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14.12.2011 Opinion

Sixty Years of Bisexual Freedom

By Ghanaian Chronicle
Dr. Kofi BeekoDr. Kofi Beeko
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The question that many seem not to want to answer is 'why scientific advancements' seem to have leapfrogged the last two-hundred years, as compared to 'slow progress' five thousand years prior to that in time. The woman's role was in the kitchen, and her economic activities did not extend further than the kitchen door, even if she was married to a man as powerful as Julius Caesar, or Mohammad Ali Pasha, who once so effectively ruled Egypt, the very latter part of 'the Ottoman Empire.'

It seems the 'enlightenment', and this seems to have made it possible for the steam-engine to surface (James Watt) when it did. The Wright Brothers (beginning of the 20 th Century, inventers of the Aeroplane), and the drug firm Schering, the middle part of the 20 th Century. St. Aquinas and Galileo Galilee were not as lucky. Religious taboos didn't permit much of scientific experimentation, when most of what happened did so in Europe, where Catholicism prohibited so much. As Christopher Columbus set sail with the three ships; the 'Pinta', the 'Nina', and the 'Santa Maria,' sometime in the early summer of 1492, the issue of the earth being flat, or whatever, wasn't as yet resolved. But, by 1961, scientists working with the German Pharmaceutical company, famous otherwise for hormonal preparations and 'paints' that could treat Syphilis, had made an incidental discovery of a 'series of hormones' that could suppress the process named ovulation. Ovulation is part of the chains of processes that give birth to pregnancy. Whereas the group aimed at finding methods that would enhance ovulation, they discovered in the process that their discovery was more in favour of 'suppression- of-ovulation.'  Following the Second World War, it was men that were scarce in Europe, and not women.  In America, at the same period, women were mobilised into 'industrial production', including aircraft manufacturing, and the process did not cease, even after the war was over. In Europe, and, especially in Germany, the situation wasn't any different. By the beginning of the sixth decade of the 20 th century, the woman of Europe had a job, and was soon to realise she could 'purchase something', or anything, without waiting to ask her husband, who would always be at work.  With that, she soon realised she had attained some 'freedom' and independence undreamt of since time immemorial, when she had to ask her 'darling-boy-husband', if she could buy for herself, ladies underwear or braziers. She soon realised she was 'free forever.'  Making babies in that era in was not such a priority.  Her handicap was that the methods of regulating pregnancies weren't that efficient hitherto, so many were disappointed for not desiring a baby, but getting one all the same when they indulged in sex. Then, all of a sudden, in 1961, the 'anti-baby-pill' showed, one would say, 'her pretty face on the market.' You could get it prescribed, and in England, a lady could have it under prescription. The 'Ovulations-hemmer', as it got tagged in Germany, could be obtained, not any more difficult than in England. It was available in the USA, in Australia, and not much longer thereafter, in Japan too.  Suddenly, the young lady, or ladies, within the child-bearing ages could enjoy sex -and any amount of it- without any fear of pregnancy they did not desire. The freedom appeared even more grandiose, since the lady had a choice with whom to enjoy sex, and not necessarily with her spouse.  It all of a sudden had become 'a free-for-all commodity', and who would soon have anything to worry about it?  The Church, and the Catholic Church, which had always officially come forward against any kind of 'ungodly interference' of reproduction, would soon face a 'wide awakening!' Soon, all churches would join the protest, just as all married men would. The latter had lost control of their spouses, who had come into a situation where 'their women' had got into a situation not so far from promiscuity. There was no 'HIV-SWORD' hanging around anybody's neck.  HIV-AIDS was not known.  Could anybody imagine the world that we lived in?  The other side of the coin was this: In Germany, for example, where war demotion was most profound, there was the need of a 15 million human workforce.  Other parts of Europe needed workers, albeit, at a lower magnitude. The influx of workers, which had started almost simultaneously with the end of WWII in 1945, but had reached a climax, had to be paced up even more intensively beyond 1961.  The Federal Government had to 'drop in' an intensive programme, which rewarded families for 'producing more children.' Immigrants came in at first from the neighbouring countries, Turkey, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and later from faraway places as North Africa, and later from the rest of Africa too. The Far East would soon follow suit.  The issue of science influencing population growth must present the example of the 'anti-baby-pill', in the form of 'serendipity,' the faculty of making useful discoveries by chance. The world population, which has shot-up by as much as fifty percent since 1966, has been least contributed to by the West. It is the third world countries that are making the babies these days, and the West is aware. Ghana, as an example, is with four times as many people since 1966 (5 million in 1966, as against 24 million in 2011). Germany was (89 million strong in 1939 against 84 million today). The socio-international influence of what is called, in most places, just 'the pill,' may be studied much fuller than it seems it has been. It is in connection with one aspect of life-activity, which all human beings (and animals may be added, with permission), seem to derive some pleasure, which we all claim to deserve. It has satisfied curiosities and shattered taboos with impunity. People have stories locked in their 'pen-drives', which they wished might not be touched by anybody else, even after their death. The experiences could fill theatres, and/or cinema halls, which unfortunately, don't exist today, the way they used to, again, around the sixties when the PILL was in vogue.  Many, who whiled away some time in Europe (and to my understanding in the USA too), might have experienced, or got narrated to, situations where wives were swapped for an evening, or for an arranged holiday period. The end result was that it spelled disaster for some wed-locks, or fortified them, depending on how much fun (new fun) one did have, or not, in the package. It must have been 'heaven here on earth for some families,' because, huge sums of money were paid to have them wrapped up.

In some part of Europe, the story of a young man, who got awarded a scholarship to study in Europe, had a story which he must have narrated to many a soul. The fun or the irritation there was, and still is, is that whilst he told you the story, you were given the impression that 'he cherished your relationship, or let's call it even contact, that he would let you alone enjoy it.'  You might be shocked to experience at a bigger gathering in another city, that the story is known by dozens, if not even scores of students. The pill and its ramifications reigned the world at some stage. What do you think?

Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD
e-mail: [email protected]

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