Conservatives are spreading dangerous misinformation about birth control on TikTok

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Apr 21, 2024 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Misinformation has become a permanent fixture in our society. You can go to any corner of the internet and come across a story, video, or article, that has been manipulated or tampered with in some way. Misinformation has also become intrinsically tied to political rhetoric and ideology—more specifically, conservative politics. Facts and science have lost their authority and currently, amid all this chaos, what we’re witnessing is a massive wave of false information about birth control being spread by right-wing influencers and subsequently co-opted by Gen Zers who consider their FYP a paragon of truth.

As we know, over the past few years the US has witnessed a dramatic stripping of reproductive rights. Collective efforts from Republican legislators at the top of the food chain and pro-life activists on the streets have resulted in a lot of misinformation regarding reproductive health and the potential side effects of birth control.

What’s blatantly obvious is that the reversal of Roe v Wade had everything to do with right-wing politicians and media figures managing to shift the public narrative—emphasising the idea that federal abortion rights were not only unconstitutional but also harmful. It’s now evident that demonising contraception is the next step of their agenda.

The Washington Post recently conducted a mini investigation where it identified several conservative TikTokers who were spreading serious misinformation regarding the effectiveness of birth control. These creators were also making the bold—and completely false—claim that contraception causes infertility.

As cited by the publication: “The backlash to birth control comes at a time of rampant misinformation about basic health tenets amid poor digital literacy and a wider political debate over reproductive rights, in which far-right conservatives argue that broad acceptance of birth control has altered traditional gender roles and weakened the family.”

You only have to spend a small amount of time on TikTok to come across swathes of videos, each of which speaks of the horrors of contraception and the benefits of adopting more natural birth control methods.

@drkellylupo

So many young girls are told to go on birth control and it just masks their underlying issues #birthcontrol #postbirthcontrol #infertility #unexplainedinfertility #pcos #endometriosis #hormones #hormoneimbalance #doctor #medical #naturopathicdoctor

♬ Disturbia GTTG remix - GTTG

One particularly interesting video I came across was from Jordan Peterson’s daughter, Mikhaila. In a clip I found on her page, which boasts almost 500,000 followers, Mikhaila speaks about the effects birth control can have on someone’s attraction to potential partners.

@mikhailapeterson

Are women on birth control more attracted to less masculine men?

♬ original sound - Mikhaila Fuller

Specifically, Mikhaila asserts that taking the pill can make women more attracted to less masculine men. Hormonal contraception could potentially have a minor impact on your type or preference, but what’s clear about Mikhaila’s video is that she’s trying to almost create a narrative wherein women who use natural methods gravitate towards more masculine men—the ‘idealised’ mate.

Now, certain birth control methods do have legitimate side effects—most notably tender breasts, spotting, and nausea. But the problem here is that the information that currently exists regarding symptoms or, even more importantly worst-case-scenarios, is so limited that it leads to the proliferation of fake news.

From vaccines to gender-affirming care, conservatives have been drilling holes in medical legitimacy for years now, all in the hope that society will eventually succumb to those age-old traditional American values and simply give up on liberalism. Honestly, they need to get a new hobby.

The misinformation regarding birth control is definitely worrying, particularly when you think about all of the Gen Zers who are going to take these influencer’s opinions as gospel. With reproductive rights in the US already barely hanging by a string, it’s concerning to know that it’s only a matter of time before online rhetoric turns into legislative enforcement.

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