Jezebel was a lot of fun, but AlterNet’s Amanda Marcotte’s critique of 1Flesh (picked up by Salon) was just, just, we don’t even…we’re going to have to that step-by-step approach. There’s no other way.
Literally don’t know where to start. First of all thanks, our supporters have never called us “strikingly effective” before. Then:
1. We’re not Christian. It’s true that if you hold your eyes really close to our banner you can make out an image of God mouthing the words “Sex was a bad idea, I take it back,” but otherwise, really? This is a tactic so obvious that it borders on parody, one that Kierkegaard phrased best: “Once you label me, you negate me.” Damn straight. It’s easy to ignore the health risks of hormonal contraception, the 1-in-4-teenage-girls-have-an-STD lameness of our current contraceptive culture and all the rest if you can just call those ideas Christian. Fine, keep pretending. Our only concern is how on earth this logical leap was made. (Was it the “Birth control has been shown to drastically harm the environment,” (Romans 6:42)?)
Was it the fact that some of us are Christian? Does that make the Obama Administration a Christian administration?
2. Alright moving on: Anti-choice? In fairness, this could just be Marcotte’s synonym for stupid. It’s a hip world out there. But while it’s true that websites can be powerful things, the idea that 1Flesh has the ability to eradicate free will from their audience is, well, pretty complimentary. (You will all donate to us. You have no choice. We are the AntiChoice.)
3. Genuinely hip pro-sex education sites? Are these things? We couldn’t find any. Oh wait, these guys?
OK, deep breath, we’re moving on, past the part where our web design gets complimented, past getting compared to MTV’s website (good Lord, why) to:
(We briefly note that the use of the word cool in any context immediately confirms that the user is not, in fact, cool, and apologize for all those offended.) Saving sex is so incredibly “uncool” that only the majority of young people are doing it! Ooh, that tricky Christian CDC, that’s gotta hurt. Unless of course we’re doing the hipster shuffle, and saying that such reckless displays of sensibility are too mainstream to be cool. Hey, we can play that game:
Ah well, moving on. The writer kindly put us in historical context (turns out we’re a product of the Bush administration, because you know, the ideals of living a healthy, organic lifestyle and protecting the environment are firmly entrenched in the Republican Party) and then writes:
Sites like 1 Flesh make the “more pregnancies” agenda clear; the site specifically argues against the use of contraception even in marriage, which can’t serve any other purpose in the reality-based world except to increase the rate of unintended pregnancies.
OK, this may a lost cause, but we’re gonna play the common sense card. Is it really, honestly conceivable that the true, secret goal of 1Flesh is to cause unintended pregnancies? That we belong to a dark, evil, “more pregnancies agenda,” and are intentionally promoting bad methods of family planning for the sole purpose of making people miserable? Because all this sounds a little like the whole “liberals just want more people to get abortions” spiel. Isn’t at least slightly more conceivable that we believe what we’re saying? Must we separate all people into evil conspirators and the crusaders for truth?
Then Marcotte does the unexpected, and we applaud her for it. She brings up some of our actual claims. The only issue is that she takes no issue with them, nor bothers to refute them.
Seriously, this is an argument? We cite the actions of the National Health Institute, and get a Dan Savage joke in response? Honestly, we’re fine with it — it makes our job easier — but there’s a certain level of evasion that just looks straight anti-choice.
2) the pill has a lot more negative side effects than it actually has;
Actually, we mention far fewer of the negative side effects than the Pill actually has: increased risk of breast cancer, decreased female sex drive, increased risk of heart disease, that’s all we got. There’s also increased risk of cervical cancer, that whole list of potential naseau, headaches, weight gain, chest pain, and the general screwing up of women’s awesome mate-choosing abilities.
We actually make no such claim. Generally incorrect usage certainly happens more than people realize, absolutely. Breakage is tougher to measure, but we’re looking at about 4.64%:
A Summary of Major Studies
on Condom Breakage and Slippage Rates
Total Breakage Slippage
Condoms Rate Rate Total Total
Study Used (percent) (percent) Breaks Slips
1. Nevada 353 0.0% 3.9% 0 14
2. United States #1 4,632 0.4% 0.6% 19 28
3. United States #2 147 0.7% 7.4% 1 11
4. Sydney, Australia 605 0.5% ‑‑‑ 3 ‑‑‑
5. Atlanta, Georgia #1 478 3.7% 13.1% 18 63
6. Atlanta, Georgia #2 405 2.4% 13.1% 10 53
7. California #1 3,717 3.0% 2.9% 112 108
8. California #2 2,059 4.3% 2.2% 89 45
9. North Carolina #1 1,072 3.3% 5.4% 35 58
10. North Carolina #2 4,589 11.1% ‑‑‑ 509 ‑‑‑
11. North Carolina #3 1,947 5.3% 3.5% 103 68
12. North Carolina #4 752 4.1% ‑‑‑ 31 ‑‑‑
13. North Carolina #5 358 6.7% — 24 —
14. Denmark 385 5.0% ‑‑‑ 19 ‑‑‑
15. New Zealand 3,685 5.3% 5.1% 195 188
────── ───── ───
Totals 25,184 1,168 636
Summary of Studies
Average breakage rate of all condoms: 1,168/25,184 = 4.64%
Average slippage rate of all condoms: 636/18,495 = 3.44%
Total failure rate of all condoms: 8.08%
The rest of the author’s post deals with her disappointment that so many young people don’t trust contraception, citing “studies that found shocking 40% of the young people surveyed believed that using birth control doesn’t actually do much to prevent pregnancy.” As far as we can tell it’s the Bush administration and our fault. But we have a mild, innocuous suggestion.
Maybe young people today who simultaneously have more access to contraception than ever and high pregnancy rates, who see 1 in 4 of their friends getting STDs despite ever-present bowls of condoms, aren’t buying the status quo BS anymore. As uncool as that may be.