By Sasha Brodskaya
So, thanks to one of my friends I learned about this work-in-progress contraceptive known as the male birth control pill. You can find a summary of it here.
I feel like this pill will be great for reducing unwanted pregnancy and less great for feminism in general. As the article mentions, there is already a cultural stigma against young women obtaining birth control, and now if men can take the pill instead, young women will be even less likely to take their reproductive health into their own hands. Why should they, when they can simply sit back and trust their male partners to take care of it for them? And with that passive female attitude will come two more problems: men that lie about being on the pill to get sex (not that I’m saying they’re be a lot of them, but its certainly not a new concept that people, male of female, will sometimes lie to obtain sex), and the strengthening of the status quo viewpoint that young women who are on the female birth control pill are “sluts”.
Also, this will probably result in at least a temporary increase of STD spreading, because a simple, once a month pill with presumably no side effects may very well put the STD-blocking condom out of business. Plenty of men already claim condoms make sex less pleasurable, and now if it’s not even the best way to prevent pregnancy men may not feel there’s any reason to keep using it (because despite all we’ve learned in high school sex education, STDs are not always the first thing to come to people’s minds when they think of sex. Or perhaps they just don’t give people as much of a scare as unwanted pregnancy).
So to sum up, I predict the pill will be practical and play a big role in reducing teen pregnancy, but it will do nothing for (and may even hurt) our efforts to create a culture of assertive, independent females that are not ashamed of their sexuality. Young women should not be so ashamed of their sexual desires that they neglect their reproductive and sexual health, but this is exactly what’s happening with female birth control right now; young women would rather pretend that their sexual activity is intermittent bouts of feminine weakness, comparable to those insultingly mysogynist scenes in Twilight where the main female character is “overcome with passion” for her abusive sparkling boyfriend, than a normal, healthy part of their lives requiring recognition and medical oversight.
Well, at least we have around 3 years until this pill comes out; perhaps we can use that time to convince young women that female sexuality isn’t some sinful, disgusting thing you should hide at all costs. Here’s wishing us luck.