Saturday, January 2, 2010

Balancing act

Happy New Year - according to the Back Up Your Birth Control campaign, the night of New Year's Eve is renowned as a time of contraceptive mistakes, broken condoms and missed pills. Or 'birth control oops' as they like to call it. The campaign encouraged young women to send their friends a 'funny morning after message' through their web page, reminding them of the availability of the emergency contraceptive pill in case they had indeed had a birth control oops.

www.dontdroptheball.org

The title of this project is Don't Drop The Ball, which I am assuming is a reference to the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve, but comes across as some sort of an affront. Like, once women have had their fun, they mustn't forget it is totally their responsibility to make sure that no baby comes of it all. It kind of suggests in a patronising way that a woman can fail a man by not taking a massive dose of synthetic hormones to prevent her body getting pregnant. Like if she did get pregnant, it would be all her fault for being irresponsible.

It even seems to suggest young women should be taking the emergency contraceptive pill after casual sex even if they are on the birth control pill or used a condom, therefore implying that they were probably too drunk to remember if they did take their pill or use a condom and generally not to be trusted. Rather brilliant marketing on the part of the makers of emergency contraceptive pills. We have been convinced we need to use the pill to 'back up' perfectly safe condoms and now we need to use the emergency pill to 'back up' the every day pill and the condoms.

It's so weird to see this kind of fun, self-consciously stylised advert for a powerful medication with the message that young women should be taking this drug on the prompting of a 'funny' text from a friend. Women's bodies are so frequently treated with such a casual, flippant attitude.

The implication is that young women really can not be trusted to not get pregnant, that they can not be trusted with their dangerous, fertile bodies. There is no consideration of the actual workings of a woman's body, and the probability that she will get pregnant that particular night, because she will be fertile and able to get pregnant that night. This essentially scare-mongering, paranoia-inducing campaign is based on the false information that is constantly and consistently promoted to keep women in check, and keep us taking expensive medications - falsities like women are constantly ready and waiting for pregnancy, that their hormone levels don't change throughout the month, that there isn't an ovulation point directly linked to fertility - in all, basically, that women either get pregnant or have periods and it's all very simple, basic stuff.

The Guardian newspaper did a photo series recently on the most talked about people of the year or something, and under a picture of Britney Spears was the comment, 'Spears became central to one of the decade’s major narratives: the depiction of young women as insensible, incompetent, insatiable, intoxicated.' For a while now I've wanted to write an article, a blog, something on the representation of young, famous women in the media. I hadn't thought the topic might link in with my writing on the birth control pill, but I guess it does.

All four of there adjectives back up most of the discussion of the birth control pill, and even more so the long acting methods of contraception like the injection and implant - it's not discussed openly for the most part, but it is definitely implied that the control of women's bodies must be in the hands of doctors and drugs, otherwise they will likely cause the downfall of civilisation with their irresponsible, baby-making ways.

The NHS campaign I spoke of in the last post, the one to get the pill given to women over-the-counter at pharmacies, definitely suggested that in missing pills, not using condoms and asking for emergency contraception women were showing themselves to be out of control and suspicious. They say it's about choosing the right contraceptive method for your 'lifestyle' - but we all know what a cover-up the word 'lifestyle' can be, and how it can be used condescendingly to suggest distaste at how someone lives their life. If you have a lifestyle in which you can't remember to take a pill every day then you will be seen as a loose woman, a slut and persuaded to get a shot once every three months instead that will not only wipe out your fertility but also act as a chemical castrator and stop you wanting sex ever, at all.

I recently finished Susan Rako's No More Periods: The Risks Of Menstrual Suppression in which she questions the oft repeated assumption that there is no good medical reason for menstruation. Dr Rako argues that aside from those women who are epileptic or have migraines related to their monthly cycle, and those who suffer from severe endometriosis, the birth control pill is detrimental to your health. She asserts very persuasively and with reference to tons of research that a woman's natural cycle ensures her blood pressure is lowered for half the month, and that she loses excess iron stored in the body which reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes considerably. Excess iron is only secreted through menstruation which does not occur when women take the pill, thus putting them in danger of cardio-vascular problems. Cervical cancer is also mentioned, with Dr Rako arguing that the pill is a co-carcinogen with the HPV virus in causing this. According to her studies women are at higher risk of the cancer developing when taking the pill, plus they are less likely to use barrier methods and protect themselves from getting the virus.

Most interestingly, Dr Rako cites the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki which assured the interests of the individual be put before those of society. She cites this before discussing the preliminary experimentation that formed the discovery of the contraceptive effects of the Depo Provera injection. Pertinently she remarks on studies that show that the GPs of upper income patients show far more negative attitudes towards the injection than those serving lower income women. In my last post I discussed the piloting of the NHS scheme, with prescription-less pills and pushing of the injection, in the poorer areas of London.

Dr Rako also makes the interesting statement that there is no such thing as 'side effects' and all the effects of a drug on the person taking that drug are simply its effects. Some of the major uses of some major drugs were only developed because of the discovery of a 'side effect' in trials for another use. If we stop calling the effects of the birth control pill on women's bodies 'side effects' a much brighter light is thrown on the discussion.

A recent press release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was entitled 'Hormonal Contraceptives Offer Benefits Beyond Pregnancy Prevention.' Women are often sold the birth control pill on the basis of its acne-clearing, period-stopping abilities and yet when we want to discuss the negative effects, it is pregnancy prevention that is said to trump any and all complaints. The Yasmin advertising campaign goes under the banner 'Beyond Birth Control' and yet when the knock-on effects of its unique make-up came under scrutiny it was back to being just plain birth control.

2 comments:

  1. Part 1 of 2

    Jan 2009

    The Male Contraceptive Pill; and Freedom For Men -

    The male pill is on it’s way, and will be with us in less than 5 years, if not from the US or Britain, then from China and India.

    The pill for men will be the biggest step for freedom that men have ever had - freedom from the serfdom imposed by fatherhood. So if the present tyrannical feminist British women want their babies, they will have to offer a far better deal to men than at present.

    For example -

    1
    The present marriage laws, and the infamous and secret ‘family courts’ will have to go, and quickly, and the dictatorial marriage and ‘common law’ marriage expectations drastically changed.
    2
    The constant demeaning of masculinity, particularly on TV in programs such as ‘One Foot in the Grave’, ‘Men Behaving Badly’ and the present ‘soaps’ in general, where men habitually behave in an infantile manner, and are presented in an appalling way, will have to be recognised as highly offensive to men, and dispensed with.
    3
    The most powerful of the British feminist weapons - the wild and malicious accusations of ‘rape’ and ‘child sex’ - will have to be brought back under civilized law where the accuser will be required to have hard evidence and be held responsible for their actions, both in the making of the accusation, and their part in the incident. The male sex drive is an extremely powerful force, and a woman who provokes it to the point where a man loses his self-control that woman must accept some of the blame. The accused will have to be considered innocent until - and if - proven guilty.

    The Rise of Woman's Dominance -

    As far as I know never before in human history has woman obtained such a dominant position in society, and I have puzzled over this for many years. To reason this out I considered that the dominance must coincide with a recent new event, and the rise of science is the most noticeable over the last 100 years.

    It seems that the science events most effecting women’s position in society are the invention of domestic labour saving devices - making the ‘housewife’ redundant, the invention of mechanised work equipment - making the ‘male upper body’ strength requirement redundant in the workplace, and - most significantly - the invention of the female contraception pill which gave a woman political power over men by either withholding sex, which she has always been able to do, or rewarding with sex, which for the fear of unwanted pregnancy, she has never been able to do before. It should be noted that recent social science research has found that giving rewards has far more impact on behaviour than giving punishments, which soon lose their effects altogether.

    The female contraceptive pill in the 1960s Britain gave British women direct power over sex availability without fear of pregnancy for the first time in human history. There was a popular phrase in the 1960s - 'free love', but there was nothing 'free' about the 'free love' of the 1960s. It came at a price, a price controlled and set by women who seized upon this new 'pillow power' with vigour; and some have used this power - unwisely - to disadvantage men in every way possible, thus asserting a position of dominance over men in which she has reduced them to a level of disadvantaged cowed subservience - and infantile behaviour in an attempt to present themselves as children entitled to the protection of the maternal instinct.

    The ‘Mad Maternal Instinct’ - the all powerful evolutionary force in women that regards masculine Men as simple mating objects when in lust, and when not, as dangerous predators to be avoided or driven off and away from the precious family group.

    Sage1916

    Continued -

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  2. Part 2 of 2

    The Decline of Dominance and Re-establishment of Equality -

    The timing of the 1960’s pill and ten years later, the recognition of the feminist movement is an incident that supports the view that they are connected in a cause and effect relationship, but via a third factor.

    I would argue that the dominance by women is not a result of feminism, but of the 1960’s pill. Feminism developed out of this dominance. Once the dominance is removed, feminism will dwindle and demise.

    The 1960’s pill does give an advantage and dominance via the reward of sex to men. But with an equivalent male contraceptive pill, men can make it quite clear that they are not prepared to have children unless they want to, and are offered a satisfactory position in the family group and society - enforced by law. This would equalise the woman’s power over men’s sex drive with the man’s power over the maternal instinct; and the need to breed. Hence the counter balancing of the power given to women - ironically by male scientists! - by the 1960’s female contraceptive pill.

    Once the power of the 1960s female pill is counterbalanced - equalized - by the male pill this yoke of female dominance is likely to be flung off with surprising speed, and retribution and revenge on the British feminist female - and feminist male - is likely to be wreaked, as some wiser and more sensible women have been aware of for some time.

    I am very surprised that a social event on par with the 1960s social revolution is within a few years, and the media and people in general have not noticed. I do not intent to attack women in general, but sound an alarm as to what appears to me to be in the future.

    It appears to me that the combination of -

    1 a general grass roots resistance and resentment by modern men to the unfairness of feminism

    2 the coming worsening economic decline and worsening male unemployment

    3 the problems of over population

    4 the balancing of the 1960s female pill with an equivalent male pill

    will result in a complete reversal of the present situation and the subjugation of western women into exploited work units with little or no rights at all - and given their attitude to Men over the last fifty years, I would have little sympathy for them; and I doubt if many Men would.

    Today belongs to feminism, but tomorrow belongs to Men.

    Sage1916

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