When we hear about birth control in the news, so often we’re hearing about things like condoms and contraceptives, but let’s pull back and think about those words in a more literal context.
Birth control, as a phrase, denotes controlling birth, or at least the factors involved with birth. Usually, this means control on a personal level, such as individual choices, family planning, or simply having a procedure to insure one can’t have any children.
The problems arise when governments try to assert that control for themselves.
For an example of this kind of control, I can’t think of any better source than this passionate piece Emily Suess posted in late February. I know when I first read this piece, I was shocked at Emily’s candor, her rage, and her ability to present an eloquence to her opinion. More than anything else, I think of one thing she says in her conclusion, a direct, cruel statement that places a very clear note on her desire to not be victimized by a vaginal probe:
This is the GOPs social platform for 2012, and it is sickening.
Nevertheless, I’m a compromising woman. So I’ll tell you what, GOP — I’ll let you rape me with a medical device if you’ll let me rape you with a medical device.
Whatever your stance on personhood and abortion might be, there is something very tyrannical simply in the idea that a governing body can pass a law saying they have not only the right, but the absolute authority to put something in your body that you don’t want inside you. It should be even more terrifying that such an idea would be suggested by a democratically elected body that exists in a free country.
Such things are not the actions of a free country, a free state, or a free society. Such things are the actions of a dictatorship, a police state, or an oppressive society.
Also, looking back at Emily’s quote, it’s important to keep in mind the official definition of rape. Let’s take a look at the FBI’s definition, just to make it fresh in our minds:
“The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Essentially, if someone wants to put something in a sexual part of your body or using a sexual part of their body, it’s rape. From that definition, any doctor or nurse who performs a mandatory vaginal probe is a rapist. Every legislator who votes in favor of one of these measures, especially if said measure passes, is an accessory to a rape.
Now, science fiction–or “speculative fiction,” if you prefer–is, at times, required to elaborate on such things that exist in reality to create the societies of their stories. In Vitamin F, a genetic crash has caused a massive decline in the male segment of the population. If men only make up 12% of the population, then every sperm is suddenly sacred, more sacred than the one who carries it.
In such a world, men have to be protected. Not the men themselves, but the seed they carry, the seed they produce. Freedom isn’t necessary for such a person, but it isn’t a problem for their society since they’re only taking rights away from a minority.
Again, such things are the actions of a dictatorship.
In Vitamin F, rape is a terrible crime. When this happens, the victims are simply told that, “Rapists are giving young girls ‘gifts’ when the rape victims become pregnant.” Except Rick Santorum, not the Office of Genetic Security, said that last part.
For men, it’s much worse. Let’s pretend for a moment that the definition of rape wasn’t limited to penetrating the vagina or anus and could be extended to what biologists call analogous structures. The analogous structure to the female vagina would be the male penis.
Now, guys, imagine the government says they want to shove something in that tiny little hole at the tip of said penis just so they can harvest your sperm. It would be like a catheter, only much longer and designed to snake into your scrotum. Now imagine it will stay in there for days on end. Maybe even weeks or months. Years.
Such a place where this might happen could be called a clinic, or an observation center, or maybe even a farm. It would have walls around it, along with guards and snipers. It would be built like a fortress, simply to protect its inhabitants, but make no mistake, regardless of the label, such a place would be a prison, nothing more, nothing less.
Vitamin F could be dismissed as a simple dystopia, but it’s not. It comes out of the things our society is doing right now, things it has been doing for years. Vitamin F doesn’t take place in some fictional world, it takes place in our world. The only difference is how far the mad laws are going.
So, I feel I must ask, what is birth control if it is a government mandate? What is rape if society is the one committing it?
Vitamin F will be released on July 12 for Nook and Kindle.