I think I feel more pregnant this week. It's amazing the impact that something the size of a grape can have on a woman's body & life.
There seems to be the almost universal belief among North American parents (I'm sure this is a phenomena found elsewhere as well, but I'm just talking about what I've personally seen) that their kids, whether these are theoretical future children or actual kids, and whether they have yet to reach their teen years or not, will hate or at the very least dislike them. Teenagers hate their parents: everyone knows that.
It looks like such a small sentence, but in reality it is not small at all. Pregnancy is a big deal. It changes lives, both during a pregnancy and afterward. Bodies change, relationships change, lives change. It can be exciting and terrifying all at the same time. So I start this with a small statement with big implications.
In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut) the joke is that it is equally likely to see a woman in a mini skirt as it is to see a woman in a hijab.
In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut), European tourists feel at ease that the Lebanese still speak a post-colonial French, and let Beirut be called the Paris of the Middle East.
In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut), tourists and Lebanese alike flock to the beaches and the nightclubs, openly drinking alcohol, smoking hookahs, and belly dancing to both popular western and Arabic music, creating a strange moment that many see as cultural influence, and many others see as cultural infiltration.
Still—despite the post-colonial familiarity and acceptability of Lebanese culture—Lebanese women remain in many ways decorative objects, openly ignored, slighted or discriminated against in legislation.
As some of you may know, I experienced two different sexual assaults when I wasn't yet in my teens within just one year of one another. The second time I was assaulted, my experience ticked all of the boxes there currently are in our culture for what is so often -- now, anyway, easily considered a "real" or "bonafide" sexual assault, or what Whoopi Goldberg, to my great disappointment, would call "rape-rape."
The first time around was different.
This summer, Arianna, who is one of our readers, wrote and produced a play at her college about sexuality which also included a fundraising ask for Scarleteen.
This month, Marlena, another Scarleteen user, surprised us with this incredible video she made as part of Project for Awesome, to do what she could to help support what we do and express her experience of what Scarleteen can offer to young people, particularly in a world which is so often unsupportive not just of youth sexuality, but of youth as a whole.
Our volunteers are a huge part of Scarleteen, and I call them superstars with very good reason. They're all incredible.
Things slow down a bit here around the holidays. So, this is one of the main times of each year when I try to review all the content we have at the site and map out articles I, and the volunteers, feel we should aim to write or have written to add in the next year.
To do that, I look at the running notes I keep from observing what our users ask for in direct services and our social media; places where they ask for things and I don't feel we have just the right pieces to refer them to, or what we'd want to be able to give when it comes to on-site resources.
It was probably obvious yesterday that we earnestly thought the FDA might finally turn around a longtime decision, one largely against all advice, information and recommendations from sexual, reproductive and adolescent health and rights experts and advocates, when it came to unfounded restrictions long put on teen access to Plan B.
I don't think we can express enough how tremendously and deeply frustrated and infuriated we are here that our optimism was in vain and was so outrageously gutted.