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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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89 Responses

  1. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar September 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm |

    These artificial rules of decorum work to prevent people from sharing experiences of disempowerment. If every woman who had an abortion could speak freely about it, it would be virtually impossible to maintain a large-scale public opposition to abortion, just as now that a significant percentage of the GLBQ population is out, express homophobia is rapidly losing ground politically.

    To quote Justice Brandeis, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

  2. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    I fucking love Ayelet Waldman. And bravo for her bringing some awareness to the fact that ALL young women should get Gardasil, monogamous or not.

  3. BHuesca
    BHuesca September 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

    Maybe….just maybe….they are seeing her state that her marriage is monogamous and she got HPV from her husband, and thinking “maybe she’s just saying that so he didn’t know she hypothetically cheated on him and got her own strain of HPV, and, gosh, I hope I don’t get cheated by my significant other”?

    Because that seems the ONLY reason I could even stretch my imagination to think of that people might be thinking of.

    Unless it’s that HPV may cause sores and warts, I believe, and genital areas have so many nerve endings and are designed to be sensitive for a reason, so people who have not had an active outbreak of HPV (because don’t most people who have it not even KNOW they have it because they haven’t had an outbreak) might think that HPV is the most painful thing EVAH and that they are mistaken about what its symptoms are, for example, mistakenly thinking that it causes spontaneously erupting abscesses the size of Mt. Vesuvius??

    Ok, that was definitely enough hypotheticals for judgey judgey people (that would be Ms. Waldman’s critics, et al.) who don’t deserve anyone making excuses for them.

  4. Michelle Beltano Curtis
    Michelle Beltano Curtis September 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Funny you should post this. I shared an article about this very same thing on my FB wall, which started a rather spirited conversation among my friends… until I responded to one that I had pre-cancerous lesions on my cervix at 29 and that the doctor said I very well may have contracted HPV in my younger years but never knew it. I also mentioned that it might be the cause of my infertility, and that if the vaccine would prevent these issues for other women, I was all for it. After posting that admission, the conversation stopped abruptly and completely. I couldn’t help but wonder if everyone was thinking something along the lines of “ewww, she had cooties”.

    So anyway, I’m wholeheartedly with you. Let them think what they want. No matter what they think of me, maybe they’ll think twice about barring their daughters from the vaccine. I’ll own being cootie queen for that.

  5. Lynn
    Lynn September 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    Nope. Much of the outrage I’ve detected has been about her revealing that Chabon—who gave her the virus—contracted it from his first wife. It’s this cruel breach of privacy that really galls.

  6. Michelle Beltano Curtis
    Michelle Beltano Curtis September 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    Hahaha, I have to take some of that back. One of my friends was brave enough to admit she had it too! Bravo for her :)

  7. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    This isn’t the first time a prominent figure has gone public with her HPV-positive status — Debbie Halvorson, the former Majority Leader in the Illinois State Senate, also went public back in 2007. As usual, these reactions to Waldman’s courageous candor have been absolutely disgusting. I’m certain that even if she’d contracted HPV through violent stranger rape, they’d still be clamouring that she did something to deserve it.

  8. elongreen
    elongreen September 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    You don’t mention the reason for much of the backlash against Waldman: It’s not that she “overshared” about herself; it’s that she disclosed that Chabon had gotten HPV from his ex-wife.

    I’m totally fine with the former, not so much with the latter.

  9. Helen
    Helen September 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    So no-one’s calling MR Waldman a slut for being, I presume, the source of the HPV infection? How unsurprising.

  10. karak
    karak September 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    My overwhelming concern was Bachmann’s statement that vaccines cause mental retardation.

    First of all, the hysteria is about vaccines causing AUTISM, which is a different beast from MR (although they can often occur together).

    Secondly, most people have abandoned the term mental retardation or MR in favor of the more accurate diagnosis of developmental disabilities.

    Thirdly, either way, she’s fucking wrong because there is no link between vaccines, developmental disabilities, or autism, that’s a bunch of crap.

    And fourthly, when you say, “I won’t get my child vaccinated because they might become autistic!” What you’re saying is, “I’d rather have a dead child than a child with autism.” And that’s so many levels of wrong and sad and scary.

    On the HPV controversy, it’s a conservative agenda to push sexual control. Because, see, even if you’re a complete virgin you can still get an STI from your partner. So the agenda to push is, “don’t get married based on respect, or love, or compatibility. Get married based on sexual status. Your partner’s sexual status is the MOST IMPORTANT in the world. ONLY MARRY VIRGINS. Everyone else is disgusting and wrong and *out to get you*.” It’s a little bit Handmaiden’s Tale, isn’t it?

  11. ohdollypop
    ohdollypop September 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    I believe it’s because she specifically said she got it from her husband, who got it from his first wife…essentially giving away private medical info about the first wife that, really, is nobody’s business but her own. She realized her mistake and deleted that first tweet, but not before a lot of people saw it/screen capped it.

  12. Derek Walsh
    Derek Walsh September 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

    I might balk if someone raised the issue of their genital warts at a dinner party, but in the context of public health policies that will greatly affect the number of women who die from cancer, I think any personal discomfort we may have at imagining the nether regions of strangers or friends needs to be put aside.

  13. Lynn
    Lynn September 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    Jill: Well, no. Some of the response was because of that, but not most of it. And Waldman deleted that tweet when she realized she made a privacy breach.

    I’m speaking strictly of the responses I’ve been privy to—on and off-line. And Waldman didn’t delete the tweet right away; she argued vociferously with those that disagreed with her posting another woman’s private sexual history on Twitter (see the Intel coverage). She deleted it later (and apologized). But deleting the tweet only goes to making Waldman feel better. It’s out there. It’s not going away.

  14. Melissa Singer
    Melissa Singer September 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    When the HPV vaccine was first introduced, I read up on it. And as soon as my daughter was old enough, I had her vaxxed. Because I knew several women who were HPV+ and had been through 7 kinds of hell as a result, though luckily none of them has had cancer.

    When my online mother’s group discussed the vaccine, I strongly urged them to have their children vaxxed. A significant number of women were opposed to the vaccine because they did not want to talk about an STD with their tween-age children or because they were worried that if their daughter was vaxxed, it would somehow give her permission to have sex.

    I just didn’t get it. You don’t want to tell your kid you’re having her vaxxed against an STD? Fine. Tell her you’re having her vaxxed against a particular kind of cancer.

    The other argument makes as much sense to me as the one that says, “if I buy my child condoms, my child will have sex.” If you buy your child condoms, your child _may_ have _safer_ sex. Isn’t that better than possibly getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant or contracting an STD (which might cause sterility, serious illness, or death)? Providing birth control–or a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease–isn’t encouraging someone to have sex or giving them permission to have sex. It’s protecting them from at least some potential consequences of having sex.

  15. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    I agree, but Puritanical attitudes take a long time to erode. And when they do, there is always someone saying that things have gone too far. What I will say is that sex grows more and more graphically symbolic, but less and less realistically graphic.

    It’s always been easy to use sex as a way to enforce shame and guilt. Like you, I’d love it if we could see it as a normal human function.

  16. Lasciel
    Lasciel September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    Yeah, compare HPV to measles or polio because those are both al most solely sexually transmitted, right?

    Oh wait.

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated. Hence, it being a violation of someone’s rights for an unnecessary and useless (for them) vaccine to be mandatory for them.

  17. Alisa
    Alisa September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    I have HPV right now, and I got it from my husband. We’ve been monogamous for 21 years; indeed, I know I got it from him because I have had no other partners, ever, and the virus can lay dormant for years and years before rearing its ugly head. Now I’m waiting for the results of a colposcopy and hoping it’s nothing serious (3 weeks to go…). And in the meantime, I’m signing ‘yes’ to my 14-year old daughter’s consent form for the HPV vaccination at school this year. Because waiting to find out if you have cervical cancer really bites and it would have been better to have avoided the whole thing. I didn’t vaccinate her at 11, when we first had the option and I thought this was something that only happened to Other People (albeit a hell of a lot of other people) who didn’t follow the rules of safe sex. I’m learning my lesson now, and while I do not believe in mandating vaccinations, I certainly believe in enabling informed choice so that people can make the decision that is right for their body.

  18. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    “This isn’t just ‘Ayelet Waldman mentioned she has a cervix, everyone grossed out.’ This is why, culturally, we are losing.” Funny, I’ve been thinking lately how American TV shows regularly feature HIV-positive or breast cancer survivors, yet HPV and other women’s health issues like contraception are virtually invisible. I don’t know what accounts for these piecemeal attitudes toward reproductive health in the media… except that maybe not enough Americans are talking about their HPV or contraception, so the misogynist slut-shamers are doing it for us, framing it in their degrading terms.

  19. Kathleen
    Kathleen September 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Echo Zen — I know you mean well, but “HPV positive status” is a ridiculous phrase for a “status” shared by 80% of women.

    People who are more medically knowledgeable should correct me, but aren’t *many* STDs detected at higher rates among women than men because our ladybits are more hospitable environments? So that any gross-out shaming about them is inevitably directed at (and experienced by) women more than men?

    Also, what Thomas MacAulay Miller said.

  20. Melissa Singer
    Melissa Singer September 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    “Not everyone is going to be sexually active?” Okay, I can see that this is _possible_. Not realistic, but possible.

    But the vast majority of people are going to be sexually active at some point in their lives. And even if you only do it once, once can be enough.

  21. wasabi75
    wasabi75 September 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    I had HPV of the genital wart variety and I am such a slut that I didn’t even get it from my husband (btw not from intercourse). I was lucky to only have one outbreak many years ago and never had an irregular pap or any other difficulties. I think Michelle Bachman is a twat.

    That said it is difficult to separate out the part that was related to Waldman herself and the fact that she violated the first wife’s privacy. Because while I am just fine with the hpv disclosure and wish more women did it, I am not down with her making sure we all knew that she was an innocent victim of the first wife’s sluttery.

    Aside from that while I get being upset with Bachmann and all the frieght that goes with her comments I am also disturbed by our tendency to swallow Perry’s “I was striking a blow for women’s health” schtick because of course he wasn’t! This executive order was totally SOP for Rick Perry. Merck gave him donations and his former chief of staff was their chief lobbyist. At best it was cronyism and at worst the stuff that campaign finance reform tries to address. Let’s not excuse it just because we think it’s good for girls to get access to vaccine. He subverted the political process and did so for dubious reasons. Let’s not paint this as his broken clock moment!

  22. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    Lasciel:
    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated. Hence, it being a violation of someone’s rights for an unnecessary and useless (for them)vaccine to be mandatory for them.

    I never speed, so it’s unnecessary and useless (and possibly dangerous) for seat belts to be mandatory for me. Nobody’s going to hit my car, just as nobody’s going to sexually assault my sister or me — because we don’t put ourselves in situations like that, y’know? We live in nice parts of town (where criminals sell marijuana and Ritalin instead of meth or enriched uranium).

  23. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 14, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    Lasciel:
    Yeah, compare HPV to measles or polio because those are both al most solely sexually transmitted, right?

    Oh wait.

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated. Hence, it being a violation of someone’s rights for an unnecessary and useless (for them)vaccine to be mandatory for them.

    Thank God we live in a world without rape. Thus, you’re safe if you choose not to have sex, right?

  24. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie September 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated.

    Every woman is at risk of getting HPV – through rape.

  25. Arkady
    Arkady September 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Lasciel, the numbers on HPV are (as far as I can remember, no longer my virus of study) that by the age of 50, 80% of women will have been exposed to one of the potential cancer causing strains of HPV. As a virologist, those numbers are easily comparable with a non-sexual transmission. HPV is an environmentally stable virus (think how easy it is to get a verruca, caused by non-dangerous epithelial strains) and transmission has been documented from tampon usage (pick up the virus on fingers from environment, transfer to tampon, virus reaches the cervix). I’m not sexually active (dysfunction issues) and still chose to get the vaccine. As I was over 18 I couldn’t get it on the NHS and had to pay a lot at Marie Stopes.

    I don’t see any real difference between vaccinating for HPV alongside many other infectious diseases, would you have the same objections to an HIV vaccine? Do you object to other vaccines? I know a 15+ year timelag between infection and potentially fatal disease makes it an easier vaccine to object to than the lifesaving childhood-disease vaccines, but we have the potential here to stop 90% of cervical cancers, and maybe others where HPV contributes (oral, anal and penile cancers, where the causation is not as clear-cut as HPV in cervical cancer)

  26. Charlotte
    Charlotte September 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    Well considering he’s also been quite open about being bisexual in his youth, the “overshare” could have *really* freaked people out.

    Lynn:
    Nope. Much of the outrage I’ve detected has been about her revealing that Chabon—who gave her the virus—contracted it from his first wife. It’s this cruel breach of privacy that really galls.

  27. lt
    lt September 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    Great post – I would say that it’s probably more accurate to say “by age 50 at least 80% of women will have had HPV,” than “will have HPV” since, as the link notes, “In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.” It’s important to promote vaccination to avoid cancer and other risks, but to get around the stigma it’s also important to note that for many people there are no long term consequences.

  28. Jordan LaRousse
    Jordan LaRousse September 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    Bravo! This is a beautifully written, poignant piece. Thanks for sharing!

  29. JSwen
    JSwen September 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Why is it just young women that are being recommended this vaccine? According to the CDC, men can take gardasil to prevent infection by HPV. Just because it less often causes disease in men, doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t share the responsibility in stopping the spread of HPV. If either sex can carry a virus and give it to someone else, both should be offered the vaccine.

    Additionally, I’m not sure where I stand on gardasil. I’m 26 years old, at the last chance to get it covered by insurance. I hate the advertising, pharma-business, political side of this vaccine. Enhancing that distaste, no doctor (I’ve seen five since I was 18) ever mentioned HPV to me until the gardasil ads came out. Maybe Merric helped elevate HPV to a more approachable status?

    This brings me to what I see as a cop-put by gynecologists. When I was 18, I asked my doctor for a birth control prescription and he asked what I wanted to take. When I was 22, my doctor asked if I wanted to get HPV vaccinations. She had no advice either way, which told me at the time that it wasn’t necessary. In what other field of medicine are doctors so unwilling to prescribe and yet so willing to give us whatever we ask for?

  30. What We Missed
    What We Missed September 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    [...] as always, makes me laugh my ass off while writing about HPV and the so-called Ayelet Waldman [...]

  31. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Kathleen:
    Echo Zen — I know you mean well, but “HPV positive status” is a ridiculous phrase for a “status” shared by 80% of women.

    That’s a good point — I once directed a PSA on HPV vaccines, expounding on that exact point. Also, 98 percent of sexually active American women use contraception, so it confounds me that these two issues are virtually absent from American media. (“All My Children” has addressed HPV before, but in a totally inaccurate and scientifically cringeworthy manner.) Meanwhile American networks routinely depict HIV and breast cancer, both of which are exponentially less common than HPV or contraception usage. It just doesn’t make sense — unless you consider that public figures and celebrities have succeeded in noramlising HIV and breast cancer into public discourse and pop culture, whereas we’ve failed to do the same for things as basic as contraception. (How often have you seen birth control pills in “Sex and the City”?)

    And you’re absolutely correct that female anatomy puts women at greater risk of STIs. Young women bear the brunt of most new sexually transmitted infections — chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes are all more common in women. Are these STIs considered “grosser” than HIV and breast cancer because they’re more intertwined with female sexuality? It’s possible — after all, most HIV-positive celebrities are male, and many breast cancer awareness campaigns revolve around getting men’s attention by appealing to men’s desire to play with breasts. I don’t know if the same strategies for HIV and breast cancer awareness would work for women’s health and STIs.

  32. Jane
    Jane September 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm |

    @ Echo Zen: I really don’t think it’s a good road to go down to say that people are responsible for getting this vaccination because they might be sexually assaulted someday. Sounds kind of victim-blame-y to me. I wouldn’t say that someone who wasn’t wearing a seat belt deserved to get hurt in an accident, either. I don’t think health choices are always as clear-cut as you are presenting them — many people continue to smoke, not wear sunscreen, or eat foods with questionable additives, and funnily enough, those remain valid choices, despite well-known health risks.

    I know I have made choices based not on the safest option, but because I wanted to feel like I had a measure of control over my own body. I didn’t get the HPV vaccination because I’m not sexually active, have no prospects of being sexually active, and resented the pressure from certain members of my family to do something to my body that I didn’t want. I felt about the same way when a few close friends suggested that I go on birth control to minimize my mood swings and other period-related issues: It’s a valid option, and probably a great one for many people, but it was not what I, personally, wanted in my body.

    I think the world we should be pushing for is one in which people have enough information and the autonomy to make this sort of decision for themselves, not one in which some people (for instance, people who do not have sex) are erased, even in the pursuit of improved public health.

  33. Rich
    Rich September 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm |

    Thomas MacAulay Millar:
    These artificial rules of decorum work to prevent people from sharing experiences of disempowerment.If every woman who had an abortion could speak freely about it, it would be virtually impossible to maintain a large-scale public opposition to abortion, just as now that a significant percentage of the GLBQ population is out, express homophobia is rapidly losing ground politically.

    To quote Justice Brandeis, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

    Bravo! This needs to be said, and I like that quote by Justice Brandeis.

    As a heterosexual male, I was totally unaware that WOMEN were having SEX!!!! Egads! What’s next, short skirts and alcohol consumption! Is this 2011 or 1911?? Perhaps we should act before they start demanding the right to VOTE!! Mercy me!

    OK, enough sarcasm from me tonight…….

  34. Rich
    Rich September 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    wasabi75:
    I had HPV of the genital wart variety and I am such a slut that I didn’t even get it from my husband (btw not from intercourse). I was lucky to only have one outbreak many years ago and never had an irregular pap or any other difficulties. I think Michelle Bachman is a twat.

    That said it is difficult to separate out the part that was related to Waldman herself and the fact that she violated the first wife’s privacy. Because while I am just fine with the hpv disclosure and wish more women did it, I am not down with her making sure we all knew that she was an innocent victim of the first wife’s sluttery.

    Aside from that while I get being upset with Bachmann and all the frieght that goes with her comments I am also disturbed by our tendency to swallow Perry’s “I was striking a blow for women’s health” schtick because of course he wasn’t! This executive order was totally SOP for Rick Perry. Merck gave him donations and his former chief of staff was their chief lobbyist. At best it was cronyism and at worst the stuff that campaign finance reform tries to address. Let’s not excuse it just because we think it’s good for girls to get access to vaccine. He subverted the political process and did so for dubious reasons. Let’s not paint this as his broken clock moment!

    Yes! Perry clearly will sell his soul to the highest bidder, I’m beginning to think he has no soul. Yikes! A soulless candidate, what’s the world coming to?

    I apologize, I said no more sarcasm, but he makes Bachman look like a “genius” to the GOP nuts who love his every quip!

  35. Rich
    Rich September 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    “This isn’t just ‘Ayelet Waldman mentioned she has a cervix, everyone grossed out.’ This is why, culturally, we are losing.” Funny, I’ve been thinking lately how American TV shows regularly feature HIV-positive or breast cancer survivors, yet HPV and other women’s health issues like contraception are virtually invisible. I don’t know what accounts for these piecemeal attitudes toward reproductive health in the media… except that maybe not enough Americans are talking about their HPV or contraception, so the misogynist slut-shamers are doing it for us, framing it in their degrading terms.

    True, I think Hollywood and TV are usually way ahead of the curve because they are LEFT of center. But that’s one of those right wing conspiracies (that actually make little sense when you think about them clearly!) so what can you do?

    The GOP is crumbling fast, don’t believe the BS they are spreading like fertilizer this year!

  36. Alison
    Alison September 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm |

    Lasciel:

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated. Hence, it being a violation of someone’s rights for an unnecessary and useless (for them)vaccine to be mandatory for them.

    Not everyone will choose to be sexually active, although clearly the vast majority of people do choose to engage in some form of sexual activity in their lives.

    Also, and more importanly? *Everyone* is at risk of being the victim of sexual assault. So are you saying you think we should add the chance of getting cancer to all the other horribleness that rape survivors have to go through? Even if you knew you were never going to *choose* to engage in sexual activity, wouldn’t you prefer, knowing you have a sadly somewhat high chance of being sexually assaulted, to do one small thing that could potentially guard against at least one negative result of that assault?

  37. Raja
    Raja September 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm |

    I saw the clip of her complaining about that shit and facepalmed but than again I really can’t be too surprised considering her intelligence. I am not sure which one is stupider Palin or her.

  38. Jane
    Jane September 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm |

    @Alison: If I choose not to have sex, isn’t it my business and not yours whether or not I want to get the HPV vaccination just in case I get raped? You may think my reasons for not wanting the vaccination for myself are trivial, but hey, it’s not your body. People take calculated risks all the time based on what is important to them. And frankly it’s no skin off your nose if I’m not planning on having sex with anyone else in the general population to continue the spread of HPV — unless of course you assume that I can’t possibly know my own mind and will certainly end up having sex anyway.

    Look, I support having this vaccine ready and available for anyone who needs it, but I resent being pressured into doing things based on assumptions about my current/future sex life and vague assurances of future violence.

    I’m pretty cynical about any reasoning that sounds like, “I know what is good for you better than you do” and/or “I can predict your future choices better than you can.”

    @Jill: In my state, people can opt out of vaccinations for religious or medical reasons only. Are you thinking of a different law? Because I’m not a big fan of having to lie about my religious beliefs in order to avoid mandatory vaccination.

  39. Rich
    Rich September 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    Raja:
    I saw the clip of her complaining about that shit and facepalmed but than again I really can’t be too surprised considering her intelligence. I am not sure which one is stupider Palin or her.

    Definitely Bachman! Palin was dumb in a “folksy” sort of way while Bachman is truly, dangerously moronic.

  40. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm |

    Why is it just young women that are being recommended this vaccine?

    It’s also recommended for young men.

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated. Hence, it being a violation of someone’s rights for an unnecessary and useless (for them) vaccine to be mandatory for them.

    Funny how no one is concerned that I was violating my daughter’s right to not be vaccinated when she was getting the DTaP, MMR, polio etc……just the HPV vaccine. Wonder why that is, hm? As it is, I was fine with explaining to my daughter exactly why she was getting the vaccine, instead of opting-out: a relative of ours had to have her cervix coned in her early twenties due to her infection with HPV that she contracted from her rape at age 11. Not everyone will consent to sex? Yeah. Tell me about it.

  41. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm |

    WTF? How did I miss the part of the OP where we demanded mandatory vaccines for all adult women?

  42. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

    Jane, I do understand your point. While I believe everyone should be vaccinated (for the health of the public, if not the health of individuals), ultimately only you can consent to what happens to your body. Mandatory vaccination without waivers would be antidemocratic and illiberal (the U.S. hasn’t ordered a 100 percent mandatory vaccination effort since World War I), even if waivers have a tendency to be misused — some parents file waivers even after vaccinating their kids, because they don’t want to bother with proof-of-vaccination paperwork.

    I also agree with you that it’s wrong to pressure patients who’ve made independent, informed decisions about their health. Still, I reckon that situations like yours are a minority — my biggest concern is that teens who want the vaccine are being obstructed from getting it, just as there are far more teens who’re unable to obtain safe abortions than are being coerced by parents to have one.

  43. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. September 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: WTF? How did I miss the part of the OP where we demanded mandatory vaccines for all adult women?

    It’s in the “Outrage” edition. It forms the basis of all sanctioned gambling over the length of feministe comment threads.

  44. wasabi
    wasabi September 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    In my state you can only opt out if you can prove that your child is allergic to the components of the vaccine. We’re the only state that has basically no exemption. We’re also the only state where you’re a minor until you’re 21 and your residence is determined by where your father lives. Why yes I am in the south, how did you guess? On the issue of Perry’s HPV vax order while there was technically an opt option there were issues with the fact that it was vague, buried and not readily accessible. I do not support it being something that parents are forced to give to their children and for the record I feel the same way about all vaccines. I do not think the state should mandate health care decisions for parents. I greatly resent that my state leaves me absolutely no choice. And in the Perry case the vax had only very recently been approved making his unilateral decision to make it mandatory all the more troubling. If there was a true legitimate parental opt out then ok. That does not change the fact that his motivation was not women’s health. (This is Rick f—ing Perry for god’s sake!)

    As a previous poster mentioned the way Merck has lobbied to have this vaccine made mandatory is troubling. I wish I could see their efforts to get it approved and recommended for boys as some sort of effort for gender equality, but does anyone actually believe that is the case? It is interesting that vaccine’s are normally a very red state issue, I do definitely think that is a factor in how Republicans are calling him out and further more I think it’s clearly a pot calling the kettle black issue. But I just can’t get on the “For once he was doing something right and those bastards are booing him for wanting him to protect little girls from cancer” because there’s just no way that is the case.

  45. Jane
    Jane September 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm |

    @PrettyAmiable: No, I made a mistake by referring to mandatory vaccination laws. The phrase came up, but I should have thought a little more and realized that any mandatory vaccination laws will most likely affect children entering elementary school (or, possibly, people entering college, as with the meningitis vaccination.)

    What I am actually responding was the kind of sarcasm you showed in your first comment — the assumption that a person who has chosen for herself not to get the vaccine must be uninformed or incapable of critical thinking. I must be unaware that it’s possible for me to get raped! I couldn’t possibly have considered that and still not want the vaccination!

    That, I object to. I think we can argue for this vaccination being available to everyone and for an environment in which people can discuss the effects of HPV and other STIs without shaming or “ew that’s gross” — without sneering at people who do not have sex like they don’t exist or saying, “You’re likely to get raped ANYWAY.”

  46. EG
    EG September 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    Not everyone is going to be sexually active, so not everyone is at risk for HPV and needs to vaccinated.

    The vast majority of people are going to be sexually active, just as they have been throughout history. So, I guess, you could gamble your daughter’s future health on her being part of a very, very small minority of people, but not only does that not seem rational to me, but it seems like the sort of thing that she might end up resenting very, very strongly should she end up being one of those people who has sex before she can make her own vaccination decisions.

    When I was 18, I asked my doctor for a birth control prescription and he asked what I wanted to take. When I was 22, my doctor asked if I wanted to get HPV vaccinations. She had no advice either way, which told me at the time that it wasn’t necessary. In what other field of medicine are doctors so unwilling to prescribe and yet so willing to give us whatever we ask for?

    I’m not sure what you mean here–it sounds like your doctor was completely willing to prescribe you birth control pills. And…what’s wrong with providing more agency to patients? Nothing’s stopping the patient from saying “Well, what do you think would be best? Why? What are the pros and cons?”

    I do not support it being something that parents are forced to give to their children and for the record I feel the same way about all vaccines. I do not think the state should mandate health care decisions for parents.

    I disagree. Not only are vaccines a public health issue, but this goes back to the previous thread about children’s rights. I think the balance in this country is weighted far too much toward the supposition that parents know what’s best for their children, and what ends up happening is that even parents with the best intentions and the best information (and that’s far from the majority of parents) look at their 8-year-old girl and can’t imagine her ever having sex (reasonably–I don’t want to imagine the 8-year-old girls I care for ever having sex, because they are babies in my eyes), and then 7 years later, she still looks like a baby to them, but she is, in fact, fucking her boyfriend behind the bleachers.

    Why is it just young women that are being recommended this vaccine?

    This is something I’d like to know, too, because I’d like to get it, but my insurance won’t cover it because it’s not recommended for old sluts like me.

  47. sophonisba
    sophonisba September 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    So it’s “outing” a woman’s “sluttery,” it’s posting her “private sexual history,” to assert as fact that she once slept with a man she was married to.

    Seriously, you guys? It’s violating Michael Chabon’s first wife’s privacy to declare in front of God and everybody that she had sex with Michael Chabon before Ayelet Waldman did, back when she was married to him? Is this a grand Internet joke?

  48. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    Because if you haven’t had the vaccine by 26, the chance that you’ve had HPV is so great that the risk/benefit of the vaccine is (according to the FDA) no longer warranted. They applied a similar risk/benefit analysis to gay men (anal cancer) if I recall correctly.

    EG:
    This is something I’d like to know, too, because I’d like to get it, but my insurance won’t cover it because it’s not recommended for old sluts like me.

  49. EG
    EG September 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    Because if you haven’t had the vaccine by 26, the chance that you’ve had HPV is so great that the risk/benefit of the vaccine is (according to the FDA) no longer warranted. They applied a similar risk/benefit analysis to gay men (anal cancer) if I recall correctly.

    But that doesn’t make sense; my current gynecologist can verify that I am not currently infected, and I can produce medical records demonstrating that I have never been infected. Ugh, FDA.

  50. wasabi75
    wasabi75 September 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm |

    EG I don’t think your gyno can attest to that. They can only attest to you not having an irregular pap smear. They can’t know whether or not you have the virus but it is asymptomatic. The other issue is that they’re unsure of the impact of getting the vax if you do have it.

    And to answer your earlier point about parents not knowing best, well I just can’t agree that the government knows better. Frankly that is a slippery slope that feminists want no part of. There are health benefits to breastfeeding and natural childbirth. Clearly we don’t want the government mandating that and we shouldn’t want that. This is not different. And as a parent who researches the crap out of stuff I deserve to decide things for my kids and that means I have to accept others will make different choices than I would at this age range. I would have no problem with teens getting it without parental consent, ditto birth control and abortions. But there should always be an opt out frim government recommendations.

    Also they are now recommending it for boys. The FDA wanted to do more testing before approving it for boys. They also wanted their to a health benefit for the boy recieving rather than just potential sex partners. So when Perry did his executive order that wasn’t yet sonething he could have included or I am sure he would have been more than willing to include them.

  51. Lyndsey Reynolds
    Lyndsey Reynolds September 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm |

    The saddest part that I take from this whole cluster about the vaccine is that any vaccine that could protect against an STI would automatically become “controversial” because it is related to sex. Imagine if researchers were able to develop a safe vaccine for HIV, and recommended giving it to middle school students in response to the fact that adolescents are frequently becoming sexually active at earlier ages. These people would freak, because getting the vaccine implies someone is eventually going to be sexually active sometime in their life (what are the chances?!) and sex is only “okay” if it’s with a person of the same race but opposite sex to whom you are married and want to have a child with. And everyone knows you can’t get HIV from “okay” sex!!! Nevermind that this vaccine could save tons of people. If they’re having “bad” sex, they deserve any infections they get!

    And then my head promptly exploded from the ridiculousness of this argument.

    @Melissa Singer, I commend you on being an amazing and intelligent woman and mother. I found out about the vaccine first and told my mom. We researched it together with my pediatrician and I was vaccinated at 17. I especially like your suggestion that you can explain the vaccine as cancer prevention if you think it’s too early to have the sex talk with your child.

  52. meeka
    meeka September 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    I absolutely loved the anti-”OMG. TMI.” angst. and I’m right up there with jill. i’m so tired of the “you’re such a slut” stigma just because someone is diagnosed w/ HPV. I had a friend who learned she had it, and she spent most of that day mourning the news. And in between her sobs, I asked if she would be ok. and she said something like: “i just feel so dirty. I can’t believe I have this.” and it pissed me off because I had read up on it and discovered that it can be passed on even in a monogamous relationship. i thought it was beyond silly that she would focus on that when she didn’t even know the date of her scheduled colposcopy at the time.

    and in regards to the politics, i’m finally seeing the egregious aspect to Bachman’s political “mudslinging” tactic against Perry’s suggestion at mandating the hpv vaccine for young women. i did, however, read a cnn article that stated that she was discrediting perry’s sincerity in the proposed order about the vaccine because the makers of Gardisil have contributed greatly to his campaign and because his former chief of staff is an advocate of the vaccination. i hope she’s not using that as some kind of smoke screen.

  53. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho September 15, 2011 at 12:44 am |

    EG: But that doesn’t make sense; my current gynecologist can verify that I am not currently infected, and I can produce medical records demonstrating that I have never been infected.Ugh, FDA.

    You can still get it the vaccine, but you might have to pay for it out of pocket. I got it at 31, after I had been diagnosed with HPV and precancerous lesions. My doctor felt that it would be better to get the vaccine to prevent me being infected with any of the other strains. I’ve tested negative for the last three years.

    But two months before I was diagnosed, my sister died of cervical cancer. She was older, and wasn’t going in for her annual check-ups. When they caught it, the tumor was bigger than a cantaloupe. It metastasized and spread to the bone of her spine. It was horrible.

    Get the vaccine. Just do it. And get your pap smear.

    And no one should be ashamed to admit that they have it, because we basically all have it.

  54. Lasciel
    Lasciel September 15, 2011 at 1:00 am |

    PrettyAmiable:
    WTF? How did I miss the part of the OP where we demanded mandatory vaccines for all adult women?

    Not everyone here is an adult :/ did I miss the part where Feministe was 18 or 21 and up only?

    Also, to all the “gee, you (and other young females) should get the HPV vaccine because chances are you’re going to get raped”…. then wouldn’t it make more sense to make the vaccine mandatory for male children? Since the majority of rapists are men. And yet the only ones being forced to get these vaccines are girls. Put some of the burden on males for once, or make it an equal thing. Instead of making it yet another thing that women are solely responsible for guarding against.

    So, I guess, you could gamble your daughter’s future health on her being part of a very, very small minority of people, but not only does that not seem rational to me, but it seems like the sort of thing that she might end up resenting very, very strongly should she end up being one of those people who has sex before she can make her own vaccination decisions.

    Gosh, it would be a pretty stupid thing to let minors make their own vaccination decisions, wouldn’t it? That’s really the crux of it; not letting a sexually active minor get vaccinated is fucking horrible; and not letting a celibate minor choose not to get vaccinated is also fucking horrible. If you can choose whether or not to have sex you can choose whether or not to be vaccinated. Funny, has it ever occurred to you that you could just ask your daughter and let her make her own decision?

    People like to confuse the issue by bringing up Hepatitis or Polio or other vaccines; the difference between them and the HPV vaccine, for one thing, is that the HPV vaccines are mandatory at an age when a minor should have some agency over their body anyway. Can you ask a 2-year old if they want a Polio vaccination and expect them to understand the risks? Probably not. Can you talk to a 12-year old and have them understand the risks, of putting off getting vaccinated till later or not at all? I would say so.

  55. ch
    ch September 15, 2011 at 1:13 am |

    JSwen: Enhancing that distaste, no doctor (I’ve seen five since I was 18) ever mentioned HPV to me until the gardasil ads came out.

    You’ve had pap smears, yes? You know that those are essentially tests for certain types of HPV? (Namely, the malignant/precancerous ones, the ones that the vaccine is also targeting). So even if your doctors weren’t using the term “HPV”, they were still testing you for it.

    Also, question to the general thread: I understand the criticism of Waldman’s assertion that her husband got HPV from his ex-wife– but honestly, isn’t it highly unlikely that she knows that for sure? Isn’t HPV kind of like herpes in that it can lie dormant for quite a while and it’s hard to tell which sexual partner someone got it from?

  56. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni September 15, 2011 at 4:02 am |

    Wasn’t there a similar collective shriek of horror when a journalist dared to tweet “I’m in a meeting having a miscarriage, I’m miserable” or something along those lines?

    Oh the horror! How dare these people with their cervixes and uteri(?) talk about them?

  57. llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 5:18 am |

    How does “i am eating” compare with this poor woman’s story ? This is a form of social manipulation that attempts to remove this woman’s right to a voice. HPV can lead to terrible outcomes, this is the kind of story that should not be buried, particularly now we can do something about it.

    Jill: Well, no. It’s a public health issue — vaccines protect the general public from the spread of diseases, not just individuals. Also, sexual assault happens, so even if folks don’t plan on being sexually active, they can have sex forced on them.

    I agree we are so lucky to live in a time when a vaccine exists why not just use it !!! both on boys and girls just like contraception this is the responsibility of both sexes.

  58. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 15, 2011 at 6:48 am |

    Jane: the assumption that a person who has chosen for herself not to get the vaccine must be uninformed or incapable of critical thinking.

    Who cares what you’re choosing for yourself? I really don’t get where the hell this came from. Jill must have been advocating removal of lady-agency when I blinked. I’m terrified of shots and haven’t gotten Gardasil. No where do I feel the OP is lambasting me for personally contributing to a public health crisis. (And I fuck! And I spread my lady-seed!) That said, if you have a child, yeah, I’d judge the fuck out of you for not giving it to zir because there’s no way you know they will be celibate.

    And the sarcasm from my original post? That was because the idea that you are free from HPV risk since you choose not have sex is so fucking stupid I had no way of dealing with it without sarcasm. Reread the comment I was responding to. It was really fucking ignorant. Everyone is at risk for HPV. Saying that someone isn’t discounts things like rape. Something I experienced. Sorry someone else posted a dumb comment and you had your feelings hurt by something I definitely didn’t say (i.e. you personally should be vaccinated because you’ll get raped). Decide for your own about your risk-reward payoff. I don’t care. But PS, the idea that it’s victim-blaming to say people, before being raped, should get an HPV vaccine, because you never know if it will happen? Stupid. How is that even victim-blaming? No one is saying, “You brought your rape on yourself because you never got vaccinated.” My rapist didn’t have Gardasil detector. Unless you’re defining victim-blaming entirely outside of the rape context and moving the goalposts for that terminology.

  59. Fight sex-negativity by tweeting that you’ve had HPV tomorrow

    [...] Ayelet Waldman overshare” yesterday, but I think it deserves its own post because I agree so hard with Jill that this is why we are losing as a [...]

  60. Lauren
    Lauren September 15, 2011 at 9:38 am |

    Wow, that’s crazy to go all insane like that. I contracted HPV when I was younger and ended up having a colposcopy to examine some pre-cancerous cells because of it. Luckily, no cancer and now no HPV because, like most women, I eventually got over it.

  61. AIMAI
    AIMAI September 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Waldman should have said “Husband got it from a previous monogamous relationship” but the entire point of her tweet was to say that marriage/monogamy are not perfect prophylactics for the spread of a common infection. In fact to the sex hysterics the very idea of a “previous monogamous relationship” is almost an oxymoron because for propaganda and emotional reasons they prefer not to acknowledge that other normal Americans are sexually active, are serially monogamous, get divorced and remarried.

    From their perspective only if Ayelet had asserted that her husband had gotten it from his virtuously deceased first wife who received it through an immaculate infection as the result of a toilet seat incident would the story cut against the demonization of sexually active women. The entire argument that “good” women and their good families have nothing to worry about (viz the moron upthread who asserted that lots of girls will never have sex so don’t need the vaccine) is based on some notion of good that excludes people who ever have sex, voluntarily, with anyone who has ever had sex themselves. Its the moral equivalent of the argument that right wingers make explicitly that its not rape unless “she was a virgin who had never even thought about having sex, innocent and beautiful and young and she was planning on being a nun to boot.” All other women are considered to be already impure enough through sexual contact that whatever happens to them is righteous punishment.

    That’s not hyperbole, that’s cultural analysis. Sex for women is considered both polluting and subtractive by modern american conservative culture. Once you’ve been sexually active you are considered to be beyond the scope of protection. You are a pro and a whore and a degraded creature and whatever happens to you as the result of having sex–from pregnancy to death–is considered fair requittal.

    aimai

  62. theoncominghope
    theoncominghope September 15, 2011 at 10:00 am |

    She may have had the best of intentions, but who would have caught that behind all the rudeness and cheap shots? It’s not the over-sharing that’s the problem, it’s that she violated someone else’s privacy.

    Women in this country need objective information about how you get it and what can happen if it goes untreated. But name-calling and saying that “Well I have HPV and cervical cancer and therefore I should have the loudest voice” doesn’t help anyone. It just tunes people out, and it makes them less receptive to the facts.

    A plea for sense in twitter fights:
    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/09/twitteruption-hpv-and-plea-for-sense.html

  63. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 15, 2011 at 10:02 am |

    That said, if you have a child, yeah, I’d judge the fuck out of you for not giving it to zir because there’s no way you know they will be celibate.

    I wouldn’t be so quick to judge parents that aren’t getting the vaccine for their children. The decision was easy for me, because I have insurance. For folks without insurance, the cost of all three shots is $360, not including charges for the office visits. Figure in the unpaid time one has to take (3X) from work to make the appointments, and you’re talking something far outside the range of the working poor—who can easily fall into the gap of not being able to afford it, but earning too much money (or receiving too much in unemployment benefits) to qualify for the free shots.

    Something to keep in mind (for USian folks).

  64. EG
    EG September 15, 2011 at 10:04 am |

    EG I don’t think your gyno can attest to that. They can only attest to you not having an irregular pap smear. They can’t know whether or not you have the virus but it is asymptomatic. The other issue is that they’re unsure of the impact of getting the vax if you do have it.

    I can produce records demonstrating that I’ve had a pap once a year ever since beginning sexual activity, with never an atypical result. That should be at least as reliable as covering the vaccination for 17-year-old who may never have had a pap smear despite having had multiple sexual partners. Why do you think the impact of the vaccination would be different for my immune system than for a 26-year-old’s? My gynecologist doesn’t. She thinks I should get it.

    We’re just going to have to disagree about where to draw the line between government protection of minors and parents’ rights. I’m glad you have the time and resources and desire to spend a lot of time doing research so you can make informed decisions. But what about the many, many children whose parents do not? Who’s going to look out for them? I don’t find parental rights so very important that we should sacrifice children’s well-being to them. And breastfeeding and natural childbirth involve bodily autonomy for women, which seems a pretty clear line to draw for me. In any case, women’s control over childbirth has already been violated in some fairly dramatic ways; not protecting children from illness is not going to help that.

    You can still get it the vaccine, but you might have to pay for it out of pocket.

    Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? I don’t have that kind of cash lying around.

    not letting a celibate minor choose not to get vaccinated is also fucking horrible. If you can choose whether or not to have sex you can choose whether or not to be vaccinated. Funny, has it ever occurred to you that you could just ask your daughter and let her make her own decision?

    I don’t have a daughter (yet). First of all, I disagree that not letting a celibate minor choose not to get vaccinated is as “fucking horrible” as not letting a sexually active minor get vaccinated. The potential risks and consequences are enormously different. Further, that’s not what’s going to happen. Nobody is even discussing whether or not the minor can opt out. This is a debate about parental rights. Should it be? No. I am a huge advocate for children’s rights. But if you seriously think, when talking about the US government, that minors themselves are going to be allowed to have that kind of autonomy, you are mistaken.

    Now, if, in an ideal world, we could let the minor herself decide, I would not want her mother or father to be the ones asking her. Funny, has it ever occurred to you that many, many minors are not in a position where they want to or can be open and honest with their parents about their sexual plans and choices? A mandatory doctor’s/clinic visit with the parents not in the room would be one thing, but how many 13-year-olds, even of open-minded parents, are going to look those parents in the eye and say “Yes, I’d like to get this vaccine now, because I’m going to start having sex soon”?

  65. Lasciel
    Lasciel September 15, 2011 at 10:37 am |

    PrettyAmiable: And the sarcasm from my original post? That was because the idea that you are free from HPV risk since you choose not have sex is so fucking stupid I had no way of dealing with it without sarcasm. Reread the comment I was responding to. It was really fucking ignorant.

    And the idea that I should get vaccinated because it’s apparently such a sure thing that I’ll get raped–*that’s* not stupid at all? The average amount of sex per year for 18-29 year olds is 112 times a year. The condom usage rate for the same age groups is less than 50%. So you’re saying one unprotected instance of rape is more likely to infect someone with HPV than 60 instances of consensual unprotected sex (and 60 more instances of ‘protected’ sex, which does not guarantee against HPV transmission) ?

    The idea that women should be able to get a vaccine so they can have safer sex–good idea. The idea that it should be mandated for females solely because of rape risk is bull when if you wanted to cut down on HPV rape transmissions you could just mandate it in males. Oh wait, men must never bear the burden of any it.

  66. Kathleen
    Kathleen September 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    Echo Zen — thanks for the additional information!

    ch — exactly. With something that is so common, going out of her way to pin it on the ex-wife seems pretty uncool. Has Michael Chabon had two and only two sexual partners in his whole life? (I don’t really want an answer to that question, it’s none of my business!) But it does seem that Waldman’s framing actually reinforces the idea that HPV has a limited number of carriers, when it actually pretty much saturates the sexually active population.

  67. links for 2011-09-15 « Embololalia
    links for 2011-09-15 « Embololalia September 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    [...] A Question. putting a real face on an incredibly common, sometimes cancer-causing disease is important. It shouldn’t have to be brave — it shouldn’t be any more brave than saying you had chicken pox or the flu or melanoma — but it is. And it’s shameful that in the face of what should be a fairly benign statement — “I contracted one of the most common viruses in the United States” — the media response is “eew” and “too much!” and “stop talking you slut.” [...]

  68. Arkady
    Arkady September 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    Lasciel, you seem to have missed my (admittedly unusual) example that HPV transmission has been documented from tampon usage. As an environmentally stable virus (think of how easy it is to pick up verrucas at swimming pools, caused by other HPV strains) it can lie around in dust. Sexual transmission is merely the most efficient means for it to get to the cervix.

    Ideally we would be giving the vaccine to men/boys too, as we do with rubella, but it’s just too expensive at the moment. I’m not sure if the cost reflects manufacturing or development (was an interesting vaccine to develop, it’s the first against a virus in that tissue type/localisation), but it’s not being reduced any time soon. That’s also a major block to getting the vaccine into the developing world.

    How do you feel about other childhood vaccines that are given to older children? As a teenager I was given vaccines at school for TB (now discontinued as ineffective), meningitis C, and polio/diptheria/tetanus booster. Do you feel i should have been able to opt out of these? Tetanus is a pretty horrible way to go…

  69. Kate
    Kate September 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Kathleen:
    But it does seem that Waldman’s framing actually reinforces the idea that HPV has a limited number of carriers, when it actually pretty much saturates the sexually active population.

    I understand where you are coming from, but I was interpreting the mention of the ex to provide an example of not one, but TWO monogamous relationships where HPV was passed from one person to another meaning exactly as you say, that HPV is extremely common in the sexually active population rather than being limited to a few “dirty” people who sleep around. I do agree with you though that she probably cannot be certain it was contracted from his ex-wife (unless he has only had 2 sexual partners), and it was certainly a violation of the ex-wife’s privacy (something she has since apologized for along with removing the original tweet, though it’s been retweeted and is therefore still out there). I’m just not sure she meant for it to come across as “My hubby’s dirty dirty ex-wife gave us HPV.”

  70. chava
    chava September 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    Yes, actually it would. Most children–even 12 year olds–just don’t want to get shots, and most teenagers think they’re immortal. Involve your child in the discussion about why you’re making a given medical decision, and give their opinion serious weight, sure. That’s just good parenting.

    Lasciel:

    Gosh, it would be a pretty stupid thing to let minors make their own vaccination decisions, wouldn’t it?

  71. “Nothing is TMI, Unless It’s Boring” « Cuntlove

    [...] Read the rest of the post here. [...]

  72. La Lubu
    La Lubu September 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

    What chava said. Part of the responsibility of parenting is making judgement calls for one’s child(ren) when they are not competant to make those calls for themselves, while continuing to increase the level of responsibility and decision-making power they have as they are able to handle it. Sometimes as a parent, one is obligated to make a decision for one’s child that she wouldn’t make for herself—it just comes with the territory.

    As it was, my kid didn’t have any problem with getting her shots Monday, even though she got six of them. Of more consequence to her was today’s dentist appointment (totally uneventful)…she would have vetoed that out of fear (not based in any personal experience) had she been able to. My stand as a parent is, “kid, if your teeth are gonna go to hell, it isn’t gonna be on my watch. You’re gonna enter adulthood with all 32 of ‘em, period.”….since it would be an abrogation of my parental responsibility to do otherwise (as a person with dental coverage). Understand? Her apprehension about going to the dentist does not outweigh her need of healthy teeth. As an adult, she can make that decision…..but if I allowed her that decision *now*, she may not enter adulthood with healthy teeth—she would have a *more limited scope* of decision-making power over her *adult* dental health based on previous neglect—*my* neglect, not hers, since I’m the one with the foresight the typical 11 year old doesn’t have. (And again, emphasizing that right now, I do have dental coverage, so expense is not an issue).

    I don’t see how the HPV vaccine is any different. Allowing a child to make the choice to not get this or any other vaccine based on a fear of the shot could have consequences for her future adult life that she *wouldn’t* have chosen had she had the foresight to choose otherwise.

  73. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable September 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm |

    Arkady: I’m not sure if the cost reflects manufacturing or development

    It’s really typical for new drugs to be prohibitively expensive when they’re first released because of R&D costs. Patents are there so that the company that got dicked on these super expensive costs can recoup some of their ridiculously high expenses. Patents tend to last 7-20 years, depending on the drug – and after that, the generics can swoop on in and we have the wonders that is the $4 Wal-Mart generic. So it’s coming! It always does. Just not quite yet.

  74. Larry
    Larry September 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm |

    I would much rather see them discussing this on TV that eating breakfast while some smoker who CHOSE to smoke coughs up a lung or shows off the hole in their throat or how many fingers they have left. And when are we going to start looking at the source of this – Us Men!

  75. Sophie
    Sophie September 16, 2011 at 2:37 am |

    It’s their fault for eating at the computer.

  76. I Had HPV and Lived to Tell the Tale
    I Had HPV and Lived to Tell the Tale September 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    [...] lives, because it is contracted by having sex it still comes loaded with shame. When Ayelet Waldman shared her experience of getting it from her husband on Twitter, the reaction was “TMI!” and [...]

  77. HPV Day and How Bachmann & Perry HPV Vaccine Debate Proves Neither Candidate Gives a Shit About Women’s Health | The Opinioness of the World

    [...] at Feministe pointed out that writer Ayelet Waldman (one of my friend Sarah H.’s fave authors) faced ridicule and scorn for tweeting about her own experience contracting HPV from her husband, writer Michael Chabon. Foster Kamer at the New York Observer said Waldman’s revelation was [...]

  78. Bachmann, Perry Still Totally Incoherent on HPV, GOP Comes Around on AIDS | TheGaily.ca | the new gay agenda

    [...] at FeministeUS shared her feelings in this article: If I told you that when I was little I got chicken pox from a kid at school — which I did! — [...]

  79. Sam Holloway
    Sam Holloway September 21, 2011 at 6:39 am |

    This is the same country in which I’ve actually met people who won’t be seen carrying toilet paper home from the store, lest someone see it in their hands and know that they will at some point be taking a shit. Eeewwww!!

  80. llama
    llama September 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    Sam Holloway:
    This is the same country in which I’ve actually met people who won’t be seen carrying toilet paper home from the store, lest someone see it in their hands and know that they will at some point be taking a shit.Eeewwww!!

    Interesting that you mention that Sam I have only recently learnt of such behaviour. I had a visitor from the US (New Jersey) a few weeks ago. He explained he would never say “I am going to the toilet” as that would be the height of rudeness. Preferring to say “I am going to the washroom” instead. Here in Australia we go to the toilet all the time.

    With that mind set I don’t see how any bodily functions or illnesses can be discussed.

  81. llama
    llama September 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm |

    Arkady: Ideally we would be giving the vaccine to men/boys too, as we do with rubella, but it’s just too expensive at the moment.

    I paid form my son to be vaccinated at 16 (it wasn’t available until then). It really wasn’t hard to convince him. He pointed out it was just like sharing the responsibility for birth control.

  82. claire
    claire September 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    llama: I had a visitor from the US (New Jersey) a few weeks ago.He explained he would never say “I am going to the toilet” as that would be the height of rudeness. Preferring to say “I am going to the washroom” instead.Here in Australia we go to the toilet all the time.

    Originally “toilet” simply referred to personal grooming: washing hands and face, brushing hair, etc. When the crapper, an appliance for disposing of urine and feces, was invented, people began calling it a “toilet” to talk around the issue.

    In many parts of the world, the room where you clean up is usually separate from where you eliminate body waste, so asking for the “bathroom” may not get you to the desired facilities (that was true in Western Australia when I lived there). I’m not sure “washroom” is really much better.

    But to the point — there are several issues going on here.
    1 – the “ewww” factor.
    2 – the age of the recipients.
    2 – the proposed mandatory nature of the vaccinations.

    1 – Our society considers sex dirty, though there is definitely a double standard. Virility is a male mental health issue, so it’s OK for Medicare to pay for Viagra pills, but birth control is a choice and therefore Medicare shouldn’t pay for it (sarcasm intended). Men who sleep around are virile, women who do the same are sluts. So it goes. You don’t hear much about welfare dads, or if you do they are just down on their luck. Welfare moms, on the other hand, are cheats and probably just having kids to get a larger check. (sarcasm still intended).

    2- and to segue into kids — if you tell kids about sex it will corrupt their innocent little minds, so best keep quiet. It will never cross their minds until age 18 or 21 otherwise. (can you tell the sarcasm is still intended?) Parents, of course, are usually about 2 years behind on the news that their darlings are indeed “doing it”.
    Someone suggested that kids should be interviewed away from their parents. Good suggestion. It is true that kids don’t like shots, and think nothing bad will happen to them, and they may not really be able to fully understand that consequences may occur decades later. Nor are they necessarily ready to risk something just because it will statistically help the entire population. So I agree that it is not really appropriate that the kids be the decision makers. But the parents are not necessarily in the best position to decide, either.

    3- mandatory vaccinations. They aren’t really mandatory. They are required to enroll in public school, with a medical and possibly a religious exemption. The public health idea is that a certain percentage must be vaccinated to ensure the safety of the population as a whole. A parent who disagrees with this idea, or who thinks the vaccine is dangerous, has several options. The parents can keep the kid out of public school, and either homeschool or send the kid to a private school. They can argue that the kid will be harmed by the vaccine, though this will probably require documentation of an allergy of some sort. They can argue a religious objection. There is case law that the freedom of the religion of the parents cannot prevent hospitals from intervening when a child’s life is in critical danger, but the lesser the danger to the child, the more compelling a freedom of religion argument becomes. Unfortunately, there is also an increased statistical danger to the other kids when a child goes unvaccinated.

    Solution?? Is a puzzlement.
    We do have a double standard, which is IMO what this article is decrying. We do have a Puritanical attitude towards sex and bodily functions, which keeps us from making sensible policy and which we really should have outgrown (as with fart jokes) in about the 4th grade. And we do have a society that suffers from innumeracy and simply does not grasp statistical arguments.

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