As I write this, I’ve just come home from a new gym. A man training a small group of us shouted personalized encouragement throughout in an effort to spur us along. “Well done, Karen!” “Two more reps, Jaz!” “Knees up, Ellen!” “Bum out, Phhhh … bum out!”
I know that when someone mumbles “Phhh” under their breath, it means me. This happens with relative frequency; if I had to guess I’d say bi-weekly. I decided to tell the trainer how to pronounce my name, because the longer this kind of thing goes on, the more awkward it gets for everyone involved. “Phhhh” isn’t fooling anyone, mate. I have a few variations on the theme of correcting pronunciation, but on this particular day I went with “It’s like the name Lisa, but with ‘fuh’ in front of it.” Earlier, when I picked up a prescription from a pharmacist I’ve seen several times over the past year, I let “fuh-lissa” slide. It’s a pharmacist — we’re not that invested in each other. I’m used to making these judgement calls. Keep reading »
I will admit: I’m fascinated by the female condom. For starters, it’s the only female initiated dual-protection (against both pregnancy and STIs) method available. The potential for women all over the world to have agency over our reproduction is amazing. But why, I’ve wondered, is uptake so low? Why don’t any of my friends use it?
There are certainly some aspects of the female condom that are less appealing than other methods. At $7.00 for three, they’re much more expensive than traditional condoms. They’re also a bit less effective than the traditional condom, and there’s the ever pervasive “I don’t like how they feel on my peen” argument for both varieties of condom (although female condom praise-singers are trying to combat that one). The narrative around them in the developed world is often something like “meh.” Female condom manufacturers and advocates have attempted to reframe the discussion to include benefits including enhanced pleasure and ease of use. I’ve joined the call for feminists and health care workers to advocate for their use and access, but the benefits beyond risk reduction feel clumsy and don’t really ring true for me. Can it REALLY stimulate bodies in ways that are worth using them over traditional condoms? Could watching someone insert one possibly be alluring?
So when a friend suggested I shut up and try it, I realized I really should put my birth control where my mouth was. Or something. Keep reading »
Ladies, I’m exhausted.
I know, I know — things are better in 2014 then they have historically been for women and gender minorities for generations. Our foremothers’ victories are nothing to sneeze at. They’ve paved the way for us to do incredible things, and in doing so they’ve raised the bar. We now know that we don’t have to accept “realities” like, oh I don’t know, that women aren’t cut out to be CEOS because PERIODS. Or gender minorities have to fit into a narrow, arbitrarily-created boxes. Or that getting drunk and dancing like a hilarious maniac means you’re responsible for putting yourself in danger if you’re raped. Keep reading »
It was October 2012. My Australian boyfriend and I had just been on a romantic, whirlwind adventure road trip around Europe. We spent the first month with his parents in Spain and France, and then spent the following month on our own. We zigzagged through Switzerland, Austria, a brief drive through Lichtenstein, Germany, and finally Belgium. We’d been living in London before our travels and this was to be our final trip before we relocated together to San Francisco.
The preceding months had been fraught with anxiety as the expiration dates on our visas approached. As is the the case in many international relationships, my boyfriend and I struggled how to proceed as a couple. San Francisco was my choice, but he was not quite ready to leave Europe. In Bruges, on the last day of our trip, we broke up. We were one day away from going back to London, saying our goodbyes and then going our separate ways to reunite a few months later. The impending separation felt like it spelled doom, and we suffered over what to do. Keep reading »
As a child, I was sick with relative frequency. I remember returning to third grade after a month off with mono, several pounds lighter, and my skin pale from lack of exposure to sun. As I walked in, all Colin from The Secret Garden, the bitchiest girl in the class announced “You’re, like, always sick.”
It had occurred to me that I was sick more often than my peers. True, my mother had a fairly lenient stay-home-from-school policy, but by the time I was 10, I’d had mono, bronchitis, pneumonia, an ongoing bladder reflux issue and several sinus infections. My sisters are the same way. We’re evolutionarily weak. Whatever.
One might posit that having two orthopedic surgeries and a few viral and bacterial infections would foster some stoicism around unwellness. Well, one would be wrong. Practice, in my case, does not make perfect. When I’m ill, I’m a nightmare. Keep reading »
I learned about sweatshops towards the end of junior high and I remember being deeply troubled. A burgeoning activist, I decided to boycott all clothing stores that sold products made in sweatshops. A quick AOL internet search (#old) revealed that my boycott would actually be incredibly difficult — if not impossible — given that I did not have my own money, transportation or sewing skills. The boycott was abandoned. With the exception of the fair trade purchasing when I do when it’s convenient, it hasn’t reared its head since.
Boycotting Hobby Lobby, however, is easy. The first reason is that I’ve never actually laid eyes on one. Frankly, I didn’t know it existed before they took it upon themselves to save all the unborn fetuses of crafty shift-workers of America. There is only one Hobby Lobby in my hometown San Diego, and it’s about an hour’s drive from my family home. The same is true in Boston, the other American city in which I’ve dwelled. In my current home of Melbourne, Australia, there is literally not a Hobby Lobby in the hemisphere. So you see, my boycott is a bit ridiculous but also VERY MEANINGFUL, you know?
I say this because I know that a boycott can be inconvenient. As the tidal wave of shit that is the recent Supreme Court decision drifts further into the past, it will seem less important to drive an extra 10 minutes to buy your yarn. Keep reading »