Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Vagina Festival is coming! October 24-26, 2008

My friend Alexandra Jacoby, an artist and activist, is organizing the second annual Vagina Festival, and if you live near New York and are reading this blog, you should definitely check it out. 

Vagina Festival will feature over 30 visual and performance artists presenting a wide variety of works including comedy, dance, music, painting, performance art, plays, poetry, and video. The aim is to create a comfortable and creative space in which to consider sexuality, body image, personal identity, health, and well-being. The Festival is an outgrowth of Alexandra's photography project, Vagina Verite, "an unabashed exploration of the plain, ordinary, mysterious matter of vaginas." Works from this project will be on display.

Vagina Festival takes place at Sage Theater in Times Square, NYC, October 24-26, 2008. See the website for program schedule and ticket information. Tickets go on sale October 1, 2008. While Vagina Festival is for and about women, it warmly welcomes men. For additional information about Vagina Festival, contact Alexandra Jacoby at alexandra at vaginafestival dot com or visit

Personal note: I presented at and attended the first Vagina Festival, held in a downtown gallery. It was a warm, ecletic, stimulating experience. This year sees a tremendous expansion of the Festival, thanks to many amazing volunteers, some of whom I met recently. I also met some of the artists, all of whom seemed outrageously smart and talented. I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Donations Now Tax-Deductible! We Have Fiscal Sponsorship!

Fabulous news, people. Thanks to the good folks at the Harm Reduction Coalition, who have agreed to be our fiscal sponsors, donations to the Fertility Awareness Center are now tax-deductible!

-If you think Fertility Awareness has value and should be (much) more widely known,
-If you think women (and men) are not being informed of all their reproductive health care options (with respect to both birth control as well as pregnancy achievement),
-If you think sex is better when you don't have artificial hormones coursing through your blood or chemicals in your yoni,

...then put your money where your heart is. Any amount is appreciated and will help us to carry out our mission. If you're tired of looking at that shabby website we've had forever, help pay for the new one! If you want me to be able to attend the first Fertility Awareness conference to be held in North America since 2006, help me buy the plane tickets! If you want to make sure there is always someone to answer the phone when someone is rural Idaho wants to learn more about Fertility Awareness, help pay for that service!

Making a donation is easy, and we will send you a receipt for your taxes. Please make checks or money order payable to HARM REDUCTION COALITION and (this is very important!) put FERTILITY AWARENESS CENTER on the memo line. Send your donations to:
Fertility Awareness Center
PO Box 1190
New York, NY 10009-1190


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Troubling Aspects of Assisted Reproductive Technology, Part 2

Chances are, you wouldn't want to date your half-sibling. But what if you didn't know s/he was related to you? If you were conceived with so called "donor sperm," i.e. sperm that your mother had purchased, you would have no idea who your siblings were. And you might have a hundred of them. Or two hundred. Should any one man be allowed to have that many offspring? From a genetic standpoint, it's madness. From an ethical standpoint, it's also pretty crazy. But of course ethics have little if any place here, in the wild wild west of assisted reproductive technology. A young man "donates" (i.e. sells) his sperm, and women and couples from all over the world have the opportunity to buy it. Usually, anonymity regulations prevent purchasers, and their children, from learning the identity of the donor. But as one child said in a recent BBC documentary about the children of donors, "He signed those agreements, I didn't." Recently, thanks to the internet, families that are related by donor have been able to connect, via online registries. This documentary, entitled "The 66 Club" tells the story of one such extended family, and the complexities that surround this new type of relationship, which really has no precedent in modern society. As this is a podcast, I can't post a direct link, but if you go to this page, and scroll down to "The 66 Club," you'll get to it. This is a really interesting podcast series, btw, consisting of documentaries produced by the BBC on a wide range of topics, usually socio/political stories in countries outside the UK. They run about 20-25 minutes long.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pathologizing Your Period

Does PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) exist? What about PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder)? The makers of Prozac, and men who think women are inherently unstable, have a vested interest in making you think they do. Charters, weigh in: do you get (more) nuts before your period? I've long thought so called PMS was mostly about blood sugar becoming more unstable, and women needing to eat healthfully and more regularly in the days before their periods. But I recently read a study that showed that blood sugar did not vary during the cycle. One study is one study, but still, it made me wonder. I also think caffeine plays havoc w/moods, especially when one is premenstrual. If those last few days have you reaching for your shotgun, spend a few months (yes, it takes a few months) drinking Fair Trade decaf and see if you don't feel better. 
Ms. Magazine | Pathologizing Your Period | summer 2008