Tag Archives: feminism

50th Anniversary of the Pill: Are we liberated yet?

5 Feb

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the pill. In 1961 the FPA Medical Advisory Committee approved the use of the Pill in its clinics. Forty percent of women in the UK today are using the contraceptive pill as a form of birth control.

Whilst this form of contraception is credited with changing women’s attitudes towards sex, it is still sometimes seen as a taboo. Was it sexually liberating or did it give women less choice?


I spoke to feminist author and head of Cultural Studies at Leeds Met University, Ruth Robbins, on her views on changing attitudes through the years.

“There’s an assumption that the pill made a sudden and absolute change. But the sexual revolution didn’t happen overnight, it was much more of a gradual process.”

“It’s not true as Philip Larkin said that sexual intercourse was invented in 1963.”

“Many GP’s were very conservative and thought the pill should be only available to married women. Women would have to demonstrate that their husband was in agreement with them using it”.

“Yes, the pill enables women to take much more control over their sexuality. But it also makes it easier for men to exploit female sexuality.”

“When I talk to young women today i often wonder how free women really are.”


Spokesperson for BPAS, Clare Murphy, told me that it is important that women know their options and are comfortable with what they are using.

“Now compared with 50 years ago the number of contraceptives on the market is immense.”

“It was introduced at a time legal abortion wasn’t available, so it was a massive relief to women. Many were prepared to put up with some of the quite serious affects.”

“It’s had an up and down ride, every decade has seen a new health scare over the pill. The most recent being the 1990’s, when the pill was linked to thrombosis.

“Many women ditched pills and this led to many unwanted pregnancies.”

“Now there’s no real reason why women should have to go to the doctor and obtain their pill, it’s very suitable for most women.”

“It’s interesting that we still like to retain control over this method, we aren’t comfortable with the fact that it is so obtainable. There’s still some moralising.”

I’m a Closet Essex Girl

2 Nov

When hearing of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ I thought it would be something I would HATE. I hate the X Factor, I hate Big Brother, I basically hate anything of that genre.

Today I was feeling a little under the weather, so rinsed 4od of every remaining programme I hadn’t already watched (Already seen Virgin Diaries, Teen Undertaker, Taking Prince Harry…). For a change, I thought I would cheat on 4od and head over to ITV Iplayer.

My head was aching and I wanted a complete break from having to think, so clicked on The Only Way Is Essex.

Well, I can tell you that it genuinely left me craving a spray tan. At first, I had a good old giggle at everyone. Texting a friend, “There can’t seriously be people like this?”

Yet, as I got to episode 4 (I was dedicated) I found myself transfixed by their world. I too wanted to wear false nails, spend my afternoon spray tanning and dress in Lipsy. Minus the ‘playa’ boyfriend, this was the life for me.

Or maybe not. I will be honest, I have flirted with the lifestyle. Regular trips to the beauty salon to result in blotchy tan and monstrous talons.


I looked at the ‘Garnier summer body light sun-kissed look’ on my shelf and decided I needed to use the entire bottle tonight and run round the field next to my flat to achieve the look.

My hair is nowhere near big enough, and I definitely need to start referring to friends as ‘darl’, describing ‘haters’ as ‘jel’ and falling out with everyone I know at the Essex fashion show, just to make friends again the next day.

Or… I could just blog about it, carry on reading the papers, maybe paint my nails a subtle autumnal mushroom shade and be done with the whole idea. I’m quite content with my love of Blake and Sylvia Plath.


Not sure where that would fit in with my new look. I’ll stick with a happy medium, run round the field next to my home whilst shouting out, “YOU DO NOT DO, YOU DO NOT DO, ANYMORE BLACK SHOE!”

After all, isn’t this the new wave of feminism? We can be whatever we want to be as long as we are comfortable. I wouldn’t turn Essex for a ‘playa’, I’d do it for my own girlish pleasure.

Lots of Love,

Journo Barbie