Just taking a moment to appreciate femmeness and all the lovely femmes that I am so lucky to know. You make my world better.
if you have to preface a statement with “I don’t want you to think I’m transphobic, but…”
then you probably shouldn’t be saying it
can straight girls please stop calling their friends “girlfriends”
you are confusing me
You’re so brave in your car. Next time, I will gladly run into the street just so I can scratch PIG into your paint, or pepper spray your creepy, misogynist face, asshole.
After someone cut themselves pretty badly and it became pretty clear that blood makes me feel ill, she says “what do you do when you’re on your period then? It’s the same thing.”
"No it isn’t. It’s the injury, and the wound, and the fear of infection that bothers me."
"…it’s basically the same thing."
I realize this may sound terribly cliche coming from someone on their period, but something is pissing me off, and I swear it’s more than PMS.
I have been noticing it more and more. It follows me to work and it’s even sprung up in my own bathroom directed at me by a box of tampons.
The thing I’m talking about is PERIOD SHAME. (cue lightning, scary music, etc)
You know, the driving force behind the use of blue liquid as a stand-in for menstrual blood in pad commercials. The thing that enforces separate girls’ and boys’ health classes in elementary school. The thing that keeps male-bodied people in the dark (and hell, a lot of female-bodied folks, too!) about what the hell is a period anyway? You know, the thing that makes us say things like feminine paper and sanitary napkin, and call it a period, because even naming it is too shameful. And, the thing that keeps my co-workers handing me tampons like we are spies exchanging top-secret documents.
The Tampon Slip
My discovery of this little maneuver is a result of my chronic forgetfulness. Without fail, at least once a period I find myself at work sans tampons and asking a co-worker to supply me to the end of my shift.
Okay, you should know now that I work in a diner where I am required to wear an apron. Well, more like a pouch. Anyway, yes, I wear a pouch at work.
On two separate occasions, with two separate co-workers-turned-tampon-dealers, I have found myself privy to the oh-so-discreetly-executed Tampon Slip.
I could be standing at the computer, punching in a customer’s order, holding a tray of drinks, or standing around doing absolutely nothing (I do this a lot) when I feel the teensiest movement in my pouch pocket. My co-worker-turned-tampon-dealer has slipped a tampon into my pouch so subtly that even I barely notice.
And there you have it, The Tampon Slip.
Why is The Tampon Slip necessary? Why does it need to be carried out with such attention to discretion? Couldn’t they just hand me a tampon like they would hand me any other regular item?
Okay sure, maybe I’m very busy, or maybe my spider hands are full of plates, drinks and credit cards. Maybe. But most often, I am willing to bet that The Tampon Slip is meant to save me from PERIOD SHAME.
If my co-worker-turned-tampon-dealer handed me a tampon like a regular item, anyone could see and know that I have my period (SHAME!) or that they carry tampons and therefore could also have their period (SHAME!) and probably a whole slew of other shameful assumptions based on absorbency, brand, etc.
The truth is, my co-worker-turned-tampon-dealer can’t hand me a tampon like any regular item because a tampon isn’t a regular item. A tampon is a signifier of menstruation aka uterus-ovaries-vagina aka woman-ness or trans*-ness aka inferiority.
Us period-havers are supposed to keep quiet about menstruating to keep the non-period-havers feeling safe, superior and unburdened with any awareness or knowledge of our bodies and how they function.
If my co-worker-turned-tampon-dealer handed me a tampon like a regular item, it would disrupt the illusion we all play into that periods don’t happen. The non-period-havers would feel unsafe and scared because they would suddenly have to deal with the fact that periods exist. They would maybe even have to grope in their brains for some of the knowledge gleaned from those sex-segregated health classes back in elementary school.
Us period-havers would feel ashamed and embarrassed that we failed to uphold our part of the illusion, and everyone around us would know that we, too, have bodies that function as bodies will, and are probably dirty and morally corrupt.
Even the company I hand over my greasy-diner-dollars to every month (that I will call Tam-pox), insists that my period is “unclean” and I need to be “discreet” about its existence.
Right on the box, Tam-pox proudly shouts (practically) that its tampons have “amazingly clean protection” - with the word “clean” emphasized.
Inside the instructions and usage information, Tam-pox even kindly provides tips for discreet disposal.
“After you have inserted the tampon, place the used applicator back into the discreet wrapper. Grasp the bottom of the wrapper (the end with the applicator inside) and fold upwards toward the top of the wrapper that has the used applicator inside. Although this process is optional, it will give you optimal disposal discretion.”
If I could even decipher what that meant, I might find that I already do it. But to have it included as an optional-yet-encouraged step in using a tampon is ridiculous. I CAN’T EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS!
I guess what I don’t understand is how Tam-pox, one of biggest names in menstrual products, can be so period-negative? (And why, when I google “period positive” are the first results about pregnancy tests?) Is it too much to ask for a little period-positivity when I need it most?
Perhaps is about time I had some adventures in alternative menstrual products. Tam-pox, you and your period-negativity are banned from my bathroom, once and for all.
I just watched the episode “The Big One” (Season 3, Episode 16) and the message it sends to young, teenaged, college-bound girls is pretty puke-tastic.
Paris had sex with Jamie (and we’re supposed to be shocked) and has to hash it out with Rory to figure out if it was a good or a bad thing. The questions Rory asks that will supposedly reveal whether it was the right or wrong decision are:
- were you safe?
- was he nice to you?
- did the two of you discuss it?
Gaping hole in the line of questioning: did you have fun? did you want to? how was it? Anything along those lines is probably necessary to figure out if sex is good or bad.
Loralai overhears this conversation and finds out Rory has never had sex. She whispers to her self “I got the good kid” and tells Rory she’s going to take her shopping. Because good kids don’t have sex, bad kids have sex. And virginity of course should be rewarded with new shoes (because she’s a girl and what girl doesn’t love new shoes, right?).
Then, Paris doesn’t get into Harvard, and of course she blames it on losing her virginity. Again, because having sex is a punishable offense. If there’s no pregnancy scare or STI symptom, the TV universe will still punish you somehow for being a big, dirty whore.
Rory does get into Harvard. And Yale. And Princeton. Because she’s “the biggest virgin in the world.”
Puke, puke, puke.
the music industry, high school, the military, marriage, college&university campuses, Hollywood, sports
because not condoning rape culture isn’t as easy as not buying hip hop records.
After a seven month hiatus, I recently returned to my home town and was able to enjoy all the perks of life at home: nothing I ate came from the microwave, for once my bank account gained some rather than lost some, and I had the distinct pleasure of getting my teeth cleaned.
Though I still maintain the dentist is often more embarrassing and uncomfortable than a trip to the gyno (um, ever had your teeth sand-blasted?) I was delighted to come to some surprising realizations.
While I don’t know exactly how many hours I spent in dentist waiting rooms over the break, I can attest that it was long enough to find myself flipping through back issues of Canadian fashion magazines. My delight came from reading about ladies with some pretty bad-ass things to say.
I bought the March issue of Flare just so I could give covergirl Jennifer Garner some well-deserved props.
"Garner’s motivation for adding ‘producer’ to her already packed resume is steadfast – she wants to showcase more strong female characters.
'In films they really want the woman to be dominated by a male lead, or you have one woman in a movie with six men and maybe she has a kooky female best friend,’ says Garner from her home in L.A.”
Hell fucking yeah, Jennifer Garner. If I was in charge of the She-bonics column inBust, you would so be in it.
I have more to post, but first I have to figure out how to get my hands on the February 2009 issue of Chatelaine…
The following are the best questions taken from the “Heterosexual Questionnaire” in Gender in Canada, 4th Edition. Since it is awesome I felt it needed to be re-blogged.
The Heterosexual Questionnaire
1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
5. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?
11. Just what to do men and women do in bed together? How cn they truly know how to to please each other, being so anatomically different?
And my personal favourite:
13. Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?
According to the book, these are questions that homosexuals are routinely asked. Replacing “hetero” with “homo” is just an awesome and hilarious illustration of how simply reversing typical situations shows the ridiculously arbitrary ways we organize ourselves and each other.
Guys ‘do it’ all the time, but girls don’t really ‘do it’ that much, my sister told me, carefully tiptoe-ing around the subject of masterbation. I looked at her, thinking she’s 17, into alternative culture and fashion, and will endlessly argue her progressive views about sexual orientation and transgender rights… how can SHE still cling to the old “good girls don’t” story?
“Yes they do!” I said back, unable to hold back my surprise, and apparently baffling my sister.
“They do? I don’t… do you??” she asked.
“Yes! All the time!” I continued. “Like every five minutes!”
Okay so perhaps I was exaggerating, and on the brink of completely grossing out my sister, but the basic message is still true. Girls masterbate! I swear it’s true! I remember years ago, my friend Petra telling me proudly she’d just been to the Love Shop and got herself a vibrator. I remember in high school being fascinated by my friend Astrid’s ingenious crotch-less shorts that allowed her to masterbate in any room of the house without getting caught in an awkward position.
But, over the next week or so, I found that my sister was not the only late bloomer, so to speak. I found upon incredulously recounting this story that some of my female friends with equally liberal and progressive attitudes did not only not share my surprise at all, but confessed to never going solo until they were 18 or 19 years old. By the time I’ve heard a few similar stories, I try not to act so surprised. I don’t want to sound like I can never get out of bed with myself, but I have enjoyed the activity for a long time, even since boys my age were doing it (believe me, I checked). I don’t know too much about male masterbation, being a female and, bless my lucky stars, never had so much as a mistaken run-in with the endeavour, so maybe it’s the same for them, but to me, female masterbation is endlessly important.
When women are constantly surrounded by sexism and sexual assault, how can it not be important project to make your vagina a source of love? If we can understand our vaginas as sources of pleasure and happiness, then how can we ever resent them or hold them responsible for inequalities we may encounter on a daily basis? Perhaps we can stop feeling inferior and internalizing the sexism projected on us, and realize there is nothing wrong with me or my vagina. I’m telling you ladies, if we masterbate enough we can overcome our sexist society! Ah, if only it were that simple. But I’m serious about it being an important step in gaining general and all-around lady-respect.
One reason that women don’t masterbate is the discomfort they feel getting hands-on with their body. This discomfort is for whatever reason ingrained in us through our lifelong socialization that begins in childhood. If we are able to break down that barrier and explore our bodies ourselves we will discover the wonders and pleasures that stem from our famously mysterious loins. We will start feeling great about ourselves and it won’t be because of Dove, or Pantene, it will be because of ourselves. For body issues, I prescribe an increase in masterbation.
We use sex to bond with our partners and solidfy our romantic relationships, and I’m convinced we can use the same technique to create a loving bond with ourselves. During orgasm, a chemical called oxytocin is released in both female and male bodies. Oxytocin is what is called “the cuddle hormone” because it encourages emotional attachment to your sexual partner. The same chemical is released during childbirth and helps to create the remarkable bond between mother and child, so you can imagine its strength. If women gave themselves orgasms more frequently, lovey-dovey feelings could be turned inward instead of potentially wasted on fickle partners, resulting in higher levels of self respect, admiration and confidence. For self esteem issues, try masterbation!
Masterbation will also improve partnersex, if you are so lucky to have it. Women who masterbate are more likely to achieve orgasm with their partners because they know what is going to get them off. How can we expect somebody else to know how to get us to that peak if we can’t even do it ourselves? If you are used to achieving orgasm on a regular basis, you’ll know what to ask for, what works and what won’t. Masterbation can be beneficial in partnersex in other ways as well. For example, my friend Petra told me she has never had an orgasm during sex with her boyfriend. Thankfully, as she assured me, she can do it herself so not all is lost. After an unsuccessful and disappointing sexual encounter, you can make an excuse to leave the room or wait until they fall asleep to ensure your satisfaction. Masterbation saves relationships and staves off sexual frustration.
Furthermore, masterbation can be a serious time-saver if the mood strikes and you don’t necessarily have time to either a) wait for someone else to figure you out, b) go find that someone else or even c) cuddle and talk about your feelings. You’ll have time for your career, errands, social life and orgasms!
With all the reasons to masterbate, I can’t see what could be holding you back any longer. Perhaps it is in someone’s best interest to keep women from masterbating as it obviously leads to a never before seen hybrid of women who have high levels of self esteem, knowledge of and control during all aspects of sex and independent and successful lives besides embarking on the eternal quest for a fulfilling heterosexual relationship. It is important endeavour for every woman, feminist or not, to gain the freedom and autonomy that can be found in this simple, pleasurable act. So spread the word, masterbation: have you tried it?