by Alicia Costa
I was extremely happy when I saw this article pop up from Ms. about the effectiveness of IUDs (Inter Uterine Devices) as a safe and cheap form of birth control for women. I am a huge advocate of IUDs. From personal experience I can vouch for their effectiveness over several years yet many women still have no idea this is an option as a birth control method. And I was one of these young women because not once did it come up in the several conversations about birth control I had in my teen years with multiple doctors.
When I became sexual active in a committed relationship in my early 20s and was looking into birth control I was automatically put on the hormonal birth control pill. And it was a nightmare right from the beginning. My body was extremely angry at me for this decision. But that is what you do. You want to be in control of your sexual health you go on the pill. That is what I was told all along since I was a teenager.
In addition to a major weight gain (I packed on about 40lbs in about 6 months) I was miserable. And more terrifying then this was the fact my blood pressure spiked. Hugely high for someone who was in their early 20s. I was terrified. And while most of the doctors I saw told me the high blood pressure was directly related to being overweight I refused to buy it. I had been overweight my whole life and never had a health issue like this. Read more
Some trolls created an online game inviting players to “beat up Anita Sarkeesian”
by Alicia Costa
As I was stopped at the light today one of the young men in the SUV next to me leaned out his window and screamed, “Now THAT’S a great ass!” to a young woman crossing the street. She looked clearly startled and not at all flattered by the outburst. It literally made me recoil as I know exactly what that girl feels like. In fact this exact same thing happened to me last week while walking to meet a client. And I’m sure if you are a woman reading this you can relate to this situation.
This got me thinking about how much sexual harassment women are receiving and internalizing on a daily basis and I’m tired of it. Many men seem to think by hiding in their cars and shouting out the window- or behind a computer screen they have full license to do and say whatever they want about our bodies.
In previous weeks feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency came out and laid out all of the harassment she was getting in response to a project she created about the lack of well-rounded female characters in video games. Everything from the defacement of her Wikipedia page, to continued threats of sexualized violence, to a video game where the player can virtually punch a picture of Anita until her face in it turns black and blue.
While trying to process Anita’s experience and reconcile my own experiences of misogynist hate emails and nasty comments on things I’ve written over the years I started to think about other forms of harassment I’ve received on the internet. Read more
by Alicia Costa
I’ve been involved in something very special for the past year and half. Something that is having a positive impact on my life and the lives of the others. A movement that is making my mind and body healthier and stronger than ever before. And that something is the ability to be active and fit in a safe environment. I’ve dedicated time to myself and made it a priority. I’ve done things I didn’t think I’d be able to do. I’ve climbed mountains. I’ve run a 5k race (and will be running 10k in the fall). I now consider myself an athlete and a plus-sized one at that.
Almost two years ago I was looking for more challenging activities to be involved in. I liked to swim and walk but I was ready to take on something more physically demanding. However, I didn’t want to do one of those scary Survivor boot camps either. I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable and that there was a good chance I’d get left in the dust.
And that was when I stumbled on small fitness organization called Body Exchange. Boot camps specifically designed for people who are plus-sized or are beginners to fitness. With a focus on fitness opposed to weight loss. It took me weeks and a co-worker’s support before I actually decided to take the plunge and give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised how much I actually enjoyed going to the boot camps. After years of joining gyms and hating them (I strongly believe gyms for the most part are a breeding ground for bad body image) I finally found something I liked to do. And that was challenging and most importantly was a comfortable and safe environment for me and my big body to work out.
Recently, Body Exchange was featured in The Province in what was supposed to be exposure for what this company is doing for plus-sized clients. However, instead of highlighting what great changes Body Exchange has made in the in lives of its clients the article instead decided to highlight the exclusivity of Body Exchange. Instead of being something positive and safe for big people it turned was portrayed as something discriminatory against ‘skinny’ bodies. Read more
by Alicia Costa
“I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Danielle Steel has been writing ‘mommy porn’ since the 80s,” a work out buddy of mine said jokingly as we chatted about the recent popularity of E L James’ book Fifty Shades of Grey. Truthfully I had been avoiding this book, as a bit of literary snob I tend to try and avoid best-seller fiction. And as someone who has enjoyed her fair share of…erm…erotic fiction I didn’t think something dubbed ‘mommy porn’ would really be something I’d be into.
However, as I did more research and say more and more article with titles like, “Women are going crazy for Fifty Shades of Grey and it’s making men nervous” I was intrigued. What is about this book that is sending men into a panic? Could it be the realization that their wives and girlfriends are sexual beings as well as wives and mothers? Are they scared women are going to throw down their aprons and refuse to cook another meal until they get some satisfying sex? Is it possible that women are actually interested in bondage and spanking?
by Alicia Costa
As I navigate the waters of social media becoming far too engrossed in the lives of people I have known sporadically I feel that I am not doing what people in their 20s are doing. I am relentlessly pursuing my career. I have spent the past four years working, volunteering, sweating, learning, and stumbling my way through anti-poverty and anti-oppression work. And as I continue on this path I feel this is not be reflective of the average 20-something or 30-something in today’s world.
I’ll preface my thoughts by saying I have had the privilege to meet and engage with people who are doing amazing things in their lives in the past several years. Writers, who are getting published, artists getting commissioned, academics getting masters and doctoral degrees, people getting married and/or having babies. Regular folks who work hard and can scrape together some cash to take a quick trip to Portland or Vegas once a year or two.
However, there seems to be a large number of people in my generation floundering. Struggling to get themselves onto their own feet and out of mom and dads or into a job in field that they find rewarding (whatever that may be). I’ve lost count of how many young adults I know who are off on lengthy trips around the globe in an effort to avoid the realities of the grown up world. Am I missing something here? I’m feeling like the old fart because I’m out to attain financial stability and career success.
Our North American (read: and white) privilege has conditioned us that in order to be a whole and enlightened being we need to have enjoyed this privilege to its full extent (ie often this takes shape by travelling the globe). Often to impoverished countries and without the ability to acknowledge their struggle and in turn appreciate what we have. In doing so we are rewarded with the true meaning of life and a sense of entitlement. Society, it seems, rewards the ‘risk-taker’ over the boring and stable young adult. Why is that? Read more
by Alicia Costa
Based on some very interesting discussion about my last post on the way bisexual identity is represented on Showtime’s The L Word I am writing this post about another misrepresented and misinterpreted identity on the show.
In season 3 audiences were introduced to Moira Sweeny (Daniela Sea) a butch lesbian identified woman who transitions over the seasons into a male-identified Max. Moira/ Max was unfortunately the product of some disastrous character development and was highly criticized as a huge misrepresentation of trans men. Additionally, over the seasons Max was the subject of some hugely offensive trans-phobic comments by the lesbian characters of the show. AfterEllen.com has a great piece about gender trouble on The L Word.
Over the entire 6 seasons of The L Word there was only one other character introduced who played with gender norms. This was the brief appearance of Ivan Aycock (Kelly Lynch) who was originally introduced during a Drag King show. However, it becomes known that Ivan passes for male in everyday life and he starts to court straight Kit Porter (Pam Grier). Read more
by Alicia Costa
“It is possible to love men without rage. There are thousands of ways to love men.” – Lidia Yuknavitch
I don’t often read memoirs. For the most part I find them self-indulgent and extremely hard to connect with. But, when a writer friend of mine highly recommended Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir Chronology of Water I decided to do give it try. And I am extremely grateful I did.
If you read other reviews of this book you will be hard pressed to find a common experience. Most of the reviews are of scattered opinions but it becomes clear this book amazed and inspired a wide range of readers. I am not exception to this as Yuknavitch’s book blew my mind wide open and pushed me into places of myself I have long been avoiding. I didn’t even want to write this review as I greedily wanted to keep this book and the experience it gave me all to myself. Read more