Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2015

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

History

Number of Pages

90

First Advisor

Barnett, Lydia

Abstract

The birth control pill was invented in the 1950s by Dr. Gregory Pincus, which dramatically changed the conversations about birth control and sexuality in America. Other scholars have probed the role of the Pill in terms of: gender relations, sexuality and sexual behavior, feminist literature and activism, government regulation of birth control, the impact on the medical and pharmaceutical worlds, lives of specific individuals involved in the birth control movement, and other areas. This thesis will examine the representations of birth control in the media after the Pill’s release through an analysis of three popular magazines: Time, Ebony, and Ladies Home Journal. These mass circulation magazines catered to different imagined audiences. The divergent representations of the Pill reflect these differences. Nevertheless, the similarities speak to American cultural norms during the sixties. By contextualizing and closely analyzing the discussions about birth control in these magazines, this thesis looks at the historical perception of birth control. This thesis argues that contradictory to the popular notion today, contraception has not always been a symbol of female emancipation.

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