You know that video where the guy is reading out all those Yahoo Answers posts asking, in various iterations with various misspellings, "am I pregnant"? It has over 2 million views on YouTube.
Ya, that video. May I just say: fuck that video.
Also, may I invite you to ask yourself, of all the questions asked on Yahoo Answers about health-related topics (and all the possible typos and misspellings of those questions) why is it that the Internet seems to find these misspelled questions about female reproductive health so damn amusing?
I'm sure there are as many misspelled questions about penises on Yahoo Answers. Just venturing a modest guess here, but maybe it's because our culture has no qualms about making light of the health of those of us with female-assigned reproductive systems.
It reminds me of the similarly themed exploitation of TLC shows like I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, which make women unaware of their pregnancies the subjects of dramatic reenactments purely for entertainment. Our experiences are laughed at, our questions are mocked, and our medical concerns are belittled constantly.
Take the study released earlier this fall, finally confirming the link between hormonal contraceptives and depression -- a connection that individuals who have taken oral contraceptives have known about for years, but which has been reduced to a "may cause changes in mood" advisory listed under possible side-effects.
Sorry (not sorry at all), but an individual's ability to enjoy their life is more than a change in mood and should be considered more than a possible side-effect (...ellipses ad infinitum). Despite the testimonies of sooo many women whose mental health has suffered as a result of taking hormonal contraceptives and despite this new study, there are still medical professionals who deny a correlation.
To add further fuel to the fury, when WHO conducted studies on hormonal contraception for men, it was prematurely halted because of the negative side-effects these drugs had on the participants' mental health. So please don't tell me that the health of individuals with female-assigned reproductive systems is taken as seriously as it should be.
The hormonal contraception case perfectly illustrates the problem at hand: that the voices and experiences of women, trans and intersex individuals are marginalized and dismissed by the health care industry. And there are many more similar examples of this disregard -- people miscarrying while waiting hours for care in emergency rooms; menstrual pain, and women's chronic pain in general, not being taken seriously; changes experienced during menopause not being widely discussed; the hormones of individuals with female-assigned reproductive systems not being considered in the treatment of mental health problems...
I really could go on, but I'm digressing. My point is that the health gap exists and affects women and individuals with female assigned reproductive systems all the time.
So when a video where questions about women's health (mostly posed by women) are mocked by a man for the spelling errors they contain (in addition to the classist and elitist implications of these kinds of jokes) goes viral, we are shutting down marginalized voices yet again.
When female reproductive health isn't given its due concern, it's no wonder that people take pleasure in mocking their spelling mistakes instead of engaging the questions this video actually glaringly begs us to ask: why do individuals have to turn to forums for answers to these super important concerns and why is education on reproductive health is so clearly lacking?
The simple fact is that if we (as a culture) cared about women's health, then the Internet masses wouldn't find so much glee in making fun of an individual for their spelling mistakes when trying to access information about pregnancy.
So screw this video. Not funny.
Arielle de Pagter is a recent graduate of Concordia University's Communication Studies program (2014 still counts as recent right? *gulp*). Her pastimes include photography, cycling and smashing the patriarchy. Follow her on Twitter @arielledepa.
Like this article? Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.