Apparently if summer lovin' has you a blast these days, it has to start with a vas — that is, according to the men interviewed in a New York Post piece titled, "Hamptons bachelors are getting vasectomies so gold diggers can’t trap them." The article is an anthropological fascination in and of itself, interviewing wealthy bachelors who party in the Hamptons all summer (sorry if seeing those words strung together also made you gag a little bit) and their apparent fears that the women they bed are trying to get pregnant with their children, obligating them to child support. One man, who describes himself as a “Tarzan with light eyes” (I'm not even going to attempt to unpack that) claims he believes that 20 percent of the women he sleeps with are trying to "trap" him; another who has an open relationship with his wife claimed a woman pulled off a condom during sex; yet another claims he found a woman post-sex in the bathroom with their used condom, trying to impregnate herself with his sperm.
While I can't speak on whether or not any of this actually happened, I can speak to just how painfully regressive the narrative of women being so reliant and fragile that they have to "trap" wealthy men is; this seems less like a true possibility and more like yet another concept that strokes the male ego at the expense of women. (Read: the new Baywatch movie, the entire concept of mansplaining, and anything starring Adam Sandler.) The more of a platform we give men to spread around demeaning ideas of women like this, the more we all suffer for it — reducing women's autonomy to whatever they can get out of a man is so outside the realm of appropriate for 2017 that I'm stunned these men can even take themselves seriously talking about it. (The fact that they all declined to share their last names gives a bit of insight that perhaps they did not.)
But all of this speaks to the absurdest irony of all: while men are out there lamenting the inconvenience of taking accountability for birth control for the first time in their damn lives, women's access to birth control and abortion gets more and more compromised under this administration by the day.
Our current president has been threatening to defund Planned Parenthood, a resource essential to affordable birth control and safe abortions, since long before he took office — and he has made major headway in making that happen. Trump's Affordable Healthcare Act, replacing Obamacare, will quite literally treat being a woman as a preexisting condition, giving insurance companies the right to charge women more for healthcare related to things like sexual assault, rape, or pregnancy. If it passes in the Senate (a date for the decision has yet to be announced), it will also compromise private insurance coverage of abortions, making them even harder to access.
So yes, it is a bit jarring to see men — who are, in heterosexual relationships, very rarely the party made responsible for the cost and burden of birth control — whining in an article about getting a reversible procedure done, particularly considering that access to said procedure has never been compromised for them in any way. Whereas a man can easily get a vasectomy (in fact, many of them are covered by insurance!), state law can still limit the manner of, timing of, and access to abortions, to the point where many women have to leave their own state — a massive personal cost, not just considering the money to get there, but the interruption to their work that loses them more money — to safely have the procedure done.
Even if women want to get their "tubes tied," the admittedly more permanent female reproductive equivalent of a vasectomy (which are reversible 50 percent of the time), they are often discouraged by doctors on the basis that they're young or they'll "change their minds" later on. It doesn't matter which route a woman tries to take to avoid pregnancy — there are roadblocks everywhere she goes. Roadblocks that no man will ever have to face in getting a medical procedure to avoid pregnancy done.
But these Hamptons men are apparently so burdened by the impact of this one procedure that they merit an entire trend piece; we are so unused to men taking responsibility for birth control that people are inclined to sympathize or even celebrate that they're doing it. Meanwhile, women have been responsible for (and blamed for) the burden and mishaps of birth control methods their entire lives, and not just that summer they were making enough dough to drive their Jaguar convertible to the beach and apparently "fool around — no strings attached — in the Hamptons". Where's my trend piece, yo?
To be clear, I am not at all discouraging these men from getting vasectomies, but discouraging them from spreading the harmful, toxic narrative that comes along with their decision. In fact, please get your vasectomies, rich summertime party dudes. Not because you want to avoid us "trapping" you with pregnancies — but because we don't want your babies either, and it's about damn time we weren't the only ones taking responsibility for it.