April 21, 2022
Documentarians Abby Epstein & Ricki Lake join Jameela this week to discuss their documentary –The Business Of Birth Control. They discuss the history of the contraceptive pill, how many of its side effects have been downplayed by Big Pharma, the dangers surrounding the birth control pill, the importance of women being able to make an informed choice, why the media refuses to talk about this documentary, and more.
**DISCLAIMER – To be clear, this episode is not anti-pill. It is pro-contraceptive pills but also pro-informed consent, pro-transparency, pro-accountability, and pro-more effort to make the pill as safe as possible.
To watch The Business of Birth Control, go to https://www.thebusinessof.life/the-business-of-birth-control.
For our listeners, they’ve offered a discount code for 50% off the movie rental for the rest of April. Listeners can use the code IWEIGH at the above link.
You can find transcripts for this episode here: https://www.earwolf.com/show/i-weigh-with-jameela-jamil/
I Weigh has amazing merch – check it out at podswag.com
107 — What You Should Know About The Birth Control Pill with Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil. The podcast wants to destroy every last shred of your shame. I hope you’re well. I really do, I hope you’re OK and if you’re not? Maybe this fuckin episode will tell you why. Especially if you are someone who has a female reproductive system. This episode of this podcast stressed me out in a good way. It made me feel invigorated to take on a fight that I didn’t know I had to take on. It is life-changing and I really mean that. In this episode we are talking about the contraceptive pill, the history of the contraceptive pill. The things that have been hidden from us. The impact and what needs to change. It honestly has left me, I mean, literally almost speechless. I I get to interview Ricki Lake, who is a sort of national treasure in the United States. One of the biggest ever talk show hosts and just such an incredible staple of a human being who has meant so much to so many people in so many different areas her entire career from such a young age, such an inspiring woman, and she will come back on this podcast, another time just to talk about her life. But this episode, she is joined by Abby Epstein. Her documentary Making Partner about their latest documentary Now Ricki, went into documentaries years and years ago and and is best known for her work on the Business of Being Born, which was at the time a hugely controversial documentary about alternative birthing methods and the birthing industry, etc. Now, years and years later, we see that actually the world is kind of caught up with everything that they were saying back then in this highly contentious documentary. Well, they’ve done it again, but they’ve gone after a much bigger target this time. They’ve gone after the business of birth control. They have meticulously documented the history of contraceptive pills. And in their documentary, which I urge you to watch, it’s currently available in the United States and it’s coming to the UK as soon as they find someone who will air it. They are having huge troubles being able to add this documentary because every company in America and many companies in the world are owned by Big Pharma and controlled by Big Pharma. I mean, even their inability to get much press for this documentary, considering what a huge and enlightening topic this is, is petrifying. And the I what I want to just be clear about is that I know that the pill has changed some of your lives, and it has given women unbelievable freedom in so many ways. This isn’t an anti pill episode. It’s not an anti pill documentary. What it’s anti is the fact that not enough care has been taken with our lives via this pill, that they haven’t done enough to improve it and make it safe and inform us about it. They haven’t given us informed consent regarding the pill. So a lot of people don’t need it to save their lives. They’re just given it at the age of 16 because of how Big Pharma works and because of what a medical, because what an industry and a business the medical side of America is. And this also exists worldwide, and we have to understand more and to be more armed with knowledge is to be safer, always, and that’s always what I’m trying to bring, not only for myself, but for all of us on this podcast. And so we have an in-depth, highly personal, very factual and impassioned chat about the business of birth control. And I’m dying to know what you think. I know that because a lot of studies haven’t been done. Some of the stuff that said in this cannot be verified with studies, but more by personal accounts. And I know that that’s tJameela, and it’s definitely a difficult, no pun intended pill to swallow for some gynecologists who they themselves hand out contraceptive pills like fucking Tic Tacs and don’t fully stress the risks to their patients. I’m aware that cold, hard scientific trials are important, but if there’s a huge, booming industry that’s getting in the way of such trials being done, then sometimes we do have to at least make space for the human experience. And I’ve been looking into this for weeks now, and I have seen countless experiences. Also just from my own friends. I’ve watched what the pill has done to them and and for some people, it’s definitely made a positive impact in their life in some ways. But it’s also taken a lot. And the fact that they just didn’t know that was coming is what makes me so sad. And the fact that there isn’t enough of a stink about this to make sure that we can hold these companies to account to do a better job making safer pills for all. No drug is perfectly safe for everyone. But fuck me, wait till you hear these statistics. So I hope you listen to this with an open mind. And I I I really hope it doesn’t resonate with you. I really hope that you don’t identify with some of the shocking things you’re going to hear in this episode, and I hope that it isn’t you. And I hope that your life or your sex life or your job career or your full existence on this earth hasn’t been fucked with by a pill that you weren’t prepared for. I hope you find this fully unrelatable and informative and. I hope you pass it on to anyone you think needs it. I send you all the love in the world, especially if you are someone who has a female reproductive system that you are currently struggling with in any way or hormones that you are struggling with in any way. I live to understand my own body and our bodies and everyone’s bodies, really. And I hope this isn’t an episode that only people with female reproductive systems listen to. I hope everyone listening to this is vital that we all understand the depths of this very casual thing that has been occurring in our society that we just don’t really talk about and we really need to, because changes need to happen and people need to take accountability. I don’t mean to be mysterious. I want you to just listen to it. It’s a stunning, stunning conversation, and the documentary is it should be mandatory viewing, in my opinion and. Message me and I love you lots. And oh, boy, get ready, because this is quite a chat. This is the inimitable Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. Ricki bloody Lake and Abby bloody Epstein, welcome to bloody I Weigh, how are you?
Ricki [00:07:17] Bloody awesome.
Abby [00:07:20] Yes, me too. We’re so excited to be here and speak to you.
Jameela [00:07:24] I have just finished your new documentary and I’m a fan of both of you, both separately and together, the Business of Being Born, such a revolutionary documentary. But now the Business of Birth Control. I’ve just I’m shaken to my core, and I’ve spent the last few hours angrily texting all of my friends who have periods to make sure that they watch this documentary and especially those whose personal lives. There was something really triggered in me in watching so many aspects of the documentary that reminded me of so many things that my friends have been going through. Some of them recently, some of them for years that feel like they could be interlinked with birth control. And these are things that I had no idea about. And so there’s a multitude of things I want to talk to you about, partially why this documentary is not absolutely everywhere right now, considering how important it is, the fact that it can literally save lives. And the fact that it’s an excellent documentary in and of itself. But I also would love for you to educate me and my listeners on the business of birth control. So I just I want to start with, will you tell us how the contraceptive pill works?
Ricki [00:08:43] Yes. It puts you in menopause, basically. You know, we’re told when I went on the pill in my early 20s, you know, for no, I was I don’t even remember why I was put on. I didn’t have acne. I didn’t have really bad it was just the thing to do. And they offered it for free in my gyno. I had my pap smear and say, Here you go. And it just looked like candy. It looked so easy and I just took it without any questions asked. But it basically puts you in menopause. It flatlines you. Abby can probably explain it even better.
Abby [00:09:12] Yeah, yeah. Well, I love Dr. Laura Brighton, who’s featured in the film. She actually calls it a chemical castration and and so, you know, Ricki’s not wrong because what it actually does is it shuts down your ovaries. So essentially it you know, your brain and your ovaries have this communication right that control your menstrual cycle, your emotions, I mean, your hormones. I think there’s such a misunderstanding around hormones because when you talk about hormones in any way, right, it’s like everybody goes to kind of like sexual reproductive body parts. But your hormones make you who you are. Your hormones interact with the environment to literally create your personality. So what the pill does is it sends these signals to your brain to shut down production in your ovary because these two chemicals are floating in your bloodstream that are replacing your own hormones. Now, these chemicals are structured differently. They’re not bioidentical. They have a different molecular structure than your own hormones. So instead of your own estrogen and progesterone, you have a synthetic estrogen and the synthetic progestin. And what that does is affects every system in the body, literally every system in the body. Because you have these hormones acting on your brain, on your, I mean, they’re everywhere. So it is really, you know, there’s kind of this simplified definition of like, Oh, it tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant. And, you know, that’s kind of this simple way. But I think people are told to think about it. But it’s actually, I think, much more insidious and much more complex than that.
Abby [00:10:56] And there are significant health implications from taking these synthetic hormones. Well, I don’t want to call them hormones, but these synthetic versions of hormones? Yeah. First, I want to talk about the fact that, as you said, like this, this impact it has on your libido, which I think is fascinating and I’d never heard about until you spoke to me about it the first time, Abby. I had no idea and my friends had just gone through a big break up massively based on this, where suddenly she found herself very turned off by him and it wasn’t due to behavioral changes in either of them. And of course, like shit happens in relationships. And I’m not I’m not saying that it’s all in our heads or it’s all on our hormones like also, you know, people, whatever but but there is an actual detriment sometimes to women’s libidos, and it can also, in a way interfere with who you’re actually attracted to. Can you explain that?
Ricki [00:11:59] So that is what blew my mind. Yes. So it changes like it does something where it shuts off that that signal. You know, we are drawn to a certain type of person when we’re not on these drugs where we’re, you know, our. Party is looking to to procreate, and so who you are drawn to changes when you’re on the pill. And if there was a test where it’s scientific, where you actually are drawn to more like brother than other when you’re on these drugs,
Abby [00:12:25] what does that mean? Wait, what does that mean?
Abby [00:12:27] You’re you’re you’re technically I mean, you know, your pheromones are what lets you like, sniff out a partner, right? So it’s it’s very evolutionary. It’s, you know, it’s it’s going back to cavemen and cave women about sort of creating the strongest offspring, right? So you’re sniffing out this partner who has the most genetic diversity from you. And that’s, you know, something that you know, they’re you’re giving off in your own pheromones. But when you’re on the pill, it’s like that whole system is off line for like you might be drawn to a different kind of person. They might not have as many masculine features. They might have more feminine features. They might be more of a caretaking kind of relationship because your body, you know, your primitive brain is not being told like, Oh, go seek out that, you know, gatherer hunter, that you’re going to create like the strongest progeny with and your genes are going to have sort of the best chance of having have healthy offspring. So it really, really messes with attraction. And this is like a deep, dirty secret, and we’ve heard stories about this from all across. Actually, it’s interesting. Even we were told by one fertility doctor that sometimes like when lesbians are trying to conceive through IVF, right? One of them has to go on the pill because IVF, they like to regulate sort of new for that process. And he told us, like, it will happen all the time. We’re like one of the women in the couple goes on the pill and suddenly is like repel, like repulsed by the partner, you know, so it can work both ways. But it’s, you know, there have been some scientific studies. Obviously, this is something you can’t really study with, like a double blind, placebo controlled study, but there’s a lot of anecdotal reports. There was this T-shirt sniffing study and some other studies. There is a book called This Is Your Brain on Birth Control by Dr Sarah Hill, who’s featured in our documentary. And I think that book does an excellent job of really diving into, like all of these studies and how the birth control effects are our pheromones and who are attracted to it. It’s mind blowing.
Ricki [00:14:48] It’s it’s yeah.
Abby [00:14:50] And is the lowering of libido, even if you are still technically kind of attracted to your partner, is that down to the fact that that these pills are kind of teaching your body that it’s as if you’re in a pregnancy state? Is that because your body is thinking, Well, I don’t need to procreate right now because I’m.
Abby [00:15:04] No, it’s actually not. It’s actually because testosterone is a big driver and libido for both genders. And so another thing that the pill or the patch or the ring or the IUD does is it without getting too scientific, it binds up a lot of your testosterone. It basically binds up kind of all your free roaming testosterone so that your testosterone levels are quite low. Like Ricki said, you might have an 18 year old with testosterone levels of a woman in menopause, so you can have clitoral shrinkage. You can have ovary shrinkage. You have loss of libido. You also have kind of reduced ability to orgasm. Your orgasms are more muted. You just don’t have your full hormonal expression. And again, I just want to emphasize this does not happen with every single person who takes the pill. It does not happen with every single person. We are all snowflakes. Everybody has this very unique hormonal makeup. So they’ve done studies on what kind of like hormones you have, whether this might affect your libido more than others, or whether this kind of pill might kill your libido less than that kind of pill. Again, not readily available. Nobody’s publishing this material, but you know it’s it’s out there. But I think that’s the reason, Jameela, that there’s so much gaslighting, right, because it’s like, there’s no, you know, doctors don’t really believe things unless drug companies are pushing out studies on it. So it’s like, again, this is like another thing where it’s like people are reporting all of this kind of thing anecdotally.
Ricki [00:16:50] It’s only anecdotal. Yeah, there’s nothing.
Abby [00:16:54] Yeah and if you bring it to your practitioner, they will probably just say, let’s try a different brand.
Jameela [00:17:00] But also, but also like, you know, Big Pharma. There are many stories of trials being suppressed or people being that there are a lot of I’m trying to put this carefully, legally as possible. But, you know, sometimes there can be obstructions to people being able to investigate these things more thoroughly. And we can really get into this considering the amount of extraordinary footage in this documentary of of Senate hearings and Congress hearings and and town hall meetings where you have a group of only older white men having conversations about women’s bodies, not really allowing women to speak about what is happening, what they know is happening to them due to the contraceptive pill.
Ricki [00:17:48] And also, I want to add the, you know, these these women that die, these young women and these families, the families we feature in the film want to speak out and warn other women. And yet, you know, when they take a payout from these pharmaceutical companies, they have a gag order and they’re not allowed to speak so. So people don’t know about these stories. They don’t know because everyone is silenced.
Abby [00:18:07] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. And I think that the Nelson Hill hearings was something that, like, I never knew that existed. Like Ricky never knew. We never knew that, you know, there were feminists that interrupted these hearings in the 70s and that they had all this information back then. And I think that is, you know, what’s so upsetting is like it’s right out there in the film. I mean, you don’t have to be conspiratorial. It’s like they had the information. They had the studies. They knew what these drugs were doing to women in the 70s. And you know, they made a decision, which is, you know, risk versus benefit, the benefit of the public versus the benefit of the individual. They said, Oh, we’ll put a little warning packet then. And that was essentially like how they handled it. But you know, to me, it’s kind of like. I think a lot of times with feminism, you know, there are things that get bound up like we talked about in the film, in kind of empowerment and women’s movements and social equality. And so it’s very, very hard, right? So it’s like this double whammy because you have information that’s being suppressed, let’s say, by pharmaceuticals or the FDA or the whole medical industrial complex. But then you also have like pushback, right from feminists who say, Well, we fought so hard to legalize the pill and, you know, have women be able to take this. How can you criticize this? But I think there is a difference.
Jameela [00:19:45] It’s a very binary way of looking at it. That’s very much why it’s vital to have the gray. And Ricki, I’ve heard you speak before about the fact that you’re not saying that the pill shouldn’t exist. You’re not trying to. You’re just campaigning for like truly, just a modicum of of real transparency about what it is that people are putting in their bodies because I really heard none. I heard none of this shit. And now it makes so much sense when you look at these 100 million or billion dollar lawsuits where these contraceptive pill companies have had to pay out to the multitude of families injured or, you know, they’ve lost an actual family member because of these, these drugs. The gag order now explains why these stories have been suppressed, and it’s so disgusting that that’s even allowed. It’s so disgusting that that is even a part of legislation that you can gag anyone from talking, especially in a country where freedom of speech is within the. It just makes absolutely no sense.
Ricki [00:20:44] Hypocrisy is crazy.
Jameela [00:20:44] Yeah oh, absolutely. But it’s also the same world in which you can. You can you can pay someone for their silence regarding sexual misconduct, you know.
Ricki [00:20:54] And it’s not very much you when you break it down of how much money they pay for these girls lives, it’s like $70000. Like, really, it’s nothing. And yeah, we have to make this disclaimer because we want women to have access to all the options. We are not about scaring women. You know, there was a headline, you know, we were just talking about making this movie and they attacked us and they said, Ricki Lake is scaring women off of whore pills. And it’s like, No, it’s actually the opposite. And I think we have to be able to
Jameela [00:21:23] I’m sorry did you say whore pills?
Ricki [00:21:24] Yeah, that was the headline.
Jameela [00:21:27] Was this Breitbart? Like whay,
Ricki [00:21:30] No, it was Jezebel.
Abby [00:21:33] I think it was Slate or Jezebel.
Jameela [00:21:35] Oh my God. No, that is definitely not what comes across in this documentary or in any of your intentions that you’re not. You’re just asking for transparency the same way we have on cigarettes, the same way that we have on most drugs. Let’s talk about the physical impacts that are possible from some contraceptive pills and how they’ve gotten worse with every generation, which has blown my mind that the ones that they were complaining about in the 70s are nothing compared to the dangers of the ones that are coming out now. Like the better our technology, somehow, the more we are harming people with periods, people with uteruses. So can you speak to that a little bit?
Abby [00:22:19] Mm-Hmm. Yes, sure. I mean, I think that again, there is a lot of research on this. It’s it’s very hard to come by or it’s very hard to be definitive about some of it. So for instance, like with cancer risk, they will sort of push all the time that there’s this protection against ovarian cancer. But then you don’t hear that it doubles your risk of cervical cancer if you’re on it for more than five years. It doubles your risk of a lot of autoimmune diseases. And, you know, Crohn’s colitis, these are these are more long term downstream effects, the more immediate effects. I mean, we’ve talked a bit about the mental health. And there’s really, you know, if you have a chemical understanding of what’s happening, then it’s very easy to understand, like why these mood changes occur. So the mental health piece is a very, very big piece of it.
Jameela [00:23:22] Let’s stick to the body, though, right now, because like the 56 percent like women are 56 percent more likely to get blood clots than with other drugs. 71 percent more likely to get blood clots, these outrageous numbers. You had a doctor on on the documentary talking about the fact that if families knew there was even a two percent risk or chance or likelihood or whatever percentage of their daughter, let’s say, or that their their child getting blood clots that could threaten their lives cause stroke, caused death, embolism, etc. they would perhaps
Ricki [00:23:58] Make a different choice yeah,
Jameela [00:23:59] 71 fucking percent when there are so many alternatives when it comes to contraception out there. This is just. I wish I was I’m I’m still flabbergasted and emotional because I’ve only taken all of this in the last 24 hours, but I was literally sweating watching the documentary.
Ricki [00:24:18] And you were never even on these drugs. That’s what’s crazy, you know, for me, for me. I dealt with this hair loss. You know, I’ve struggled with this for my my adult life off and on for almost 30 years. And I it’s a huge contributing factor being on and off these drugs, and I didn’t even put it together until we were making this film. You know,
Abby [00:24:37] and I it’s yeah, and I was saying it can happen. All you need is to go on and go off once and then you can have these effects like you can have a sort of a testosterone crash. You may never even recover your testosterone levels to what they were.
Ricki [00:24:55] Fertility issues.
Abby [00:24:58] Yeah. But I also just want to say one thing about your point to me about these drugs. I think now, maybe because the public has sort of, you know, read so much about the opiate epidemic from, you know, and now that we have like the Hulu show Dope Sick and people now sort of have this this understanding of, you know, drug companies as as businesses and putting profits over people, it’s very, very similar with these pills. So essentially, why you say they’ve become more dangerous in terms of blood clot stroke embolism is because those progestins that maybe they were using in the 80s and 90s go off patent. And once they go off patent, they’ve got to figure out how to come up with another billion dollar blockbuster drug so they invent new progestins. Now what the controversy that we show in the film is that the third and fourth generation pills have a much higher risk of clotting, strokes, embolisms, than the previous generation. So what they did is they might have solved some issues with certain side effects, like maybe you’re not growing hairs out of your chin like you were with the pills in the 80s, but like now, your risk of a blood clot is increased 70 percent. So it’s it’s. And look, this is not what we are saying. This is not disputed. This is not controversial.
Jameela [00:26:28] No, no, no, no. I mean, this became mainstream. What I find amazing about this is that the first time I ever heard about this in the mainstream regarding blood clots, as when there were people who were very concerned about blood clots linked to the COVID vaccine came out suddenly, all of the big kind of organizations regarding health and medication came out saying, Well, I mean, it’s nowhere near as as likely as we take the contraceptive pill and everyone was just like, wait, what?
Ricki [00:26:56] Yeah. The huge I know I know we were because we were in the middle of just finishing this film and we couldn’t believe,.
Jameela [00:27:03] Oh, they were so casual, right?
Abby [00:27:07] Right. And and the funny thing is like, it had the reverse effect, right? Like they wanted to calm down the public by saying, Oh, the risk isn’t even as high as getting a blood clot or a stroke from the birth control pill. And meanwhile, the millions of pill takers all over the world were like, Fuck you what? So it’s OK, it’s OK for all of us to be taking this thing. And but yet, you know, I mean that that was funny. It’s like that day, you know, it’s been so accepted. It’s been so ingrained and accepted that they expected that statistic to calm people down about the vaccine risks.
Jameela [00:27:42] 100 percent. I mean, I read I ended up going down a kind of WebMD rabbit hole and just seeing like the list go on for pages of possible side effects. Now I have been like my whole life, like doctors have always tried to get me to go on the pill for a multitude of different reasons, whether they’re hormonal or mood stabilizers, which I find absolutely extraordinary or to do with my period or to prevent pregnancy. And they’ve never told me anything other than, like, perhaps, you know, maybe there’ll be some weight fluctuation, but you know, it’ll clear up your skin, et cetera. None of these things were flagged to me at all. And and the older I get, the more I have seen how many, like the the coincidence is just too much. It’s too much to bear. Like it’s it can’t be a coincidence at this point. How many women I know, all of whom are on contraceptive pills, all of whom are suffering with all these same things I’ve been reading through. And, you know, if we talk about the history of medicine and how patriarchal it is and how deeply inherently misogynistic and gaslighting it is, it makes perfect sense that this has gotten away with for so long. I mean, there’s already so little studies into women’s bodies whatsoever like this. You know, it’s so modern to even study medicine on a female body like so much of what we know only really applies to both the mental health, but mostly in physical health applies to what we know regarding the male form and male bodies, so. When it comes to both physical health and I’d say almost maybe even more so mental health, the gas lighting is so easy because it has such a strong precedent. So when women are, you know, coming and saying that they are feeling emotional or they are feeling up and down, that is just something that we attribute already to women. We consider women hysterical over dramatic and hypochondriacs. These are all things, you know, as you say in the documentary that are always attributed mostly to people who identify as women. And so. It makes it so it makes me so emotional thinking about it and thinking about how much could be prevented that my brain sort of scrambles when I when I, even when I even consider what has happened so many women. Will you talk to me a bit about this medical gaslighting? Because. It’s something that I think a lot of people listening to this podcast right now and people who watch a documentary will really be able to identify with, I mean, Ricki, you were saying yourself, you had no idea all this time that your hair was falling out because of that.
Ricki [00:30:18] And it’s also I want to say, like like we were pointing the blame to doctors in the medical system. But really, the way we’re set up, particularly in the U.S., we don’t get that time with our care provider. We don’t get that conversation of like, what are my options? What are the pros and cons? It’s such a quick fix, you know, and and it, you know, it’s just it’s it’s same thing with birth, you know, it’s like you don’t really get unless you advocate for yourself and you go down that rabbit hole and you really do your own due diligence and fight for these options and the information it’s you’re stacked up against, you know, against it all. So I it’s it’s it’s just it’s just so frustrating, and I wish for me that I had known what I know now back then, you know, I probably would have made a different choice. I probably would have had a lot less of low lying depression and and dealing with me with this, this, you know this having my hair shed all the time and it’s directly affected from this drug. And I was never told, never told.
Jameela [00:31:19] There’s also the stuff with like weight gain and weight fluctuation, I think is very interesting because when a lot of my friends have gone in for health issues that they are having, it gets blamed on their weight or hormonal issues that they’re having or imbalances or PCOS, et cetera all these different things. It all gets blamed on their weight, and no one ever looks at the thing that is manipulating their weight in spite of the fact that maybe they’re exercising and they’re eating, you know, not a lot. You know, I’m I want to word that delicately, but you know that eating as nutritionally as they can, nutritously as they can. They’re they’re not eating different things to other people, different sizes to them. Their weight has been manipulated. And doctors, you know, who are so also, you know, not just misogynists, not just racists, but also there’s so much fat phobia in the medical industry that just being told that, well, this is on, this is on you. This is your fault. This something to do with your lifestyle or your bad choices. It’s never been brought up to my friends that this could be maybe a contraceptive pill they’re on that is disturbing their metabolism. Same goes for their mental health. I mean, I’ve literally before you spoke to me, never, ever heard of a doctor saying, maybe your depression, maybe your anxiety may be your panic attacks are linked to your contraceptive pill.
Abby [00:32:31] And it’s it’s really insane, because when a pill isn’t agreeing with you, like I know one of the women that passed away and we feature a bit of her story in the movie, I remember her parents saying that she had gained an enormous amount of weight, like 80 pounds or something in this really short window of time. So again, there are these signals that you know what she was on that pill was completely, you know, disagreeing with her. People are not warned. You know, that, for instance, migraines, migraines are another sign that you have you should absolutely. There’s a link between experiencing migraines on birth control and having a stroke. So, you know, there are these links, if you know to look for them. I think the problem is we are so ignored. You know, women’s health is so underserved. It is so pitiful. Like you were saying, nobody does the research. Nobody does the studies. How can one in 10 women have endometriosis? And all they have for it is to prescribe a birth control pill? I mean, that’s as many people as have diabetes, you know? So it’s again, it’s like nobody. Nobody cares. Nobody’s investigating, nobody’s looking. And I think that, you know, it is so disheartening. And I think that a lot of the side effects also, I mean, I have had conversations with physicians that will push back at me and say the pill does not cause weight gain. Absolutely not. You show me, you show me the double blind, placebo controlled study. You show me this study, literally. I mean, so it’s like whatever is, you know, in the book or in the pamphlet from the pharmaceutical company, that’s that’s what they believe. So a lot of the gaslighting, I think, really has to do with the complete lack of like education and disinformation, you know, from the medical system to the point that a lot of women just don’t don’t trust anymore. They are going to health coaches, they are going to hormone health coaches, they are going to read naturopathic books and they are looking for answers everywhere from, you know, period problems to menopause. You know, we are in the dark just completely in the dark.
Jameela [00:34:53] Also, like just to go full ten on both of you and all of you listening as I love to do at least once a month. So there’s a lot of money to be made in women’s health, especially if they are doing things that are going to make their health worse. You know what I mean? Like, there’s if there’s a link to it, I’d like, Oh, maybe they’re going to need now need diabetes medication. Maybe they’re going to need weight loss medication. Maybe they’ll need stuff for water retention. Maybe they’ll need antidepressants. I mean, Jesus Christ,
Ricki [00:35:20] The list goes on and on.
Jameela [00:35:22] The murkiness of Big Pharma, when it comes to mental health medications and how easily antidepressants are given to people, and I’m propels like I’m pro medication. I’m on medication for anxiety. I’m not on the pill so that anxiety is homegrown. There’s so much there’s so much money to be made like all these health issues that can happen, that can occur, that go on for years and years and years, people’s hair falling out. I mean, there’s there’s so many people who benefit and the weight and the beauty industry and then the diet industry, like all of these massive industries,
Ricki [00:36:03] It’s all connected.
Jameela [00:36:03] All in bed with each other. And then when you start to like, really get into the weeds of like, who’s investing in big sugar, who’s investing in weight loss industries, who’s investing in big pharma, it’s all the same sort of eight massive investment companies.
Ricki [00:36:17] I mean, you look at the commercials that we see on TV and I mean, it’s it’s one pharmaceutical after another. It’s a joke. That’s all I see, it seems, and the side effects that they list. You know, it’s just it’s out of control. Yeah, I completely agree.
Abby [00:36:33] It is. And I think and I think what brings us to the other, the other point about our movie in particular, you know, we were just sort of laughing because everybody keeps saying, Why isn’t this on Netflix? This is us why isn’t this on Netflix? And then I just saw the other day, right? Netflix is has a series. I forget the title, but it’s about the beauty industry, like looking behind the scenes at all the dark, ugly, you know, secrets of like beauty and I was like, OK, that’s interesting. So like, they’ve no problem attacking that industry, but like, this is scary. Like, this is scary stuff like it’s it is. It is scary when you’re going against medical industrial complexes because it’s it’s big and we’ve, you know, we’ve come up against walls with this movie and Ricki trying to appear on television shows and talk about it and then not being able to show clips.
Jameela [00:37:32] Isn’t that, sorry can we just like, stop for a second there? Ricki, you are like a national treasure like and people are all thrilled to have you, but will not let you show a clip of your work, your your your incredible documentary. They will not allow a 30 second clip or any mention of this documentary
Ricki [00:37:52] standards and practices like we get down to like the 11th hour I’m booked. It’s happening and then we have to talk about my marriage or we’ll talk about my hair loss. But like, you can’t show anything but like a nine second innocuous moment in the movie, they won’t show any of like, you know, the real meat of it that we want the public to see.
Jameela [00:38:11] Well it’s sponsored by Big Pharma. Like you see, it comes up like sponsored by Pfizer, sponsored by this, that and the other. And you know, like, it’s funny how pre-pandemic we were allowed, we were starting to really have the conversation about the danger of Big Pharma and how scary it is and the corruption within Big Pharma and all of the lies. For example, as you mentioned, like with the opioid kind of crisis, like, we started to learn more about how corrupt and crooked it all is. And then the pandemic happened and the vaccine war sort of happened. And all of a sudden, we’re not allowed to. Even even if we are pro the COVID vaccine, we’re suddenly not even allowed to question these companies have been responsible for countless deaths of babies, of women, of adults like it’s it’s really scary and it’s been weaponized in a way that shuts down all of these vital conversations. And the reason that I can even talk to you about all of this is because I refuse to have anything to do with Big Pharma, and they have nothing to do with my podcast. And I don’t promote any of that sort of stuff on this podcast. And therefore, I’m completely free to be able to have these conversations.
Ricki [00:39:11] What a luxury.
Jameela [00:39:12] What a what a massive luxury and worth the pay cut because this is, this is these are the kind of conversations that you can’t have when you are in bed with the devil. And obviously, big pharma are also responsible for life-saving medications, some of which I’ve taken in my life. So I’m aware that there is also good that comes out of it. But we have to be able we cannot like not be allowed to question this as if this is some sort of deity. This is a it’s a fucking business in a country that has known corruption before.
Abby [00:39:45] Oh yeah, it is it. It is definitely a business. And you know, and I think, you know, also just going to say something with what you were saying about, I think, you know, the way Ricki and I look at it is like when we make these movies, you know, we don’t go where they’re not in the style of like a Michael Moore. You know, the goal of our movies is never about sort of like attacking big pharma. It’s like the opposite. Like, we’re looking at this from the ground up, right? Because we know that it’s just like throwing pebbles at a tank against, you know, these systems. But we’re looking at it from, you know, where can you, as an individual sort of take control of your body literacy like like because that is easy to do. That is really easy to do to understand how your body works and to advocate and, like Ricki said, to go down the rabbit hole yourself.
Jameela [00:40:39] It it’s about transparency, right? You just want people to have actual options. We all know now that we technically have other options, but we don’t actually know the importance of of understanding exactly what those options are. There is there is no there is not enough transparency and in some cases we are almost kind of discouraged from looking into what the cause of these things could be and and where this gets complicated, as you kind of like touched on earlier, is that it feels as though those who wish for us to continue to not question the contraceptive pill are benefiting from the fact that the contraceptive pill is a part of women’s liberation because we have so many limitations on our reproductive freedom and on people who have uteruses on their reproductive freedom like that, they are weaponizing the fact that, of course, there is so much beauty to the beginning of the reproductive health movement and the fact that people were able to have the choice as to when they were going to conceive or not. And so now, as you’ve come up against yourself, I mean, you had a feminist magazine publish the fact that published nonsense before you even released your film about what your intentions are and saying that you are threatening the contraceptive pill just by questioning whether or not it is as effective as it could be if it is as safe as it could be. This is a fucking mess that’s very representative of what we keep seeing in the left, which is that everything becomes a muddle, everything so intersectional. There are so many like there’s such a dark history when it comes to the contraceptive pill, with it being tested on on black women, on women of color, on Latina women like we see in your documentary. The history of that testing on how people who were already disenfranchized and already marginalized were used as kind of lab rats without being told how it’s five five women died in one of the. In one of the trials, one of the first the earliest trials and who weren’t made aware of the fact that this is what was going to happen to them. And so that also comes up and that creates like an emotional reaction within those communities. And there are other people who know that part of the the beginning of the kind of abortion movement was eugenics, trying to control racial groups and their sizes. So it’s all a big fucking mess. And I think what the documentary does a really good job of is making sure to include all of that, making sure to address all of that and its history. But then bringing it back to the ultimate point of yes, the history of a lot of these things is fucking terrible. And but we cannot allow them to turn us against each other. We cannot allow them to confuse us or let us nitpick each other. We cannot allow them to divert and distract us away from the point, which is that there is a pill. There are multiple pills, sometimes of the same pill, just with different fucking names, which I also learned from your documentary, which is why so many parents weren’t even able to understand what the link to their daughter’s deaths were because they didn’t think their child was on a certain pill that they were just was on that same pill under a different name. That’s terrifying in and of itself. But the documentary does an amazing job of just bringing all of that information in telling all of the history and then just bringing us back to the point that we need more transparency and we need more understanding. We need much more alarm and. As much as you’re saying that the contraceptive pill is not a bad thing for existing and that not everyone will react terribly to contraceptive pills, some people have no maybe no side effects whatsoever. Maybe they’re very, very lucky. Perhaps if there had been more uproar about the contraceptive pill, they would have worked harder to improve it and make it safer for us by now. They would have put some of the same attention they put towards any contraceptive pills for men towards this pill that they deem mostly for women, because the reason they’re getting away with it becoming more and more dangerous is because there isn’t this uproar and they are suppressing this uproar. And a perfect example of that is the way in which they are suppressing your voices right now.
Ricki [00:44:45] But perhaps with this film, you know, I’m optimistic that, you know, looking back, 14 years of what we were able to do with the Business of Being Born, that small little movie that has just really done so much to at least empower women, you know, going to a hospital setting to know that they have rights, you know that they can refuse certain things. I mean, my hope is that this will be a gateway for real change in this in this area. You know that maybe they will develop. I mean, there’s talk of this male contraceptive pill. You know, we’ll see how far that gets, you know, if men will tolerate taking anything, you know? But you know, I do think like we were, we’re just just, you know, just anecdotally with people that we meet in seeing this movie, it is. It is causing a rise, I think. And with young people in particular, they don’t want to put endocrine disruptors in their bodies. They’re much more open to hearing about fertility awareness method and how, you know, it’s like flipping the script. It’s like when I was having my home birth, I was so excited to experience labor. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t fearful. I couldn’t wait to have that experience and to embrace it. And it’s like, I think, you know, at fifty three, I’m still getting a cycle and I’m fascinated that my body is. I’m noticing I track my cycle. I want to know what’s going on, and it’s really empowering to learn. True body literacy is understanding how my cycle works. And I think if we can just get women excited about this and not dreading their period and hating it, you know, I just think it’s it’s a matter of like a perception change, you know?
Jameela [00:46:15] Yeah. And also kind of comes back to our generalized socialized shame around periods and reproduction. You know, I had Dr. Jen Gunter on this podcast who is an amazing gynecologist who’s written wonderful, wonderful books about all of this sort of stuff. She talks about the fact that we are still too ashamed to really understand our vaginas, there’s wonderful footage of people sort of exploring their vulvas right on camera camera right above it and I felt shy watching that. And then I was like, Oh, why do I feel shy? Because I’m still like unpacking all of this shame. I’m still not. I’ve only really in the last couple of years just felt free to be like I’m on my period or my periods due in front of men, even the men that I’ve known for 20 years who I live with, you know, I’ve only in the last couple of years felt empowered to even talk about that. So they have taken advantage of the fact that they have made us feel ashamed of our periods, ashamed of our vaginas, ashamed of our reproductive systems and and use that to make us not really learn about our own bodies because we’re like, disgusting. Oh, I don’t want to know, like, oh, it’s so awkward. And so that makes us not question the pill. It makes us not understand our own individual experiences and makes us not learn about our bodies like they have completely discouraged us from being intuitive because then they can control us. If we don’t empower ourselves with our own intuition, then we’re able to be led as if we are a monolith. Women, as you said, like, I mean, people, as you said earlier at the beginning, are like snowflakes. We are all completely individual and we should be treated as such. But that’s not convenient to moneymaking.
Abby [00:47:48] 100 percent. I mean, yes, yes. And I think that it’s interesting, you know, because Ricki and I met when I was directing The Vagina Monologues off-Broadway, and that’s that’s how we met. And I think that I look back then and I remember working on The Vagina Monologues and there was this big scandal because the New York Times wouldn’t print the ad. So you have to think, you know, that is where we were like 20 years ago. Whatever The New York Times literally would not print the word vagina from an off-Broadway production. And like, you can’t imagine that today, right? So we definitely we’re moving the needle like slowly, slowly in the right direction. But I agree with you, it’s like that shame around the word that shame around our body parts. But I do think, like Ricki was saying in Gen Y, Gen Z, the screenings that we’ve done with younger people, I have to say that there is like they are completely different. You know, I feel like I can speak for myself and like my generation, it was a little bit more of like a shut up and do what you’re told and don’t question. And you know, the doctor says you should be on this pill to regulate your cycle or whatever, and you need to do that. You know, now I think it’s different, and I don’t think that the status quo can hold in terms of the options for birth control, I think that the awareness is out there, the information’s out there, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I really don’t. But you know, I can see already. The film has been out for a week and we have been bombarded, absolutely bombarded and by very interesting allies like allies that you wouldn’t even expect to be allies.
Jameela [00:49:33] What do you mean, like who?
Abby [00:49:34] Certain pharmaceuticals, actually, you know, are trying. Yeah, they’re trying to develop non-hormonal options, and they love the film and love what we’re doing, you know, and they’re women run and women led. There’s a lot of femme tech start up. You know, we’ve it’s it’s been really interesting. And also, I have to say, like what you were saying before about the left and the right and sort of the left not wanting to ever criticize the pill. But then, you know, you’re sort of letting the right control the narrative. And I think that we’ve also sort of gotten a lot of support from across the aisle, I would say politically in trying to depoliticize this. This is a health issue. This is a safety issue. This is protecting when
Jameela [00:50:24] It’s non partisan.
Abby [00:50:25] It’s nonpartisan. We’re talking about women and GNC folks, bodies and uteruses. So I think, you know, it’s yeah, it’s been. It’s been like, I don’t know. We’re only like a week in. So we only had, you know, the film’s only been available for for a minute. So we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know, we’re like waiting for.
Jameela [00:50:49] I don’t know if that can happen societally or politically having watched it. I mean, obviously, it’s also like, you know, it’s a particularly tricky time right now to talk about anything that would threaten contraception when we have the kind of rise of abortion bans across the United States. You know, and so so I can understand the kind of knee-jerk terror where we’re losing reproductive access and state upon state upon state feels relentless at the moment is really gut wrenching. And then at the same time, the contraceptive pill is being criticized by liberals, by people on the left, and there are many people on the right who don’t even want people to have access to contraceptive pills because they also think that goes against religion. And those people like to fully just control people’s uteruses, especially in the United States. So it is a really contentious and brave moment to bring this conversation up. But it is vital that we do not allow this, as I’ve said earlier, in the most muddled way ever that we don’t allow this to become muddled. It is so vital. And can I ask, why do you have statistics on yet? I mean, are there statistics available on the kind of drop in the new generation signing up for birth control?
Abby [00:52:03] I mean, the statistics that we have are generally that they say about 60 percent of users will stop the pill after six months due to intolerable side effects.
Jameela [00:55:03] I cannot stress to you enough that you, if you are someone out there who is struggling with, you know, a sudden or increasing health conditions, anything like truly just go across the spectrum and you’ll find something that’s linked to the contraceptive pill. And if you are finding your mental health is in decline or you are suddenly unattractive to your partner, of course, look into reasons why that might be that are emotional. But. When you said earlier that hormones are a big part of what develops our personality and impacts our personality, it really hit me hard considering how much these things interfere with that very thing. And so I really stress for you to go out and advocate for yourself and and look into options, alternative options and to know that this isn’t your fault and that you are a victim of a for profit system, that these two very brave women are trying to just query and uncover. If they’ve got nothing to hide, then they should feel free to be much more transparent. I mean, I can’t believe how many how many of these companies have been responsible for the lives lost of such young, the women who died in your documentary like, the women were so young that I couldn’t believe it, they can’t have been on the pill for even very long at these ages. These aren’t people who’ve been on it for 10, 20, 30 years, and different generations of that pill are different iterations of that pill. These are people who are on their first birth control. Barely out of their teens who’ve lost their lives, and these companies will still not put a label that says may cause death. The way they would with so many other things, drugs that I have taken have got a label like that, that warns me about what implications are and yet not for something that we we consider to be for women. There is just not enough value on women’s lives.
Abby [00:57:00] No, and they know. I mean, at least we we get into the NuvaRing a little bit and that controversy. But I mean, there’s been some great reporting done on that. Marie Brenner wrote an article in Vanity Fair in 2013 that we used to make, you know, part of the documentary that she really gets into it, and she shows exactly like why you’ll never see that black box label. I mean, you’ll just never. That’s that’s the death knell of the drug. And the shareholders, I mean, they would never let that happen. And I think that’s to think about for me, it was like this idea that the cost of doing business is already factored in, that they already know how many lawsuits, how many strokes, how many deaths, how many are factored in.
Ricki [00:57:48] It’s built into their budget. Yeah.
Jameela [00:57:52] It’s wild, and also it was it was Bernie Sanders who was instrumental in releasing this information via the Freedom of Information Act so that people could see that these drug companies had all of this information from the very start and deliberately suppressed it. We have we have it in hard data. This is not conspiracy theory. This isn’t coming from the two of you. This is not agenda driven. This is just cold litigation and fact.
Abby [00:58:16] Absolutely, absolutely, and I also think what you were saying before, Jameela, about people experiencing side effects is one of the things that’s difficult is that, you know, a lot of people are put on this drug at an age that is turbulent anyway, right? So you’re talking about teens, you’re talking about people that are going to have mood issues, potentially no matter what. So that’s, you know, again, this hormonal thing that that’s the thing that really gets me is that how many people were started on, let’s say, an anti depressive, you know, early on before they’re even 20 years old because that’s who they think they are because they only know that pill personality. They only know that person who’s on the synthetic hormones. It’s like the other hormones never got a chance to develop that menstrual cycle, never got a chance to establish. And I think that’s that’s what keeps me up. I mean, also also, believe me, the girls having blood clots and pulmonary embolisms and and we have to work with those families and be with those families all the time. And, you know, all they want, they don’t want to dime. None of them are in these lawsuits. All they want is for this not to happen to another child.
Jameela [00:59:36] And I completely agree with you, but with this being a mental health podcast, it is extremely, extremely important to discuss the fact that there could be. We’re not saying it necessarily or categorically is, but there could be something that is altering the way that you see the world, the way that you see yourself, the way that you see other people. And it’s devastating the way that you put it, about the fact that if people are taking these drugs from such a young age and they are pushed on us from such a young age. Do they ever get a chance to really know themselves that is
Ricki [01:00:12] Know themselves, yes, yes, who they are just on a fundamental level, it’s just taken away from them. They’ll never know.
Abby [01:00:20] And that’s how Holly Griggs Spall, who wrote Sweetening the Pill that the film was originally inspired from. That’s what she did. She suffered from debilitating, debilitating anxiety and depression for years until she connected it to Yaz, the pill that she was taking. And then when she got off, she started to write a blog that was literally called Who am I when I’m not on the pill? And that blog became the book that then became the movie. So I think it is. It is such a core question.
Jameela [01:00:56] Ricki, can I ask how long you’ve been off the pill?
Ricki [01:00:59] Oh, a long. I mean, a long time, I remember being on and off of it through my pregnancy, so my children are twenty five and almost 21, so it’s been a really, really long time. And it was years after I mean we started making this film in 2014, and it really was connecting the dots and making the film and hearing about the side effects and then dealing with this hair loss. And oh my God, like, oh my God. And it’s just I would go on and off of different pills. I would go every year for my pap smear and they’d give me a new brand. And I just thought it saved me a trip to the pharmacy, so I didn’t think anything of switching to a different kind.
Jameela [01:01:31] Wait, wait, wait. Wait. Sorry. So not because you were struggling with the pill you were on. You would just be given a brand new like a new drug for your body to have to assimilate to.
Ricki [01:01:42] Yes. Yes, because it was what I mean. It’s just like Dopesick. When I watch the series Dopesick, you know, the big pharma reps would come and they’re selling their new patent, their new product. And so for me, it was the ease. I never considered oh, I might have. It might have a different effect on me that it’s a different compound. I just never put it together. And I was like, Oh wow, a stack for six months. It saves me a from buying it myself and b a trip to the pharmacy. And it was just
Jameela [01:02:07] Oh mother fucker.
Ricki [01:02:09] Yeah, yeah. So I’ve been off it for a long, long time, and my last partner who passed away, he was had a vasectomy and then my partner, now my husband now had a vasectomy. And, you know, I still get a cycle. I also had an unplanned pregnancy pregnancy at forty two while using protection. So, you know, I’m someone that was I’m very fertile. I’m super fertile. I got pregnant. I was lucky. I was one of the lucky ones. When I did go off the pill to procreate and have my children, I got pregnant the first month I was off the pill. So but I know that’s not normal. That’s a lot of people struggle with fertility once they start family planning and going off these meds.
Jameela [01:02:42] Yeah, I think I think I’m I’m genuinely considering just having my fallopian tubes tied or cut out at this point because I think I think I just want nothing to do with this entire industry of women’s reproductive care and especially in the United States. I think just like just take just have it. Take it, chop it, throw it out. Put it in a fast food burger God knows what else is in there that’s like
Abby [01:03:16] It’s just the worst if the U.S. is the worst. And by the way, do you know how many women we know in their fifties and sixties that are still on the pill? And do you know why they’re on the pill? Because there’s no care for menopause and they don’t know what the fuck to do, so they just stay on the birth control pill.
Jameela [01:03:33] Is that what Hormone Replacement Therapy is?
Abby [01:03:37] No,.
Jameela [01:03:37] That’s different. So there’s only hormone replacement therapy. So they just kept on the pill. And then also people are put on the pill for mental health reasons, even though the pill can actually sometimes impact your mental health even worse, so then they just change the contraceptive pill you’re on rather than think perhaps the contraceptive pill is also contributing to the way that you feel. So, Ricki, what was it like coming off the so you come off the pill? Did you like find a new personality after that? Like, to get to know yourself again.
Ricki [01:04:06] I can’t even remember. I don’t think I even was aware of like looking at who I was. I mean, I my memory does not serve me in this because I can’t remember.
Jameela [01:04:16] Probably from the pill. On top of everything else.
Ricki [01:04:20] Maybe. That and the Ambien I took back in the day, too, I mean, that causes a lot of short term memory loss, and that was never that drug was never tested on women. You know they never, ever, ever bothered to see how it affects women differently than men. Yeah, so I wish I could remember and tell you exactly what I experienced, you know? But I know know that if I know knew, then what I know now, I probably would never have been on in the first place.
Jameela [01:04:48] No, absolutely not. Well, I’m sure we’ve scared the living shit out of everyone listening to this podcast and and I think that that’s probably a good thing because this the pendulum has to swing fully the other way, considering this kind of callous negligence that has occurred for most of us when it comes to our medical providers and the medical institution, especially in the United States. But I mean, the pills used worldwide, all these different pills are used worldwide. This is a conversation for everyone. And I really I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for this body of work that you’ve worked on for years. This is such a labor of love is such a service to people with periods and people whose reproductive systems and whose mental health and physical health is threatened by this completely corrupt and dishonest industry. May I just ask what your kind of parting words each are to anyone who’s listening to this? Like what you hope they gain from your film and from this understanding?
Ricki [01:05:50] Well, first, I want to say thank you for me. Thank you so much. I really we need voices like yours to amplify what we’re doing because we are doing this on our own. We have had so much pushback from mainstream media, as we talked about. I just. I just love impacting women in a positive way, like I just, you know, this is the work that I love more than anything I’ve done in my career, the work I do with Abby, the Business of Being Born was my life’s work. And and to see it have this ripple effect where women come up to us to this day and cry because they were so like they had this birth experience that they would never have had had it not been for this work we do. And so I just I just love that I get to use my, my, my name and my persona to educate and help women. I mean, it’s so I just hope there’s a ripple effect like we had with our first film. And it’s my honor. It’s my honor to just do this work and ask these questions and and start this conversation.
Jameela [01:06:49] And Abby.
Abby [01:06:52] Yeah I feel like something you said in the beginning, Jameela, you know, where you said, like, this film can actually save lives. We actually believe that. And we actually believe that, you know? Waking up to this information, and again, I will say this, this film is not for one gender. It is not for one gender. We had at our premiere in New York, I had fathers, husbands, you know, middle aged men coming up to us in tears saying, How can I get the link? My wife’s got to see this tonight. My daughter’s got to see this tonight. You know, I just think that, you know, it’s I really, really do feel like this is information that I wish I had 20 years ago, you know, and I and I can’t believe that it’s so hard to talk about. I can’t believe all the obstacles that we’ve had to jump through to bring this film out to the public. But I really believe that there’s a reason for timing. I think the timing is divine. Like we were saying, I think there’s a war on women right now in many areas of reproductive health and trying to control women’s bodies. And you know this, this is a piece of that war. And I think that, you know, I really I really do believe that. As the film becomes a gateway to conversation and improving, improving people’s body literacy, improving people’s awareness of options and alternatives, I believe that there will be a cultural shift. So it feels, you know, the film feels it feels bigger than us. It feels like something that like not like, Oh, we want to make this movie. It felt like we have to make this movie.
Jameela [01:08:52] Yeah, we deserve better across the entire medical industry. We deserve to be believed. We deserve to be understood. We deserve to be empowered to at least understand ourselves and not have vital lifesaving information hidden from us for profit. It. It is it has honestly been one of the most illuminating and heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen, and I’m so like, I will. I will never forget the experience of watching your documentary. And I really don’t like blow smoke up people’s asses. I don’t really have people on this podcast unless I really believe in what it is that they do and and I can’t wait for it to be released globally, and I can’t wait for the revolution that I have. I believe that you are at the forefront with alongside so many amazing activists who have had their voices suppressed and as two white women with privilege. Thank you for extending your platforms so that the rest of us can hopefully also start to raise our voices. Please let me know how I can ever be a service to you guys when it comes to putting this word out, and I hope everyone goes and watches the Business of Birth Control. Where can they find it? Because it ain’t on Netflix or Hulu or any of the massive streamers.
Ricki [01:10:14] It’s only on our website thebusinessofbirthcontrol.com. So it’s pretty easy to find, but we are only on our platform right now and we we do have foreign sales agents, so we’re hopefully going to sell it in territories all around the world.
Jameela [01:10:29] Well, thank you for coming on and talking to me about this, and it is exciting to see two people who aren’t gynecologists be so informed on the subject like Abby. Honestly, like at the top of this, you spoke to me about what the contraceptive pill does, like an actual doctor. And I think what that does is this I mean this this documentary has been consulted on by medical experts, and you have countless medical experts like in this documentary. But it just shows me that if two people who didn’t go to school to study gynecology can be this literate than all of us can be. And and it promotes that literacy, and it makes it feel like what you’ve done is you’ve kind of you’ve democracy, you’ve democratized information, which I think is one of the most important things that we can do in our culture because so, so often when something is medical or something is political. Most of us, you know, I left school at 16. Most of us feel like, well, then that’s I’m not even going to be able to vaguely understand this. Or I should just leave it to the experts. We literally can’t fucking leave it to the experts anymore because they’re not on our side. Not enough of them are on our side. And the few ones who are either suppressed or deliberately being, you know, like they’re suppressed or we don’t know enough of them. And so. I love you both. And I’m just going to leave you both there, but I can’t wait to see what my listeners feel about this documentary. I hope you’ll watch it. I hope you support it. I hope you tell everyone else about it. And please write to me. Write to Ricki, write to Abby about how it’s impacted you.
Ricki [01:12:07] Bless you. Thank you so, so much. You’re amazing. You’re just so, so amazing. Thank you for just shedding the light on this.
Jameela [01:12:16] It is honestly my pleasure and honor. This is just the start. Thank you, guys.
Ricki [01:12:21] Thank you. Have a beautiful day.
Abby [01:12:22] Thank you Jameela.
Jameela [01:12:25] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil is produced and research by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnigan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson, and the beautiful music you’re hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month Stitcher Premium by going Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly, over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners.
Listener [01:13:17] My name is Marcella, and I weigh the amount of love and care I have for the people around me. I weigh my passion for wanting to help people with their mental health and their body image. Thanks so much. Love you guys, bye.
November 27, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by writer, broadcaster and feminist organizer Clementine Ford to discuss the historical roots of marriage as a tool of patriarchal control, the illusions surrounding modern matrimony and the modern marketing machinery that sustains its myth.
November 20, 2023
Jameela is joined by beauty culture critic Jessica DeFino in a candid conversation about where her current research and journalism is taking her, after years of covering a multi-billion dollar beauty industry for major women’s magazines & beauty apps in the US.
November 13, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by director, producer and sexual educator A’magine Goddard to discuss her award-winning new documentary ‘At Your Cervix’ that breaks the silence about the continuous violation of bodily autonomy for educational purposes.