Saturday, March 06, 2004

American Experience | The Pill

I finally got around to watching the PBS special American Experience | The Pill that I ordered from interlibrary loan forever ago. And I have to say that I was seriously disappointed. I know that it was just an hour special that aired on Public Television, but there was a glaring lack of serious critique of the people behind the pill, the social and political implications, and the testing practices involved. There was never a mention of eugenics anywhere near Margaret Sanger who was hailed as the savior of women all over the world. No one said anything about what it meant that the pill (with dangerous levels of hormones) was initially tested on women in the housing projects of Puerto Rico. And there was only a brief mention of why African American women who had been the victims of sterilization abuse in the south for years were skeptical of the pill. I also found it interesting that the documentary claims that the only African Americans who were opposed to the pill were those belonging to "militant black power organizations".

I was disappointed that the sections on Puerto Ricans and African American women can be missed if you blink twice. It's interesting that while there are numerous white women who took the pill when it was first approved were interviewed but not one African American or Puerto Rican woman (or anyone from the families of the women who died during the trials) were interviewed. Just some initial reactions, but I won't talk too much about it because I see that it is being aired on PBS again on March 22 at 9 p.m. so I'll let you judge for yourself.

cross posted on my blog

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