Poopie and My Brain

Wait but we totally do tho

Wait but we totally do tho

It’s not the end of the year yet, but I’m declaring success- I have achieved my 2014 New Year’s Resolution. In January, I decided that I would no longer participate in Poop Standoffs. I used to spend a lot time asking myself, like the woman in this ad for the product Poo-Pouri : How can I make the world believe that my poop doesn’t stink… or that in fact I never poop at all? But I quit, cold turkey.

Before I made this resolution my time in public multi-stall restrooms, particularly at the office, could be a little….. stop-and-go. I would select my stall. I would hang up my purse. Maybe I would lay down a toilet liner, get generally comfy. Then, just as I was ready to do my business I would hear the door creak open and see the feet of a person selecting their own stall. Damn. 

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Take the Red Pill: Sex Determination

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Morpheus offers the pills in the MatrixThis is the third part of a series about the complex biological realities of sex. Though the posts build on one another, each can be understood alone.

In previous posts in this series, I’ve talked about what sex is, and the many ways it can manifest in human bodies. But what determines whether an individual is male, female, or something else altogether?

I’m talking here about the spectrum of sexed bodies that exist in nature, not gender identity, because only humans can have gender. Gender is created by institutions, culture, and human relationships. As far as we know, non-human animals don’t have cultural constructs of male and female. But they do have an amazing variety of sexes and paths to determine what sex an animal will be.

You may have learned that sex determination in humans comes from the sex chromosomes: two X chromosomes will lead to a human with ovaries and a uterus, and an X and a Y chromosome will lead to a human with testes and a prostate. This is not entirely true, but gonadal sex (whether your body is equipped to make eggs or sperm) is indeed genetic in humans. But in many animals, sex determination is environmental, not genetic.

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Why you should be watching Steven Universe

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This is a guest post by Chu.

If you haven’t already heard of Steven Universe, then it’s about time you did. Steven Universe is a cartoon about a young boy born into a magical guardian race called the Crystal Gems, and throughout the series he learns wholesome life lessons while fighting wondrous monsters and navigating wacky hijinks around his hometown. At first look this doesn’t sound particularly out of the ordinary for a show in the Cartoon Network line-up, but Steven Universe is far from typical.

picture of the characters from Steven Universe

left to right: Amethyst, Steven, Garnet, and Pearl

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Three Reading Remedies to Ease Your Dating Woes

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Last year, I decided that I would stop jumping from one serious relationship to another. I should, I figured, give myself some space and breathing room to explore. While that’s proven to be the right decision, I’ve discovered that dating is, nonetheless, an exceptionally awful pastime. There’s a lot of anxiety around meeting someone in the first place – attempting to catch the eye of the cutie on the train; hoping that guy 50 times older than you with the leering smile would stop trying to catch your eye on the train. Then, there’s the texting, or e-mailing, or sending messages on Facebook and the gut-gurgling misery that arises from not being able to tell if someone is kind of into you or totally into you.

Next, there’s talking on the phone, which is a nightmare of nerves, and, finally, meeting in person. Whether you’ve already met your person in a cute movie-esque sort of way at the bookstore or cafe or your weekly radical sex workshop, or you met them online, the first date is always The Worst. Because of feelings and fears and the inability to hold down your food.

If the date goes well, great. Anxieties ease, feelings develop. You’re on a good path.

But if the date doesn’t go so well?

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Well. Back to the looking, and the texting and messaging and phone calls, and the first dates. Again, and again, and again.

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Teaching Environmental Justice

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I’ve spent a lot of my time teaching environmental education to kids in a variety of settings and age groups. A pretty typical situation has me walking into the job and being given a sheaf of lesson plans on a variety of topics, adjusted for the age of the students I’ll be working with. No matter where I am or who I’m teaching, from preschoolers at a nature center in rural Ohio to middle schoolers at a public school in Washington, DC, one thing was always true: the content of existing lessons completely left out any mentions of environmental justice and environmental inequalities. This leaves a huge gap in children’s conceptions of the environmental issues facing us today.

Some cuties I used to teach

A couple of the cuties I used to teach

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Finding Empowerment in Pain

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This is a guest post by Lorelei. It discusses abortion and euthanasia, and describes intense chronic pain. It was originally published here.

The best thing about being alive and having a chronic disease is having the ability to save yourself. It’s the most empowering thing in the world.

This is my story.

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Bitches Be Crazy Defense: a Tale of Two Governors

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for two noble public servants, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov. Chris Christie. Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was indicted and later found guilty on corruption charges, using the power of his office to promote business interests of a “friend” who showered the McDonnell family in $177,000 worth of gifts and loans. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was implicated in a scandal dubbed “bridge gate” when several leaked emails suggested his office conspired to create traffic on George Washington Bridge for political retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who did not endorse Gov. Christie for re-election.

Both men quickly came forward to address those allegations and present the true guilty parties – crazy women. They gave the media the scapegoats, some sordid personal details, and the headlines wrote themselves. The politicians’ defense played on inherent sexism in our culture and gave us two stories: one of a nagging, crazy wife, and one of a woman scorned.

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Remember that episode where Leslie Knope takes responsibility for something she didn’t do to protect a friend?

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Music Positive: All About That Bass

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Anyone who owns a car knows, and I mean knows, every song that is popular now, knows how often that song is played and can probably guess what song is coming up. As the summer comes to an end, one of the top songs on the Pop channel is All About That Bass, by Meghan Trainor.  To me, this is a song that is an important step forward in body positive media.  While it is not perfect, for a 3 minute and 10 second song written by a 20 year old, it touches upon important issues regarding body image in both the lyrics and the video.

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