Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

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Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

An interesting perspective on the debut of Caitlyn Jenner: “Do you applaud Caitlyn Jenner because she is brave, or because she’s pretty?” [via The Guardian]

And I loved this from Laverne Cox.

“The Small, Happy Life” [via New York Times]

“I Was a Proud Non-Breeder. Then I Changed My Mind.” [via NY Mag]

“Yes, I’m Still Single in My 40s — And I’m Fine With It. In fact, it’s pretty fantastic.” [via Good Housekeeping]

“I could’ve been a Duggar wife: I grew up in the same church, and the abuse scandal doesn’t shock me” [via Salon]

“I Chose to Become a Young, Single Mother” [via Dame Magazine]

“Here’s What Anxiety Feels Like When You Have No Idea What Anxiety Is” [via Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls]

“Can These Panties Disrupt the $15 Billion Feminine Hygiene Market?” [via Forbes]

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to wendy@dearwendy.com and, if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

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20 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Kate June 5, 2015, 12:33 pm

    The proud non-breeder article, oh man. I understand that that was her experience, and that’s great that it worked out for her as well as it seemingly did. But yeah, plenty of women feel like she felt and don’t change their minds. At least I hope so, and I’m not some kind of freak. I just turned 40, happily married for 1.5 years (was married in my 20s too), and still no desire to reproduce. Like the author, it does absolutely scare the hell out of me to think of being left alone someday, but I can’t even fathom reacting to that by ditching my birth control and bringing another human being into the world to guard against loss.

    It’s interesting she didn’t mention a feeling of being “born this way,” as that’s how I feel and how a bunch of the women in the book by Meghan Daum that she mentions, feel as well. I feel like it was always in my identity not to have kids, as opposed to just thinking in my 20s and early 30s, you know, I like this jet-setting career-driven lifestyle. I think that’s different.

    Anyhoo…

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover June 5, 2015, 12:43 pm

      It seems like we’re starting to understand that there are actually more than two categories (want/don’t want), as we’ve been thinking all along. I would say there’s a spectrum on both the want and don’t want sides, which meets in the middle at “not sure”. And any woman could move along the spectrum, even right from one end to the other, at any point in time.
      .
      Once we all kind of accept that, none of this will be a big deal anymore (I hope). Some will stay in the same spot on the spectrum their whole lives, some will move a little, and some will make massive jumps from one end to the other. And there’s really no way to tell which kind you are until you’re done with that stage of your life.

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      • coconot

        coconot June 5, 2015, 3:43 pm

        Yes I think this is interesting. If asked, I usually tell people I’m in the “no kids” camp because it’s ironically simpler (i.e., fewer judgements and follow up questions) than saying I’m in the “yes kids” camp. Perhaps this is because I’m only 26 and I live in a big city. In reality, I’m firmly in the “not sure” category, but that doesn’t really seem to be an acceptable conversation ender to most people.

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    • avatar

      d2 June 6, 2015, 9:58 am

      I agree with Kate that there really is a big difference between the “I don’t want children” camp and the “I want this career/lifestyle that precludes children” camp.
      .
      For some, it can be as simple as “want” or “don’t want”. Some were born with the feeling that it was part of their identity to not have children or to be parents. For these folks, I don’t think that there is any wavering or changing of mind.
      .
      But for many, the decision whether or not to have children is so much more complicated than just “want” or “don’t want”. Life is full of challenges and compromises, and the possibility of children is just one part of it. For these folks, I think that there is a sliding scale between “want” and “don’t want” and, as life happens, one’s thoughts about children will change.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover June 6, 2015, 11:04 am

        Actually my best friend went from “don’t want” to “want”. And it wasn’t because of career or ambition or anything, she just literally did not want kids. It wasn’t something she desired in the least, it didn’t feel like part of her to be a parent. To the point where she accidentally got pregnant while married to her husband who wanted kids, and secretly got an abortion because that’s how strongly she didn’t want kids. She knew if she told him she was getting an abortion it could end her marriage, but she couldn’t stand the idea of having kids. She was in her late 20s at that point, had been married over 5 years, they had lots of money and it wouldn’t have been an issue at work, so none of those were factors. Anyway, about 5 years later she changed her mind. I was completely shocked. Now she has 2 kids and is very happy with her decision.
        .
        For myself, I never had the urge to have kids. Until one day my biological clock started ticking. It was at a point where I was wondering if my boyfriend would ever want to get married, and I felt like I was running out of time. It was insane. Suddenly, I wanted a baby, so strongly. I’ve never felt anything like it before. And here’s the crazy part… once we got engaged, that feeling went away and never came back. We did decide to have kids, but not because I felt a “want” for them. Although I’ll admit that knowing that biological clock could kick in at some point was definitely a factor. I just thought, what if it happened again and didn’t go away and it was too late? It wasn’t the only reason I had a baby, but it was certainly a tick in the pro column.
        .
        Anyway, those two experiences are why I feel like there are no absolutes. Some people will always not want, but I don’t think there’s a guarantee. I would never say to someone “you’ll want them someday”, because that’s stupid – I have no idea who will switch and who won’t. But I really think that if we get to the point of understanding that this is fluid and that women are ALLOWED to want or not want without society making a big deal of it, then we’ll be able to just not really think about it and not defend our feelings and just live our lives how we want to.
        .
        AND if we get to the point where society doesn’t think women are missing out on some necessary part of life if they don’t have kids, then this won’t matter anyway. Like if we got to the point where everyone actually believed that there are lots of fulfilling paths for women, and it doesn’t have to include kids (or a partner), then again, this will stop being something we even bother to discuss as a society. And neither side will have to be defensive about it, and people like my best friend and the author of this article won’t have to defend their decision to switch, either.

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      • avatar

        d2 June 6, 2015, 3:36 pm

        RedRover, thanks for sharing the interesting and informative anecdotes.
        .
        It wasn’t that long ago that the topic just wasn’t discussed. So even though I wish the current polarization didn’t exist, I think that it is part of the societal growth process. I too hope that we are soon beyond that and no one feels the need to discuss, let alone justify their decision.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover June 6, 2015, 6:38 pm

        True enough, you’re right, we are making progress on this. It would be nice if we got to the same place as men: some want kids, some don’t, some don’t then decide they do, some do then decide they don’t. And there aren’t magazine articles about it, strangers don’t make conversation about it, acquaintances don’t feel free to give them their opinion on it. It just is. Maybe someday. 🙂

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover June 5, 2015, 12:53 pm

    That one about the period panties is interesting. Although I don’t think it’s fair to say there have been no major changes in 85 years. I guess she’s talking about when Tampax hit the market. But there’s a huge difference between the pads we have today and the ones I wore as a teenager. And the ones my mom wore were even worse, she had to clip them to a belt! In terms of thinness and absorbancy, they’ve come an amazing way.
    .
    Plus it’ll be a pain to have to carry an extra pair of underwear with you, and change them in a public bathroom. Because even a pair that holds 2 tampons worth won’t last all day on your heaviest days, unless you’re someone with a light flow (I am not).
    .
    Anyway, I’ll be willing to try them when they come out. It’ll be interesting to see how reuseable they really are – if they’re that absorbent, it won’t be easy to wash the blood back out, I would think. I’m cautiously optimistic, I guess.

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    • avatar

      Kate June 5, 2015, 12:58 pm

      Yeah, one of my clients is a major manufacturer of absorbent products, and they would beg to differ that there’s been no improvements in 85 years, good lord. That said, absorbent pants for urine (both kids and adults) are moving toward a washable “real underwear” format with disposable inserts. I just don’t get how that would work with blood though, since as far as I know there’s no cloth that won’t get permanent blood stains. Maybe you’re supposed to just be ok with that.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover June 5, 2015, 1:05 pm

        Well, the only underwear they show are black, so maybe that’s it? I guess you won’t be able to wear white pants with them, but how many of us do that during shark week anyway? 🙂

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    • avatar

      Cleopatra Jones June 5, 2015, 1:53 pm

      Ha ha, that was my idea. I’ve been going on for years about someone should make disposable panties for your period. I even had a tagline, ‘Period Panties–because your period shouldn’t feel like a sentence.’ 🙂

      Now someone has beaten me to the punch.

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    • avatar

      ktfran June 5, 2015, 2:03 pm

      Yeah, I go through a tampon nearly every hour on heavy days.
      .
      I actually had an accident on my last period. It was super heavy and I thought I could make it home on public transit after work. I didn’t. Thank god I could tie a jacket around my waste.
      .
      I am curious about the product though and would consider buying a pair. But on heavy days, I think I would do both the underwear and the tampon.

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    • mylaray

      mylaray June 5, 2015, 2:25 pm

      So kind of similar, I recently bought some cloth disposable pads on Etsy because I was curious to try them. And I actually really like them. My period is really heavy, but I find the absorbency to be just as good. Haven’t had an issue getting the blood out either yet besides minor discoloration.

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    • kare

      kare June 5, 2015, 2:43 pm

      I would get the period panties since my period is super light with my birth control implant. I can’t use panty liners or pads, so I mostly use a menstrual cup. But it’s harder to use when you’re really light. I would just worry about having a bad reaction to whatever makes it absorbent.

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  • avatar

    d2 June 5, 2015, 3:35 pm

    From the breeder article – posthumous parenthood. Now that gives new meaning to the term “deadbeat dad”…

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover June 5, 2015, 3:35 pm

    That article about the Duggar religion is really good.

    Reply Link
  • coconot

    coconot June 5, 2015, 3:46 pm

    I like the associated blog that comes from the “small happy life” article: http://theroadtocharacter.com/the-conversation-blog/ Some of the stories are really, really good.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra June 5, 2015, 7:53 pm

    With the whole Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner thing I still have my doubts that her doing this cover of Vanity Fair was for the right reasons. I can’t stand the Kardashian/Jenner family because of their constant need for attention and shallow ways. How does a rather provocative picture of Caitlyn really benefit society? Of course she went through a lot to get to the point she is at now and I’m glad that she is comfortable with herself, but is this Vanity Fair cover for society or is it for her own benefit? I am highly supportive of transgender people and have a couple friends who are trans, but I can’t help but think that this whole reveal was more for publicity than anything else.

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    • avatar

      d2 June 6, 2015, 9:26 am

      Everything this family does reeks of a money/publicity grab, and this seems like yet another exploitation.
      Does this bring a positive message for the transgender issue? Because I find the messenger and presentation to be unsympathetic, I find this to be a distraction. But maybe their fans and the curious will gain something positive.

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      • Lyra

        Lyra June 6, 2015, 10:21 am

        Exactly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s REALLY cool that people are ok with a trans woman on the front page of a major magazine. That part is awesome. The fact that it involves this particular family is what makes me think a lot of this is for their own benefit.

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