More Than A Pill?
Before The Pill women did not have a method of birth control that was dependable and safe to use. Women also had no agency in governing their bodies and would become pregnant, whether or not they were ready. With the invention of the oral contraceptive women now had a choice- they could choose to have a family, a career, or both. "The feeling that had no name", which Betty Friedan discussed in the Feminine Mystique was finally cured. Women could now find fulfillment outside of their families and homes. The Pill put women in control of their bodies and lives.
A Sexual Revolution
The invention of The Pill loosened the tie between sex and procreation. Women were now allowed to have a sex life that they enjoyed. Sexuality was glorified especially through Hugh Hefner's magazine, Playboy. Like men, sex for women did not have to be confined to marriage, as they now did not have to worry about becoming pregnant. However, there is still a negative stigma attached to women who have a number of sexual partners while men who sleep around are glorified. Will the age old double standard ever fade away? When will there be an equal conception of men and women when it comes to being sexually active?
The Singles Culture
The postponement of pregnancy that The Pill created promoted a new singles culture. In Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown argues that it is okay form women to marry and have children when they are thirty or even forty years old. She says, "I think marriage is insurance for the worst years of your life. During the best years you don't need a husband". She creates the glamour image of a single woman who is independent and tantalizing. Most women during the 1950s and 1960s were married by the time they were twenty and had a child by the age of twenty-four. The invention of The Pill allowed women to be independent until they were ready to find a husband and settle down. They didn't have to depend on men for anything anymore.
"When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of feminist she finally began to enjoy being a woman"
The Pill was the precursor for the Women's Liberation Movement. It ignited a flame within women and gave them the power to challenge the status quo, just as many other oppressed groups did during the 1960s. The revolution of The Pill endorsed a new lifestyle and allowed women to deviate from the norm. The feelings that The Pill created were eventually incorporated into the "Statement of Purpose" by the National Organization for Women: "The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.