Vaginal matters: Teeth and keepers

January 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm | Posted in Feminism, Film, Health, Women | 4 Comments
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I was just stunned to see that one of the oldest patriarchal myths has been revived: The vagina dentata, the toothed fanny, reenters the stage in the form a new horror movie: Teeth, the story of a female teenager who – luckily – is the president of a local chastity group – until an act of violence afflicted upon her lets her find out about this physical peculiarity.

I am not a good watcher of horror movies, although they do intrigue me, precisely because of their obsession with the repressed fears and desires of their present times. The first five minutes of Teeth made me want to see more – but I fear I’d have to keep my eyes closed or watch the film through the fabric of a lightly-knitted jumper for most of the time. 😛

And while we’re dealing with vaginal matters: I came across The Unreliable Narrator‘s blog and she has some weird stuff on her blog roll: A total of 13 links to pages who specialize in ‘alternative menstrual products’. Two types of products can be found in all online stores:

  • Reusable menstrual pads, coming in all kinds of fancy designs (zebra, floral, animals, camouflage…)
  • Latex or plastic cups (‘keepers’) to insert into your vagina to collect the flow (rather than absorbing it like tampons)

Wow. The first means that you’d have to carry around stacks of flannel pads (both unused and used), the second means that you’d have to empty and wash the cup before inserting it again (which – agreed – reduces waste; yet would you want to empty and wash your cup in a public restroom?). Does anybody know whether this product sells in Europe as well? Anyway, it sounds like such an unlikely thing to be successful in a country (i.e. USA) where feminine washes are available in every drug store – yet the USA, thankfully, also produced the most uncompromising feminists. Here is an interesting statement from one of the ladies using the ‘keeper’:

“I recently ordered my Keeper and think that it is the 8th wonder of the world. I am a graduate student of Psychology at Connecticut College and because of my love for my Keeper, have decided to conduct a research project assessing attitudes towards alternative forms of menstrual management. I hypothesize that participants who display an interest in alternative products will possess more accurate knowledge about menstruation, more positive attitudes toward menstruation and/or heightened awareness of environmental issues and feminism.” — JL, New London, CT

Below is a sample of those reusable pads, and a plastic version of a keeper:

Pads and Keepers

Illnesses are a disease!

January 14, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Career, Health | 4 Comments
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I’m off to the doctor now. Even though I am a bit of a hypochondriac, I only go to a doctor when I am really worried. My degree of worrying, however, is not at all related to the outcome of a doctor’s diagnosis. I once went because I was afraid that itchy patch on my neck was a bacterial inflammation of the skin (I had once had one on my thigh, and it had felt the same) – yet the doctor diagnosed it as pretty much nothing, giving me a sample of Russian-looking coldcream. That was kind of humiliating. There were other instances when my worries turned out to have a serious reason (e.g. a thrombosis).

But I cannot recall having gone to the doctor for coughing in a dozen of years. Ive tried treating it the way I always treat a cough for a week now, and it normally always works, but not this time. Unfortunately, I have been terribly unproductive this week, as I’m easily overwhelmed by fatigue or start feeling dizzy. The last thing I need right now is an illness – anything that stops me from being productive is a potential show-stopper for hammering out the details of my professional future.

Also, it’s not quite certain whether I have health care at the moment or not – which is actually the most annoying part.

Illnesses are a disease, really.

Update: Well, lucky me! Today and tomorrow my health expenses are still covered by me former employer! And antibiotics it is – what a surprise. Mine taste like vanilla and are really hard to swallow.

I’m sick…

November 25, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Health | 3 Comments
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Whenever I wake up with a dry spot back in my throat, I can be dead sure that I’ll be sick with a cold within a couple of hours. And that’s what happened this morning – goddammit! I need to be absolutely healthy by tomorrow… hence I am spending the day in bed.

AIDS = Africa is dying slowly

September 30, 2007 at 10:59 am | Posted in Health | 6 Comments
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In 1996, bands like the Wu-Tang, Coolio, De La Soul and Mobb Deep recorded the album America is dying slowly. Having spent nearly two years of my life in Southern Africa and knowing the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Southern African countries ranges between 15 and 34% (according to the 2006 UNAIDS report) I immediately re-translate this slogan for myself to AFRICA IS DYING SLOWLY. [In North America and Central Europe, by comparison, we are looking at 0.5-1% of people living with HIV].

Given this fact, I am once again shocked by a recent statement of another African patriarch, this time Archbishop Francisco Chimoio from Mozambique, who believes that condoms produced in Europe are tainted with the AIDS virus and that AIDS therefore is another attempt of the white man to extinct the African people, a statement by which he discourages people from using condoms. The BBC reports:

Archbishop Chimoio told our reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/Aids. “Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose,” he alleged, refusing to name the countries. “They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century’s time.” Aids activists in the country have been shocked by the archbishop’s comments.

Another horror story to add to the horrifying belief that sex with a virgin can cure HIV (which made the numbers of child rape rise in Southern Africa), the stance of present South African health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that garlic and beetroot can be a cure for AIDS, or Thabo Mbeki’s proposal that HIV was not the cause of AIDS.
Global HIV infection

Shudder.

I do IUD

February 27, 2007 at 9:21 am | Posted in Gender, Health, Women | 5 Comments
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Just a brief note: I’ve got a new friend now, Mirena. Who needs enemies if you have friends like these. What a painful encounter. I was as white as a sheet when I walked home, happy to live at a 5 minutes distance from my gynaecologist. Have taken painkillers now, as my uterus, quite understandably, is trying to eject the intruder. Hope that won’t work, because it cost me € 380. The thing itself and the instruments used to insert it probably had the diameter of a pen. Imagine the pain of giving birth in comparison! Or, as a friend of a friend once said: Imagine popping something the size of a water melon through your nostril. Shudder…

A gender politics critique: According to the sources on the web, they give you an anaesthetic to numb the pain beforehand, an injection into the uterus. I didn’t get one, because my doctor said that wouldn’t be necessary. How is he supposed to know being a man? I suppose women are much more pain tolerant. They go through this kind of pain once a month. But does that mean that there is no need to avoid as much of pain as possible? Blimey!

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