It’s no secret that most teenagers consume pornography, especially in today’s digital age. Personally, I don’t think it is a terrible thing; I started looking at porn when I was thirteen or so. Yes, yes… porn isn’t necessarily indicative of real sex and that is a conversation that needs to be had with teenagers.
What that means though, is that society needs to accept that teenagers are consuming pornography. That is step one to opening a conversation.

I had a thought the other day, in most countries the age of consent (to have sex) is between 14 and 17, but the age at which individuals can legally consume pornography is 18 or 21.
What the actual fuck? So you are telling me that a 17 year old can legally have sex, but they can’t watch porn. Granted, porn is not the best educational material, but it is better than nothing which is what most kids get these days.

Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense to lower the age in which to view porn to something more in line with age of consent. 16 maybe? Younger?
I imagine that one would still legally have to be an adult in order to make pornography. But on that note, can we stop prosecuting children for manufacturing and distributing child pornography in which they are their own victim.

When will common sense prevail?

I am not in America, nor am I American, but as the owner of a vagina I can’t help but pay attention to the fact that abortion rights may soon not be protected. Which is fucking insane! It’s 2020… I don’t understand how or why this is a fucking issue still. But, I digress….

Let’s talk about the reproductive responsibility of men.

I am well aware that it takes two to tango. An accidental pregnancy has life changing effects for at least two people, yet the woman is the only one who gets to have a choice about parenthood. I am not suggesting that a woman needs to have the father’s permission to get an abortion, that is fucking absurd. If a woman doesn’t want to go through pregnancy and/or birth, she has every right to make that choice. If the man wants the baby, that is unfortunate for him, but until men can create a tiny human that right belongs solely to women.

However, I do think men should be able to opt out of parenthood as well. Some of the logistics get a bit gray because I haven’t thought everything through yet.
Theoretically, I think men should have until the woman is 12 weeks pregnant to opt out of any parental responsibility – financial or otherwise.
Why 12 weeks? Because generally that is the point to where a woman can easily access an abortion.
I’d love to say up to 20 weeks, but late-term abortions can be difficult to acquire. So that being said, there may be cases in which a man is able to opt out up to this point.

What about the cases where the man isn’t aware of the pregnancy until after the birth of the child?
Honestly, I don’t know. I told you…. I haven’t thought everything through.

I have presented this argument to people before who seem to brush it off with, “well, you would think differently if it happened to you.”
No. I wouldn’t. Do you know why I know this? Because it happened to me.

My kid was an accident. Her father wanted me to get an abortion, I couldn’t do it for my own reasons (although I am 100% pro-choice, and have gone with friends to have the procedure done). He didn’t want the baby, but I could force it on him and at the very least he would be partially financially responsible for this child for 18 years.
That didn’t sit right with me.
So, I told him that he had until I was 12 weeks pregnant to decide. If he chose to leave me, then I would raise the child by myself and not ask anything of him. Although I did say that if/when the child asked about their father I would provide his information to the child.

I won’t lie, it was a stressful week or two, but I had made my choice and it was only fair that I gave him time to make his.

Recently, I watched this TED Talk by Tarana Burke. I watched it at a volunteer gig of mine with some at-risk youth at a workshop on consent.
I was the first person to put up my hand upon completion of the video, and it was to say that I had a HUGE problem with Ms. Burke’s message about ending sexual violence. Cue awkward pause, and one of the presenters finally managing to stammer out, “Really? Why…?
(Yes, I may have been going for the dramatic entrance here… it’s just what I do)

I responded that I absolutely did not want an end to sexual violence. No one wanted an end to sexual violence (pause for dramatic effect). People, including myself, want an end to non-consensual sexual violence.
Lots of people like rough sex.
Lots of people enjoy BDSM, from the mildest to the most hardcore and taboo activities.
These are forms of sexual violence. I know people who use BDSM and consensual non-consent as a way to work through past sexual trauma.

A brief moment after my monologue (which was much longer and contained many more thoughts), one of the presenters suggested that Ms. Burke meant non-consensual sexual violence and that the watcher was to infer that from her talk.

I agree. Wholeheartedly.
Perhaps it is because I am a bit pedantic, but I think it is important to specify that one means non-consensual sexual violence and not just sexual violence. I can see well-meaning groups working towards a world without sexual violence and in the process criminalizing consensual activities between adults and further traumatizing some people.

Just my thoughts. I do think we need to work towards a world without sexual assault. I think we need to empower people, men and women, to be able to say and respect the word no. But eradicating sexual violence is not the way.

What do they mean to you?
Are they empowering? Demeaning? Irrelevant?
Does it matter who they come from?

Honestly, I had an idea for this topic but when I started thinking about it, my thoughts have snowballed into a million different tangents, so I am not sure where we will end up. Let’s just start with some word vomit and see what happens.

Lets start from the beginning….
Like many teenagers, I used to work in retail, at an establishment that was frequented mostly by blue-collar men. I had a great time, most of the customers were lovely, however, a lot of these guys – especially the older men – would refer to me as “honey”, or “love”, or “dear”. And I hated it. It felt so demeaning, like these men couldn’t respect me for being me; like all they saw was a little girl.
So when I started dating my husband and he had a habit of calling female servers “love” I couldn’t believe it. Broke him of that habit real quick! Telling him that women do not enjoy that shit. He disagreed, but stopped to appease me.

Now, looking back on it, who the fuck am I to speak for all women? Personally, I hate it when men I don’t know call me pet names in a casual way like that. Maybe some women like it, I mean I like getting catcalled.
I don’t like it, but the men that do it don’t mean any harm by it and it doesn’t cause me any harm to suck it up and let them call me “love”. On the other hand, maybe it makes another woman’s day. Makes her feel seen. Desired. Boosts her confidence. Who am I to take that away from someone?

On an entirely different note, what about the role of terms of endearment in relationships?
My lover will refer to me as “his girl” or “his whore”. I find one empowering and sexy, and the other mildly demeaning (which is the purpose, and which I have consented to).
He uses “my girl” when I am sad, depressed, or something is wrong. It is to show that he cares, that he loves me and that he will take care of me. On the other hand, I am only “his whore” when he wants me to feel powerful, confident, and sexual.

Well, this has been all over the place, but I am okay with that.

My period started overnight, early, so I wasn’t prepared. And who doesn’t love waking up covered in blood, and having the bed look like a murder scene?

This got me thinking about how little learned about my period in school. Sure, I learned the biology of why it happened and some side effects – ex. cramps – but not anything on how to manage my period. No explanation of products, or the levels within each type of product.
I was 15 when I got my period for the first time, I can’t even imagine girls as young as ten or twelve having to deal with periods – physically or psychologically. I was a high-level athlete, so my body fat percentage was relatively low, which meant that my period was terribly irregular until I was into my 20s and started on hormonal birth control (which is a whole separate nightmare).

I am a heavy bleeder, I always have been, so I just assumed it was normal. I always wore a tampon and a pad, I had to or else I would bleed through my clothes in under an hour. At eighteen, I remember a girlfriend talking about how her younger step-sister had just gotten her period for the first time and how she had to go buy pads for her. I was confused; I had to ask if she was getting her step-sister different pads than she used.
My friend looked at me incredulously and said that she hadn’t touched a pad in over two years. Then asked if I used pads. I said I did, my friend said she just assumed everyone used tampons. I said I used tampons too. It was then my friends turn to express surprise, she had never contemplated using both, especially at the same time. Even overnight.
WTF? How messed up was I?

Five years ago I broke down and purchased a DivaCup. The information on the website and in the literature provided in the DivaCup packaging said the cup held one ounce of liquid, and that most women bleed one to two ounces per cycle. Okay, I will be at the higher end of the that. I knew I was a heavy bleeder, but assumed I was being overly dramatic.

A little awkward maneuvering and I got the silicone cup in place. About two hours later I stood up and felt that familiar, terrible, gushing feeling that we all know. I made my way to the bathroom, I must have put it in wrong.
Nope, I pull the cup out and it is full to the brim! The leaking was because it overflowed. So much for one to two ounces per cycle.

Over the first 24 hours of my period I bled almost eight full ounces! Then about six more ounces during the rest of my cycle. That’s fourteen ounces total, significantly more than the one to two ounces that most women experience.
Cue some research and a trip to the doctor. Everything I could find said that menorrhagia was normal and affected approximately ten percent of women. My doctor confirmed this, although he did send me for multiple rounds of bloodwork over the next six weeks to ensure that I didn’t get anemic during my period (I don’t). The doctor suggested that I use hormonal birth control to control my periods, which I declined as it has a terrible effect on my mental health.

The DivaCup has been a game changer for me. I don’t get anywhere near 12 hours of protection, but even on my heaviest days I can go about three hours before needing to empty the cup. Three hours is blissful! Prior to the DivaCup, I would have to alter my daily activities so I could go to the bathroom every half hour to change my tampon and pad. And forget working out, physical activity makes me bleed more, so there was no way I could go for a run before the DivaCup.

Menorrhagia affects ten percent or more of women. It isn’t uncommon. Why are we not teaching young women about this in school? We are leaving so many young women to believe that something is wrong with them.

I went for a walk today and had a realization – I miss being catcalled.

The neighbourhood I live in is developing at an exponential speed. There are always multiple residential complexes under construction and even in the times of social distancing, dozens of men working at each site.
Yes, I noticed many of the men looking at me – checking me out. But not one whistle or comment!

Is this progress?
I suppose that many people would argue that it is. I see post after post on Reddit by women who boast about confronting, or standing up to, men who have catcalled them, or made a general sexual comment at/to/about them. Shaming these men for desiring them; shaming men for appreciating their beauty.

I am aware that this can be a slippery slope. What is an innocent comment about attractiveness and desirability of a woman, can become ridiculously inappropriate pretty quickly. And the way a woman perceives this type of behaviour can vary dramatically based on location – a busy street in the middle of a day, versus some guy hiding in the mouth of an alley in the middle of the night.

I can only imagine that the majority of men that catcall women do no intent to intimidate anyone. That they do not want to traumatize anyone. That they catcall in a (poor) attempt to compliment women.
And that is the way that I perceive catcalls. They make me feel good, it’s good for the ego.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need this type of attention and validation, I am confident and most definitely not lacking in the self-esteem department. But it always makes me feel good when someone thinks I am hot.

I am not suggesting that women should just revel in the attention and not stand up for themselves, but I don’t think that shaming men for innocent comments. I have done my fair share of flipping off catcallers or responding with a snarky comment if the original comment was inappropriate – “Hey baby, how would you like to taste my sausage?” gets a response along the lines of, “I do like dick in my mouth, but not yours, thanks anyway.
On the other hand, “Hey mama, looking fine!” gets a smile and wave, and maybe a “thank you”.

So yes, I miss being catcalled when I walk by a construction site.