#WhyIMarch: 5 Reasons I’m Marching on Washington This Weekend

Mackie
January 15, 2017

Greetings, Good Millennials!

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? A lot has changed since I last posted – the site got a facelift, there’s new Gilmore Girls and a new Star Wars, a fascist demagogue is now the President-Elect. You know, the usual.

I’m back because I wanted to share with you my excitement about the upcoming Women’s March on Washington on January 21st. I am outraged and deeply concerned about the future of our country under President Trump. The precedents his administration has already set (or, more accurately, broken) are scary, unsettling, and truly dangerous for us as citizens and the future of our country.

Plus, as many of you probably know, I was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton. This election and her loss (ahem 3 million more votes ahem) hit me very hard. I was emotionally wiped after election day, falling into anxiety rabbit holes and having a hard time controlling my anger and feelings of deep loss and betrayal.

It took me a while to recover (still haven’t listened to Fight Song since election day tbh), but I and my community soon rallied. Throwing myself head first into helping and reaching out to others, particularly other women, really helped. Then I discovered the Women’s March.

CREDIT: ELIZABETH AZEN THISISDYNASTY.COM @THISISDYNASTY

The mission of the march is to “join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore”. Led by a diverse and intersectional committee of women, the march is on track to draw some 200,000 people to DC the day after Trump’s inauguration. For more info on the organizers, you can check out this great article from Vogue or interviews on Pod Save America and Call Your Girlfriend, among many other podcasts.

There are about 55 million reasons to join the march (or a sister march in town near you) but because the internet waits for no woman, I’ve narrowed it down to 5. Feel free to share your own below or on the socials with the hashtags #WhyIMarch and #WomensMarch. And take a look at the march’s Unity Principles, an explanation of why we’re marching and who we’re marching for. (PS. The following artwork is brought to you for free by females and nonbinary people from all over the world via the amazing Amplifier Foundation.)

#WhyIMarch

1. I believe women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.

Women are STILL not equal to men under the law and in our society. While we’ve made great strides, women still face discrimination in almost every facet of our government, our healthcare and education systems, our economic structure, and in our culture. I march because this daily, violent struggle is unacceptable.

2. I want to protect reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.

Of the many progressive issues I care about, reproductive health and abortion access are perhaps what I am most passionate about. I believe in the right to choose my own medical care, the right to have that care be safe and affordable, the right to honest and clear information about my health (particularly my sexual and reproductive health), and the right to a legal and safe abortion — these beliefs are held somewhere deep inside of me, and when they are challenged, I feel a tidal wave of rage and fear takeover. I march because it’s my body, my choice. (If you’d like to know more about this fight, I recommend reading Pro by Katha Politt.)

3. I need to be involved. 

I have always considered myself a politically engaged person, but like many progressives during and after this election season, I felt that I could have done more. So after the election, I doubled down on any and all of my activism efforts. For Christmas this year, I donated to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and other local charities in my friends’ names. I became involved with a few women’s health volunteer organizations here in the city. I make calls to my representatives in Congress and keep up to date with daily action alerts. I recommitted myself to female friendships and building bonds within (and outside) my community. I march because it is just the beginning of what I can do.

4. I want to be connected with other feminists and progressives. 

I only remember a few specific moments when I have felt totally and exceptionally alone. One was the evening of November 8, 2016, as I watched in horror as Chuck Todd explained how the math just wasn’t adding up. A deep and hollow hole began to grow in the pit of my stomach and the grotesquely cool and prickly ripple of anxiety raced up the back of my neck, down my shoulders, and made a home in my chest: it was over. I looked around the room at my friends, they too in disbelief, and I realized tears were streaming down my face. It didn’t seem real. I woke up the next morning, yearning to isolate myself from the whole world, wishing I could hole up at my friend’s apartment and never come out. “No one will ever understand this,” I thought (rather dramatically). I reached for my phone and saw texts, tweets, missed phone calls, messages from former classmates, roommates, family, friends, teachers — all asking if I was ok, sending me strength, sending me love. It was incredible. They lifted me up that day, and since then I have committed to paying that forward in action and activism. I march to connect with my community, the deep well from which I draw my strength, my commitment to action and my hope for a better world.


5. As a white cis woman of privilege, it is my duty to be an ally to my sisters and brothers of color, those in the LGBT community, immigrants, refugees, those living near or under the poverty line, elders, the differently abled, the imprisoned, and the many other people who continue to face discrimination and abuse from their government and communities.

The incoming administration and their policies systematically attack marginalized people. The rhetoric during the campaign is now becoming law, and that is due in part to the 53% of white women voters who voted for Trump. While in theory this number may be surprising to someone like me, it is not for the generations of people who have watched only white feminism become mainstream. As Gloria Steinem says, it’s not feminism unless it’s intersectional. I believe it’s my duty to stand beside all those who are yet to be truly free in America; their fight is my fight.

 

If you’d like to know more, including how to get to the march, how to attend a sister march, and more, please visit the Women’s March website. If you’re attending the DC march, please RSVP so they can have enough amenities and space for those attending and please reach out to me! I would love to march with you. The rise of the woman = the rise of a nation. Let’s rise.

 

International Women’s Day 2016

To honor International Women’s Day, Good Millennial has compiled a list of ways to celebrate and get involved. All information is via International Women’s Day campaign – check their website for much more here. Start a conversation that matters today!

Find an event

You can find an event held today or this week anywhere in the world through this link! Get out and meet other incredible women in your area. Or you can hold your own event in your school or community!

Watch International Women’s Day videos

Groups around the world have made International Women’s Day videos to explain their support in helping to accelerate gender parity. You can also YouTube other important speeches by women, like Hillary Clinton’s famous “Women’s rights are human rights” speech at the fourth Women’s Conference in China in 1995.

Donate to a female-focused charity

If you are in the green giving mood this week, consider donating to a charity that directly supports women in your town or throughout the world. The International Women’s Day’s official charity is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. We also love ZanaAfrica, a foundation that provides period supplies for girls who otherwise couldn’t do work or attend school while on their periods. A $40 donation provides four girls with supplies for A WHOLE YEAR.

Share your support on social media and with others

Use hashtags #InternationalWomensDay and #PledgeforParity to bring friends and loved ones to the celebration! Encourage them to continue to act and learn all year long.

Make the #PledgeforParity

Via this website, you can pledge to combat gender differences in your everyday life. Make sure you share the pledge with friends and start a conversation!

Read pledges from other global leaders

Read how CEOs, heads of state, and other leaders around the world are pledging to fight for female causes. Get inspired!

How are you honoring International Women’s Day? Share with us on the socials or in a comment below!

Listen Up! Good Millennial’s Podcast Picks 2016

Mackie
March 7, 2016

Hello, Good Millennials! How are you? Doing okay? Drinking enough water? Did you watch the Downton Abbey finale? Good. I’m happy you’re here.

Over the past year, I have really gotten into the podcast life. Interviews with famous people, comedians telling jokes, friends telling stories – I am all about a good, engaging podcast. Now that I live in NYC and take the subway everywhere (and when I’m on tour and spending endless hours in the van), I rely on podcasts even more. What is a podcast, you ask? It’s an on demand radio in your pocket or on your computer! I use them to keep up with pop culture, listen to the news, and just relax with hosts who now feel like old friends. With the help of some trusty pals, I’ve listed some favorite podcasts below. All are available on the podcast app or on their respective websites. Happy Listening!

1. Call Your Girlfriend

         Style: Discussion/Interview – Females in creative/tech industries

In the “podcast for long distance besties everywhere”, BFFs Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow call each other from their respective closets to discuss anything and everything related to womanhood. Election coverage with a feminist lens? They’ve got you. Need advice on diva cups in their segment This Week In Menstruation? Look no further. Call Your Girlfriend is the podcast for millennial feminists who want to be a part of a global discussion on pop culture and current events. Plus these very intelligent and extremely fun ladies also talk with fascinating guests from various fields (tech, journalism, arts, and MORE!) with their Phone-A-Friend episodes. This is my favorite podcast. Ann and Amina plz be my BFFs thank u!!!! Plus sign up for their newsletter!

 

2. Another Round

Style: Discussion/Interview – Academic/Creative/Celeb/Issues-based

Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton host this booze-enhanced podcast that covers everything from race to gender to pop culture (and squirrels… always squirrels). They lead listeners through a fascinating and funny listening experience, utilizing clever segments and meaningful conversation. They also talk candidly and lovingly about mental health and self care, and I feel like I’m listening to wise mentors when Another Round comes on. This podcast has a cocktail party vibe without any of the schmoozing or inevitable mansplaining. I always look forward to this podcast each week and I learn a lot, too. Plus, they interviewed Hillary Clinton! Legit! For more, read this great piece by the Guardian. 

 

3. Women of the Hour

Style: NPR-esque radio program, interview/discussion component

Lena Dunham hosts this podcast miniseries highlighting various aspects of female life. Each one of the 5 full episodes (there are some mini-episodes thrown in, too) focuses on a different part of what it means to be female in 2016 – love, sex, work, friends, body, and the big picture. Lena and her team interview incredible women of all ages and types, allowing them to tell their stories in a way that is honest, funny, and often very moving. This podcast specifically highlights women of color and women in the LGBT community, and the production quality is spectacular and totally engaging. I cannot recommend this enough. Even if you “don’t like Lena Dunham”, you WILL like this podcast!!! Seriously!!!!

 

4. With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus

Style: Comedy/Improv

Comedian and actor Lauren Lapkus hosts this totally improvised podcast that makes me laugh outloud on my train rides home. The premise is each week Lauren brings on a special guest who plays the host of a fictional radio show. That host then introduces Lauren who is playing the guest on the fictional show. The best part is the show is 100% made up and sometimes Lauren doesn’t even know who she’ll be playing when the show starts. Cue the shenanigans. It’s also on the Earwolf Podcast Network, and they host A LOT of really great podcasts for your listening pleasure. My favorite episodes are with Paul F. Thompkins as Santa Claus. Let that sink in.

 

5. Womp It Up

Style: Comedy/Improv – Weird and Goofy

Actors, improvisers, and all around hilarious creative people Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham host this improvised podcast as their character alter egos: Marissa Wompler and Charlotte Lissler. The premise is Marissa is a senior at Marina Del Ray Public High School and this podcast is her senior project. She is lead by her teacher and mentor Charlotte Listler (who also happens to be a former sniper) and they have guests from the school come on the show (i.e. Jessica and Lennon’s improv pals from UCB, your fave tv shows and more!). Make sure you start this podcast back at the beginning, because there are so many callbacks and relationships established each episode that I am always amazed this show is improvised. My favorite improvised podcast. Also love Comedy Bang Bang!

 

6. Girl On Guy with Aisha Tyler

Style: Interview – Artists, Comedians, Authors, Celebs

Maybe you know Aisha Tyler from… well, everything. She’s a host of the daytime tv series The Talk, guest stars on Criminal Minds, does standup, writes, hosts panels, and also finds time for this podcast. She’s one of the hardest working people in show business and uses this podcast to connect and unwind. She has a breadth of knowledge and seems to be able to connect with literally anyone. Her interview style is conversational and personal, and she truly cares about her podcast community and loves connecting with her fans. Because she’s so busy she has scaled back her podcast production, but with her app you can listen to the over 200 podcasts in the Girl on Guy vault. I always feel smarter and calmer after listening to Aisha and her guests. My fave episodes are with author Kelly Carlin, George Carlin’s daughter, and Amber Tamblyn.

 

7. Dear Sugar Radio

Style: Advice

Created by authors Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed (yes, THAT Cheryl Strayed), Dear Sugar takes the advice column to the airwaves and answers your most burning questions about life and love. According to their website, Sugar “fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return.” Strayed is an active feminist, and she and Almond make a great pair. Together they create the engaging advice persona Sugar, and they tell the stories of their listeners with heart. Plus you can read Strayed’s essays as Sugar in her book “Tiny Beautiful Things”.

 

8. She Does Podcast

Style: Interview/Conversation – Media/culture

I am a new fan of the She Does Podcast, so I will let their their website do the talking for me. It’s a super accurate statement.

She Does podcast features creative minds working in media. Each episode centers around an intimate conversation yet digs deeper into each woman’s background, philosophy and process through artful audio documentaries soundtracked by music made by women. The show is hosted and created by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg, documentary makers who are interested in how their guests got to where they are today. Whether up and coming or well-established, She Does features notable women of all generations, working at the intersection of media, film, journalism, art and technology. We bring you stories of what makes these women tick, their beginnings, their roadblocks, and the delightful bits in between.

 

Special Mention: FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast

Style: Interview/Discussion – Politics/Polling

I wanted to highlight podcasts specifically created and/or hosted by females, but I gotta give a shoutout to Nate Silver and the team at FiveThirtyEight. This election season is giving me an ulcer, but the pollsters at FiveThirtyEight keep me sane. Their blog uses statistical analysis to tell stories about sports, politics, and news, but their big thing is compiling historical numbers and all legitimate polling data to create some pretty accurate polling about almost anything related to politics. I mostly listen to their Elections podcast because they utilize lots of math/science and lots of smart/talented people to explain polling data, delegate counts, and everything in between. If you are a political junkie or want accurate data and interesting discussion, listen up!

 

Do you have a favorite podcast left off the list? Let us know on the socials or in a comment below!

Gloria Steinem’s Christmas List

Mackie
December 18, 2015

For over half a century, women the world over have looked to Gloria Steinem for guidance, wisdom, and truth. She is outspoken, extremely intelligent, and, even now at age 81, still extremely dedicated to the cause that shaped her life. As a feminist, I owe Gloria Steinem a lot. But as a woman and a citizen of our country, I owe her even more. I am eagerly awaiting her book, which is currently on my Christmas list. This is her Christmas list, as told to an audience at The Betty Effect holiday show and posted on her Facebook page.

 

Ms. Steinem writes:

Thanks to my dear friends, BETTY, for giving me the opportunity to share my Top Ten Things I Want For Christmas at their holiday show (to support their wonderful organization The BETTY Effect. Donate here:http://www.thebettyeffect.org/). Thought you might like to see them as well.

10. An abject apology from Donald Trump for being a Birther; anti-immigrant; a builder of buildings that look like big Dunhill cigarette lighters; the world’s most punishing source of Green Cards for women who marry him to get one; daring to rate women as no longer Tens when he himself has never been a One, going bankrupt multiple times in order to stick other people with his bad-judgment debt; pretending he ever hit a home run when actually, he was born on Third Base – and oh, yes, setting the hair weave industry all the way back to Rogaine.

9). If Trump doesn’t apologize, I wish us all the gift of remembering that Hitler was democratically elected — in a low voter turnout. (Hard to explain short, but Hitler wasn’t elected personally, he headed the party that won a plurality of seats and a power-sharing deal.)

8) I would like state legislatures to stop building prisons with money that once went to universities, thus keeping way too many people in prison and way too many people in lifetime debt. This would not happen if Americans gave ourselves the gift of knowing and caring who our state legislators are.

7) I’m glad we’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons – but it will never work until we raise our sons more like our daughters.

6) I want people to know that the great gift of Black Lives Matter was created by 3 young black women: Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors – and that has led to 3 great organizing guidelines:

1) Lead with love
2) Low ego, high impact
3) Move at the speed of trust

Gives you faith in the future, doesn’t it?

5) I want Uber to stop charging for the weather – nobody, not even airlines, charge for the weather! – and I want Uber to stop refusing people with disabilities, and now, with 30,000 unregulated Uber cars in New York City, driving wheelchair accessible taxis out of business. Don’t let Uber become uber alles.

4) I would like us all to send a nice Christmas thank you to President Obama – for surviving ultra-right-wingers who, if they had cancer, and Obama had the cure, wouldn’t accept it.

3) I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protestor who call him a murderer.

After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers. (This riff is not mine, it’s on the Internet – I thank whoever gave us all this present.)

2) I want the three magical women of BETTY to have everything they need to spread the BETTY EFFECT around the world. They are such a gift. They organize with music and by their own irresistible examples.

1) Finally, I want to make it to 100 — because I don’t want to leave, I love it here. You in this room are the biggest gift of all.

xxx

Merry Christmas from Gloria Steinem and Good Millennial! May we see her wishes come true as soon as damn well possible.


Featured image credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-U9-15739, frame 18]

Tired of Giving In: Rosa Parks’ Refusal 60 Years Later

60 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. We honor her courage, her commitment, and her strength. We thank Ms. Parks for helping put women on the front lines in the fight of civil rights and for sparking one of the most broad and effective acts of civil disobedience in the entire civil rights movement. Rochelle Riley, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, captures our gratitude well:

“There are lessons that came with bloodshed and tears that we must never lose. And many of those lessons can be found in the lives of the leaders who did what they had to do so we can do what we want to do.”

When researching for this piece, I became equally inspired and disheartened. Inspired, because the stories of Rosa Parks and many other African American women working for civil rights touched me and encouraged me, seeing how far we have come and how much these women did to make my world better than their own. But I quickly became disheartened, seeing the stark similarities between the fights going on today in Ferguson, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, and all over our country, and the ones that went on in Montgomery or Little Rock exactly 60 years ago. How could we see so much time pass, see so many people die, and still have so much work left to do?

But I was also struck by Ms. Park’s determination. When she was asked to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, she probably felt a great deal more than disheartened. But she continued on. She was “tired, tired of giving in.” And her potentially small act of rebellion, her small act of not giving in, sparked something much bigger.

While Rosa Parks is probably one of the most recognized women in the civil rights movement, her story is often simplified for history books and social studies lessons. Plus the impact of not giving up a seat on a bus doesn’t hit as hard today as it did many years ago. In my research, I found a great post from a blog called Feminist Activism, which detailed some great information on Ms. Parks you probably didn’t learn in class. I will leave you with their call to action, which sums up my feelings exactly:

“It is your duty now, today, to honor Parks and other activists like her who have dedicated, and in some cases given, their lives in the fight for equality. Analyze, strategize and act to create equality. And do it with love.”

 

Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott!

I remember picking up a well-worn copy of Little Women when I was nine years old. I remember being enchanted with Jo’s story, running up to my room to write and play, eventually reading the book so veraciously the cover came off in my hands.

Many years and countless readings later, I consider myself an extreme fan of everything March. This extreme fandom includes an annual holiday viewing of the 1994 film adaptation (Susan Sarandon as Marmee, Winona Ryder as Jo, CHRISTIAN BALE AS LAURIE COME ON PEOPLE) during which I quote every line through tears of joy/sadness.

[“THEY’RE NOT EMPTY NOW” – Jo, and also me, quietly sobbing on the couch.]

 

Being a Little Women connoisseur also means I fangirl over the novel’s author, the fascinating Louisa May Alcott. A lovely writer, a fierce and ferocious feminist, and an inspiring historical figure, LMA was a force to be reckoned with.

Today we celebrate Louisa’s 273rd birthday, so here are 273 facts you may not know about the acclaimed author.

[Just kidding.]

I’m obviously not doing that.

BUT here are just twelve facts about this amazing woman who wrote one of our most beloved books of all time, as well as a link to buy a wonderful biography to get the final 261.

  1. Louisa May Alcott was born Nov 29, 1832 in Pennsylvania on her father’s 33rd birthday.
  2. Louisa’s dad Bronson Alcott was a famous transcendentalist in his own right, known for big ideas that didn’t always pan out. Her mother was Abigail May, a social worker.
  3. Louisa grew up among her father’s contemporaries, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (All of these guys are buried together on Author’s Ridge in the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, along with Louisa herself.)
  4. Other family friends included Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller, also some of Louisa’s first teachers.
  5. Louisa was always involved in political and social causes. She was even the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Mass!
  6. Both Louisa and her sister loved acting and theater, and at one point her youth, Louisa wanted to be a professional actor.
  7. She and her family once served as station masters on the Underground Railroad and were staunch abolitionists and feminists.
  8. Like the characters in Little Women, Louisa and her family knew poverty. Bronson’s goals for his transcendentalist school and other philosophic endeavors didn’t always succeed as he hoped, leaving the family to fend for themselves. The family was constantly moving, and they often received help and housing from Thoreau and Emerson.
  9. Louisa worked as a teacher, seamstress, and governess before earning a living as a writer.
  10. Louisa loosely based the characters in Little Women off her own family, the character of Jo serving as a representation of Louisa herself. Plus you can visit Orchard House in real life!
  11. Little Women was originally published as two books, Little Women and Good Wives. The end of Little Women left the world wondering if Laurie and Jo would end up together. (Still my biggest beef with the story, as Laurie was my first fictional love.) When the followup was published, readers were crushed. But Louisa stood by her beliefs, stating in her journal: “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life. I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.” BOOM.
  12. While she is best known for Little Women, Louisa wrote over 30 books and short story collections, as well as essays and poetry.

There are many biographies out there with way more than just 12 facts about this revolutionary woman. If you want to read a GREAT one, I recommend Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen. It reads like an engaging fiction novel, giving you historical insight as well as personal history. One of the only biographies I’ve ever read that I just couldn’t put down, the book also digs into Louisa’s relationship with her mother Abigail, proving strong, creative women ran her family.

I also recommend visiting Orchard House if you’re ever around the Boston/Concord area!

164928_10151950883616978_1421828126_n<—Here’s a photo of yours truly sitting on the steps of Orchard House.

Did I cry when I saw the desk at which she penned Little Women? Yes. Yes, I did. Did I cry the whole time kind of?

Yes. Yes, I did.

 

Point is, literature and young women the world over owe a lot to LMA. Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott! We love you!

 

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship.”

Happy Birthday, Sarah Grimke!

I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on that ground which God designed us to occupy.”

 

BAM.

Sarah Grimke knew what was up! And today we celebrate what would have been her 223rd birthday.

[Girl is looking good for being in her second century.]

Sarah and her sister Angelina were two early activists for abolition and women’s rights. Born into a wealthy slave-owning family on a plantation South Carolina, the women quickly grew to despise the institution of slavery. Sarah was self taught, often secretly studying her father’s law books. She wanted to be a lawyer, but due to familial and societal limitations against educating women, she was forbidden. When her sister Angelina was born in 1805, Sarah vowed to “guide and direct [this] precious child.” This cemented her commitment to creating a better world, one she and her sister could succeed in and be proud of.

[Angelina also looking fly at the cool age of 210.]

After accompanying her father to Philadelphia for his medical treatment, Sarah was helped by a Quaker family and later moved north to officially joined the Quaker faith. Her sister (pictured above) joined her soon after, and the sisters began fighting to abolish slavery, eventually becoming outcasts in their home state. However, the sisters also faced criticism in the North, as women were not often on the forefront of social movements (or so people thought…). While Angelina was known for being a dynamic and outspoken public figure, Sarah was shyer and relied on her powerful writing skills to express her feminist beliefs. After facing much criticism over their place as females in the movement against slavery, Sarah Grimke wrote her famous Letters on the Equality of the Sexes. The sisters soon cemented their legacy as leaders in the fight for women’s rights as well as abolition.

 

[Basically.]

If you want to read more about the Grimke sisters, check out the links below. I also recommend reading the lovely historical fiction book The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The story chronicles the lives of Sarah Grimke and a fictional female slave who is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. It’s a breathtaking story of friendship and family that I honestly couldn’t put down. Plus it opened me up to a part of history I (almost shamefully) never knew existed! Reading is the best!

Happy Birthday, Sarah Grimke! You and your sister were two badass Quakers. (And how often do we get to say that?)

 

 

Sources for this article can be found here and here.

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!

The BEST Feminist Halloween Costumes on the Internet

Mackie
October 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

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

 

8. Ghostbusters

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

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!

 

 

That Bookish Boy Blog Guest Post!

Mackie
May 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!