If you think that it's scary to
use hormones to stop periods, then don't take any brand of the pill, use a
Nuvaring, slap a patch on, get a shot, get a hormone implant, or anything
like that to stop ovulation because even if the hormones you're using
result in monthly bleeding that is reminiscent of your period, it's not
actually a period. Periods are what happens when you ovulate and the egg's
not fertilized and has to be sloughed off. The pill prevents ovulation, and
so you don't get periods. They built a few days of bleeding into the pill
structure to protect women who took it from criticism that it's
"unnatural". If you buy into the idea that it's somehow better to bleed
than to not, you're buying into a mythology of the sanctity of feminine
"naturalness" that exists predominantly to oppress women.
"Natural" is a bunk concept. People invoke it when they can't make a
substantial argument about the rightness of their case. (At this point, it
would do well for me to note that while I've griped about this before, it's
on my mind because I'm reading Unspeak by Steven Poole and he has a really
kickass section on how people resort to the vague terms "natural" and
"unnatural" to cover up the fact that they haven't built a substantial case
for their opinions.) Anti-choicers argue against contraception because it's
"unnatural" because otherwise they'd be put in the unteneable position of
having to admit outright that they disapprove of contraception because it's
been such a useful tool to liberating women. Homophobes call homosexuality
"unnatural" because they can't concoct a real argument against it.
Unfortunately, even our side falls into the trap of arguing for sexual
liberation under the guise of nature, when it's probably more honest to
argue that sexual liberation is good because pleasure improves the quality
of life and stifling it for no good reason is sadistic.
"Natural" isn't an argument for $hit. Invoking it should be verboten
because it leads to hazy, confusing arguments like Rachel's argument
against birth control pills that stop bleeding altogether at Alas, a Blog.
But my biggest concern about these methods is that the way they are
advertised. The advertising makes it seem as if our normal bodily processes
are somehow bad, flawed, or deviant. Can you imagine a pill being invented
that would stop men from ejaculating-they could still have the orgasm, but
not the "nuisance
Not analogous, I'm afraid. The pill simply wasn't invented to stop the
nuisance of menstruation, but it's a happy side effect. If they made a pill
that was primarily to stifle men's sperm production as a form of
contraception and it had the happy side effect of making their semen not
stain the sheets, I'd be a happy camper. Not liking semen stains on the
bedsheets doesn't mean someone hates men or anything like that.
My personal belief is that a period is more than a nuisance. This reminds
me of the rhetoric against breastfeeding from 50 years ago, especially the
idea that science can do better than women's bodies.
But sometimes it can. The problem with formula over breastfeeding isn't
that the former is "unnatural". It's just that it's not as nutritious as
breastfeeding. This is a verifiable fact that doesn't need to be justified
by invoking the hazy idea of nature. Also, breastfeeding is cheaper. It
does well to note that taking a pill that prevents periods would save women
money that now goes to the makers of Tampax.
As for these pills that stop you from getting periods, on the whole I
think they sound great. Less blood to have to manage in my life strikes me
as a good thing. My only concern would be that without a period there's not
a good way to discover early in an unwanted pregnancy that you are in fact
pregnant so that you can arrange the abortion as soon as possible.
But what's critical to me is that feminists get as far the fu-k away as
possible from being swayed by arguments about whether or not something is
"natural". If you criticize the pill or women who resent their periods
because they aren't "natural", you're feeding the beast that will lead to
contraception bans so that women can return to our "natural" state of
having one in you and one on you at all points in time.
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