In her article “The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others,” Donna Haraway briefly addresses the Human Genome Project.  Haraway argues that while the HGP claims its aim is to gain an absolute understanding of natural processes in the human body, it is in effect obtaining the means to also modify and/or control these processes, possibly for eugenics purposes.  This gain in knowledge on how certain biological and natural processes operate, has in fact, historically led to oppression and control over reproductive capacities for specific disadvantaged populations, namely African American women.  When it was first discovered and produced, birth control pills were not initially a solution to hindering some yesteryear version of “16 and Pregnant.”  On the contrary, birth control was used as a solution to keep black women from having too many children.  It was thought, by white, privileged society, that those damn black folks were having too many kids ::sarcasm::.  But they really did think that.  Damn it, they even convinced some black people it was a good idea.  They were poor after all.  Why should poor people have more babies?  They shouldn’t have any say over their own bodies because they chose to be poor!  Right?  Right?  Wrong.  Didn’t anyone stop to think that a history of extreme racism and sexism had an enormous impact on the disadvantageous financial outcomes for black women?  And that societal moves to control natural processes in black women’s bodies was  necessarily a way to ensure white power and a black minority?  I guess some people probably did.  But it was just really disappointing for me to learn about the racist and sexist history of birth control pills.  I’ve been on them for 5 years and I swear they saved my life.  My period used to leave my incapacitated for several days out of the month, but my pill changed that.  It also somehow managed to remove a plum-sized cyst from my right ovary.  I love the pill.  But I hate its history.

-Stephanie Halsted

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