When I first read the article in Tuesday’s (April 14) Northern Star entitled “Class Now Required to Obtain Contraceptives,” I thought, finally all students will be required to attend a class on sexuality and health. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The story is just another example of the newspaper’s gender insensitivity. The article explains that “students” must attend a “sex and health class” before they will be allowed to see a “doctor.” The use of such words as “students” and “doctor” imply that both male and female students will have to do so before they can see a doctor about obtaining contraceptives. We all know that male students do not need to see a “doctor” before obtaining a condom, and it follows that male students are not required to attend a “pre-session.” Only female students need to go to the gynecologist in order to obtain prescription birth control. This course, which has been in existence for years at Northern, is required of female students who wish to obtain a prescription for the birth control pill or a diaphragm.
No one disputes the validity of this course. However, I question The Northern Star’s reporting of this story. The students who will be attending this course are female students, females are responsible for birth control in this society, and female students on this campus are being educated about their health and STDs. This class is just one part of the university’s regulations concerning women’s health. Once women have attended the pre-session they go to the gynecologist for a full pelvic exam including tests for STDs. They are then issued a one-year prescription renewed a year later and they must have another pelvic exam and tests. This process is a method of keeping heterosexual females healthy. The rest of the student population, the majority of them men, go unregulated. We need a method of instruction which will also make males responsible for their health. Since the condom is one of our most important weapons in the fight against the spread of AIDS, I can’t think of a better time than the present.
History and Women’s Studies