The male birth control pill is not a feminist issue

Paul Raven @ 29-04-2008

Contraceptive pill blister packGeorge Dvorsky has a lengthy post discussing the development of the Male Birth Control Pill … or rather the lack of development, which he puts down to a number of factors including male reticence and reluctance from the big pharmacological companies. And militant feminists, too:

“For those men who truly don’t want to have children—something that is completely within their rights—the MBCP will help them achieve that level of control.

And again, female claims that this will allow men to forever shirk their paternal responsibilities and live in perpetual adolescence are not just gross generalizations, but sexist statements of the highest order.”

Now, I’m pretty positive Dvorsky is overstating the case here so as to provoke some discussion; it wouldn’t be the first time (e.g. “meat-eaters are bad people“), and I can’t think of any women I know who’d argue the line described above.

But the issue of complete control over the functions of one’s own body that Dvorsky raises – his central theme as a transhumanist – is an interesting one, because it has wider implications. Moving towards equality, across lines of gender or otherwise, may come with costs as well as gains at an individual level.

What do we want to gain, and what are we prepared to give up for it? [image by Beppie K]