This is not about female interiority. This is about collisions, where private life, body and health find a volatile and polemical interface with politics, access and public life.
2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the Pill.
Time Magazine discusses this moment in history as a point when, although it has been in circulation in its many forms for 50 years, the Pill still creates multiple levels of controversy, skepticism, fear and misunderstanding. It is also a seemingly innocuous little nothing (which can be taken everyday like a multivitamin) – yet it is powerful enough to elicit debate and change the course of women’s history into the 21st Century. As writer Nancy Gibbs suggests, there is no such a thing as The Car, The Fridge, or The Pain Medicine. The Pill, even as a word, implies its own singularity. The Pill is a global icon, with detractors and supporters alike. It is a means to politicize health, and bind laws and bodies. In its earliest conception, it was a “magic pill’, which could change lives and worlds.
The battle for bodies, particularly women’s bodies, is not a new one, and the Pill delves into questions of sex, pleasure, fear and the changing role of women on a global scale. It operates symbolically, taking on traits and characterizations. Myths and stories are told about the pill and its side effects. It is a signifier of promiscuity. It also dangles that elusive notion of choice. Feminist artists have considered menstruation, abortion in their works, where blood and the stigmatization of the body touch on deeply physical realities. The Pill, on the other hand, seems small and safe. The idea of the “Pill” with its easy ingestion and immediate efficacy has metaphoric value in an urbanized India. In a local sense, India has its own complex relationship with family planning and access to sex education, which, when considered with its growing (over)population and its changing demographics in terms of family size, is fertile ground for imagining the future of the Pill.
Text by Avni Doshi