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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Birth control disinformation confuses young women on social media

Mar 28

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A new social media trend may be responsible for spreading online disinformation about women’s birth control. Influencers and content creators have been publishing content that critics say is not only wrong but also potentially dangerous for young women and girls.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid confronts that disinformation and tries to clarify the pros and cons of various birth control methods for young women. Reid reminds our viewers that the birth control that’s right for your body (if any) might not be right for someone else and that discovering what does or doesn’t work for you can involve a lengthy trial and error process.

When the internet deceives you, as it so often does, the consequences can sometimes be no especially big deal, like if an influencer promises you it’s “super easy and super doable” to make a seven-layer rainbow cake and then you discover that nope, it is not. Or, the consequences can be life-changing, as in the case of the rampant misinformation about birth control that is now circulating on many social media channels, and particularly conservative-leaning ones. 

As someone who’s been on various types of birth control over the years, I can attest to the fact that it can have undesirable effects — weight gain, mood swings, low libido, and so forth. Some people are affected more strongly than others. 

I never had any significant problems personally, but yeah I’ve had friends who’ve had to switch methods several times until they found one that worked well for them, that worked for their body. Sometimes there is a period of trial and error. Side effects are real, and it’s my opinion that, you know, doctors should place additional emphasis on making sure that patients understand these side effects while also emphasizing the efficacy of hormonal birth control and the fact that options exist. 

But the misconceptions that are being promoted online, and are primarily being targeted at users in their teens and 20s, they go further.

When the internet deceives you – as it so often does – the consequences can be no especially big deal, like if an influencer promises you it’s “super easy and doable” to make a seven-layer rainbow cake and then you discover that nope, it is not. Or, the consequences can be life-changing, as in the case of the rampant misinformation about birth control that is now circulating on many social media channels, and particularly conservative-leaning ones.

 

As someone who’s been on various types of birth control over the years, I can attest to the fact that it can have undesirable effects – weight gain, mood swings, low libido, and so forth. Some people are affected more strongly than others.

 

I never had any significant problems personally, but I’ve had friends who’ve had to switch methods several times until they found one that worked well for them, that worked for their body. Sometimes there is a period of trial and error. Side effects are real, and it’s my opinion that, you know, doctors should place additional emphasis on making sure that patients understand these side effects while also emphasizing the efficacy of hormonal birth control and the fact that options exist.

 

But the misconceptions that are being promoted online, and are primarily being targeted at users in their teens and 20s, they go further. Yes, they blame weight gain and low libido on the pill, which as I said, sometimes – but they also claim that some methods of birth control can lead to infertility or mental health problems.

 

Right-wing commentator Brett Cooper, as an example, argued in a viral TikTok that hormonal birth control could even impact who you’re attracted to. I wonder what he could have been referring to.

 

Ben Shapiro – whom I would venture is actual walking, talking birth control – spoke with a guest who stated that women on hormonal contraceptives are attracted to men who are, quote, “less traditionally masculine.” Oh, no. Is birth control making us…gay?

 

In place of hormonal birth control, these videos espouse “natural” methods of birth control – including the rhythm method. This is where you time your sexual encounters around your period – and…I mean, I learned in middle-school sex ed what a bad idea that is. It just isn’t reliable. It’s not.  It’s not birth “control”…it’s birth “wishing and hoping.”

 

And the problems associated with accidental pregnancy are, of course, exacerbated when you have states dropping abortion rights like hot potatoes. Indeed, doctors are seeing increased numbers of patients coming from states like Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina, which have partially or fully banned abortion – patients who they describe, in some cases, as having made contraceptive decisions based on what their algorithm told them to do.

Birth control is safe. It is effective. It is a way to protect yourself against having to make a life-changing decision that – if you live in certain states, and perhaps quite soon any state – won’t be up to you at all. Check your sources.

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