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July 28

Hiding birth control from boyfriends: the video

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:31 am

Serious stuff from BG’s alterego, capeless, on GritTV.

More GRITtv

Further/background reading here.

September 24

Hiding birth control from boyfriends

Filed under: News,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:51 am

We know that getting teens to use birth control is about more than providing guidance counselors, or hockey moms, with fishbowls full of condoms. We know that there are a great deal of complicating factors, such as the fact that some teen girls feel they want to get pregnant. But what few people may realize is this: some teen boys not only want their girlfriends to get pregnant but, in some cases, are doing what they can to force them to.

(more…)

April 7

Teen birth rate down: yeah, but

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 7:58 am

According to the CDC, the teen birth rate has dropped. Whether this is unequivocally good news is unclear, given, for example, the convincing evidence that a preponderance of teens are saving themselves for a vampire. Here’s what Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, had to say:

“The drop in the teen birthrate after a two-year increase is welcome news, but the fact remains that nearly 750,000 teens become pregnant every year, a number that is still unacceptably high. When it comes to preventing unintended pregnancies and keeping our teens healthy and safe, hiding our heads in the sand is not a sound strategy. Our young people need education and support that comes from comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex ed.

“That’s why we must continue to invest in commonsense policies that achieve our shared goal of truly preventing unintended pregnancies and lowering the teen pregnancy and birthrate. Full funding for comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education programs will put our nation on a sustained path of decreased teen birthrates.

“President Obama and members of Congress have taken a major step forward in allocating more than $185 million in evidence-based, medically accurate teen pregnancy prevention programs. [Yeah, but…?!] Studies show that these types of comprehensive sex education programs are effective in reducing teen pregnancy.

“As we mark STD Awareness Month and the launch of our Get Yourself Tested, or GYT, campaign with MTV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kaiser Family Foundation (www.gytnow.org), it is imperative that we take the issue of teen health seriously. An investment in comprehensive sex education is an investment in reducing STDs and unintended and teen pregnancies. It’s that simple.”

February 15

The day after

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:42 pm

“Was going to kiss my wife goodbye this morning, but then I thought, ‘Screw that, Valentines Day was YESTERDAY.'”

Your friend and ours, Christian Finnegan

Hah! See, it’s funny ’cause it’s NOT TRUE!

Anyway, BG is recovering from the big day, and gearing up for the EVEN BIGGER DAY, so I’ll leave you with that, and these:

1. Fascinating, and VERY IMPORTANT, in today’s Times: Report Details Sabotage of Birth Control.

2. Fascinating, and NOT AT ALL IMPORTANT: American Idol Hopefuls Julie Zorrilla and Casey Abrams: High School Prom Dates!

There you go. Hope yesterday was great — and today is even better!

February 11

The Constitutional Convention

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:24 am

What are the principles governing dating? How have the “rules” been amended? Two letters from people seeking to form more perfect unions.

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’m in the process of ending a four-year relationship (ten years together overall). Due to severe heartache, I’m not looking for a more serious relationship. However, should there be an occasion where I agree to date someone from time to time, I’d like to know the “rules” of the game. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the dating scene. What are the rules these days? Are women supposed to let men make the first move/call/email? Are women supposed to play hard to get? Dating was much different when I was 18!

— Joy

Dear Breakup Girl,

I’ve been divorced one year, and I’m totally confused about “dating in the 90s.” (I’m bald, average looks, late 40s, overweight.) I don’t know what is expected of men today. Do you have any advice on: meeting single women, asking them out, phone calls, dinner, movies, cards or flowers, kissing, sex, week-end trips, over-nighters, and looks?

— Lost in the Midwest


(more…)

September 23

Take this sex ed quiz and win awesome prizes!

Filed under: issues,News,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:41 am

It’s the National Sex Ed Week of Action! Now with PRIZES! (For the first reader who emails me with answers to the quiz below!) But first, a quick true or false:

• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world’s developed nations.

• According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection.

• Half of sexually active young people in the U.S. will contract a sexually transmitted infection by age 25.

• Approximately 750,000 teenagers in the United States will become pregnant this year.

• The health care reform bill  included a renewal of $50 million per year funding of abstinence-only education for states until 2014.

This Op-Ed by an Atlanta teen about the importance of comprehensive, accurate sex ed is awesome.

Answer key: TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE.

Which, now that we’re all riled up, brings us to the one with PRIZES! Planned Parenthood of NYC, BG’s local affiliate, is giving away a package of safe-sex goodies to the BG reader who emails me with the correct answers to all five of the following (at least peripherally) sex-ed related questions. Pencils ready?

1. In how many states is it still illegal for an unmarried heterosexual couple to live together?

2. What was the name of the first daytime television show to feature a same sex wedding?

3. What famous female advocate founded the first birth control clinic and later founded Planned Parenthood?

4. Japanese love pillows, which usually decorated with life-size animae characters are called what?

5. What species was the famous gay couple who raised an offspring named Tango together?

(And now, New Yorkers, join the campaign!)

May 27

When teen pregnancy is no accident

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:27 am

We all know the fable of the conniving woman — call her the femme fertile — who schemes to “trap” a man by “accidentally” getting pregnant. This story at TheNation.com from BG’s alter ego, on an issue we’ve long been tracking here, turns that tale, and our understanding of “unwanted” pregnancy, on its head. It’s an important read for anyone interested in, or touched by, domestic violence or sexual abuse, especially when they — all too often — overlap.

Leyla W. couldn’t figure out where her birth control pills kept going. One day a few tablets would be missing; the next, the whole container. Her then-boyfriend shrugged and said he hadn’t seen them. She believed him—until she found them in his drawer. When she confronted him, he hit her. “That was his way of shutting me up,” says Leyla, who is in her mid-20s and living in Northern California. (For her safety, Leyla wishes to withhold her last name and hometown.) He also raped her and, most days, left her locked in a bedroom with a bit of food and water while he went to work. (A roommate took pity and let her out until he came home.) Thanks to the missed pills, she got pregnant twice, the second time deciding against abortion. (more…)

January 28

The “horror” of teen pregnancy?

Filed under: News,pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:24 am

Over the past few weeks, Milwaukee teens have seen and and heard promo after promo for the horror film 2028. There’s blood, screaming, creepy lighting, gravelly voice-over, the works. Over time, though, it became clear that these weren’t trailers for a movie, they were trailers for YOUR LIFE. Your life, that is, if you’re young and knocked up. While the first round of previews ended with “in theaters January,”  subsequent edits closed on the following message: “Get pregnant as a teen and the next 18 years could be the hardest of your life.” Then, a Web address flashes on screen: BabyCanWait.com. Oh, snap!

According to Broadsheet, this is just one of at least 15 anti-teen pregnancy campaigns presented by the United Way’s Healthy Girls program in Milwaukee. “Past print ads included images of teen boys with pregnant bellies and a baby diaper with a brown “scratch-‘n’-sniff” spot. The ads’ creator says the aim is to offer a contrast to high-profile young mothers like Jamie Lynn Spears and “deglamorize” teen pregnancy…and credits the decline in the state’s teen pregnancy rate in part to their “aggressive and provocative” approach.” Note: BabyCanWait.com provides information about contraception and STD’s. This is not an abstinence-only campaign.

But, as Broadsheet’s Tracy Clark-Flory asks, “Are these shock-and-awe tactics the best way to reach kids?” While I sympathize with the goal, and appreciate the clear and creative commitment to it, something about the trailer didn’t sit well with me.

For one thing, horror movies are “glamorous,” too. (Older) teens — and women — like Saw, say. Not saying it’s aspirational, but the genre itself is seen as a double-dog-dare lark, not a cautionary tale about (say) losing your virginity at summer ca — REE! REE! REE! You know? So there’s that.

There’s also something about it that contributes to an ugly stigma. Teen mothers as screaming bloody victims. The baby as some sort of evil spawn. Or something like that. Ick. Not helpful.

Finally, I don’t think kids are running around getting (people) pregnant because Bristol and Jamie Lynn made it look so, like, cute. Or even just because ADULTS ARE LYING TO THEM ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL, which they are. There are so many naive, misguided, melancholy, ironic reasons that teens want to get pregnant, be parents. They’ve seen their sisters and brothers and friends do it. And it’s hard hard hard. But — based on what’s become normal to them — it’s not a horrorshow. I’m not sure you can convince them it is in a one-minute trailer when the rest of their life says otherwise.

See for yourself. What do you think?

January 26

Really, really unwanted pregnancy: the scariest cause

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:42 pm

We’ve seen, earlier today, the troubling numbers on teen pregnancy. Now we have to ask: how many of those pregnancies were coerced? Not just “unwanted” or “unplanned,” but actually forced? Forced — contrary to cliche — by the men, on the women?

In the first larger quantitative study of its kind, researchers at UC Davis have found (as they have in smaller studies, which BG covered here) that “young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant — including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives.  These behaviors, defined as ‘reproductive coercion,’ are often associated with physical or sexual violence.” The study, published in the January issue of te journal Contraception, also finds that “among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled.” [Emphasis added.] Here, I’ll add it again: DOUBLED. This is possibly the clearest link yet established between domestic violence and really, really, really unwanted pregnancy.

The researchers surveyed over 1200 women aged 16-29 (so yeah, not just teens) who sought care at the five family planning clinics in Northern California. More than half the women surveyed reported physical or sexual partner violence. One-third of those who reported partner violence also reported pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.

As BG’s alter ego reported here several months ago, based on earlier data: “The problem is so widespread…that public-health advocates are working to cast teen pregnancy in a whole new light: not as a measure of ‘promiscuity,’ or a failure of cluefulness, but rather as a canary in the coal mine of partner violence.” In other words, these girls don’t just need to be reminded of how to put a condom on a banana. They need to be asked whose idea this pregnancy was, and whether they thought it was a good one. Oh, and if anyone at home is hitting them. Or at least lying about pulling out.

What’s going on? In all modern fables, isn’t the girl the one who wants to get the guy to get her pregnant? Well, first of all, no, not all women in relationships are against getting pregnant. But not all of those women are in healthy relationships. And here‘s the guy side: “In one 2007 study, some boys acknowledged outright that they insisted on condomless sex as a way to establish power over female partners. (There is evidence of analogous male-on-male sexual violence, but it hasn’t been studied in depth.) Other research found that some men took a woman’s request for a condom as an accusation of cheating, or an admission that she had slept around or strayed. And for some, yes, the goal is fatherhood — but not so much of the ‘involved’ variety; rather, it’s a desire — as with Janey’s ex — to mark one woman as ‘mine’ forever. Or, [according to one anti-violence advocate] young men in gangs say, ‘I’m not gonna be around forever. I’ve gotta leave my legacy.'”

This is not NEWnews, as a phenomenon; those who work with teens have known about it for years. Only now, finally, is it drawing attention as a serious public health issue. Let’s hope, then, that the real legacy is this: “It doesn’t make sense to talk [at school] about substance abuse use this week and pregnancy next week and STDs the following week and then healthy relationships the week after that,” said UC Davis researcher Elizabeth Miller. “We need to be talking about how they’re all linked together.”

February 11

Sex-cession?

Filed under: News — posted by Mia @ 5:01 pm

What happened to hope sex?

A new poll by The Daily Beast seems to indicate that Americans don’t actually believe “All You Need Is Love.” With everyone suffering in the new economy, they’re not going out on dates, or taking the next big economy-pumping steps like getting married, taking vacations, moving in together, having babies (in whatever order).

In fact, people who took the poll reported more fighting with their mate, having less sex, and being more careful with their birth control. Couples even report staying together to avoid the expense of a breakup, because of the cost of moving and paying separate rents, child support or alimony. (Women almost always suffer a huge drop in the quality of living post-split.)

Eesh. So bleak.

People are hunkering down. As they should. But I’m still an optimist. I hope (there’s that word again) that thrift is the new normal and that people won’t feel ashamed or awkward if they have no cash to flash.

Make special dinners at home? Play those old games you had to have and then forgot about (eh hem, Wii much?), have friends over, go for walks, share books, Google “free condoms,” watch movies and TV online.

Remember when you first liked someone (friend or more) and it didn’t matter what you did together? Their time and effort mattered more than anything else (well, unless you really are that kind of girl). In the new economy, a link to a personally chosen movie on Hulu should be worth more than expensive flowers that die and an argument about money that doesn’t.

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Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
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Breakup Girl
is the superhero whose domain is LOVE or the lack thereof! Her blog combines new comics, observations and dating news with classic advice letters--now blogified for reader feedback!
It's Breakup girl!

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