Sexually liberated woman does not need hormonal contraception
Interview with Tereza Tara, film director, for VICE.COM
Maybe you have never heard about Tereza Tara before, maybe yes, important thing is that seven years ago this thirty-one year old film director opened a public debate about the risks of hormonal contraception as a first person in the Czech Republic. Her documentary, Fish'n'Pills, described the risks of eating hormones in large amounts in 16mm movie by a bizarre form. Being more precise, Tereza illustrated this fact by tracking the changes of fish to hermaphrodites after hormonal contraceptives were poured into the water. This bizarre point of view was not the only thing she was interested in – she also pointed out to a startling lack of information among hormonal contraceptives users.
Besides film directory, Tereza holds workshops for women which focus on creativity-exploring, tantric yoga and personal development. I´ve come to talk with her to see how all these activities are related and how it really is with that daily swallowing of pills against pregnancy.
VICE: Hi, Tereza. It's been five years since you made the documentary, Fish'n'Pills, which brought you many awards. In fact, you have opened the discussion about this issue. Do you think that it has fulfilled its purpose? Did it express what you meant to say?
Tereza: I think yes. First of all, my intention was to inform the public and encourage a discussion on this topic. More than anything else, I am a woman and artist; therefore I approached to the topic in a holistic manner. I combined scientific approach, represented in the document by gynecologist Helena Máslová and biologist professor Jaroslav Petr, with an intuition and creative insight of a woman. It helped me to show the issue in a broader perspective. I do not tell anyone what to do with her/his body. I wanted to point out that hormonal contraceptives are prescribed automatically, often without knowledge of family history and that the decision of a young woman who decides to take the pills often lacks information.
Lack of information of the girls in the documentary is frightening.
And these were not only young girls! There were also women around thirty years old and they were not aware of almost any risk of a long-term use of contraceptives. We're talking about a whole range of health risks, including thrombosis, which can lead to death. Maybe it sounds bit exaggerated but even such cases do exist. It is absolutely clear that girls who get larger breast and improved skin as a result of hormonal contraception usage do not think about it. Moreover, the pills are blessed by their doctors and mums. Maybe they can realize this fact after ten years of continuous therapy when their menstrual cycle will be completely destroyed, at the point where it can be very difficult to restart it. Of course, this means an increase in new clients for artificial insemination clinics.
You have visited numerous international festivals with your documentary. Is it awareness in other countries stronger compared to the Czech Republic?
For example in Scandinavia, the awareness of the negative effects was really great at the time I lived there. Women were even aware of the fact that hormonal contraception blocks the natural menstruation and certainly, it is not a harmless candy. In some women, the use of contraception reduces sexual appetite. And that´s a pretty serious reason to discontinue its intake. I received great feedback to the movie in Germany and Japan as well.
Although, we made a progress as well, didn´t we?
Yes, we discuss this issue more often and that´s good. However, I hold lectures at the schools and it seems to me that nowadays, a young woman is under greater pressure to take hormonal contraception. Somehow, it is supposed she will do that. It is important to lead the girls to healthy self-esteem in order to encourage them to tell their partners what they really need. However, apart from the girls, even young men need the information as it is a matter of their fertility as well.
Hormonal contraception played its historic function in sexual liberation of women. Currently, sexually liberated woman does not need it. In these days, collective consciousness of people is changing. People are interested in healthy lifestyle, they have stronger relationship and respect to Earth and naturally, even to the environment. This is not very consistent with intake of artificial hormones. Woman who loves herself does not want to stuff her body with chemicals. A man who loves his wife will not want her to do so.
In the Fish'n'Pills documentary, you work with theme of the fish which undergoes changes in genital system and becomes hermaphrodites as a consequence of hormones poured into the water.
In my point of view, sometimes, it is necessary to explain things rationally especially for men. Karen Kidd´s research shows that synthetic estrogen affects male sex cells and male sexual organs. It suppresses their natural functionality. Even if the men do not change to hermaphrodites, their fertility decreases. Other reasons are of course unhealthy lifestyle, sedentary way of life, poor diet and toxic substances in the environment. Everyone has responsibility for his/her own being. However, in this case even the future generations are affected.
It is a shame that lot of children cannot be born and lot of women and men would do anything as they become older in order to have them. In my workshops, I teach women techniques that promote fertility, rejuvenate and regenerate their bodies. I am pleased that subsequently many of them are beautiful, healthy and often pregnant.
In the documentary, Helena Máslová says that our society has brought up a new generation of men who leave all the responsibility to women? Is not she exaggerating?
We cannot say it absolutely that men do not have any responsibility. Those men were also brought up by someone and that´s the generation of their mothers for whom the hormonal contraception was such a little miracle. Women want to live with a partner who is a man with all aspects. And responsibility is one part of them.
In my movies or when I hold workshops, my intention is to inspire women to naturalness, creativity and beauty. As they are the beauty.
For more information about Tereza's work and the risks of hormonal contraception, please visit Tereza´s website.
author: Dominik Čech, http://www.vice.com/cs/
photo: Jan Červenka, VICE