Maybe the internet can help!

Something my sisters have observed about me is that i am not very good at the internet. By that I mean that beyond gmail, facebook and maybe NPR, i really find myself not knowing where to go for fun/information/goofy videos/ when i go online. I just never really got around to learning how to enjoy surfing the web, cruising tumblr’s or listening to podcasts.

However, after a *semi* recent breakup i decided, hey, people look to the internet for answers, i may as well cast my net wide and see what comes in. Maybe it was because I was feeling a little lost and didn’t know where to turn to, but i began my quest for collecting data on how people deal with breakups to compare with what was doing to cope.

Whenever I was feeling confused/sad/wanting-to-talk-to-that-someone-that-i-can’t-talk-to-anymore, I would write them letters. We had written each other letters during our relationship, so i had memories of using a pen and paper as a mode of communication with them, so it was therapeutic. I could explain myself without getting push-back, and say things that i didn’t have a chance to say in person. 5279656-Collection-of-different-vintage-letters-with-stamps-Stock-Photo

I realized that it would be unhealthy and unproductive for both of us to ever send those letters. But the process of writing them, folding them up, and putting them in an envelope in my desk drawer felt ok. So that was where i started in my internet quest to seek solidarity in heart break!

Did other people write letters that would go nowhere? Is it ok to write letters that will never be sent? The answer is yes people are doing it and yes it is ok! I found a tumblr with this very idea:

You can submit a digital letter, or just read the letters written by other people that were never meant to be received. I guess the moral of the story is that even though the internet can be isolating, it can also be a great tool to have your feelings/thoughts validated!

As i mentioned at the beginning, i am sort of new to this, so maybe this is restating the obvious. But maybe there is a special tumblr/site/group out there that can support you in your well being in whatever way you need it.


“College Advice Megapost Situation” from Autostraddle

It’s almost time for back to school–here at Barnard new student orientation starts this weekend!–and the staff of the awesome website Autostraddle (“News, Entertainment, Opinion, Community and Girl-on-Girl Culture”) have created a fantastic round-up of  “all of the ultimate back to school advice for college bound queers” to start your semester off right, whether you’re returning to school for another year or just starting your college experience. Enjoy!

All of the Ultimate Back-To-School Advice for College-Bound Queers


Fit and Feminist

Trigger Warning: Body image issues, eating disorders                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I love to move my body.  Like many people, I’ve often struggled feeling comfortable with my body, and it brings me happiness when I’m able to find a point where I am able to embrace the strengths that my body has and not focus so much on how little it resembles the bodies of women in the media.  I love to practice yoga and work out because it makes me feel strong and happy, not because it makes me look conventionally beautiful.

This is why I feel so uncomfortable when I come across those “thinspiration” photos on the internet. It’s an extreme version of the “No pain, no gain” that many gyms seem to thrive on.  As someone who has struggled a lot with body image issues, it scares me how they glorify starving your body and conforming to a societal idea.

Yet I also feel alienated by a lot of rebuttals to “thinspiration” like the nutella memes:

Memes like this just make being skinny and enjoying food seem mutually exclusive, which isn’t the case at all.  Shaming people because their bodies are conventionally beautiful is still problematic.

And while I appreciate posts like these:

415aba82b9d499115e634a0de688240eWhile I’m happy that Kat Dennings is proud of her body, anorexia isn’t something you “try” out for an afternoon.  It is a very real mental health issue that has as much to do with control as it does with food.  Framing any mental health issue as a choice only contributes to stigmatizing treatment.  Anorexia isn’t a diet plan.  It’s a controlling force that slowly controls your whole life.

Which is all to say I was so happy when I found Fit and Feminist.  I finally found a site that approached fitness as way to be healthy, and didn’t shame anyone.  It wasn’t about pushing yourself, it was about enjoying yourself.  They even have a whole series of memes that address those thinspiration photos like this:


Do you also often have trouble finding fitness places that are body positive?  How do you deal with it?

A Mighty Girl

Ah, summer. Though in college, this vacation is often associated with work experience and the vague, ominous sensation of next semester’s impending workload, I’m sure I’m not alone in associating summer with the less intense obligation of the “summer reading list” often handed out in grade school. As a young feminist, I often found myself scanning the list for books that might offer cool female role models…and was frequently disappointed! That’s why I’m so excited to hear about A Mighty Girl, which describes itself as “the world’s largest collection of books and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”. The website posts lists of books and movies that depict strong women and girls, as well as a list dedicated to women’s history, and offers itself as a resource for parents, teachers, and anyone else interested in raising mighty girls. From the website:

“Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure. It is our hope that these high-quality children’s products will help a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose — to truly be Mighty Girls!”


Rick Santorum is out of the race…but what does that mean for American women?

Rick Santorum recently withdrew his bid to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. Santorum’s campaign made headlines both for being the most recent beneficiary of anyone-but-Romney syndrome, and for his extremely conservative social policies (also for his”google problem”…but we won’t get into that here). Many politically informed feminists are understandably overjoyed at Santorum’s decision to end his campaign- as a Senator and a candidate, Santorum has championed policies that place severe restrictions on women’s rights, especially reproductive rights. He has also been notoriously unfriendly to the LGBTQ community. All in all, the Republican party deserves some credit for rejecting Santorum as its presidential candidate. However, Santorum’s departure from the race should prompt us to think about our alternatives. Though Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are still clinging to their campaigns, and Rick Santorum failed to even mention him in his concession speech, Mitt Romney finally looks like he’s locked up the Republican nomination. But is this any better news for feminist voters? Some of Romney’s lackluster support among Republicans comes from his reputation as less of a bona fide social conservative than Santorum, for example. As governor of the relatively liberal state of Massachusetts, he appeared somewhat pragmatic and willing to compromise on social issues. However, in more recent years, his positions on issues such as marriage equality and reproductive rights have taken a turn for the conservative, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to his base and eventually secure the Republican nomination for president. Additionally, Romney’s reputation as somewhat more moderate gives him a much better chance than Santorum ever had of defeating President Obama in a general election. Therefore, while Santorum’s withdrawal from the race may seem like excellent news for feminist voters, the battle is hardly over.

“My womb is one million times more private than your bedrooms, gentlemen.”

Check out this amazing, articulate, impassioned appeal to the most recent attacks on women’s health. It is awe-inspiring and captures the issue completely.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn’t disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his — largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.”

And, to add another quote from another amazing feminist who spoke in context of the Civil Rights Movement (Fannie Lou Hamer):

Whether you have a Ph.D., or no D, we’re in this bag together. And whether you’re from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men — this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves — but to work together with the black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings, and to be treated as human beings in our sick society.”