Author: has written 5285 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

41 Responses

  1. Kate
    Kate May 28, 2007 at 2:01 pm |

    According to Wikipedia, Leslee Unruh actually had an abortion when she was a young woman, and if left her so wracked by guilt that she now feels the need to “protect” other women from abortion.

    Because everyone’s life experiences are definitely going to mirror hers, and there’s no way any other woman might have a legitimate excuse for having an abortion.

    What a fucking hypocritical bitch.

  2. Raine
    Raine May 28, 2007 at 2:09 pm |

    Is that a giant black flower that she’s wearing?

  3. The Girl Detective
    The Girl Detective May 28, 2007 at 2:18 pm |

    I love the argument that we need to deny the entire population a particular substance because of the chance that 12 year-olds might get their hands on it. According to that logic, we also need to ban alcohol (again), cigarettes, and heavy machinery.

    Also, if Unruh wants to talk about what God did or didn’t intend, maybe someone should ask her about her natural hair color.

  4. Danyell
    Danyell May 28, 2007 at 2:18 pm |

    I’m not saying that this woman isn’t wacky, but I still think this pill is creepy and possibly unsafe.

  5. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil May 28, 2007 at 2:41 pm |

    I have to say the “oh my stars, we’re playing GOD” argument is a complete non-starter. Taken to its logical conclusion, we should scrap all of modern medicine, agriculture, etc. until we’re back being hunter-gatherers willing to die of pneumonia, measles, and exposure. Sheesh.

  6. micheyd
    micheyd May 28, 2007 at 2:51 pm |

    Unsafe in what way Danyell? It’s not like the period you get on the regular pill is a real period – it’s withdrawal bleeding that was only put in to attempt to placate the Catholic church (no, seriously). Mine on the low-dose pill is barely a drop a day.

    Women have also already been doing this with regular pills (by skipping the last week) for ages, often with the blessing of physicians. I just don’t get why we are supposed to freak out about this when it’s virtually the same thing as regular hormonal contraception.

  7. The Girl Detective
    The Girl Detective May 28, 2007 at 3:19 pm |

    Also, if Unruh wants to talk about what God did or didn’t intend, maybe someone should ask her about her natural hair color.

    Just to be clear, I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the “natural vs. unnatural” argument, not making fun of people who dye their hair. Sorry, I just realized that what I said was pretty vague.

  8. JustAnotherJane
    JustAnotherJane May 28, 2007 at 3:41 pm |

    In addition to the fact that this is no different from the function & ingredients of a regular birth control pill, I’m annoyed by the fact that no one seems to be talking about how this pill is not going to work for all women. I’ve tried to go continuous on birth control pills many times and unfortunately i get such bad breakthrough bleeding it is actually easier for me to just have a period break every 3 months or so, rather than deal with all the unscheduled bleeding. While I’m unlucky, I know I’m not THAT uncommon of a case because my gyn said she sees this frequently with her patients. So I really wonder, how successful will women be in 100% stopping all bleeding — or am I just even more unlucky than I thought?

    Anyhow I’m super jealous of women who are liberated from the rag, and I just wish I could join them in being unnatural hellions, bringers of the gender-collapsing apocalypse. I’m skeptical of the media talking about ‘health concerns’ – I think it’s just to disguise their fear of women. Afterall, how can they dismiss a woman’s opinions if they can’t tell her she’s just “PMSing” ?

  9. Danyell
    Danyell May 28, 2007 at 4:30 pm |

    micheyd-

    Why is it that I haven’t heard of the “fake period” until these no-period pills came out on the market? Do you have any sources on that from before 2006- or anything that explains what “withdrawal bleeding” actually means? I haven’t found anything that wasn’t from an “article” that was pushing the pill, or in a forum, worded the exact same way.

    I don’t think anyone is “supposed to” freak out about it, but I just don’t feel comfortable not getting a period. And I don’t think I’m a bad feminist for not automatically supporting this product. I also think the media is much more on the “pro” side of this pill than against. Pretty much all coverage I’ve seen has been praising it- but I’m not surprised. They do the same for any pill that comes out on the market. But it hasn’t been out for that long, and let’s not forget that “the patch” (Ortho Evra) ended up linked to a bunch of health conditions, meanwhile everyone thought it was really great when it first came out. The pill Yazmine caused so many problems that they had to recall it and rerelease it under the name “Yaz”. I just don’t automatically assume that the FDA pausing something makes it safe.

  10. Callie
    Callie May 28, 2007 at 5:03 pm |

    Why is it that I haven’t heard of the “fake period” until these no-period pills came out on the market?

    Because you didn’t ask about it?

    Do you have any sources on that from before 2006- or anything that explains what “withdrawal bleeding” actually means?

    There are hundreds of scientific articles that discuss withdrawal bleeding. Some of the most frequently cited by scholars:

    – “Menstrual Reduction With Extended Use of Combination Oral Contraceptive Pills,” L Miller et al, 2001
    – “Postponement of withdrawal bleeding in women using low-dose combined oral contraceptives,” JV Hamerlynck et al, 1987
    – “Menstruation: choosing whether… and when,” AM Kaunitz, 2000

    There are hundreds of other relevant articles on this but I’ll let you have fun with Google Scholar.

    The pill Yazmine caused so many problems that they had to recall it and rerelease it under the name “Yaz”

    No they didn’t. Yasmin 28 is still on the market. Yaz is a different product with a shorter placebo week.

    You might reconsider where you get your birth control info.

  11. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom May 28, 2007 at 5:07 pm |

    I’m not saying that this woman isn’t wacky, but I still think this pill is creepy and possibly unsafe

    You need to be sure to ask for the brand without the Extra Shards O’Glass in it.
    Do any of you youngsters (that is, those of you who are youngsters) know just how envious this thirty-eight-year-old woman is of anyone who can take advantage of the no-bleeding pill? I calculate that I’ve spent a solid three years of my life bleeding, not even counting postpartum bleeding. Three years of menstruation. That is fucking ridiculous, another one of evolution’s little tag-ends, like blind spots and appendixes (appendices? What is the proper plural for the anatomic term as opposed to the book-related one? And what is the non-hyphenated word I’m trying to find that means “book-related”?).

  12. Callie
    Callie May 28, 2007 at 5:24 pm |

    Appendices it is.

    Ledasmom, I’m still a youngster but I hear you.

    I missed an average of two days of school a month as a middle schooler from heavy, horrible periods that lasted for over a week at a time. I also quit sports because the periods were so bad.

    So I took the pill, and it was like a miracle for me. It would have been even better had there been a no-period option. 12-year-old me should not have had to deal with any of that crap.

  13. exangelena
    exangelena May 28, 2007 at 5:26 pm |

    Well, if the no-period pill is safe, then I see no reason why not to take it. I don’t feel like I must be a slave to my biology – and frankly, I really hate staggering around with cramps and having to worry about leaking when I’m at work or school – and I don’t feel like I’ll be less of a woman if I don’t have a period.

  14. exangelena
    exangelena May 28, 2007 at 5:27 pm |

    Well, if the no-period pill is safe, then I see no reason why not to take it. I don’t feel like I must be a slave to my biology – and frankly, I really hate staggering around with cramps and having to worry about leaking when I’m at work or school – and I don’t feel like I’ll be less of a woman if I don’t have a period.

  15. exangelena
    exangelena May 28, 2007 at 5:30 pm |

    Sorry for the double post (maybe a moderator can delete it?), and I am suspicious of Big Pharma, but most of the “concerns” in the MSN about the no-period pill are basically sentimental, gender-essentialist, “oh no! but … but women are *supposed* to have periods!” garbage.

  16. Mary
    Mary May 28, 2007 at 5:46 pm |

    This is coming to another “if you don’t support it, you don’t have to do it” argument. Whether or not I’m on the pill is not going to affect Sally down the street. If Sally doesn’t trust the pill, loves her period, and hates big pharma then it’s her choice not to take it. Just like abortions don’t snatch your babies during the night, you can still have all the babies and menstruating you want while I decide not to.

  17. Michelle
    Michelle May 28, 2007 at 6:16 pm |

    Those cries of “More babies, more babies!” are going to haunt my dreams tonight.

  18. Danyell
    Danyell May 28, 2007 at 6:22 pm |

    Mary, I think you’re totally right.

    Callie, thanks for the info.

    Maybe we can all try to voice our opinions a little more civilly.

  19. Callie
    Callie May 28, 2007 at 6:41 pm |

    Maybe we can all try to voice our opinions a little more civilly.

    Are you trying to tell someone specifically that they’re not being civil? This thread seems perfectly civilized to me.

  20. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne May 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm |

    Why is it that I haven’t heard of the “fake period” until these no-period pills came out on the market?

    Considering that Cynthia Heimel made a reference to it back when she was touting the superiority of the diaphraghm as a birth control method in Sex Tips for Girls way back in the mid-1980s, I always thought it was general knowledge. Is it a generational thing (I’m 37)?

  21. micheyd
    micheyd May 28, 2007 at 7:26 pm |

    Is it a generational thing (I’m 37)?

    Maybe, I am early 20s and only heard about the origin of the “pill period” after I had been on the pill for 3 years. I was actually quite surprised.

    Funnily enough, I’m taking a progestin now to *induce* my freakin’ period because I’m off the pill and haven’t had it in 6 months! I figure a couple of real periods like the good old days and I’ll be running back to get on the OCPs again.

  22. Anne
    Anne May 28, 2007 at 7:28 pm |

    I’m 28 and I didn’t know that the periods on the pill were “fake” until a few years ago, when I read about it at The Well-Timed Period.

  23. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom May 28, 2007 at 9:03 pm |

    Appendices it is

    Interestingly, the OED (yes, the OED that was six inches from my chair that I didn’t pick up and look in when in doubt about plurals, because I am exceptionally lazy) gives both plurals, but all the examples of plural usage for the anatomical term have “appendices”, whereas there are examples for both “appendixes” and “appendices” for the book term.
    There may be a clarification in the supplements, which I am not checking (see above, “lazy”: Averse to labour, indisposed to action or effort; idle; inactive, slothful).

  24. Sarah in Chicago
    Sarah in Chicago May 28, 2007 at 9:11 pm |

    I knew that the periods on birth control were ‘fake’ years ago when I studied the history of contraception and learnt about how it was crafted to appease the Catholic Church.

    What a number of studies have hypothesised is that the cell-division that we have so much of now each month thanks to being on the pill, we have a greater risk of cancer. We have evolved to be pregnant for most of our adults lives and our bodies simply have not arranged themselves to safely cell-divide and bled each and every month.

    Actually having no, or way less, periods is actually more ‘natural’ for our bodies. Now, admittedly, this was ages ago that I studied things, so this may have changed since then, but it fits with all these new birth controls coming out.

  25. LS
    LS May 28, 2007 at 11:08 pm |

    Is it a generational thing (I’m 37)?

    Possibly it’s a “lousy health education” thing. The way the pill was explained in my classes (I’m 25) was that it was a dose of progesterone that would fool your body into thinking it was pregnant, so it would neither menstruate nor release more eggs. Once a month you took a placebo to allow the body to clean out.

    The phrase “clean out” was actually used, and implied that there was an endometrial lining that built up and there was a strong implication that the “cleansing” was necessary or the lining would simply continue to build and build every month until it completely clogged the uterus. Silly, when you think about it – it builds up prior to the ovum release, and would stop during a pregnancy – but 13-18 year olds are not known for logical thinking about subjects which make them giggle.

    Actually, the poor way the pill was taught about in schools convinced me that I was decidedly not going on it until I was sexual active on a regular basis. Because, thought 15-year-old I, the body could not possibly be designed to handle “getting pregnant” and then “miscarrying” every month. Although cramps nearly drove me to get it for theraputic purposes. Ugh.

  26. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne May 28, 2007 at 11:14 pm |

    Possibly it’s a “lousy health education” thing.

    Very probably. I think my cohort was one of the last to get AIDS-fueled, very detailed sex education before everyone decided that abstinence-only was the way to go. We were the teenagers who got to read the pamphlet from Surgeon General C. Everett Koop with exact details about which behaviors were the most risky. Scared me off from ANY sex for several years after that ….

  27. Meri
    Meri May 28, 2007 at 11:35 pm |

    I’d so go on a no-period pill in a heartbeat if I didn’t have a high chance of breakthrough bleeding. The first two hormone birth control varieties I tried still left me with fucking five day mostly heavy periods, minus the previously debilitating cramps, until my hormone dosage got upped, and it came down to three light to moderate. With that background, my gyno was fairly certain that the lower dosage extended use pills wouldn’t be that effective. Sucks so very much, especially since my period tends to coincide with trips and vacations (especially ones where sex might be involved) much higher than should be likely.

  28. JustAnotherJane
    JustAnotherJane May 29, 2007 at 12:07 am |

    Meri — I’m sorry to hear you’ve had similar disappointments to me in trying to suppress periods. See my comment way up there regarding this.

    Let’s commiserate together! I feel your pain………I’m hoping to eventually get tubal ligation + endometrial ablation, except the latter has a certain incidence of regrowth & needing to have the procedure repeated, but I’d be willing to do it a few times if I had to.

  29. Mary
    Mary May 29, 2007 at 6:36 am |

    I’d so go on a no-period pill in a heartbeat if I didn’t have a high chance of breakthrough bleeding. The first two hormone birth control varieties I tried still left me with fucking five day mostly heavy periods, minus the previously debilitating cramps, until my hormone dosage got upped, and it came down to three light to moderate. With that background, my gyno was fairly certain that the lower dosage extended use pills wouldn’t be that effective. Sucks so very much, especially since my period tends to coincide with trips and vacations (especially ones where sex might be involved) much higher than should be likely.

    I feel you! My periods were 7-9 days of bleeding like I nicked an artery before I started the pill, then the cramps started coming when I was 18 and had never had them before. I got my butt on the pill later that year and the cramps went away but 6 years later I have spotting a week before my now 7 days of medium flow. I can thankfully successfully skip periods with the pill (even with triphasic pills!) but I can’t figure out why I’m getting the spotting even when I tried a different pill.

    I really envy those girls who complain about 2-3 day periods. We weren’t taught in health class that periods could be this dang long- it was always 2-5 days! Bastards.

  30. TinaH
    TinaH May 29, 2007 at 8:20 am |

    I love, love, love, love not having a period.

  31. Meri
    Meri May 29, 2007 at 8:45 am |

    JustAnotherJane – Commiseration! My mom had an endometrial cryoablation last year after her periods started to get really weird heavy and irregular on her. I still have no idea if I ever want to have kids yet, so anything like a tubal litigation or ablation are still a long way down the road for me. (Plus I’m poor as dirt.)

    Mary – Yeah, before the pill, I would the week long (sometimes more) periods, with an irregular amount of time between them. And it really sucked when they started out of the blue in the middle of class in high school.

  32. philosophizer
    philosophizer May 29, 2007 at 11:05 am |

    …she’s screaming “More babies!” because she wants seconds, right?

  33. zuzu
    zuzu May 29, 2007 at 12:08 pm |

    I’d love to have no more periods, too. I get them every 22 days. Unfortunately, I have had no success on any version of the pill I’ve tried — if I don’t get an extra week of PMS symptoms, I bleed for an entire month because I took a dose about an hour later than the allotted time.

    Right now, I’m just hoping for early menopause.

  34. Property of a Lady » Why the patriarchy wants us to have periods

    […] 5/29/2007 Why the patriarchy wants us to have periods Probably you’ve already heard about the “controversial” new birth control […]

  35. Bunny
    Bunny May 29, 2007 at 1:58 pm |

    When I get my period it’s so heavy I go through 3-4 superheavy rags during the day and need to get up in the night for a change. I also suffer massive bloating, crippling abdominal pains (on a couple of occasions a particularly bad one made my legs buckle from under me) an increase in headaches and a sudden rush of spots all over my face and neck. I don’t know whether pills will take care of ALL the things I hate about my period but I for one would love to wave bye-bye to my regular bleeding sessions.

    And Leslee Unruh is one scary, scary lady. Do you think they get special training for “do not let anyone else get a word in edgewise because having the manners of a pig during debates makes you look credible”?

  36. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe May 29, 2007 at 2:33 pm |

    What’s the deal with that smile of hers? Botox, or brainwashing?

  37. m00nstar
    m00nstar May 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm |

    I’m 25, got decent sex ed at school and at home, read all the inserts that came along with my first pack of pills, and am generally fairly well informed… and I had NO IDEA that the bleeding at the end of my cycle was withdrawal bleeding rather than an actual period (until last week). Just like another poster above, I was taught that the pill tricked your body into thinking it was in the very early stages of pregnancy, which is why you didn’t ovulate.

    I guess when teaching girls about this kind of stuff using real information would have damaged our little brains, or our uterii, which of course, would have been much, much worse.

  38. ahunt
    ahunt May 29, 2007 at 7:36 pm |

    Jill, this is only marginally related, and Brad Wilcox makes me want to claw my eyes out, but I thought you should have a look at this. The review is up at the noxious Weekly Standard and I’m unskilled at linking.

    I have a review of Mark Regnerus’ Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard. Here’s a sample:

    Discussions and debates about teenage sex in America tend to generate more heat than light. Religious conservatives protest sex education programs that do not begin to influence our young people as much as the pornification of popular culture, even as secular progressives promote a Swedish-style model of adolescent “sexual health” that does not begin to reckon with the emotional import of teen sex, particularly for girls. Rarely do advocates on both sides of the issue–not to mention observers in the media–take a sober, honest look at what is really happening on the ground to our nation’s teens in this domain of life…

    …In Red America, especially in the South, Regnerus finds that teenagers–particularly teenagers hailing from evangelical Protestant homes–are more likely to hold traditional beliefs about sex. Sex is supposed to be reserved for marriage… But Regnerus also finds that, despite their avowed sexual traditionalism, Southern teens–including evangelical teens–typically end up losing their virginity before teens who hail from the North, particularly Jewish and mainline Protestant teens.

    In Blue America, by contrast, teenagers–especially those hailing from Jewish and mainline Protestant homes–do not necessarily object in principle to premarital sex. As Clint, an 18-year-old mainline Protestant from Michigan, puts it, “There’s no reason . . . that, you know, you should save yourself for marriage in every single instance. . . . You know it’s, it’s a situational thing.”

    But surprisingly, teens from the North (and, again, especially Jewish and mainline Protestant teens like Clint) are more likely to abstain from sex, despite their avowed sexual progressivism. Indeed, in spite of his flexible sexual morality, Clint is a virgin who reports that he is glad he hasn’t found himself in “that situation”–that is, having sex–because it’s “one less thing to worry about.”

    There’s more.

  39. Lisa
    Lisa May 30, 2007 at 12:53 pm |

    Wow, I’m really confused now. The largest feminist-run Women’s Health Center in my (large) city encourages women to use the diaphragm instead of the pill (depending on the woman’s ability to use it correctly and other factors), and strongly advocates against any contraception that allows you not to menstruate.

    I agree that the “as nature intended” argument is bullshit (so is the argument that we should be having fewer periods; as I’ve been told, that comes from the rationale that women in other times used to get married sooner and have a lot more babies). But I still think we need to be critical of drug corporations and recognize that some of these options are still quite new, so we are perhaps not fully aware of the long term effects.

  40. Danyell
    Danyell May 31, 2007 at 4:31 pm |

    The new info I’ve been getting on “withdrawal bleeding” has actually not made me want to support this new pill more, but all BC pills less. I’m just not really sure what to think anymore. Everyone used to agree that menstruated every month was healthy, and now everyone’s saying that it isn’t and might not even be necessary. Are they going to discover in another 10 years that they were wrong, and now it is healthy and necessary again? I don’t even know where to go for a clear answer.

    I also think a healthy skepticism of Big Pharma is a good idea. But it has to be balanced against decades of research.

    Jill, I’m just a little confused why I need more research not to trust Big Pharma, than I do to trust it. Then again, I suppose it doesn’t require any research to just trust something blindly. Considering all the mixed messages I’ve been getting, I’m not sure who to trust.

    Funny thing though, when I read the blog post on Feministing, com, the comments seem to be largely opposed to Lybrel, where here they are largely in favor. I wonder what makes the difference.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.