YOUR HOUSE. Thus, YOUR WHOLE FAMILY HAS LESS MONEY.

You know how your whole family would have MORE money? Fair pay for women and insurance coverage for birth control.

You know another way your whole family would have MORE money? If you had a penis and were married to another penis.

Did your head just explode?

Mine did.

So that, friends, is how Obama is able to take a question about fair pay and workplace inequality and turn it into a question about contraceptives being covered by workplace-provided health insurance.

And that, also, friends, is another example of just how deep-seated and unrecognized sexism and paternalism is in our society. If I frame an argument about equal pay for women in a way that points out their male spouses see less money in their households because of this inequality then suddenly lightbulbs go off everywhere.

Obama said that equal pay and contraception are not just women's issues, they are family issues and economic issues, and he's right. If I earn the same amount a man earns, my WHOLE FAMILY has more money. If my $1000 a year contraception is covered, my WHOLE FAMILY has more money. Dudes can buy more lawnmowers with this money. Gals can buy more adorable panties. Or maybe wait. Maybe we can all BUY MORE FUCKING GROCERIES with this money. Maybe we can afford more gas for our cars. Maybe we can buy an extra birthday present for our kids. Or pay for the mortgage. Or afford the natural gas bill. Maybe MORE MONEY GOES INTO THE ECONOMY if women get equal pay. Maybe MORE MONEY GOES INTO THE ECONOMY if we do not have to scrape for dollars to pay for unplanned pregnancies. Maybe there are LESS ABORTIONS if women have access to affordable contraception. Maybe LESS PEOPLE ARE ON WELFARE if women earn equal pay and have contraception.

It seems to me Republicans are all about less people on welfare, less abortions, and a more robust economy. Well, surprise motherfuckers. If you pay women equally and offer them affordable (even *gasp* free) contraception, you get ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT. Except you also get women who have an equal footing with men. And you don't want that, do you? Not really. So just like the Congress is willing to tank legislation for the sole reason that it came from the president, Republicans are willing to whine and cry and wring their hands about the economy and welfare and abortions all while doing everything they can to block the path that would benefit the former and decrease both the latter.

Contraception has EVERYTHING to do with equal pay. And equal pay has everything to do with contraception. And contraception and equal pay have everything to do with the economy and jobs and welfare and abortions and all of those things. AND, not only does contraception have to do with equal pay, it has to do with YOU. Even if you are a dude and you aren't married. Why? Because you have a penis and you like to use it. It's a two-way street, folks. And it's time that both sides of that street were funded equally.


And also why I don't really worry that much about my karma for saying it. I think, I – and my like-minded friends – might not be the ones needing to worry about karma in this situation.

4 thoughts on “In which I get SHOUTY about how equal pay for women and women’s need for contraception might weirdly have something to do with each other

  1. Yes! Not to mention the fact that being able to decide WHEN in your career path you have a baby has EVERYTHING to do with how much money you make during your career. Plus, how much time you take to be with that baby has a life-long impact on your career tradgectory and earning potential. Duh. Duh. Duh! Family planning has EVERYTHING to do with women’s personal economic development. So, you know, if you can keep them home barefoot and pregnant, you won’t have to compete with them for jobs or money.


  2. Thanks for breaking it down. Also, thanks for being the only blog I read to keep me moderately informed about the elections. You’re helping me feel more confident in my choice.


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