Link Pack: Bread, Books, and Badass Bitches

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Have you every made Friendship Bread? In line with my goal to spend less and make more, I would like to try and spread the love with fresh baked bread.

 

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The #MeToo movement has changed the conversation about women in the workplace. A word from the creator of the hashtag movement here, how to speak up at work here, and honestly, do you have a Fuck off Fund? Because you should.

 

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I look forward to NPR’s book list every year! Here is the best of 2017, and here is a sneak peak of the great books to come in 2018.

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Resting Bitch Face is a Defense Mechanism

I was just talking with my sister on the phone, and we were comparing times we were scared shitless while traveling and escaped it. You know, the kind of scary thing you didn’t tell your family about at the time it happened, because they would be really worried about you? We discussed how men literally do not ever have these concerns. Most men never walk down the street with a constant inner monologue of “Will I be assaulted today? Is that old man going to tell me to smile more?” We had an epiphany: Resting Bitch Face is a Self-Defense Mechanism.

And we’ve both used it as one! My sister and I each had multiples accounts of times that a mad straight face and deaf ear might have saved our lives. I checked your previous content, and their are references of RBF sprinkled throughout many conversations about feminism and the general life of being a woman, but this perspective is unique. Of course there are opportunities to link related MR content Do You Have a Resting Bitch Face? and Feminism and RBF, but this perspective is not “what do you do about RBF” or “RBF is an issue with the way men perceive women” but about the fact that sometimes, when you are on the subway alone, you put on your biggest, baddest bitch face because you don’t want to talk, and you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes that angry frown while to stare blankly in the distance is the only way to get a little fucking security and peace and quiet while going about your day to day life. Bitch face is the ultimate Man Repeller.

On Female Friendship

Image from Glossier

When I was in high school, I boasted about the fact that I had no girlfriends.

It was trés cool to roll with the boys. And that’s what I did! Forever the friend, I drove my buddies in my mom’s minivan to heavy metal concerts and we pulled off the most ridiculous stunts at band practice. Sometimes we would break into an abandoned “haunted” house just to have the shit scared out of us and other times we would watch bad movies and recreate the gross signature meal. I’m looking at you, Troll 2 Nilbog Pie. I have grown distant from these friends, but I love and miss those guys, and they shaped who I am today.

I remember the first time I made a real, reliable girlfriend. The kind that you click with instantly and remember forever. I was away, traveling, and when I met these girls from bigger and faster cities, for the first time I felt like I was listened to completely, and more than that: I felt heard.

I was not the butt of the jokes with this crew, and intelligence and argumentativeness were validating qualities. They were funny and danced with ease and comfort. They felt like all of the good parts of femininity that I had been stuffing away so that I felt cool and accepted with the boys.

Flash forward:

In college, I was back to my old ways of worrying about whether or not I was accepted as one of the guys. When I wasn’t concerned about my friendships with some, I was pursuing romantic interest with others. I keep in touch with a number of them, but the people that I will always love are the women that spent time with. What I miss most are late night debates about the politics of colonial America (?) or playing tunes on the porch a lazy Sunday morning with all the girls. I will never forget the minutes that felt like hours during which we considered all of our pizza options and everyone’s personal tastes before inevitably settling on Hawaiian. I not one single women entered my life as a friend and abandoned me as a friend. Every female friendship I have made in the last 5 years has lasted and developed and has been deeply meaningful.

I am so excited that now, in my formative years of adulthood, I am learning how to seek out these independent women to have in my life as supporters and friends. I made my first new friend in my new city 6 months after moving! I realize now that you can’t meet new people when you sit on your couch and watch Netflix. By learning how to rock climb, I have made one new friend, who shared her friends with me (even bringing me to a B.Y.O.F. party… Bring Your Own Friend!). I have recently joined a group of women training to be better and stronger climbers, I am amazed at the ease of new friends who want to put themselves out of their comfort zone and learn something new. When my friend joined a rowing course, she noted how few men were on the beginner team, and said “of course it’s all women signing up and trying new things!” Of course there are adventurous men signing up and trying new things, but one of the amazing qualities about women who seek personal independence is that they aren’t afraid of something new and different.

This new group of women I have been climbing with is already very special to me because we can all share a sense of camaraderie formed from being awkward and uncomfortable together, laughing at these struggles, and drawing power from them.

So here is to long and lasting friendships with great women.

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Image from Glossier

True Crime

Have you read the awful news event about the death of journalist Kim Wall? This story has been haunting me since it was released a few days ago. At first, I thought I was only freaked out because it drew so many parallels to the thriller novel “Woman in Cabin 10,” by Ruth Ware. People everywhere are captivated and horrified by this story, and one news source compared it to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” saying that people were hooked on the brutal mystery taking place in Scandinavia. I want to check the romanticization of violence against women right at the door and learn more about this woman, her impassioned work, and the circumstances that led to her death.

A Swedish native, Kim Wall listed her address on twitter as “China/NYC,” two places she frequented. Fluent in English, she wrote many articles for papers in the UK and USA. Her self-described bio on twitter reads, “I studied foreign policy & now I write about hackers, hustlers, Vodou, vampires, Chinatowns, atomic bombs, feminism, etc.” Her bio describes her work easily. Wall traveled all over the world, often to remote areas taking risks to get gritty details on tough stories. She was an old-school foreign policy journalist in a new world age. Her friend who wrote about her life in The Guardian highlights the bitter irony that even though she traveled to communist nations and third world countries, riding motorcycle taxis and reporting when it was illegal, it was in her seemingly gender-forward (parity?) homeland where she was brutally murdered.

The more I learned about Kim Wall, the more I understood my equal parts despair and fascination with the events surrounding her murder. Kim Wall was a self-driven, confident and independent woman. She was a world traveler and an extremely successful freelance author, writing pieces that mattered and received a global audience. Kim Wall was the picture of what many young women would like to be: free, independent, and influential. Her murder was brutal and unjust. Now that I have come to terms with why this event seems so significant in my eyes, I would like to learn more about Kim Wall through her writing. Here are some important pieces I have selected to share with you, in an effort to learn more about her.

The Weekly Package
Many Cubans who have no access to the internet receive regular deliveries, “The Weekly Package,” of hard drives jam packed with news, music, movie trailers, and more. With an underground network utilizing over 45,000 foot soldiers, this “offline media” is used all over Cuba. This article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Haiti Sees Tourism Promises Fade Amidst Electoral Tensions
When the only thing you hear about a country are stories of destitution and corruption, you are not inspired to go visit that place. However, tourists are starting to see Haiti as the “last untouched corner of the Caribbean.” Which could be good for Haiti’s economy, and terrible for their ecosystem and national independence.  Kim Wall takes a close look at how the tourist industry could revive or destroy Haiti.

Fetish lovers begging for freedom: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey is our Stonewall moment’
I have never read “Fifty Shades of Grey” or any articles about BDSM. However, I found this article captivating. It is interesting that people find power in these role play situations, and equally interesting that the US has laws against it. The groups represented at this writers conference explain that their relationships are based on open communication and consent. This article serves as a reminder to refrain from judging people living lifestyles different from your own.

Vodou is elusive and endangered, but it remains the soul of Haitian people
One more story from Haiti, because as the saying goes, “Haiti is 70% Catholic, 30% Protestant, and 100% Vodou.” A tender look at religion, culture, history, and as with most of Wall’s writing, gender, this piece reveals purpose and meaning of Vodou practice. “Vodou tends to be radically unjudgmental. The alcoholic, the thief, the homeless, the mentally ill, all of these people are welcomed into a Vodou temple and given respect.”

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Sex Ed: Questions from Teens, Misunderstandings from Adults

I grew up in Indiana. At public school, sex ed consisted of one week of “STD’s will kill you so just say no.” The health teachers treated sex like drugs, and taught that abstinence was the only safe choice.

Fast-forward some years, and now I am a teacher on the south side of Chicago. Recently, a whole bunch of teachers who are not licensed health educators decided to do some legwork to give our kids access to information vital for them to lead healthy lives. I would like to say that for kids who are already getting involved in physical relationships, we were FLOORED by the questions they had for us. There were some (basic, seemingly obvious) things that they really didn’t know. Even crazier? This week long health course was implemented school-wide, and some adults stepped forward and confessed that they really didn’t understand one part of the reproductive system until that lesson, or came to us asking if we could clarify something about their own reproductive health.

Weird! Crazy! But not altogether surprising, given the lack of resources and education regarding a topic that is so often taboo.

I tried to give my group of girls a perspective of personal sexual health that was women-friendly, empowering, and centered around choice, consent, hygiene, and understanding. I also wanted them to leave with tangible knowledge and with access to resources. They may not need to know where to find protection now, but but when they do they will know where to go.

Answering some of their questions was complicated, because I wanted to be clear that every person is unique and I never wanted to make these girls feel like they were wrong. Body hair is a personal choice- but their are pros and cons to having it or not. Sex may be hetero, homo, all of the above, or not at all, and that’s all okay! If someone is hurting you because it brings them pleasure, you do not and should not be in pain to please them. Above all else, you are in control of your body.

Some of the winning questions divided into relevant categories:

Man periods
Do men have periods? No. (They do have hormonal cycles, though.)
Why not? They don’t have the necessary organs.
Can men have babies? No, they do not have the necessary organs.
Can men take birth control? Yes, but they are weak.

Girl periods
Does it hurt?
Bleeding doesn’t hurt, but other physical pain may occur.
Can you get pregnant on your period? Yes.
How do you put in a tampon? Like this.
Will a tampon take your virginity. No. Explains the hymen is a thin piece of tissue, and how it may break prematurely due to active lifestyle, attempt to define virginity as a man-made concept in place to restrict women or shame them for their lifestyle… lost many students during this feminist impartment.
Do I have to use a tampon? No, there are also panty liners, maxi pads, and menstrual cups!
What is a period, anyway? That’s complicated.

Let’s talk about sex
What is sex?
 Sex is intercourse between a man and a woman. Sex is also sharing physical pleasure with a partner. Sex is a biological drive to reproduce. In the 21st century, sex does not need to end in reproduction. 
Does it hurt? It can, but it shouldn’t. Every body is different, and when it is time you need to figure out what works for you.
What is masturbation? See, “figure out what works for you.” A healthy understanding of what brings an individual pleasure is vital for a partnership where each person experiences pleasure.
Should I use two condoms? Never!
Where do I learn about/get birth control? Research and cross-compare every method imaginable at Bedsider. Learn more, and find safe, legal, and discreet access to what you need at Planned Parenthood.

Boob stuff
Why do my boobs hurt? You’re growing! Puberty’s a bitch.
Is it normal to have hair on your nipples? Yup! (But it’s not, not normal if you don’t.)
Should I shave pubic hair? That is your choice! Same goes for armpits and legs. For some women, removing hair helps maintain personal hygiene. For others, hair serves as a defense against lint and other outside contaminants.
How do I wash my vagina? Think outside, not inside. Wash around the outside of the vulva with gentle soap and hands. Do not put soap or wash cloth inside the vagina, it is a self-cleaning mechanism. 
How many holes does a girl have? If you watched that Orange is the New Black Episode, you should know the answer by now. Thanks Sophia! If not, take this quiz, and keep count! (We had our students label diagrams of internal and external male and female anatomy, so that we were able to use clear language and differentiate between parts of the body throughout these conversations.)

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3 Things

 

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Photo by Entre Prises

Now that it is warm outside, I can’t wait to try out the Maggie Daley Climbing Wall in downtown Chicago! Now that I am a badass climber, I am psyched to spend my summer on the wall, and in the open air. I imagine people peeking out the windows of their apartment and seeing me at their level!

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Sometimes I feel like all of the food posts I write are about cake or salad. This represents the greater dichotomy between my health and my happiness, perhaps. I’ve learned that when it comes to the mint-chocolate combination, people love it or hate it. If you love it… how amazing does this look!

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I really, really wanted to attend Camp Man Repeller, and I was prepared to pay for the camp events and stay, but I could’t afford a plane ticket and since Chicago is still in school, I couldn’t drive to New York! I didn’t have enough personal days, and my car can’t really handle it. Next year. Next year. Anyway, it looks like their first year of Camp MR was a mad success. Check it out!

 

 

Three things to make you hungry, to make you laugh, to make you think.

Something to make you hungry: I know someone who will immediately bake these Peanut Butter Black and Tan Cookies as soon as they see this recipe 🙂
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Something to make you laugh: HOW CUTE that the cat’s name is Ravioli??

 

Something to make you think: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway
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Reflections on International Women’s Day

Or as I like to call it… Intergalactic Women’s Day!

When I was looking for these images, I found these awesome articles about feminism related to Agent Dana Scully and Captain Kathryn Janeway, which is not why I came here.

What I really came here to ask was… how was your day?

Women, did you take off work? Celebrate? Protest? Do nothing because every day should be women’s day? Men, did many women take off or represent in other ways at your workplace today? Did you not notice anything new?

Maybe you fall into my category: teachers at my school do not receive personal days during testing. And we are currently testing.

I overheard a male colleague joking with other men about how we would be in trouble if teachers were allowed/inclined to take off in protest today, because our school employs 90% women. In a national survey of the 2011-2012 school year, “76 percent of public school teachers were female.”

I also wonder about self-employed individuals, or people in the tech-industry. What did today look like for you? The only difference in my day was in the solidarity shown from friends on social media. The school did not mention that it was women’s day, and teachers were not allowed to take off. I missed any strikes or protests happening… because I was working.