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Commentary: Men and women under the covers

on November 17, 2013 1:40 AM

When I first saw the ad for Obamacare that is running to promote the Colorado health care exchange to young people, I thought it was a joke. Perhaps it was a feature from The Onion, the brilliant and satirical “news source” that might conjure up such a thing.

But wait, it’s for real.

The ad features a young woman, dressed for a party with the look of the cat who ate the canary on her face, and a big package of birth control pills in her hand, leaning into handsome Nate and saying to herself, “OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance.”

One can write all day long about how offensive and degrading this is to women and ask, “what were the folks behind this, and related ads, thinking?” By the time this column appears, the ad may even be gone, it’s touched off such a firestorm.

But with all the outrage over it, I have yet to hear just how ridiculous it is. A young woman, planning her campaign, considering her challenge, worrying about how to get a young man to get into bed with her.


A wise sage once said, “A woman can sleep with any man she wants to; a man can only sleep with women who will let him.”

Not universally true, certainly, but a fairly realistic guide nonetheless. Why? Because men and women are different. We are wired differently, we think differently. Those differences are important to marriage, family, children, us, everything.

But our culture hates those differences and does all it can to promote the idea they are made up. My working theory is that it’s a God thing. The Creation account in Genesis says, “male and female He created them.” Ever since the fall, we’ve been trying to change that truth, too.

So, fast-forward who knows how many millions of years, and here’s a woman gleeful that she’s got her birth control pills so she can focus on strategy, and just worry about whether she can get her cute date into bed with her.

Wow, who knows how that story will end?

We all do.

In the early 1980s a well-known experiment was done in which average-looking young men and women went up to a member of the opposite sex in a public place on a college campus and asked one of three types of questions. Either “Will you go out with me?” “Will you go back to my apartment with me?” or “will you go to bed with me?”

Ninety-six people were asked, 48 of each gender. While the men and women equally responded they would go on a date with the requestor, most of the men also said “yes” to sex. Not one of the women did. (This experiment repeated an almost identical study from 1978.)


But here we are, trying to replace the obvious with the absurd idea that a woman eagerly prowling after a recalcitrant male with the intent of sleeping with him is such a typical scenario, that it can help sell Obamacare to 20-somethings by pointing out to those sweet things that they will have their birth control covered. So now they just have to worry about getting him between the covers.

Oh, the stress.

(Never mind buying the insurance to get the pills will be many times what it would cost to just buy the pills themselves. Separate point.)

Well, of course I shouldn’t have wondered if such an ad was satire: when it comes to today and how we twist gender to fit our modern cultural biases, you literally can’t make this stuff up.

Reach Betsy Hart at

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