Transfer #4 from Blogspot

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate – yet another….

 

blue-state, red-state, black/white, republican/democrat, right or wrong debate where everybody involved insists on seeing his or her side of the issue and is completely incapable of acknowledging the varying shades of gray. 

At isssue is whether or not to vaccinate teenage girls (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/30/AR2005103000747…) against two strains of the HPV virus,  which is the leading cause of cervical cancer.   You can already guess who is falling on which side of this argument – Christian conservatives don't want their daughters vaccinated because, well, it's the  equivalent of handing out condoms 'just in case' – in their minds, there is no "just in case" – their daughters won't be having sex until marriage and therefore simply don't need to be vaccinated.  Liberals are, of course, all about providing the vaccinations, being, obviously, if not the kind of people who encourage teenage sex, at least the types who remember a little to clearly the slippage that happens when you're sixteen and in love, between what you were taught to do and what,well, you really, really want to do.  And, if you can prevent  cancer, why not go ahead and do so? It isn't condoning sex – it's the cancer equivalent of a seatbelt. 

The way this whole vaccination was hyped, of course, is part of the problem.  Papers declared that cervical cancer had been CURED, yes, cured, that no woman needed to worry about that particular cancer anymore (away with those yucky pap smears, our legs splayed open in those cold stirrups, hurrah! No more worries about that particular part of our bodies betraying us, now we only need to worry about lumps in breasts, cysts on ovaries, and etcetera..) In fact, even my mother called me up to mention how remarkable it was that this cancer had been cured and I finally lost my temper. Does nobody read beyond the headlines anymore? "Cervical cancer has not been cured," I told her.  "There's a vaccination against its leading cause, and the vaccination is the equivalent of practicing safe sex!"   Of course, I am one of those liberal children, whose mother took me to the health department several times for that time-consuming series of vaccinations against hepatitus, so we come from a "if you can prevent it, do it" point of view family.  I still remember my father, at the dinner table, telling me that if I ever got pregnant in high school he would be incredibly disappointed because birth control is just so easy, that he'd have serious doubts about my intelligence for not being able to figure it out.

To be honest, I don't like the idea of vaccinating thirteen year old girls against HPV.  I don't like to think of thirteen year old girls having sex, in general.   But I also believe, for better or worse, that we've manipulated sex into just another one of our soapbox issues, like Iraq, or job loss.  It's just another issue for news show fodder.  We forget, especially those of us very removed from our first boyfriends and our first loves, that incredibly soul-sucking, knee-buckling, world-changing experience of falling in love for the first time, and just how badly it hurts not  to have sex.   And, for those of us teaching girls not to have sex until marriage, well, frankly, we are forgetting that our first time simply is not that great.   I never regretted my first time, but what I did regret was not doing it before then, with the boy I really loved.  Instead, I waited longer than most of my friends and finally grew so bored with waiting for the right guy (and realizing that I'd left the right guy, for that experience, and couldn't turn back time) that I chose, well, not the wrong guy but a boring guy, a safe guy, a fun guy but NOT the boy I loved when I loved for the first time.  That was high school.  But in high school, most of us girls, especially the ones who dreamed of college instead of marriage, were terrified of sex.  Our fear of std's and pregnancy overruled, every time, the desire that possessed our bodies.  Literally, mind over matter. 

Sex is such a screwy issue – I would argue that the majority of people want their children to wait until they married to have it, but I would also argue that most people, anymore, don't wait.  Walking a line between what is the ideal, and what is practical, is not a black/white, red state/blue state issue.  Of course, ideally, the young women of this world won't be having sex willy nilly throughout their high schools and colleges,  but is it really ideal to ask them to wait, to put on hold their feelings when they first fall in love but aren't ready for marriage, and ask them to postpone love in favor of an institution?  Disregarding all the other arguments for this vaccination (and they are the same arguments we pro-choice folks use: rape, incest, etc.) shouldn't we simply make sure that our daughters , nieces and sisters are as protected as possible? And let's be honest – we can't protect them against sex, and I believe that frightening them away from it is, in fact, one of the worst things we do. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: we expect women, now, to be safe.  NOt just in sex,  we don't want them walking home alone in the dark, or accepting drinks from unknown sources, or spending too much time in fraternity house basements.  If we are willing to offer them  self-defense courses and pepper spray, why not give them as much armour as possible for this world? Protect them against whatever it is possible to protect them.   BEcause, as Alice Walker wrote, in this world full of men, women will never truly be safe.  I think it is our duty, in a sense, to assume the worst but hope for the best, and encourage the young women we know to find that balance, that unstratified area of gray where being vaccinated against HPV doesn't mean they'll go out having sex all night long, but is, more than anything else, just in case.  Every man I know, from my brother to my cousin to my husband, got the "no sex is safe sex but if you do have sex use a condom just in case" speech during his teenage years, and it only makes sense to arm women with an equal amount of just in case.  And because our bodies can betray us in any given moment, really, doesn't it make sense to protect where we can?  We need to look at this vaccine as the equivalent of sunscreen for the cervix.  Use it, and more than likely you'll protect yourself against this one thing.  And with so many other things out there to worry about, why not just cross this  off the list?

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One Response to Transfer #4 from Blogspot

  1. Danila says:

    hey every1

    Wow, so, bad opinion

    🙂

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