When it Comes to Women’s Health and Wellness, Ms. Fit Editors and Contributors Lay it on the Line
For the Faith issue, we asked Ms. Fit writers and editors to share a belief they hold about feminism and women’s health, fitness, and wellness. Join the conversation: add your own belief in the comments!
Each week at my Unitarian Universalist church, the minister shares a “Story for All Ages.” This is the time that my daughter and the other children move to the front of the Great Hall to see the pictures and I let my head drop onto my wife’s shoulder at the exhale of another long week.
A few Sundays ago, the minister told a story about a man who’d passed on from this life and was given the choice to be reincarnated as any creature he wished. He observed animals of the earth, sea and sky before his eyes lit on the humans. “I want to be that kind of creature,” he said. “They are so beautiful.”
That observation penetrated my Sunday morning sleepiness. At best, I’m inclined to think of the human animal as ridiculously adorable—more baby hedgehog than magnificent peacock. I tend toward a functional, “feed-the-machine” perspective, celebrating the corporeal capacity for doing. I practice gratitude for my body’s gifts: sensuality and sexuality, movement, strength, and power; and more than anything, the child that grew inside me. But beautiful?
Celebrating the Choice to Be Wild and Free
The first time I saw a woman with body hair, I was thirteen. She was my teacher for a summer creative writing class. As she stretched her arms above her head, I was transfixed by her curly black hairs. After that, I waited for her to do it again, because, wow, I’d never seen a woman with armpit hair before. Every so often, I’d sneak a peek at her leg hair. I thought I was being casual enough about it, but now that others pull the same move on me, I realize how obvious I must have been. She knew I was looking, the same way I know when others are looking at me.
If you asked me when I thought I reached my absolute point of total hotness, my answer would be ten years old. Having started to develop breasts at the age of eight and menstruating at nine, by sixth grade I was constantly mistaken for a college student.
When I was eleven, a rapid weight gain of 30lbs in 30 days put an end to my middle school hotness. My skin became clouded with acne and dark hairs sprouted from wherever they damn well pleased. The weight continued to pile on. My periods became irregular and often appeared every two weeks as opposed to every month. I was a mess.
So a couple of years ago, my wife, Nikki, and I are at a party where we encounter a few friends we haven’t seen in a while. Conversation gets around to how we’d just run the Prague marathon, which our friends meet with the typical incredulity non-runners feel towards the willful madness of running 26.2 miles. A half hour later we’re all on the porch having a smoke.
Our Digest of Global Feminist News
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Web, has been pushing against anti-abortion legislation since her days aboard the ocean’s first mobile clinic. On a mission to reduce suffering, Gomperts took to the sea, providing women with vital healthcare information and safe, supervised abortions when they were otherwise unattainable. Now fully landlocked, Gomperts and her team are still supplying information and medication online. Their past ventures offer a haunting glimpse into what the U.S.’s female population can expect if recent restrictions on women’s health clinics continue at their current pace.
Female architects are finally being recognized as a global mainstay, after decades of misogyny-fueled oppression and discrimination.
Our Bi-Monthly Digest of Women’s Sporting News
Thirteen-year-old Mo’ne Davis is far more than just a novelty: she’s a force to be reckoned with in a sport that’s been historically accommodating to white males. At 5’4, Mo’ne throws 70 MPH and is the first girl to ever pitch a shutout in Little League World Series. The fame brought by the anomaly of a female player advancing so far will no doubt provide Davis with ample opportunities for future play, but many look forward to the day when the presence of girls and women in official baseball play isn’t such an anomaly.
Our Bi-Weekly Digest of Global Feminist News and Opinion
Will feminists ever unanimously advocate on behalf of sex workers? While the freedom to choose the world’s oldest profession may inspire an avid discussion, it’s the keyword “choice” that conveys much of the problem. Women who opt to enter sex work are disproportionately outnumbered by those who are trafficked or exploited into the industry, a detail The Economist makes light of in a recent article focused on the “luxury” and “safety” of internet-based sex work.
Our Digest of Women’s Sporting News
What constitutes a woman? Invasive, humiliating sex testing—still the norm in competitive women’s sports—has some concrete guidelines. Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, the most recent athlete to be discriminated against, was banned from participating in the 20th Commonwealth Games due to “excess levels” of testosterone in her blood. Disqualification may seem to be an absurd course of action, and it is—almost as absurd as determining someone’s gender from the hormones in their blood.
Our Digest of Global Feminist News and Opinion
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith presses potential victims of domestic abuse to learn about “elements of provocation” in a panelist discussion on First Take, earning Smith a meager suspension, (almost as meager as the suspension doled out to Baltimore Ravens Running Back/Batterer Ray Rice) but it’s continuing the dialogue on the pervasiveness of victim-blaming.