Plan B Age Restrictions Being Lifted/Why I’m Infuriated #2

11 Jun

“The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with political repercussions for President Obama.

The government’s decision means that any woman or girl will soon be able to walk into a drugstore and buy the pill, Plan B One-Step, without a prescription.” see full article here. 

I literally just wrote a piece about this. I was really hoping there would be another outcome.

Ever since Teva’s Plan B was approved for sale as a prescription in 1999, there has been controversy regarding to whom it should be sold. On April 5, 2013, a ruling was made by Judge Edward Korman to make the most common morning after pill available to women and girls of all ages without a prescription. Currently, you must be 17 years old and show proof age at the pharmacy window to buy Plan B. This ruling gives the FDA 30 days to lift the age restrictions on the pill and its generic form, while controversy continues between Judge Korman and people like Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius.

In February of 2011, Teva filed a petition to make Plan B One-step, a one-pill version of Plan B, available over-the-counter without age or access restrictions. In December, the FDA rejected Teva’s decision because of a statement made by Secretary Sebelius. In her statement, she claims that there was no testing done on 11-year-old girls. Being that 10% of girls in that age range have reached menstruation, there is a possibility they could use Plan B. Thus far, there has been no testing on that age group, therefore they shouldn’t allow it to go over-the counter.

Regardless of what has happened in past years, this ruling still stands. Judge Korman claims that “her decision was arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable,” in regards to Secretary Sebelius.

Recently, the FDA has done rigorous research on what could happen if the pill were taken in a way it wasn’t supposed to be and have found it safe. But now there are other issues aside ones having to do with science. Parents are concerned, values are being questioned. The real question is, what we should be more concerned about?

From a moral standpoint, I agree that up until a certain age, parents and doctors should have a say in who gets to take these pills especially if there has been no research on what the side effects could be on a preteen taking Plan B. If any girl or woman is taking Plan B, chances are there was an “accident” and while accidents do happen, not all teens are perfectly stable or mature enough to make the right decisions when they’re in this kind of situation.

 

“Overall, it shows a lack of caution, if you ask me,” Landa told FoxNews.com. “Of course the prevention of unwanted pregnancy is a good thing.  The problem is it encourages women to be more cavalier and not use more reliable birth control we’d like them to be using, including barrier methods that protect against sexually transmitted diseases.” [FoxNews]

 

It is true that most consumers of Plan B only take it once or twice in the course of a year, but who is to say that if becomes easier to access they won’t rely on it more?

 

“Fear of pregnancy is a deterrent to sexual activity,” Dr. Davenport, recent president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists said. “When you introduce something like this, it changes people’s behaviors, and they have more risky sex. Teens will be counting on this morning-after pill to bail them out, and they’ll have more casual encounters.” [NY Times]

Girls who are uneducated may abuse the freedom they have if they are able to  buy the pill with no questions being asked.  Plan B should not be used as a normal form of regular birth control. Not only is Plan B not intended for that purpose but there are many well-documented side effects to overusing Plan B including significant weight gain, depression, ovarian cyst enlargement, gall bladder disease and high blood pressure.

 

“This is not a magic bullet,” said Dr. Susan Wood, an associate professor of health policy at George Washington University. “It’s just one more tool in the toolbox — one more option that can help women have that second chance if they need it.” [NY Times]

 

With any medication, there are precautions to be taken, which is why even Sudafed is put behind the counter and you have to show ID to purchase it. So why should it be different for Plan B One-Step?  The FDA says in regards to regulating cigars, but perhaps it could be used just the same for this case. “Just like with cars, all cars are under the safety regulations of the transportation agency and the mercedes is not exempt from this. So neither should any product of tobacco because FDA regulations are there to PROTECT the public.”

 

Side effects and over-usage are the arguments against this ruling, and both points are valid in my opinion. The counterargument could be the following. It is important for every girl or woman to have easy access to emergency contraception in order to prevent more unexpected pregnancies. If we look at other countries that supply birth control for free due to universal healthcare, the UK, for example, there have not been any recent overdoses or side effects from Plan B at all.

Personally, I think the current procedure for teens under 17 to acquire any kind birth control, whether it be pills, the shot, and Plan B is too hard and a lot of the time requires money which most teens don’t have. If you think about how many steps they have to take, generally first telling their parents, going to a doctor, getting a prescription then going to a pharmacy, that might scare some girls away. And on top of that having to pay $50 or so for Plan B – whether it be locked up behind a counter or not, that is a lot of money that even I at 21 years old would feel questionable about spending.

I do believe that easy access to birth control is important, but I’m not trying to promote the over-usage of drugs either. I would say that the ruling should be changed so that the age restrictions are lifted HOWEVER I don’t believe that Plan B should be shelved. Teens ages 13-16 should have to speak with a pharmacist before being able to purchase the drug. It is easy to assume that if they are having sex they are responsible enough to read instructions or understand how Plan B (or any other form of contraception) works but that might not always be the case.

When it comes to sex, anything to do with it, I think there will always be some kind of controversy because the topic itself hits on science, religion, politics, among other things. However this is being handled without proper evaluation of the situation and while I do agree with part of the ruling, unless girls under 17 years of age are given clear instructions on how to use Plan and the side effects from a pharmacist, I do not believe the age restrictions should be lifted.

 

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Mexico Barbie/ Why I’m Infuriated

10 Jun

If you haven’t already seen or heard of her, Mexico Barbie from Mattel’s Dolls of the World collection, has been sparking controversy among bloggers for the past few months. While ImageI’m late to hear of the news, it did not surprise me that there has been so many problems regarding the doll.

As you can see, Mexico Barbie is wearing what they called a traditional Mexican outfit, holding a Chihuahua and also comes with her very own passport.

Stereotype. Stereotype. Stereotype.

Being of Mexican descent, I’m not as angry as I think I am disappointed. Mattel could have really taken this opportunity to go beyond the bullshit ethnic tourism and teach young girls about what it is really like to be a Mexican woman.

Instead, they chose an old-fashioned, inaccurate outfit, the Taco Bell mascot, and clarification of documentation for this doll. Not to mention, the description of her on the Mattel website, makes me question the doll’s purpose even more.

“¡Hola! Welcome to Mexico! Inspired  by traditional mariachis and marimbas, Mexico Barbie® doll is ready for any fiesta!”

They  might as well have  put her on a donkey, wearing a sombrero,  stuck a bottle of tequila in her hand and called her Guadalupe.

Fuck you, Mattel.

Who Am I?

24 Apr

For my publishing class we had to write at least 500 words answering the question “Who Am I?”. I reacted to this assignment like any other 20-something-year-old girl would, “…F***! Who the f*** am I?!” But after finishing this assignment, I realized why my professor was making us write this. Read on…

My name is Ashley Kervabon, and I am one half of the indie rock duo that calls themselves “Pretty in Blue”.

Music is and always has been my passion. For a while I gave up on it because many people discouraged me by saying it was not a “stable” career choice, whatever that means. It wasn’t until recently that another girl and I began to exchange song lyrics and rough demos of what we had written in the past when it occurred to us that we should partner up and see what comes of this team. This is how Pretty in Blue was started.

We have been working on original songs and covers since November, and thankfully we’ve been doing pretty well. We have about 14 originals and 4 covers ready to go. Pretty in Blue did their first open mic in January at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar and has been asked to return almost every weekend since . After the first month of just playing at Paddy’s, I realized we should probably start booking our own shows, and so my PR experience (with some added charm) was able to book us gigs at places like The Bitter End (which is next Tuesday, the 30th at 7:30pm).

While I would love to tell myself that I could settle for a PR job with a decent salary, I don’t think that’s quite the case for me. As crazy and shady as the music business is, I want to be a part of it. I often daydream about hosting SNL with my bandmate and signing autographs. I sometimes plan out my answers to questions I think that Ellen would ask me if I were ever to be on her show. And last but not least, I also recently made a list of what I would name our line of “Pretty in Blue” fragrances.

At this point in my life, I’m just doing what I have to to get by. I’m in school, not because I want to be a doctor, or a lawyer, but because I need a degree so that I don’t end up waiting tables for the rest of my life like so many other aspiring artists out there.

Truthfully, I’d like to think of myself as a lot of things; a lover, a friend, a writer, a rockstar. But who am I really? A 21-year-old girl with a shit ton of dreams (and absolutely no money).

The New Dove Campaign Video #RealBeauty

16 Apr

Watch the video below. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Being honest, the first thing I said to myself was “I wonder what my sketches would look like.”
And as I was watching the video I said “Oh…yeah…my face is also rounder and fat…I don’t really have a nice thin chin though…”
But I’m okay with that. At this risk of sounding cliché, I’ve learned to love my body, how chubby my cheeks are, etc. And I do agree with what they say in the video…Whether you embrace your natural beauty or not, shows in your personality. When you walk into a room, people feel that kind of energy – “it is critical to your happiness”.
I’d like to say that I am an extremely confident woman. I’m not conceited, I just know what I can and cannot do well. I don’t spend time dwelling over the things I don’t like about myself and instead embrace the qualities I do like. And I’d like to think that that’s why people are attracted to me. By that I don’t just mean sexually, but in every way, whether it comes to jobs, friends or family.
So I guess I know what my sketches would look like. They’d be identical because I think I see myself the way everyone else sees me. I don’t put on a “happy mask’ for people. But as this video shows, that isn’t the case for everyone.
While this video was empowering for some, it just made me sad. It worries me that more and more women don’t realize the power of their natural beauty or how important it is to know who you are and along with knowing who you are, being happy with who you are.
Hopefully by watching this video other people with realize the importance of this too.
Dove just got a shit ton of brownie points in my book. #realbeauty

Wasting My Youth

8 Apr

Sex and Sadness

There are a lot of things that my mother has been right about over the course of my teenage years. Now, a month short from turning 21 years old, I am beginning to question if this is one of them.

I would love to argue with her and tell her that she is wrong. Tell her that age is just a number and that he loves me. But honestly? I’m over that. I’m over telling her she’s wrong, even though I want her to be wrong so badly.

I am currently dating a man who is seventeen years older than me. He is divorced and has two lovely daughters, ages 13 and 9, whom I have come to care about very much, yes, I can even say I love them. We have been together for almost two years. In those two years, I have grown to love him, love him…

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Guns and Children Should Never Be in the Same Sentence

16 Dec

As soon as I read about the CT shooting, I told myself I should hold myself back from commenting because although I love to start controversy, when it comes to guns and children, I happen to be very sensitive.

What changed my mind?  This article.

A story about a woman, Liza Long, who has a child with a mental illness who often threatens to kill her and himself.  One day he pulls a knife, the next day he threatens to jump out of  a moving car, and when she’s lucky, he only resorts to calling her a “stupid bitch”.

I try not to say anything on topics I don’t know much about. In this case, America’s gun policy. Which is why I am not writing about why guns are bad, or if we should be able to carry them because honestly I do not know. What I do know is that what we should be talking about is mental health. Especially the mental health of children and teens.

I have read too many comments about taking away guns and not enough about taking care of our children. And though I may not have children yet, I can only imagine what mothers like Liza Long are going through. How awful it must be to call the cops on your preteen son because you have no other option. How awful it must be to hear him say the words “I hate you” when you are just trying to help.

Adam Lanza (CT gunman) was only reported to have autism, which is not a mental health disorder, it is a neurodevelopmental  disorder – it could be that he felt some sort of prejudice because of his learning disabilities. But who knows? And now we’ll never know after his life was lost along with so many innocent children.

Now more than ever, with 1 in 88 being diagnosed, children with autism may face more prejudice and understanding than ever because of the CT shooting.

It is sad that it takes such a tragedy to realize the problems in this country.  And while I’m not sure if guns are the problem, I am positive there is more that we can do to help children and teens with mental illnesses.

Bad Bitches and Ladies, by Vanessa Rene

21 Oct

Lupe Fiasco has, for a while now, been one of my favorite rappers. I’ve loved his impressive wordplay and his clever lyrics, his amazing storytelling and sick flow. And for a little bit, I considered myself a Lupe stan. He could do no wrong in my eyes. Food & Liquor is a masterpiece. The Cool is probably my favorite album of all time. I pretend that Lasers (an album that was released, ultimately to appease his record label…he distances himself from that record every chance he gets…) never happened. And I, like the rest of the Lupe stans out there, anxiously waited for the announcement of when he would be releasing his next album,Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album.

I came across the lead single from the new release off his Facebook page.

The song, “Bitch Bad” is definitely a conversation starter: Lupe tells the story of how two young individuals define the phrase “bad bitch.” A young man heard his mother use it while rapping along to a song. He loves his mother; she takes care of him, and raises him well, so he associates “bad bitch” with women who are like his mother.

A young woman comes across the phrase while watching uncensored rap videos online without parental supervision. To her, being a “bad bitch” is to be like the women seen in those ‘raunchy’ rap music videos: they’re beautiful women who have caught the attention of powerful men in the music industry. She sees the video vixens as role models because of all they were able to achieve, and begins to call herself a “bad bitch,” in hopes of aspiring to their success.

The two eventually meet, and don’t particularly hit it off. They both have two different meanings of the phrase.

The chorus is where the cognitive dissonance starts for me. I can’t enjoy the song as much as I’d like to, nor can I hop onto the message that Lupe attempts to expose because he raps:

“ ‘Bitch’ bad, ‘woman’ good
‘Lady’ better, they misunderstood…”

And in the last verse, he even goes so far as to say, “…greatest: ‘motherhood’.”

While the discourse could be interesting (I can identify with his praise of motherhood, while still acknowledging how problematic it is to suggest that all women aspire to become mothers), especially considering the political climate with regards to Black womanhood, his assertion goes hand in hand with the larger “virgin-whore” dichotomy that is so pervasive in our society. Black women are particularly under such scrutiny.

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A Little Segway for GreenEyedJupiter

20 Oct

Hey readers!

It’s nice to be back after a well-needed break. I have some pretty exciting news and some great posts coming up very very soon (from some new writers as well)!

But now I would like to talk about something pretty unrelated to everything we stand for at GreenEyedJupiter.

As some of you may know, this blog was named after my kitty, Jupiter. Well now, Jupiter happens have his own blog, and just released his very first music video. I hope that as my long time readers you can support my cat and follow him on his journey to potential fame.

Please share re-blog this, tweet it, share it, etc. We really appreciate our fans!

So here it is, after this post – back to business.

We’re Publishing a Book!

30 Sep

(Hopefully) In 2013, a book will be published that will share the whole concept of GreenEyedJupiter. Wish us luck on our next adventure – we apologize if the posts aren’t as frequent as we are in the process of putting the book together. 

 

So excited! 

#PopStarsDoEat #ThatsOkay

23 Sep

It’s bad enough that we don’t leave Lindsey and Amanda alone, but now we’re shitting on Gaga? 

For real? 

So what if she put on a couple of pounds? It really isn’t anyone’s business except hers. First she was too skinny, and people would make remarks about her tweets “#PopStarsDontEat”. Now all we’re hearing is that she’s been eating too many cheeseburgers. 

According to an article on Jezebel, she said this about six months ago: 

“I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I’m not that confident,” said Gaga. “I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night.”

She also admitted:

“Weight is still a struggle,” she said. “Every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you — they make you perfect. It’s not real life … I’m gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop. Everyone just knock it off. Because at the end of the day, it’s affecting kids your age. And it’s making girls sick.”

I used to think she was a little crazy. I’m not going to lie about that but now I really feel bad for her. 

Especially since she is right. No celebrity or normal woman/teenage girl should have to go through that kind of pressure. And I’m really glad that another celebrity is taking a stand.