Katie Price’s admission that she doesn’t use contraception is dangerous to young fans
Ah, Katie Price. Every feminist’s nightmare. Is she a feminist? Isn’t she? Should we like her or loathe her? Yet she’s still influential to young women and teenage girls. As an example, she was recently crowned Celebrity Mum of the Year (for the second time!). This award is voted for by the public, and she comes across as a genuinely likeable, fun person – of course she’s going to be popular.
But aside from the obvious line about how she became famous in the first place and her glamour modelling days, I’d argue that her attitude to sexual relationships is something we ought to be concerned about. She recently said on her show: “I haven’t used any contraception while I’ve been in relationships. It’s true. Never”
Is this really what we want young girls to be hearing?
It’s not like we expect her to really settle down, and ‘settling down’ isn’t particularly desirable or necessary – in fact, most feminists will say you can and should sleep with whomever you damn well please, as long as it makes you happy. But it comes with the caveat that you at least take sensible precautions against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
I understand that actually she wants to fall pregnant – that’s great and I wish her the best of luck, but for the girls watching, do they really want to get pregnant? What about STIs – some of which can haunt you for the rest of your life? I can’t imagine they would be very pleasant! How irresponsible of her to say such a thing, knowing full-well that many young girls look up to her as a role model. Some young girls actually want to be like her, and become a successful glamour model. Consequently, people in the public eye should be more careful of what they say in public and consider how their words might be taken by young people who are watching. Particularly those who, like Katie, are held up to be great role models.
What is especially worrying is that in the UK we have a problem with our sex education lessons at school, and this isn’t being addressed adequately. Coupled with a reluctance to discuss sex seriously in the public domain, this is problematic. The UK used to have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe, and in battling this, MPs have suggested compulsory abstinence education. This is a great idea, if it is implemented alongside a thorough sexual education programme, but I have concerns that it wasn’t intended to be. So it seems like Katie’s nonchalance around sexual health is the latest in a string of ignorant statements.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I think it is – Katie has the privilege of a public platform, and many people look up to her and copy her. And looking after your sexual health – and teaching others to do so – is so important, because it can cause serious problems, and it just isn’t necessary to take the risk. You can have great, safe sex and not leave yourself open to infection. You can have safe sex without contraception, provided you and your partner go for testing and you both come back clear or are treated professionally for any STIs you have.
This isn’t difficult stuff to grasp – it’s not rocket science – yet the number of people being diagnosed with STIs is rising. Last year, 5,600 were diagnosed with HIV in the UK alone. According to the international HIV and AIDS charity Avert, Chlamydia rates have more than doubled since 1999, the number of people diagnosed with genital warts has increased 30%, and diagnoses of syphilis has risen substantially. Thankfully, the number gonorrhoea, herpes and HIV diagnoses seem to be falling in the UK.
We need to keep working at continually teaching younger generations, and even reminding ourselves, of the importance of our sexual health. My advice to Katie would be to get herself to a GUM clinic, stat. Anyone can find their local one here.Tagged in: Celebrity Mum of the Year, Contraception, feminism, glamour modelling, katie price, pregnancy, sexual health, STI, women
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