Last week, as word spread that the Supreme Court was set to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sabrina Fonfeder decided to tweet something that was partly inspired by the news and partly inspired by an ex-boyfriend.
“I tweet this whenever men decide it’s time to make decisions about women’s bodies, but my ex-boyfriend thought all women got their period on the 15th of the month,” she said. to its subscribers. “He was 26 at the time.”
In a follow-up tweet, Fonfeder, head of development in New York for television and film company Irony Point and podcast company Radio Point, explained his ex’s confusion.
He had once heard a comedian joke that he “loves his girlfriend, except around the 15th of the month, if you know what I mean.” The ex of Fonfeder thought he knew what the comedian meant: all women have their period on the 15th, of course!
Foundere the tweet went viral, racking up over 19,000 retweets and 196,000 likes. It also opened the floodgates for women wanting to share stories of exes who were also baffled by how the female body works.
“My ex thought we could start our periods whenever we wanted,” a the woman said. “He asked me if I could schedule it around his birthday one time. Someone married him and had his child.
“My ex-husband – while I was pregnant with his child – believed the baby was literally in my stomach, and when I ate food he fell on top of the baby,” another wrote.
“I once went out with a 23-year-old girl who was mad that I mentioned I drank wine on my period,” another woman said. “He assumed it was dangerous because periods are tied to pregnancy. I was like, sir, I’m the opposite of pregnant right now.
Then there was this doozy, from an aspiring doctor: “I had an ex who told me that women shouldn’t complain about their periods because they clearly enjoy their tampons. He was pre-med.
Reading tweets collected is seriously funny but also seriously sad; the myriad misconceptions that men have expressed about women’s bodies and simple issues of reproduction underscore the urgent need for comprehensive sex education in American schools.
According to the Sexuality and Information Council of the United States, only 38% of high schools and 14% of colleges nationwide teach the topics identified as critical for sex education by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes instructions on healthy relationships and lessons on birth control, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Currently, 21 states have no sex education requirements.
Nor is the struggle to improve reproductive health education in schools getting any easier. Increasingly, critics of even basic sex education are labeling the teachers who deliver the lessons as “groomers” bent on “sexualizing” children in the classroom.
If you’re a parent worried that your child will end up being similarly misinformed, it’s worth contacting your child’s school to find out who oversees the health and sex education curriculum, what their teaching entails, and in which classes the lessons take place.
If you want to cover your bases at home, Sex Ed for Social Change (SIECUS), a group originally known as the Sexual Information and Education Council of the United States, recently published an excellent list of sex education resources in line for everyone’s children. age.
Fonfeder said the need for better sex education is an obvious part of his feed. But his argument was simply that men shouldn’t be able to legislate over parts of reproduction and the human body that they don’t understand.
“I mean scroll through the replies to my tweet for 10 seconds and remember that literally anyone is allowed to run for office and make rules that govern your body,” she told the HuffPost.
It’s scary, Fonfeder noted, that the guy who thought his pregnant wife was carrying their baby in her womb, next to her lunch, could run for public office and vote on women’s body legislation.
It’s not as if elected officials haven’t voiced such baffling beliefs. Think of former Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri and his infamous rape statement: “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways of trying to shut it all up.”
Then there was Dan Flynn, a former Texas state representative who was a key architect of a 2013 proposed anti-abortion law in the state — even though he had no idea of how abortion actually worked. As revealed in an interview with Samantha Bee, Flynn seemed to think that abortion providers cut women’s bodies. (Wrong procedure; it’s a caesarean section.)
“Every story in the thread about someone’s stupid ex is dumber than the next, but nothing in this thread is much crazier than some of the things current members of Congress have said,” he said. said Fonfeder. “Madison Cawthorn is somebody’s stupid ex. Ted Cruz is a poor, poor woman’s stupid ex.
Besides providing comic relief, Fonfeder hopes her thread reminds readers that if lawmakers are going to legislate on women’s bodies and reproductive health care, they should at least be able to pass a ninth-grade biology class. year.
“I shudder to think that someone other than the woman herself would have a say in health care decisions, especially if that person is a guy who thinks women can swallow a camera to perform a gynecological examination.”
“No,” Fonfeder joked, “that’s not a belief of any guy in my thread. He’s a real Idaho lawmaker.