Kill Pill, Vol. I

I really should have posted this yesterday, as May 9 is the actual anniversary of the Pill. As it was, I was out celebrating Mother's Day with my mom. Ironic, you might say, but not really: on the contrary, I rather enjoy that the oral contraceptive's 50th birthday happens to fall on Mother's Day this year. Somehow, it makes the date feel that much more special and worthy of commemoration, in that choosing when and how to plan your family – and entering into the sacred realm of motherhood – more than likely strengthens the relationships one can expect to build with her children.

But anyway, on to the Pill. As I’m sure we are all well aware of by this point in time, 2010 marks the 50th anniversary for the FDA’s approval of the Pill. As a 20-something recent college grad residing in one of the less Biblical fetishizing parts of the country, I can only come up with a handful of female friends and acquaintances who have never, at some period in their still-developing lives, taken any variation on the birth control pill. (And please forgive the word choice and inclusion of “period” as a modifier of time.)

Unlike so few happenings and inventions unworthy of the term “revolutionary,” the Pill, indeed, was a revolution of its own making. Some cultural revolutions, like Woodstock, for example, have life-spans of only a brief few moments in memory, followed by a shallow, sometimes kitschy and crass shelf-life. Not so with the Pill. Its effects have continued to reverberate and ripple through the American subconscious and social collective alike. It has – quite literally – transformed the way all individuals look at sex; in either a constructive or judgmental light; for better or for much, much worse.

And yet I keep hearing that young women (my generation: the Millennials. Dreaded consumerist carnivores.) have shrugged off the Pill’s – and even feminism’s – irreplaceable influence. Not that this is anything screamingly out of the ordinary, as drumming up fervor about the death of feminism and feminism’s boring, tedious after-birth has always been a post-modern favorite pastime of the press, themselves rather bored with all the tedium of this restless world. But for me, at least, this latest wave of accusations, pertaining specifically to Pill indifference and a mass influx of family and children identified young women, particularly stung. Not only can I not buy that young women of my age, my dull-as-marigolds suburban class and upbringing could be dismissive of the our birth control freedoms; frankly, I’m a little insulted by it.

Looking around me, at the fellow members of my age bracket, socio-economic status, intelligence and education levels, I don't see walking wombs eager to buck feminism's many successes and attributes. I see 20-somethings not only completing college degrees, but even earning Masters', Ph.Ds, becoming the nation's top leaders in their fields of study. And I don't think women like Lindsey Vohn and Gabourey Sidibe are running off to get knocked up, start families, and forget about their careers, accomplishments, or individuality.

After half a century, you'd like to think we've progressed far enough as a society to quit pigeonholing young women into the mere roles of wives and mothers. You'd think that young women accomplishing things, breaking through the mold, and making real names for themselves and their genders would be headline news. But alas, no. Maybe we'll have to wait for another 50 years to wax and wane before apt positive attention is paid.

But, I'd like to hope not.

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