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May 7, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

"There's no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we've argued about ever since." Time Magazine's cover article this month chronicles fifty years of reliable oral contraceptives.

The Pill is one of those things that seemingly everyone has something to say about. US News lists "Seven Ways it Changed Lives" (including #2, "The pill made infertility into an epidemic"); CNN discusses "What 'The Pill' Did" (feat. Letty Pogrebin of the NWPC, Raquel Welch, and writer Erica Jong); the NYT writes about how the Pill forever changed both the bureaucracy of the FDA, and the American relationship with doctors and prescription drugs.

Even after 50 years, the Pill's decoupling of sex from reproduction remains controversial, and not everyone is celebrating.
posted by Kadin2048 (30 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Before The Pill, the only contraceptives available to women were The Car, The Shoe, and The Laundry Soap. But in 1960, The Pill changed all that.
posted by Ratio at 12:14 PM on May 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


*snort* Quiverfull
posted by edgeways at 12:17 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vraiment!
posted by zippy at 12:17 PM on May 7, 2010


There is too such thing as The Car, but it's too terrifying to think about.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 12:17 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I don't want to think of a time before The Band.
posted by Bromius at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related Article - "To define the divide in a sentence: In red America, families form adults; in blue America, adults form families."
posted by symbollocks at 12:24 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now if they could only make a human that could be counted on to reliably take these reliable oral contraceptives.
posted by spicynuts at 12:25 PM on May 7, 2010


Now if they could only make a health insurer that could be counted on to reliably pay for these reliable oral contraceptives.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:32 PM on May 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


I take my magical little pill at the same time every morning, spicynuts.
posted by mmmbacon at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2010


The evolution of birth control.

I like the first method best, though its effectiveness is dubious.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:36 PM on May 7, 2010


Happy Avoided Birthday!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:36 PM on May 7, 2010


Now if they could only make oral contraceptives that wouldn't routinely cause strokes.
posted by bunnycup at 12:39 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's no such thing as ...the Shoe....

I beg to differ.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:44 PM on May 7, 2010


1 per 200,000 woman-years is not routine. It's not insignificant either.
posted by edgeways at 12:46 PM on May 7, 2010


Das Boot?
posted by spicynuts at 12:47 PM on May 7, 2010


"There's a pill that keeps you from getting polio, that's not the pill"
- Gary Gulman
posted by IanMorr at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Le Car!
posted by Madamina at 1:06 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm going to start measuring things in woman-years and man-years. I'm not yet sure, but I can tell they are different. At least if a woman-5 minutes and a man-5 minutes is anything to go by.
posted by bunnycup at 1:07 PM on May 7, 2010


**Heavy sigh**

They have always been tablets, not pills.
posted by Tube at 1:21 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But...

Even with Ratio's comment afterward, I still cannot figure out what this phrase means. Someone please explain it to me?
posted by rahnefan at 1:36 PM on May 7, 2010


BEST.INVENTION.OF.THE.TWENTIETH.CENTURY.

that is all
posted by supermedusa at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even with Ratio's comment afterward, I still cannot figure out what this phrase means. Someone please explain it to me?

The idea is that when anybody talks about "the pill", a generic name, they're referring to a specific subclass of pills (oral contraceptive) and everybody knows what you're talking about. Not so with the other things. It would be like if you said "the device" and everybody understood you were talking about DVRs.
posted by kmz at 1:53 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even with Ratio's comment afterward, I still cannot figure out what this phrase means. Someone please explain it to me?

I believe they mean though they're tons of different pills out there, only contraceptives are widely known as "the pill." Can't say the same thing for a specific car, shoe, or laundry soap.
posted by daninnj at 1:54 PM on May 7, 2010


Blah!
posted by daninnj at 1:54 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, back when I was on the pill, I always wanted a brand that came in an awesome circular dispenser. Mine were always little flat rectangle packets. I kept mine in a credit card case with a robot on it, because I took mine at the same time every day, like a good little robot.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:03 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sarah Haskins on how the pill is sold as everything BUT birth control.
posted by peep at 2:12 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, related, an interview with Laura Eldridge about her book where she urges women to keep talking about the pill and its environmental impact and side effects.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:14 PM on May 7, 2010


I'm still waiting for the Google logo.
posted by chococat at 4:50 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


From the US News article: 3. The pill alleviated many menstrual problems.

Yes. This one. When I was a teenager, my periods were a nightmare. There were days when my cramps were so bad I couldn't stand up straight and my body was so sore that if someone hugged me, I cried in pain. I missed school and stayed home from fun events that I had been looking forward to. I was (at my doctor's suggestion) taking ungodly amounts of Advil. And I was diagnosed with PMDD, which means that about a week before my period started, I would get so depressed and feel so alone that I wished I were dead.

When I finally got on the pill in college, it changed my life. I no longer had to plan around those days when I wasn't going to be able to go anywhere or get anything done. Mood-wise, I finally felt like myself again, and I'm sure I was much more tolerable to be around. I was like a whole new person. For me, honestly, the whole no-pregnancy thing is just a really nice bonus.

I know not everyone's experiences with the pill have been as rosy as mine, but for me, going on the pill was probably the best choice I ever made. So, Happy Birthday, Pill, from one of your biggest fans!
posted by rebel_rebel at 7:33 PM on May 7, 2010


"It Was The Pill That Truly Made Us Pro-Choice, Not Roe v Wade."
posted by homunculus at 10:31 PM on May 9, 2010


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