Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Space Alien's Take on the CDC Alcohol Guidelines for Fetal Incubators

[Content note: cissexism, heterocentrism]

You may have heard of the CDC's recent guidance regarding "Alcohol and Pregnancy."

A snippet:
"It is recommended that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol at all. FASDs do not occur if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth. 
Women can:"
There's then a bunch of pixels spent telling women what they can do to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, and telling health care providers what they should tell women to do to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome. Included is the much-maligned gem, in which the CDC recommends that health care providers "advise a woman to stop drinking if she is trying to get pregnant or not using birth control with sex."

Sex is not defined. The assumption seems to be that sexually-active women are engaging in penis-in-vagina sex - so, when I say yes to a health care provider who asks if I'm sexually-active, the CDC is advising health care providers to advise me to not drink because I, a lesbian, might accidentally get pregnant. And let me tell you, I have been oh-so-helpfully advised by more health care providers than you might imagine about "birth control" because they assume people are engaging in hetero sex until explicitly told otherwise. Is it odd to educate your health care providers? It is, right? And, trans people are assumed to be non-existent. Thanks CDC for servicing these narratives!

Anyway, my point here isn't to debate whether or not women should drink alcohol while, or while not, pregnant. Rather, the focus today is the guidances' prescriptive tone toward women solely.

If I were, say, an alien from space reading this guidance as a way to learn more about humanity I would think, Okay, clearly fetuses are transferred from the aether and into the womb due solely to the efforts of people with uteri, whom apparently are fetal incubators for humanity.  It does not actually take two humans for human reproduction to happen!

And furthermore, I would think that this arrangement is why the CDC guidance does not also include guidance to people with sperm who, say, may engage in sexual activities with people with uteri on how they too may help prevent fetal alcohol syndrome (e.g. - "Don't have sex with a woman who has been drinking without using birth control" or, simply, "Don't have sex with a woman who has been drinking" or, I don't know be creative, since we're apparently limiting people's personal rights here).

The point is that the suggestion is that people with sperm, it seems, are irrelevant to the baby-making process.  In an argument that parallels "advice" surrounding sexual assault "prevention," pregnancy is something that "happens to" women.  Where is any concurrent preventative advice to men? Are all the men just fucking each other? I'm cool with that.

The guidance also discusses the harms of "drinking too much" for "women" in general - which, okay, but is there a concurrent guide discussing how alcohol also harms men in general?  I did a cursory search and didn't see one. Could this be an instance of sexism against both women and men? Oooh, perhaps! Feminists and MRAs unite! (insert mirthless laughter)

Nonetheless, the stated harms of drinking too much for women in general include: "injuries/violence" and "unintended pregnancy." 

Here, I would then envision, if I were an alien, that the mechanism by which the unintended impregnating happens is that, apparently, beer bottles jump out of women's hands, knock them over the heads, and then proceed to implant fetuses into them?

Don't you just hate when both "impregnation" and "violence" "happen to" you? Thanks CDC! I'll .... keep all of this in mind?


No comments: