The Pill just sounds like a song that is no fun. Indeed, describing someone as a “pill” is a putdown. But country singer Loretta Lynn in 1975 makes The Pill a singalong for women’s empowerment.
The woman in the song keeps getting pregnant, but not any more, with birth control. The Pill actually goes back to 1960, but was still an edgy topic 15 years later, and probably more so, in more traditionalist country music circles.
Now, not-so-happy homemakers could have more control over their lives, and birth control pills were seen as necessary for the emancipation of women, for their liberation from men – a victory for feminism even if achieved in the lab as opposed to the streets.
By 1970, the U.S. Senate was dealing with a Pill backlash. This was around possible health effects related to taking it. But opposition to the Pill came to be viewed by many feminists as opposition to gender equality. Today, not all women agree, some pointing out a political and cultural side effect being that women came to be unfairly burdened with being near wholly responsible for birth control.
Some other political issues concerning birth control includes the idea that the Pill ushered in a culture of sexual freedom out of step with traditional mores, and that it helped contribute to a declining fertility rate, a problem for countries with aging populations and fewer workers to support such elders. Women would delay childbirth to make valuable contributions to society as professionals, but also lose touch with the biological reality of womanhood and sometimes, until the biological clock stopped ticking.
So many issues raised by a comic country song!
By the way, Loretta Lynn had six children, four of them before the age of 21. First married at 14, she became a grandmother at age 29.