The Purple Fig http://thepurplefig.com Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:57:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 How Do I Live Normally After An Eating Disorder? http://thepurplefig.com/how-do-i-live-normally-after-an-eating-disorder/ http://thepurplefig.com/how-do-i-live-normally-after-an-eating-disorder/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:51:25 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7343

The moment I put on my dream wedding dress, I cried tears of disappointment and frustration. It was exactly as I had pictured, with a corseted top that tied like a ballet slipper in the back, shiny white beads on the front, and a flowing, silky train. The dress wasn’t the problem. It was how I looked in it, which was far from what I had envisioned. My arms no longer looked delicate and fragile. The dress hugged my curves, curves that I didn’t have just months ago. Every girl imagines how she will look in her wedding dress one day, and over the years, my vision of myself in my dress had come to be a vision of someone with a supermodel’s lithe and boney physique.

“You look beautiful,” my mother said, thinking I was crying tears of joy. In that moment, I knew I still wasn’t “better.” I thought I had recovered, and I thought this meant I’d love the way I look.

I hate that my eating disorder tainted this precious moment that I cannot have back. I use this hate to empower myself.

Today, five years later, I think I’m “normal.” Well, as normal as any young female in a body conscious world can be. But every day remains a challenge for me. The eating disorder voice that I had thought was gone is with me even today as I contemplate having children. “You’ll become fat and hideous,” it says.

I have gotten better at ignoring this voice. Post eating disorder, it is possible to eventually lead a “normal,” healthy life. The advice I have for accomplishing this doesn’t come from dieticians and therapists, though their advice helped. It has come from fighting my greatest enemy, and winning, every day of my life.

Step One: Kick Butt

I was kicked out of my outpatient program for refusing to gain weight. I was a rehab rebel, and I was proud that I was too sick for them.

Today, I satisfy my taste for rebellion by fighting against the fragile form my body once took. I do not run, because I used to run 6 miles each day obsessively. It was part of my drug. Instead, I take self-defense classes, where fragility only hinders success. Today, I proudly have muscles.

I leave self-defense class having satisfied my irrational need to exercise regularly, which still haunts me every day. Fortunately, I have turned this compulsion into

something that enables me to feel like I can protect myself—from an attacker, from my negative thoughts, from relapse.

Step Two: Eat ice cream with your salad

In treatment, I needed a perfectly balanced menu in front of me to tell me exactly what to eat. But today, I have no limitations. By eating healthily, I am able to satisfy my urge to eat foods that feel “safe” like whole grains, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Then I allow myself treats, because I have come to accept the pleasure and peace in food. I get excited to go to the grocery store, because once, I would not buy myself any food that I had wanted. Then again, I also used to tell people that I hated ice cream. As my dietician once said, “No one hates ice cream.”

Step Three: Check out

That’s right, check out of the world we live in when you need to. While eating dinner with my family at one of our regular restaurants, a waitress who had seen me at my sickest told me that my cheeks now looked chubby. This was right after recovery, and it sent me into a tailspin. I refused to eat my meal.

I also remember opening my clothing drawer one morning, and realizing it was filled with size 00 jeans. I tried them on, hoping desperately that I could squeeze into just one pair. They wouldn’t fit over my legs. I had to buy new ones, and I was embarrassed to look for a size other than 0.

Back in my post-treatment days, I also weighed myself each evening. Today I can’t, because my dietician stole my scale. In one fell swoop, she walked into my house and just took it. At the same time, she covered the mirrors in my house and took my 00 jeans, knowing I could not bear to part with them myself.

Not everyone has someone to do this for them as they recover their true identity. So do it for yourself. Today, comments about my weight still don’t roll off of my shoulders. But I’m proud that my cheeks aren’t sallow. I don’t own a single pair of “sick” jeans, and accept whatever size I need to wear. I still don’t weigh myself, and I feel peaceful that way. These are all forms, for me, of pushing away the world: ignoring comments about your body, even if they hurt, ignoring pressure from friends and family to wear a small size, and refusing to judge oneself by a number. We need to be active in our own universe, of course. However, there are days when the voices and the pressure to assign a number to ourselves can be too much. We can’t stop these things. We can distance ourselves from them.

I have been “better” for seven years now. They say the average recovery takes seven years. I still don’t feel recovered. It’s too strong a word. I instead measure my success by the mirror. Where once I stood in my wedding dress and cried at the disappointing sight, today I stand in front of my mirror and smile. If I don’t like what I see, I stand in front of the mirror until I do. I like to think that now, even though I’m not a stick; even though I eat ice cream; and even though someone thought I had chubby cheeks; I would feel beautiful at my wedding.

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I Am a Feminist and I Watch Porn Made For Men http://thepurplefig.com/i-am-a-feminist-and-i-watch-porn-made-for-men/ http://thepurplefig.com/i-am-a-feminist-and-i-watch-porn-made-for-men/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7328

The first time I watched porn was in a college dorm room surrounded by seven other first-time- away-from-home freshmen. We giggled at the sight of the nudity, the cheesy saxophone music, the awkward dialogue. We felt a small thrill at watching something our parents would have banned. Was anyone turned on? If they were, they weren’t apt to admit it.

Porn is described as a “man’s world,” “chauvinistic,” and “exploitive.” When it came to my own exploration in the world of porn – a lonely, frustrating night when my own imagination just wasn’t doing the trick – these words rolled through my head as I set my browser to Private View. A novice to the world of porn, I started with a simple Google search. When that brought me to videos and photos of men ejaculating into women’s faces and girls being hogtied, I quickly started my search anew and typed “porn for women.” This led me down a rabbit-hole of what I can only describe as stereotypical feminist porn. Most of the sites were fictional narratives written the way someone would expect Jane Austen to write a sex scene. Even the videos were fairly tame, mostly clothed, and just plain boring.

I went back to the hardcore sites; the ones where women were being tied up, the men allowed to do what they wanted to them. Women bound to beds, hanging by their wrists from the ceiling, gagged and unable to speak. I felt a mixture of horror and disgust and a feeling I wasn’t expecting: arousal. I began diving deeper and deeper into these sites, searching words like “bondage” and “submission.” I was alone in my apartment, but I felt the eyes of all my female friends and strong feminist idols upon me, judging me, telling me that what I was watching was wrong. And the fact that I was getting aroused? Sinful. I imagined Margaret Thatcher slapping me across the face and revoking my feminist card.

What does one do when the thing that turns her on is so fiercely contradictory to her everyday morals? Here I was, a self-proclaimed, loud and proud feminist, daring society to not see me as an equal, to not give me equal pay, to think they had more right to my body than I do. I walk around with “I am woman, hear me roar!” practically tattooed on my forehead. And yet I was turned on by the act of being submissive to (and at the very mercy of) a man. A cloud of shame formed over my bed every time I set my browser to Private.

I tried to come up with a way to give these images and videos a feminist spin: She’s only being tied up because she wants to be tied up. She’s in control here and the guy(s) are only doing what her sexual fantasy desires. It didn’t help. A thousand doubts flooded my mind about my own beliefs. Did this mean I secretly wanted a husband to submit to? Did I not want to strive to be at the top of my field? Did I want society to tell me what I could and could not do with my body?

No. I wanted none of that. I still wanted the right to choose whether or not to have a child. I wanted to be respected for my thoughts and opinions and not be dismissed as “just a bitch” if I was ever too adamant. I was still annoyed when someone referred to poor physical form as “girl push-ups” or “a girly throw.” I wanted to be equal to men in society and in the workforce and not be judged if I chose to not have children. I was still a staunch feminist even if my libido wasn’t.

I finally voiced my concerns to a close friend. Again, Angry Margaret Thatcher rolled through my head. I waited for my friend to tell me I was sick and that these urges were wrong. Instead she said that my arousal made some sense. It’s the things that feel “wrong” and “dirty,” she said, that can turn us on the most. It’s because they are so taboo that they can bring the greatest thrill. She said that for someone who lives their life being strong and independent, perhaps the thrill for me was shedding that self and becoming the exact opposite in bed. It didn’t mean I was any less of a feminist or that I was spitting in the face of all womanhood. It just meant that I was human, I had urges, and to put it simply – what turns you on, turns you on. And besides, didn’t I want to be treated equal to men? If a man didn’t need to feel ashamed for watching this type of porn, should I just because I am a woman?

No, I shouldn’t. I like to believe Margaret Thatcher would agree.

Also published at The Huffington Post

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How A New Nail Polish And Group of Students Are Leading the Way for Sexual Assault Awareness http://thepurplefig.com/how-a-new-nail-polish-and-group-of-students-are-leading-the-way-for-sexual-assault-awareness/ http://thepurplefig.com/how-a-new-nail-polish-and-group-of-students-are-leading-the-way-for-sexual-assault-awareness/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:00:54 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7136 The recent backlash against the anti date-rape drug nail polish developed by four students at North Carolina State University has paved the way for a larger conversation on sexual assault and rape culture.

Tyler Confrey-Maloney, Stephen Gray, Ankesh Madan and Tasso Von Windheim are all the co-founders of Undercover Colors, a line of nail polish which aims to prevent sexual assault through chemistry.

Newsweek.com reports that the nail polish will be able to detect traces of common date rape drugs which could be slipped into a drink, including Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB. While Undercover Colors is still crowd-funding, promoting and raising awareness about its upcoming product, the nail polish itself has already been the subject of curiosity and controversy. The product hasn’t hit shelves yet or been tested, but has already caused a sensation.

Critics wonder if the nail polish will be able to target the root of the rape crisis. A recent article on popular website Mashable.com described the concept as an “ideological mine field” in its headline, with disbelievers wondering if the nail polish can fully protect women from rape. Another question is if the product, targeted toward women, will be helpful for men as well.

In a recent column for the National Post, Robyn Urback wrote “The problem is that while we wait for “society to change,” people are still slipping drugs into other people’s drinks.” This is sadly true, as sexual assault and rape cases will continue to take place.

In a recent case at Columbia University, student Emma Sulkowicz has made headlines for carrying a mattress everywhere she goes on campus in an attempt to raise awareness of her case. The visual arts major was raped in her sophomore year at Columbia. Her rapist is still present on the university campus.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), about 38 per cent of rapists are known to their victim as a friend or acquaintance, while 60 per cent of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.

The ambitious nail polish, which is still in the stages of being marketed, has upset those who believe the product is not useful. However, it is also true that the team behind Undercover Colors is part of the solution, and not part of the problem. As young men who have taken an initiative to develop a controversial and possibly helpful new product, the four students behind Undercover Colors are doing their best to assist with a crisis.

It may just be nail polish. It may just be an idealistic dream. However, by creating a unique beauty product which changes colour once the wearer dips a finger into a potentially dangerous liquid, Undercover Colors is at least proposing a solution. It isn’t entirely up to these four young entrepreneurs to change the world, rewire our society or ensure that the terrifying rape crisis is completely resolved across university campuses and urban areas.  

This is a team which deserves encouragement and support, instead of criticism and disapproval. After all, their proposed idea is an early step in a positive direction, one finger at a time.

Photo Source: undercovercolors on Instagram 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enough With Social Sharing and Self-Promotion If Only For a Day http://thepurplefig.com/enough-with-social-sharing-and-self-promotion-if-only-for-a-day/ http://thepurplefig.com/enough-with-social-sharing-and-self-promotion-if-only-for-a-day/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:00:02 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7274 So, to say the blogging world is a new landscape in 2014 would be a vast understatement. It’s different than even four years ago when I contemplated starting a personal one about the joys and crap storms of new motherhood. Just having graduated from a writing program and trying my hand at freelance, I held back on the urge to join blogspot. In fact, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel like my journey was all that interesting or more important than anyone else. I couldn’t imagine talking about myself THAT much. And who would really connect with it anyway? 

Fast forward to today when I attended a conference for style and lifestyle bloggers, I’m astounded at the pace at which blogs have exploded into these massively well-oiled machines fuelled by a steady flow of self-promotion, affiliate links, SEO expertise, networking, paid content and traffic.  I know this already, of course, as I run my own site and I understand what drives traffic, attracts advertisers and I get the importance of consistent social plugging. But man oh man. Being in that beautiful, huge room, watching people click away and tagging. Heads down. Phones pointed. Even myself. I hashtagged the shit out of a few situations.

I just thought, Enough Already

Enough. 

Seriously. 

I do appreciate what the internet age has done for artists. It has given us an audience. It has provided us with instant publication and a connection to the people who are kind enough to give their time and energy to our work. There is just a piece missing sometimes when you have to think about the marketing and business of it all. It takes the artist out of the chair for a moment. 

I long for those hours when I’d sit around dingy tables in dimly lit rooms discussing Virginia Woolfe with people who had written entire thesises on Woolfe. I didn’t really understand why they thought she was so clever, but their passion for her prose intrigued me. I listened to them because they were passionate and engaged with their obsessions.

During workshops, my grades were given based on the amount of thought and effort I’d put into my writing; not that it was ‘liked’ by random people or shared with other networks. It didn’t matter if it was ever published. It just did not matter.

Yes, they wanted us all to be published. At some point. Some day. But in those rooms, we studied the art of being present with our theme, our point and getting to the very bottom of what we wanted to express.  There was no Twitter. No Instagram. Nobody was clicking away at the front cover of The Sun Also Rises and pinning it to their ‘genius board’. And thank all the good in this world, the room was void of Facebook sharing frenzies about the achievement of completing each chapter.

Now, you’re thinking that maybe I graduated in 1982? Nope. It was 2010. I was a mature student. And yes, social media was up and running. But the thing was, I went to a liberal arts school in Manhattan where people took writing very seriously. They took reading very seriously. If you were on your phone during class, you were a douche. 

I just want some of that authenticity back. I crave to have the urgency to create without the thought of where it will go. I want to write without promotion. I’d love to share without the fear that what I’m saying is no more unique or compelling than the 352 other bloggers talking about their feelings. 

I sound harsh. I know I do.

So I also have to illustrate the absolute brilliance of being in a room with 300 designers, writers, entrepreneurs to fully encapsulate the inspiration that I’m left with at the end of this day. The woman who created the event is a do-er. I love women who go out and do, and she is clearly one of those people. She really is my hero and a total rockstar from where I’m sitting. 

There were so many people just ‘out there in the world’ today. They didn’t sit at home and wonder about that conference that they should have gone to. They went. They want to make their brand better. They want to write better. They want to vlog better. They inspire me. I feel a wealth of new ideas and viewpoints from just chatting with some of them. 

At the end of the day, I just wish we could all pull it back a little. Go back to wherever it was that we started. Go back to the coffee shops we used to sit in writing for hours without noticing the sun had gone down. Go back to creating beautiful things because whether three people see it or 10,000 see it, we would still do it the same way.

I say we #fuckit and put our phones down and write/create, audience or not, and go back to the headspace that inspired us in the first place. 

 

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Why Support For Parents Raising Autistic Or Special Needs Children Is Essential http://thepurplefig.com/why-support-for-parents-raising-autistic-or-special-needs-children-is-essential/ http://thepurplefig.com/why-support-for-parents-raising-autistic-or-special-needs-children-is-essential/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7282 The shocking case of Kelli Stapleton, a 46-year-old mother and blogger who often wrote about her experiences with parenting an autistic teenage daughter, is an unbearably sad story.

On September 3, 2013, the Michigan-based mother tricked her daughter, Issy, who was 14 years old at the time. Stapleton had packed two charcoal grills into the family’s van, and convinced Issy that they were heading on a camping trip.

Instead of a fun-filled adventure at a campground, the only journey in mind was a sad, shocking trip to the hospital. According to NBC, Stapleton lit the two charcoal grills in the car. Both Issy and her mother were later discovered in the vehicle in an unconscious state, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. They both eventually made a full recovery, although Issy was in a coma for four days in hospital.  

The horrifying attempted murder of Issy Stapleton brings to mind the numerous challenges of parenting autistic children, and children with developmental delays, mental illness or physical handicaps. While raising a son or daughter with special needs is certainly an enormous challenge, how far will a mother go to escape her family situation?

People.com reports that Stapleton described her time in county jail as “better than the jail of autism” in an interview on The Dr. Phil Show.

There is no excuse for Kelli Stapleton’s crime, even the uncontrollable and at times violent behaviour of her 14-year-old daughter. Lucky, the teenager recovered and has been reportedly doing well since last year’s chilling case.

However, we wonder if a greater number of resources for parents of special needs children would help to reduce cases like this one. There are now approximately 1 in 68 cases of autism in children. According to Autism Speaks, boys are five times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with autism. The condition can cost a family up to a staggering $60,000 a year. With demand for programs for young autistic adults, at-home caregivers, group home placements for more severe cases and greater funding for after-school or summer programs, families need increased support.

In the United States, the Affordable Care Act and Autism and Related Conditions allows young adults up to the age of 26 to remain covered under their parents’ health insurance. While any type of financial support is helpful, it’s also the level of emotional and mental stress that takes a toll on these parents.

In Canada, Autism Speaks Canada offers grants to organizations which support families who have been personally affected by autism spectrum disorders. According to a Toronto Star story from April, there are currently over 21,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and autism on waiting lists for support services in Ontario alone. That number is far too high, and the chances of every person receiving support is far too low.

As for young Issy Stapleton, we’re glad that she has made a full recovery. Hopefully, time will help this devastated family heal emotionally, long after the physical wounds have disappeared.

Photo Source: thestatuswoe.wordpress.com

 

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N.F.L. Star Adrian Peterson Does Not Deserve A Second Chance After Child Abuse Scandal http://thepurplefig.com/n-f-l-star-adrian-peterson-does-not-deserve-a-second-chance-after-child-abuse-scandal/ http://thepurplefig.com/n-f-l-star-adrian-peterson-does-not-deserve-a-second-chance-after-child-abuse-scandal/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:14:07 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7291 Picture a 6’2 professional football player, beating a four-year-old with a stick until the little boy is left with blood all over his body.

While it may sound like a scene from a horror movie, this is sadly the awful truth behind the Adrian Peterson child abuse case. In May, the 29-year-old running back for the Minnesota Vikings beat his four-year-old son with a switch. The blows from the wooden stick left the child covered in painful welts, bruises and cuts, which were still shockingly visible a week later.

Corporal punishment is a controversial matter, but this vicious physical assault on a defenseless young child is not discipline. It falls into the category of abuse, which is certain to lead to an endless cycle of violence.

On September 12, Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse as a result of the horrifying May incident. However, CBS News reports that the Vikings have reinstated the N.F.L. star and allowed him back on the football field. Peterson is set to play a game at New Orleans on September 21, despite the charges. 

What’s troubling is the fact that Peterson believes a simple apology can resolve the situation and undo the harm he’s inflicted upon his young son. 

Peterson posted this Bible quote on Twitter after his indictment:

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 Photo Source: Twitter

He has also issued an apology, describing himself as “I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without doubt, not a child abuser.”

After this scandal has come to light, we believe this public apology should be corrected.

Peterson is not a perfect son. He is not a perfect husband. He is definitely not a perfect parent, but he is also, without doubt, a child abuser.

 Featured Photo Source: Twitter

 Also published at The Huffington Post

 

 

 

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What’s Happening in the Media This Week http://thepurplefig.com/whats-happening-in-the-media-this-week/ http://thepurplefig.com/whats-happening-in-the-media-this-week/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:06:03 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7263 From the second video in the horrifying Ray Rice domestic violence case to the Duchess’ second pregnancy, it’s been a past-faced week in the world of news. Whether the conversation has been on abusive marriages or on male birth control, the theme of safety and security is a trending topic. We’re also inspired by the ever-elegant Julianne Moore in her two latest roles at TIFF, and can’t wait for women to ride home in style thanks to the She Rides cab company. Here’s a look at 5 major events in the headlines this week:

  • Second video of NFL star Ray Rice beating his wife, Janay Rice, surfaces: While the thought of Rice’s brief two-game suspension earlier this year was horrifying enough, we were shocked to see footage of the Baltimore Ravens star punching his then-girlfriend into a state of unconsciousness. This is one of the most disturbing accounts of violence against women we’ve ever seen.  

  • Kate Middleton’s Second Pregnancy Is Announced: Kate Middleton’s second pregnancy was announced to the media on September 8. Prince William and the Duchess’ second child will also be in line for the throne, in fourth place behind big brother Prince George.
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  • Male Birth Control Is Set to Hit the Market in 2017: You read this correctly, we may one day have another option for all the men who are looking for an alternative to condoms. Vasalgel, a gel injection, is expected to hit the market in 2017.

Parsemus_Home_Vasalgel

  • The SheRides taxi company offers rides for ladies’ only: The New York Times reports that SheRides, a taxi service with exclusively female cab drivers which will only serve female passengers, will hit the roads on September 16.

taxi she rides

  • Actress Julianne Moore is a superstar at TIFF 2014: If you’re a major fan of the timeless red-haired beauty, you’ll be happy to know that Julianne Moore starred in two films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. As Dr. Alice Howland, she plays a professor and mother who is struck by early onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice. The movie co-stars Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart. In the David Cronenberg-directed flick Maps to The Stars, the actress is a sensation as leading lady Havana Segrand.

Julianne Moore in Map to the Stars Trailer:

 

Watch this powerful ad reminding us all to keep our eyes on the road:

 

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New Male Birth Control Vasalgel Set To Enter Market in 2017 http://thepurplefig.com/new-male-birth-control-vasalgel-set-to-enter-market-in-2017/ http://thepurplefig.com/new-male-birth-control-vasalgel-set-to-enter-market-in-2017/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:46:10 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7239 In a world of condoms, female condoms, the birth control pill, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and spermicide, Vasalgel is the newest contraceptive innovation to find its way into the headlines. As a less permanent option to a vasectomy, Vasalgel will block the flow of sperm during sex.

Currently being developed by the Parsemus Foundation, the male birth control injection is set to arrive in 2017. While its expected launch is still three years away, the much-debated procedure is already making a splash in the world of sexual health.

Described by the Daily Mail as a “polymer hydrogel”, the drug will be injected into the vas deferens (area above scrotum) with a goal of blocking sperm. The procedure is also set to be most likely reversible for those who want to switch back to condoms, or eventually have children.

The Parsemus Foundation reports that Vasalgel is based on RISUG®, another polymer contraceptive which is currently being tested through advanced clinical trials in India. RISUG® has been available to Indian men who are participating in the clinical trials for over 15 years. The foundation is currently looking for funding to advance their latest product, Vasalgel, to the next step of clinical trials before placing it on the market.

While Vasalgel has currently been animal-tested on rabbits and baboons, the next step will be a “pivotal monkey study” before aiming to crowdfund human testing of the injection.

It is interesting how quickly the news and the eager acceptance of Vasalgel have spread across the Internet. When the birth control pill was first introduced in 1960, the 54-year-old oral contraceptive had more than its fair share of critics.

Vasalgel is already on the receiving end of hype. The question is, what type of reaction will men who decide to take Vasalgel receive? Will they be ridiculed or discouraged from using a revolutionary contraceptive, similar to women in the 1960s who first took the Pill?

We may have to wait until 2017 to find out if this gel injection will be welcomed with open arms, suspicion or a combination of the two!

Photo Source: Parsemus Foundation 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The NFL Has Insulted Victims of Domestic Violence http://thepurplefig.com/why-the-ray-rice-leaked-video-brings-awareness-to-domestic-violence/ http://thepurplefig.com/why-the-ray-rice-leaked-video-brings-awareness-to-domestic-violence/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:40:07 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7217 In February, 27-year-old Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on camera dragging his unconscious girlfriend Janay Palmer out of an elevator. The couple had been having an argument at a hotel in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, a lot of us have seen this footage.

When more footage was discovered this week showing the NFL football star punching Palmer, who quickly dropped to the floor, the Ravens decided to terminate Rice’s contract. The NFL has also banned Rice from football.

According to the CBC, the decision to dismiss the football player was made after a meeting with head coach John Harbaugh, president of the team Dick Cass and the Ravens’ general manager Ozzie Newsome.

I’m sure we are all thinking the same thing. Why wasn’t Rice’s contract terminated when the first video surfaced back in February? Wasn’t his behaviour cold and violent enough?

Initially, the NFL gave Rice a two-game suspension on July 24, which seems like a punishment for the sake of publicity. Not only was the brief suspension unfair to the victim, his wife Janay Palmer, it is also an insult to all the women who are victims of domestic violence each year.

Although she married Rice this summer and remains insistent that their relationship is a private matter, Palmer is clearly a victim. The 26-year-old mother of the couple’s two-year-old daughter, Rayven, has suffered from both a domestic assault and the stress of being in the public eye.

Unfortunately, Palmer is just one of the many victims of violence against women. However, it took her brutal story to attract the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama, countless media outlets, and her social media followers on Instagram.

Palmer’s response also raises warning bells and brings battered wife syndrome to mind. She posted a quote on Instagram, blaming the media for the uproar over the two videos. She angrily states that “THIS IS OUR LIFE”, but the truth is, this is not a lifestyle worth living.

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Domestic violence is not a new issue, it is not a social media issue and it certainly is not a sports issue. Yet, the Ray Rice case has been trending on social media and making headlines since the new footage was released.

Just two weeks before the updated Ray Rice case came to public attention, 34-year-old Australian mother of four Anthea Mari was murdered at her home in Brisbane on August 26. Mari had been a victim of domestic violence for 15 years. However, her case received limited media coverage. The DailyMail reported that before her death, Mari was involved with a Catholic support group for domestic abuse victims called Micah Group.  

Anthea Mari suffered in a troubled and violent relationship for 15 years. While it only took seven months for the complete Ray Rice case to arise, Janay Palmer’s wait has also been far too long. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, about four in five victims of intimate partner violence from 1994 to 2010 were female.

This isn’t Ray Rice’s story of fame to public shame. It’s the story of Janay Palmer, Anthea Mari and the many faceless women who have suffered through the same tale.

Sadly, the NFL could have used better judgment from the moment the first video was released to the public. The original two-game suspension seems like after-school detention or a fleeting time-out in the corner, a small price to pay for what should be an incredibly adult crime.

 Photo Source: Instagram

Photo Source: Instagram 

 Also published at The Huffington Post 

 

 

 

 

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Why Do We Care So Much About Kate Middleton’s Second Pregnancy? http://thepurplefig.com/kate-middletons-second-pregnancy-proves-that-motherhood-and-fame-are-a-media-issue/ http://thepurplefig.com/kate-middletons-second-pregnancy-proves-that-motherhood-and-fame-are-a-media-issue/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:54:25 +0000 http://thepurplefig.com/?p=7205 When news of the Duchess of Cambridge’s second pregnancy was announced on September 8, the Internet immediately exploded into a flurry of excitement.

In the nine months to come, we can expect endless media coverage of 32-year-old Kate Middleton’s baby bump, maternity wardrobe and morning sickness.

According to the BBC, William and Kate’s second child will be fourth in line to the throne. While any pregnancy is a joyous occasion and a reason to celebrate, the media will not allow this to be just another pregnancy.

In the months leading to the birth of royal baby Prince George last July, the Duchess’ royal pregnancy quickly became a highly public affair. With constant speculation on her weight gain or loss, high-end maternity wear and personal health, the media revealed its obsession with the glamourized image of pregnancy.

What about the other face of pregnancy, the one which is rarely discussed? According to Hope Exchange, anywhere from one in three to one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. In Canada alone, 7.1 out of 1,000 births were stillborn, as of 2009.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 800 women die each day as a result of causes that stem from pregnancy or childbirth. There is also the fact that a staggering 99 per cent of these deaths take place in developing nations.

Who is sharing the tales of these women, as they are no longer here to share their own unhappy endings? There is no fairy tale for these deceased women, and certainly no media coverage of their pregnancies under incredibly different conditions.

The royal fascination with Kate Middleton’s newly announced pregnancy isn’t a unique situation. Duchess of Cambridge or not, she is just another woman aiming for a healthy and successful pregnancy.

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It just takes a fleeting glance at Instagram or Twitter to fully understand the dominance of celebrity culture in pregnancy and motherhood. 

On September 4, former Jersey Shore reality star Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi shared a candid photo of herself posing with her two-year-old son, Lorenzo, as he kisses her baby bump. The 26-year-old is expecting a baby girl in October. Instantly, the reality star’s fans began liking and commenting on the Instagram photo.

Where are the “Likes” and comments for the hundreds of pregnant women and new mothers in developing nations, who are also searching for support, encouragement and empathy after a life-changing experience? 

Although the life of a former reality star is greatly different from the life of a royal, both of these examples demonstrate how celebrity culture pushes a specific idea of pregnancy into the spotlight. It is easier to discuss Kim Kardashian’s latest baby outfit for her young daughter North West than it is to read statistics on miscarriage. A struggling underage mother in a developing nation is a distant issue, while the Duchess represents luxury and sophistication in the face of pregnancy.

However, it may be time to ask for a balance and listen to the 99 per cent of pregnant women whose voices we have not yet heard. These women may not be A-listers or royalty, but their unique stories should matter to us just as much.

Photo Credit: @hellocanadamag on Instagram

Photo Credit: US Weekly 

 Also published at The Huffington Post

Read pregnancy stories from TPF contributors 

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