Mar. 15th, 2010

bloodyrosemccoy: (Ha)
Here’s another reason I like my job:

Today at work I didn’t have much to shelve, because on Mondays the guy who’s there before me gets MANIC. So I spent a chunk of my time there with the rest of the desk people, passing around a pamphlet someone had dumped in the drop about a REVOLUTIONARY NEW birth control method.

The pamphlet was written in 1935.*

Alas, we are planning to keep it at work,** but I am going to work hard to obtain a copy for y’all, because it’s terrific. It starts with a rant about how there will probably be sexual degenerates—sadists and sodomites and pederasts and the like—forever, but that the people who do perverted sexual things solely to avoid pregnancy are at last saved from that because now they have a FOOLPROOF method of natural and ethical birth control. This is good, the pamphlet tells us, because right now a lot of society’s undesirables keep having undesirable babies, and it’s really too bad because once you get pregnant you can’t get rid of the baby even in the name of eugenics. Also, after enough pregnancies women become shriveled husks who can do nothing useful.

It also rather delicately explains the process of sex, using terms like “the male organ.” It does sort of tell you about the female system, by which I mean it notes that there’s no need to go into detail, but the female organs include the following parts—then it just has a list of terms.

So what is this revolutionary method of birth control for the greater good of society? It’s not the pull-out method—in fact, they condemn this as being a shock to the nervous system and a cause of melancholia and neurasthenia. No, it’s—come on, you expected this—THE RHYTHM METHOD. As long as you understand a woman’s fertile and infertile periods, there’s no chance of pregnancy, because you know when to have sex and when not to. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Well, almost. First, though, our authors feel the need to reassure us that even with this foolproof method of reproduction, which is being published in an expensive pamphlet during the Great Depression, they’re pretty sure that society won’t suddenly peter out due to lack of children. Women and men love children, after all, so naturally one would assume that, even though they know how not to ever have children, once or twice through their lives they may choose to copulate on a day when she’s fertile and conceive a child.

I’ll give them one thing: they were right about humanity not suddenly disappearing.

Now I’m wondering what pamphlets will survive 75 years from now, and how amusing they’ll be. I’m hoping some future person gets hold of that one we got in eighth grade health class about Abstinence Only, because it had the greatest cover illustration I've ever seen. You can't go wrong with a photo of the crotch of a pair of jeans, with a giant chain through the belt loops and a huge padlock over the fly. There’s no way that will be laughable in the future.

*And it says on the cover it costs 50¢, which, was a lot of money back then—after we did the math, we decided must come to about four hundred million adjusted dollars. I think this might have hurt their cause a bit, because I’m pretty sure the “undesirable” people they’re really aiming the pamphlet at could fall broadly under the category of “the Poor.”

**Not actually as part of the library material, but you just can’t throw something like that away.


bloodyrosemccoy: (Default)

July 2016

3 456789

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 23rd, 2017 08:39 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios