The Flawed Female

It seems pretty cutting edge to be able to put something into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. But in fact, the invention of the IUD dates way, WAY back. Like 2,000 years back when nomads needed a way to keep their female camels from getting pregnant during long journeys across the desert. Apparently camels just couldn’t keep their hands – hooves – off each other. Enter the 1st IUDs. These nomads would stick small rocks up inside a camel’s uterus and these randy creatures could have all the hot, thirsty desert sex they wanted. Yum…

The 1st time I got an IUD was not one of my most pleasant experiences. I’m not camel, after all. My OBGYN insisted that the birth of my son would have stretched my cervix enough to make the placement of the device absolutely painless. So I schlepped my 3-month-old along to the appointment figuring he could sleep next to me in his carseat. Fast forward to me nearly passing out from pain I had only ever experienced 90 days prior. A screaming newborn whom I was unable to comfort as I was spread eagle on the table, feet in stirrups, and being urged by many frazzled nurses to sip my apple juice. Little did I know my son was actually all the birth control I would need…

One of my favorite academic articles of all time is by feminist anthropologist named Emily Martin. In “The Egg and the Sperm” she points out the sexist ways in which we conceive of reproduction. There’s no reason, she tells us, that the egg needs to be thought of as passively penetrated by the strong and fearless sperm. In fact, she explains, the egg is actually aggressive and uses the power of its stickiness to pull the sperm its way and eventually capture these smaller, weaker cells…

Our flawed outlook on reproduction is not surprising based on our history of reproductive science. Before the 18th c, experts believed that there was really just one sex. That women’s sex organs simply underdeveloped and inverted male genitalia. In essence, women were simply less perfect men. Typical.

Published by imworriedmytherapisthatesme

I'm a history-PhD-turned-stay-at-home-mom of three. When I'm not microwaving Trader Joe's meals for my kids, breaking up fights and wiping butts, I like to paint and write. To cope with the endless hours I'm spending with my son doing virtual school, I've abandoned my gouache paints for the more portable, less messy tried but true, paper and ink. While he learns to read to 20 floating heads on his screen, I sit on a tiny chair, at a tiny table pretending to be a productive adult.

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