I Got An IUD and Nothing Bad Happened

At first glance, the Internet is littered with IUD stories. Comments in health forums, guides full of warnings and medical jargon, poems on Tumblr – when I was researching birth control options, I saw it all. But rather than finding information I could really use, I found horror stories and rumors that left me a little scared and very confused.

Recently, a friend asked about my experience with the IUD. She told me she had been unhappy on the Pill, and although she was grateful to have Plan B as an option when a hookup went awry, she knew she didn’t want to continue to leave her reproductive future up to a partner or a perfectly-timed birth control pill. So I decided to share my story.

I wanted an IUD in the first place because I wanted the freedom to have sex whenever I wanted and not get pregnant. I was also sick of my birth control pills, and after about a year of bad PMS and weight gain, I knew I had to make a change. But the combination of my insurance and what I could feasibly pay each month for birth control left me with few options. Plus the thought of taking a pill at the same time every day for the next ten years seemed really daunting.

I just want to have sex with my boyfriend and be protected from pregnancy and not feel terrible all the time! Is that too much to ask?

No. It’s really not.

So my primary care doctor suggested an IUD. An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a t-shaped piece of plastic connected to a very long plastic string. A health care provider inserts the IUD into a woman’s uterus, and hormonal IUDs release a small amount of progestin to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. (IUDs with copper do not contain hormones, but do the same job.)

Because I’m the type of person who would research what it’s like to watch paint dry, I began obsessively combing the Internet for in-depth coverage of IUDs. When I was able to find credible information, I realized an IUD was perfect for me.

IUDs are considered as effective as sterilization when it comes to preventing pregnancy. Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant within a year of using an IUD, and it’s easily reversible. They also last a long time – depending on which IUD is right for you, you can be protected from pregnancy for three to twelve years. Plus it’s usually covered by insurance, sometimes without a copay.

So I can have pregnancy protection for years, hardly pay a dime, and almost guarantee I won’t be pregnant?  

Yes, please!

Of course, IUDs don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections and there are still risks associated with the procedure. But as long as the insertion is done by an experienced health care professional, serious problems are rare.

An IUD seemed like it could change my life. But when I spoke to my friends and family, their reactions were less than stellar.

“Those things are really dangerous,” my friends said.

“Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” my mom asked. “I’ve heard terrible things about them.”

My mom and friends were very sure about the horror stories, but when I asked what they really knew about IUDs, they couldn’t tell me very much. Sadly, their reactions made sense. After all, the zeitgeist is rife with IUD nightmares, rumors, and out and out lies. Who could have told them otherwise?

Well, I am here to say, for anyone who wants to read it, I got an IUD and nothing bad happened.

That’s right. I am sitting here today with that tiny piece of t-shaped plastic in my uterus and I am doing just fine. In fact, I feel better than fine.

I FEEL AWESOME.

But at my first consultation appointment, I was sort of nervous. After all, when your mom warns you about something, you should probably listen. And when that thing is a foreign object full of hormones that is housed in your downtown, it seems you should really listen. But my gynecologist explained the risks, gave me reliable information, and sent me on my way. One month later, I showed up for my insertion.

After consulting with my doc, I chose to use Mirena, a hormonal IUD that works for up to five years. Once I’d signed some forms and assured my nurse I was not pregnant (some offices require a pregnancy test before insertion), I positioned myself on the exam table.

I glanced over at the instrument cart. The IUD came in a long, skinny box and it was prepackaged inside its insertion tube. The device itself was no bigger than a matchbook, and the insertion tube looked like a long, skinny drinking straw. There was a speculum, cleansers, some other shiny tools, a long skinny pair of scissors, and… lube? Yes, even gynos rely on the magic of KY to get the job done.

In order to insert the IUD, my cervix had to be relaxed. I had taken a prescription pill before my appointment that would help soften my uterine walls, and during the actual procedure, I kept myself calm and distracted by focusing on my breathing. My doctor talked me through each step, first inserting the speculum and cleansing my insides to prepare for the insertion. I felt a slight pressure and kept my breaths deep, low, and slow.

My doctor, who used an IUD herself, said the insertion would feel like intense period cramps.

Uh, yeah. She was right.

Though I had taken some Ibuprofen before my appointment, the insertion was just as odd and painful as everyone described. It felt like needles were poking an undisclosed place behind my belly button. Like my vagina was constipated or like a very long pap smear. I kept focusing on my breath as my eyes began to water, but before I knew it, my doctor was saying the insertion had gone well and all she had to do was cut the strings.

Two minutes of weirdness and I had an IUD!

I relaxed on the table, and my doctor told me about the next few steps of the IUD process. Because I wasn’t currently on my period, she said I should use backup contraception for the next seven days. She also said partners can sometimes feel the IUD strings during sex, but it usually doesn’t pose a large problem. Unless I experienced very serious pain, I wouldn’t need to return until my one month checkup. After that I would check the strings myself each month to make sure the IUD was still in place. The next few hours and days would be slightly painful with cramping, and I might see some bleeding or spotting. In fact, she said these symptoms could last three to six months.

To me, that seemed like a very long time, even though it’s similar to the adjustment period for birth control pills. After all, my uterus did just get a new, unannounced roommate. She was bound to need some time to adjust.

The nurse gave me some published information on Mirena, as well as a card that stated the date I received the IUD and the date I would need to have it replaced. I couldn’t believe I was looking at the year 2020 written there on my card. Five whole years, I thought. I am safe.

I left the office feeling relieved and incredibly proud. While the rest of my day was spent taking pain medicine and sleeping (my cramping wasn’t severe but it was pretty bad), I also tried to remember the magnitude of the occasion. A few office visits, one ultra-sound check up, my own monthly string check, and I’m set until 2020. That’s pretty damn cool.

My pain gradually subsided, and after a few days, my life returned to normal. The side effects that gave me so much trouble with the pill had almost completely disappeared. As my doctor had warned, my boyfriend could feel the IUD strings during sex, but it didn’t bother him; he knew what they were and knew they were protecting us from an unwanted pregnancy, so in his mind, who really cared? I made a good decision for myself and for my future and my confidence grew.

I was healthy and strong and I felt like an IUD-wielding badass! So, why did so many people tell me not to do it?

IUDs, though innovative and simple, are still a mystery to many people. From lawmakers and leaders to moms and friends, we just don’t seem to get it. Bad products in the 1970s and 1980s created widespread panic about the IUD in America, and while global use of the IUD has skyrocketed, Americans still seem hung up on decades old problems fueled by urban legend and propaganda.

While the copper IUD can act as emergency contraception, the IUD does not cause abortions. The IUD does not cause infertility. Women who have never been pregnant can use an IUD. These rumors are wrong, and if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, odds are they are misinformed.

If you’re interested in learning more about IUDs but your health care provider doesn’t offer them for moral or religious reasons, find one that does. My primary care doctor, who had originally suggested the IUD, could not do my procedure because the religious hospital associated with her practice wouldn’t allow it. It made my journey to reproductive stability a little longer, but it did not deter me. I knew I deserved the care and protection that was best for me, so I kept looking.

The bottom line is IUDs work. They work well. We have seen the impact IUDs have on states and communities, and, perhaps even more importantly, I have seen the positive impact my IUD has had in my own life. While there are some side effects (pro: no period! con: doesn’t control acne), I feel confident, strong, and informed, and I’m ready to share my story.

So, listen up, Internet: I got an IUD and nothing bad happened.

Spread that rumor.

 


 

Do you have an IUD story to share? Hit us up below or on the socials @goodmillennial!

Happy Birthday, Hillary!

Today is October 26, 2015! And you know what that means…

It’s Hillary Clinton’s 68th birthday!!!!!

While my last birthday was spent eating cake off paper plates and Skyping with my mom, Secretary Clinton got down to Demi Lovato at her birthday bash/campaign fundraiser event last night in NYC. And while my birthday wishes can’t really compare to the dulcet tones of John Legend (yup, he was there, too), I do want to say how grateful I am that HRC was born on this day back in 1947. Aaaaaand here’s some reasons why!

She’s always fought for women

From her groundbreaking speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women to making women a central part of her turn as Secretary of State, Hills has spent her career fighting for women. Recently she has stood with victims of sexual assault and made reproductive rights central to her presidential campaign. See a timeline of her inspiring life here and watch the speech that cemented her global presence below:

She’s a trailblazer

How many times can we put “first” in front of Secretary Clinton’s name? Let’s see…

She was the first First Lady to hold an advanced degree, the first First Lady to hold public office, the first female senator from New York, the first woman to win a Presidential primary, the first First Lady to be directly involved with public policy, the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, the first female politician to win a Grammy (really!), and first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. She is also the most-traveled Secretary of State, logging almost one million miles traveling around the world. (Not to mention, she also lead the fight for universal health care 20 years before Obamacare.) Being the first person to achieve so many things does come with a price, but Secretary Clinton’s resilience and courage in the face of speculation and ridicule are a large part of what makes her exceptional. [Crossing our fingers for another first in 2016… #madampresident]

She’s hilarious

You’ve seen her on SNL. You’ve read her emails about Parks and Rec and The Good Wife. (Also this interview is gold.) She’s gotten a lot of flack for being cold and calculated, but when she’s at her best (#DemDebate, amiright?), Hillary is pretty funny. See below:

She’s dealt with some shit

As if you haven’t heard.

Yes, yes Benghazi, her private email server, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation money, BENGHAZI. And that’s just from this election cycle. Whitewater, Troopergate, and of course Monica Lewinsky (whose TED Talk changed my life) are scandals that many media outlets and political commentators said would ruin the Clintons forever.

Hillary Clinton has been especially eviscerated by the press and the public for nearly her entire career, either getting lumped into her husband’s issues or dealing with her own. How often has this decorated public figure been publicly called a bitch? Her physical appearance as well as her mental capacity have been called into question. First she’s too feminist, then not feminist enough. She’s the subject of damning books, even a video game app that lets the player slap the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State in the face. In this fascinating piece from The New Yorker, Frank Rich breaks down the Clinton enemy’s obsession with sex and “how frequently [Hillary Clinton is] the victim of drive-by character assassination” in almost any political or personal instance. Most recently, her public record has come into question, when Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina asked Democrats to find one thing Hillary Clinton has accomplished.

They managed to name a few.

And yet Hillary and President Bill Clinton have not only survived, but thrived. Is this a Frank Underwood of House of Cards situation, where everyone else takes the fall while the power couple who orchestrated it all climbs to the top of the DC ladder?

I guess it’s possible.

But I think what’s even more possible is this: The bigger the public platform, the bigger the risk – in policy, personal lives, and especially in the press. The more responsibility you have, the greater the consequences. Are the Clintons perfect? I don’t think so. But I also believe they have been the victims of some of the most intense public scrutiny we have ever seen. Secretary Clinton has been affected by intense sexism and misogyny, an issue that creates and augments political scandals, detracts from her astonishing public service career, and affects the rhetoric around her as a candidate and person to this day. And that’s on us.

Hillary Clinton is smart, passionate, aggressive, and vigilant. She continues to work tirelessly for the betterment of others despite near constant attacks on her record and her character. But time and time again, she’s come out on top. And that is pretty remarkable.

Cheers to the lady of many firsts who continues to inspire women, men, and children all over the world. Happy 68th Birthday, Hills.

Keep it up. We’re with you.

 

8 Things We’re Most Excited To See In The ‘Gilmore Girls’ Revival

Mackie
10/20/2015

After going through two rounds of the entire Gilmore Girls series in less than six months, I can safely say it’s one of the best shows of all time. I know, I know, this is old news. After all, who among us hasn’t wished they could riff along with Lorelai, or listen to music with Rory and Lane, or grab a cup of coffee at Luke’s and stare furtively into Jess’ eyes as he passive-aggressively wipes down the counter?

I guess the universe heard my prayers, because it was announced that Netflix and Warner Bros. recently closed a deal for a limited series revival written by Amy Sherman-Palladino herself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Four 90 minute mini-movies streaming right into our homes and hearts!!!!!!!!!!

The Internet is going BANANAS (as it should be), so I thought I’d throw in my two cents and share…

The Top 8 Things We’re Most Excited To See In The Gilmore Girls Revival.

 

8. Emily Gilmore

As frustrating as Emily Gilmore can be (“Just make up already!” – me every time she has a fight with a Lorelai), she’s also the most badass WASP known to man. Her one-liners are as solid as her love for her family and I want to know she’s ok after Richard’s death. Also like how’s the DAR?

7. Melissa McCarthy in Her Best Work Basically Ever

Yeah, I’ll say it: Melissa McCarthy’s best performance on film is as Sookie St. James. She’s sweet and hysterical, and she consistently amazes me with her honest acting chops and comedic timing. Sure, Bridesmaids is good, but the episode with the kid’s birthday party and Sookie’s hilarious food prep/heartbreaking meltdown? GOLD.

6. Jess

I was going to say “Rory’s Ex-Boyfriends: Where Are They Now” but like come oooonnnnn. We are only interested in one thing: WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH JESS?! WHERE’S JESS?! WE WANT MORE JESS! #JESS

5. Luke and Lorelai 

Honestly they better be happy as hell because all that seventh season Christopher nonsense is so painful I can hardly watch it.

4. Stars Hollow

Am I the only one who just misses the town of Stars Hollow? The homes, the shops, the cast of goofy and lovable characters. What has become of Taylor Doose? Babette and Miss Patty? How does Lorelai’s house look? Has Lorelai gotten Luke to update the diner? Good God, what about Kirk?

3. Rory’s career

Since I didn’t watch the series when it originally aired (forgive me, TV gods), it was pretty amazing to watch Rory head out to work on then Senator Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign while I  was living through his second term as President. Would she have known he was to become one of the most influential leaders in United States history? Basically I just want Rory to be doing her dream job and living her best life. TAKE THAT, MITCHUM HUNTZBERGER.

2. Everyone’s kids

Omg seriously so many kids. Sookie and Jasper, Lane and Zack – and what about Luke and Lorelai or Kirk and Lulu? Is April still happening? Or… what if RORY gets married and/or has kids this time around????? Do I want a THIRD Lorelai to carry on the committed bond of female relationships through the generations? I kind of do, yeah! And like whatever happened to Gigi? She must be kind of messed up, right? So many baby questions to be answered and I CAN’T WAIT.

1. Jess 

Obviously. Do you know me? Jess is life. I can’t even fathom the thought of Jess being with someone other than Rory. Maybe he writes a book about her? Is that weird? Just spitballing here. Point is, more Gilmore Girls = more Jess.

And the world needs more Jess.

 

What do you think, Good Millennials? Share your GG hopes and dreams below or on FB/Twitter/Insta – @goodmillennial!

 

 

 


I do not own or claim to own any of the images used in this post. All images are linked to their source.  If you do not wish your image to be used, please contact me directly at mackie@goodmillennial.com.

The BEST Feminist Halloween Costumes on the Internet

Mackie
10/18/2015

Tired of searching through 1000 slideshows trying to find the perfect patriarchy-free Halloween costume? Have no fear, because Good Millennial has the links you need to get feminist AF this Halloween.

 

1. Wonder Woman

There are lots of other options for feminist superheroes, too!

 

2. The Mean Girls Girls

On Halloween we wear pink #meangirlshalloween

A post shared by allie_braun (@allie_braun) on

Bonus points for including Janis or Tina Fey

 

3. Notorious RBG

Props to this lady who also incorporated Thor’s hammer as her gavel.

 

4. Tina from Bob’s Burgers

Carry around a unicorn and you’ve got it made.

 

5. A Tampon

My personal fave.

 

6. Annalise Keating from HTGAWM

Fashionable suit + trophy + vodka. Want to dress like more of the gang? Click here

 

7. Birth Control Pills

The Pill! 📅🌛 #thepill #pillcostume #halloween #diyhalloween #buzzfeed #contraception #diybirthcontrol #diycostume #turtleyenough

A post shared by DIY costumes & cosplay (@turtleyenoughfortheturtleclub) on

Make sure to ask your employer if it’s ok for you to pick this costume

 

8. Ghostbusters

Wha happa? Norterra Trunk-R-Treat 10/16/15 #azgb #arizonaghostbusters #azghostbusters #az_ghostbusters #ghostheads #gb #Ghostbusters

A post shared by Arizona Ghostbusters (@az_ghostbusters) on

She ain’t afraid of no ghosts

 

9. Hermione Granger

Wingardium levio-DUH this is brilliant

 

10. Venus and Serena Williams

 All you need is some kickin’ tennis gear, a racket, and some sisterly love

 

11. Leslie Knope

**Also a good excuse to eat waffles**

 

12. Kimmy Schmidt

Cuz females are STRONG AS HELL. #wondercon #kimmyschmidt #kimmyschmidtcosplay ❤️

A post shared by Tessa Netting (@tessanetting) on

Candy for dinner + strong females = brilliance

 

 

Want some more ideas?? Check out these links below:

18 Feminist Costumes To Spread Some Girl Power This Halloween – via HuffPost
The 42 Most Badass Feminist Halloween Costumes For 2015 – via MTV
20 FEMINIST HALLOWEEN COSTUMES – via Bitch Media

 

What are YOU doing for Halloween?? Share below or on the socials with @goodmillennial!

 

 

WE’RE BACK!

Mackie
10/17/2015

GREETINGS, GOOD MILLENNIALS!

How have you been? It’s really been too long. How’s the fam? How’s the dog? How’s your Netflix? Just wanted to check in about the most important parts of life (people, pets, TV).

And I also wanted to say… WE’RE BACK!

Let me be real for a sec:

Making a blog is hard. Keeping up with said blog is even harder. I mean, it’s not as hard as being a teacher or a nurse or a Navy SEAL, but it’s not easy. Creating and sustaining your own project is difficult. Whether it’s a rock band, a baking-from-home business, or simply posting things on the Internet, hustling your own passion project takes a lot. It takes a lot of time, focus, and effort (and $$), and sometimes, you just don’t have enough make it work.

I’m saying this because, as you probably have noticed (maybe you haven’t, it’s cool), I haven’t been regularly spamming your social media with links to my blog. And that’s because there haven’t been any links to spam! I’ve been doing other things!

Here’s a list of things I’ve done since the last time I regularly kept up with all you Good Millennials out there:

  1. Moved across the country
  2. Dealt with some family stuff
  3. Moved back across the country to my dream city!
  4. Got a few survival jobs
  5. Had 2-3 emotional breakdowns
  6. Went on lots of auditions
  7. Tried to exercise a little bit
  8. Took lots of improv and acting classes
  9. Read books! Like, more than one! Plural!
  10. Voluntarily ate brussels sprouts
  11. Figured out how to do my hair
  12. Met a bunch of new friends and caught up with old ones
  13. Kept my room clean (kind of)

So, as you can see, my time has been well spent. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but living in a big city is exhausting. So when I come home at the end of the day, it’s hard enough to pick what I’m cooking (read: ordering) for dinner, let alone write a bunch of thoughts down, edit them, market them, add pictures, share it with friends, edit it again, blah blah blah. So what I’m saying is, I’ve been busy. And also, I have felt badly about it.

I mean, just look at all the stuff I’ve missed:

  1. Congress attacked Planned Parenthood (again)
  2. Thousands of refugees fled their war torn countries
  3. Amy Schumer’s rise to Feminist Internet Wonderlord
  4. #Hillary2016 vs #FeeltheBern
  5. More senseless and heinous acts of violence
  6. What the f is happening with the Republican Party
  7. Incredible and affirming rulings by our Supreme Court
  8.  Goodbye, Speaker Boehner
  9. The fall of the Confederate Flag
  10. Something with sports and Tom Brady and balls idk
  11. He Who Must Not Be Named
  12. The Pope was here!
  13. A woman in Kentucky didn’t do her job and went to jail
  14. Cuba and the US are friends again
  15. New Daily Show host

And that’s like THE BARE MINIMUM. I missed so much!! What was I thinking??? This was PRIME fodder for my leftist lady-loving commie pinko super gay internet blog!!!!

I have often thought, “Was Good Millennial just a substitute adventure until I found something better to do?” Or I’ve thought, “Was I just writing because I was bored and had no one to talk to?”

Honestly, the answer to both of those questions is probably yes.

HOWEVER, being away from my pet project has also reminded me how much I have missed it. I have been reminded how much I still need an outlet for my ideas, and how working on this blog kept me involved in the world around me.  It’s OK to have a million things going on at once. It’s ok to do a little of this and a little of that, to let some things go and to take up new ones. I’m 23 years old! Now is the time to try things out.

So, here is my promise to you, loyal readers and/or spam accounts for bird seed and weight loss supplements:

I’m going back to Good Millennial. It may not be every day or every week, but it will be my own brand of regular. If there’s something to say, it will be said. If there’s an issue that should be discussed, we’ll talk about it. If you have suggestions, by all means, suggest them! I’m excited to get back to business and find some balance in the process.

So… Are you with me?

And yes, I just learned how to use GIFs.

See you soon! – Mackie

Emma Sulkowicz’s New Piece and What It Means… For Us

Mackie
06/06/2015

It’s a lesson I find myself learning again and again:

If you want to find the scum of the earth, look no further than a comments section.

If you really want to find the scum of the earth, look no further than the comments section on a post about rape.

It’s not like this is news. After all, anyone who has ever made a YouTube video knows the power a few trolls can have when they’re reviewing your work behind a keyboard. But there’s something special about posts on rape that bring out the actual worst in humanity.

For instance, remember Emma Sulkowicz, aka Mattress Girl? Or perhaps you know her by her names in the comment threads: “unemployable nutcase,” “retarded slut,” or my personal fave, “a pretentious and mentally ill troll.”

Emma made headlines when, after she was raped at Columbia University, she spent her senior year carrying a mattress across campus as a form of performance protest. Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight) also acted as her senior project, and it was to continue until her rapist was expelled or left school. Her attacker was not expelled, and she finished her piece by carrying her mattress across the stage at Columbia’s commencement in May 2015.

(FYI: I’ll be using Emma’s first name to identify her in this post, because, probably like many of you, I’m not 100% sure on how to pronounce her last name, and I want her to be a real person in your mind’s eye, not a jumble of letters you don’t really understand.)

In a recent interview with ArtNet, Emma said she did not intend for the project to become a movement, saying, “I had no idea it would get noticed by anyone when I first made it.”

But as striking images of her carrying her mattress across campus appeared on social media, word began to spread. Emma was profiled by high-ranking news organizations and websites. 130 schools participated in a student-created Carry That Weight Day of Action, in which students carried their own mattresses in a show of solidarity and protest. Emma became the latest poster child for campus rape, raising awareness and calling for action through art, while her ‘alleged’ rapist still attended school.

Of course, this project came with its own set of challenges. Emma herself did not call out her attacker specifically, but as her story became more public, her accused rapist was revealed to be fellow student Paul Nungesser. While Nungesser was pronounced not at fault by Columbia, he was ostracized and harassed and is now suing Columbia for gender discrimination, claiming “the university supported a campaign to bully and harass him and that the administration would never have let a male student target a female student in the same way he had been targeted.”

(While this sounds like a fair argument, let’s not forget the other students who have filed complaints against him, or the relative absurdity of an accused rapist suing an institution for gender discrimination, regardless of its validity.)

Emma endured skepticism, threats, and attacks from all corners of campus, the Internet and the media. I could give a link supporting that, but the proof is in the Google: the first suggestion to come up when I type in “Emma Sulkowicz” is “Emma Sulkowicz liar”.

So just when it seemed the Internet was rid of the pesky, girl-who-cried-rape art student, that same “charlatan” is BACK!

And with a SEX TAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instead of continuing with the facts, let’s go ahead with what I found when I discovered this story as a trending topic:

 

‘Mattress Girl’ Breaks into Pornography, Accuses Viewers of ‘Participating’ in Rape

^Gotta love clickbait.

 

‘MATTRESS GIRL’ EMMA SULKOWICZ JUST RELEASED A SEX TAPE: HERE’S MY REVIEW

^Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this.

 

Columbia’s Mattress Girl Has Made An ‘Artistic’ Sex Tape 

^Nice use of air quotes.

 

So, the logical explanation is: the girl known for a long term performance art project dealing specifically with rape who just graduated from Columbia… is now a porn star?

By the time I actually found a pseudo-credible news source covering this story, Emma’s site, which was the only place to watch the film, wouldn’t load. When it did, the video itself was unavailable, which is apparently because of a ‘cyber attack’.

I’m not going to rehash this whole story, especially because there’s limited information out there as it is. Before you read further, I urge you to get some basic info, and then go look at the film’s website, the best source of information, and read her preface to the film. Due to the work of some actual pieces of human feces, the film is apparently streaming on PornHub (and probably a million other places by now) if you want to, as Emma says in the text on her site, “participate in [her] rape” by watching the film.

Otherwise, ponder her questions. Read and absorb her statements. You can also read this interview with her about her piece, which, despite what the true art aficionados say in the comments, is art.

If you can stand it, read the comments.

Remember how this piece is specifically made to engage its audience — not necessarily by watching the film, but by encouraging us to look at ourselves. Are we, as she asks, looking for proof? Are we being duped by social media? What does sexual assault or the objectification of women mean to us? What does this film or Emma’s public persona mean to us?

And, are we really participating in her rape?

As an artist (who hasn’t watched the film), I think the creation of this work and its engagement of its audience is kind of extraordinary, albeit a little disturbing. As a woman, it’s difficult for me to read about, but I do find it moving and empowering. As a person with a small shred of empathy, I find the response to this work despicably (and maybe intentionally?) predictable.

I had initially wanted to post a screenshot of every single comment I found infuriating and explain how each of these sometimes faceless or nameless cyberspace commenters had proven Emma’s exact point. Or, if there is no point per se, perhaps given her a desired response to a specific thought.

After a few tries, though, I realized that probably wasn’t the best way to go. However, I am going to share this comment made by someone called UnTrust, who jokingly (read: horrifyingly) suggested Emma do another film, this time focusing on solo masturbation because this commenter “really [wants] to see that pussy…………. in an artistic way of course ;)”.

I will also share this one, in which a guy casually explained, “Some people just like hard sex!” And I’ll mention the one in which someone expresses their sympathies about her rape, but claims that anyone who posts a video like this must be mentally ill and she should seek help.

I thought about sharing many more. I thought about the effect they would have, if any. I thought about the people who claim her film is just porn, not art. And I thought about my role, my participation in this piece. Should I discuss its artistic merits? Its effect on rape survivors and the fight to end campus rape? Should I discuss what it means for women? Or should I try to figure out what it really means, what it’s about?

As Emma says in her preface, the film is not about her rape–  “It’s about your decisions, starting now.” But that can’t be it. What about protest and art and the influence of the zeitgeist?

And what about rape?

After encountering her website, I have not chosen to watch the film because I do not feel I have met her qualifications as stated in the preface. Therefore, I have not decided to take one stance, but leave it up to you, to all of us. However, I didn’t really have a chance to watch it, as the film was no longer up on her website. By choosing not to scour the Internet for the film, am I making the right decision? By not taking action, am I doing the right thing?

And, if it was available, would I have watched it regardless?

 

“Watch kindly.” – Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol (This Is A Not Rape.)

 


Did you watch the film? What do you think? Share with us below or on FB, Twitter, & more.

The Ultimate List of Feel Good Feminist Films

Mackie
05/18/2015

Have you been feeling a little down in the dumps? Has all the bad news about the GOP ticket and our planet’s impending doom got you feeling blue? Need a little empowerment boost? Look no further than these inspiring movies that will leave you feeling GREAT and ready to SLAY THE PATRIARCHY. Or, at least you’ll have a fun night in with other cool gals like yourself.

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! LET’S GO.

 

First Wives Club  – Keaton, Hawn, Midler (plus a SLEW of other amazing costars and cameos), revenge, and group singalongs? It’s honestly one of the most perfect movies EVER MADE. Required viewing for anyone with a vagina. Or… just… anyone, for that matter.

Thelma and Louise – The ultimate best friend tale of survival and love. Plus there’s that one scene with Brad Pitt that everyone cares about.

Legally Blonde – “You got into Harvard Law?” “What? Like it’s hard?” CLASSIC Witherspoon.

Steel Magnolias – Jam-packed with badass lady stars, this is a tear-jerker and empowering tale all in one. Special mention for Sally Field and Shirley MacLaine because of course.

Obvious Child – I can’t get enough of this movie. Jenny Slate’s performance is riveting and the writing is superb. It’s an instant classic. I can’t say enough a good things about it. I love it. SEE IT.

The Color Purple – Not exactly a “feel good” movie (it’s REALLY SAD is what we’re saying) but beautiful and incredible and Oprah and Whoopi. … Read this one first, though.

Now and Then – The movie that was always on TBS in the middle of the afternoon in July? Yes! There are about 10,000 amazing women in it and it’s a flashback movie to the 70s when they were impressionable teens. Done and done.

9 to 5 – Parton, Tomlin, Fonda… Sexism in the workplace is NO MATCH for these fierce office queens.

Waiting to Exhale – Based on the novel by Terry McMillan, this story of four friends supporting each other through the ups and downs of relationships will getcha every time. Plus Angela Bassett! Whitney! And more!

Ella Enchanted – Another great telling of the Cinderella story, but with great tunes, cool women, and ogres! (Plus it’s a great YA book!)

Mean Girls – Okay duh. If you haven’t seen this, I’m not sure how you’re still functioning. Get it together.

Working Girl – Melanie Griffith stars with a cast full of greats as a Staten Island secretary trying to make it on 1980s Wall Street. A classic feminist film with funny touches and that fierce theme song – Let The River Run.

The Joy Luck Club – Based on the wonderful novel by Amy Tan, this movie focuses on 4 older Chinese women living in San Fran, as well as on each of their grown Chinese-American daughters. Cultures clash and family bonds are tested, but love wins of course!!!!

Little Women – What is not to love about this gorgeous 1994 classic? Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, even little Kirsten Dunst… The beautiful score, wonderful script, and don’t forget about Christian Bale (how could you?) — this will make you cry and want to hug every lady you’ve ever met. 10/10 ALWAYS.

10 Things I Hate About You – Is there anything better than a teen romantic comedy made during the millennium? The answer is no. Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT, and a host of other familiar faces tame the shrew and rock some dope feminist ideals.

Bend It Like Beckham – Her parents won’t let her play soccer (football, because London) because she’s a girl?! Inspiring movie material 101. Also, Keira Knightly pre-Pirates.

Harriet the Spy – Michele Trachtenberg BEFORE she went bananas on Gossip Girl AND Rosie O’Donnell in one of her BEST performances ever in a great story about friendship and honesty and being a dope spy. Read the book, too.

A Little Princess – Duh. Gorgeous. Also read this book.

A League of Their Own – THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL, but you will probably cry at this movie because it’s amazing and we should all aspire to be Gina Davis is what we’re saying.

We know there are about 1,000 other amazing lady movies out there, so what did we forget? What are some movies that feature empowering stories for WOC? Share below!

That Bookish Boy Blog Guest Post!

Mackie
05/13/2015

I was honored to write a quick blog post about one of my favorite novels for That Bookish Boy, a book blog about what we should read and when! I posted a snippet below, but read the whole thing here. Thanks for the invite, Michael!

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

 

When I think of my favorite books growing up, I think of lamp light and late nights. Reading was always the one thing my sister and I could do in our small shared bedroom once bedtime began, and we would each stay up well past curfew to get in the last few chapters of Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie. We read so many stories under the covers with flashlights, but none sticks out more to me than my memories of reading The Bell Jar. Making notes and underlining passages in the worn paperback copy my mother bought at the dime store, this book mystified me as much as it understood me. Even though The Bell Jar was published a good 45 years before I read it, it still felt as relevant and vibrant as ever.

Surprise! A 23-year-old white girl is into Sylvia Plath.

But let’s be real: It’s a great book. The plot, the language and imagery, our main character, the exotic story connecting Esther to Plath’s own personal mental breakdown and eventual suicide — it makes for an exciting and touching read in just 200 pages.

The mystery surrounding the novel probably goes back to Plath’s death, which occurred just one month after the novel was published in England in 1963. The semi-autobiographical nature of The Bell Jar, in association with Plath’s suicide, makes the story even more alluring and even darkly romantic. But it’s the story of the central character Esther Greenwood that continues to bring readers, especially young women, to the pages of Plath’s only novel.

 


 

Read the whole thing at Michael’s great blog! New posts coming soon!

 

It’s Our Turn to Lead

Mackie
04/21/2015

For the first time in a long time, I will not be spending Earth Day outside. Because of work, I won’t be committing April 22nd to a day of service for our planet.

I am hoping to find some time off soon to commit to outdoor clean up and enjoyment, but my current situation has put me in a funk. It’s the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day, and if I were in high school, I’d be celebrating with Earth Club, actively focusing on outreach and advocacy. We’d be holding recycling drives and tree plantings. We’d host Bike to School Day. I would really be making an active change.

Celebrate-EarthDay-484x600_2968cee9-72fe-4bd8-899e-e9db79b2f811But spreading the word one day or one week out of the year will not even scratch the surface of the work we must do to stop the escalation of climate change. Turning my lights off when I leave the house a couple times is not going to stop the drought or our dependence on fossil fuels. And recycling my pizza boxes is not going to stop the global warming deniers from restricting funds (and even how we speak) to push politics instead of the health of our planet.

So on Earth Day 2015, I am choosing to recommit myself to the fight against global warming. I am pledging to make active and purposeful strides in my every day life to rely less on the material and disposable, and more on the natural and renewable.

I pledge to truly make every day Earth Day.

I hope you will join me.

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people took to their local streets and parks to support a sustainable environment in nationwide protests. College students, farmers, hippies, business people, Republicans, Democrats, the poor, celebrities — people from all walks of life were connected by their commitment to the planet we all share.

45 years later, strides have been made. But we can do so much more.

Commit to a year in which every day is Earth Day. It’s our turn to lead.

If you would like to know what you can do in your daily life to reduce global warming, check out our recently updated 8 Real Ways We Can All Prevent Climate Change.

 


Earth Day image via EarthDay.org – Buy the t-shirt and support climate change!

SAAD’15: Letters to the Editor

Do you have something to say you want the whole world to hear? Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper (or favorite online publication) is a great way to share your thoughts, influence public opinion, or spread awareness about an issue. The more people who write in about a certain topic, the more traction the topic gets.

If you’re in college, writing a letter to the editor of your campus paper would be a great way to make students and administrators take notice and maybe even take action. Here are some tips to get you started:

Review your publication’s guidelines

Some newspapers or online publications require different things in order to submit a letter. Length, authorship, style — they will tell you what you need to include. Make sure you follow these instructions. Otherwise, your letter might not be printed.

Be clear and to the point

A letter to the editor is not the place to wax poetic about your love for Proust or french cooking. You’re writing to make a point, so make one! Explain why you’re writing right away, and then be clear and concise. Explain why you think your issue is important, cite evidence as to why you think so, and keep it brief. Make sure what your writing is completely original and truthful.

Look at samples

There are lots of places online that show you how to write a letter to the editor. Here is a great website that details some more tips, and here a sample letter from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Make sure you write your own original work (don’t just copy the sample letter), but reading example letters will help you better understand the tone and style of a letter to the editor.

Create a call to action

At the end of your letter, make sure you include a few sentences on what should be done about the issue you’re dealing with. No one wants to hear somebody complain about something — they want to know what they can or should do about it. Your letter could be urging politicians to act, a local leader to step down, or it could be encouraging the general public. If you know who you’re writing about and what you want them to do, your call to action will be clear.

Proofread

Proofread proofread proofread. If there’s one thing I have learned writing a blog, it’s that I cannot proofread enough. (And even then, I still miss things!) Sending in a clearly worded, grammatically correct letter will make your piece stand out and more likely to be published.

Own your letter

Most newspapers require a signature to a letter to the editor. Even if they don’t, I encourage you to always own your opinions. People want to hear thoughts and opinions from other real people, not mysterious authors. Even in online comment sections and other sometimes anonymous places, not sharing your name is cowardly. If you have a thought worth sharing, it’s also worth owning up to.

There are many ways in the Age of Information to get your cause some time in the spotlight. A letter to the editor is a tried and true method.

Have you ever written a letter to the editor? What was your experience like?