Pamprin for the Soul

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your daily cramp: A Month Late

My mother looked worried.

“No, mom, I won’t be a vagina for Halloween.”

Never thought I’d have to tell my mom that one. But maybe you’ll be inspired. Look at how happy he is:

And him?

Flickr photographer ejojola

And this gem, sent from my aunt:

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your daily cramp: You darn kids, GIT off my blog

My blog has a friendly little tool called Site Stats which shows me how many people are not reading my blog. It also provides me with every entry from search engines that has escorted internet surfers to my blog. Thought I’d share what people are up to on Google these days, and please note, I do not claim any ownership of or association with any of the following.

“fuckable granny”

“cramping granny”

“you might not think this is a vagina” (…?)

“vagina dried apricot”

“bloody elf vagina” (try not to visualize)

“tofu vagina”

“mature women inserting a tampax” (obviously still going to produce pornographic images)

and my favorite,  “peeing teenage girls”

Hm, well, whatever it takes…

your daily cramp: don’t say you cun’t

The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.



-Roseanne Barr

your daily cramp: ({})

The Vagina Monologues has created a space for women to share stories about vaginas, a space that women find so empowering and vital to well-being that it has taken off in over 130 countries.

A little over a decade ago, activist, playwright, and creator of the Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler started compiling stories from women about sex, menopause, and vaginas. The compilations soon became live performances via self-written monologues and eventually, published books (the “bible” for a new generation of women). From “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could” to “Reclaiming Cunt,” Ensler tackles taboo topics like sex, rape, menstruation, genital mutilation, birth, tampons and douches, masturbation, sex workers, and orgasm. Ensler leads this vagina revolution with passion and humor. “I was drawn to vaginas because of my own personal history, because of sexuality, because women’s empowerment is deeply connected to their sexuality,” she explains.

“As I traveled with the piece to city after city, country after country, hundreds of women waited after the show to talk to me about their lives. The play had somehow freed up their memories, pain, and desire. Night after night I heard the same stories — women being raped as teenagers, in college, as little girls, as elderly women; women who had finally escaped bring beaten to death by their husbands; women who were terrified to leave; women who were taken sexually, before they were even conscious of sex, by their stepfathers, brothers, cousins, uncles, mothers and fathers…. Slowly it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women.”

In New York City, 1996, the first Vagina Monologues production took the stage. Since then, a new monologue is added to the series each year based on the current issues women are facing. Those who put on the show choose their own arrangement of the monologues and use much of the generated money to support women all over the world, from creating rape crisis centers in Bosnia to fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan.  In 1997, Ensler founded, “V-Day, a movement dedicated to ending violence against women around the world. In three years, V-Day has spread to over 300 colleges, where students and faculty have performed The Vagina Monologues on V-Day, February 14th, as part of a movement to stop violence against women.”

Listen to Momma Eve preachin’ it here. I love the part about living more in your body than in your head.

“I was worried about my own vagina. It needed a culture; a context; a community.”

This monologue made me chuckle:

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3==>And as for penises? Some have been inspired by Ensler’s work. At my university I tried to catch a special student-run performance from the male perspective, only to humiliate myself when I asked the front desk of the hoity-toity Michigan League where I could find the “Penis Monologues” and realized I had the wrong day and building. Anyways, it excited me that men were inspired to share their own stories for laughs and lessons. However, many groups of men such as the College Republicans have responded to the V-Day Vagina Monologue movement in mockery, writing and performing crude, insulting, and immature pieces. Big surprise there. New York playwright Robert Watts also created his own version called the Penis Monologues: Men Speak. Topics covered include circumcision, endowment, homosexuality, Viagra, and birth control, however the general consensus from critics is that the show contained little originality and heavily blurred the line between parody and honest performance. At least The Office’s Andy Bernard, who took a Women’s Studies course years ago, has taken a special interest.

Alas, remember, “You don’t have to be anti-man to be pro-woman.” See for yourself. 

And don’t forget to view a Vagina… Monologues near you.

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1923

your daily cramp: Your Monthly Cramp

The Cramps, an American punk rock band from the late 70s that no one has heard of.

Because my uterus is writhing like Westley from the Princess Bride in the electric torture machine deep in Prince Humperdinck’s dungeon, and napping to escape it makes me feel like this guy, I have racked the internet for home remedies. Popping ibuprofen is of course a quick fix, but I’m not a fan of pills and I don’t have any painkillers anyways and Ann Arbor’s CVS is overpriced AND because sometimes it’s just nice to buy yourself a bag of Pepperidge Farm Brussels cookies and watch Modern Family on Hulu and feel sorry for yourself, here are some alternative methods:

  • Yoga. Try Child’s Pose and the Cat-Cow stretch.
  • Fill a water bottle with hot water and apply to your abdomen.
  • Use a heating pad.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly for a few minutes.
  • Eat a banana or other fruit high in potassium  (kiwi, dried apricots, avocados, melon).
  • Eat a leafy green salad (the magnesium can act as a muscle relaxant).
  • *Eat foods high in iron–you are losing iron in your menstrual blood which could contribute to fatigue and weakness.*
  • Exercise. Get up and go for a walk, jog, swim, or dance. Get the endorphins goin.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Avoid heavy salt, caffeine, and alcohol, which can aggravate cramps and bloating.
  • Sometimes your cramps and bloating are mild but your head makes them much worse, so that you get mopey and moody and desolate (guilty…). Distract yourself– the moods and throbs won’t last forever. In cases like these I refer to Mom Advice: take a deep breath, take a shower, make yourself look nice, and go out.
  • Babies.

Preventative Measures: Before Your Period

  • Getting good nutrition is the most important thing you can do for yourself.
  • Eat a variation of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to get enough iron, magnesium, B-vitamins, and potassium in your diet.
  • Eat foods high in calcium (it’s preferable to get the vitamin naturally to be most effective and maximize absorbency). Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, “may help prevent menstrual cramps by maintaining normal muscle tone. Muscles that are calcium-deficient tend to be hyperactive and therefore more likely to cramp. Calcium has been reported to reduce pain during the menstrual phase of the cycle and reduce water retention during the premenstrual phase” (Calcium Treatment: Calcium Prevent Menstrual Cramps). Try milk, sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli, molasses, almonds, celery, papaya, oranges, yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, oats, salmon, and even tomato and cheese pizza.
  • Cut down on sweets, sugars, salts, and processed food.
  • Sleep and exercise. Do it more.
To me this sounds frustratingly simple (eat well, sleep more, exercise), but as a college kid it’s easier said than done in day-to-day life. Don’t undermine the power of good nutrition. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies have a myriad of physical manifestations.
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Note: Cramps are natural contractions and relaxations that allow blood to flow out the uterus. Not everyone experiences pain or discomfort from menstrual cramps.

Another Note: If your monthly Prince Humperdinck’s dungeon is severely painful, preventing you from completing daily activities for a few days each month, accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting, or arousing some other severe discomfort, visit a doctor for help. 

your daily cramp: Your Celestial Cervix

Go run and look at the extra-bright Supermoon tonight, March 19th! And then read a little on the menses-moon connection. Ladies….

For thousands of years, the women have been linked to the moon. For one, the words “moon,” “menstruation,” and “menses” are etymologically linked, from the Latin mensis (month), derived from the Greek word mene (month, moon).

The moon, just like the the “average” uterus, has a 29-day cycle of growing and shedding. In Greek, Roman, Mayan, and many other mythologies, the moon is a female deity.

And if the moon is powerful enough to control the tides of the ocean, why shouldn’t it be able to influence our cycles?

“Have you ever wondered about the connection between your body’s 28 day cycle and the cycle of the moon? Here’s the theory. In the days before electricity, women’s bodies were influenced by the amount of moonlight we saw. Just as sunlight and moonlight affect plants and animals, our hormones were triggered by levels of moonlight. And, all women cycled together. Today, with artificial light everywhere, day and night, our cycles no longer correspond to the moon. “

(From Menstrual Cycles: What Really Happens in those 28 Days?!)

Lunaception is a more developed theory by one woman of the same idea: women’s bodies evolved to be in tune the moon’s rhythms, ovulating with the full moon and menstruating with the new moon.

Feminist writer Inga Muscio encourages women to explore their personal lunar connection in her book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (Muscio argues that women must empower themselves by taking back the curse word and making it their own).

Print out a lunar calendar, mark your period each month, and just look at the moon each night and notice its changes (for those not on birth control). “Aligning yourself with the moon” will require about six months of observation and patience, but Muscio says the experience completely changes your outlook on your period. Once the rhythm got going, she claims it enabled her to track her period to the day and has made all kinds of psychological improvements. Preview her chapter entitled “Blood and Cunts” here.

Biggest and Brightest Full Moon of 2010 Tonight

Take it or leave it– there’s no solid evidence and maybe there never will be. But it’s a beautiful thought that we could be in such balance with the universe.

your daily cramp: To Catch a Rapist

No pun intended. South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers has created a female “anti-rape condom” coined “Rape-aXe.”

Women insert it like a tampon, and if penetration occurs, jagged teeth on the condom hook onto the penis like a Chinese finger trap. The teeth are not supposed to pierce the skin but should be painful enough that the victim has time to escape. Because Rape-aXe can only be removed by a doctor, Ehlers is hoping to the catch rapists firsthand. “He cannot pee and walk when it’s on,” she explains, “If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter.”

About 30,000 of these penis-snatchers were tested in cities during the World Cup matches last summer for free and are now available for about $2 a piece in South Africa.

The device is controversial. Some call it “vengeful, horrible, and disgusting” (Woa BUT SO IS RAPE). Other opponents to the device such as Victoria Kajja from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Uganda argue that while it might bring justice to rape victims, it reminds women how vulnerable they are and does not prevent the psychological trauma of rape, so it gives women a false sense of security. “The fears surrounding the victim, the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted all represent enslavement that no woman should be subjected to,” she states.

Dr. Ehlers looks at the situation in a different light, however. From certain studies, about 1 in 3 South African men admit to rape. South Africa has the highest incidence of rape (reported rape, anyhow) in the world, and, according to UNICEF in 2009, a HIV prevalence rate of 17.8% (of those ages 15-49). Says Ehlers, “I believe something’s got to be done,” she said. “This will make some men rethink before they assault a woman.”

Ehlers has worked with many rape victims and has noted that many have taken such extreme measures as to insert sponges with razor blades into their vaginas to fight against rape themselves.

According to Dr. Ehlers, this weiner-waylayer is not painful to women, but for males it may feel like your nimnods are caught in a zipper. Shuddah.

Let’s hope this is an empowering, justice-serving tool.

Rape-aXe shown above, stretched over a clear tube. It is made of latex with jagged teeth attached.