The Power of the Pill in the late 60s

“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” Mary Dore’s documentary of The Women’s Movement

06 March 2015 | By Reverend Irene Monroe

I’ve always contended that the Pill was one of the main contributors to many if not all of the upheavals of the 60s, not just the women’s movement that got started then. When Margaret Sanger, who felt that women should be allowed to pursue sex with the same sense of abandon as men, combined with Dr. Gregory Pincus, a biologist expert in mammalian birth, combined to create a birth control pill as easy to take as an aspirin, it changed the game entirely.  Many women recognized the power of being able to change their reproductive cycle from random chance to a matter of choice, and all the ways they could exert it on the world around them, especially socially. In the 60s, before the scourge of HIV and the lack of incurable, and possible life-threatening sexually-transmitted disease, this change introduced what was considered in many places a scandalous return to the sexual freedoms of the Garden of Eden, pre-fall.

As young men from the Midwest, we began to notice this new attitude when we were hired to work for a year doing shows at a ritzy topless night club in San Francisco’s North Beach, original home of the West Coast beatniks. Women were the instigators now. The saying “men proposed, women depose” wasn’t always true. The girls could also propose and decide the outcome of sexual encounters. Females taking off their tops in San Francisco was no longer hidden in sleazy strip clubs populated by lonely men in raincoats, but featured in the heart of the City’s nightlife. Audiences were filled with ‘date night’ couples, men in suits and women arrayed in top couture come to view the Topless Insurgency.

Four miles south of us in Haight Ashbury, the Peace and Love movement flourished, however it seems obvious to me that  ‘free love’ would have drowned itself in a sea of offspring if the ability of the girls and women there had been unable control pregnancy. Much of that movement was driven by the ethos of women, that love could conquer all, who wouldn’t have been able to take that leadership role if not able to postpone childbearing.

However, as the author of this article, points out, it wasn’t all romance either.

“March is Women’s History Month and Mary Dore’s documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry helps us celebrate, remember, and cheer one of our most vilified sheroes of the last century, The Women’s Movement.

Zooming in on the years 1966 to 1971, Dore excavated the archival images of the birth of the movement. She captures the spirit, soul and fire of these fiercely courageous, brilliant and badass feminists who were fighting for the very same issues we fight for today – our right to control our bodies, and our struggle for freedom and equality. We stand on the shoulders of these mighty warriors.

And who said feminists aren’t any fun? Dore documents the hilarity, excitement, outright boldness and scandalous moments of the movement.”

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/discover-bold-brilliant-badass-feminists-60s060315#sthash.mSRFc4l9.dpuf

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