Imagine a world without the internet, where mobile phones have buttons and where photos were for physical photo albums, not the gram. That was what the 1990s were like, but they wouldn’t stay that way. By 2010, most of the things we now take for granted had been invented and life would never be the same.
To celebrate the launch of Hana, a progestogen only pill available to purchase over the counter following a pharmacy consultation and without a doctor’s appointment, we are taking a deep dive through history to explore 60 years of the pill.
From the groovy ‘60s to the neon ‘80s, we’ve seen how attitudes to the pill have developed over the years. Join us as we carry on with our journey to the ‘90s and noughties and reveal how attitudes to sex, female empowerment and the pill continued to develop into the new millenium.
Could we BE any more sex positive? Probably, but we’ll still be there for you
Did you know that when the pilot of Friends was tested on a live audience, the producers were worried that people wouldn’t like Monica because she slept with a guy on the first date?
Luckily the audience said they couldn’t care less and Monica was allowed to express her sexuality without shame. Friends wasn’t the only show testing the waters in the ‘90s. In 1998, Sex and the City proudly presented the lives of four single 30 somethings who enjoyed sex – and weren’t afraid to ask.
Whether men liked it or not, women were on the pathway to be equals.
At the same time, TV shows like Buffy were redefining femininity and showing that girls could be whatever they wanted: like a vampire fighting badass in an awesome leather jacket! The ‘90s didn’t always get it right – sometimes they got it incredibly wrong! – but people were starting to redefine what it meant to be a woman and what was socially acceptable for women to do.
For Yasmin, 44, London, the ‘90s were a time of positive change
“We were genuinely moving forward. We’d had a female PM. More women were in prominent positions of society. There was new wave cultural revival brewing, you could smell it. Almost a second sexual revolution. Whether men liked it or not, women were on the pathway to be equals,” she says.
Far from being a shameful secret or something that was only acceptable for married women, the contraceptive pill was significant in the ‘90s because it wasn’t significant. It was just a part of life.
“In the 90s you were taught the short history of contraception and the quite frankly backward and antiquated way that women were treated in society. By the 90s, there was a belief that this was firmly behind us. Taking the pill was the complete norm.” Yasmin says.
I went to the year 2000!
As the ‘90s drew to a close, the world was speeding into a new digital age and a new millennium. The millennium bug was meant to destroy the world on New Year’s Day 2000 (spoiler: it didn’t happen) but in many ways things were just getting started.
The 2000s saw the internet take off in a big way. Connected through MSN messenger, we could suddenly communicate instantly with friends all over the world. Bebo gave way to Myspace which was savagely replaced by Facebook. Low rise jeans, Juicy Couture and oversized sunglasses were all the rage. What a time to be alive!
In some ways, there has never been a better time to be a woman. Far from being sexually repressed, female sexuality was loudly celebrated. Unfortunately, it was also exploited. Lad culture, sexism in the music and film industry and the idea that most women were shoe obsessed and desperate to get married was rife.
In terms of contraception, women and people with uteruses now had a lot of options and information at their fingertips. Sex education wasn’t always doing its job, but the rise of the internet helped young people get answers without having to ask their mum.
With more options than ever before, women and people with uteruses now had the freedom that previous generations could have only dreamed of. You could wear what you wanted, do what you wanted and be what you wanted. Life wasn’t – and still isn’t – perfect, but it was light years away from having to prove you were married before you could take the pill.
Come back soon, because next time we are bringing you back to the present so we can reflect on how much has changed. Like this article? Share it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Want to find out more about Hana? Find out more about what it is and how it works.