Associate Professor of Sociology Krystale Littlejohn discusses her new book, Just Get on the Pill, which investigates how birth control becomes a fundamentally unbalanced and gendered responsibility. She uncovers how parents, peers, partners, and providers draw on narratives of male and female birth control methods to socialize cisgender women into sex and ultimately into shouldering the burden for preventing pregnancy. Littlejohn draws on extensive interviews to document this gendered compulsory birth control—a phenomenon in which people who give birth are held accountable for preventing and resolving pregnancies in gender-constrained ways. She shows how this gendered approach encroaches on reproductive autonomy and poses obstacles for preventing disease. While diverse cisgender women are the focus, Littlejohn shows that they are not the only ones harmed by this dynamic. Indeed, gendered approaches to birth control also negatively impact trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people in overlooked ways. In tracing the divisive politics of pregnancy prevention, Littlejohn demonstrates that the gendered division of labor in birth control is not natural. It is unjust.
Just Get on the Pill has been receiving high-profile media coverage, especially as it relates to contemporary events such as the Supreme Court's green light on the Texas law targeting reproductive freedom. The book has been reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement and Mashable. Littlejohn was also interviewed about the book on NPR-Detroit, Jefferson Public Radio, and the Two Broads Talking Politics podcast. She recently published an op-ed in Ms. Magazine that weaves Britney Spears's battle with her conservator as a window into interrogating cis men's regulation of women's and birthing people's bodies via contraception and abortion. Littlejohn also was interviewed at Salon.com about her research and current struggles for reproductive rights and justice, and TIME magazine just published an article she wrote on the topic, highlighting by prescription birth control is not a solution to abortion restrictions. More on Littlejohn's media appearances can be found on her website.