Sunday, April 25, 2010
Lets talk about SEX
No issue has caused more controversy throughout American history and perhaps the war than sexuality. Anthropologist note how the limitations of sexuality fluctuate based on culture.
Tribes in Sambia allow young boys to perform felatio on them as a sign of a rite of passage. In many Indian tribes homosexuality is normal where in many religions its forbidden. Even the dominant religion, Christianity isn't monolithic on sexuality. While Catholicism may seem the most conservative by allowing for sex only in the context of procreation, to fringe groups like The family International who believe having sex is the best way to show Jesus you love him.
Not matter if you agree with it or not sex dominates much of our culture. The history of sexuality in America was recently re-examined in the latest issue of time magazine.
The featured article marks the 50th aniversary of the birth control pill. A pill that shaped relationships between men and woman forever.
Not only did the pill allow woman control over hear body but it allowed her greater access to oppurtunites she might not have been able to take advantage of if she had children.
Since 1970 70% of women stayed home and the rest worked. Now the statistics are reversed. Over the course of ten years as access to the pill increased from 1970 to 1980 many women were able to take advantage of this new technology and further their academic interest;
10% of woman were first year law students in 1970 that number increased to 36% 10 years later likewise 4% of women were enrolled as buisness students a decade later enrollment went up to nearly 30
Sexuality is an emotional and sensitive issue for most. That is why there was much residence against the pill. Prior to the birth control young girls would hide their pregnancy as much as they could for fear of being ostracized or worse--being disowned from their families.
It was not just conservatives opposing the pill many minorites opposed it as well on the grounds that it is being used by the government to control the black population. Some even went as far as to call it a 'black genocide."
Many social conservatives opposed the pill for fear that it would led to sexual "anarchy" and other forms of social decadence. During the mid 60's prominent news magazine, U.S. News and World Report, looked at the issue and found that there was a case in California were wives were turning tricks for profit even though under the consent of some of their husbands.
The Birth of the birth control pill concide with a larger movment that set to redifine america for generations. The 60's marked a time of an American schism. COnversatives vs liberals, pro vs anti war, Civil rights movment and of course the sexual revolution.
50 years later since the pill was first invented many think that Birth control only works half the time. In a study done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy 40% of participants admitted that the think a woman has a 50% chance of getting pregnant.
Another recent study revealed that women live longer and are less likely to die from diseases such as cancer or heart disease.
Personally, I dont have a problem with the birth control pill or the conotations associated with it. I have a unique background, my grandmother was an ardent catholic who gave birth to 9 children, however my mom is quite the opposite. She had three children outside of marriage. While growing up my mom had different boyfriends some of them seam to have the best of intentions others no so much.
As I stated above, most of the resistance to this pill was because it would produce promiscuity. What's interesting to note though is how implicitly the more men show off their sexuality the more powerful they are but when a woman does it they are shun. Yes, many religious authorities would argue that men should be as celibate as women but the reality is that the sacredness of a woman's sexuality is emphasized more than a man's. The birth control allows women to redifine what sex means for them. Rather than simply being used as a vessel for procreation women can now delay child birth to pursue their goals.
Is it selfish not to want to have kids? I dont think so. Although there is nothing wrong with having kids or desiring to start a family there is also nothing wrong with choosing the opposite.
The debate over the birth control has heated up for decades it will be interesting to see where the pill takes us another 50 years.