Art & Culture



Saturday, November 11, 2017

How To Finally Get Your Damn Menstrual cup In. . . . . Because FUCK Twirling

Picture this: Squatting in a bathroom stall like a chicken about to give birth, trying with all your might, and then some, to force a small slippery silicone cup into the deep recesses of your bleeding, cramping, and pretty angry vagina. Getting PTSD style flashbacks of pure, unadulterated frustration and hatred? You’ve arrived at the right place.
Welcome to the wonderful world of menstrual cups! This edition: How the FUCK do I get it inside me?
The current instructions surrounding the Divacup center around 5 key principles:

  1. 1. Fold
  1. 2. Hold
  1. 3. Insert
  1. 4. Seal and Rotate
  1. 5. Remove
  2. Let’s concern ourselves with steps 1–4 which are seemingly straight forward because, honestly, removal is its whole own blog post.
    There are two types of folds. The U-fold (shown first) and the push-down fold, which I refer to as, the ‘triangle’ fold. 
See? It's totally a triangle
In an ideal world, you hold it between the thumb and forefinger pretty much like a tampon, insert it “straight back toward the tailbone”, slip it inside, give it a twirl. 
A "twirl" they said

it pops open, and you’re good to go. Simple right?

...but then why are you here?
I don’t know about y’all, but here is my first experience following the directions:
I folded the mentsrual cup, into the ‘triangle’ fold, sat down on the side of my tub, lady free bleeding into the void, inserted it just a bit, and got to my favorite part, the twirl. I honestly don’t know why the instructions refer to the motion they want us to accomplish with the cup as “a twirl”, because it’s not. The motion is more of a crank, which is in no way comfortable.
more of a crank, really 
As soon as it’s in your vagina, if there’s any sort of moisture on the cup, you will realize that it is slippery. There is almost no way to twirl anything because you need a serious grip on it and getting a slippery object to rotate in a tight space while avoiding certain unwanted scenarios involving your cup and the unsanitary flooring or toilet bowls is difficult.

This is an example of what you don't want
Instead of getting stumped and running up against the ‘WHY IN THE UNHOLY F*^! CAN’T I CONTROL MY OWN VAGINA AND ITS CONTENTS?!” issue, skip this awful time of trial and error and follow these instructions.

  1. Wash your hands. You’re putting them all the way in your vagina. They should be clean, or you can infect yourself. Point blank. Also, don’t leave soap residue as this can also irritate the vagina.

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2. Always use the “triangle fold” or the “push down fold.” To the “U fold” users, I honestly don’t know how you manage it. You guys are the golden unicorns of the menstrual cup world because when I tried it, I found that the edges of the cup actually bow outwards and make the whole thing slightly larger and more of a hassle to insert.
put your thumb over the red arrow
Pro tip! Don’t even hold it the way they tell you to! Put your thumb over the area with the red arrow, and grip the sides with your remaining fingers.

      3. Always use lubricant. Yes, the cup is slippery when wet. Yes, this can make it a pain to insert. You’ll just have to woman down, and get a good grip on it, because it still needs lube. Lubricant just makes the whole process run more smoothly, as I will explain soon.

Do NOT waste your time on the damned "twirling"
I cannot stress this enough; the “twirling” is a falsehood that will waste your time! Reclaim it now and don’t bother. Actually, my hack here is pure genius.

      4. So, now that you’ve got it into the “triangle fold” and have your thumb in the right place, insert the cup into your vagina until your thumb is touching your lady parts. Now, press down on the bump with your thumb until you feel the cup completely open up. Then, AND ONLY THEN, do you insert the cup the rest of the way in. WHEN IT’S ALREADY OPEN AND THE SEAL HAS ALREADY BEEN CREATED. This is why the lube is important. It helps you glide that sucker up there, after it’s all the way open.
The last part is finishing up. Yes, there are some finishing tips! These are just to make sure you get minimal leakage and your cup is properly situated. Trust me, the most annoying thing in the world is to go through all of this, only to realize the dang thing is misplaced. Then, you’d have to go through the separate hassle of getting it out (explained in another post ladies) and RE-inserting it. No, thank you!

     5. Make sure your cup is all the way in. You will can start to encounter some resistance once the cup is almost inside, especially if you have problems relaxing (a relaxed vagina is key with using a menstrual cup)

The little nub on the end
You will know the cup is all the way in once you’ve relaxed and you can no longer feel the little nub on the end outside of your vagina. After it’s all the way inside, you want to make sure your cup is fully open, which is step This is NOT done as per the instructions by “running your finger around the outside of the cup”. It’s almost like these instructions were made by a person who THOUGHT they should work but, and didn’t actually have a vagina to and test it out on.

You can actually do this by completely completely relaxing your vaginal muscles, and doing some hip openers. Not kidding. Relax yourself and get back into the bird-laying-an-egg pose (that ugly squat we do when no one is looking.) and just wait on it. You will know the cup is fully open, if it wasn’t already, because it will feel like an umbrella opening in a cramped hallway but, you know, inside of you.

There you have it! An entire article dedicated to making sure that your menstrual cup (whichever one you picked) is able to comfortably fucking function without frustration and anger inducing episodes on your toilet. All jokes aside, I truly TRULY love my menstrual cup! Making the switch to menstrual cups has really changed my life, honestly. It’s great for really heavy periods, great for saving money on menstrual products, even though I still use liners and pads sometimes but, it really cuts down on how many I buy. Honestly, as gross and corny as it sounds, using a menstrual cup somehow managed to teach me amazing things about my body and “my lady”.

If you somehow got to this article because you are thinking of making the switch and not because you are incredibly frustrated with the insertion process, I wholeheartedly say go for it! The literal ONLY draw back to menstrual cups that I can see, is that they DO have a learning curve to get everything situated properly and it’s a little strange and difficult to learn. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be less intimidated by your new menstrual cup or the idea of it and just jump on the this bandwagon of money saving, menstrual cup using, vagina templars!

-A. Smith

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What We're Watching: Gabourey Sidebe Directorial Debut With Tale of Four

Gabourey Sidibe. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Gabourey's new film, The Tale of Four, brings us into the lives of four Black women: Saffronia (Megan Kimberly Smith), Sarah (Ledisi Young), Peaches (Aisha Hinds), and Sweet Thing (Dana Gourrier). If these four characters sound familiar, it’s because they were drawn from the 1966 Nina Simone song, Four Women, and like the classic, The Tale of Four tells the story of multi-faced black women fighting for justice.
Gabourey's film was released in partnership with Refinery29's Shatterbox Anthology – a film series that gives 12 women directors the support to tell stories through the female lens. 

She uses Nina Simone’s timeless narrative to addresses the harrowing complex realities of the black mothers, daughters, and undaunted revolutionaries fighting back against police brutality and the epidemic of mass incarceration today.
In an interview with Refinery 29, Gabourey shares exactly why she chose to speak on these issues:
"As I do with most things I’m afraid of, I talk about them, make them audible, hoping that addressing the fear will alleviate it. That’s what the film is about: addressing it, saying it out loud, and hoping that through sharing my fear and my outrage that it will cause more outrage and more fear."
The film merges narratives from female activists, sexual assault survivors, and children of imprisoned mums and the most poignant thing about is that the film resonates as a portrait of contemporary American society still infected by the same racism, cruelties and prejudices against black people that Nina Simone sang about over 50 years ago. We really hope that things will finally start to change.
The cast of the short film also includes her Empire co-star, Jussie Smollett. The Tale Of Four premiered to rave reviews this past June at the Nantucket Film Festival. Watch The Tale of Four below.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Podcast Spot Light-Queer Woc Podcast: How to Set Boundaries In Intimate Relationships

📸 via IG: @stokeskennedy and the photo was taken by Gerry Maravilla.

An important lesson I learned late in life was the need for setting boundaries. Healthy boundaries were non-existent for a lot of my life. I assumed people would know how to treat me based on how I treated them, which has often proven to be false. Boundaries with intimate relationships were often an afterthought, but are presently a top priority in the many relationships I build with people currently.

While listening to the Queer WOC podcast during their Mental Moment with Money segament . One of the Co-host Montique, also a licensed therapist,  gives four tips for creating healthy  boundaries and sticking to them, and also explains why these steps are essential for firm boundaries in romantic relationships. This was great information that many people may use, here are four tips for creating healthy boundaries in intimate relationships. 

  • Recognize your own feelings and take time to name the boundary. This is essential in the process of creating healthy boundaries. I myself have a very hard time acknowledging the validity of my feelings, which always results in a boundary not being created. I'm the queen of the brush off; that being my default emotional setting for my life, has been detrimental for many of my relationships. This step os very important to me.
  • Convert that feeling into a boundary and write it down. Use those feelings to guide you to create that boundary. If I don't want to revisit those feelings I will construct a boundary as a preventative measure for myself. Also, writing them down makes the boundary real, and  gives you something to reference when you revisit where you wrote them. In the age of receipts, this will keep you in line and hold you accountable to the boundary you created for yourself. 
  • Recognizing when that boundary has been crossed and naming it. This part is just as important as naming the boundary. This is where you show the person you're in the relationship with the boundary you need to be acknowledged. I have an issue with being ignored, so when I communicate I expect my partners undivided attention. People will always test this, and it's your job to clearly make the line known, and enforce it not being crossed. 
  • Get Grounded. This is the part I plan to use  more often in my life going forward. Usually when a boundary of mine is crossed, It triggers an array of emotion and disorder. Money suggests doing things that make you feel grounded so you don't react in negative ways. She suggests deep breathing, focusing on a color you like, eating something crunchy and focusing on the sound. All things to help you get to the other side of that emotion so you may solve the issue of your boundary being crossed in a more productive way. 

If you want more Mental Moments with Money, be sure to subscribe to her podcast currently on Apple Podcast, Soundcloud and Google Play. Also take a listen here 

What are some ways you create and keep healthy boundaries in your life. 
Let us know in the comment section below!

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Message:Pay Attention to The Widening White-Black Wealth Gap

An amazing message about the wage gap among Black and white families, and why they exist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What We Hope Brands Learn From Dove

Image result for dove ad

Over the weekend Dove released a  three-second GIF, that featured three women, each removing her shirt to reveal the next. There's one part of the GIF that was alarming, a Black woman removing her shirt and revealing a white woman,  which had many calling Dove racist, all calling to Boycott Dove. For many, it brought back a time when Black people in the USA where use as racist punchlines in lots of advertising in the soap industry. 

Dove has also been known to use language that is extremely tone deaf (no pun intended) on the labeling of its products, such as "from normal to dark skin"  because naturally, the opposite of normal is dark skin.  this isn't the first time social media called out Dove on their advertising foolishness.

On Saturday, Dove — owned by Unilever — apologized, writing on Facebook: “Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity. In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused.”

Personally,  I didn’t understand the dove soap issue, but I’m all for people finding reasons to buy products by Black people. So either way, I was happy to see people seek Black own businesses they rather give their money to. Also, I critique everything sold to me, my money doesn't come easy so whether a good claim or not, being critical of companies is important. Seeing the full ad or not, we now know (or hope)  Dove knows not to be careless with Black imagery, you just can’t be. It’ll cost you, and that’s a great thing.

Bcbg Max Azria Group, LLC

All the “y’all race baiting” people make no sense and don't understand the overall critique of the careless use of Black imagery. It also shows how many Black people aren’t in these companies making these crucial decisions in advertising. The lack of diversity is the most evident issue here. Diversity would've given space for someone to tell, them "don't post that, you will be dragged" 
So, many may think it’s about crappy ass soap but it’s not. It’s about you, their Black consumer being an afterthought. Cause why care

Also, why is everyone up in arms at people for dragging Dove? A rich ass company that’ll be alright? All capitalistic structures that carelessly use Blackness should be dragged, daily. Who we dragging next?

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Let's Stop Silencing Dark Skin Women's Reaction To Fenty Beauty

The discussion surrounding Fenty Beauty is exhausting. I'm so sick of people silencing dark skin Black women. It sparked a conversation that

1) Needed/needs to be had and
2) Continues covering a concern many have spoken on for entirely too long.

Why should they have to ALWAYS be the ones to wait for their tones to finally be out? It'd be different if this wasn't a common issue, but it is, and to see those who are constantly speaking on inclusivity regarding all shades and hues telling dark skin Black women to be quiet and be happy? Nah, man, this is a fucking problem, and we know that because it spans outside of online [social media]. This fills the ENTIRE industry.

Steve Madden

We got fashion models bringing their own foundations to give "pro" makeup artists before a runway because rarely do they have their matches. None of this is brand new and we're fully aware of that, even those who've had a problem with the discussion circulating lately. The entire beauty industry deserves critique in all areas, be it race, colorism, hair texture, body types, ableism, ageism, etc.

This isn't a conversation we should be running away from. This isn't a conversation we should be silencing those who are marginalized. I know, personally, I'm excited to cop something from Fenty Beauty. But we can be both excited and critical.

This mess has gotten so far as to ppl posting gifs of a mentally and physically disabled person to mock another for requesting representation. I'm not exaggerating when I say people have gone too far in the name of stanning. It just isn't worth being that damn cruel.

By @xchemoni 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

30 Ways To Get Over Heart Break and Heal Correctly

It's difficult  navigating heart break and healing in a way that doesn't leave you jaded. What's most important is, the other side of heartbreak is freeing and gives you the tools to grow. Also, the lessons you learn from heartbreak can help you make better choices, and create higher standards for your next relationship. The ups and downs of a heartbreak can literally feel like a roller coaster, with twists,  turns, and sudden drops that you feel in the pit of your stomach. There are ways to get to the other side of this with a healthy heart, here are 30 ways to get over the heart break and heal correctly.

  1. Cry, cry a lot and don't hold back. 
  2. Self-Inventory, what should you keep and what should you leave behind in you love style 
  3. Make a bad bitch playlist 
  4. Revamp your look 
  5. Pray 
  6. Workout 
  7. Start doing things alone 
  8. Go to a restaurant with a kind of food you never ate before 
  9. Busy yourself with things that'll make you a better person
  10. Relearn yourself 
  11. Dance 
  12. Start journaling 
  13. Masturbate 
  14. Buy a new comforter set for your bed 
  15. Delete their phone number 
  16. Embrace all the emotions, even the bad ones 
  17. Eat your favorite ice cream 
  18. Be honest with yourself about why it's over 
  19. Meditate 
  20. Delete the text thread both of you share 
  21. Watch a lot of feels good comedy movies and TV shows 
  22. Delete their photos 
  23. Sing 
  24. Fast from all negativity 
  25. Take a solo trip 
  26. Learn a new recipe 
  27. Hang out with people that make you feel good 
  28. Change your hair 
  29. Create a project and finish it 
  30. Trust the power of time 

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 

Follow Queen 
Twitter @TheQueenSpeaks_
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tips To Build Your Self Esteem and Be The Best You!

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As we grow and evolve, and become the women we want to be, our confidence and self-esteem are continuously challenged. The many things that make us special are also the tools used to challenge your existence in society. The world can be tough, and often times drains ones sense of self. 

As the the term self care becomes more contemporary it's important that many of these practices become part of our everyday. Actively working on things that fulfill your self-esteem is the best self care you can treat yourself to!

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  • Traveling is a great way to get exposed to new experiences. It also challenges your independence. Learning about new places, cultures and neighborhoods that aren't your own; especially in places where people don't speak your native language. If traveling abroad isn't in your budget, start small with weekend trips and places right outside your city or town. 
  • Living alone, helps improve your confidence and self esteem. Making your own adult decisions, paying your own bills is a huge self esteem booster.
  • Learn a new hobby or take on a new project, challenging your self and completing a goal will instantly boost your self esteem, and strengthen your sense of accomplishment. Small life changing projects like creating a budget for yourself, paying off a credit card, or training  for a marathon are great ways to start. 

    • Recognizing threats to our self esteem, being in environments that are sexist, racist and full of micro aggression contributes to hurting your esteem of self. It challenges you in an unhealthy way, and also makes you question your abilities when it's actually the hostile environment influencing your feelings. These are outside of you not within you; try your best to eliminate these factors from your life
    • Volunteer! Being of service to the world is an instant self esteem booster. Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. 
    • Develop or deepen your spiritual or religious practice, explore what feels good to you, try  new things, feeling connected to a hire power, or a thing that is bigger than you can help with life perspective and definitely will help your confidence
    • Journaling or meditation. Engage in some kind of regular practice that gives you time alone with your thoughts apart of our voices becoming lost or small based on things outside of us. Getting more acquainted with your own thoughts and your own perspective can help you become grounded and help your self esteem greatly.
    • Develop healthy connections and finding yourself in affirming and validating environments, relationships and friendships. The company you keep, and your everyday environment has a huge impact on your self esteem as well. 

    By Queen 
    Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
    Follow Queen 
    Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

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