For decades, women in Dominica have had to rely on their male counterparts to purchase contraceptives. But why? Why are women on this island so afraid to make these types of transactions themselves?
Apparently, there is a stereotype associated with women and the purchase and use of birth control. Word is women who buy these contraceptives are promiscuous (‘salop’ in local lingo). In fact, after interviewing several young men, it was clear that women who bought birth control, condoms in particular, were not to be trusted. Reason being: to them it meant women were anticipating numerous sexual encounters – which, quite frankly, did not sit well with them.
The young men also made it clear that only men should be “buying those things” because everybody expects them to be sexually active, and that they are congratulated when the step is taken to protect their sexual health.
Contrarily, while these guys are given a ‘pat on the back’ for buying contraceptives, their female counterparts experience degrading stares that make them feel dirty and uncomfortable as if they are partaking in some sort of unthinkable act.
As if being responsible for your own sexual health is something to be shunned upon. As if only a man is able and should be relied on to make sure that a woman is being protected. Are we so repressed that we are unable to see the good, the admirable and the intelligence in a woman taking full responsibility for the preservation of her sexuality?
Really, does a girl having her own condoms make her promiscuous, or does it make a guy question himself, heightens his insecurities and uncovers his inability to trust his partner? Meaning, does having your own contraceptive count as a true indicator of promiscuity, or does having your own protection plant seeds of distrust and doubt in your partner’s mind?
Generally, men become a bit apprehensive when faced with situations that are untraditional. One such tradition is apparently the purchasing of condoms. Quite frankly, it becomes unsettling for the men when placed these positions because they are taught that they are the leaders and that they should always be in control of themselves and situations involving them. However, it seems as though distrust on the part of both parties has contributed to the stereotyped beliefs that surrounds this situation.
Along with suggested levels of distrust, the concentration of religious ideology that influences the state is a primary contributing factor pertaining to behaviour and attitudes surrounding sex. With that, we can then understand why people react in certain ways. Topics such as these have been deemed taboo, and so are not readily discussed in the majority of social settings, excluding of course, gossip of who’s sleeping with who.
However, moving forward in 21st century wouldn’t it be better to detach or move away from mindset that is somewhat gender bias? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to eradicate the double standard produced by a small religious society? Won’t it be great to live in a place where it isn’t weird for a woman to buy a condom? A place where both sexes are praised for taking steps to protect themselves.