Thrills, chills...and mind control pills?
According to a new book, sex in the modern age has a lingering by-product.
It's mindless submission to a patriarchal society bent on keeping women in line.
In Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, author Holly Grigg-Spall makes an interesting case for liberating oneself from the tyranny of the Pill.
The British writer describes birth control as a tool, widely propagated and unquestionably ingested, that suppresses not just baby-making, but rather, femininity.
A review in Vice magazine's Motherboard has Grigg-Spall recounting her own experiences on birth control, citing an overall sense of numbness.
"Over the years, I felt no connection between my self and my body, between my self and the world around me, between my femaleness and myself," the author noted.
In the book, Grigg-Spall uses several studies as a springboard for her inquiries, notably, a 2011 U.S. report suggesting women on the Pill remember things differently.
The study found women on the Pill remembering more of the emotional details of an event, as opposed to their non-Pill-taking counterparts, who tended to recall more of the specific details.
Grigg-Spall concludes that a drug that changes the way women file away past experiences could potentially impact their future behaviour.
Critics, however, have been quick to discredit Grigg-Spall's arguments.
In a book review for the The New Inquiry, Lauren O'Neal says "Grigg-Spall sets out to write a feminist critique of hormonal birth control — a warning to women about the power of oral contraceptives to harm our health and keep us under the heel of patriarchal capitalism.
"Unfortunately, any good points she makes are lost amid a jumble of confused and confusing misinformation about the pill’s effects on the body and society."
Vice writer Kelly Bourdet also questions the author's contrarian stance on one of the most important symbols of modern-day feminism.
"In a world that bizarrely places women’s sexual nature and reproductive capacity in the center of many ideological conflicts—from Sandra Fluke to the back of a bus in India—at first glance it seems odd to argue that the pill actually facilitates oppression," she opines in Motherboard.
Bourdet also notes that theory may be somewhat flawed by the assumption that a woman "is somehow defined by her hormones, lack of hormones, or artificially achieved level of hormones."
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Whether you subscribe to Grigg-Spall's theories, it's hard to deny the Pill's celebrated, if not thoroughly examined, life since it was approved for use as a contraceptive more than 40 years ago.
It was a smash hit shortly after its introduction in the U.S. in 1960, reaching, according to a PBS report, some 1.2 million American women by 1962 — a number that nearly doubled just three years later.
The report goes on, however, to note that by 2010 there were 1,100 lawsuits pending against birth control maker Bayer Healthcare Corporation, citing a battery of side effects including blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. The allegations chiefly revolve around the brands Yaz, Yasmin and the generic Ocella. Yaz and Yasmin have since been suspected in 23 Canadian deaths.
Mind control has yet to make an appearance in litigation.