To the black Stanford students and community members in our network, we send our thoughts and our love.
To the black Stanford students and community members in our network, we send our thoughts and our love.
Graduate school is a challenging time for many reasons – teaching, mentoring, designing research projects, managing advisors, spending hours writing and/or in the lab – and romantic relationships can be a source of respite or source of stress on top of all of that. In fact, they are often both at once!
Inspired by the part of graduate school that people don’t often talk about—having a romantic relationship—we, the graduate program coordinators of the WCC, decided to host an event to promote open and honest conversation about pursuing a career while thinking about a partner. On November 4th, several graduate students were joined by two therapists from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)—Meag-gan Walters, post-doc, and Sheila Levin—to approach the topic of relationships. The conversation was deep and insightful, and we thought we would share a couple of takeaways from the evening.
Communication is key:
This might sound cliche, but many of the issues that arise in relationships can be addressed or at least alleviated through honest and open conversation. This is especially true when agreeing upon expectations and values. Knowing your respective priorities can alleviate issues in the long run, especially when the personalities within the relationship are opposite. A partnership between a Type A person who prefers to plan and a Type B person who prefers spontaneity requires a communication strategy that takes into account the different needs of each partner as well as the needs of the relationship. It takes a certain amount of honesty and vulnerability to have an effective conversation, which might not be comfortable for everybody involved, but it is important to the health of a relationship.
Be aware of gender biases/implied relationship roles that may influence your relationship:
We are all influenced by societal pressures (including pop culture and our families) when it comes to expected roles and responsibilities in relationships. Sometimes, our own ideas about how things should be can get in the way of how things are. Locking ourselves or our partners into inflexible roles–for example, what roles we expect a person to fulfill based on his/her/their gender–can also be the root cause of frustration and miscommunications. If people don’t or can’t fulfill the roles we have set aside for them, it can be an unnecessary source of contention.
Being whole and happy on your own is the best foundation for being in a healthy relationship:
In the words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” Finding ways to know yourself, to make yourself happy will give you a fuller life and a better sense of self. If you don’t put all your “happiness eggs” in your “relationship basket,” you can appreciate the multiple ways in which you function and live in the world. It is important to remember that your romantic relationships consist of more than one person. It is not your job to fix your partner, and it is not your partner’s job to fix you. If there is something seriously wrong, seek out professional assistance.
The two-body problem is real, and requires both parties to know what they want for the future of the relationship and what they want for their personal development:
The “two-body problem” refers to the task of managing both partners’ careers in a way that maintains a cohesive life together while allowing each person to have a fulfilling career and opportunities for advancement. Some jobs within and outside of academia will negotiate contingencies for partners. If living in the same area is one of the values that you and your partner share, check with your employer to see if they can help you make the transition easier or more predictable for your partner. They may provide help with a job search or allow you to accept a position with the condition that your partner can find satisfactory employment in the same geographical area. Another aspect of the two-body problem is planning for a family. Figuring out how to bring up questions of relationships and children can be tricky when seeking employment. One thing you can do is find people who have similar experiences and ask them about their lives in a company or institution—it helps to go into a job or negotiations for a job knowing the kinds of experiences you should be prepared for.
TL;DR – Talk to your partner about your respective values, and pay attention to the way you treat them and yourself in a relationship. You will be happier for it.
If you need to make an appointment with CAPS, call 650-498-2336.
-Valerie Troutman and Vanessa Seals
This Tuesday, we had our first Women at Work event! Two practicing midwives, Sage Bearman, CNM, WHNP and Faith Gibson, LM, CPM spoke about their career paths and experiences as midwives. They shared their passion and explained why midwifery can be a great profession and healthcare option!
Until a year ago, I had barely heard of midwifery. I got curious about it after I started watching the BBC show Call the Midwife (highly recommended!).
Once I spent time talking to midwives and learning more, I found an incredibly passionate community with an inspiring and individual-centered model of care. Midwives view birth as a natural and healthy experience. They are highly trained healthcare providers that attend about 10% of births in the US, provide prenatal care, work with clients of all genders, and care for many diverse health needs.
There are multiple different types of midwifery certification programs. Some midwives train through master’s programs in nursing schools, while others train through apprenticeship or out of hospital certification programs. Learn more at the American College of Nurse Midwifery and the Midwives Alliance of North America.
Consistent among all midwives is a model of care that empowers women to shape their pregnancy experience and honors the normalcy of birth.
This plays out through much lower intervention rates for midwife attended deliveries than the US average. For example, in some California hospitals, doctors perform C-sections at five times the World Health Organization recommended rate. Two reasons for this are that C-sections bring in more healthcare dollars from insurance companies and are often more convenient for doctors. Even though C-sections can be lifesaving procedures for women who develop complications during birth, they carry unnecessary risks for healthy low-risk mothers and babies.
While many regions in the US have a long way to go to better support midwives and women, some hospitals such as San Francisco General have made great progress towards this goal. The New York Times published an engaging article detailing how SF General keeps their C-section rate low. Read about it here. Stanford Hospital used to have midwives, but stopped the practice in 2003 due to “lack of profit.”
Midwives tend to practice in a very holistic and community-driven model of care. Whether or not you’ve considered midwifery before, midwifery can be a great career path and/or health career option!
Women at Work Program Coordinator
Every day, every single day, people are faced with sexism. Some days it is a casual comment as you walk down the street. Someone commenting to their buddy about a girl’s appearance, how big her breasts are. Other days the sexism is more insidious, were you selected to be a part of the car mechanics club because you are talented or just because you are pretty? And some days it’s just out right in your face: “only boys can do that.” You are told that you have less value because you are a girl.
Well let me tell you, all of these forms of everyday sexism are not okay. And we as feminists still have a lot to teach about gender equality and what a world looks like where everyone is respected for being the person they want to be.
But let’s back up, before we change the world, let’s reflect on how one reacts to the world we are currently living in.
After hearing the one-millionth sexist comment, sometimes you just let it slide off of your back. Somewhere in your heart a little mark is made but you don’t want to engage with that close-minded dumb-butt. Other days you feel like you want to fight back and yell, “Stop that!! Stop that right now!!” And sometimes that one-millionth sexist comments is the one that breaks you and all you want to do is curl up on the floor and cry.
So often women are shamed for their reactions to sexist comments. They are shamed for being the victim and feel like they are the one to blame for what happened. Laura Bates collected stories and experiences from 50,000+ women around the world. When these women first shared their experiences with their peers, their peers responded with such comments as, stop making a fuss, women are equal now more or less, stop overreacting, have a sense of humor, take a joke, don’t be so uptight, don’t be so frigid. But let me tell you, these comments are not validating of someone’s experience.
If you want to cry, find a space that is supportive and will give you a hug. If you want to ignore the sexist comment, I understand, it’s a tiring battle. If you want to yell back, one of my favorite reactions to a person making a sexist comment, is simply asking them why they thinks that’s okay thing to say. Often they doesn’t know. They are suffering in the same sexist society you are struggling in.
I want to affirm however you want to react to these everyday sexist comments because all of these reactions are valid because they are what you are feeling.
To learn more about The Everyday Sexism Project or submit your own story, visit http://usa.everydaysexism.com/ and check out Laura Bates Tedx Talk. Everyday sexism: Laura Bates at TEDxCoventGardenWomen.
Also shout out to Mysia Anderson’s article about Taking Back the Angry Black Woman, which helped inspire this blog post.
Happy Femtastic Friday! We know you’re probably swamped with studying for finals and writing final papers. Why don’t you take a brief study break with our last Femtastic Friday post of the year?
There has been a lot of buzz about Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover and cisnormative beauty standards this week. Artist, cartoonist, and author Crystal Frazier spoke up about this and made her own cover, starting #MyVanityFairCover with her roommate Jenn Dolari.
[Image: Crystal Frazier’s (left) and Jenn Dolari’s (right) “Vanity Fair” covers.]
“the world only seems to embrace us if we’re wealthy enough or lucky enough to adhere to white, cisnormative beauty standards…Not all of us want to. Not all of us can… And we all deserve to feel beautiful, and be acknowledged by the world. Admiration and praise for trans women shouldn’t only come if we fit a narrow definition of beauty. As a good friend of mine said Monday “Where’s my Vanity Fair cover?” Crystal created a template and is encouraging all trans people to make their own covers. Head to Buzzfeed for the full story.
And in case you missed it, we posted Laverne Cox’s words of support for Caitlyn and comments on the Vanity Fair cover, beauty norms, and the health and wellness of all trans people to our Facebook page.
Meet Maya Harris. Maya is a graduate of Stanford Law School and she is Hillary Clinton’s recently-appointed senior policy adviser. Maya’s work has focused on criminal justice issues and the community effects of mass incarceration. She says “the best police reforms are those that “engage the community as partners and problem-solvers, not just people to be policed.” P.S. You may have heard of Maya’s older sister, Kamala Harris, California attorney general… Yeah power siblings!
York University graduate student Pamela Clark has come up with 35 practical tools for men to further feminist revolution. The list provides suggestions for how men (and women) can fight gender inequality in our daily lives. Number 6 offers the simple straightforward advice: #6. “When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.” Yep, good call. But what if you disagree? Ask her for more information and really listen to what she has to say.
Lastly, whatever your plans are this summer you’ll probably need a good book or two, right? You’re in luck. Melissa Harris-Perry has put together a summer reading list offering a much more diverse selection than the book list the NYT offered. Enjoy!
Femtastic Friday is back on the blog! Hope you’ve all had a great week and the quarter is wrapping up nicely for you! How is it already the end of May?!
In the news this week:
We’ve all heard of #blacklivesmatter. We should also know about #sayhername — a hashtag that calls for the recognition of the black women and girls killed by police. On Thursday demonstrators gathered in cities across the US to protest and remind us that black women’s lives matter, too.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has named Lorella Praeli, a former undocumented immigrant who is a prominent advocate for immigration reform, as its director of Latina/o outreach. Read more about Clinton’s decision and the importance of Praeli’s work as DREAMer.
The Girl Scouts of United States of America accepts trans girls. Their policy was made known four years ago but apparently some conservative groups are just hearing about it and are upset. In response, Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA’s chief girl expert says: “Our position is not new. It conforms with our continuous commitment to inclusivity.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is paying attention to all the talk and research pointing out Hollywood’s gender wage gap and gender discriminatory hiring practices. The ACLU filed a complaint and is calling for an investigation. Some of their alarming findings: Barely 2 percent of the directors of the top-grossing 100 films of 2013 and 2014 were women. Out of a survey of the 500 top-grossing movies from 2007-2012, only two of the 565 directors were women of color.
In more encouraging Hollywood news: The Feminist Majority Foundation honored award-winning television producers Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan “for changing the face of media” at the 10th annual Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women’s Rights Awards on Monday. In case you don’t know about these two innovative women creator-writer-directors-producers: Rhimes is the creator of tv shows How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal. Kohan created Orange is the New Black.
Happy Friday everyone! Go handle your weekend!
Original post by Sarah Roberts on February 4, 2014
Update May 19, 2015:
Last week the Obama administration clarified the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate — health plans must offer at least one option for every type of prescription birth control free of charge. In light of this we’re reposting Sarah Roberts’ “quick and dirty” guide to birth control. Enjoy!
Let’s Talk About Birth Control
by Sarah Roberts
Today, one of our staff members entered the WCC moaning tales of uterine woes. In our infinite spirit of staff love and solidarity, we overwhelmed her with suggestions about how to appease the menstrual forces. This eventually led to a room-wide conversation about contraception–complete with stories, IUD-evangelizing, and health provider references.
Unfortunately, conversations like these do not happen enough. Sex negativity and shaming promote a culture of silence about safe sex and contraceptive methods. Birth control is a surprisingly contentious issue given that so many people need it. Birth control doesn’t just help prevent pregnancy (though that is in itself a necessary and basic health issue), it also helps persons with uteri deal with medical conditions like painful periods, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
In the interest of fostering dialogue, here is your quick and dirty guide to birth control:
- Oral contraceptive pills are one of the most well known form of birth control. The pill works by releasing hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs and the eggs from being fertilized. It needs to be taken daily and is highly effective when taken on schedule. It is also used by many people to lessen the wrath of the great Ovum (i.e. it regulates periods by making them lighter, shorter, and/or less frequent)
- Ortho-Evra Patch is essentially a hormone-lace bandaid that is stuck on the skin to prevent pregnancy.
- Implanon Implant involves the insertion of a hormonal rod into the arm. It is highly effective and lasts for three years.
- NuvaRing is a small bendable ring that is visually reminiscent of the swaggin’ rubber bracelets you saw in middle school. Except instead of putting it on your wrist, you insert it in your vagina. It is very effective, convenient, and low hormone, but it can be expensive without insurance.
- Depo-Provera is an injection of medroxyprogesterone given once every 12 weeks. It is important to keep in mind that there is a FDA black box warning regarding bone density, so many doctors do not recommend it except in special circumstances.
- Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small t-shaped device containing progestin that is inserted by a clinician. It can be removed at any time if pregnancy is desired, but otherwise it lasts for at least 5 years. Like the birth control pill, this IUD can be used to regulate periods.
- Copper 7 Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a device inserted into the uterus by a clinician. It is a highly effective method of birth control that is good for 10 years, and highly recommendable to those weary of hormones. At the same time, it may increase vaginal bleeding.
- Male and Female Condoms prevent sperm from reaching the egg. A major advantage is they also protect against HIV and some STIs. Even if you are not having sex that can result in pregnancy, condoms and other barrier methods are an important means of protecting against diseases.
- Spermicides are gels, creams and foam can be used in conjunction with the male condom, or they can be used alone for birth control. The sponge, cervical cap and diaphragm keep the spermicide near the cervical opening. But, as Miley Cyrus so eloquently put it, nobody’s perfect. They are not very effective when used alone and they may cause irritation of the male and female genitals, which can increase the risk of HIV transmission.
- Diaphragms are rubber, dome-shaped devices placed into the vagina to hold spermicide around the cervix. The cervical cap fits directly on the cervix. Both are used with spermicide, require female involvement only, and can be inserted ahead of time for those nights when you know you’re tryna.
- Emergency Contraception (i.e. Plan B) can be taken up to 72 hours after an unprotected encounter. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
- Rhythm Method requires that one calculates one’s fertility cycle and abstains from intercourse during ovulation. This is fairly effective for persons with regular cycles.
- Sterilization is a permanent method of preventing pregnancy. It works by blocking the tubes that carry the sperm or egg.
- Abstinence means that you choose to not be sexually active. If strictly adhered to, it is a free and effective method of preventing pregnancy, STIs, and sexually transmitted HIV.
Here at Stanford, there are several resources for students to obtain contraceptives. Barrier methods like the male and female condom, as well as dental dams, are available at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center (SHPRC). Students can also reach out to Birth Control Peer Educators to discuss their different options. To compare options on your own, try visiting this website. Birth control prescriptions can be obtained at Vaden Health Center, where emergency contraception (like Plan B) is also available without a prescription.
Diaphragms, sponges, birth control pills, vaginal rings, IUDS, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, and education/ counseling are all covered under the Affordable Care Act.
International Women’s Week was a great success! We hope you were able to make it to some of the events– there was wonderful conversation, socializing, and thought-provoking discussion among our diverse participants and speakers.
Kathleen Kelly Janus kicked off International Women’s Week with a talk on social entrepreneurship:
International Women’s Day is this Sunday March 8! The theme this year is “Make it Happen.” Find out more about local and global events on the International Women’s Day website.
One day not enough? 2015 is the year for action on global gender equality says Caren Grown, World Bank Group Sr. Director for Gender. Caren wants to see anti-poverty policy turned into real results this year that empower women around the world. Read more about it here: International Women’s Day 2015: This is the Year
This week was also a Nationwide Week of Action calling on ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) to release Nicoll Hernández-Polanco, a Guatemalan transgender woman from a men’s detention center. ICE has received letters, phone calls, protests, and petitions from around the world demanding Nicoll’s release. Take action. At the bottom of the article above you’ll find information on who to contact to support Nicoll.
Read this opinion piece by Kavita Krishnan, a prominent women’s rights activist in India. Kavita questions the usefulness of and highlights the harm inflicted by referring to violence internationally as if it is unique to specific places and not a global problem.
Consider “Reimagining Feminism on International Women’s Day.” Harsha Walia, a South Asian activist and writer based in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories writes about a global revolutionary feminist movement that decenters Western liberal feminism to foreground the lived experiences of communities of color, indigenous communities, low-income communities, and trans communities.
We hope you all have a great weekend and join Feminist Hulk this year–
Follow Feminist Hulk @feministhulk on Twitter