The History of Menstruation – and How it Impacts Us Today
photo by fotografierende
Menstrual History is an important piece of Women's History that is generally ignored. Considering that we – and our mothers, grandmothers, and great-great-great-great-great grandmothers, etc. – were conditioned to hide our periods and be ashamed of our cycles, this is not surprising. But periods played a pivotal role in shaping power dynamics and societal norms that continue to impact us to today. If we want the Women’s Movement to truly succeed, we need to unpack the roots of period shame and suffering, examine how it continues to limit us, and explore what we can do about it.
I Don't Orgasm During Sex & It Doesn't Bother Me Anymore
photograph by Erika Bowes, via R29
A sex blogger opened up about how her antidepressants have been making it challenging to orgasm during sex, the guilt that caused her to feel, and how she moved past it, opting for the sex she enjoys (plus a post-sex wank) instead of the feels-like-work sex that’d it take to get her to come. It’s specific to her experience, obviously, but hit on some tensions we can relate to. Do you feel like sex isn’t “successful” unless all parties involved achieve an orgasm? Does trying/wanting to orgasm sometimes stress you out? Does it feel like your feminist close-the-pleasure-gap duty to do so? Are antidepressants or other meds interfering with your sex life? Or are you just curious to read her account? Here you go.
The History and Unsung Power of the Vagina
Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian
Seeing Red dives into the history of menstruation… but what about the history of the vagina and female genitalia? Catherine Blackledge’s The Story of V., recently reissued as Raising the Skirt: The Unsung Power of the Vagina, has you covered. This article looks at how society’s perception of vaginas (and vulvas) has changed since Blackledge’s book was written 20 years ago and highlights the ways that both language and information continue to be outdated.
Here’s one bit we loved about the ova, which is a staggering 80,000x bigger than sperm; “We have this idea of the sperm going on this valiant and action-packed journey to the egg. But we know now that the game is always played on her turf. She controls the action, she pulls the sperm to her and she engulfs it. The language that we use in so many things is always about male active, female passive. When that changes, I think it will be a dramatic shift. We’re stuck in the old language at the moment.” More here.
The Wing is a Women’s Utopia. Unless You Work There.
Photo illustration by Margeaux Walter via NYT
Apparently The Wing isn’t as perfect as it seemed. This article details how the highly-instagrammable “feminist” women’s club fails its employees. Disappointing (but a great read).
Coronavirus Content Overload
Image via CDC
We know this is ongoing and extremely important but we’re feeling Coronavirus-ed out. So, this week, we tried to limit the Coronavirus related content in our newsletter. We’re sure you’re getting more than you need elsewhere. (If you are looking for solid info on the pandemic, we recommend this biweekly podcast, the New York Time’s Coronavirus Briefing and coverage in general, and, of course, the CDC website.) We hope you are well and safe –– please don’t hesitate to reach out via our Facebook Group of website chatbot if you’re looking for support or (virtual) connection.
art by Daren Thomas Magee