#BodyTalk

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What a happy, little tampon!

Most things don’t gross me out. Perhaps it’s because I’m the daughter of a nurse- I remember one time my dad showed my sisters and I cell phone pictures of a little boy’s bowel movements. When I lived with my old roommate then in med school (now a doctor), I was delighted when she shared stories of her carving up a cadaver. To me, bodies and what they do are fascinating, not unmentionable. So, why don’t we talk about natural occurrences like menstrual cycles?

Earlier this week, Chinese swimmer, Fu Yuanhui, made headlines when she announced that she was on her period, breaking the  silence about menstruation. While China is becoming more accepting of the natural occurrence, one would think that the US of A would be a little bit more progressive, especially since half of our population has or will experience their period. But as I read comments on multiple sites about Yuanhui’s post -wim interview, I realized that wasn’t the case. Especially with men.

Even in relationships, I found that talking about menstruation was taboo. In the past, I’ve had boyfriends who promised the world to me but still refused to buy me tampons. Female lawmakers in multiple states are trying to lift the tax on tampons but are being struck down by their male counterparts. Allegedly when Yuanhui was in the pool, several male critics claimed that swimming while menstruating was unhygienic and unhealthy.

I’ve been trying to figure out why talking about menstruation is so shameful even when sex runs rampid throughout our media. Sex is what we see and talk about every day. Society oogles breasts, whose primary function is for feeding. We cracked jokes about both male and female anatomy without a second thought. We need to stop looking at our bodies and our sexual behavior as something embarrassing and scandalous., when our bodies are as natural as water and air.

I hope to see the day where women, all around the world, aren’t shunned for having a period. Women’s bodies deserve more respect and appreciation- your mom, your sister, your friend, your significant other- all deserve better. And you, male reader, will totally get points with me if you purchase me some Tampax.

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#BlackLivesMatter (How to Keep the Movement Moving Forward)

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Protesters take to the streets on July 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, CA.

Protesters take to the streets in California July 2013.

It’s been about a month since the multiple shootings that sparks protests, vigils and questions about race, law enforcement and gun violence in our country. My city and the surrounding municipalities hosted various rallies where individuals held signs, cried and spoke in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM). But now, as the media focuses its attention else where, I feel like the thought of BLM and the racism some Americans experience is fading from everyone’s minds.

And this depresses me.

A colleague asked me how to start a conversation about racism. I honestly had no idea how to answer him. It’s one thing, talking about the frustrations of dating in my town when you’re a person of color (something that I talk about with my girl friends often). But it’s another thing trying to explain racism and BLM with people who aren’t so open. After some thought, I told him that I believe people need to be more bolder and simply stop avoiding the subject in every day conversation. We shouldn’t wait for national headlines to bring to a harsh reality to light.

Even so, I feel that my answer is a cop out. I don’t know how to address racism to people other than my friends or those who read this blog. And I don’t know how to keep the movement moving. The one thing I know is that I can’t do this alone. The greatest thing I saw when I was at the Reno BLM rally was the amount of community members coming together for the common good. We still stood together, hand-in-hand spreading the word and the love. I believe if we’re going to change minds about the misconceptions of BLM and racism in general, we need to be physically present together– step out from behind our computers, meet (and meet often!) with certain shared goals and outcomes in mind and show the world that we mean positive business. We need to have more rallies, host lectures, volunteer in our communities and speak to our local government and advocacy groups- together. We need to slam down the negative stereotypes about our races and the Black Lives Matter movement. So… who’s with me?

How are you going to keep the movement moving, dear reader?