Quick Hit: “Don’t Leave the Responsibility for Contraception to Men”

Korean Contraception Poster Not Men's Sole Responsibility(Source: Wikitree)

Let’s be clear: Korean women do, on the whole, leave contraception up to the men. So the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which issued this advertisement on Friday, does seem to have the best of intentions.

But, “Although you leave everything (to men), don’t leave the responsibility for contraception (to men)”? For something encouraging women to empower themselves in one aspect of their lives, it’s a bizarre assertion of traditional gender roles in others.

Frankly then, while I was happy to see the ad at first (what’s not to like about women being more assertive in the bedroom?) I came to understand the opposition to it. Especially Korean Womenlink’s criticism that “It is regrettable that the Ministry described contraception as a conflict between men and women while the poster was designed to promote contraception.”

Fortunately, it’s since since been withdrawn. But I do hope there’ll be another, more thoughtful attempt to get the message across soon. If so, I recommend the text focuses on shared responsibility, and replacing the image with something like this one. What do you think?

Update: See the Korea Herald for more information and context. It says new posters will be coming as soon as next week!

Planned Parenthood Birth Control(Source: Planned Parenthood)

3 thoughts on “Quick Hit: “Don’t Leave the Responsibility for Contraception to Men”

  1. I agree shared responsibility is the best approach. In South Korea, do they have many birth control options? Because that might be another good way to target the ad — talking about all the different ways to protect oneself! http://www.bedsider.org, based in the US, has a great decision making tool.

    1. There are many options, but unfortunately a lot of people aren’t aware of them or how to use them properly, and there’s been a lot of scaremongering about the supposed evils of the pill. What’s more, a couple of years ago the government planned to make the morning-after pill over the counter, but the (monthly) pill prescription only to compensate, and all because of fighting between doctors’ and pharmacists’ lobbies. What was actually best for women’s health, of course, was never any real concern.

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