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

Mackie
01/15/2017

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.

 

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
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!

 

 

GYT – Get Yourself Tested

Mackie
04/16/2015

As if April could have MORE month-long observances, April is also STD Awareness Month.

I know… STDs. Everyone’s favorite topic.

But here’s the deal, our 9th grade health teachers were right:

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are real and they can affect anyone who is “sexually active” — even if you’re in a committed relationship or even if you’ve haven’t gone all the way. Doctors recommend getting tested once a year, and testing is EASY. We have all seen the heinous pictures brought to us by student slideshows, but many infections don’t show symptoms. All STDs, even HIV, are treatable and most are curable, but you have to get tested to start the process.

Getting tested for STDs can be scary, but it isn’t shameful or something to be embarrassed about. Getting tested means you’re being responsible and taking care of yourself and the people you love. Just like getting a yearly check-up, getting a yearly STD test is important — and it’s usually covered by insurance. It can also be confidential, and it could even be something you and your partner do together.

Just like fear of unintended pregnancy, the unknown of STDs puts a lot of stress on you and your relationships. Getting tested and knowing the facts makes life easier,  and it makes life safer for everyone involved.

Protect yourself and the people around you and get tested! Click here for a list of testing centers in your area, or visit your nearest Planned Parenthood.

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Margaret Sanger

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”

Margaret Sanger was a birth control and sex activist throughout the first half of the 20th century who helped legalize contraception in the United States.  She is also credited with creating the organizations that eventually became Planned Parenthood. Sanger believed that in order for women to lead safer, healthier lives and to regain their rights within a marriage and society, they first needed to have the right to decide when they could become mothers. She wished to protect women from unsafe abortions (since abortion was illegal), as well as from spousal abuse, poverty, and the dangers of intentional miscarriage. While she is sometimes criticized for her interest in eugenics, she still worked hand in hand with African American leaders to protect women in all communities. She was also a strong supporter of sexual expression and sexual freedom, believing that sex should be discussed with openness and candor.

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Here are some of her most profound statements:

“Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises.”

 

“Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man’s attitude may be, that problem is hers — and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.”

 

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”

 

“Eugenists imply or insist that a woman’s first duty is to the state; we contend that her duty to herself is her first duty to the state. We maintain that a woman possessing an adequate knowledge of her reproductive functions is the best judge of the time and conditions under which her child should be brought into the world. We further maintain that it is her right, regardless of all other considerations, to determine whether she shall bear children or not, and how many children she shall bear if she chooses to become a mother.”

 

For more on Margaret Sanger, check out some of these new books and their authors’ interviews on NPR’s Fresh Air!

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