2015 Cultural Beacons: Amy Schumer, Frances Barden …

2015 Cultural Beacons: Amy Schumer, Frances Barden …

Inspired by the roundups that appear this time of year, it seemed only fitting that the Finally Heard / Silent Sorority blog and its readership weigh in. Let’s put our heads together and make a 2015 list of standouts. The contenders? New cultural beacons, particularly women, challenging conventional wisdom. Where to look? We’ll cast a wide net. They can be found either in real life society or portrayed in TV series, books or films.  I’ll get us started with my top five cultural picks. First up category… All Around Awesome…

Comprenez-Vous? Oui. We Understand Each Other

Comprenez-Vous? Oui. We Understand Each Other

On so many levels society today seems remarkably chaotic. Misunderstandings, loaded labels and dark suspicions are rampant. It seems we can all benefit from taking a step back and recalling some of what we share in common. Let’s look at the universality of confronting fertility challenges — both the personal as well as societal response. Some experiences transcend language and culture. This blog alone has had 54,604 unique visitors from 167 countries in the course of five years.  During that time one thing has remained clear: there is no easy…

Here’s Why You Don’t Have To Be A Mother To Be A Loving Woman

Here’s Why You Don’t Have To Be A Mother To Be A Loving Woman

Five years ago we made history. On September 28, 2010 Silent Sorority earned an award in the media capital of North America — New York City. There I was amid an unusual mix of a few celebrities, fertility industry sales people, clinicians, health advocates and RESOLVE representatives. In my acceptance speech I managed to hush a room of 300+ people by declaring that there is more than one ending to the infertility story. I recall my words took people by surprise. The audience — and most of society — were…

Pope Francis: Let’s Not Promote Further Prejudice

Pope Francis: Let’s Not Promote Further Prejudice

I get the appeal of a world where there is no gray — only  black and white. When there’s only one way there’s no pesky thinking required. The only problem is we live in a complex world where ‘choice’ isn’t always what it seems.  And that’s where things get muddy. Amid the rash of stories this past week with headlines condemning those of us who are not parents: Pope Francis: ‘The choice not to have children is selfish’ * Couples Who Choose Not to Have Children Are ‘Selfish,’ Pope Says…

Infertility Community: A Microcosm of Society Misunderstandings and All

Infertility Community: A Microcosm of Society Misunderstandings and All

It has happened again. ‘It’ being a misunderstanding of perspective and tribal affiliation that flares up periodically within the infertility blogosphere. While all who take part in this blogging community identify at some level as ‘infertile’ there are many shades of grey here. I first experienced this awkwardness nearly eight years ago when I started blogging. A spin through the community blogroll reveals various permutations, categories and identifiers. (I, for one, have long chafed at the labels ‘childfree’ or ‘childless.’ It seems absurd to define who I am using ‘child’…

Gather Round Women: So You Need Some Help With Your ‘Mommy Problem’

Gather Round Women: So You Need Some Help With Your ‘Mommy Problem’

With an impish look on his face my husband innocently asked if I’d read The New York Times opinion section recently. Minutes later — with the requisite cartoon steam coming out of my ears — I was harrumphing my way through Our ‘Mommy Problem.’  I could also be heard grumbling and exclaiming loudly: Finally figured out what I’ve been writing about since 2007 did you…? Besides both having nearly unpronounceable last names, the op-ed author, Heather Havrilesky, and I do not share a lot in common with our current ways of…

‘Fess Up. What Are Your Blind Spots?

‘Fess Up. What Are Your Blind Spots?

So there are real blind spots (see the test above) and then there are social blind spots. This (fill in the blank) kind of life – good. That (fill in the blank) kind of life – not good We begin, at a very young age, to develop social blind spots, certain ideals. We embrace a set of narratives. We build upon them as we acculturate further and find comfort in their accompanying assumptions. To wit, I came across a reference to this book: “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People” in…

Customers or Patients? What Happens When Doctors See Markets Not People

Customers or Patients? What Happens When Doctors See Markets Not People

This week marks a year since Miriam Zoll and I authored The New York Times op-ed “Selling the Fantasy of Fertility.”  The piece, which has since been nominated for a 2014 EMMA Exceptional Merit in Media Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus, had a wide reach and generated lots of discussion about the unregulated “fertility” industry. Our op-ed also raised questions about whether doctors and scientists, joined by entrepreneurial business partners, were putting profits ahead of the well-being of those purchasing expensive, sometimes experimental medical services. There is a lot of…

Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

Blogging From Bed: Is That Acceptable?

It’s past 10 am on a Thursday. I’m writing this blog post in bed. Acceptable or unacceptable? On any typical Thursday my answer would be unacceptable.  Not allowed, missy!  However, I awoke this morning with stitches and pain emanating from my lower left calf.  I softly adjusted my position and gave myself permission to take it easy. This shift minimized the pressure on the troublesome limb — the one that was the focus of a three-hour Mohs surgery yesterday. The stitches will be in for two weeks. All that will…

“The No-Baby Boom” Nails Cultural Shift and Gloria Steinem Rocks On at 80

“The No-Baby Boom” Nails Cultural Shift and Gloria Steinem Rocks On at 80

It was easy to walk a little taller on Sunday. Why? I had just consumed, back to back, articles on women fearlessly tackling stereotypes and unabashedly breaking molds. It was as though a light was switched on as I read, illuminating just how dramatically society has shifted in the past 50 years — in particular in the way that women have come to identify and define themselves. First up, Gail Collins’ piece in The New York Times on Gloria Steinem, This Is What 80 Looks Like. Collins notes that “Steinem…