On this day, the FDA announces it will approve Enovid at 10mg for sale and marketing as a contraceptive. Reread that again. In 1960, the FDA changed the way everything in this world works, and it was one of the most positive things they could have done.
The approval of the first combined oral contraceptive meant so much for the world at large, and was a huge step forward for women in this country, offering a new choice in family planning, and a new choice in determining their own futures. Prior to the approval of Enovid, most contraceptives suffered from one of two things, and frequently from both. First, they failed a lot. Second, they were frequently time consuming to use and could interrupt "the mood". Enovid suffered from neither of these things, with a .3% failure rate with perfect use, and it was a private decision that was made long before intercourse, a decision that did not affect the day to day lives of its users. This change revolutionized the world we live in, in multiple ways. Let's start with the obvious one that any of my male readers are thinking about, it make sex more accessible for all genders. Now let's move on to the important ones. Soon after approval of the first oral contraception there was a sharp increase in the number of women both attending, and graduating, from college. The pill allowed those women in the early 60s to become the first generation that plan easily for when they wanted to have children, and as a result of that, plan for a career before hand. The birth control pill made it easier to stay in school and not sacrifice other parts of their lives. Women born in the 1940s, and therefore in their 20s during the 1960s, became the first generation of women to receive bachelor degrees at a proportion equal to men of the same age. The pill also changed the demographics on when a college educated woman was most likely to marry, moving it from within a year of her graduation to the average age of 25 by 1970. In the 1950s only 35% of college educated women were members of the work force, that number moved to 55% by the mid 1960s. In 2007, 76% of the teachers in the United States were female, 44% were under the age of 40, and 52% had a masters degree or more education. How much of that can be traced to this date in 1960? In my mind, a lot. The approval of oral contraceptives also began an enlightening debate in this country, and in other parts of the world. Suddenly pre-marital sex and promiscuity were topics in need of discussion, because science had given women control over their bodies, and as a result placed them in a position to be allowed to make more decisions about it. For some people, this decision was "Let's enjoy sex", and since it was no longer attached to the act of procreation, they were allowed to enjoy sex without marriage, with the potential for multiple partners, and without disrupting the other parts of the life they have chosen. Speaking of debates around the world, the Catholic Church gave us Humanae Vitae (Latin for On Human Life), which was predictably anti-contraceptive, but what did we expect, right? By the mid 1970s society at large had begun to take a look at the effect the pill was having on traditional gender roles. No longer were women confined to the house to raise a brood of brats, but could now plan for careers, and could enter into marriages that did not exist solely to procreate, but could instead be built upon mutual satisfaction. In some ways, this could be said to be what made same-sex marriage possible. With marriage no longer confined to the traditional "Let's have kids," any marriage that provided mutual satisfaction to its entrants became more palatable for more members of society. If a man can marry a woman simply because they love one another, with no plans of procreation, then what is wrong with two men entering into the same social contract, or two women. Who wants some controversial song lyrics? Loretta Lynn got herself banned from numerous country radio stations with this song in 1975, but it still became her highest charting pop single ever, topping out at #70 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Loretta Lynn - The Pill You wined me and dined me when I was your girl
Promised if I`d be your wife you`d show me the world But all I`ve seen of this old world is a bed and a doctor bill I`m tearing down your brooder house `cause now I`ve got the pill All these years I`ve stayed at home while you had all your fun And every year that`s gone by another baby`s come There`s gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill You`ve set this chicken your last time `cause now I`ve got the pill This old maternity dress I`ve got is going in the garbage The clothes I`m wearing from now on won`t take up so much yardage Miniskirts hotpants and a few little fancy frills Yeah I`m making up for all those years since I`ve got the pill I`m tired of all your crowing how you and your hens play While holding a couple in my arms another`s on the way This chicken`s done tore up her nest and I`m ready to make a deal And you can`t afford to turn it down `cause you know I`ve got the pill This incubator is overused because you`ve kept it filled The feeling good comes easy now since I`ve got the pill It`s getting dark it`s roosting time tonight`s too good to be real Aw but Daddy don`t you worry none `cause Mama`s got the pill Oh Daddy don`t you worry none `cause Mama`s got the pill Aren't those some catchy lyrics from the 1970s. I can only imagine what rural country radio stations thought of those. Can you imagine all those old white men cringing? :p So, I think I've wasted enough of your time on this topic, but let's just say that today is important, because I think anything that allows all genders to live as equals is a positive view, because that's my brand of feminism, a world where everyone just assumes that everyone else is equal.