Feb 19 2012

As BlogHer’s own Isabel Anders has been teaching us in the last weeks, age often brings wisdom.

And I welcome the gray hair, like I do the wisdom. It is a badge, a outward sign of an inner triumph, a testament that I’m not making the same goofy mistakes many younger people seem to be making.

But, don’t worry, in my new intermittently posted series, “Reliving the 70s, Whether You Want To or Not,” Grammy Sunbonnet will be setting everyone straight, providing oceans of practical living enlightenment.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1973

One of the amazing realizations I’ve had since I’ve joined BlogHer, has been the discovery of women’s current social awareness. I see opinions and emotions being bandied about, many times without a factual understanding of what has gone before. Why aren’t we standing on the shoulders of those women who paved the way for us to be as far along as we are today? Why aren’t we researching the history of the issues about which we care so passionately, before we opine on a topic of choice?

Specifically, how in the world can any members of a diverse, brilliant, educated and communicative body of women be without a foundation of feminine health and anatomical information?

In that light, I ask you, how can any young women in this day and age need to be told where her hymen is, or was, located? Not that I am belittling those who had no idea. Several commented on the post to that effect. The problem I’m having is, it seems, the landmark book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, the definitive work on feminine health knowledge that was commonly espoused, and openly so, for all of my young womanhood, has been lost or inadequately passed on.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1992

I’m talking about information that was openly provided to any and all during the 1970s, and now seems to belong to the long distance past, waiting for the Rosetta stone of rediscovery. How in the world has this happened? Why isn’t this basic knowledge common knowledge?

Didn’t the college girls of the 1970s that sat around in group circles of self-exploration with mirrors and copies of the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, grow up to be pro-active mothers and grandmothers? When their daughters were old enough for THE talk, didn’t they reach to the top of the bookshelf, pull down their old copy, blow off the dust and pass it on?

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1998

And how about all of the reprints and updates of the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, in repeated publication by the non-profit Boston Women’s Health Book Collective since 1970? Haven’t all of these copies been read? And what about BlogHer, an Internet woman’s forum of Internet woman’s blogs, why is there hardly a mention of the book if one does a search, which I did the other day and again this morning?

The only mention I could find was a August 14, 2008 post from “veronicaeye” who, being a professional feminist, espoused the Our Bodies Ourselves Pregnancy and Birth book. But, rather than basking in grateful attention from BlogHer’s millions of readers, “veronicaeye’s” post has, as I write, absolutely ZERO comments. I guess the lack of response was overwhelming as that was her last post, although she has a fantastically informative, currently thriving blog, Viva la Feminista.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 2005

The book Our Bodies, Ourselves is a feminist success story. Selling more than four million copies since its debut in 1970, it challenged medical dogmas about women’s bodies and sexuality, shaped health care policies, energized the reproductive rights movement, and stimulated medical research on women’s health. The book has influenced how generations of U.S. women feel about their bodies and health. In addition, Our Bodies, Ourselves, has also had a whole life outside the United States. It has been taken up, translated, and adapted by women across the globe, inspiring more than thirty foreign language editions.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 2011

So, in closing, let Grammy Sunbonnet brew a fresh pot of tea and give you the keys to your feminine kingdom.

From this day forward, if you have questions about your body or yourself, lean on:

  • the extensive Our Bodies, Ourselves web site,
  • the book that started it all, available as a 2011 edition on the publications page, which BTW, has books for every stage of a women’s life,
  • the Health Information Center on the top bar of the Home Page to research any health concern, technical approach or organize for change,
  • and, finally, for a calendar of speakers from the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective who will be in your area.

Once you go and peruse the options of this web site, you will wonder like I do why anyone in this day and age would need a GPS to locate her hymen.


The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (now known as Our Bodies Ourselves) is a non-profit organization founded in 1969 whose board members include Teresa Heinz Kerry, Susan Love, and Gloria Steinem. Their mission is to empower women by providing information about health, sexuality, and reproduction. Our Bodies, Ourselves is the organization’s core vehicle for driving their mission. While OBOS is famous for its voice in policy, advocacy, and educational efforts related to women’s health, they see their role as a global content provider as paramount. Judy Norsigian is the Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 01 2012

Testudo, the University of Maryland Diamondback Terrapin
mascot, says Portlandia is alive and well in College Park.

Today I went over to the University of Maryland and found an annex to Portland, Oregon, reminiscent of the new comedy show, Portlandia. Like Sue in the video from the Sunbonnet Smart post on Surprise Birthday Parties, I was SO EXCITED! Looking around at class change when students are rushing to get from their last class to their next class, I saw pretty girls in big black glasses, flannel shirts that still look fly, clowns and the Dream of the 90s being alive and well in College Park. Chalk one up for the East Coast!

Probably because of the 50° weather, right on the mall in front of the Administration Building I was able to see many free spirits. I saw men wearing athletic shorts made of the Maryland State flag and throwing frisbees. Up near McKeldin Library, I witnessed students setting up waist high tightropes between trees, getting on them while kneeling to balance, then raising up to a standing position to walk back and forth between the tress. H-m-m-m, don’t see THAT everyday. It was my own little slice of innovative youth and zest for living.

On a spring day in February, University of Maryland, College
Park, tightrope walkers appear to hover above the ground.

Things were going pretty well as we went to the Student Union Co-op to get healthy organic food and deepen our Portlandia visuals. Tattoos, piercings, wild leggings, torn clothing and dreadlocks greeted us as we got close to the Co-op. It was a wonderful feast of individuality, except that in being individual in the same way, most of the students looked pretty much the same. I am still working on analyzing this paradoxical quandary.

So, there we were in the Co-op waiting for handmade Indian Samosas, carrying them to the cashier and checking out, when I saw it: a box of free handouts on the counter

Free handouts! I LOVE free information and in flipping through these handouts I was seeing fliers for musical groups, massage therapy and…WAIT A MINUTE!…What is THIS!?!?!? A green and red postcard with the words ROLLER DERBY on it!?!?!?

A postcard from check out tells the RollerGirls Tale.

So unusual! And then I notice the “Fra-gi-le” Lamp from the movie A Christmas Story with a roller skate on it. And look, the words “Flat Track.” Oh no! For Heaven’s sake! This looks like that Roller Derby stuff that BlogHer blogger Laine is always writing about.

My eyes widened as I took in the card, right there on the front was a snappy logo saying “RollerGirls” with the Washington family coat of arms flippantly placed on her cheek.  In fact, cheeky is how she looks and how she gives us the “come-on” to meet her at the flat track referred to in the scehdule of derby events. One thing for sure, Roller Derby must be taking over the country.

BlogHer Blogger ElaineR.N. has a daughter on a team and when we looked at her video clip, there was her daughter skating and one of the teams was from Baltimore.  So, if Washington, DC has teams and Baltimore has teams…this thing is up and coming, and probably has been, as Laine says since the early 2000s. I’m just crawling out from under my rock to find out about it.

Ralphie is the boy who says, “All I want is an Official Red
Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”

Well, everybody these days is organized and roller derby has it’s own association, the WFTDA, Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. And, flat track, that’s the amazing difference for me. I can’t imagine roller derby on anything but a track with banked curved sides. I watched roller derby every Saturday with the best of ’em when I was a kid, but it was always on a banked track.

But, BlogHer’s Laine Griffin explains that bank tracks are expense and with a flat track, groups can set up in warehouses, place some marking tape on the floor and have a session without the expense of and travel to a banked track.  So, make a mental note: banked tracks out and flat tracks in!

Truthfully, I know my derby days are over, but that is not going to prevent me from traveling to New York at some point to see Crazy Eyeris, our own Laine Griffin skate. Or, from going to see the RollerGirls in this area to get a feel for the game the way it is now. I really want to see how the sport has progressed.

And, besides, I need to see how to behave when I go north to see Laine. Don’t want to embarrass her, that’s fer sure. I do know to get a tattoo, wear my fishnet stockings and pink tutu, though. Whad’ya think I am? STUPID?

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Jan 16 2012

There she is!….

….Miss Blog-Her Dot Com!

There she is!…

….Featured in FOOD!

(sung to the tune of There She Is, Miss America!)

Talking and telling is what I do best...

Oh Happy Day! What FUN!

What FUN to wake up and see one of my posts is featured on BlogHer!

In the FOOD section…

What a match made in heaven! There is nothing I like better than food and there is NOTHING I like better than to see something I’ve done in print. I could look at it for hours while savoring each noteworthy detail of my brilliance. And to find a resource like BlogHer.com is nothing sort of a miracle for this author, turned blogger, turned into Featured Food blog-gair…

Oh! Be still my heart…

In the past, commercially available post cards were handy to
show women the proper way to behave and “wear their face.”

As a woman, sometimes little affirmation seems to come from anybody. I’m afraid to say much, though, as it’s yet to be determined whether the lack of affirmation is a result of lack luster performance or truly gender related. But, I do know how it is to work hard and have little affirmation, going maybe days and weeks without so much as an “atta boy.”  Then, to find a welcoming group of accomplished women of all ages and experiences ready, willing and able to write, talk, tell, affirm and get along is a dream come true. And what fun and delight I have experienced since signing up on BlogHer.com in November, 2011, over Thanksgiving weekend.

When women share support for each other,
great things can be accomplished.

I have found BlogHer.com to be the slumber party that never sleeps; the quarterback run to the goal with the crowds in hysterical support that replays without pushing the play button; the Miss America walk down the runway where the roses are always budding, the crown forever sparkly and the body filling out the swimsuit eternally the correct size. BlogHer.com is an author’s dream come true: a receptive reading audience where the reviews are immediate, the rewards unending and the numbers always spiraling upwards….as long as one posts and comments, giving to get.

Women of any age blossom with love and support.

BlogHer.com is a remarkable group of blogging authors, and I am very proud to be represented on these Internet pages. So, thank you, BlogHer.com, for this recognition and for being there. Whether it is first thing in the morning when I wake to face the day or late at night when I just can’t sleep, BlogHer is always there. It is my pleasure to be there for BlogHer as well. I am delighted to be featured on the FOOD page and, BlogHer,  I thank you!

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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