The last post on the unexpected side effects of women’s progress evoked a vigorous response from you, my lovely readers. Whenever I stir up some mud with one of these zingers and you guys write back, I get to find out how smart and savvy you ladies are. Perhaps I should do this more often…
I particularly appreciate all of your comments and suggestions, because at the same time that I am here to teach you something, I’m also here to learn. I’ve never been a woman, so any time you give me feedback about how you really feel and how I can communicate better, that’s pure gold.
Some of you gave me suggestions for new titles, one of which I incorporated. Others told me how the message was basically sound, but the way it was conveyed rankled. Duly noted; edits in progress. Some of you even gently suggested ways of improving the writing.
So — a big thank you to all my teachers. Love you guys!
As with most controversial ideas, this post met with responses ranging from the righteously indignant to the downright nice. The proponent : detractor ratio was about 3:1. Let’s start with this one:
Wow. You do realize that you’ve just told every woman who reads your blog to go off the pill and leave her pregnancy risk in the hands of guy and a condom if she wants to be happily married one day? I am appalled.
Appallled is a good start to shifting some timeworn ideas around. Indifferent is deadly. And then this one:
You always seem to know exactly what I need to read when I need to read it! Thank you for your work. I really appreciate your ideas and your way of expressing yourself. You help a lot of people; of that, I’m sure.
Apparently I was unaware of my oracular powers. Should I move to Greece, or is that bad timing? And another:
Thank you for making me smile this am on the train into Essex. Ovaries not balls ha ha! You shed more light on the contraceptive pill, read an article once on how the pill may make women lose their attractive edge…polarity..magnetism…whatever you wanna call that while on the pill and the ’scent of kin’ rather than a sense of polarity to compliment each other makes sense to me. Thank you. Love from London town
Essex! Rhymes with… Wessex! Can’t think of anything else it rhymes with. I like this one:
How then do you explain the many poor dating decisions that are made without being on the pill and the good ones that are made while on? I just don’t buy the pill argument. Mind over matter.
Well, yes. And it turns out that mind is also made of matter, which kinda matters if you give it mind. And my favorite:
Can I just tell you how happy I am that you wrote this piece? I think about this topic a lot. The way you research your articles and books is mind blowing (literally, and that’s a good thing). You back everything up, not with just anecdotal stories, but current scientific research and ancient wisdom that has stood up for centuries. Wow.
I happen to believe the “progress” referred to in the title has been good and appropriate along the path to real balance, even with its attendant “dirty little secrets.” But as your points illustrate, we aren’t “there” yet with the women’s movement. Let’s assess where it stands today (because for sure we aren’t finished yet because we aren’t fulfilled yet) and we need to see the stuff we didn’t realize when we tried to BE a man in a misguided attempt to be valued equally to a man. Sure, we sooooo needed the progress that has been made so far, but now a slight correction might be the next step, and you describe so wonderfully well where we might begin to make those corrections. Maybe not everyone will give up the Pill, but it’s something to think about – I had no idea that it might have those effects on me. And #2 and #3 are no brainers for me.
Fantastic article! Thanks!
And thank you!
So all of this made me wonder why I bother writing this stuff. The simplest version is that I’m here to help you flourish. Liberation and empowerment are a big part of that.
So, keeping that in mind, let’s re-state the ideas from the last post into more generalized terms:
1) Think hard about any systemic drug that you need to take indefinitely. It is more likely to enslave you than empower you.
Drugs can do a lot of good. Had antibiotics existed, Beethoven, Schubert and John Keats would have lived even longer, more productive lives, and I would have had more cool symphonies, quartets and odes to enjoy.
On the other hand, I’m not a fan of drugs you have to take forever just to be okay (with the notable exception of insulin and perhaps a couple of others). Nobody has done a drug trial forever, and who knows what happens when you take a drug for 10, 20, 30 years.
The pill’s been a boon to billions of women. Where you used to writhe in agony, doubled over in pain for 8 days of the month, now it’s smooth sailing all the way. Better mood, better productivity, more peace of mind.
I’m also saying that, like all good things, the pill is not 100% totally hunky-dory awesome in every way. There are costs associated with using it which are measurable, quantifiable and undeniable. You should know about them.
You shouldn’t take my word for it — test if for yourself. If you go off the pill for 3 months and your love life changes dramatically for the better, you’ve learned something new. And if not, you can go to status quo ante bellum.
2) The acquisition and exercise of certain skills can make you a more empowered, attractive and fulfilled person.
Such skills are their own reward. Cooking, massage, sexual know-how, playing the piano — all of these enrich your life and those around you.
3) You’re more effective when you move from the center of your power.
If you’re a tiger, you’re better on ground that in water. If you’re a dolphin, you’re better in the water than on dry land. If you’re a man, you’re more empowered centering yourself in masculine energy. If you’re a woman, you’re stronger with feminine energy. Use the home-court advantage.
All the best