7 reasons ladies deserve control over their futures, according to a hit song from 1975.

One of the first women of country to really “tell it like it is” was singer Loretta Lynn. She was never shy about her life.

Her song “The Pill” — released in 1975, 15 years after the birth control pill was introduced— was no exception. Take a listen:

That’s right, a major pop star singing about birth control way ahead of her time! Whoa.

It’s sometimes hard to find songs these days that have any depth beyond their catchy beat. But in 1975, Loretta Lynn nailed it.

She wasn’t just trying to grab headlines — Loretta had four kids by the time she turned 20. So if you feel some truth in her delivery of this song about a rural farm wife who’s grateful for finally having some control over her own body, you wouldn’t be remiss.

“The Pill” outlines some of the reasons women getting control over their bodies is awesome. Here are seven.

And all in one catchy tune, to boot.

1. Ownership over the financial consequences of childbirth and child-rearing.

Remember how your mom got you dressed and got you presents and smiled the whole time? Though she certainly relished the opportunity to give love to her family, it’s no easy task! Image via Smithsonian Institution/Flickr Commons.

It’s crazy to imagine a time just over 50 years ago, when the pill didn’t exist. How did married couples do it?!

Well, in the case of Loretta’s in-song character, she got pregnant a lot:

But all I’ve seen of this old world
Is a bed and a doctor bill

Preach! If life is a constant roll of the reproductive dice — one that results in the major financial and emotional investment that is raising a new human being — you probably won’t be able to see much more than “a bed and a doctor bill.”

But not anymore:

There’s a gonna be some changes made
Right here on nursery hill
You’ve set this chicken your last time
‘Cause now I’ve got the pill

It’s no coincidence that the lyrics compare a woman without birth control to a chicken laying eggs. But there’s humanity and power in having a choice.

2. More diverse clothing choices.

They look great! But they deserve greater. Image via The Library of Virginia/Flickr Commons.

Speaking of choice…

This old maternity dress I’ve got
Is goin’ in the garbage
Miniskirts, hot pants and a few little fancy frills
Yeah I’m makin’ up for all those years
Since I’ve got the pill

Get it, girl!

Miniskirts are the perfect way to make up for the never-ending maternity-wear struggle. Even though there are better maternity choices now than there were in the ’70s, maternity wear shouldn’t have to be all-the-time-wear.

Image via McCalls Patterns/Mikhaela Reid/Flickr Commons.

3. A body that doesn’t get overused.

This incubator is overused
Because you’ve kept it filled

It’s a little bit edgy to compare yourself to a roosting chicken, but when you think about it, this lyric is intentionally jarring. Women are people, so why should they be made to feel like chickens, subject to the reproductive decisions of others?

That’s right. It’s MOM’s turn to get pushed around in a stroller, kiddo. Image via Internet Archive/Flickr Commons.

As Mary Beth Powers of Save the Children told CNN, 1 in 7 women giving birth in developing nations will experience complications, which is even more dangerous when they are far from advanced medical care.

4. The chance to see the world.

Image via Internet Archive/Flickr Commons.

You wined me and dined me
When I was your girl
Promised if I’d be your wife
You’d show me the world

This one’s a double-edged sword.

Essentially, the character is saying: “We got married and we were gonna conquer the world together. And now we can!” Which is awesome.

But it also shows just how far we still have to go on a lot of issues, as Loretta references a time when a woman needed the financial support of her husband to see the world.

5. A new reason for men to be happy, too.

Teamwork — not just for modern folk. Image via Missouri State Archives/Flickr Commons.

When it comes to reproduction, men play a pretty important role. So there’s plenty of reason for them to be happy about safer, um, marital relations.

The feelin’ good comes easy now

Since I’ve got the pill

It’s gettin’ dark it’s roostin’ time

Tonight’s too good to be real

Oh but daddy don’t you worry none

‘Cause mama’s got the pill

See? The “feeling good” comes easy now! All genders can breathe sighs of relief.

6. Being more than just “mothers-in-waiting.”

Image via The Library of Congress/Flickr Commons.

If you’re constantly on deck to have and care for kids, that can become your sole way of being seen by society. It’s true!

All these years I’ve stayed at home
While you had all your fun
And every year that’s gone by
Another baby’s come

I’m tired of all your crowin’
How you and your hens play
While holdin’ a couple in my arms
Another’s on the way

When women gained control over their bodies, they also gained control over how society views them.


7. No more being the default caregivers.

Raising kids is cool, but it doesn’t make me want to sing a song about ironing. Image via Internet Archive/Flickr Commons.

This chicken’s done tore up her nest
And I’m ready to make a deal
And ya can’t afford to turn it down
‘Cause you know I’ve got the pill

For so many generations, women’s work was taken for granted. But it has value. And with control comes power.

I’m not certain just what deal the character is making here, but the point is, with control over her body, she’s also in control of her future. It could be a future of caregiving, and that would be great. It might also include an education — or maybe even a fabulous country music career, à la Loretta Lynn.

To many, Loretta’s acknowledgement of birth control was scandalous. But it was also very successful.

“The Pill” was such a scandal in country radio that it was banned from some stations, stalling its performance in country radio at a time when a Loretta Lynn single was almost a guaranteed #1.

But the song was such a sensation in the music world overall that this sly, tongue-in-cheek song about birth control was Loretta Lynn’s highest-charting single in pop music, hitting #70 on the Hot 100.

In a world that’s fraught with conflict around choice, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come and how much more control ladies in America have gained in just a few generations.

Love’em. Image via Internet Archive/Flickr Commons.

Good job, America.

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