Young Australian women explain their contraceptive choices Academic Article uri icon


  • New developments in female contraceptives allow women increased options for preventing pregnancy, while men's options for reversible contraception have not advanced beyond the condom. There has been little discursive exploration of how neoliberal and postfeminist discourses shape women's accounts of choosing whether or not to use contraception. Our thematic discourse analysis of 760 free-text responses to a question about contraceptive choice considers the social and political climate that promotes the self-governed woman who freely chooses contraception. We examine the ways in which women formulated and defended their accounts of choice, focusing on the theme of free contraceptive choice that constructed women's choices as unconstrained by material, social and political forces. We identify two discursive strategies that underpinned this theme: a woman's body, a woman's choice and planning parenthood, and explore the ways in which choice was understood as a gendered entitlement and how contraceptive choices were shaped (and constrained) by women's plans for parenthood. We discuss the implications of these discursive strategies, and neoliberal and postfeminist discourses, in terms of the disallowance of any contextual, social and structural factors, including the absence of men in the 'contraceptive economy'.


  • Wigginton, B
  • Moran, C
  • Harris, ML
  • Loxton, D
  • Lucke, J

publication date

  • 2016