Theology of the Body Thursday #11: The Pill for Men?

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Recently I was reading America and the Pill (stay tuned for a review). Chapter 5 of the book talks in great detail about the attempts to create a birth control pill for men. Just this week, we have seen studies show that the Pill for women may be connected to a rare form of brain cancer. This book brought up some interesting reasons why a birth control pill for men has never been created and sold.

It is not a matter of science. As they were developing the pill for women, the scientists gave the pill to men in an insane asylum just for the heck of it. Before you judge, rules and regulations surrounding testing on humans were much looser in those days, everyone was doing stuff like that and no one thought it was wrong. Anyway, the tests helped scientists develop many ideas on how to make a pill for men with mixed success. Shortly after the pill was released for women, scientists predicted that a pill would be out for men within a few years. Well, it’s been 58 years and we’re still waiting.

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Why?

In past generations, pharmaceutical companies were worried that men wouldn’t take it. No point in committing man-power and money to a pill that won’t sell. Why wouldn’t they take it? Because they linked their fertility to their masculinity. Being sterile would make the man feel like less of a man.

This argument killed the pill for men, but it didn’t kill the pill for women and our fertility is an even bigger deal. Our entire bodies are in it. Our moods and physiology are completely wrapped up in our cycles. When new life is created, our bodies change to make room and to be prepared for motherhood once the child is born. How is it that men associated their masculinity with their fertility, but women had a much easier time throwing their fertility away?

This is not as much an issue in today’s generation. Today’s men do not associate their masculinity with their fertility. Some men in the survey conducted by the author in America and the Pill even welcomed such a change. (However, a recent article in The Guardian argues differently.)

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So, where is it? Male scientists didn’t and still don’t want to expose men to the risks. They don’t want to expose men to the side effects. All of the formulas that were tested in the beginning on men had the same side effects as the women’s pill. But when the women test subjects complained about side effects, they were written off and ignored. Scientists thought they were exaggerating or that the effects were psychosomatic. Silly women! When the male subjects complained, the offending formula was thrown out. God forbid we mess with a man’s sex drive!

Notice: Sex-related pills for men work to make them more virile while pills for women suppress our fertility and our sex drive.

I have to ask along with Matt Walsh, where is the feminist rage? It’s no surprise that women were written off in the 50s as being silly, but why are women being written off now when the pill that many use can give them brain cancer!

And why are we willing to give up our fertility so easily? Because we can die bringing life into the world? Because women are still given the bulk of the responsibility in child-rearing? Because, as the aforementioned Matt Walsh pointed out, we’ve been sold on the lie that our worth is based on our job? We have gone from one extreme of expecting all women to be mothers to the other expecting all women to be sterile.

Let’s find a balance. Let’s respect the woman who has 4 kids before she’s 30. Let’s respect the woman who runs a Fortune 500 company. Let’s respect the woman who, for no fault of her own, cannot have children.

LET’S

RESPECT

WOMEN.

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