Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sex, Drugs, and Press Releases

In my E-mail In-box reside all manner of press releases, pitches and story ideas. I see ‘em all. Good stories, bad stories…non-stories. You would not believe how much tripe is pumped out by PR firms trolling for exposure.

This morning I received an urgently-worded release, headlined “Reminder for Hispanic Women.” Yeah, that fits me to a “t,” alright, but I opened it anyway and discovered that 29.9% of Hispanic women did not use contraception the last time they had sex, and that 40% of Hispanic women had unintended pregnancies.

The breathless release went on to admonish the media that Hispanic women “need to remain informed on ways to prevent an unintended pregnancy, including consulting with their doctor on contraceptive options.”

Glad I opened that one.
Imagine all these brown-skinned women running around having unprotected sex and making babies.

Uh-huh, that’s a visual I need to have at 5 in the morning.

The release goes on to intone about Emergency Contraception (EC) --back-up birth control “that can prevent pregnancy if a woman has had unprotected sex, a condom breaks, or she’s forgotten to take two or more birth control pills.”

"Oh, dear.
How inconvenient.
I’m having a dia no es bueno.
Last night, me and 29.9% of my hermanas had unprotected sex, and I forgot to take my birth control pills for the last two days. It’s all too much to comprende for a young, sexually-active Latina."


This stuff comes off so condescending to all females, not just Hispanic women, and completely ignores the equally-important other half of the problem in this issue.
The guys.
The studs.
The beefcake.
The Chulo.
The father’s of those 40% unintended children.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry got crosswise with many female and male constituents last week when he advocated mandatory vaccinations for girls against STDs that cause cervical cancer. The notion of protecting young girls from cervical cancer is noble. Imposing the government’s mandate while excluding or failing to address the male counterparts in the process is blatantly myopic.

How about a press release urging male carriers of potent spermatozoa to keep their flies zipped? How about a government mandate that imposes abstinence as an effective deterrent to STD’s, unwanted pregnancies and cervical cancer? Talk about statistical evidence—abstinence is 100% effective, 100% of the time when used, regardless of ethnic heritage or gender.

No wonder there is public resentment when the government commits the double faux pas of impugning all the responsibility on women, ignoring men’s responsibilities, and dictates how behaviors should be conducted without addressing the core behavioral issue.

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