Has the world become more or less feminist since 1990?

Back in 1990, unsafe sex came an unremarkable 14th in the worldwide risk table for deaths among adolescent boys, and 11th in the risk table for girls, according to a three-decade, global Lancet study. It was, in other words, well below inadequate hand-washing as a threat to health. But by 2013, it was reported last week, unsafe sex had risen to be the second riskiest behaviour for boys and the greatest single risk to the health of girls.

The researchers know teenagers across the world are becoming more sexually active, and more of that activity is taking place outside marriage. What’s driving this is a mixed picture. These adolescents could be making their choices against a backdrop of chaotic migration and conflict, or within the airless confines of a forced marriage. They could be subject to the pressures of marketing and social media, or rape as a weapon of war.

You may think the context in Mexico is so different to that in Chad that there is no through-line to be drawn between them. You may think it basically coincidental that all the data travels in the same direction, a cocktail of happenstance and modernity, with a dash of Facebook. You’d be wrong. At the source of every problematic sexual trend among young people, from the abstinence movement in America to child marriage in Nepal, is misogyny.

No, don’t try to feel the width of Zoe Williams’ argument. Just try to test the logic.

Question 1: has the world become more feminist since 1990?

Question 2: Is bad sex killing more teenagers today than in 1990?

Now, Zoe is claiming that the answer to 2 is “Hell Yes!”. And I can’t believe that anyone at all is going to claim that the answer to 1 isn’t “Hell Yes!”.

Which leaves us, err, where?

11 thoughts on “Has the world become more or less feminist since 1990?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Girls are freer. Girls are choosing to do riskier things outside marriage. Inevitably this results in more of them dying from sexually transmitted diseases.

    If you believe the bullsh!t the Lancet comes up with.

    Well. Obviously the only solution is to make sure every girl is married at 15 and locked up, bare foot and pregnant in the kitchen so she can’t make eyes at those bad boys she likes so much.

    Welcome to the ultra-reactionary Right Zoe baby.

  2. Jesus. It’s because we’ve eradicated nearly every other form of teenage death. You can look at the numbers here


    If you switch it to “total” and number and get 10-14 or 15-19, you can see that overall, we’ve lowered deaths. And about the only place there’s been a rise is in India, where HIV has caused an increase.

  3. All the third world hellholes where starvation and death-by-dirty-water are rife–so assorted charities tell us– and unsafe sex is the greatest single risk to girls?

    I’d call that fantastic progress.

  4. So the figures actually suggest teenagers around the world.are washing their hands more.

    And this is because….misogyny.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “So the figures actually suggest teenagers around the world.are washing their hands more. And this is because….misogyny.”

    Maybe they are being told that if they touch a girl they will catch Girl Germs?

  6. Unsafe sex = HIV.
    1990 HIV probably not as widespread in developing countries and not monitored.

    Stupid woman.

  7. Given the dire quality of the piece written, one can but hope that Zoe gets at least the same amount of abuse via her various online presences as Jessica Valenti apparently has to suffer, as embittered Feminazi drivel like this certainly merits it.

  8. Stigler,

    We can’t let minor details like the facts get in the way here.

    When I was a lad the preferred method of going out was just after sex. It seems that the world as a whole is moving toward that goal.

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