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Contraception & Sex Education

Though adolescent fertility rates have declined in the United States as well as nearly all western countries, the US rate is notably higher than most other western countries.  These changes are not due to how early and how frequently teenagers have sex.  Instead studies show contraception use and sex education have a significantly greater impact.

Unlike some other countries, the United States currently requires women to have an exam and receive a prescription before going to a pharmacy to get birth control pills.  In addition, conservative politicians and companies have pushed to not require coverage of contraception, with some arguing it will entice sexual activity.  Amy Schumer has parodied this process here as well as the following clip.

As to sex education, it is inconsistently offered and when available parents are able to opt out.

Poverty and Worthiness

Rooted in our ideas of the American dream and meritocracy, we often judge poor people as deserving their fates.  We tend to blame the individuals, stigmatizing them as lazy and gluttonous, instead of looking to structural factors.  The poor are disproportionately young, female, and African American and Hispanic.

On The Daily Show in 2014, Jon Stewart examined Fox News’s coverage of food stamp recipients.  In “What Not to Buy,” “Where Would Jesus Soil,” and “Fox News Welfare Academy” Fox News is critiqued for debating what can and should be covered, as well as who receives food stamps.

More recently on Full Frontal, Samantha Bee similarly examined the expense and subsidizing of diapers.

Gendered Toys

Various studies in sociology, psychology, and economics have shown toys for children are becoming increasingly gendered.  The toys children play with can shape their development and future interests.  Other studies have shown children prefer to play with toys marked for their gender.

The television show The Weekly covered the topic of gendered toys. If you have a VPN you can watch the following clip; if not it can be found here.  Update: Rey will not be added.

Godwin’s Law

Now in the Oxford English Dictionary, Godwin’s Law is “[t]he theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic.”  To invoke a nazi comparison is then to both lose and end an argument, similar to Leo Strauss’s ‘reductio ad Hitlerum.’  The term, originally unscientific and playful, is being taken more seriously in the current climate.  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was criticized when he attempted to move the goalpost while discussing Syria.  Godwin himself has commented on the Trump comparisons, stating if made, they should be informed, “thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history.”