Sunday, March 28, 2010

Submission for CofC's Look Book

From a young age, I have struggled with the idea that my life would be better if I was thinner. If I was a little bit thinner, I would have had more friends, better grades, rad boyfriends. In middle school, that was all I really wanted. I just thought that if I could lose a bit more weight, everything would be more fun.

By high school feeling insecure about how I looked meant that I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I went through a lot of phases in high school between caring and not caring about what my body looked like, or if anyone else liked it, or even if I cared if anyone else liked it. I gained weight, lost weight, became a vegetarian, felt depressed a lot. Ultimately, I still thought that the key to success was somehow integrally tied to being thin.

Now, as a college first year, I’ve read feminist literature and body-acceptance books, and I’ve cultivated a new identity for myself as a powerful, feminist woman. I feel happier and more satisfied with school and learning and friends than I have in a long time. This campus is a good place to be.

Except those times when I feel down about myself. I worry that people will see me as just the fat girl. Or that, because of that people think that I am lazy or a bad person with far reaching and infectious character flaws. Or that because of how I look, I can’t or won’t be appreciated as beautiful or sexy or lovely or delicious.

Then, when I see all these pretty, thin, white girls eating salads in the cafeteria, I feel bad about my veggie burger and fries. I don’t want to feel that way, but after years and years of feeling guilty and ashamed about my body, it’s SO HARD to think differently. I mean when I got the diet talk for the first time in the second grade, I felt like my world was falling apart. Before, it was always, “Look how smart Amber is.” But now, Oh, Oh – I’m not right? I don’t look like the other little girls? What should I do? Exercise, diet, eat less, less, less. I remember fainting in the third grade because I was so goddamned good at dieting. Ridiculous.

For right now, I love my body for what it does for me every day, every minute. I’m here and alive and soaking up the spring sunshine. There are things about me that I love: my hair (I have really nice hair). I love my face, my hands, my boobs (although this is relatively new), the shape of my body. I am in a really good space and feeling the love your body energy. But, there are still days when I am convinced that if I just wasn’t so fucking huge, the possibilities would be endless . . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

MoonCup Review

For all who haven't heard the news: I really, really like my MoonCup.

Both of the issues I had concerns about yesterday were no problemo. The biggest hurdle was the trust issue- Do I really trust that the MoonCup won't leak all over the place and leave me with big red splotches somewhere undesirable? And the answer is yes.

The worst part is probably the size of the MoonCup. Going in folded feels fine, but coming out fully expanded is a little uncomfortable. Totally managable though.

And, something totally unexpected happened. I really like the collection of menstrual fluid and emptying out process. It feels productive. Using a tampon, or pad even, made me feel like I was cleaning. I used cotton to clean up my vagina, and then felt obligated to hide it away in the garbage, bundled in wrappers or toilet paper or the little boxes in the stall. The MoonCup doesn't feel that way to me; I'm going to have to agree with Micah (see comments on: My Peeper's Sick) and say that I feel liberated. I feel a lot happier with my bleeding vagina now.

The MoonCup has

1. made me feel excited about my period for the first time in years.
2. hopefully made having a period be a more positive experience in the future.
3. downsized the number of tampons that would have ended up in a landfill somewhere

Please check out the MoonCup if you are looking for alternative period products.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Peeper's Sick!

I started my period last night, and just put the MoonCup in for the first time. I can't really feel it in my vagina. Which is good. Like with a tampon though, the stem/string stays outside the vagina. I can feel the little stem thing, and it's not uncomfortable- it's just there . . . I think it will be like a bandaid, where the sensation stops being felt after habituation. (woo psych 103)

Things I am unsure about:
1. wearing it to yoga today. I don't think I need to elaborate on that one.
2. emptying it in the dorm bathroom. Not sure how much privacy I can expect at any time.

More information TBA later.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My big O moment - Ellen Style

Follow up from the last post. Finally, finally the blinders covering my eyes have been removed. I had a heart to heart with a friend, where we pillow-talked out our feelings. And, I sort of just blurted out:


My eyebrows kinda furrowed, and I stopped rubbing her back, and she turned around to face me, and we looked each other in the eye. And I said, "I think I'm a lesbian!" Then she is laughing at me and hugging me, and she insists that she's known since October after we had only known each other for a month! Her partner calls, and she's known since September!

My response: "What, what? I didn't . . . Why didn't you tell me?! That could have saved me a lot of work!"

This is a really important revelation for me because my parents/family would be seriously unsupportive. So I have an identity, but it has to be a secret identity . . . Lots of complex things to think about. But, I am glad to have this issue resolved in my brain. Now, all these doubts and worries and indecision can simmer down because I can finally claim my own identity as a big ole lezzy.

On a related note, check out this story- Stuff Lesbians Like Part 88: Being surprised that people already knew you were a lesbian before you came out

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This Modern Love, Oh Buddy.

Uh oh. I've kinda dived off the deep end into the swimming pool of relentless curiosity bordering on obsessive interest in this blog: I was bored and on feministing and randomly clicked the link to this blog. And then I fell in love. Hardcore, dudettes.

The blog is written by a feminist, lesbian, kinky, queer, butch woman who lives in Brooklyn. She writes about things that she's doing in her career, in her home life, her feelings and personal experiences with masculinity and feminity and gender bending and how to think about all of that within a feminist perspective. She also writes really interesting (and deliciously dirty) sex stories and product reviews of sex toys. Technically, this is a sex blog.

Woo! Bout time I (the thinking about sex therapy as a career enthusiast) stumble on a sex blog. I am in love (lust?) with the whole shebang. And then, I found all these links . . . THERE IS A WHOLE WORLD OF LESBIAN BLOGGING!

I know, right? This is intensely exciting for me. Apparently I just missed the voting, but The Lesbian Lounge has an annual lesbian blog awards voting process, and they just recently announced the winners of "The Lezzys": There are SO MANY ridiculously rad blogs on this list. I feel like I can't stop reading (which is unfortunate as I am supposed to be studying for biology so that I can guilt-free celebrate a friend's birthday. Maybe I'll skip my 8 o'clock class that morning...).

I am just so exstatically pleased as punch about my find. I feel like I found seriously cool stuff here. And it has recently spawned deep thoughts that hey! - maybe I would LOVE to do an independent study on something like this, looking at gender and power dynamics in lesbian relationships or lesbians and kink or something super jazzy.

(Oh, and just for funsies, check out this site, all my future grad student friends: I found it through; they are so fucking hilarious. I was having a lot of fun there. It gives you a fancy dissertation title based on an author and a work.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Act Like A Lady, Think Like An Ass

So, for Girls' Night In at CofC, the book discussion is about Steve Harvey's Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. Obviously, I knew I was going to have issues with the book from the beginning, just based on the title which while catchy is ridiculous.

So, aside from the few and far between points that did make sense (like, making sure that you choose a life partner who has similar goals in life i.e. don't marry the wanna be, but jobless, producer who you support while you climb the corporate ladder just because he's good in bed. gee thanks.) I have come to the conclusion that Steve Harvey is an ass who insidiously works under the guise of helping women, when really he only furthers and supports Cleaver-ville ideas and standards.

The real outrage began on pg 27 when Harvey felt prepared to make sweeping generalizations about why exactly it is that men have "a whole host of pathologies" ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to leaving women with the burden of caring for their kids. The answer is because a man feels like he can't provide for his family, "so he flees to escape the horrible feelings of inadequacy." Really, Steve Harvey, really?

These insulting and just wrong generalizations, particularly about gender occur time and time again in the book. Men are portrayed (unoriginally) as simple, noncommunicative, sport/sex/beer enthusiasts, aggressive, and controlling by biological nature. Women by contrast are nurturing, dainty, religious, helpless around the house except for their cooking/cleaning duties, in need of "stuff", and also someone to come to our rescue and defend our honor. Apparently, a sign of real love is that, "Once he says he cares about you, you are a prized possession to him, he will do anything to protect that prized possession"(31). Even if we overlook the comma splice, this is all kinds of fucked up. This is a book marketed to WOMEN! and he has the audacity to write that kind of shit about how we should want to be reduced to things for the love of man. Jesus. I know; deep breath people - it gets worse.

I think one of the most hurtful chapters is the called "Strong, Independent - and Lonely- Women." Harvey taps into the fear that strong, powerful women are always going to be lonely unless they stoop down to stroke some schmuck's ego and make him feel like a real man. All we have to do is put our finger in our mouth and simper a little, and Hup, our man is going to be doing things for us like we're Cleopatra. Give me a break. He goes on to say that women have forgotten how to be girls. Considering that he has never been one in the first place, I thought this was a gutsy move. He suggests ways for girls to behave on dates and around the house in order to cater to giving their man that feeling of Professing, Providing, and Protecting their love. Total Bullshit. There's no reason for me to be rude to a man because I make more money, but I don't need to protect and coddle his ego either. I'm proud to make more money, you Douche; the least you could do is be happy for me.

I really lost my crackers over his suggestions that 1) Women should withhold sex for 90 days to see if a man is serious about them, which is all part of getting some standards (151) 2) Women should withhold sex for no longer than a week, exceptions made for pregnancy, otherwise it's their fault if their men cheats (104) 3) that if a woman doesn't take a man's last name, she isn't really committed to the relationship, "You can hyphenate it if you want to, but that last name really needs to be the same as your man's. And if you're not committed to that, then why don't you just go marry your daddy?" (219).

What a douche! But I didn't expect much else from the book, honestly. What I am really disappointed in is people like Oprah and Aretha Franklin who have recc'd this book. I can't believe these strong, powerhouse women are in support of a book that is so clearly in a word: awful. This book is hurtful and harmful, and Harvey just wants to convey that if you aren't in a good relationship that it's your fault and you should just work harder, do better, do it Right the next time, which is exactly the kind of message that women get all the time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pigeon type Ponderings

So, I'm taking a yoga class because part of the college experience is stretching beyond comfort levels and trying new things. And so even though I would never really characterize myself as athletic or graceful or bendy or thin - all things that come to mind when I think of yoga- I decided to take the class.

I'm glad that I did because I wound up learning a lot of new things about myself and my body, and I can literally feel myself getting stronger and becoming less sore with each session. I have struggled with feeling insecure about my performance versus other students who may or may not look like yoga Barbie/Ken. It's hard to move past that even though rationally I know that fat people, short people, and people who have all different kinds of Mass Media induced short comings can all do yoga. Yoga is for everyone.

Anyways - to the point. We've had to do a pose called the Crane before, which is a balancing pose that I was particularly shaky with. I laughed with friends, and said that it was ok because really, with this body type I looked more like a beaver anyways. (Which in retrospect is even funnier because "beaver" can be slang for vagina. Perhaps my subconcious was reflecting more on the Vagina Monologues than I thought. ha.)

In class today though we learned a new pose called the Pigeon - and guess what? I was really good at it. The instructor walked by and said, "I think you've found your pose." I thought this was great and even apt because according to Wikipedia, "Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks." They're also vegetarian. This is so me!

Here's the bird:                                                            
And here's the pose: