Ever feel like you have no idea what to make of the media's coverage of China? How do we separate truth from xenophobia? What does it mean to be "tough on China?" And how do we look beyond news reports and politics to see the nuance inherent in a nation of 1.4 billion?
This episode of Femtastic features Dori Jones Yang, an expert who has spent her entire career helping Americans better understand China.
Dori helps us separate fact from fiction and see China for what it is: not a monolith, but a complicated, imperfect, impressive, and wildly resilient nation.
She explains China's place in the geopolitical environment; what they got wrong and got right about coronavirus; the good and the bad of China's powerful central government; American diplomatic policy towards China (past, present, and should-be-future); and what to make of China's rise.
Jones Yang's new book, When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China’s Reawakening, tells of her experiences as a young foreign correspondent in China during the 1980s, a time marked by the both the euphoria of a post-isolationist China and the despair of Tiananmen. Learn more and find her memoir wherever books are sold.
Imagine if you could easily get your birth control over-the-counter, just as you do with other safe, effective medicines like Tylenol and cough drops. Today's guest is Aisha Chaudhri, a reproductive justice advocate and leader of the Contraceptive Justice Project at EverThrive Illinois, who is working to increase access to comprehensive contraceptive care - including by making oral contraceptives available without a prescription.
In this episode, Aisha discusses why more methods of contraception should be made available over-the-counter (OTC) and the reasons why the United States is one of the few countries in the world where they are not already (hint: it's not for any scientific reason).
Aisha explains how increasing the availability of OTC methods of contraception creates greater equity in healthcare by increasing financial and physical access to these medications, and allowing people to care for themselves outside of a clinical setting and regardless of insurance status. Aisha tells listeners what they can do to help make OTC oral contraceptives a reality in the US.
Robyn Gigl is a transgender attorney and activist focused on protecting and expanding the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. In this interview with Katie Breen, Robyn describes the impact the Trump administration and recent Supreme Court rulings had on LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination protections, and what she sees as the legal (and political) challenges and opportunities ahead as we head into the Biden administration. Robyn describes her own experience of transitioning as a transgender woman in 2008, when she was in her 50s and a managing partner in a law firm she had worked at for 30 years. Lastly, she offers thoughtful advice on how heterosexual and cisgender people can be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community.
Visit Robyn's website to learn more about her and to preorder her upcoming novel, By Way of Sorrow, available on March 30, 2021.
In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and Trump's nomination of judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the resulting vacancy...we have a lot to discuss.
Lawyer Kimya Forouzan revisits Femtastic to talk to host Katie Breen about the significance of Amy Coney Barrett's nomination. What are her potential paths to appointment? Is there anything we can do about it? Why is her role on the court so concerning? Is Roe v. Wade doomed? Find out all this and more.
Resources from the show:
How do we change not only the stereotypes of who is a scientist, but the systems themselves that have created and perpetuated these stereotypes? Katie discusses with the hosts of the Webby-nominated Dope Labs podcast, Drs. Titi Shodiya and Zakiya Whatley.
Dope Labs isn't your typical science podcast because Titi and Zakiya are not your "typical" scientists. In fact, these two black women scientists are on a mission to break the mold of what we think of as a "typical" scientist.
The Duke University-trained PhDs created Dope Labs to empower those who are most often left out of scientific fields: women and people of color. The hosts bring their whole selves to exploring scientific questions, bringing a Black lens and a penchant for pop culture to make science relatable and fun. This is reflected in their broad range of topics, such as astronomy, "cuffing season," why the concept of biological race is a lie, and vibranium (the fictional metal from "Black Panther").
On today's Femtastic Podcast, Titi and Zakiya explain why it's so important to speak about science in a way that anybody can understand and how they want to empower people of color to bring their whole selves to scientific careers. They also talk about how we must strive beyond the goal of mere "representation" of people of color in science and instead think about how we create systems and cultures that allow marginalized people to have the power, freedom of expression, and respect that majority groups get by default.
"For us, it’s just about having folks feel like they can show up as their for-real selves to their slice of the scientific community, and not have to change themselves or hide parts of themselves because they feel like it will be something that holds them back in their career."
The Supreme Court of the United States just released long-awaited decisions on two highly consequential reproductive rights cases. In June Medical Services v. Russo, the court weighed in on whether states can enact a specific type of sham law to limit access to abortion care (TLDR; they said not *that* type of law but others might be cool). In Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the court decided whether your (yes, your) private employer or university can deny coverage of birth control based on their religious or moral beliefs (spoiler: yes, even if you don't work for a religiously-affiliated organization). Suffice it to say that these two decisions have HUGE implications for reproductive rights in the United States. On the podcast to break it all down is attorney Kimya Forouzan, a legal fellow of reproductive rights law organization If/When/How who is currently working within the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF). Kimya explains what happened in these cases and what it all means for our reproductive rights moving forward.
RESOURCE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:
For anyone with questions or concerns about their birth control coverage, particularly in light of the decision in Little Sisters of the Poor, the National Women's Law Center (who worked on the amicus brief for the case) runs a free hotline called CoverHer to help triage any birth control insurance coverage questions.
Amidst all of the COVID-19 news, one thing you may have missed: anti-choice lawmakers have been seizing upon the opportunity to use coronavirus as an excuse to enact abortion restrictions. Femtastic host Katie Breen speaks with Ravina Daphtary of abortion rights organization All* Above All about the methods lawmakers have been using to use COVID-19 policies to restrict abortion access. They also discuss how the issues of racial injustice, COVID, and reproductive rights are all tied together - and how those intersections are playing out in current events.
Want to learn more about the Hyde Amendment? Listen to Femtastic episode #21: "How the Hyde Amendment Harms Women" from November 2017, featuring Morgan Hopkins of All* Above All.
In the wake of #MeToo and several high-profile sexual harassment cases in the news, many of us are left wondering...what can we do if we think we're the victim of sexual harassment or gender discrimination at work? What options do we have? How do we protect ourselves AND our careers? Attorney Vince White joins Femtastic Podcast to help guide us through these questions. White is a partner at a NYC law firm specializing in sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. In an interview with Femtastic host Katie Breen, White details what sexual harassment and gender discrimination may look like, what options victims have for both non-legal and legal recourse, and what they may expect from the process. White also talks about how #MeToo and Trump's election have changed the makeup of the clients that seek his help, and how his field of law still has a long way to go in terms of the gender makeup of its attorneys and adequate representation of transgender clients.
Sometimes, your kids get on your nerves. But how parents respond in those situations is incredibly important to their children's development and their own mental health as parents. Hunter Clarke-Fields is a mindfulness mentor, host of the Mindful Mama podcast, and author of the new book "Raising Good Humans." In an interview with Femtastic host Katie Breen, Hunter shares how parents can teach themselves practical mindfulness skills so that when their kids inevitably press their buttons, they can respond in a less reactive and more loving way. While this is obviously great for kids, Hunter also explains how in a world with ever-increasing pressure on parents to be "perfect," getting out of the reactivity-guilt cycle is a lifeline for parents too. Hunter likes to ask, "Can we love ourselves into being better parents?" The answer is yes.
Caitlin Blunnie started publishing her art as @liberaljane on Instagram in 2016. She has since gained a huge following by creating art that serves as (literally) colorful social commentary on issues of bodily autonomy such as abortion rights, queer liberation, and justice for survivors of sexual trauma.
Katie Breen interviews Caitlin on Femtastic to discuss how she got involved in "art as activism," what inspires her, how to support other artist-activists, and how to get involved in activism of your own making (artistic or otherwise).
Katie Breen interviews Farah Melendes, the first-ever Political Director for the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA). As the head of campaign services for the organization in 2018, Farah supported DAGA’s success flipping four AG seats blue, keeping eight open seats blue, and reelecting six incumbents. On the podcast, she discusses how DAGA succeeded in electing the most diverse group of Democratic AGs in history, their recent 1881 Initiative to elect more women AGs, how DAGA became the first Democratic campaign committee to require candidates be pro-choice in order to be eligible for endorsement, and why it's so important that AGs reflect the diversity of the populations they serve. Farah also offers her advice for women interested in becoming involved in politics.
The Student Coalition for Reproductive Justice (SCRJ) exists to advocate for the reproductive needs of students at Catholic colleges and universities. Katie interviews SCRJ co-founders Lauren Morrissey and Christina Frasik about the ways in which Catholic colleges limit students' reproductive health and freedoms. Learn how SCRJ mobilizes students on Catholic colleges across the country to demand their administrations do more to protect the reproductive health and autonomy of students.
Hendrika de Vries lived in Amsterdam during five years of Nazi occupation during World War II. On the podcast, she tells the story of how her idyllic childhood changed overnight when the Nazis began their occupation in 1940. Her strong, determined mother risked their lives by hiding a Jewish girl in their home - until Nazis kicked down their door and dragged the girl out from her hiding place at gun-point, sending her off to a concentration camp. Hendrika describes how her own feminism was shaped by witnessing the resilience and power of women during wartime. Women like her mother, who fought for what was right and went to heroic lengths to keep their families alive during a winter in which 20,000 Dutch died from starvation and cold - and millions of Jews perished in concentration camps. She tells Femtastic listeners what we can learn from her story during a time of rising hatred and bigotry, and why she has hope for the future.
Fans can read more about Hendrika's story in her newly published memoir, When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew.
Meika Hollender is the co-founder and president of Sustain, a brand of all-natural, vagina-friendly period and sexual wellness products. Meika chats with Femtastic's Katie Breen about what made her want to start what was initially a condom company, how she is motivated by "the orgasm gap" in male vs. female sexual pleasure, and why it's so important that the products we put into the most absorbent parts of our bodies are free of harmful chemicals. She also discusses how activism is central to everything Sustain does (like their part in making New York the first state to mandate ingredient lists for tampons!), and why she believes a sexual and menstrual wellness company can be a beacon for change in the reproductive wellness space.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Week, Femtastic discusses how trauma can impact lives in the long term.
PTSD used to be thought of as a "soldier's disease," but in 2019 it's finally getting recognition as an ailment that can affect anyone who has been through an extremely stressful life event.
Katie speaks with Karen Stefano, author of the memoir What a Body Remembers: Sexual Assault and its Aftermath. Karen tells the story of the assault she survived while she was in college during the 1980s; the emotional anguish and PTSD she suffered in the days, months, and years after; and how the process of seeking justice was re-traumatizing. She also offers hope - discussing the ongoing ups and downs of her healing journey and offering advice on how to reach out for help and move forward in the wake of trauma.
If you or someone you know is struggling, there are people available to help:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK (8255). Available any time of day or night, 365 days a year, this toll-free helpline AND online chat service has trained volunteers standing by to provide crisis intervention, to offer support for people in distress, and to give information and referrals to people with suicidal thoughts, PTSD, depression and in other mental health crises.
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673) or online chat will connect you to a local sexual assault service provider in your area. Trained staff can provide confidential support and connect you to local resources.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233).
Marika Lindholm is one of the editors of a new anthology “We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor." The book chronicles the journeys of more than 75 solo moms from a variety of diverse backgrounds: some are single parents by choice, some by circumstance, some gay, some widowed...you get the picture. It even includes a story from Amy Poehler! Katie interviews Marika about the ways that it's both easier AND just as hard to be a single mom today than in prior generations, how people who are single parents by choice face their own unique set of challenges and stigmas, and ways that we as a society can help support solo moms - interpersonally AND via public policy.
Marika is the founder of an online community for solo moms called ESME.com - Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere. Most recently, she wrote about the psychological challenges faced by solo mothers in Ms. Magazine, in a piece called Moms Need Wide-Ranging Mental Health Care.
An excerpt from the piece demonstrates the topics Marika touches upon on Femtastic Podcast:
"Until we acknowledge and grapple with the significant social challenges to maternal mental health, moms will continue to suffer higher rates of depression, anxiety, exhaustion and PTSD than the general public. We must ensure that mothers get the support they need to understand the structures that make motherhood so psychologically disempowering.
Maybe then we will find the strength and will to fight for a society that frees mothers from socially harmful behavior, judgments, and expectations that keep our families from thriving."
Katie interviews Maddy Sands about the struggles that new parents encounter with breastfeeding—and how the solution to the problem is a community one.
Breastfeeding is described as the “most natural thing in the world,” but many parents come home from the hospital to find it’s not the innate skill it was billed as—and our lack of discussion of how hard breastfeeding can be leaves parents feeling guilt, shame, and frustration when it does not, it turns out, come naturally. Maddy is the director of Help Me Feed, a foundation focused on supporting new parents with breastfeeding. She understands that for new parents to meet their breastfeeding goals (while feeding their babies and maintaining their sanity), they need skills-building, advice, and support that is personalized to them. Maddy details the insights from new parents which led HelpMeFeed to design an innovative new app that creates an on-demand, professionally qualified community of support for parents, at no cost to them. It’s normal to struggle with breastfeeding, but in our connected world there’s no reason scalable solutions shouldn’t exist so that new parents don’t have to navigate these challenges alone.
Prior to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal in the United States. The court's ruling was, in part, influenced by the hundreds of women dying yearly from dangerous, illegal abortions. A discussion of the hazards of outlawing abortion is unfortunately timely, as a spate of recent abortion bans in the United States means that millions of people are or soon will be without access to safe, legal, and accessible abortion. Katie Breen interviews Patricia Eagle, author of Being Mean: A Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival, about Patricia's experience with abortion prior to its legalization. Patricia recounts her desperation to terminate the unplanned pregnancy she experienced while at the University of Texas in 1971, and the grim tale of the illegal and dangerous abortion she received in a dimly lit, private home in Denton, TX. Patricia's story exemplifies the lengths to which people will go to have abortions, legal or not, and discusses how her experience informs her views today that abortion must be legal and accessible to all.
Katie speaks with Jenna Brown, the queer doula behind Love Over Fear Wellness & Birth. They discuss what it means to doula for queer folks, what clinical and personal challenges queer pregnant people may encounter in the birth process, and ways that healthcare workers (and really, all of us!) can better care for queer parents. Jenna provides fantastic resources for queer AND non-queer parents-to-be, including why and how to hire a doula for childbirth, and where to find their new work-book, Queer + Pregnant: A Pregnancy Journal.
Katie Breen speaks with digital health expert, Katie McMillan, about what exactly is "FemTech" and why you should know about it. If you are someone who has biologically female body parts, you might benefit from the huge array of new FemTech products and services out there that can help you to better understand, control, and manage your health - whether that means periods, infertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, or something else! Katie McMillan walks us through it all and calls out the most exciting companies making waves in the field of female digital health.
In this special Oscar's edition of the Femtastic podcast, Katie speaks to law partner in civil rights and employment, Kalpana Kotagal, about one of the most Googled terms following last year's Oscars: inclusion rider. Kalpana - one of the co-authors of the inclusion rider - discusses what an inclusion rider is, how it works to increase diversity in Hollywood productions (on-screen and off), and why it comes up in the discussion of #MeToo. We also discuss ways that anyone (including you!) can make a difference to promote diversity in their workplaces, even when they don't have the leverage of a Hollywood A-lister or c-suite exec.
Have you heard of egg freezing? Katie talks to Jenny Lannon, co-founder of Freeze.Health, a resource that helps women decide if, when, and how to freeze their eggs.
Maybe you aren't ready to get pregnant now because you're focusing on your career, or you haven't found the right partner yet, or you have an illness that can affect your fertility. Egg freezing might be an option so that you have a better shot of becoming pregnant when the time is right for you. Jenny explains the reasons people may decide to freeze their eggs, what the process is like, and where to start if you're curious about if and how you need to preserve your fertility.
You probably know about the gender wage gap, but have you ever thought about the gender health gap? Katie again welcomes to the podcast Priti Krishtel, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, an organization using patent law to increase global access to medicines. Priti explains the ways in which women (yes, even you!) are disproportionately harmed by the high prices of drugs and healthcare, and what this means for us as we get older and need to rely more and more on the healthcare system. For example, did you know that a quarter of the twelve highest-grossing drugs in the US treat conditions that primarily affect women? This includes breast cancer drug Herceptin, which comes with a yearly price tag of over $60,000! Priti discusses the damage that high drug prices inflict on women's health, and how you (yes, even you!!) can take small steps to help lower drug prices for all.
Katie speaks with Priti Krishtel, co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, an organization that uses patent law to fight high drug prices across the globe. Think patent law doesn't affect your life? Think again. Chances are, at some point in your life, you've been prescribed an expensive medication that did not have an affordable, generic equivalent. That's patent law at play.
Priti discusses how pharmaceutical companies abuse the patent system to keep drug prices high, how it's possible to increase global access to affordable and life-saving medicines by restoring integrity to the patent system, and what YOU as a layperson can do to help bring drug prices down at home and abroad.
Katie interviews Gerda Larsson, cofounder and managing director of The Case for Her, an impact fund that invests in for-profit companies and organizations that work on women and girl's health. Gerda discusses what an impact portfolio is and how it operates, why she and her cofounders began The Case for Her and decided on an impact investing model, and what types of initiatives the fund is investing in around the globe now. Gerda and Katie discuss the fund's focus areas of menstruation, female sexual pleasure, and menopause, and how lifting social taboos surrounding these topics has humanitarian and economic impact. Gerda also gives advice on what simple, everyday steps people can take if they want to advance women's equity but don't know where to start.