Girls with Condoms…Tacky?

Condoms today are a sign of sexual consciousness, a big neon sign saying no lovin’ unless you put on the love glove, and hopefully, no STD’s, no HIV, no unplanned pregnancies.

On the other hand, it’s also a big fat no to the lingering question to young adults: Are you a virgin? It can also coyly hint that you like doing it. And you like doing it a lot – depending on the size of the Costco pack you have in your nightstand.

This is the side will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas took in an interview with Elle Magazine. Discussing his humble and conservative perspective his “philosopher” mother placed him under, he says that growing up, he and his family never discussed anything sexual in nature. He didn’t begin to sexually explore until the age of 19. Sexually mature now, he realized seeing condoms in her home could be a deal-breaker for him.

ELLE:  If you walked into a woman’s house, what one item would convince you that you weren’t compatible?
W:  If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin’ throw me off. That’s just tacky.
ELLE: Well, okay, I could see if she had a candy bowl full of them on the coffee table. But if she’s got a few in a drawer, wouldn’t that simply suggest she’s health-conscious?
W: I just think, like, if you’re into someone and you guys get to that level, then that’s something you should converse about together and say, “Hey, maybe we should get some.”

will.i.am, known as the “Good Samaritan” in the tour bus (G.S. for short), heralded a more romantic outlook on sex.

W: To me, sex isn’t like an extracurricular activity that you do because you’re [feeling amorous]. Because I was raised around girls, I think I’ve adopted that perspective on sex. When you’re with somebody and you love them, then you’re going to do it and you’re going to do it a lot.

Valiant response. But like interviewer Andrew Goldman points out, the woman just being “health-conscious.” Bloggers’ responses generally agreed, and mostly voiced outrage at will.i.am.’s dismissal of a woman’s right to protect herself. But the individual who encapsulated perfectly what everyone else wished to say was the writer behind The Beautiful Struggler, Jamilah Lemieux, when she wrote, “Keeping condoms in the house is not the signature behavior of a slut; it is a responsible action taken by a sexually active person.”

Others call this a sexist issue – a double standard that men can play it cool while women can’t protect themselves at all times. Men’s Health‘s online Feminist blog questioned will.i.am‘s notion that “pure ownership of condoms is tacky implies judgement of the woman’s assumed sexual practices.” The blog swiftly followed with a critical breakdown of some of the producer/singer’s lyrics. Check out the video of “My Humps,” for example.

But regardless of sexual experience, Lemieux notes that “it’s good to be prepared.” Meanwhile, Maya at Feministing committed an act of “skank solidarity”: “I am gathering all the condoms in my apartment and putting them in a big candy bowl on my coffee table. There they will remain. Forevermore.”

– Ji Hyun Park

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