It's fairly sad that any female needs to disclose her reasons for wanting to use birth control in any public forum, but, unfortunately, that seems to be the reality we live in. With assholes like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh dominating conservative airwaves and preaching pseudoscience and just plain false facts about birth control to conservatives — some of whom, unfortunately, have the authority to make important decisions about women's health in Congress — it seems that women have no other choice than to do so. Buzzfeed illustrated this perfectly with a listicle published earlier this month featuring photos of 22 female employees holding signs that explained their varying reasons for opting to use birth control. And, because birth control is a drug with a multitude of uses, there were a lot: PCOS, endometriosis, painful period cramps, adult acne, not being ready for a child, and "it's none of your business" (you go, girl) were just a few. Today, Lena Dunham continued the birth control conversation on her Twitter, echoing Buzzfeed's list with a tweet of her own:
"I need birth control because I have endometriosis and it helps manage pain," she tweeted to her 1.65 million followers. "Why do you?" Her call to action and intelligent discussion worked: Twitter users followed her lead in droves, and tweets from men and women alike about why birth control is necessary dominated the social media site.
There were, of course, tons more. To wrap up the conversation, Dunham added one last tweet on the subject:
Dunham's conversation with millions of Twitter users, coupled with Buzzfeed's listicle on the subject, spell it out in plain terms: There's a huge misconception about contraception in this country. Some think birth control kills babies; some think birth control is used as a substitute morning-after pill, taken only when women choose to have sex; some even think it's a "license" for women to have copious amounts of sex without any consequences, as Rick Santorum so dumbly put it.
In actuality, the birth control pill is not just to prevent unwanted pregnancy — though it does that quite well, and women have every right to choose how much sex they would like to have at any given time without worrying about a baby resulting, just like men can use condoms for the same reason. The birth control pill also regulates menstrual cycles, balances hormones, is one of the only proven treatments to lessen the symptoms of PCOS, and, as Dunham pointed out, it helps with endometriosis. It's literally women's access to necessary health care that is the point of this debate, and it's sickening.
That said, it's time for this writer to disclose her own reason for using and needing birth control: I need birth control because I have hormonal issues that were significantly affecting my life physically and emotionally before I got on the pill. It saved my ovaries, allowing me to still have children if I ever choose to in the future, and helped with depression and anxiety I was experiencing due to unbalanced hormones. It also just so happens that it prevents me from having a child right now when I'm not ready for children at this point in my life, and that's important as well.
It's just unfortunate that I, or any of the other women who have participated in this conversation have to spell it out in these simple terms, because, I cannot stress this enough, a person's personal health is nobody's business but their own.
Man. And to think there are people trying to claim that feminism isn't necessary in this day and age.