Gendering Of Contraception Essay, Research Paper
Would you like to be on the receiving end of a snakeskin condom?
Men and women have been using birth control for thousands of years. Typically though if you look to the past there has been a big difference in how and why contraception was used for the opposite sexes. Focus on actual birth control in history was mainly up to the woman, while men’s contraception was focused on preventing disease. This can be taken back to one of the earliest known uses of the condom. Roman soldiers used sheepskin condoms not to prevent pregnancy but to fight disease. Documentation of the Chinese on the other hand shows that 4000 years ago woman in the culture were drinking mercury to prevent pregnancy. This is a continuing trend. Findings in the past not only show that there was a difference in the use of contraception between the sexes but there was also a distinct comfort ability level of the devices themselves. One example you can find of this is Casanova’s use of a linen condom, not saying that its comfort ability compares to male condoms of today, but most would find it more soothing than a female device of the time deemed the “box”. Ladies of the time period would insert the “box”, a 6-sided concaved wooden object, inside their vagina hoping to block whatever semen might try to escape. Needless to say the “box” was declared a torture device and its use was stopped.
Even to this day contraception has been more focused on the female. When you think of possible male contraception techniques only three exist, a fourth hormonal technique being in development. The three include use of the condom, withdrawal, and vasectomy. On the other hand when u look at what options the female has the list is numerous. A few being jellies, female condoms, pessaries, intrauterine devices, condoms, birth control pills, and barriers. The reason for this? It is possibly society’s outlook on females as being the birth giver and thus being seen as the one who should control birth. Or it may possibly be the outlook on the power of the male penis, it being a tool for “planting the seed”. In any case Contraception throughout history up until this day has been flooded with inequalities.