February 01, 2005

CBS News: Men Are Scum A report on tonight's CBS Evening News discussed progress toward a male birth-control pill which involves studying algae. The female reporter compared men to pond scum, and included women saying they didn't trust men to actually take such a pill.

I don't normally get upset about this sort of thing, but this was so blatantly offensive that it got my hackles up. What if a male reporter compared women to female dogs? What if a man said he didn't trust women to be responsible enough to take birth control, or that a woman would trick a man into believing she did? Why is it okay to be insulting to men? Grrr. The first time I've gotten upset enough at a program to let them know about it.

  • Poor men...
  • It doesn't do any equal rights movement any good to attack the pride of the group doing the oppressing.
  • I'd be a lot more upset about the talk about not trusting men, waraw, if I didn't know that women in my mother's generation had actually had men lie to them about having had vasectomies. My mother was a divorcee in the early 60s, and she had that line used on her before she met and married my father. Not that women are saints: one of my father's friends was tricked into marriage by a pregnancy that wasn't real when the woman told him she was going to have his child. She was pregnant by the time they got hitched. So, yes, men and women both will lie about birth control. I don't know why, in the age of AIDS, anyone would have sex with anyone they didn't trust enough to rely on their word about birth control as well as disease status. I know there are people who like casual sex, but it's not for me, in large part because of the disease and pregnancy risks (also because of the spousal monkey!). If I were inclined to have casual sex, I'd damn well be inclined to protect myself against disease and unplanned pregnancy. It can't hurt for both partners to have their own birth control. Why wouldn't you want to ensure that you didn't impregnate your partner/get pregnant without intending to? Again, the idea holds for both sexes. Having said that, the "men are pond scum" line is way out of line and offensive, and should not have been aired.
  • ... because, as a man, I can't help but oppress women. Despite my utter lack of interest in straight sex, the organ below makes me oppressive pond scum who may impregnate females and wreck their lives. What. Ever. That said, the offense isn't worth the rage. My reaction to this very common "men are pigs" sentiment tends to be "yes, but pigs without hilarious meatballs growing out of our chests."
  • Well, I didn't find the story on the link, but I'd guess that the reporter was trying to be funny and missed. Algae is pond scum. It can also be swimming pool scum, which I can testify to in great detail, but it isn't produced by men. doesn't mean that folks who take a contraceptive based on pond scum are the same. So, tra la la, we have a non-issue here. And, Kenshin, think about the source. I don't take it seriously, and I suspect most would either say "WTF", or wouldn't understand what the point was. No one's accusing you personally, especially since your need for contraceptives seems to be limited. Be proud, mon brave, that you have escaped the looming need to take medication based on green slime. Peace!
  • For the record, the pond scum comparison was basically driven by a legitimate angle on the story: researchers were inspired by the workings of pond scum flagellae. My transcription of the pond scum comparison (here's a link to the video): Blah scientists blah blah sperm blah pond scum. Obvious comparisons aside, blah science blah blah. It was clearly meant to be a joke and not a serious restatement of the old "men are pigs" canard. Which doesn't mean it was funny.
  • Most "men are pigs" remarks are said at least partially in jest. I can't bother to be either amused or offended. path, I don't take it seriously either. It's so catty; mature, intelligent responses would be wasted.
  • Blah. Consider the weighty and (legally) one-sided consequences of misplaced trust re: birth control, she can tell me she's taken her pill. Meanwhile, I'll be taking mine. (present relationship excepted -- no worries here) Really, I thought the "boys are dumb, throw rocks at them" t-shirts to be a bad thing. Boys need all the positive affirmation they can get. Men, however, can take it.
  • Thanks for the relevant link, yami, and the transcript. I couldn't remember her exact wording other than "obvious comparisons aside," and I wish I'd thought of putting it the way you did. Nanners to you. Sorry that I didn't make it clear that the reporter was attempting to make a joke, just like the anchor was in saying "Coming up: What do pond scum and men have in common? More than you think!" Still, the double standard here is what bugs me. Imagine if, for instance, there were advancements to be made in curing sickle cell disease from studying pig feces. Now imagine that a white person made a joke comparing blacks to pig shit. Oh, wait, that would never happen because nobody in their right mind would dream of doing such a thing. Yet somehow it's okay to make a similar joke about men, because men can take it. Sure, men can take it. Doesn't mean we should. Okay, okay, I realize that I'm overreacting a little bit here. There are plenty worse things in this world to get upset over, and if this is the worst thing to piss me off all week, I'll count myself lucky. But I believe all feelings are valid, especially mine, so nyahh. Shutting up now.
  • included women saying they didn't trust men to actually take such a pill As immlass alludes to, this is a somewhat pointless debate. There's no point arguing over whether the man is actually on the pill, when no sensible person would have a casual sexual encounter without a condom, due to disease concerns.
  • On a train from Amsterdam to Paris, my brother and I struck up a conversation with the Canadian across from us. Her best friend was supposed to accompany her, but she was travelling alone. She was alone because her friend had gotten pregnant and was unable to travel. "She got pregnant because the guy she was fucking told her he was on 'the male pill,'" our fellow passenger related. To which I responded, "Aww, baby, I ain't gotta use no condom. I pounded my balls flat with a hammer— there's no way you'll get knocked up." The idea that guys would lie about this is pretty well established in our culture.
  • And yet, tho equal amounts of anecdotal evidence can be supplied regarding women lying about being on birth control or pregnant, the subject is much more taboo. Why?
  • The idea that the subject of women lying to men about birth control to get pregnant is more verboten than the reverse is also anecdotal, waraw. You may notice stories about guys more because you're a guy, just as I may notice the other ones because I'm female. Interestingly, I expect to hear women railing on other women about lying about pregnancy on behalf of male friends more than I expect to hear men ragging on women lying to them to have babies. That may be an artifact of my social circle, though. The story I expect to hear in public life is that worthless females (often of color) are having babies to get welfare money, which is not exactly the same as lying about birth control, but closely related.
  • Cause men are scum, waraw. They lie and they deserve it, so it's ok to deceive them. I exaggerate (for some) but there's a largely invisible current in our society that runs along those lines.
  • *Not* attributing that to this article, mind you, which I think was harmless in the extreme.