This year, a group of vasectomy enthusiasts in Adelaide will be broadcasting live vasectomies on the Internet to try encourage wider and more open discussion about male contraception and population control. They’re working with the people behind World Vasectomy Day to bring elective neutering to the world.
We weren’t sure if getting up close and personal to another dudes nuts was great publicity for a pro-tube-snipping interest group, but World Vasectomy Day’s Ruth Cross disagrees. She thinks this is the perfect way to get people talking about making the snip.
VICE: So what will this event consist of?
Ruth Cross: We'll be live streaming from the Royal Institution of Australia in Adelaide which has state-of-the-art facilities to record the event in HD and stream to the world. People will learn all they ever wanted to know about vasectomies throughout the coverage of the vasectomy procedures—and maybe a little more.
Will people have to pay for the show?
It will be a ticketed event but the details are yet to be finalised.
Do you have to be over 18? It’s got to get pretty graphic.
All ages can watch the event. The part of the body exposed is not the penis so there are no graphic images to be concerned about. However, men who wish to participate by getting their vasectomy done on the day will need to be a consenting adult and undergo pre-op counselling procedures in line with Australian medical standards. An FAQ and due process will be distributed when we do our official call out for men.
Aren’t you worried it will put people off?
It's provocative and in-your-face and a bit prurient, which works to draw attention to the conversation we aim to stimulate. People are attracted to what they fear. Once men realise just how straightforward the surgery is, we're sure they'll get over their fears.
Today women around the world get tubal ligations in numbers that dwarf vasectomies. A tubal ligation is a much more invasive procedure. If we showed men that procedure, then we're sure men might be a bit more generous to their women.
I hear that, but what man wants to be sterilised in front of a live audience?
With just the first press release, we've received over 20 volunteers. The whole event plays to men's instinct to band together for a cause. There is no greater cause than saving the planet and that's how we're telling this story. We're framing it as the heroic journey for men to do right by themselves, their families, their communities and our planet.
Do you get the procedure cheap if you're okay with people watching?
All vasectomies performed on the day will be done for free.
That’s fair. Obviously this will get people talking, but how will it get men to think more seriously about contraception?
The idea is to get men to think of vasectomy as “male choice”. When a man is sure his family is complete, there is no better way to assure his protection than a vasectomy. A vasectomy is about empowering your own destiny. At the same time, we are asking men to think about relieving women of the burden of family planning and take responsibility.
Sadly, most men delegate responsibility for family planning to their women. It's lazy, until you get a woman pregnant— and then everything changes!
There should be more dialogue about vasectomies, about birth control, about pregnancy, and about the future of our planet. All of this will be discussed on WVD and it will be a global conversation. There's a lot of reasons to be grim about our planet's future. Through communication there is reason to have hope.
Are there concerns about making a spectacle out of a surgical procedure?
We believe that no one is going to get a vasectomy who is not sure about their choice and we will ensure the correct due process is undertaken and consent given for the serious decision they are making. There are a lot of men who have more children than they have the capacity to nurture. In fact, 50 percent of all pregnancies are unintended. We'd like to lower that number and vasectomies are a viable solution to help.
You mentioned saving the planet, is that in reference to what you guys have said about population growth?
Every single problem we face on this planet: war, poverty, violence, climate change, comes down to the tension between more people living on a planet with finite resources. We don't believe every single problem is caused by “human growth”, but we do believe that resolving problems is made more challenging with increasing numbers. People told us that talking about population is politically dangerous. We say, silence is deadly. So let the conversation begin.
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