In hindsight, I don’t believe it was women who gained sexual freedom from the introduction of the birth control pill.
- The pill can wreak havoc on a woman’s body with side effects ranging from sexual dysfunction (ironic, no?) to frequent migraines to a heightened risk of breast cancer. It protects you from pregnancy but not STDs.
- The condom, which was available long before the pill, does not. It protects you from pregnancy and many STDs.
We already had the solution to women’s freedom to have sex without worries about pregnancy: condoms. So why did we need a pill to market the concept that women could now have sex as they pleased?
Because men didn’t like condoms, and this “sexual freedom” women were being granted took place within a framework of having to sexually appeal to men and their preferences. I realize there were other apparent advantages to the pill: it was more convenient, it didn’t interrupt the moment, and for a lot of women it made periods more manageable (which sounds trivial to those who’ve never experienced grossly difficult or irregular periods, but trust me: it seems like a godsend at the time). But it wasn’t marketed as “convenient”; it was marketed as “freedom”, when condoms already provided that very freedom, plus STD protection, without side effects.
So what was it giving women freedom from? I’m asking for responses here, because I came of age in the 80’s when AIDS seemed a bigger worry than pregnancy and the side effects of the pill were known – I don’t know what women in the 60’s and 70’s were thinking or going through. All I can think of is a girl I once knew who was about to have consensual sex with a man when suddenly he refused to put on a condom and, above her protestations, raped her. Was the pill freedom from having to worry about consensual sex turning into rape over a condom disagreement? Which would mean a lot of the men women were having sex with were, in fact, rapists (by today’s standards) waiting to happen? It’s an uncomfortable thought, but given the widespread popularity of the idea that rape is the result of teasing a horny man – any horny man, even a really Nice Guy – I have to wonder.
Because the net result, it seems to me, was that men abdicated all responsibility for birth control. It was up to Her to take The Pill. It was on Her to pay for The Pill. If she got pregnant after telling you she was on The Pill, she was probably one of those lying bitchez trying to trap you into marriage or child support payments, and you were entitled to stand up for yourself and not take that crap.