This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
Living one’s values are difficult for any human. Living one’s values when those values are idealistic, compassionate, and come from a deep and open heart can be extremely difficult. Life throws “life” at you and you seek to respond in the way that would make you feel proud of yourself.
That doesn’t always work.
This morning, an editor from Feministing.com Chloe Angyal published an essay confessing that she’s been starving herself. You can read the whole essay here. The tl;dr is that Chloe (I’m calling her Chloe because I’ve known her socially for years and it feels weird to refer to her in the formal “Angyal”) became interested in eating disorders awareness after she became artistic director of her all-girls dance company in college. She made a mandate within the company to stop with negative body-talk and then became involved in a campus eating disorders awareness and prevention group. (Through that group, she met the lovely Courtney E. Martin, who brought her to Feministing.) She’s been reading, blogging and editing Feministing for several years.
And for the past two years, she’s also been starving herself. Keep reading »
“I have a shopping fetish!”
“I have a total fetish for caramel-covered popcorn — it’s my favorite snack!”
“She watches the Kardashians’ shows because she has a weird Kim fetish. She’s wants to dress like her so badly.”
You’ve probably heard a comment like this at least once a week your entire life. These sorts of comments drive me bonkers, because those people are not really referring to fetishes.
Instead, they’re misusing the word “fetish” to describe anything they really like, instead of something that sexually turns them on. I imagine it might be the same way gay folks would feel when a straight-person says to their same-sex friend “I’m gay for you,” when really they just mean their friend is a good buddy.
This is a subject we could all stand to know more about. Obviously I am not a psychologist or a medical expert of any kind; I’m just a woman with a spanking fetish who is researching official information on the subject on Google and including my own experiences and tips. I highly recommend visiting a sex-positive therapist, specifically a sex therapist, for a professional consult and to sort this stuff out if you or a loved one have a fetish or paraphilia.
But for a basic 101 on fetishes and paraphilia, here are some commonly asked questions and answers:
Keep reading »
The irony about people who cope with depression is that some of us are actually quite happy people. We are not, contrary to stereotype, slogging through life with the weight of one thousand sorrows dragging behind us. I may feel things intensely, sure. But I’m not someone whose blue-colored glasses see everyone screwed up and the world a terrible place.
That is, until the holidays come around. Keep reading »
Liza Long, the blogger behind the post “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” which went viral following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Friday, appeared on CNN last night to discuss her motivations behind writing the piece, respond to critics who questioned whether she violated her son’s privacy, and to update everyone on how “Michael” (not his real name) is doing. Long said her post was a cry for help; though Michael is a happy, sweet child 97 percent of the time, he is prone to out-of-nowhere violent rages that doctors have yet to find an official cause for. Keep reading »
Dieting is probably my foremost hobby. It might even take precedence over my two other main interests, which are 1) lying on the sofa complaining of feeling faint like a Victorian anemic and 2) staring at myself in the mirror. Of course, dieting for me just means eating healthily, because my idea of eating whatever I want includes sandwiches composed of whole baguettes with an entire pig’s worth of prosciutto, several slices of pepperoni pizza, and entire pints of ice cream in one sitting. The world in which I can eat as I please is a world in which raw kale does not exist. (Baked kale chips can stay.)
So it only makes sense that, however unpleasant it may be, I force myself to eat in a reasonable, controlled manner, which means cutting out some of my favorite foods altogether. Once I get them in front of me, I cannot resist, and then I’m eating all of it, because food is my drug. Which leads me to this: much like the gravitational pull of your favorite flavors can put you induce a drug-like euphoria, being forced (by a self-imposed or otherwise mandatory diet) to stop eating high-fat and high-sugar foods can cause withdrawal symptoms and depression. It’s science! Keep reading »
Every reality show competition has its oddball and Victoria on “America’s Next Top Model” fits it to a ‘T.’ She was homeschooled, attends online schooling at uber-religious Liberty University, and when she “gets in character” she over-acts during all her photoshoots … like in the most recent episode when she spat at the photographer. Victoria also just so happens to be the girl I want to win; she takes some of the best pictures, and easily has the best work ethic (which is half the battle).
Over the past several episodes of “ANTM,” the other girls have been closing in on Victoria. It started with snotty comments about Victoria being weird — which, sure, she is. Then it exacerbated in the episode before last when, at judging, the girls told Tyra Banks that they think Victoria isn’t eating enough — which, if we can go off the way producers have edited the show, is probably also true. Victoria defended herself and said she doesn’t have an eating disorder, she’s just extremely anxious about the competition and being away from her mom for the first time — which, again, is probably true. Tyra then pronounced she deeply cares about the health and well-being of the girls on her show, threatened that if Victoria restricts her eating she’s out of the competition, and vowed to keep an eye on her.
Then, on Friday night’s episode, all of this hoopla went even further: the remaining girls in the house confronted Victoria, telling her they don’t think she’s stable enough to continue with the competition. Keep reading »
I’ve been seeing my therapist, Jennifer*, for years. I love her. She’s helped me through a lot of hard times and she’s one of the first people I want to talk to when something big happens in my life.
However, there was one time she crossed the line between analyzing and annoying: the time she convinced me I had Asperger’s, a form of autism. Keep reading »
I used to be the sort of person who was always looking for the next big thing. In high school, I wanted to be in college. In college, I wanted to have a job. Every job I had, I wanted to be more successful.
I didn’t learn about stillness, about just being, until I had to. And I don’t think it’s coincidental that the more I just be and the more gratitude I have for my life, the happier I am.
My bouts of depression have always had a chicken-and-the-egg quality to them. Was I on a downward spiral of depression throughout my mid-20s? Or was it from my stressful and demanding job and how hard I was on myself about not being the most amazing person ever? Did I feel depressed because I studied abroad in Eastern Europe away from my family and my friends? Or was I depressed already and that trip just exacerbated it?
I don’t think there are necessarily answers other than “both.” Just the way my mom is inclined to bruise easily if she knocks her leg on a coffee table, I’m inclined to get depressed easily. I wouldn’t have chosen to be this way if I had the choice. But since this is what the lottery stuck me with, I’ve learned how to cope with it. Keep reading »