Gardasil And The Newest Rendition of "Boys Will Be Boys"

via Forever In Hell

I have nothing to say about this that Personal Failure didn't already say. Just try to wrap your noggins around the cognitive somersaults going on throughout this issue right here:

A Vaccine Debate Once Focused on Sex Shifts as Boys Join the Target Market

I guess the only thing I have to add is a very inelegant *headdesk*. Okay, let me try again. *ahem hem*

Let's start with Aristotle. (Yes, really.) Monsieur Aristote* proposed something called the Teleological Concept of Good which essentially holds that something is "good" if it hits the target it aimed for. Now, by this definition of "good" you could be either a good mother (whatever that means) or a good Mob enforcer (I think we're a little clearer on what that might entail). I'd say that vaccines can be categorized as "good" or "not good" based on the Teleological Concept there. They either work or they don't. They either cause less harm being administered than the disease they're aiming to prevent, or they cause more harm than the disease itself (in which case they usually don't make it to the FDA approval process). Gardasil, as far as we know today, mostly works and causes less harm than cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, oral, or esophageal cancers. Its original target was to prevent the 4 types of HPV which cause most types of cervical cancer, but it can also (it is thought) prevent those other cancers listed by preventing the contraction of HPV. (Not to mention genital warts.) That is GOOD. And no amount of sex any one person might have before they're married can make that BAD for the rest of the vaccinated population.** Sorry, it just can't.

Now, let's talk about the whole boy/girl angle of the discussion. When, as the article in question points out, the vaccine was released for females, the no-sex-before-marriage crowd, and some parents, were put off or offended or shocked or frightened that the vaccine was approved for girls as young as 9. There were communities who balked at their school districts attempting to enforce the vaccine for girls of a certain age like they would for MMR or meningitis vaccines in kindergarten or college, respectively. The focus was on how much sex 10-year-old girls were obviously going to start having immediately after leaving their pediatricians' offices with Band-Aids still covering their injection sites. And now, again according to the article, that the boys enter into the picture, sex seems to have skulked stealthily off stage Right. (Ha. "Right." Get it? Like Right Wing? Haaaa.)

The quotation toward the beginning of the article concerning "gender bias" and our being still "more concerned" about promiscuity in girls than in boys is right on, I think, but the context doesn't entirely flesh out the meaning. Personally, I read an acknowledgement that society shrugs at guys' habits between the sheets, but still searches for a way to fix all the [female] sluts. That's essentially what this contentiousness over vaccinating the boys means to me. Boys will be boys will be boys, but girls will be saints or sluts. That dichotomy pops up so often that sometimes I find myself missing it entirely because I'm so used to seeing or reading it. But sometimes, like in this argument of dollars and cents versus female virginity and male sexual tendency, it's just too glaring to ignore.

* I veer into French when discussing philosophy since the only philosophy class I ever took was "L'Existentialisme et l'Absurde" and focused a lot on Sartre and Camus. It's a side effect, not unlike redness and itchiness at the Gardisil injection site. Not that I would know because my insurance started covering it after I turned 26. Which was also after I was married, but fuck them, right?

** In fact, the more sex a vaccinated person has, the more people are protected who would have been otherwise vulnerable.


  1. *bows, walks away stage left*

  2. Haa!! "Left!" Get it?! GEDDIT??? Guffaw.

    Seriously, though. WTF? Actually, if I were a guy, I'd be kind of offended by this rationale, too. "You mean I'm not worth the money for you to inject me with a shot so my penis... you know... doesn't get amputated one day? Gee, thanks."

  3. You said "That dichotomy pops up so often that sometimes I find myself missing it entirely because I'm so used to seeing or reading it."
    Quite right. It's just a continuum on the sliding scale that leads to honor killing, burkhas and vaginal circumcision.
    These are things that we in the west think are abhorrent without realising that we exhibit symptoms of the same thing.

  4. I think, if you want to get into subconscious drives - which I sometimes feel silly doing for collective knee-jerk reactions, but maybe it's appropriate - it comes down to a devaluation both of women and women's bodies and also of the potential of men (or in this case, boys and teen men). Why assume that a boy is going to be promiscuous as he matures? That's not giving him very much credit. For that matter, why assume the same thing about a girl, but more to the point, why assume a different standard for boys and girls? I can be answered that we have different bodies (fact) that are affected different ways by STDs (fact) and that the effects of said diseases on the female body are often more potentially longterm (fact). So why not - is my question - make available modern technology (vaccine) that gives the same opportunity (health) to boys and girls alike? Why not give it to all who want it (provided it is safe)?

  5. gardasil was always a hot button when i worked at PP. unfortunately its pretty pointless if someone has more than 2-3 sex partners and are in their 20s. but its great for younger people to get! if only parents would just do it. also, not sure about the vaccine for boys. . . i know currently there is no test for HPV for men. i hear ya though lady. love you!

  6. lol it would have helped if i read the article. thats GREAT NEWS that boys will be able to get it!!

  7. My aunt tried to make that argument with me. Oh we can't vaccinate these girls or they will turn into sluts!! Did they ever think about the fact that the last thing teenagers think about when having sex is HPV. OR that, even if your married, you can contract HPV if your husband (A) is screwing around on you or (B) lied about his sexual history. You need to be able to protect yourself. You can't place your trust in other people.


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