I didn’t think I was ashamed of the number of sexual partners I’ve had in the 20 years I’ve been getting it on until I found myself filling in a number half the true total at a recent gynecologist appointment. Although I know doctors are trained not to judge, and this doctor in particular had been particularly kind, helpful and professional when I’d seen her previously, in my head, all of a sudden the number (at best an approximation as I haven’t kept an exact count in year) seemed like cause for alarm. Even if I never had to say it out loud and its size was simply one more piece of data for her to use in evaluating me, something about it made me erase what I’d typed in the online form and halve it. As it turned out, she didn’t even ask me a single thing about my number, so that fretting was for naught—except that it taught me a lesson: slut shaming isn’t just something other people do to us, but something we can do to ourselves. Keep reading »
Dara-Lynn Weiss, the woman who became infamous for writing in Vogue about putting her daughter on a diet, wants it both ways: she repeats over and over in her new memoir The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet, how much she loves every inch of her daughter, including her pesky belly, but then painstakingly details the lengths she went to in order to shrink it. That dichotomy surely wasn’t lost on her daughter, and there’s no telling how that will affect her in later years. Weiss’s attitude is that she had to take extreme measures to combat the extreme problem of childhood obesity, but it’s the very extremity that concerned me. I felt anxious reading it as Weiss panicked and seemed completely consumed by this project when her four foot four, 93-pound daughter was pronounced obese by her pediatrician. Keep reading »
The first time I bought a pregnancy test I was 17. I’d gotten my period but was so new at the whole sex thing, not to mention paranoid, that I wanted to be sure. We hadn’t used condoms, but instead a small, see-through film that hardly seemed like it was going to do its job. I used it anyway because I was 17, and he was hot, not to mention 31, so I figured he knew what he was talking about. I wasn’t pregnant, but taking that test set the tone for every other pregnancy test I’ve taken, including one last weekend.
The biggest difference for me between taking a pregnancy test at 17 and 36 wasn’t so much the technology as the fact that I’m in a vastly different place than I was then. I know more about sex, relationships and myself, and while at 17, I was pretty sure I would get an abortion if a test were positive, now I’m almost certain I wouldn’t. I was scared, but not as scared as I’d been at 17. Another difference is that at the moment, I don’t have health insurance—bad, I know, and after this scare I’m joining the Freelancer’s Union and getting health insurance ASAP. Keep reading »
In the preview for Bravo’s upcoming reality show “Miss Advised,” internet personality Julia Allison boldly exclaims that she’s looking for a husband and has a 73-point checklist. When I heard that, my immediate thought was that I’ve never had a checklist, and even when I’ve set vague goals for the types of people I wanted to date, I’ve found that the universe tends to throw people in my path who are explicitly not the types I’d have said I was looking for, as if it’s testing me. Keep reading »
I have to respectfully disagree with Alexandra Gekas’ recent Soapbox excoriating Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones for considering her virginity “a gift I want to give my husband.” Taking Jones to task for how she’s decided to pursue her sexuality strikes me as yet another way to be holier-than-thou, through a feminist lens, almost the opposite of slut-shaming (conservative-shaming? virgin-shaming?). There are a seemingly infinite number of ways women are told we are expressing ourselves, sexually and otherwise, incorrectly. Are we showing too much cleavage? Putting out too soon? Living in sin? It’s like we can’t win, and while I’m not in Jones’ position, I’d like to think anyone who’s been judged for being “slutty” can empathize with being judged in this way. Keep reading »