May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011
It Is Called Being Empowered


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are headed to Miami for the second of four meetings with the Florida Department of Health over the issue of lowering Ryan White eligibility which will endanger thousands of Floridians with HIV and AIDS.

I read a very interesting article on thebody.com concerning a famous celebrity and condom that I would like to share with you today.

It seems as if will.i.am, the frontman of The Black Eyed Peas, is not too keen on condoms unless he is the one who is buying them. In the May issue of ELLE magazine, will.i.am shared some interesting opinions about women who have condoms in their homes.

ELLE: If you walked into a woman's house, what one item would convince you that you were not compatible?

W: If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin' throw me off. That is just tacky.

ELLE: Well, okay, I could see if she had a candy bowl full of them on the coffee table. But if she has got a few in a drawer, would not that simply suggest she is health conscious?

W: I just think, like, if you are into someone and you guys get to that level, then that is something you should converse about together and say, "Hey, maybe we should get some."

Sigh. These views make him seem as if he is on Team Palin, rather than Team Obama.

It is very disheartening that, for someone who prides himself on being politically conscious, socially driven and progressive, he harbors such old fashioned views on sex and gender. A woman who owns condoms is not a slut or tacky. She is obviously someone who is concerned about her health and is not waiting on a man to dictate whether they will have safe sex. Advertisement

Yeah, it is a new day with the same old good girls do not like sex narrative. Yawn.

What is also incredibly out of whack is his unrealistic scenario of how sex plays out between a man and a woman. Hmmm, let us see: Man and woman reach a certain level; man initiates conversation around buying condoms; man and woman go out and buy condoms together; and then, man and woman have protected sex.

This is 2011, not 1956. (And it is highly unlikely that a woman had much of a say with respect to condom use back then either.)

How many times have men and women gotten caught up in the heat of the moment during a one night stand or within a committed relationship and the man does not have a condom? How many times have women asked men to bring condoms and, instead, they show up with nothing but a smile saying, "I am sorry babe, I forgot"?

If people do not have condoms and find themselves in sexual situations, a lot of the time, they end up having unprotected sex. Given the current state of the HIV epidemic in the US, and the increase in sexually transmitted infections, there are serious repercussions for having unprotected sex.

Nowadays, more and more women need to be prepared, and not just in our homes either. I have told plenty of my girlfriends who are going on a date, or just going to a club, "Girl, grab a few condoms, and a lube packet, and carry them in your purse, just in case."

Yes, that is how deep it is. Our lives depend on us being proactive.

And with that being said, I do agree with will.i.am that people need to have conversations before they have sex. But not as a means for the woman to appear virtuous, or for the man to give his seal of approval on them picking up Magnums at the nearest Walgreens.

The types of conversations that I am referring to are ones in which people are getting on the same page about condom use and the importance of having safer sex. Because unlike in will.i.am's dating utopia, not everyone in the real world likes to use condoms or has each other's best interest in mind. And people need to be able to make a decision about whether that is the kind of person they want to be sleeping with.

What is also dangerous about will.i.am's comments are that they are made with no real understanding of how gender inequality makes it difficult for many women to even negotiate condom use in the first place. We live in a day and age in which, if a man does not want to use a condom, in many instances a condom is not used especially in cases in which the woman is economically dependent on the man; the woman has a history of sexual abuse and domestic violence; the woman suffers from low self esteem; or the woman really wants to be in a relationship with the man and does not want to lose him.

So, even if it is just will.i.am's opinion, shaming women for possessing condoms of their own free will sets us all back, not forward.

In the end, I know that I will not be taking outdated and irrelevant advice from will.i.am. I have no intention of throwing out my overflowing stash of condoms and lube for the sake of appearing respectable for any man. But given how prevalent these sexist attitudes around women being empowered with respect to their bodies are in our society and the influence that will.i.am's words have on the more impressionable, I wish he would have given the issue some serious thought (or gotten his publicist's approval first) before he spoke because you never know who is really listening.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,



Daddy Dab