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Parlour on B+GM: Men, In My Vagina, And In My News

Today we’re introducing a cross-publication series with the lovely and amazing Parlour Magazine. I used to write a column for them on sociopolitical issues called Politrix, and refuse to give up my family status. We’ll feature the best of their need to read info in this space twice a month. Enjoy!

By Shannon Washington

Peace, this is mecca the ladybug and I’m sayin though! what is really what if I can’t even get comfortable because the supreme court is, like, all in my uterus?! —ladybug mecca

Lately, men have been pretty vocal about my/yours/our lady-business. From hot-button issues like abortion to superficial topics such as what we wear (ps. Fuck you if you don’t like my wedges or maxi-dress), undoubtedly the loudest person in the room when it comes to a woman’s issue always seems to be a man. Not that there is anything wrong with a man’s input—but there are some topics that testicle-carriers need to fall back on. Namely, topics revolving around what I can do with and put in my vagina. After all, I think I’m the best person to make a judgement call on, well, myself. And if I need a second medical or political opinion, I’m a little more inclined to respond to a woman’s point of view. Too bad mainstream media thinks the opposite.

A recent study shows that among 35 national publications (such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal), men are quoted around five time more then women in stories involving issues such as birth control, Planned Parenthood and abortion. The Daily Beast reports:

“…men had 81 percent of the quotes in stories about abortion, the research group said Thursday, while women had 12 percent and organizations had 7 percent. 
In stories about birth control, men scored 75 percent of the quotes, with women getting 19 percent and organizations getting 6 percent. Stories about Planned Parenthood had a similar ratio, with men getting 67 percent, women getting 26 percent, and organizations getting 7 percent.” 

Funny enough, while men are dominating the political/social debate surrounding women’s bodies, they are also dominating the media conversations (albeit at a lower rate) concerning women’s rights:

“Women fared a bit better in stories about women’s rights, getting 31 percent of the quotes compared with 52 percent for men and 17 percent for organizations.”

Sadly, I’m not surprised that men are generally quoted more in news stories overall, however there seems to be a connection between the hysteria and inexplainable political actions (word to Rep. Lisa Brown) associated with women’s issues and how women are represented in media focusing on women’s issues. This in itself, presents a danger in how women and women’s issues are perceived and considered by the general public. Because of the role of ‘media-as-fact’ in the United States, this leads to a behavior of men being seen as the ‘experts’ on women’s issues, which then leads to mis-recognition, misleading statements and potentially harmful legislature for all of us. This isn’t to say that men can’t speak intelligently about women, but that the role and voice of women should be equal to men, and in some cases elevated, when it comes to women’s issues in the media to maintain accuracy, honesty, legitimacy most importantly—objectivity for the benefit of the reading public. So while I’m a bit flattered that my sexual behavior and health is such a concern to all, I’ll leave it to the ladies to reference in determining the best way to proceed. Love you still fellas.

Photo: clockwise from top left: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Dan Skerbitz, director of Personhood Oklahoma, Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., spoke at 2012 news conferences on issues related to women’s health including birth control, Planned Parenthood, and abortion. 


I’m Kenrya Rankin Naasel, a lifestyle expert who—after much prodding from her friends—decided to share her hippie-dippie Black chick mama life.