Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Just....Revolutionary!

I watched Revolutionary Road last night on Showtime. I'd seen it in the theatre when it first came out, as well. I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it; and if you have seen it, I highly recommend a second viewing. The second viewing took out the elements of plot surprise; and instead, let me focus on some of the cool cool cinematography, and placement of music, and wonderful period-specific costuming, and acting. Wow - the acting! It was criticized when the movie first came out - they said Kate & Leo did too much yelling, not enough actual acting. But I disagree - and maybe it's that I'm married now - but I thought their fighting was intense & incredibly personal (like that of an actual couple's). While watching, I kept thinking about what they must have done (as actors) to get into character and prep themselves for some of those fighting scenes. Like, I'm sure it wasn't morning coffee & scones and then, "ok guys, we need to get going, 3-2-1 aaaaaaaand action!"

But anyway, it seemed appropriate to watch that movie, following last week's media coverage of the 50-year anniversary of oral contraceptives. There's a great little article cnn did asking 15 or so women to briefly write their thoughts on "The Pill."

I'd always heard The Pill described as the great equalizer of men & women - but I always interpreted that more in terms of sexual freedom. I didn't even consider the affect of The Pill on women in the workplace - since, at the time, women who were pregnant would just get fired. There were no "maternity leaves," and daycare as we know it today didn't exist. That sort of puts in perspective (social stigma aside) why women who got pregnant often married the father of their child - because hello - if a woman gets fired from her job, and really has no way to keep a job with a child other than an expensive babysitter, she needs to have a husband support her.

Isn't it strange to think about how our culture would've evolved if a woman-controlled contraceptive had always existed? Like, even in colonial times? Things would be a lot different - I imagine there would have been gender equality (or at least a women's movement to achieve it) quite a bit sooner than there actually was/is.

Revolutionary Road took place in 1955 (so about 5 years earlier than The Pill). The whole plot would've played out entirely differently if April had access to birth control - perhaps they wouldn't have even gotten married? They definitely wouldn't have moved to the suburbs if she hadn't had a baby. Think about all the discontented women of the 50s - had birth control pills existed, would there even have been a "baby boom?"

Seriously - when you think about it, our entire social system would be different if oral contraceptives had existed earlier. Which also makes you wonder, what will American society look like in 100 years (so effectively, 150 years after a woman-controlled contraceptive has been in the market)? What do you guys think? Also - imagine how different things would look now if The Pill didn't exist.

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