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Friday, September 22, 2023


Gender Talk discusses contraceptives

Creative writing senior Joy Lester demonstrated to the group how to properly use a condom.  |  Anthresia McWashington/The Daily Cougar

Creative writing senior Joy Lester demonstrated to the group how to properly use a condom. | Anthresia McWashington/The Daily Cougar

Sexually active women are in danger of two things: sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

“I think the job is even more on us to make sure that we can prevent pregnancy. Right now, there are things that we can do that can forestall that or make sure that we can prevent unwanted pregnancies,” said  Women’s Resource Center program coordinator Malkia Hutchinson.

“I don’t want it to be a burden for women to think of these things. I want them to know that they have options out there.”

The WRC hosted its first Gender Talk since Spring Break on Wednesday. This week’s topic revolved around contraceptives, birth control and the issue of consent when it comes to sexual activity.

Gender Talks are held weekly in the WRC, Room 279A of the University Center. The talks, which are open to both men and women, are designed as a safe space to discuss gender and female-related issues. Talks in the past few weeks have ranged from everything from interracial relationships and revenge porn to “Fifty Shades of Grey” and this week’s talk, which discussed how to have safer sex.

“We usually just talk about whatever is in the news, the media, sometimes if there’s nothing really going on we have a standard topic. But if there’s something major that happens, we focus more on that,” said history senior Lyndsie Harris.

“I like that women can get together … and men sometimes, too … we can all converse, it’s good to talk about topics that affect women and both genders.”

Hutchinson led the talk as she discussed different forms of birth control such as copper intrauterine devices, cervical caps, diaphragms and hormonal medications, shots and implants.

She explained how each method is inserted, how it is possible to obtain them and their advantages and disadvantages. Proper usage of both female and male condoms was also shown.

With recent losses in funding of family planning clinics and more and more laws coming up to shorten the window of time in which abortions can be held, if they can be held at all, Hutchinson believes it is important to know about safe sex.

In the wake of the recent Steubenville rape case that is setting the media on fire, the issue of consent during sexual intercourse was also brought up. Exactly what consent means was discussed, as was the concept of rape culture or the thought that modern society dismisses, or is even accepting of, sexual assault.

“I think it’s important for specifically women to have a space where they can go to to speak up about things, talk about things that may not be open to talk about in either their friend groups or in relationships at home with their families,” Hutchinson said.

“I like the idea of having different topics to talk about each week so that … maybe if you have friends who are not like-minded, or if you’re feeling kind of like you have no other support … things like this give people the space to (receive help).”

In the weeks to come, the WRC will be hosting more Gender Talks as well as a Salary Negotiation Workshop on April 5, where women can learn how to negotiate for equal pay with their male colleagues. The center will also be presenting The Vagina Monologues, a play exploring women’s issues and sexuality, on April 19.

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