“Fertility is very essential to women’s lives, and it ought to be something that we work with, rather than (something we're) constantly trying to manipulate,” she explained.
“There is something very patronizing to me about the fact that we circumvent knowledge by giving an artificial way out, almost as if women need a cure for being female.”
Contraception is often touted for its role in opening the doors to greater sexual freedom. However, rather than being a means of empowerment, Nash explains that contraception, in fact, makes women more vulnerable.
While it is not a new phenomena for men to be non-committal, or to abandon women they have gotten pregnant, Nash said, “the contraceptive culture has given men a license to do that.”
“Why should you stand by a woman if she gets pregnant? If she had only read the instructions on the package, she might not have gotten pregnant. And, there’s always abortion, so there’s a way out, isn’t there?”
“It’s almost allowed men to get out of their responsibilities, a lot more so than women,” she said.
Nash cited the reassurance men often give to their pregnant girlfriends – “I’ll support you whatever you decide” – which, she says, is simply the man passing on his responsibility.
“They’re really saying: ‘Actually, I can’t be bothered. I’m not going to make any kind of a comment here. I’m going to leave you to go through it. I’ll sort of make reassuring noises, before I disappear into the next adventure.’”
“The contraceptive culture has completely destroyed any respect for women,” which in turn has “left women a lot more vulnerable,” she said.
Going beyond relationships, the acceptance of contraception has wider implications in society as well, Nash suggests: for instance, its role in the breakdown of marriage, the increase of recreational sexual activity, the objectification of women – even violence.
“A book like 50 Shades of Grey would never have been produced in a culture that respects women,” she said. “The whole story behind it – if you can call it a story - is very reflective of a society that does glorify the abuse of women.”
(Story continues below)
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This mentality translates into the so-called “rape-culture” at universities, Nash suggests. On the one hand, she did stress that it is important understand the context of the situation; for instance, taking into account the increased tendency to report assault cases, and a better overall understanding what constitutes a sexual offense, etc.
However: “If you create a culture where women are regarded as objects for sexual gratification, and where there’s always an assumption that that’s what girls want, the onus is always going to be on the women to explain that she’s not interested, rather than onus being on the man to ensure that the woman is consenting.”
Films, like the James Bond franchise, have contributed to the confusion with regard to boundaries and consent, Nash said: for instance, a scene which shows Bond walking into a woman's shower and having sex with her, without her objecting.
This phenomena places “a huge burden on women,” she said, because it occurs within a culture where men “believe that they have a right to take what they want.”
“If we were really so emancipated, if women were so empowered, it really shouldn’t be happening as much.”
Along with cases of serious assault, women and girls, in turn, are often pressured into sex with their partners. Nash cited a recent study in the United States that revealed a high proportion of teenagers being forced or coerced into sex, often out of fear of losing their boyfriends, having to prove themselves, etc.