#MFIF #Fail – Metro, London


The Metro (free newspaper given out on UK buses and tubes) has a great bit of sexism to start the day today. Apparently, taking contraceptives changes the scent molecules of the lemurs scientists used for the test, leading to the conclusion that contraceptives can alter scent in a way that reduces sexual attractiveness. So far, so vaguely interesting.

Then, we have the paragraph: ‘British experts last night called for more research but urged women to take care when considering hormonal contraception, especially injections’. ‘Take care’? Really? Who knew that reducing your sexual attractiveness to men came with a health warning? #MFIF.

via Jen


41 Responses to “#MFIF #Fail – Metro, London”

  1. A Different Sam Says:

    Even ignoring the sexist undertones, the comment still doesn’t make any sense. “Scientists are studying this and aren’t sure what they’ll find out, but as a random newspaper reader, you should somehow ‘take care’ in some unspecified manner regarding something even the experts aren’t sure about right now.” Exactly what do they expect people to do?

    • H Says:

      I agree! I expect it’s just that the journalist is a bad writer and didn’t know how to end the article.

  2. fis Says:

    I saw that article too. I thought it was a bit far-fetched to extrapolate from lemurs to humans, as if no research has ever been done on how the contraceptive pill affects attraction in humans.

  3. Allie Says:

    I saw that article this morning and thought it was absolutely ridiculous! It said that lemurs who were given birth control hormones were ‘shunned’ by males – I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t find myself being ignored by men just because I happen to take the pill! And the bit of ‘advice’ telling women to ‘take care’ when choosing their contraception was just stupid.

    Of course women shouldn’t be taking contraceptives anyway, it’s unnatural and we should be doing what we’re designed to do and popping out babies…[/sarcasm]

  4. shoutingwoman Says:

    I read that article too and it annoyed me – we can’t win!

  5. sz Says:

    Facetious, me? “Women – be careful! Take the pill and you might find that men suddenly don’t want to shag you – or anything else in a skirt – at the slightest hint of any interest!”

  6. Louise Says:

    YES! This is one of the silliest of all Metro articles. Just had a conversation about this at work with guys who think it is “perfectly sensible advice.” Because presumably a) in everything I do in terms of my own bodily health, as with everything else, my first and foremost concern is whether men (as a collective entity) will still be as excited about sex with me and b) because biologically me and my male partner are biologically EXACTLY the same as lemurs.

  7. dj Says:

    Sexism aside, I’m afraid it seems to be true, at least as far as Depo injections go. I haven’t personally noticed anything different about anyone else using other contraceptives.

    My gay BFF and I noticed that another friend’s normal scent had changed and become rather unpleasant after she had started getting Depo injections but it didn’t seem to affect her boyfriend or other men.

    I haven’t noticed anything different about mens’ behaviour whether I was using contraceptives or not. I think that perhaps mens’ sense of smell might be overwhelmed by their other senses.

    dj of California

  8. cv Says:

    Honestly, I feel like there is no reason I should have to change my biochemistry just so that a man feels more pleasure without a condom. However that’s more for the side effects of depression and energy loss that I felt when I was on the pill.

    • sz Says:

      when the pill works though it’s truly excellent. Except for the whole 28-day cycle thing which ideally would be longer!

      • Trix Says:

        There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking the pill for months at a time with no bleeding cycle. It’s only been recommended for the last 40 years because various parties opined it’s “more natural” if women bleed monthly.

    • Lalane Says:

      It’s not about men. It’s a woman’s choice to go on it. I chose to go on it since I was bleeding for four months straight, my hormones were out of whack and I was bitch constantly. Since then, My mood swings have improved, my period’s stopped and everything’s gone back to normal. It’s not all about sex.

    • Alibelle Says:

      True, but there are other reasons to take BC pills than for men. I’m considering it right now to stop ovarian cysts.

    • CH Says:

      I actually like the concept of the birth control pill. I want something that puts my sexuality in my hands; I dislike having someone else wear something to protect me. It’s nice to be in control of my own body. I understand the side effects can be really rough on some people though, that’s frustrating. :/

    • Jessica Says:

      I’m too afraid of broken condoms. I like the pill!

      Do resent the fact that this means contraception is entirely my responsibility in my relationship, though. When they invent a pill for men I’m going to insist he takes it!

    • cv Says:

      Oh, I understand that there are reasons to take it beyond for a guy’s pleasure, and the pill is great considering that it’s what helped the feminist revolution in the 1970s. But I dislike that it’s almost mandatory nowadays… at my university the OB-GYN pushed strongly for me to go on the pill, despite the fact that the last time I was on it created so many complications in my life. Many friends tell me that I could just keep trying different types of pills, but if my personal choice is condoms, why is that so often questioned?

      Just like banning the pill would be awful, presenting it as a mandatory option is annoying. I’m not saying the pill needs to be banned, but I think studies that let you know it does have harmful side effects are important. People should know what they are getting into.

      (Granted the wording of that article is pretty offensive.)

  9. Jazz Says:

    I agree the pill is a god send!
    Did it state anywhere is the article the other benefits women feel when being on the pill? Personally I began the pill not primarily to have protected sex but to create a more comfortable week every month for me. Before i went on the pill for two weeks a month I was depressed and moody, and in such terrible pain sometimes i could not even get out of bed.
    I am insulted sometimes when people assume you are on the pill for the sole reason of giving your (male) partner a more pleasurable experience. (The same seems to go for bikini waxes?!)
    It does not surprise me that the metro created a male centered piece, rather than considering women might be on the pill to please themselves and do not actually care that males will no longer want to shag them.

    • Allie Says:

      I absolutely agree. I took the Pill for years without actually needing it as a contraceptive, because it improved the condition of my skin (I suffered terribly with acne but the Pill cleared it up) and it made my periods lighter and less painful. I’ve been taking it for over 10 years and for me the fact that it also stops me getting pregnant is just an excellent side-effect – the real bonus is the fact that you can run two packs together and only have a period every six weeks, and the fact that I know with absolute accuracy exactly when my period is going to show up. I haven’t had any nasty side-effects – I love it. I’m taking the Pill for myself – I certainly don’t want to get pregnant and I don’t think I’d want to risk having sex if I wasn’t taking the Pill. I’m not taking it because it’s easier or more pleasurable for my partner if I do.

      • sz Says:

        I’ve known about that running two packs together thing and often thought about it. I never knew if I really should though – if it was a good idea for whatever reason. I might check in future…

    • H Says:

      I agree too! cv insults all our intelligences when he/she implies that women are coerced into going on the pill ‘just so a man feels more pleasure’. I would argue the exact opposite: I didn’t like sex until I started the pill, because I used to be afraid of getting pregnant from condoms breaking. It’s really changed my life, in that now I don’t have to spend three days of every month (/20-45 days, whenever my period used to decide to turn up) crippled with pain in bed, and worrying that I’ll ruin my clothes with all the blood. Getting a bit graphic there, sorry, but the pill is amazing.

      sz, I’ve run two packs together before when on holiday and it’s been fine, no spotting, but I think I felt slightly more discomfort than normal when I got my next period (still, much less than I had before starting taking the pill.)

      • H Says:

        aagh I don’t know why I said he/she for cv, I meant she

      • cv Says:

        I said the pill made me miserable and depressed, and that is why I did not want to take it. (Since for me, condoms as an alternative makes me happy.) I did not say women on the pill are stupid. How does that insult your intelligence?

  10. Jazz Says:

    @Sz i was told by my local nurse that it is absolutely fine to run your packs together as much as you like and you only have to have a minimum of three periods a year! I was astounded by this news because I find them such a chore. Have a talk to your doctor or nurse about it and give it a try if you feel like it might be beneficial. Running two packs together is also a advised if you think you may have missed more than two pills in a row anytime that month and are worried about birth control.

    • sz Says:

      three periods a year… Now that would be a dream come true. Thanks – I’ll ask 🙂

      • artsynomad Says:

        I don’t think you actually have to have a minimum of three periods a year. It might be more of a pregnancy check. I’m on Implanon – a plastic stick with hormones that stays in my arm for three years – and my period has stopped altogether. I’m perfectly healthy, I just have to take pregnancy tests every few months.

      • Lucy Says:

        I run 3 packs together at a time…I once ran 4 together but did find that it caused quite a lot of ‘spotting’ near the end so probably wouldn’t again. A GP once told me, after hearing about my horrendous symptoms not being on the pill, that there’s technically no problem with running packs together for a whole year if I want to. Apparently a lot of doctors and nurses do this!

        As for this ridiculous article…i’ve never heard something so stupid!

  11. Rie Says:

    Well, yes, women should be careful when taking the pill for plenty of reasons. Cardiovascular problems, depression, metabolism changes, etc…

    I don’t get the whole “for his pleasure” thing either. My partner is certainly required to wear a condom even though I’m on the pill. Equal responsibility and all…

  12. C.B. Says:

    I’ve read about a study that says the pill also changes who you’re attracted to. Among the other health risks of contraceptives, it probably is worth “taking care,” but something about the wording of the original article sets my teeth on edge.

  13. Sara Says:

    Just a warning for those considering running packs together to reduce the number of periods – from my experience, this only works if you are taking a monophasic pill. If you are on a triphasic, it causes a month long period. Whee.

  14. Zoe Says:

    The best bit of that article was where the ‘scientist’ referred to them as “gals”! I nearly bit through my tongue clenching my teeth!

  15. Allie Says:

    Taking BC is me taking care, actually.

  16. Steph Says:

    Am I the only woman here who doesn’t find this sexist? Rather, I find this informative. It’s telling women what can happen if one is taking birth control pills; it is not telling women they shoulnd’t! Granted, I didn’t read the article, but from what I can tell here…. What’s wrong with obtaining information? If you don’t care about how guys perceive your smell, it’s not a problem! But if you do care, then it’s good to know.

    Just a comment to those talking about skipping periods:You don’t need a minimum of three; or any! 😀 It all depends on which contraception you are taking and how stubborn your body is. Just thought I’d point this out if anyone wants to get rid of these annoying buggers! There’s no health benefit of having them or not, so it’s up to every women individually.

    • Luna_the_cat Says:

      Am I the only woman here who doesn’t find this sexist?

      Possibly, yes. Advice to find out more and take care is not the problem. The problem is the casual assumption that the main reason we would want to do so is that it might change our attractiveness to men, because of course that’s the main reason we do anything.

  17. Sarah Says:

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to say that in my experience the best place to go for advice concerning contraception – such as the issues of running packs together etc. that have been mentioned here – is your local Family Planning Clinic (I’m in the UK, obviously I don’t know about other countries).

    I have found that they are much more knowledgeable and up to date on the subject than GPs and general nurses (such as GP Practice Nurses), which is unsurprising really, given that that’s what they do all day every day.

    I also found them to be more approachable, easier to talk to, and prepared (and able) to spend with me however much time I needed to go over all the different options and to answer any queries I had.

    This meant that I was able to make fully informed choices about what was best for me, and I felt that they did actually have MY best interests at heart.

    If you’re interested, you should be able to find details of clinics in your area via an internet search, or failing that you could ask at your GP surgery.

    • Jen Says:

      Agreed. My GP is shocking when it comes to even mentioning the words ‘contraception’, almost like he finds it embarrassing to talk about the subject with – gasp – a woman!

  18. exceedingly_respectable Says:

    I read this and, having just recently had my first contraceptive injection, had a brief moment of ‘oh my god, i’m going to ming for three months’ and then I realised a) i’m not a fricking lemur; b) the metro is a poorly written racist rag and c) men don’t seem to have clocked on that they should be shunning me.

    I prefered the news article about the pill stopping you dying, ever, from anything. Contraception and immortality!

  19. corridor7f Says:

    Is it just me, or is this attitude playing on the idea that all women who are on contraceptives are promiscuous and just nuts about the idea that they can’t get pregnant? Because that’s punishment for enjoying sex, right, the responsibility of a baby?

    Personally, and I’m not juding anyone who does otherwise, I went on oral bc because I was in a long-term relationship with one man. All other men did not matter at that point.

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