The Life-Giving Properties Of Birth Control

Birth control, in modern society, is just another thing we take for granted; much like flavoured vitamins and an abundances of vaccinations. Medical miracles of their time that are now little more than, so we insist, our right. How often do we look back to the birth of contraception? It wasn’t all hunky-dory from day one: it was like abortion, and same sex marriage… “Unnatural!” the religious fanatics might cry, “Expensive!” call the politicians, “Ridiculous!” shout out the fortunate classes who do not necessarily understand these controversial burdens.

Birth control gave power back to the woman. The power to say ‘if a man can take a meaningless lover, why can’t I?’. It gave her the power to choose the order of her life: marriage, career, children. It gave her the power to love others, and herself; fewer offspring gave her the time to appreciate herself as well as her family.

During the early twentieth century, the woman was trapped by an endless cycle of reproduction – sad really, that such a monumental act as giving life became so mundane and disdained. This was the time of the female revolution, a wave of feminism that modern medicine facilitated. Although the initial idea came into being centuries ago by founding father, Robert Thomas Malthus, it took its time to take hold.

Birth control gave life to the woman, so she was no longer forced to decide between another child, or celibacy; so she was no longer a prisoner to the unrivaled wonder of childbirth, no longer stuck behind the bars of motherhood.

The average family in Britain today doesn’t even have three children, yet if we go back only two or so generations, it was not unheard of that our grandparents were one of twelve. Is it that women have become lazy and greedy? Wanting more career and entertainment, and less maternal responsibility? No. It is a mother taking initiative to give more love and attention, more support and opportunities, to her reasonably-sized, nuclear family. Some women do not want children, but unless they are celibate or homosexual then, without birth control, they would struggle.

Unnatural? Or is this free will handed down from the heavens in the form of a tablet or discreet foil packet? Birth control is control. It allows women to decide ‘When’, ‘Who with?’, ‘How many?’. It allows a man the freedoms to wait, to not have a child until he is ready. (Isn’t that something men often complain about anyway?) However, joking aside, it gives freedom to all people; regardless of sex or class, regardless of age or occupation, regardless of intelligence or race or lifestyle.

Birth control may prevent births, but this does not stop it giving life and strength to the people of today. From a time when it seemed radical and ridiculous, to the era of dating sites and one night stands; birth control was a natural progression necessary for the world to move forwards, to nurture young minds more attentively, and allow ourselves the necessary freedoms. This is how birth control yields life.

(This piece was a  response to Emma Goldman’s article on The Social Aspects of Birth Control, which looked at the attitudes towards birth control in the 1920s.)

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Sexuality vs Gender: Why it’s okay to be gay… if you’re a man.

Equality for all sexualities!
Correction: Equality for most sexualities!
Further correction: Equality for few sexualities.

The market has been expanding. Let me give you an example: dating apps commonly bought from iTunes include those such as Plenty Of Fish and Match.com’s mobile dating apps. These apps are largely use by heterosexual individuals but, correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t used these sites myself), homosexual individuals can also search for matches. Apps like Tinder or the new copycat app ‘Hot or Not’ allow anonymous swiping to indicate if you like the look of someone, be they male or female. Then, of course, the famous Grindr, a gay dating app. I even recently found another one called Scruff that’s also a gay dating app. Yay for gays, we say. However, wait just a minute… these apps aren’t universal gay dating apps, no. Grindr Gay Dating AppThese are dating apps for gay men. I am yet to hear of any dating platform for gay women. Sure, some platforms don’t discriminate between gay, lesbian OR bisexual (for example, on Tinder you can choose to be matched with men, women or both). I am yet to see, in this day and age, the opportunity that is available to gay men, open and accessible for gay women. Pretty much all of us have a male gay friend, we even say male gay couples around, nothing special there… but how many female gay friends do we have? How often have you seen a lesbian couple out and about their business like any other ordinary couple? I’ve seen barely a handful of lesbian couples in the past months, which is ridiculous given that there clearly are lesbian women out there.LGBT
In fact, although the concept of a lesbian is alien in our day to day life, this is nothing compared to when I heard a 16 year old boy ask “what’s bisexual?” when learning about equal rights for all. What is bisexual? “Well,” the teacher began to explain, “it’s when someone chooses to like both sexes”. WRONG. This is wrong. The key incorrect word being ‘choose’. Sexuality is not a choice, the same as race and our born sex is not a choice. Even in 2014 (be it early days of the year or not), even teenagers in our modern society don’t understand sexuality. Even in 2014, our teachers in our modern society cannot explain sexuality. True as it may be, that some people may have phases or levels of preference, many of us have heard of the term ‘bicurious’ (although, how often it ends up anything other than bisexual, I don’t know). Even in our new and accepting world, where gay marriages will begin in March this year… There is still stigma towards to gay woman, and towards the bisexual individual. Bisexuality is not greed, is not something to be made fun of, same as homosexuality is not something to be made fun of. Bisexuality is not even the loving of a personality, regardless of sex. Think of how you feel about the sex you are attracted to; their minds, their bodies… the lot. Being bisexual is the same, except for both sexes. A person who is bisexual does not fancy everyone they look at, same as a straight woman, or gay man, do not fancy each and every man they see. No. Bisexuality is feared and mocked, or even called ‘hot’. Even if a bisexual girl does excite a young man, if you don’t know her then don’t tell her that. Who are we to decide to what extent we accept members of the LGBT* community?

Sincerely,
A progressive thinker.

*LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. I haven’t addressed people who are trans as I didn’t want to overload you.