- If buying condoms was like getting birth control pills . . .
- The 20th World Congress on Controversies in Obstetrics, Gynecology & Infertility (COGI) meets in Paris, December 4-7, 2014. This year’s meeting will feature a workshop on the first successful live birth from a uterus transplant.
- According to a UK study by The Eve Appeal, an charity organization dedicated to raising money for research and treatment of gynecological cancers, only half of the women surveyed between the ages of 26-35 were able to correctly locate and label the female reproductive system on a diagram.
- The University of California at San Francisco is about to start a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) about abortion. The course, which involves more than 20 faculty members, is intended to help health providers in the United States and around the world with patient care and the public health aspects of abortion. You can take the course for free or for a certificate, but it starts Monday, October 13, so jump on it.
- Are any of my M.A.R.C. ladies reading re:Cycling? Here’s a great way to demonstrate that menstrual cups don’t leak.
Without endorsing the sites, readers of re:Cycling might be interested/amused by this item from Lauren Braun at BioWink that was received recently by a member of the blog team:
Women Break The Taboo Around Menstruation By Sharing Hilarious Period Reminders
Menstrual cycles are still a taboo subject, and this discomfort with talking about them results in both misinformation and lack of information about menstrual health.
But earlier this week a tweet went viral when @pamwishbow customized her Clue period reminders, a new feature we launched last month. As of today, she had 348 retweets and 458 favorites.
We were so inspired by how Pam confidently owned her period in this public way that we decided to encourage other Clue users to share how they made the period reminders their own through customization. The uniqueness of the reminders seems to represent the uniqueness of each person’s cycle.
Sharing something that’s so personal helps break the stigma and open the door to more honest conversation. We’re proud to be part of this growing trend of empowering women with knowledge about their bodies, so that they can make the most informed decisions about their reproductive health. We’re asking women to #OwnYourCycle.
Here is our website: http://www.helloclue.com/
In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we are republishing some of our favorite posts. This post by David Linton originally appeared October 8, 2009.
A lot of ideas get hatched in a bar over drinks with friends. Most don’t make it past the sober morning after. But a conversation in a Denver bistro in 2008 led to the creation of a new Internet service that aims to address Rodney King’s eternal question, “Can’t we all just get along?” In this case the “getting along” applies to men and women who feel afflicted by the scourge of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome – PMS – and its presumed negative impact on otherwise harmonious relationships.
Despite the sound research and persuasive arguments of writers such as Carol Tavris (The Mismeasure of Woman), Anne Fausto-Sterling (Myths of Gender), Joan C. Chrisler (Charting a New Course for Feminist Psychology) and Paula Caplan (Fighting the Pathologizing of PMS), to name just a few who have labored to dispel the pernicious misconceptions and stigma surrounding the menstrual cycle, stereotypes and myths have been tenacious. Thus, in the digital age it was probably inevitable that PMS Lore would find new outlets for dissemination. Which brings us back to Denver.
One of the participants in the fateful exchange over Coors and coolers in the Mile High City was Jordan Eisenberg, a self-described entrepreneur. He and a group of friends had somehow gotten into a spirited conversation about PMS. The women expressed annoyance that men sometimes asked, “Are you getting your period?” as a way to discredit feelings women had about real concerns. It was so bad, they said, that even if they actually were menstruating, they could never acknowledge it because they’d be dismissed out of hand.
Opinions bounced around until one of the men mentioned that he put the date of his girl friend’s expected period in his Palm Pilot so he could anticipate her mood swings and avoid topics that might provoke conflict on “those days.” The men thought that this was a sensible idea, and the women were outraged that anyone would track their biology so mechanically.
For all but one of the participants the evening’s outing yielded no more than another story to share with friends at some future bar gathering. But for Jordan Eisenberg it was an inspiration. And so was born the Web site PMSBuddy.com.
In no time at all, the site has become an Internet hit. It can be found as an iPhone application and comes up under a number of Google search terms. Within a year of its launch, the site claimed to have 150,000 registered users and that it was currently tracking (as of 10/5/09) 33,192 menstrual cycles. According to the daily tally 1,366 women whose cycles were being tracked began to have PMS that day. Another 6,437 would begin within five days and the “Overall Threat Index” was “1-4:1,” whatever that means.
One might view the site as just a “guy joke,” another way for men to make light of something they don’t understand and to cope with their menstrual fears. The PMSBuddy web site uses fairly benign language and claims to have good intentions. It even has what it calls an “altruistic” aim with a slogan that boasts, “Saving relationships, one month at a time!” yet it reflects an underlying anxiety. It addresses male subscribers in a chummy voice: “PMSBuddy.com is a free service . . .to keep you aware of when . . . things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all. . . .there is no reason to ever be blindsided by PMS again.”
In addition to tracking the cycles of women in the lives of its subscribers and sending warning announcements about the impending periods of one’s wife, girlfriend, daughters, etc., it has a section called “PMS Stories,” submissions from subscribers about their PMS encounters and opinions. On the first day I first looked at the site there were nearly 150 stories posted from both men and women, but by the time these pages are being read there are surely many more.
My first reaction on discovering PMSbuddy.com was a combination of wonder and amusement.
Of course, this is not the first (nor, sadly, will it be the last) example of men taking cheap shots at menstruation or trying to turn prejudice to profit. An episode of In Living Color from 1991 (Season 2, episode 9) was titled “PMS Defense System” and featured Jim Carey in a mock ad for an emergency phone link that gave men 24 hour access to a woman who could talk you through any encounter with a woman afflicted with the disease of PMS.
- You’ve already done the ALS ice bucket challenge, now take the lemon challenge and help end endometriosis.
- There’s also the taco and/or beer challenge for reproductive rights: You just eat a taco, and/or drink a beer, and donate to an abortion fund.
- According to a study reported in The Independent, half of young British women are unable to properly label a vagina on a medical diagram, while 65 per cent have admitted they have a problem simply using the words vagina or vulva.
- Some Republican politicians have announced support of birth control pills over-the-counter. Advocates are skeptical.
- Menopause may lead to depression, says Margery Gass in the North American Menopause Society Blog.
- GoodWorksWellness offers natural solutions for treating PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- Five things about tampons learned in 20 years of menstruating.
- 1970s advertising flashback: Watch these ladies share a shameful secret, and pity them.
- Rebecca, regular contributor at xoJane, says she’s terrible at menstruating. She’s got a lot of company, as there are currently more than 400 comments.
- Here’s a detailed chart comparing birth control methods, rating effectiveness in typical use and perfect use and explaining how each works. It also separates hormonal methods from non-hormonal methods.
- New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito went public with her HPV+ diagnosis to encourage others to get tested.
- Holly Grigg-Spall penned a thoughtful piece about period acceptance for Lady Clever this week, featuring quotes from several members of SMCR.
- On the relationship between police brutality and reproductive justice.
- What happens when, for medical reasons, women elect to freeze their eggs for future use? Turns out there is very little follow-up research on this population. A study at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine in the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam found that none of the women in their small sample had used her cryopreserved oocytes, although 16 women had tried to conceive. Most considered the frozen eggs to be a last-resort option.
- Do you have a passion for both cycling and (bi)cycling? Join the Sustainable Cycles Spring 2015 tour! Want to know more about previous tours? Sarah Konner and Toni Craigie rode the west coast (U.S.) in 2011, and Rachel Horn and her friend Owen rode 4624 miles across the country in 2013, distributing menstrual cups and educating about menstruation all the way.