My wife told me to get Gaby on this podcast after she read an article about Gaby in USA Today titled “Mormon Mom of Six Writes Viral Twitter Thread Focusing on Male Responsibility in Pregnancy.”

The viral thread started with this tweet on September 13, 2018, at 3 pm and started like this:

I’m a mother of six and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I’ve been listening to men grandstand about women’s reproductive rights, and I’m convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion. Here’s why…

It, as the saying goes, broke the internet. Millions of people read, retweeted, quoted, and liked it.

Gaby and I go way back, so far back, that content websites were an innovative idea.

In addition to breaking the internet with her discussion of abortion, she is the founder and CEO of the Alt Summit, a very successful social media conference, and Design Mom, an award-winning blog that hosts interesting parenting discussions. It was named a Website of the Year by Time Magazine.

Gabrielle Blair, founder of Alt Summit, and Guy Kawasaki at Alt Summit in Salt Lake City.

Gabrielle is also the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide, and her new book, with one of history’s most remarkable titles, is Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion. (available for pre-sale now – publication date October 18, 2022)

The Blair family, courtesy of Gabrielle Blair.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Remarkable People podcast, please leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe. Thank you!

A very smart take on women’s reproductive rights from @designmom on the Remarkable People podcast. LISTEN HERE: Share on X

Transcript of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast with Gabrielle Blair:

Guy Kawasaki:
My name is Guy Kawasaki and this is Remarkable People.
Today's remarkable guest is Gabrielle Blair.
My wife told me to get Gabby on this podcast after she read an article about Gabby in USA Today. It was called Mormon Mom of Six Writes Viral Twitter Thread Focusing on Male Responsibility in Pregnancy.
The viral thread started with this tweet on September thirteenth, 2018, at 3:00 PM: "I am a mother of six and a Mormon. I have a good understanding of arguments surrounding abortion, religious and otherwise. I've been listening to men grandstand about women's reproductive rights, and I'm convinced men actually have zero interest in stopping abortion. Here's why."
This tweet, as the saying goes, broke the internet. Millions of people read it, retweeted it, quoted it and liked it. Gabby and I go way back, so far back that content websites were an innovative idea.
In addition to breaking the internet with her discussion of abortion, she is the founder and CEO of Alt Summit, a very successful social media conference.
She is also the driving force behind the blog Design Mom. This hosts interesting parenting discussions. It was once name Website of the Year by Time Magazine.
Gabby is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide.
Her new book with just the greatest title is called, are you ready for this? Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion.
With no further ado, I'm Guy Kawasaki. This is Remarkable People. And now here's a remarkable Gabby Blair.
A few months ago, my wife, one day texts me and says, "You should get this woman on your podcast." And I look at it and it's Gabby Blair. And I said, "That sounds familiar."
And I say, "That woman was at our house. She co-hosted a party at our house. I know her." Here, this most viral woman about men's responsibility towards ejaculation is a BFF from the past and from curtsy days. So there you go.
Gabrielle Blair:
Curtsy days. Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki:
Those were the days.
Gabrielle Blair:
A whole different time.
Guy Kawasaki:
Did you ever hear the story of one of your many guests at the party, that at the end of the party, she was at the end of my driveway and she was too lazy to walk back to take a pee.
So she peed in my bushes and then she posted that I peed in Guy Kawasaki's bushes?
Gabrielle Blair:
Guy, I am so embarrassed. I have no memory of that, but I can imagine it happening. Who knew the mom bloggers were the partiers.
Guy Kawasaki:
I am just totally fascinated with this transition you made from social media mom and got us to reproductive issues. So how did you do that?
Gabrielle Blair:
You're so kind to remember me from the good old days.
The reality is, I've been posting on Design Mom for all these years and posting everything that came to my mind. I talked about it. I called the subtitle of the blog, was always The Intersection of Design & Motherhood, but I realized pretty quickly that allowed me to talk about anything.
Pretty much, you can fit anything under design or parenthood. And so it allowed me to talk about current events and political issues, allowed me to talk about cool products I was finding.
And I really took advantage of that and had a lot of fun. So in some ways this is a total shift.
I'm doing so much more writing than I did in the early days where it was much more about design, but in other ways, I've always been talking about controversial topics and people that have read me, my readers that have stuck with me, they knew that.
And so they weren't super surprised by this, but the biggest shift was I wasn't really using Twitter for writing.
I'd only used Twitter just to promote social media stuff as we'd been taught way back in the beginning.
But during the run up to the 2016 election, when people were using Twitter more, I got on Twitter and I was doing more reading there. And wasn't producing anything, but I was reading more. And I really got into this idea of Twitter threads.
I really liked the format and I had written up some thoughts about abortion, about men's responsibility, about unwanted pregnancies and I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to put them. I was like, do I do a blog essay? Do I put it on Facebook?
I just wasn't sure. And then I sat on it for a few months and then it was the hearings for Justice Kavanaugh.
And I just got to bee in my bonnet. I was seeing just so many men. And it was really the men that were killing me. They were talking about women's bodies.
They were talking about reproductive rights and they were talking about abortion. They were talking about all these topics and they were just grandstanding. I could see, they don't care about this.
They don't really know about it. They can't speak intelligently about it. They're just trying to say whatever they think will get them the right votes. And I was just really irritated. So I'm like, I'm going to publish this and I think I'll try a Twitter thread, which I had never written one before and it's really long.
So I write this thread and it's really long. It's sixty-three tweets, which is just not okay. That's horrible for a Twitter thread. You really shouldn't go past five or six and here I wrote this long thread.
And my main concern upon publishing it was, how fast can I delete it? Not what if people get mad at me, I wasn't worried about that.
Because I was like, I don't know if anyone will see it, but I was worried that I'd have this huge thread out there and that no one would see it and I would just be so embarrassed that I put myself out there and just saw crickets. And I was like, how fast can I delete sixty-three tweets?
And was calculating that in my head, but then the thread went viral just immediately. It took off immediately. And the first person I heard from, I'm a religious, I'm a Mormon and the first person I heard from was a text from the Bishop of our congregation, who's the leader of the congregation saying, "This is amazing. You could build a whole law career out of this." And he was so excited about it.
And that made me realize, ‘Oh, this is appealing to religious people. It's appealing to non-religious people. It's appealing to people across the political spectrum.’
And I started to get an inkling, oh, this is going to have a life of its own. And it has, so that Twitter thread came out September, 2018. So that's four years ago because we're on September first, today.
And there has not been a single day since then where it hasn't been retweeted, argued with people, want to debate me, not a single day. And if abortion is in the news, it will go viral again and again.
So it's actually been a big part of my life the last four years.
Guy Kawasaki:
Four years old and it still lives on?
Gabrielle Blair:
Four years old, still lives on, it's still super active and sometimes I'll mute it when I'm a little tired, but then other times people really want to discuss it with me. It's got ideas that are new to people.
And so this book I wrote is not the thread, but the thread inspired the book and they certainly have plenty in common. But I got to use these four years of debating the thread, of arguing, of refining the ideas in the thread.
And I hope really clarify things and make them better and add where I need to add. And I'm really happy with the book and I'm really excited to see the reception that it gets. It's coming out soon and I'm certainly nervous but excited.
Guy Kawasaki:
I think that it is one of the best book titles in the history of man. I mean-
Gabrielle Blair:
Ejaculate Responsibly.
Guy Kawasaki:
... you can't see a book called responsibly and not have a reaction to that.
I have to say, did you think of it?
Gabrielle Blair:
It really comes straight from that thread where I introduced the term irresponsible ejaculation and responsible ejaculation. I introduced this term and I'm just so glad I did. It's such a funny word. It's the least sexy way to talk about sex using the word ejaculation.
It's just, it's the opposite of sexy. I don't know. It's a little scientific. It's a little technical. No one uses it. It's sort of funny to say, it's perfect. And I'm this middle aged mom, no one wants to hear about sex from me. Get it.
And so to be able to just talk about it in terms of ejaculation, it just puts some separation between anything that might be titillating and this discussion, which is so great.
So I'm really happy with that. It catches people off guard. It's hard to ignore. And it really says what I wanted to say, responsible ejaculation. I feel like I have a strong argument, that can really affect change.
Guy Kawasaki:
And what's going to happen when your kids go to school and your kids' friends are saying, "Oh, you're the ejaculate responsibly kid, huh?"
Gabrielle Blair:
I got to say it's already happened. So my kids are older. My oldest was twenty when I first wrote the thread, so twenty-four now.
So they've been dealing with this for a while and we've had these discussions at home. We've read the book together. They know all this stuff, but yeah, in the book, in the acknowledgements, I'm thanking my family.
I'm thanking my husband and I do write about the kids and just say, "Hey, you don't get to pick your parents. And you don't know that your mom is going to start talking about responsible ejaculation on very public forums, what's that going to mean." And my kids have been so cool and patient about it.
It's hilarious though because sometimes strangers or even relatives that maybe are too timid to come and argue with me about it or discuss it with me, they'll try to argue with my kids about it.
And I just want to go, "That's inappropriate. Just come find me. My kids do not write this. They do not have to defend this." I know, that's life with an online parent.
Guy Kawasaki:
And all of this has happened before the book has come out. Imagine when it's a New York Times bestseller and it's covering the earth.
Gabrielle Blair:
Knock on wood. I really do hope it's so widely read. I know you mentioned you read last night and I really tried so hard to make it just a quick enjoyable read. I just wanted it to be like, anyone could sit down and read this. I want coaches to give it to their athletes in high school.
I want sororities and fraternities to have copies around and I want parents to discuss it with their kids. I really do hope it's widely read and I tried to make it so accessible. I use language that I use with my own children.
So anyone can just sit and read it really quickly and understand what's happening. And I do hope it's widely read. So thanks for saying that.
Guy Kawasaki:
I promise you that I will have a discussion about this topic with my sons. I promise you. And I just want you to know that I had a vasectomy and you're right, it's not hard, it's not that painful. All you need is really a bag of frozen peas.
And so as opposed to tabulation or IUD, as you point out in the book, I wonder what do you think Justice Roberts would say to you if you asked him, so what are your ideas to reduce unprotected sex justice?
Gabrielle Blair:
I think the question catches people so off guard when you switch it to that and you talk about, hey, what are we doing about irresponsible ejaculations? What are we doing about the men who are causing unwanted pregnancies?
And the society, we just have never thought about it this way.
And I'm talking about men haven't thought about it this way, but either have women, none of us have thought about it this way. The way my husband talks about it, he was probably my first convert to these ideas. I'm not sure what to call it. And we've been married twenty-seven years now.
I had used every kind of birth control, they worked, which is a wonderful thing. I got to choose when I have babies and I've had a lot of babies. So that was really wonderful for me to get to choose when that happened, but I really hated how my body felt and worked when I was on birth control.
And again, tried every form available to me. And just that had never really occurred to us that my husband could be taking on more of this burden. It was just a given that I would do this. This is my body. I'm trying to prevent pregnancy. So I'm in charge of this.
And I think we just start getting it so wrong. This burden can be shared among couples and among partners and should be shared. And so if I asked Justice, I've asked any of the justices, I think it would throw them off so much because we just don't think of it that way.
And I think for some men who maybe haven't had vasectomies, they can feel some guilt as they suddenly look back and go, oh, well, so my partner, maybe my wife, my girlfriend, she's been experiencing side effects from birth control.
Or maybe she doesn't have side effects, but even just the hassle of birth control, the doctor's appointments and prescription renewals and having to get off work to go to those appointments, all that kind of stuff, get a babysitter.
She's been dealing with all of that and I've never even had to think of it, but I have mad benefit as much as she does. And so some people really, this is a hard for them to hear because then they're looking back at their sexual history and wondering, have they been ejaculating irresponsibly.
But then other men really get it and embrace it and are thinking more forward and are really thinking about how can I be more responsible in my future sexual encounters, and making an appointment for a vasectomy or figuring out which condom they like best so that they don't fuss about it or complain about it.
So it's been really interesting to see the reactions from people and men in particular. And I think Justice Roberts could have one of those two reactions where he gets it or he all of a sudden feels guilty and doesn't want to hear it.
Guy Kawasaki:
You know what I would guess his reaction would be, but anyway.
Gabrielle Blair:
No, I don't.
Guy Kawasaki:
So I think your book points fundamentally men, all they have to do is wear a condom or get a vasectomy.
A condom is really trivial and a vasectomy is obviously an operation, but it is also a rather trivial operation that can be very effectively reversed.
So just rationally, what is the big deal? Why don't they do that?
Gabrielle Blair:
Guy, I think I got to pose that question to you because I'm not a man. I wonder the exact same thing. And honestly, I really like people. I really think the best of people.
So I don't think men are out there trying to be jerks about this. It's just, we don't teach them about this and we don't teach women to expect this of men.
And I think it's as much a cultural thing as anything else. Don't think there's evil intention about this. We just don't talk about it. And we don't introduce these ideas. And that's why I so desperately want this book to be read.
One, I think it really does shift the conversation away from trying to control women and control women's bodies and shift it to something much more practical, which is preventing unwanted pregnancies. But it also really relieves the burden from women or potentially relieves a burden from women.
Women really have this heavy thing on our shoulders. From the moment we become sexually active of every sexual encounter, no matter how much we love and trust our partner, we're having to think, am I going to get pregnant? Is my birth control going to work? If it doesn't work, what do I do then?
What are my options? Will I want to have this baby? Can I afford to have this baby? Do I have support? Is it legal to get an abortion where I live?
Basically that scenario has to go through our minds every single time we have sex and to be able to have someone carry some of that burden, it's huge.
And there's lots of ways men can carry, you've talked about condoms, you've talked about vasectomies. Those are the main ways I propose in the book, but there's also things like this is your girlfriend, are you helping her defray the cost of this? Do you know what kind of side effects she has? Is there anything you're doing to help her with that?
There are all sorts of ways that we can help our partners carry the burden of birth control or pregnancy prevention together and doesn't have to be all on women.
I hope that just like you can see so clearly, that condoms and vasectomies are both really great options and they should just be a given.
They should just be a given for all men that men just know that's part of life, that they're going to use condoms and probably eventually get a vasectomy. And that's great. They don't need to worry about that. That's just awesome. In the same way that women assume that we'll use birth control, that's going to be part of our life.
Guy Kawasaki:
Imagine you said that to, I don't know, forty-nine Republican senators and said, "Listen, guys, if you really want to prevent abortions because of your religious convictions and your pro-life, et cetera, why don't you just convince men to get vasectomies and use condoms?"
What do you think they would say as, "Oh, I never thought of that. Let's do it, or yeah, but an orgasm is just not as good if you have a vasectomy or a condom on?"
Gabrielle Blair:
I believe they would immediately try and deflect it toward women and go, women just need to keep their legs closed. That is the reaction we get constantly from men who claim to be anti-abortion or claim to care about reducing abortions.
And again, I debate this constantly with men who consider themselves to be pro-life and I'll present some of these ideas and say, what are you doing?
Are you talking to men about wearing condoms? Are you talking to men about ejaculating responsibly?
And every time they're response is, women just need to do this or women just need to do that. And they only seem to be interested in reducing abortion if the tasks to get there fall on women, it really comes down to wanting to control women.
They don't see it that way. They don't see that's what it's doing, but if you give them other options, if you say we actually know how to reduce abortion, here's a bunch of steps we can do. They're not interested. They're only interested. If the steps are, they get to yell at women to not have abortions.
That seems to be the main interest and control when women are having sex or who they're having sex with. And I don't believe these men, these forty-nine Republican senators, I don't believe they actually care about abortion.
And that probably sounds bold to some people, but if they did, if they actually cared, again, we know how to reduce abortion. We've done it.
So these men, these Republican men that claim to be so anti-abortion, they want to get rid of abortion, I don't believe them. We know what works and we've seen things in a few different states.
In the book I mentioned a program that happened in Colorado, where they introduced free, easily accessible birth control. And this wasn't just condoms. This was the pill. This was IUDs. This was all the types of birth control. Made it free, made it really easy to access.
And they saw unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions that are due to unwanted pregnancies go down by 50 percent and they didn't even run the program that long. Had they run it more and made people more aware of it, I'm sure they could have seen even more success.
And that program was eventually shut down in Colorado by Republican politicians.
So the idea that these politicians, these forty-nine Republican men are interested in reducing abortion is really hard for me to believe.
Again, I think it's just politicians grandstanding, trying to say what they think will get voters. How many of these men have paid for abortions themselves? Who knows?
I'm sure someone's looking into that. And I'm fine if they impregnate someone and that one wants to have an abortion. So that's fine with me. I don't mind that they've done that, but the hypocrisy is difficult, I think, to be patient with.
And I just don't think they care. I think it's all talk. If they cared, there are real things they could do.
If they cared, they would be thinking about some of these things that I talk about in the book, they'd be thinking about what's men's role in this because women don't just magically get pregnant.
Women are impregnated, and who's doing that impregnating? What kind of consequence are they facing? What kind of accountability or responsibility do they have to face?
And in many cases it's nothing. And in most cases it's nothing.
Guy Kawasaki:
How would you allocate responsibility for preventing unwanted pregnancies?
Gabrielle Blair:
It's a great question. And I don't know if this is a satisfying answer for you, but this is how I think of it. Women are 100 percent responsible for their own bodies and their own bodily fluids.
And men are 100 percent responsible for their own bodies and their own bodily fluids, which would include sperm and semen.
And I think if both people are taking care of their own bodies or being responsible for their own bodies and not expecting the other person to do that for them, that's the ideal. So the way it works right now is women are expected to be responsible for their own bodies and for men's bodies.
And they might do that because men might expect them to be taking birth control so that the men don't have to worry about it or think about it.
They might expect the women to demand a condom and if she doesn't, the man doesn't bring it up. Hope she doesn't mention it. And again, so it's says, expecting her to be responsible for her own body and then for his actions as well.
If she's in charge of demanding him to use a condom and maybe providing that condom, that's her having to be responsible for his actions and her own. And obviously that's not ideal. And so what I'm trying to propose is, hey, women are already doing a lot of this work.
What if men stepped up and did a lot of this work for their own bodies and how many fewer unwanted pregnancies would we see if that happened? And I think it would be drastically fewer.
I think virtually we'd eliminate them if men were taking pregnancy prevention work as seriously as women have been expected to do.
Guy Kawasaki:
That's a mouthful.
Let's just, for the men who are listening, let's just explain how an IUD works because sure. I think that many men think you just go in, they pop it in and you're out and it's that simple.
Gabrielle Blair:
So as an IUD where myself, I'm not currently, but have been before, I'm the most familiar with the implantation and the extraction of the ID and it's a pretty intense process. Basically they have to take either it's this little copper, I want to say almost looks like an anchor.
Anyway, it's this little copper anchor or a little plastic anchor that has hormones in it. The copper one doesn't have hormones, the plastic one does. And so get up to these two different options and they have to put this in your uterus.
And some women report that it's not that painful and they seem to endure it just with some deep breathing.
But other women report that having an IUD put in is the most pain they've ever felt, even if they've had babies or something else, where they'll faint or it will be they're screaming, it'll come in waves and last for hours or days.
And then to remove it, it's a similar process.
The IUD has a couple little strings, and basically the doctor's going to tug on these strings to extract it from your uterus. These are your most sensitive parts. You're on your back. Your legs are in straps. There's just nothing fun about this. There's nothing pleasant.
These are cold metal medical tools interacting with your most sensitive parts and things can go wrong. When my IUD was being removed, the strings dissolved, they're pulling the strings and the strings are dissolving. So they have to use another tool to go in and try and, I couldn't see what the tool they were using.
I imagined it's some type of tweezer, where they're trying to extract it that way. I found it incredibly painful. I did not pass out, but found it incredibly painful. And a fascinating thing about it is women aren't offered pain medication when they have an IUD inserted or removed.
It's just not standard at all. If you are offered something, it's probably just going to be an Advil, maybe two. And that's not typical. That would be unusual if you were even offered that.
Women that have asked for something or have been offered something, maybe a topical something, apparently it doesn't work that well.
Apparently the only thing that can really guarantee knocking out the pain is if they put you under a full anesthesia and that's dangerous in its own. So I can see why that didn't necessarily happen.
Are you willing to risk that this will not hurt you too much? Are you willing to risk having anesthesia and being put under? It's really a problem.
And there's just this assumption women will just deal with the pain and they do. We have, I did, lots of women do. Thousands and thousands of women too, but it's interesting, of course, because there's a comparable procedure. And I don't know that there is, but if there was one, it would probably be a vasectomy.
And I have heard some doctors compare them. And of course a vasectomy is never performed without pain medication, that would be considered super cruel. No one would ever do that.
And yet for women it's performed every day, there are women, hundreds, thousands of women every day having this procedure and with no pain medication and just hoping it won't hurt them too much.
They're really told it's just going to be a pinch and yet it's not, it's much more than a pinch.
And again, for some women so painful that they're passing out on the table. I don't know if that's where you wanted me to go with that, Guy. It heavy, fast.
Guy Kawasaki:
I would dare say that if a vasectomy involved as much pain and risk as a IUD implantation, men would get general anesthetics for vasectomies and they would take a week off.
Gabrielle Blair:
I'm sure. I have no doubt they would be a full medical procedure in a hospital where, yeah, they take a week off and where women are just expected to drive home after and go about their day. It's fascinating. And what I like to point out is that remember men are fifty times more fertile than women.
Women are fertile twelve to twenty-four hours. Their egg is fertile twelve to twenty-four hours in a month. That doesn't mean they should only avoid pregnancy that day because sperm can live longer.
There's a whole fertile window for sperm where you have to avoid sex for seven days if you're trying to do it that way.
But anyway, women have this twelve to twenty-four time period of egg fertility in a month and they are doing pregnancy prevention work every day for this tiny amount of fertility.
So if they're taking the pill, which is one of the most common forms or any kind of hormonal birth control, which are, again, the most common forms for birth control for women.
They're ingesting a hormone every single day. They're ingesting that hormone or they have this shot and so it's slowly being released into their body over time. And they're doing that whether they're having sex or not.
If their partner is out of town or unavailable or whatever and they can't have sex for a week, for a month, they're still having to ingest this because if you stop it doesn't just immediately start working the next day. If you stop the pill and then start a week later, it's not even going to be effective probably for another week.
It's usually up to seven days before it's effective again. So the women are just, “Hey, if I might have sex this week, I need to keep taking this pill.”
So they're handling their fertility. They're managing their fertility. Women are 100 percent of the time for 3 percent of that time being fertile.
It's super bizarre that we've put it entirely on women, where men have this opposite thing where men are always fertile. They're fertile every day, all day for their whole life from puberty till death.
And instead of focusing on that, which seems, hey, here's this ever-present fertility, maybe we should really think about that and how to cope with that.
Instead, we spend all this time and energy trying to figure out this twenty-four-hour period where women are going to be fertile and it turns out it's just highly unpredictable. They've done so many studies on this.
And even if you have a regular twenty-eight-day cycle, even if you seem to be as regular as a clock, the studies are really clear that even with people that have regular cycles, there's a good ten-day window where you could ovulate any time in those ten days. It's just not predictable. It's not a regular thing.
So it's super bizarre that we've spent all our time and energy, 90 percent of the eight billion birth control industry is focused on women's fertility and products for women.
And over on the other side we have 100 percent fertility happening for men every day, all day long and we've got basically nothing focused on them. Condoms have been around forever.
Vasectomies, I guess are the newest thing we've done. They've made some attempts at male birth control, a shot or a pill, but nothing that's been approved.
So in my mind, we're laser focused on the wrong thing. We should be thinking about this ever present men's fertility and not so focused on women's fertility, which is so unpredictable and difficult.
Guy Kawasaki:
You would think by 2022, we would have a male birth control pill.
Gabrielle Blair:
I would've thought there was some form of, I want to call it an instant vasectomy where they're basically putting on a little clamp, removing a little clamp.
This doesn't seem rocket science to me. When I see what they're doing, they put in tiny balloons in veins. There's so many little tiny things they're doing.
We can't block this with a balloon or a clip or something and then unblock it when someone's ready to conceive. It just seems this should be solved by now, but I feel we focused so little time, money and energy on that.
And instead, again, our focus what's yet another product, another hormonal product, another product we can try and control women's fertility with. And it's very bizarre. I'd love to see a big shift there. I think it would make much more sense if we were focused on men's fertility.
And it feels there would be better options, again, because it's so consistent versus so unpredictable. It just feels like you could do something mechanically that doesn't work for women, again, some sort of clip or something.
So who knows? I just don't think we've invested in that time, energy or money.
Guy Kawasaki:
Can you possibly imagine a world where as a teenager or a young man, you get a vasectomy and then when you're really ready to have kids, you reverse it. Do you know anybody who would do that?
Gabrielle Blair:
No, I don't. And I don't think we're there yet. Vasectomies are highly reversible. Stanford's getting 95 percent reversal rates even if vasectomy was twenty years ago, it doesn't matter how long ago it was.
So things are improving, but there aren't that many really good vasectomy reversal doctors in the country.
We're just not even close to that. We're just not there.
There would have to be a system that was so reliable. It would have to be here's this fifteen-minute procedure and it's only fifteen minutes to reverse it and you can get it done whenever. And we're just not there.
Maybe it's some nanobot technology that's going to happen, who knows.
But no, right now with the current vasectomies, even with the improving success rates of reversals, no, I can't imagine anyone saying I'm sending my teen teenager in. I have teenage sense.
No, I just think people wouldn't want to mess with that.
The other thing though, if there is a procedure that comes or if a new kind of vasectomy that is an improvement and is more reliable. If you compare that with banking sperm, then I actually do think people would be really willing to look at that. And I don't think it would start with teenagers.
I think it would probably be men in their twenties, men in their thirties that are very interested in this that do not want to become fathers yet, do not want that responsibility and don't want to risk that. And they go, I'm going to bank my sperm. It's going to be frozen. It's going to be sitting there as a backup.
And then I'm going to get this new procedure that's super easy and super reversible. And I can see that happening.
I just don't think we're there yet on vasectomies. And maybe we could be, again, if this is where we put our time and energy, but we haven't.
So no we're not there.
Guy Kawasaki:
It would be the hypocrisy of, don't tell me what to do with my body. I don't want to get a vaccine, but we can tell women what to do with their body, the hypocrisy there and the double standard is just unbelievable to me, but I digress.
So how can we shift the focus from women to men?
Gabrielle Blair:
So much of it is the conversations we're having, what we're talking about. What's the dialogue happening across the country.
And I know it's ambitious to say so, but I really want this book to start affecting those conversations. And I know that the ideas in the book already have.
I see signs that protest talking about responsible ejaculation and about being really pro-vasectomy and some of this stuff that really originated with this thread that has gone viral and viral so many times over these last four years.
So I know it's already affected a lot of people and affected the conversation, but I want that times a thousand.
I really want these ideas to be so commonplace that no one thinks they're new or interesting anymore. That it's just, yeah, we expect men to use condoms.
It's just a given that the idea that someone would ask, “Should I use a condom?” Would be as bizarre as someone saying, “Should I wear a seatbelt?”
Of course, you're going to wear a seatbelt. If you get in the car, you're going to put on a seatbelt. That was a question we had to debate for thirty seconds and then it was over and now we wear seat belts and we need to get there with condoms.
We need to get there with condoms and we need to get there to probably a little lesser extent, but with vasectomies.
If you don't want to become a father and you are sexually active to consider a vasectomy, and maybe we need more and better trained vasectomy doctors.
We'd have to look at the data on that to see if everyone that wanted vasectomy, can they get them? I do know that since Roe v. Wade was turned over, there have been more requests for vasectomy.
So that's heartening news. That's wonderful news, but I think we need to be talking about this. Again, condoms need to be so commonplace.
And then the other thing that I think a huge factor is just fact-based sex ed. And in our country, it's sex ed depends on the state. So there are eleven states where there's no sex ed mandated at all.
In some states, you can only tell very specific information. It might be only abstinence-based sex ed.
And that other states might have a program that feels fact-based, but maybe it's only happening one year and children need, age appropriate, I want to be clear, age appropriate sex ed throughout K-twelfth grade. It just needs to be a standard part of life.
And I know there would be resistance there. I come from a religious community. I get that people feel, oh, I don't want people talking about this, but it needs to be talked about in the same way we talk about the effects of smoking, the way we talk about, I'll throw seat belts out there again, any of these basic things that affect people's safety.
It just needs to be talked about so straightforwardly and it can be done without putting morality on it or I think it can be done in a way that could be palatable to religious communities, but we know that it works.
And again, I'm basing that on what we've seen happen in the Netherlands, which has a very different approach to sex ed and really does this fact-based sex ed that I'm talking about.
And they see a much, much smaller amount of teen pregnancy and unwanted pregnancy than we see in the US. And it's simply from education.
And so if we have that approach with kids and we're really teaching kids fact-based education, how to prevent pregnancies, what the options are, really driving home the idea that sperm caused pregnancy, you've got to keep these sperm away from an egg.
And we don't know when the eggs are fertile, so you've just got to be careful every time. If we're really driving that home and we're making condoms, again, making condoms a given, just a non-question, everyone keeps condoms around. It's super easy. It's not a big deal.
And then we're providing free birth control programs. The one I mentioned in Colorado, if we have these prongs where we know these things work, we could see unwanted pregnancies disappear.
And I want to be clear, I'm actually very pro-legal abortion. I am very pro-choice. If a woman needs an abortion, I support her and want her to be able to get that whenever she needs that.
But I can also say I would be delighted to see unwanted pregnancies go down, even though I'm pro-choice, and even though I want abortion to remain available.
And the reason I would want to see unwanted pregnancies go down is because I've been pregnant and I've been pregnant lots of times, and I think pregnancy's the hardest thing I've ever done for sure.
And certainly the hardest physical thing I've ever done. And the first part of the pregnancy for me, and I know for many women is the hardest part.
So the idea that, oh, you're only pregnant for twelve weeks isn't comforting to me. I would want to be able to remove that from women or make sure she never experienced that if she didn't want to be pregnant, I would be delighted if that was gone.
Guy Kawasaki:
Why did you say twelve weeks?
Gabrielle Blair:
Twelve weeks is your first trimester and that's typically when women are the sickest. Second trimester, it's not uncommon to get a little bit better. And then third trimester, often people get sick again, but those first twelve weeks for me, and it's not a perfect cutoff date, it might be eleven, it might be thirteen, but twelve weeks is the average.
But I was just miserable, just so sick every day and just really miserable. And I think I don't want anyone to experience that unless they are actively and sincerely seeking to have a baby, then super.
Then definitely go through that if that's what you want to do. But the idea that people just casually have to experience pregnancy that don't want to, I would be delighted if that disappeared, if unwanted pregnancies disappeared.
Guy Kawasaki:
Are there any countries that have embraced condoms and vasectomies the way you think the United States-
Gabrielle Blair:
I have not heard of one. I've not heard of one.
Guy Kawasaki:
Gabrielle Blair:
I think the myths that we see in the United States around condoms and vasectomies and the myth being that men are afraid that a vasectomy will change their erections, change their ejaculations, change just their sexual experience and the myths around condoms that you can't have enjoyable sex with a condom.
These are just these basic myths that are really deeply embedded in our society and they seem to be fairly worldwide. And that is very anecdotal, what I'm saying, but it's based on watching again, this thread over the last four years go viral, not just in the United States, but in countries across the world.
I've seen it translated in Spanish many times, in German and Dutch, in Japanese, in Russian. I've seen it in Polish. I've seen it everywhere.
And I just think these issues that we're dealing with are not just American. Men all over the world have been taught to fear vasectomies, have been taught to avoid condoms and we need to unteach that. We need to unteach that. Those are really harmful myths.
Guy Kawasaki:
I dare say this has been unlike any other podcast I have done, to my delight, actually. I hate to say it, but it's hard to not conclude that men are assholes, but I may not keep that in the final episode recording.
Gabrielle Blair:
Oh, this has been a really fun conversation. I love it.
Honestly I feel I've been interviewed quite a bit by women, but you might be the first man that's interviewed me about this and I love it. I love the conversation because I'm not a man.
So I'm speaking about condoms, but I don't wear condoms.
So I love hearing from someone who's had a vasectomy, who's asking these questions.
I think it's really powerful and I'm really glad you did this interview.
So thank you Guy. This is great.
Guy Kawasaki:
I dare say that when you have other males interview you about your book, it might not go like this.
Gabrielle Blair:
It may not. It may not. We'll see.
Guy Kawasaki:
Yeah. You let me know. If nothing else, maybe there's a frozen pee's association and you can have a partnership with them for vasectomy increase.
Gabrielle Blair:
Oh my gosh, that's brilliant. That's brilliant. Vasectomy sponsored by the frozen pee industry. I love it.
Guy Kawasaki:
Also, if you think about it, we're so convinced that we need to prevent our heads from hitting the windshield. Why shouldn't we be convinced that we need to prevent the sperm from hitting the egg.
Gabrielle Blair:
It makes all the sense in the world. And I appreciate you saying your conclusion is all men are assholes, but I really don't conclude that and I say that sincerely.
I think women have been taught these same ideas about condoms and birth control and responsibility as men have.
We're all taught the same thing. We're all in this society. And so women need to learn a lot of this stuff too. And again, I don't think the men are out here just trying to be jerks and say, "I refuse to wear condoms."
There are men that do that, I've realized, but I think a lot of men, it hasn't occurred to them to get a vasectomy. It just hasn't occurred to them, or they've never talked to anyone that's had one that can ease their worries.
And so I'm going to just hope that men are good.
Guy Kawasaki:
I hope you appreciate the irony of this, but I think that you give men more credit than I do.
Gabrielle Blair:
Maybe. You know what? I don't know.
I laugh with my husband because we're raising sons and daughters and I find I'm more patient with the sons and he finds he's more patient with the daughters.
So maybe I'm more willing to give the opposite sex credit.
Guy Kawasaki:
Gabby, I'm sixty-eight. I just don't give a shit anymore.
Gabrielle Blair:
Guy Kawasaki:
If that offends you and you're a man and you don't listen to my podcast anymore, the sun will still rise.
Gabrielle Blair:
No I get it. No more F’s to give, I hear you.
Hey, and just best of luck with the new cochlear implant. I hope it, I don't know, improves your life.
Guy Kawasaki:
Yeah. Let me tell you, cochlear implant is a lot harder than a vasectomy, believe me.
Gabrielle Blair:
Yeah, sure. I bet. I'll bet. You need to let people know.
Guy Kawasaki:
So that's Gabby Blair, evangelist, remarkable evangelist for women's reproductive rights.
Let's take the high road, guys. Let's start using condoms and getting vasectomies.
It's our responsibility to.
I'm Guy Kawasaki, this is Remarkable People.
My thanks to Peg Fitzpatrick, Jeff Sieh, Madisun Nuismer, Shannon Hernandez, Alexis Nishimura and Luis Magaña.
Until next time, use a condom or get a vasectomy.
Ejaculate responsibly for crying out loud.
Be responsible for your own bodily fluids.
Mahalo and Aloha.