A shocking, revelatory account of the dangerous misogyny that permeates pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood in America.
“Supported by ample data and suffused with anger… Yarrow convincingly recasts this country’s maternal health care system as needlessly dehumanizing, prioritizing expediency and profit over the best interests of a population of women rendered vulnerable… and she describes her own experience with a vividness that counterbalances the accumulation of facts.”   – New York Times
Modern medicine should make pregnancy and childbirth safer for all. But in Birth Control, award-winning journalist Allison Yarrow reveals how women are controlled, traumatized, injured, and even killed because of the traditionalist practices of medical professionals and hospitals.

Ever since doctors stole control of birth from midwives in the 19th century, women have been steamrolled by a male-dominated medical establishment that has everyone convinced that birthing bodies are inherently flawed and that every pregnancy is a crisis that it alone can “solve.” Common medical practices and procedures violate human rights and the law, yet take place daily. Misogyny and racism, not scientific evidence and support, shape the overwhelming majority of America’s four million annual births.

Drawing on extensive reporting, expert interviews, an original survey of 1,300 mothers, and her own personal experiences, Yarrow documents how modern maternal health care is insidiously, purposefully designed to take power from women to the detriment of their physical and mental health—not just during labor, but for years after. She then shows a better way, exploring solutions both cutting-edge and ancient to—finally—return power and control to birthing people.

Full of urgent insights and heartfelt emotion, Birth Control is an explosive call to action.

“This book lands with the force of birth itself: powerful, natural, sublime. A must-read for anyone planning to give birth anywhere ever. A literary retribution for those of us who have already been there.”

Julie Lythcott-Haims  |  New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult

“If you really want to know what to expect when you are expecting, Birth Control is a must read. Yarrow takes a deep research-based dive into the modern industrial complex of birth while also normalizing and validating what so many of us have experienced. Birth Control is a path forward to getting it right. Our humanity literally depends on it.”

Eve Rodsky  |  New York Times bestselling author of FairPlay

“What a harrowing and necessary book. Yarrow exposes the grim reality of American childbirth while offering a personal lifeline of hope and solidarity. Birth Control is revelatory.”

Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein  |  Creators of the award-winning documentary The Business of Being Born

“Allison Yarrow has written a definitive book about the trauma and tragedy of the American childbirth experience.”

Soraya Chemaly  |  Author of Rage Becomes Her

“This fascinating, impassioned and exhaustively researched book is a must-read for anyone who has ever been involved in childbirth. Which is everyone. Allison Yarrow shines a light on misogyny in the American healthcare system, and offers hope for what giving birth can look like when women, rather than profits, are centered.”

Courtney Sullivan  |  New York Times bestselling author of Friends and Strangers

“Birth Control is clarion call to physicians to do better by and for birthing people. It’s time to relearn birth as a sacred event, not as the manufactured medical catastrophe waiting to happen that we’ve been indoctrinated to believe it is, and Birth Control points the way.”

Aviva Romm MD  |  New York Times bestselling author of Hormone Intelligence

“Birth Control tells the critically important story of how birth went from a physiologic event to a medical one with empathy, journalistic rigor and details. A must-read for anyone who is considering, cares about, or came from a birth.”

Kimberly Seals Allers  |  Author of The Big Letdown, Founder of Irth App

Publisher: Seal Press / Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 9781541619319

Finalist for the Los Angeles Press Club Book Award, muse to a Givenchy fashion collection, and recommended by the The New York Times, The Skimm, US Weekly, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Bustle, Lilith, Book Riot, Bitch, Oxfam, and more.

The nostalgic, smart, and shocking account of how the 90s set back feminism, undermined girls and women, and shaped the millennial generation.

To understand how we got here, we have to rewind the VHS tape. 90s Bitch tells the real story of women and girls in the 1990s, exploring how they were maligned by the media, vilified by popular culture, and objectified in the marketplace.

Trailblazing women like Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, Madeleine Albright, Janet Reno, and Marcia Clark, and were undermined. Newsmakers like Britney Spears, Monica Lewinsky, Tonya Harding and Lorena Bobbitt were shamed and misunderstood. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle reinforced society’s deeply entrenched misogyny. Meanwhile, marketers hijacked feminism, sold “Girl Power,” and poisoned a generation.

Today echoes of 90s “bitchification” still exist everywhere we look. To understand why, we must revisit and interrogate the 1990s—a decade in which empowerment was twisted into objectification, exploitation, and subjugation.

Yarrow’s thoughtful, juicy, and timely examination is a must-read for anyone trying to understand 21st century sexism and end it for the next generation.

“Yarrow’s biting autopsy of the decade scrutinizes the way society reduced — or “bitchified” — women at work, women at home, women in court, even women on ice skates . . . Direct quotes from politicians, journalists and comedians about the women provide the most jarring, oh-my-god-that-really-happened portions of Yarrow’s decade excavation.”

Pittsburg Post-Gazette

“Yarrow is a skillful scene setter, and unpacks trends that objectified women’s bodies, making it easy for bitchification to take root… That’s the real power of 90s Bitch — it looks beyond the gender war many girls didn’t realize they were fighting to show how they were implicated in their own submission… The good news is that we can use Yarrow’s framework to reevaluate the stories we tell and the narratives we accept about women who step outside the prescribed lines of female success. In doing so, we can set aside some of our ’90s nostalgia and work toward a future of gender parity.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

“The 1990s was a decade that produced a long line of vilified women – from Anita Hill to Monica Lewinsky – and, Yarrow contends, we need to understand that moment in feminist history to appreciate our own.”

New York Times

“In her trenchant book 90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality, Allison Yarrow looks back on that decade with a heightened awareness of sexism and connected forms of discrimination. 90s Bitch establishes that many of the gender troubles of the last few years—a presidential candidate calling his opponent a “nasty woman,” companies using female “empowerment” as a marketing ploy, a group of men threatening violence against women they believe have unjustly denied them sex—follow in a long tradition.”

The New Republic

Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780062412348