The FDA’s approval in 1960 of the birth-control pill was considered a major catalyst for the 1960s sexual revolution. Women celebrated what seemed to be a newfound freedom to have sex, and children, on their own terms.
The pill, along with other birth control methods, still provides the same freedom six decades later. However, we are now learning that there was a dark side to the revolution. The pill may cause mental fog, pelvic pain and other negative effects. Worse, the pressure of partners, friends, family and society — whenever women are told that they should be using birth control — have socialized every woman to believe that it is their responsibility to stop pregnancy.
Krystale E., a University of Oregon sociology professor, demonstrates how birth control, particularly for those from marginalized communities, has not been as powerful as people thought it would be in her book Just Get on the Pill.
Littlejohn’s group interviewed 103 San Francisco women between 2009-2011. They were all unmarried, as unmarried women have a higher likelihood of having an unintended child. Others gave birth while others did not. Many had experienced abortions. The research, which was done in collaboration with Stanford University, Berkeley, and University of California, Berkeley, makes Just get on the Pill an even stronger read.
Littlejohn investigates a phenomenon called “gender mandatory birth control”, whereby women and people who are socialized as such are forced to use birth control methods that prevent them from becoming pregnant.
Littlejohn stated that “we pressure people who are able to get pregnant to ensure they’re doing everything to stop it.”
We pressure people who are able to get pregnant to ensure they do all the hard work.
Littlejohn writes in his text that gender compulsory birth control is a major issue in women’s lives. Many parents tell their daughters to just “get on the pill.” Friends often share their pills with one another and press each other not to get pregnant. Teenage pregnancy and abortion are stigmatized by media with messages like: The woman was responsible for not using the pill or that she was stupid for having a baby.
Littlejohn referred to a Gilmore Girls video in which a character urges her daughter, who suspects that she is sleeping with her boyfriend, to take the Pill.
Gender compulsory birth control is seen in a wider society due to the sheer number of birth control options that “females” have developed since 1960. These include the IUD (the shot), the patch, implant, the patch and the gel.
The “male condom” has existed for hundreds of years. Clinical trials are underway for new forms of temporary contraception that can be used to prevent others from getting pregnant. These include pills and shots, gels, shot, or shots. Side effects such as acne and mood swings have been documented in a variety of research on what has been called “male birth control”. These are the same side effects that some women experience on the pill, and yet at least one clinical trial for male birth control was stopped due to negative side effects.
Similar experiences can be had in healthcare. The Affordable Care Act covers female sterilization procedures. Vasectomies, which are simpler procedures, require less recovery time, and can be reversed, aren’t.
You risk being called a “bitch” if you take the pill
Littlejohn said that marginalized Americans in America (women with disabilities, women of color and poor women) are particularly familiar with the absence of autonomy regarding birth control.
She said, “I was struck at how powerless some women felt about the birth control experience.” I was struck by the number of women who were unhappy about the pill, but stayed on it for the love or support of their family
It is a common misconception that birth control can be opted for by women. However, this belief has been proven false in many cases. We can still see evidence of the practice today. The United States has had a history of forced sterilization. Britney Spears is a famous case in point. She couldn’t get her IUD out under the conservatorship of her father. Women have been coerced by courts to use prescription birth control. In return, they are offered shorter sentences.
Littlejohn spoke out about these women, saying that they were being pressured to reduce their family size and their fertility.
A woman may be coerced by her partner if she is in less serious but still coercive circumstances. A Woman in Described a conversation she had with her partner.
He was like “Well, we should use condoms all the time. We won’t need to worry about anything.” He got furious at me, and said “You’re an ugly bitch.”
Littlejohn wrote that the notion that she was an unfit woman for using contraceptives is a sign of gender compulsory birth control. Not because she was highly efficacious, her boyfriend pressured her to take the pill. He didn’t want condoms.
Credit to bob Al-Greene/mashable
Our society genders the external condom as “male” and the internal condom, a condom that’s worn inside the vagina or anus, as “female.” It’s not due to biology. For example, two cis females can each use one condom. Because society presumes that everyone is heterosexual and cis, these methods can be gendered.
As the default, the “male” condom will be used. The external condom is more affordable and easier to access, as well as more widely used than the internal one.
This influences how people view different methods of birth control. Littlejohn stated that the popularity of a method is gendered for both men and women.
A condom that is used by a heterosexual couple during sex can come in direct contact with the genitals of both partners if it’s an external condom. Littlejohn’s research found that nearly 40% of the women who used condoms believed they were linked to male actions and bodies.
A 2017 survey by Indiana University found that 65 percent of women had never purchased a condom, while only 3 percent reported carrying condoms regularly.
Littlejohn found that some women didn’t even know how to use condoms. One of the women said, “I didn’t know how to do it,” While she didn’t quantify the number, the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization focused on sexual and reproductive rights, found that 32 percent of women aged 18-29 know little to nothing about condoms.
It is the responsibility of men to bring a condom. Men claiming that they don’t own a condom are a well-known strategy to get out of the obligation. However, gendered assumptions can leave women exposed. External condoms can be associated with male partners, affecting women’s bodily autonomy.
Littlejohn said that claiming external condoms are male can make women less confident in expressing their desire for condoms. It also makes them feel like they need to take prescription birth control.
We hear a lot about the dissatisfaction of men with condoms, but we don’t hear much about the dissatisfaction of women with prescription birth control.
This is because condoms are not satisfying men. Littlejohn observed that “when we discuss birth control, it is always about men’s dissatisfaction using condoms,” but “we rarely hear women’s dissatisfaction when they use prescription birth control.”
You can’t be satisfied.
Littlejohn’s research found that 37% of the women who stopped using hormonal birth controls because they felt unsatisfied. Littlejohn stated that their dissatisfaction was a key reason why women who wish to avoid pregnancy might not take the pill.
Women have been discussing mental and physical effects of taking the pill in recent years. These concerns are often dismissed by doctors when they’re brought up by women.
Get on the Pill. One woman complained that the pill caused weight gain and acne. Her doctor said she didn’t believe her.
Littlejohn’s own experiences with the IUD are detailed in her book. She describes severe cramps and more frequent periods as well as a year of painful spotting. She continued to use the IUD, despite its side effects. Littlejohn realized her experiences were a case of compulsory gender birth control only after she had completed the book.
Change the story about birth control
Socialized women still have the obligation to avoid pregnancy. But this is something that can be changed.
Littlejohn recommends emphasizing the shared responsibility for birth control and pregnancy. This can be done by encouraging the use of dual protection methods, like condoms or the pill. It can be shared between friends and families, as well as in schools.
De-gendering condoms is another option. We can also discuss dissatisfaction regarding the pill just as much as dissatisfaction about condoms.
We can also treat “male” procedures the same as those that are considered “female”. Vasectomies can be covered by healthcare providers in the same way as hysterectomies. Condoms are subsidized the same way that the pill is for certain.
Birth control pills and their successors have been a crucial innovation for all sexes. Littlejohn spoke out strongly about birth control’s importance and accessibility.
We must also examine our current interactions with the pill. Littlejohn stated, “It is equally important that we acknowledge that the promise lies in people being free to use the pill under their own will,” and not on pressure.
Publiated at Tue 31 August 2021, 10:37:29 +0000