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Posts tagged ‘speak up!’

Diva is the New Bitch

Katherine Heigl, a pale and blonde woman with brown eyes. She is wearing a white shirt and her hair is wavy and swept up. She has one finger touched to her lips.Melissa Silverstein at Women and Hollywood is apparently, like myself, a bit of a Katherine Heigl fangirl. I am not exactly her biggest movie fan, though I do own a couple of her Rom-Coms (on Blu-Ray AND I WILL NOT BE JUDGED FOR THAT SHUT UP!), I do appreciate her acting. Going on a slight tangent here — Izzy Stevens was my favorite Grey’s Anatomy character, and I am still catching up on what they did to her on the show (I haven’t watched U.S. TV in so long!). The ugly spiral that threw her from being a rock star who worked her way through medical school (admittedly on her beauty privilege) and survived loss after a disastrous poor decision to, as this NY Times article says, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a deer. And that was only the half of it.

It isn’t her acting that makes the great package deal of the person inside. It is her willingness to put forth her opinions. I love a woman with a mind and the insistence to let you know that she has opinions that are informed, researched, and firm. Heigl has those, and isn’t afraid to let it show.

It seems that this isn’t the way to make a name for yourself, or rather, a nice pretty name for yourself, in Hollywood or the entertainment industry. They want quiet lady leads who are going to follow the narrative, be grateful for whatever role they are handed where they trot off as tropes…perhaps as vessels off of which coke will be snorted. Or maybe they prefer disposable semen receptacles which are popular in action, epic war, revisionist history, and horror movies that are popular. These seem to be acceptable roles, and they want women eager to play them. Not someone who is going to call movies out for being a “little bit sexist“.

Katherine Heigl seems to have gotten this reputation that she is the foot-in-mouth girl. That she comes on too strong because she has opinions:

“Now I’ve got this moniker that I’m the foot-in-mouth gal, and I keep thinking, In what way? Because I said something you don’t agree with? Because I said something you don’t like? I’m just telling you my opinion. I hate the idea that I can’t be honest about how I feel about things because it’s going to piss somebody off who feels differently. That seems preposterous to me.”

I can totally relate. I’ve been told that I am too “aggressive” when it comes to my opinions, my ideas of right and wrong, whether it is the rules of order and how business is conducted in a PTO meeting or defending myself to the medical officers at the local medical building, or even in my writing.

What I don’t see is how being firm, having opinions, insisting that something be done a correct way, and in a way that is not damaging you yourself, is too aggressive, or makes you a Bitch Diva. How it means that you are getting out of hand, and how it now means that Heigl needs to go on some Apology Tour.

For me it just means that some Marine Corps Colonel is getting all apoplectic because I have the audacity to say that she isn’t the boss of me. I am a civilian and I don’t answer to rank. Only rules.

But insisting that we have the right to our voices somehow marks us.

Yet, as Melissa pointed out, it isn’t an even blanket. It seems that if you are a child rapist, you can get all the Hollywood activists who can’t be bothered to think about it to sign petitions that you should be left alone, because it wasn’t that bad. Or ya know, yelling racist things at your girlfriend after beating her up is no big deal. And throwing a phone in a fit. Huh. That’s cool. No apology tour required.

But don’t you open your pretty mouth, Katherine Heigl! We saw you kick that stuffed bunny! (Really, do you know a mother who hasn’t kicked a stuffed animal out of the way? I don’t) You are a terrible mum, and an ungrateful nobody in Hollywood (that Emmy you won says so!). Now go pay your penance!

But as the NY Times article also points out, and as Silverstein also mentions, Heigl is apparently rocking it out as a smart businesswoman who is showing herself as a force with which to be reckoned. She has produced her latest movie Life As We Know It, which had best make its way to Korea, for well under the amount that the Big Boys spent on Killers. Which was a flop. Her name is being used in sentences with names like Grace Kelly and Carole Lombard for her ability to play drama and comedy with such essence, gradation, and depth, but she is boxed in with actresses who have scarred reputations, like Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie, for being less than perfect starlets. For the record, even when those stars show that they have become incredible businesswomen (Barrymore directs and produces now, and Jolie is in about every action move staring a woman I see now…) they can not ever overcome those reputations. Drew will always be the coked out girl who was in that porno you wanked off to, right, and Angelina will always be the slut who slept with Jennifer’s husband, right? OK then.

Celebrities have two choices: live the narrative and be perfect, or live with the labels that the tabloids put on them. This is compound for women who find their most intimate details, from their diets, beach body, how they mother, and if you are certain celebrities, speculations about your mental health. For Heigl, she apparently will always be the star who speaks her mind. I admire that. I honestly wish that everyone would get over that, because, honestly it is really refreshing. Especially when she speaks up about the way that women are treated in Hollywood.

Really, if she is a Diva, then so are many of us in Social Justice. And I guess it is just the new word of the era used to put us in our place and remind us that people are afraid of power. The power of the woman with a mind and a drive to push herself forward. The power of a woman who will assert herself. The power of a woman who will be active and not passive.

Divas we are then.

A Message From Lady Gaga to The Senate

Note from imissedtumblr: This transcript is going to be quick & dirty because I have a meeting in 30 minutes. None of the names are spelled correctly, I’m sorry.  (I’m typing this part at the end and I have to run.)  If someone has the time to clean this up, I’d really appreciate it.

This is a black & White video with Lady Gaga sitting in front of a US-flag, looking very serious and speaking directly to the camera.

Transcript by Anna, slightly edited by Yours, Truly:

To my fellow Americans, the Senate, Senators John McCain, Arizona, Mitch McConnell, Kentucy, James Inhofe, Oklahoma, Jeff Sessions, Alabama, and youth, all over the world who are watching

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a law that was created in 1993 that prevents gays from serving openly in the military.  Since then, 14,000 Americans have been discharged from the forces, refused the right to serve their country, and sent home, regardless of honourable service or how valuable they may have been to their units.  400 soldiers under President Obama’s administration alone were discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Advocacy by organizations such as the SLDN, the Service Members Legal Defense Network, have showing the inconsistent and unconstitutional enforcement of this law.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell asks that serving gay and lesbian soldiers hide and keep private their sexual orientation under the protection and promise that the government will not ask them to tell or disclose their sexuality. SLDN’s advocacy proves that these soldiers are being searched, superiors are going through their emails and private belongings, calling family members and operating based on assumptions.  Ultimately the law is being enforced using gay profiling.

And gay soldiers have become targets.

In short, not only is the law unconstitutional, it’s not being properly or fairly enforced by the government.  Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement.  Every day we fight to abolish laws that harbour hatred and discrimination. Against all people.  Laws that infringe on our civil liberties. Unfair laws that, like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, were put in place to eliminate friction and violence but in the end, only delay the process of ending this most serious prejudice.

I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators that are voting, but the youth of our country, the generation that is affected by this law, and whose children will be affected.

We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality, we’re asking you to do your job, to protect the constitution.  As majority leader Harry Reid said, anyone who is willing to fight for this country should have the same civil opportunities to do so as anyone else.  It is my believe that no one person is more valuable than another.

Air Force Major Mike Almy was discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell while serving 6 years in Iraq and a total of 13 years in the air force.

I spent some time with him recently talking about his story with other soldiers.  He said to me “During my time in the air force, when I fought for my country, I never identified myself as anything other than a soldier.”

Just like you, Senator McCain, a distinguished veteran who loves his country, Mike would have done anything during his time of duty to protect America.

Sergeant First Class Army Stacey Vasquez, after 12 years of service, was outed by the wife of a cadet to whom she gave negative reports  based on his bad performance in the unit.  West Point Cadet Katie Miller opted to leave West Point Academy because she felt pressured to mask her identity in school  The most shocking discovery for me was to hear them all say how much they missed serving and protecting our nation, how they joined the armed forces because they believe in America.

Senators, when you’re sending our men and women into war,  when you’re sending our wives, husbands, sons and daughters into combat, will you honour their service?

Will you support repealing this law on Tuesday, and pledge to them that no American’s life is more valuable than another?

For those watching that would like to reach out to their senators and ask for their vote to repeat Don’t Ask Don’t Tell you can log onto www.sldn.org/gaga or you can call 202-224-3121, like I’m going to do right now.

[Ringing] Hi can I please be transferred to Chuck Shumer’s office? [More ringing.  It rings and rings and rings for maybe two minutes while Lady Gaga waits.]

[Busy Signal]

[Lady Gaga hits redial?]

Recorded Voice: Your call has been forwarded to an Automated Voice Message system.  The mail box belonging to Senator [indiscernible]’s office is full.  Good-bye.

Lady Gaga: I have called both of the senators that operate in my district.  I will not stop calling until I reach them and I can leave them this message.

I am a constituent of the senator, My name is Stefanie Joanne Angelina Germinotta, also known as Lady Gaga.

I am calling to ask the Senator to vote with Senators Harry Reid and Carl Levin to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and oppose John McCain’s shameless filibuster. We need to do this, for our Gay and Lesbian soldiers, and finally repeal, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Try calling after 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.  I’ll be on the phone too.  Thank you. God Bless.

PS: Levin is from Michigan, and he rawks. I emailed Stupak this past week about DADT, despite his other less favorable qualities, he is in favor of this repeal. Good for him.

How I Deserve…

We were at the pool today, as we are wont to do after school since we are apparently living on the Surface of the Sun these days. The sky has been that foreboding shade of I Can’t Decide If I Will Rain Or Shine for the last two or so days, but throwing caution to the wind, or rather, deciding that we were sick and tired of sweating like it was going out of style, we took a chance and went off to the pool.

Now, the base policy that I have been handed personally when signing Kid up for swimming lessons states that the pool is to be evacuated if lightning is seen w/in a ten mile radius of the area. Lightning. Seen. This I can understand. This has been the common sense rule since I was a kid living on the lake and in a fishing community. So, I was a little taken aback when the tiniest rumble was heard today (there were so many helios and jets flying around that I am still not convinced that anyone heard anything) and the lifeguards immediately blew all of their whistles and made everyone get out of the pool. We had just settled in and were applying The Kid’s SPF 70 when this went down, so The Guy asked a man who was directing a group of teens out of the deep end if he could come over and answer a question.

He asked the khaki-clad white man why they had evac-ed the pool, and he said because of thunder. I looked up at him from my chair , shielding my eyes from the sun, and explained my confusion, because of the base policy on lightning that I had read. He said to me “Yes, and what causes lighting?” in a very “you must be in kindergarten and have never heard of this thing we call science” voice. “Thunder!” he said w/o giving me a chance to answer and walked away as if I was too much of a drop-out to know the answer. I get this a lot. Young mom of enlisted husband with child older than kindergarten equals uneducated woman whose only qualifications are vacuuming (and way too stupid to home school, lest I get too full of myself). I’ve seen that face. I also get it online when I reveal that I grew up on a reservation or when I admit to being disabled. I get people chasing me down on my very own blog in comments treating me this way. It is not a new sentiment.

Sure, basically he was right (let’s forget that whole thing about charged ions and the speed of sound and light and that given that we didn’t actually see the damned lightning he was still wrong…), but being right did not give him the right to talk down to me. What I was asking for was a clarification of the base and pool policy. If someone had simply said “yes ma’am, well the pool’s policy is that if we hear the tiniest rumble or anything we think might be a rumble or if your stomach growls too loudly then we pretty much make all swimmers get out for thirty minutes or until we ascertain that there is in fact no threat of actual lightning”, then perhaps that would have been just fine.

But, no. This guy had to mansplain to me as if I had never taken a high school science course with a text book written later than Ancient Greece. Or perhaps it is because we are not white (even though I am oft read that way, but The Guy is VERY much not). Or whatever his reasoning, this dude just decided that my question was not worth a courteous response.

I sat there, stunned. Did that happen? The Guy told me it was no big deal.

Sure.

But it ate at me.

I wanted to go and ask this guy who he thought he was that he could talk to me like that when I was asking him a question, or better yet who he thought I was that he could talk to me like that and tell him how wrong he was. It made me think back to Chally’s post from the other day, about the way that her teacher spoke to her, and the way the department head immediately sided with that teacher, and how I wished in this moment that I had a fraction of that courage. I wanted to stand up strong and not be quietly marginalized by someone who decided I was less-than. Because that is sure how he made me feel in the three seconds he wasted on me.

But I was not raised that way.

I was raised to not make a fuss. I was raised to just let it go if no one (other than me) was hurt. I was raised to be more polite than that and be respectful of anyone with perceived authority, so much so that it has taken me several years to realize that “Fuck that, I have equal footing here”, because this man does not actually have the authority to dismiss me. Not just because he decides I do not deserve the time of day.

It took me a long time to realize that I am a parent too, I am an adult too, and other parents and adults don’t get to dictate what my actions should be. If I am abiding by rules and not harming anyone, I get to dictate my actions and have a say in what happens too.

I deserve to have misunderstandings cleared up.

I deserve to have base policies made clear to me so that I understand them and can abide by them

I deserve to be treated in a respectful manner, especially when my family and I are leading with respectful behavior.

I wish I had the courage to stand up and demand to be treated the way I know I deserve to be treated. I am working on it. I can recognize it now, so I guess that is a step.

But knowing and doing something about it are seldom the same thing.

They don’t go away…

I had a high school bully. He followed me around, yelled things at me, made lewd comments about me and what my then-boyfriend were or were not doing, threw things in my hair, and made my life kind of a living hell for quite some time of my Senior year of high school. To add insult to injury, I was, of course, a Senior and he was a Freshman, so I was additionally humiliated. I attempted to ignore him, because I had been long taught that if someone is bothering you a la your little brother then you should just ignore them and they would go away. This idea did not work with my little brother, and it didn’t work with Andrew, my high school bully, either*.

I did, of course, tell people. The lunch monitor in our cafeteria, who only had to see him flash his charm, and then I was the one who got the talking to for swearing at him when I would finally break under the stress, or told to, of course, ignore him, or to move tables, ignoring the fact that I had sat at that table for quite some time before he settled in to start bothering me. I told several teachers, and eventually the principal. The principal decided the best course of action was to pull us both in his office and talk to us, and I am certain it was necessary to bring up Andrew’s father’s golf game or whatever relevant nicety was offered to him. Me, I had no local businessman father to smchooze with the principal, so I didn’t stand a chance. With a smirk and a wink I kid-you-not Andrew was told to knock it off, and we were let go, and not two feet outside the principal’s door I was told that I was “in for it now”.

The last day of school for Senior’s couldn’t arrive fast enough, and I dreaded that cafeteria every day. The set of emotional issues that I was harboring in my childhood weren’t helped by the fact that Andrew had set his sights on me for whatever reason. Before he decided that I, and my then boyfriend who bore a lot of the abuse as well, was a viable target for his bile and vitriol I didn’t know who he was, other than the twin of a girl who played in the marching band with me.

Much like Phoebe Prince, and others like her that we have read and heard about this year, the people whom I begged for help and then gave up on, knowing they would do nothing, did exactly that. Nothing. The last day of school for Seniors rolled around and I kissed my school and most of my town good-bye. Were that I could have done some things better or more nicely, but a lot of years of therapy later and I know that I just had too much baggage from too many layers of abuse and disappointment that I was hauling around with me.

And sadly today things don’t fare much better for our children in schools. But even more surprising to me, is that those of us working in social justice is that things are hardly better online. Internet bullying is hardly a concept that is new to any of our eyes and ears. Many of us are familiar with the concept of the internet stalker, and at this time when Facebook is under criticism for its horrendous disregard for user privacy the thought of internet bullying is even more worrisome.

But heartbreaking to me is the way that we as social justice advocates are willing to stand around and allow this to happen to each other. I am not even talking about how big sites, like Feministing allow their writers and commenters to disenfranchise and abuse marginalized voices. I am talking about how people will sharply criticize in dishonest ways, and then stand in faux surprise when their critiques are taken to task. To the point that they become down right condescending, and don’t even bother to mask their insults. Or, how people offer intentionally dishonest criticisms of others in an effort to further personal agendas against someone again, and again, and again to the point that some of those people have not had to shut their blogs, or as in the case of my friend s.e. smith, close it to comments in order to avoid the constant abuse.

Bullying is real. It is hurtful. It is awful. It kills people. Let me repeat that. IT KILLS PEOPLE. And if I may use the recent vocab lesson that I so graciously received to my drug addled brain from Feminist Review recently (no, I am not linking there, if they thought Google was enough to go on, then so do I) as a jumping point, I will offer that if in fact more feminists or social justice activists, not just those speaking from the marginalized “contingent”** spoke up then I think that people might feel disinclined to abuse and bully us as often. I think that we were less tolerant to allow the bullshit we see happening to these marginalized voices when we are able to step in and say something then maybe we wouldn’t find the loss of spaces where marginalized voices are centered, because contrary to some self-important opinion not all safe spaces are echo chambers. Spaces that advocate for the listening to of the voices oft ignored are not in fact circle jerks. They are rather an attempt to bring to light the voice that is lost in that atta-boy pat you on the back meeting between that high school principal who plays golf with your abuser’s father. You needn’t be worried about centering the voices of people who might possible be racist or transphobic or homobigoted or ableist because the net is completely full of that voice. If you are actually interested in this discourse that everyone is crying so loudly about then how about S-ing TFU and L-ing to the voices that everyone keeps trampling over? Huh?

But not everyone can safely speak up in these spaces, because obviously it has repercussions. My high school bully found his second wind after I went to the principal, and believe me I never tried anything so foolish ever again. When people tried to tell me there must surely be two sides to that story, I can assure you there was not. I never knew Andrew before the first time he cat called me and told everyone at his lunch table that I was giving my boyfriend blow jobs in my car. Sometimes to speak up is to set yourself up for more abuse. Like Anna said, ignoring it doesn’t work. Launching the contingent isn’t ideal (even when that isn’t what we are doing), because that will inevitably cause us our own personal backlashes, so what do we do now?

Some of the best learning experiences and most meaningful friendships I have found in a long time have sprouted out of places like Shakesville and FWD, safe spaces, those so-called echo chambers. FWD/Forward has been one of the most positive experiences of my online life. What people don’t see are the things that happen behind the scenes (and admittedly due to my 13 hours of time zone difference I don’t see a lot of it) and a lot of that is the bullying that takes place, the shit storm of people who are all up in arms over our attempt to make it a safe space, not only for the community there but for us as well. No space is ever entirely safe, and people will never be fully pleased with the results. Those people have become as important to me as any real life friend I have ever made, as some of you who read my blog and have formed similar friendships with me know, Bloglandia friendships have a way of being just as important as Meat World friendships, and then some. I am fiercely loyal to them, my co-contributors. To hurt them is to hurt me. I will not tolerate people who openly bully or hurt them. I will not participate in work with you if you foster an unsafe space with a bully to them. If you hurt them, do not come to me for harbor.

*No, as a matter of fact I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for using his real name. This kid made my life a living hell. I was AFRAID to go to lunch. School bullying is A REAL THING. It isn’t just “kids pick on kids”. It hurts. It causes real pain with real scars that takes real time get over. Ass wipes who feel no remorse over causing that pain for shits and giggles do not deserve pseudonymous privilege at my blog. I might reconsider if the jerk seeks me out and apologizes after all these years. I am easy to Google, as I can see by the hate Google hits I get to my blog.

**I would like to note, as lauredhel pointed out, that at the same time the “Evelyn/Evelyn” review went up at FR, Mandy contacted some of the FWD/Forward staff about providing content for FR, ensuring that many of us would see that review. Her position that we engaged in some kind of “organized brigade” is dishonest at best. I also have heard that other contributors to FR have received final versions of their pieces from editorial staff before it was published, so Natalie’s claim that “I didn’t know those links were there” is disingenuous, I believe. Apparently they don’t need the readers or the writers having “over 150 contributors”. The whole gig seems suspect to me. At this point with all the shit sandwiches being handed out I don’t know if anyone over there can be believed or if I am about to be handed a smallpox blanket if I comment again.

Action Alert Item — Stop the Deportation of Immigrant Military Veterans

Over at Change.org’s Immigrant Right’s blog Alex DiBranco, who is also my editor at the Women’s Rights blog, and pretty fabulous, has written an action item to demand that decision makers at the top take action to stop the deportation of immigrant military veterans who should have been granted citizenship in return for their service.

This is one of the most shameful failures of our government’s failures to keep promises that I have heard of in a while. They wave a flag of promises in front of a marginalized body in order to tempt them into service. Any immigrant, documented or undocumented, can join the military during a time of war, and begin an expedited naturalization process. After just one day of service that person is a resident alien, awaiting naturalization (as far as I understand the law). As long as they stay squeaky clean during service, which the military holds them to higher standard than non-alien members, then they are supposed to become citizens upon the completion of their enlistment.

But according to DiBranco’s article this is not happening, and it is embarrassing and infuriating.

Instead, they are being deported and held in detentions centers and sometimes being denied mental health treatment for PTSD.

Please, if you have time, spoons, and are willing, spread this far and wide. Please let Congress, President Obama, who made more promises to Immigrant Veterans, know that this is unacceptable. Whether they are hurting or dealing with illness from war, or are healthy and fine, they deserve better because they human and fulfilled their promised to serve this country when called to do so. It is our job to care for them now.

Trust Me

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A couple of weeks ago I asked my PCM for a referral to OB/GYN to replace the IUD that I had to surrender over the summer. She and The Guy and I have been talking for some time about the options and realities of having another child with my condition, and the answer we came up with is that we will wait for a little longer and see if I am still doing well with my current regimen.

Usually these things take weeks to schedule, but they called the next day, and I had my referral appointment on the second day. No matter what your history in the OB/GYN clinics you have to have counseling in order to get birth control through the MTF (all the ones in which I have been treated anyway), and the idea is that you get to talk to your OB/GYN about all of your birth control options, what you want from your birth control, take his or her advice, and decide on what is best for you. That is the theory, anyhow.

Some people (like me) have an idea ahead of time what they want or what is best for them. I, for example, due to my medical history and ongoing condition, am not able to use a hormonal birth control. Because of that I know that the copper IUD (ParaGuard) is the best option for me. Also because of this, I often read up on ParaGuard and IUD use in women, and try to keep abreast of any information regarding IUD usage, risks involved, etc. The IUD has such a bad reputation from so much misinformation that I feel the need to stay on top of this. Some would say this makes me a big smarty-pants-know-it-all. I say that sometimes a woman can’t trust that her doctor is going to take her word at face falue, and in the off chance that her doctor isn’t as awesome as mine she needs to be prepared. I am privileged to have information available at my fingertips.

I did not realize that my appointment would not be with my usual kick-ass OB/GYN, Dr. K, the same one who saved my fallopian tubes and life this summer and who promised to give me a shiny new IUD whenever I was ready for it. Not panicking when I saw the face of a woman I didn’t know I sat down as she introduced herself as Nurse Midwife V and told me that she had been looking over my file. Great. Maybe she was doing her background reading too, because I really tire of bringing every doctor up to speed constantly on my condition when it is right there on the computer screen for them to see. I don’t have a bunch of degrees and I can keep up with the required reading.

Before I had even the chance to say anything she told me that I was “not a candidate for an IUD” because of my ectopic pregnancy, and that she was not going to refer me for one. When I started to say that I understood that there were some risks she cut me off and told me that my pap was also past due and kept talking. I tried to assert myself past her obsession with people rooting around in my vagina, to let her know that I was aware that there were risks involved with the IUD, but that I knew that not only was what happened to me rare, but that I knew it was rare that it might happen again. But she wasn’t having any of that. She kept right on talking like I wasn’t even there.

I told her that my regular doctor had already said I was fine to have one. She responded by saying that it usually took weeks to get in to see him, as if this was supposed to deter me somehow. I also tried asking if the new ACOG regulations had been implemented yet, thinking this might distract her and get me closer to my goal (also, I am in the lag area none of them know what to do with, being 29, soon to be 30) and all she would say was that my pap was past due. Is it? I don’t know. I had a normal one in late 2008. I am in a mutually monogamous relationship…

When I left I told the front desk that I would no longer allow Nurse Midwife V to treat me. I am currently in the process of filing a formal complaint against her. What shouldn’t have happened here was having everyone from the desk staff to the NCOIC (that’s Non-commissioned officer in charge) tell me how nice Nurse Midwife V is and how everyone likes her so much, and that she is well known for being very good at what she does. That might well be true, great. My experience is that she was condescending and rude, and didn’t help me with my medical needs to my satisfaction. I think that people forget that sometimes, that doctors and nurses are also here to provide a service for us. I have a medical need, and she didn’t meet it. I shouldn’t have to settle for that. No matter how nice and great she is to work with. I also shouldn’t have my experience erased and dismissed by everyone in place to help me when things go wrong for me. That is not good patient advocacy.

I am rather privileged, however, in that I was able to make another appointment, and I saw Dr. K the next day. Had I been someone who had to drive a long way to a clinic, I might not have been able to. Had I had to pay out of pocket for this visit, or if my insurance limited the amount of OB/GYN visits or birth control counselings I was allowed per year, I would not have been able to. Had the travel cost me money I did not have, this would not have been possible. Had I not had the type of job I do where I set my own hours, I might have had to miss work. These are the kinds of things that women face when they come up against providers like Nurse Midwife V, providers who don’t want to listen to women, who won’t talk to women about their own bodies and medical histories. Providers who don’t trust women to be actively involved in their medical processes. Providers who can’t be bothered to involved women in the partnership that should be their own medical care, especially when it comes to their reproductive health. As it was, having to go back a second time was already taxing on my spoons, and stressful, because now I have be on my game. Suddenly I have to come in educated on something that my provider should have known the first time.

Thanks to meloukhia’s indominatable Google-fu I took in the information I was looking for, backing up what I had already said, that an ectopic pregnancy did not preclude me from having an IUD (or, that a previous ectopic pregnancy was not a contraindication for an IUD). Dr. K was impressed that I was so prepared. He told me that he had heard that information, but he himself had been so busy that he hadn’t had time to read any of the journals for himself. He told The Guy (who went with me this time, because they like to banter back and forth in Korean) that I should come in from time to time to keep him updated on current women’s health, and said he wished more people came to him so informed. He said that whomever told me that I couldn’t have an IUD was wrong. I was prepared, but I shouldn’t have had to come in as if I was fighting a war.

Two weeks later I have my IUD.

Nurse Midwife V didn’t care to ask why, after having one IUD failure (as rare as they are, b/c they are pretty much the most effective form of reversible birth control out there, with a fail rate of less than one percent), I would want another IUD. She didn’t bother to find out anything else in my medical history that might affect my decision to make that very personal choice about birth control, like that I am on medication that might have contraindications with hormonal birth control, or that previous specialists had determined that hormonal birth control is a migraine trigger for me. She simply asserted her own opinion (as wrong as it turned out to be) and called it a day. But all of that information is in my medical record if she cared to look. The same record she said she reviewed when she made her initial judgment.

And now, I can’t trust her.

Michigan to impost referral law for Acupuncture

From bfp:

Because Michigan can never just leave well enough alone, can it?

I found out from my acupuncturist that the state of Michigan is considering requiring it’s citizens to get a doctor’s referral to go to an acupuncturists. So, in other words, rather than hearing from a friend that she went to acupuncture and that person deciding to give it a try too–Michigan wants to make it so that you have to go to a doctor first, and then, if the doctor is willing to actually give you the referral, you can go to the acupuncturist.

Many people who know about the history of midwives in the U.S. know why this is such an extraordinarily bad idea. But for those who don’t know that history–what this particular requirement would do is first and foremost, place an incredibly unfair burden on those people who don’t have health insurance. Those who are unable to afford a doctor would simply have yet another health alternative option removed from their already limited health arsenal.

If you do nothing else, please sign this petition to help keep this medical option available for people who would lose access to the only health care they afford without insurance.  With Michigan being hit as hard as it has been by this recession and the job loss as high as it is in the state specifically, people are desperate for health care.  Community Acupuncture is one of the few options available to them, and if the requirement is added to get a doctor’s referral, well, without insurance, they will lose that too.

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