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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

Feminism

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This Is Us

On the twee language of pregnancy and motherhood

Closeup shot of an person holding a sonogram in front of their pregnant belly.
Closeup shot of an person holding a sonogram in front of their pregnant belly.

Like many areas of life, pregnancy has its own jargon. In corporate America, we think outside the box. In the tech world, we’re all about seamless integration. In pregnancy, we inquire about Baby. Not the baby. Not your baby. Just Baby, like this is Dirty Dancing. We might ask who else is preggers, or if there are any other preggos in the house. We request bump pics. We provide encouragement with Mama, you got this!

It’s embarrassing to admit, but one of the things that always put me off the idea of becoming pregnant was the language. I felt the…


This Is Us

This common phrase is hurtful to all women — even the mothers who are saying it

Black and white photo of a mother kissing her infant.
Black and white photo of a mother kissing her infant.

In mid-January, I was scrolling through Instagram and stopped to watch a clip Ashley Graham had posted from a video she made to celebrate her son’s first year of life. It was emotional and beautiful and sweet, but the video included a sentiment that seems to appear in so many new mothers’ lexicons: “People tell you, people will try to explain it to you, but you don’t know love until you have a child of your own…”

I felt the same thing I always feel when I hear people say things like that — a genuine pain in my chest…


Lived Through This

I felt nothing. So I headed to my desk for another busy day of browsing online sales and waiting to die.

A folded “Female equals future” shirt, jeans with a phone in the back pocket, white canvas shoes, nail polish, and an iPad.
A folded “Female equals future” shirt, jeans with a phone in the back pocket, white canvas shoes, nail polish, and an iPad.

I was running two hours late to work on the day I figured out I was really, truly, finally about to get fired. The whole “two hours late” thing wasn’t, like, an eerie portent of doom or anything. I had been pushing my start time back later and later for months until I was here: waking up at 9:30 for a job that started at 9, then finally swanning into the office at 11, with big black sunglasses and a giant takeout coffee, like I was a glamorous drug addict rock star instead of a writer employed to churn out…


This Is Us

Society asked me to take a man’s name. I didn’t want to.

20 years ago

I got married! I am 20 years old. I replace my family name with my husband’s without a thought. Two become one—how romantic.

15 years ago

Back in university at the age of 25, and after birthing two beautiful children, I explore self. I realize I have come to dislike my married name. It is unbeautiful. Most people mispronounce it, and when they get it right, it sounds like “grunt.” I miss the meaning of my old name, “summer field.”

I also begin to learn about patriarchy—through my classes and at home. The men in my husband’s family are unlike the men I…


Past Is Prologue

An analysis of astronauts, the French revolution, and the future of space exploration

As part of the near-constant onslaught of new things releasing everywhere all the time, Disney+ recently released a new adaptation of The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe’s seminal 1979 saga about the Mercury Seven and the sociopolitical context that buoyed them to greatness. The Right Stuff was originally adapted into a three-hour film epic in 1983 that remains widely regarded as one of the best Space Race-era movies ever made. The folks at Disney+ seem to have felt that, once again, it’s time to revisit an unquestionable American triumph — the beginning of victory in the Space Race.


This Is Us

The cultural norms around miscarriage are not serving any of us well

Black-and-white photo of a person sitting on a toilet, covering their face with their hand, elbow resting on their thigh.
Black-and-white photo of a person sitting on a toilet, covering their face with their hand, elbow resting on their thigh.

Not so long ago, talking about pregnancy was considered indelicate. Acknowledging a woman was pregnant meant acknowledging women have sex and, well… heaven forbid. We talk a little more openly about sex and pregnancy now, but we still rarely talk about something that can often happen next—pregnancy loss. We’ve never been comfortable with women and death, women and blood, women and something outside of living childbirth.

I think the thing that surprised me the most about my own miscarriage is perhaps the thing that should have been the most obvious about it. It was a work of loneliness. I didn’t…


Planet Soul

Essential oils, herbs, healing — this is who we are

Two hands holding a sprigs of fresh lavender.
Two hands holding a sprigs of fresh lavender.

Everybody wants to be a witch. Well, every woman.

Oh come on, you with the 75 bottles of essential oil in your kitchen drawers. Don’t even try to argue with me.

This is how I know, if you were curious. The essential oil phenomenon is a dead giveaway. Those MLM companies packaged it brilliantly — just a few drops of “natural healing,” a teaspoon of “aromatherapy,” and a dash of “energetic properties,” and voila, you’ve awakened a deep, primal instinct in women.

This is what we do. This is who we are.

It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are —…


Humans 101

What many thin people refer to as ‘internalized fatphobia’ is a different side of the same coin

A marble statue of a thin woman looking off to the side, angrily and mistrustfully. The statue stands in front of lush ferns.
A marble statue of a thin woman looking off to the side, angrily and mistrustfully. The statue stands in front of lush ferns.

I know that you have learned to hate your body.

I know the messages, the images, the comments, both cruel and well-intended. I know the sinking feeling of seeing your changing body in the mirror, the sharp pain as your clothes dig into newly soft flesh.

I know it hurts, and the pain can sometimes feel immeasurable. I know it is tempting to validate that pain by asserting that you are the intended target of an oppressive system. I also know that, if you have never been a fat person, the name for that pain is not “internalized fatphobia.”

Internalized…


This Is Us

I always wanted to be her, but now I’m not so sure

Black and white horizontal photo reel of writer’s photobooth pictures.
Black and white horizontal photo reel of writer’s photobooth pictures.

When I think about The Before, I see myself getting ready to go out. I’m sitting at my desk, in front of my mirror, with a glass of Trader Joe’s rosé to my right. I’m freshly showered, shaved, and moisturized. I’ve applied various hair products and blow-dried my curls. I hurriedly did my nails before showering (always black), so they’re a little smudged. I’m doing my makeup now, hoping that I’ll get my eyeliner right on the first try.

Then I’m picking out my outfit: miniskirt, sheer blouse with a lacy black bra underneath, black boots. I relish in this…


This Is Us

Why redefining masculinity has become an urgent necessity

Multiple exposure shot of a man moving around.
Multiple exposure shot of a man moving around.

I am often shocked by how often I hear people — woke, feminist women, in fact — use the language of toxic masculinity. We say we want to topple the patriarchy, and yet we are sometimes quick to weaponize it against men.

From these women, I still hear expressions like, “Grow a pair!” or “Nut up!” When a man crosses a boundary, he’s often met with a dig about his penis size, instead of a firm, “That’s inappropriate — now get the fuck away from me.”

As a woman, I do have to throw a little mercy at my sisters…

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