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America and the pill : a history of promise,…
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America and the pill : a history of promise, peril, and liberation (edição: 2010)

de Elaine Tyler May

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In 1960, the FDA approved the contraceptive commonly known as "the pill." Advocates, developers, and manufacturers believed that the convenient new drug would put an end to unwanted pregnancy, ensure happy marriages, and even eradicate poverty. But as renowned historian Elaine Tyler May reveals in 'America and the Pill', it was women who embraced it and created change. They used the pill to challenge the authority of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and lawmakers. They demonstrated that the pill was about much more than family planning-it offered women control over their bodies and their lives. From little-known accounts of the early years to personal testimonies from young women today, May illuminates what the pill did and did 'not' achieve during its half century on the market.… (mais)
Membro:snonsumr
Título:America and the pill : a history of promise, peril, and liberation
Autores:Elaine Tyler May
Informação:New York : Basic Books, c2010.
Coleções:Pgh Shelf, Historical Studies, Sua biblioteca (inactive)
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America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation de Elaine Tyler May

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In America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation, Elaine Tyler May argues, “‘The Pill,’ as it quickly came to be known, was more than simply a convenient and reliable method of preventing pregnancy. For its advocates, developers, manufacturers, and users, the pill promised to solve the problems of the world” (pg. 2). May writes of the production and marketing of the pill, “This was the era of the expert, and experts seemed to be solving problems right and left. Americans were well primed to place their faith in scientists, doctors, and the pill to solve global, social, and personal problems” (pg. 5). Finally, May writes, “The pill took its place not as the miracle drug that would save the world, but as an important tool in women’s efforts to achieve control over their lives” (pg. 6). May’s work invokes politics, gender, and the history of science. Further, her father, Edward Tyler, played a key role in FDA approval of the pill.
Discussing criticisms of the trials of the pill, May writes, “While there were certainly some clear cases of abuse and unethical practices, such as the coercive studies using psychiatric patients, the testing of the pill largely conformed to the standards of the day and often exceeded them” (pg. 28). May argues that postwar fears of overpopulation helped spread advocacy for the pill. She writes, “The birth control movement emerged parallel to the population control movement, and although they did not always have the same aims, the two often intersected” (pg. 38). Beginning with Kennedy and until Reagan’s gag rule, presidential administrations included contraception in foreign aid to help curtail fears that overpopulation in the third world would lead countries to embrace communism. May writes, “Regardless of the motives of advocates, poor women took advantage of whatever contraceptive services were available to them” (pg. 47). In this way, “women sought birth control wherever it was available. But their motives were personal. They used contraceptives to control their own fertility, not to control world population” (pg. 50).
In terms of gender roles, May argues, “The pill disrupted power relations between the sexes” (pg. 70). She works to overturn the idea that the pill directly led to the sexual revolution. May writes, “The pill’s liberating potential was not actualized by the sexual revolution. Only when women themselves took control of the pill, not only by consuming it but also by making demands on their sexual partners, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and lawmakers, would the pill begin to fulfill its potential to change women’s lives for the better” (pg. 91). Gender biases also impeded the impetus to find a male equivalent of the pill. May writes, “The emphasis on women is embedded in the institutional frameworks of science, medicine, and pharmaceuticals. Both women and men think of reproduction in terms of women’s bodies and of birth control as a woman’s responsibility” (pg. 110). In terms of cultural authority, May writes, “The pill weakened the power of the papacy in the lives of Catholics, and after Humanae Vitae, turned many Catholics away from the Church altogether” (pg. 126). Addressing these types of unforeseen impacts, May writes, “Another unexpected effect of the pill was its contribution to increasing openness regarding matters of sex, reproduction, and contraception. Open communication enhanced women’s relationships with the men in their lives, their female friends, and their health care providers” (pg. 157).
May concludes, “Without the political and cultural upheavals of the last fifty years, particularly those brought about by the feminist movement, the pill would have been just one more contraceptive – more effective and convenient than those that came before, but not revolutionary. Instead, it became a flash point for major social transformation” (pg. 171). ( )
  DarthDeverell | Dec 21, 2017 |
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In 1960, the FDA approved the contraceptive commonly known as "the pill." Advocates, developers, and manufacturers believed that the convenient new drug would put an end to unwanted pregnancy, ensure happy marriages, and even eradicate poverty. But as renowned historian Elaine Tyler May reveals in 'America and the Pill', it was women who embraced it and created change. They used the pill to challenge the authority of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and lawmakers. They demonstrated that the pill was about much more than family planning-it offered women control over their bodies and their lives. From little-known accounts of the early years to personal testimonies from young women today, May illuminates what the pill did and did 'not' achieve during its half century on the market.

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