She Did

“See that face?” My grandmother said, showing me the photo above. “That’s the face of a girl who thinks she knows everything.”

Great Grandma & Grandpa Servadio, and the woman, the myth, the legend: Gram
Great Grandma & Grandpa Servadio, and the woman, the myth, the legend: Gram

“See that face?” My grandmother said, showing me the photo above. “That’s the face of a girl who thinks she knows everything.”

Now that might sound like the beginning of a cautionary tale, in which the girl in said tale did not know everything. But if you knew my grandmother (Gram) at all, you’d understand that when she told me this, her tone of voice implied that she did, in fact, know everything. Or at least enough that such an attitude was deserved.

She told me this when I was a very impressionable young girl. And it certainly did leave an impression – I’ve never forgotten it.

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Death and Taxes

My grandmother died a year ago today. On Tax Day. For some reason, after all that went on during the four and a half months leading up to her death, I found comfort in the fact that Gram got out of doing her taxes this one time.

Gram and I, 1986
Gram and I, 1986

My grandmother died a year ago today. On Tax Day. For some reason, after all that went on during the four and a half months leading up to her death, I found comfort in the fact that Gram got out of doing her taxes this one time. My grandmother was incredibly financially shrewd and might have hated giving her hard earned money to the government more than anyone else I know. So it was a kind of justice that she skipped out on the day taxes are due. During her stay there, the nurses in the ICU often remarked that Gram was “a feisty one.” If they only knew.

The tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon last April 15th, as horrific and sad as it was, has little meaning to me. This is because I experienced it through a muted television in a hospital room in which my grandmother took her final gasping breaths while hooked up to a monitoring system that now, instead of reflecting her pulse and blood pressure and oxygen levels (that my aunts and grandfather and I used to anxiously watch like hawks), only showed a ticking clock underneath the word “Comfort” in small letters. However selfish it is to say, I experienced a far greater tragedy that day, and as a result, the Boston Marathon bombings fail to resonate with me.

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Six Things You Should Never Say to a HUMAN BEING

Photo Courtesy of SingleEdition.com
Photo Courtesy of SingleEdition.com

So, Single Edition (tagline: “Where I Am One”) is this cute site that offers articles, advice, product suggestions, shopping tips and more for those who are romantically unattached. They “recognize that  life presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for singles,” and they “offer a fresh perspective, some genuine advice and even some hands-on assistance that can help make the difference in your life.” I discovered them back in 2007 when I was interning for my heros, Em & Lo, at the Daily Bedpost as a senior in college, and signed up for their newsletter.

The articles in their newsletter are generally fluffy and meaningless, and rarely offer any truly helpful advice, however they are entertaining and quick reads, so I usually open up at least one or two of them when I get it in my inbox. This past week I was unpleasantly surprised to find the gem, “6 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman“, with the description:

“Women, they are everywhere. From our Mother’s [sic], and sisters and daughters to gal pals and love interests, there’s no escaping them. You may love them, can’t live without them, but ever feel like you are walking on eggshells around the leading ladies in your life?”

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What. The. Hell.

Photo Courtesy of Nerve.com
Photo Courtesy of Nerve.com

So, if you’ve even breathed next to me in the past week, you’ve probably had the pleasure of hearing how unhappy I am with the new breast and cervical cancer screening guidelines issued by the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and  American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) in the past week.

The new breast cancer screening guidelines came first, with a recommendation to start regular mammograms a decade later than previously recommended, at age 50, and less often, at once every two years. Oh yeah, and they recommended that doctors should stop teaching women to self examine themselves on a regular basis.

Excuse me for the colloquialism of my generation, but – WTF?

The reason for these new guidelines being, of course, that the USPSTF’s research indicates that the benefits of cancer screening before the age of 50 do not outweigh the harms – that is, the anxiety and inconvenience regular testing gives women.

What???

I’m sorry, is this implying that the anxiety caused by awaiting test results that reveal you may or may not have cancer is actually a greater harm than having undetected cancer itself?

And sorry, another question – would you rather examine your breasts yourself regularly, find a suspicious lump, see a doctor about it, and find out it was nothing? Or would you rather never examine your breasts yourself and when you see a doctor a year later, find out you have a malignant tumor in your breast? Which would cause you more anxiety, just out of curiosity? And would you have considered the first scenario an “inconvenience”?

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the world, but it is also one of the most treatable with early detection. To remove the possibility of early detection – even if statistics show that breast cancer is less likely to occur in women aged 40-49 – is completely ridiculous. Throwing the alleviation of anxiety idea out the window (which, by the way, is totally patronizing), what could possibly be the benefits of such a recommendation?

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Happy Father’s Day!

Photo Courtesy of Arrested Development being hilarious
Photo Courtesy of Arrested Development being hilarious

In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday I thought I’d re-post a piece I wrote that my old friends Em & Lo published last year when they were still blogging at Daily Bedpost. To both of my dads – Dad and Tom, and to all of the other feminist fathers out there – Happy Father’s Day!

When I was little, my father read me a book from his childhood, Friday the Arapaho Indian by A.M. Anderson. I heard the “true story” of a young Native American girl named Friday and her historical adventures. But if you’ve ever read Anderson’s book, you’ll know what I discovered when I was much older and my dad confessed the truth: Friday the Indian was a boy…

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Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due

Photo Courtesy of EMandLO.com
Photo Courtesy of EMandLO.com

I just wanted to give a quick mention to the lovely and talented Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, better known as Em & Lo, who have been very supportive of Cephaloblog the last couple of weeks. They’ve mentioned me in their blog roundups (aka Blog Snogs) twice now, and I can’t thank them enough. (Check them out here and here!)

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Under Pressure

Photo Courtesy of BoingBoing.net
Photo Courtesy of BoingBoing.net

“Perhaps I’m being too tenacious but imagine 700 subtle messages a day. Alone they look harmless, but they build up pressure.”

I read that in a Livejournal community called “Kiss My Ass Vogue“, posted by a user named devi42. First, I’ll address the fact that yes, I use Livejournal. I rarely ever post anything on it anymore but I have stuck with it because I’ve been a member since I was in high school, and I love the communities. For example, some of the communities that I still love to check regularly are: vagina_pagina, sexual_health, menstrual_cups, good_eats, punk_knitters, and embarrassingly, ohnotheydidnt and topmodel.

For those who need help breaking it down, Livejournal is to blogs as Cro-Magnon man (person?) is to today’s human beings.

Anyway, I read the above quote in a post made in a community called kissmyassvogue. This community was inspired by a community called kissmyass_cosmo, which unfortunately I am no longer a member of.

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Cunt: A Book Review

 

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com
Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

 

I will never not be grateful for hormonal birth control and the fact that I can legally have my uterus sucked out with a man-made vacuuming device if I don’t want to be pregnant. Therefore, I am unlikely to start tracking my period with a lunar calendar (because I am currently on hormonal birth control, so my reproductive system follows whatever schedule I tell it to) or induce an abortion using herbs like parsley and pennyroyal, anytime soon. Never say never though, because I do think the whole menstrual and lunar cycles aligning thing sounds pretty cool.

Despite the above, I liked Cunt

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Back to Beatie

Photo Courtesy of People.com
Photo Courtesy of People.com

I have to talk about the man who had a baby.

This is why: I know it’s a little late in coming, but I’m really getting annoyed by all the “sick” and “weird” comments I hear when someone even dares to bring this topic up. A man had a baby. So what? This isn’t the ’80s. The concept of a transsexual is not shocking anymore. Yes, this man used to be a woman. YES, this man chose NOT to have sexual reassignment surgery, which can be risky and invasive. 

Actually, the reason I am bringing this up is because of my mom. My dear, sweet mother who has oft shared the enthusiasm over the plight of the misunderstood transgender people with me. “Why would anyone put themselves through this unless they really felt it was true?” “They can’t help that they were born in the wrong body!”

My mom doesn’t think the man should have had a baby. Or rather, she thinks, if he did want to have a baby, he should have waited to become a man until after he did so. 

Simply put, I think this is fucked up.

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When I Became a Feminist

Recently at a job interview, I was asked how someone my age got into feminism. This wasn’t a weird question, based on the writing samples included in my portfolio that I brought to the interview, but still, I hesitated in answering.

There are plenty of non-personal answers to that question, one being, “Why wouldn’t someone my age be a feminist?”. Another, “Why wouldn’t any woman or smart man be ‘into feminism’?”

But the reason I hesitated is because I had to think about it. After pondering for a moment, I replied with a rambling answer about how my developing interest in women’s and sexual health issues naturally lead to an interest in feminism, concluding with a personal experience regarding my mother that I needn’t be coy about as it’s been published both in print and online for over a year now, but for discretion’s sake, I will.

I think this went over pretty well – it felt like a comfortable and accepted response to a rather unorthodox question for a job interview.

But, after the interview, I realized I was lying.

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