birth control, books, Chelsea Polis, feminism, Holly Grigg-Spall, hormones, margaret sanger, menstruation, periods, reproductive health drugs, Slate, Slate Double X, Sweetening The Pill, The Pill, Twitter, USAID
“When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race.” ~ Margaret Sanger
If you follow HalfWayMidLife on Twitter, you’ve seen how heated the past few days have been getting . . . all over a new book by Holly Grigg-Spall entitled, “Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control.”
Ms. Lindsay Beyerstein’s article over at Slate Double X does an absolutely unmatchable job of dissecting the book for what it is — an ideologue’s treatise full of anecdotal evidence and void of legitimate facts. Therefore, I will leave that level of my criticism wholly to the link through. Read it and come back to me.
Phew, I missed you! What took you so long? Stop for a refill on the coffee? I understand completely. Now back to business.
So, let’s take for granted that Ms. Grigg-Spall is a soapbox shouter with nothing of substance to her arguments and move on to the second layer of analysis.
Because here’s the thing: almost everything we put in our body has possible side effects. Spoiler alert for TMI: every time I take Amoxicillin, I get mad diarrhea on the first day. In my opinion, a couple of hours running back and forth to the porcelain throne is a small price to pay for a quick and easy recovery from a head cold. If these ‘Family Planning Feminists’ are truly pro-choice and just all about educating the public, I find it deeply suspicious that they choose to focus on reproductive health drugs as their example of ‘medical patriarchal capitalism.’
Grigg-Spall and her ilk fancy themselves victims of some grand conspiracy in which any objection to their lifestyle, even a simple, “No thanks, the Pill is working for me,” is The Man’s doing. You see, controlling our periods is misogyny itself! Again, I find it suspect that the women making these arguments are the ones with reasonably well-functioning, cis bodies — just as those who advocate vegan hair products ‘conveniently’ live within five minutes of a Fresh Market and perpetually have $60 in their wallets.
Do you have PCOS? A disability inhibiting your ability to keep up with menstrual hygiene? Endometriosis? Severe PMS symptoms? As a “good” feminist, you should be managing these issues with some of this nebulous pseudo-science. That Grigg-Spall doesn’t recognize her own deep-seeded misogyny, which reveals itself in the suggestion that women’s minds are controlled by their hormones and how their menstrual cycles are managed, is mind-boggling.
Need further evidence that this ‘camp’ has no grasp on legitimate science? Check out this exchange (HalfWay is the sec again, take the time to read the link through, totally worth it):
Calling all women for an experiment… #periods balancedwellness.co.uk/2013/08/28/wom…
6:46am – 2 Sep 13
@BalanceWellness Are you kidding me with the “masculine is linear?” Men have hormonal “cycles” — they’re just longer than 28 days.
@HalfWayMidLife the masculine principle is linear, men have both masculine/feminine within them. Would love to hear about men’s cycles
2:54am – 9 Sep 13
The very women counseling their readers/followers to drastically change theirlifestyles don’t even seem capable of taking off their mood rings long enough to perform a cursory Google search!
According to a mid-2000s study by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, 71 percent of women surveyed do not enjoy getting their period each month. Their reasons vary and are not, however much “Sweetening the Pill” would have you believe, a mindless, group-think product of the corporate ‘machine.’
But still the deepest question remains: are Family Planning advocates like Grigg-Spall actively anti-feminist or simply blithely ignorant of most women’s (and, very key for this instance, trans-people’s) life experiences? Perhaps it is a little of both. Certainly Grigg-Spall herself shows no interest in the factual integrity of her work in this interchange with Dr. Chelsea Polis, the epidemiologist at USAID:
Will read #sweeteningthepill w/epidemiological lens. More dialogue on HC effects wld be helpful; inaccurate use of data wld not be helpful.
4:36pm – 9 Sep 13
@cbpolis It’s not a text book Chelsea, I’m afraid, nor do I have any obligation to write a text book.
@hollygriggspall My, U R defensive! Who asked 4 a text book? I simply expect solid use of evidence on a subject of global health importance.
7:23pm – 9 Sep 13
@hollygriggspall …particularly when you are making blanket health claims about #contraceptive methods and attacking funders such as BMGF.
7:24pm – 9 Sep 13
But regardless, the desire to cosign women, and only women, once again to a day-to-day slavery to their every bodily function . . . to call this the true feminism . . . is to spit in the face of those whose femaleness is tied to their actions, not their excretions.