'Black Widow' Highlights the Tragedy of Forced Sterilization

We heard it referenced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) told Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) that she could never conceive children because her tyrannical spy/warrior training program in Russia forced sterilization on its members. “In the Red Room where I was trained... where I was raised, they have a graduation ceremony. They sterilize you. It's efficient. One less thing to worry about. The one thing that might matter more than a mission. . . "

Britney Spears Speaks Out on Coercive IUD, Working Conditions, and Putting on a Smile for Social Media

Britney Spears alleged in a court hearing this week a significant amount of coercion at the hands of her conservators, including her father Jamie Spears. Spears’ strict guardianship-type arrangement, which has been in place since her mental breakdown over a decade ago, received widespread attention for its unfairness after Hulu aired “Framing Britney Spears” . . .

The Little Discussed But High Blood Clot Risk of Hormonal Birth Control

In April, the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine received scrutiny after six women experienced a rare blood clot condition, causing the United States to pause its distribution “out of an abundance of caution.” Immediately, some trying to downplay the risk compared the J&J vaccine to hormonal birth control. While the type of blood clot apparently caused by the J&J vaccine and those caused by birth control are different types of clots, I couldn’t help but wonder if the comparisons to birth control . . .

Nightbirde Stuns 'America's Got Talent' with Humble Anthem 'It's Okay'

Not even cancer can dim the 30-year-old's hope from shining through. Moments when humility and hope are on center stage may be rare, but that’s just what happened this week when Jane Marczewski received the honors of the Golden Buzzer from judge Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent. Marczewski, who goes by Nightbirde when performing, sang an original song called “It’s Okay” for the four judges. After introducing herself, Marczewski, age 30, reveals that the song touches on some of the challeng

I was pressured for wanting my at-risk baby. Abortion and eugenics can't be separated.

Recently, the head of Planned Parenthood acknowledged the racist and eugenic beliefs of its founder, Margaret Sanger, and stated that the organization is working to undo the damage these views have caused. I applaud Alexis McGill Johnson for openly discussing the ugly origins of Planned Parenthood, but completely disagree that the organization is capable of stopping what Sanger started. Eugenic motives are still alive and well in the abortion- and contraceptive-providing business, of which Planned Parenthood is a leader.

Exclusive: ‘Country Girl’ Rissi Palmer Shares a New Acoustic Version

Rissi Palmer broke records in 2007 when she became the first Black female country singer in decades to rock the Billboard charts. Her hit song, “Country Girl,” took the world by storm, expressing a message of being true to yourself and not worrying about the stereotypical boxes people may put you in. Fifteen years after writing this groundbreaking song, Rissi has recorded an acoustic version exclusively for Verily which we are thrilled to share with you, along with a brief interview . . .

An exclusive interview with Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

Many people know Lisa Hendrickson-Jack as the creator of the most popular podcast on fertility health, Fertility Friday. Others know her from her pivotal book The Fifth Vital Sign. Still others know her for her one-on-one coaching in navigating the challenging transition from hormonal birth control to fertility awareness charting. However you may know Lisa, we are pleased to bring you an interview with her, completed exclusively for Natural Womanhood.

Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ Didn’t Have to Participate in Exploitation to Expose It

I love the idea of media and film putting social ills like sexualization in a critical view, so typically I’d be intrigued by a storyline like that of Netflix’s Cuties—which follows an eleven-year-old Senegalese immigrant girl as she navigates the meaning of her femininity and seeks acceptance among her peers in a hypersexualized culture. However, as I watched clips of the film circulate on social media, I had to pause to consider whether I could view it.

Weinstein Lessons We're Still Learning

This week, Harvey Weinstein—movie mogul of the Weinstein Company whose misbehavior all but started the #metoo movement—was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual crimes against women. For many, this result comes as no surprise. Many have read Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker articles, expanded in his book Catch and Kill. Weinstein has received backlash for accusations of sexual crimes for years in the court of public opinion. But in the judicial court...

Addressing Our Maternal Mortality Crisis with Fertility Awareness

Pregnancy is hard, and it always will be. But, thanks to modern medicine, pregnancy should be life-making and not life-taking. Unfortunately, in America, maternal mortality rates have been increasing since the 1980s, according to the CDC. Further, America’s maternal crisis reveals racial disparities, as black women and Native American women are about three times as likely to die from delivery complications...

Does Hollywood Not Want Us to See 'Judy'?

Judy wasn’t nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. There were numerous contenders for the top film honor, so it was a tight race. But Judy is also not a picture that puts Hollywood in a good light. It would sound conspiracy-theory-like for me to say the Academy doesn’t want you to see Judy, but … I think the Academy doesn’t want us to see Judy. Previous Oscar-nominated films that have featured Hollywood have portrayed it as the good guy. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood...

An Interview with Olympian Meryl Davis

Meryl Davis learned a lot on her road to becoming an Olympic champion ice dancer. Skating from the age of five and ice dancing from the age of eight, Davis and her partner won the silver medal at the 2010 Olympics and four years later, the gold. Davis has also been a champion off the ice. Three months after taking the gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Davis was announced the champion of Dancing with the Stars. Along the way, Davis has learned how to set goals, work towards them, and pace her

Memo to Women's Media: Women Want to Be Treated as Whole Persons

Last week, we kicked off a series of articles written by the Verily editors in response to a Washington Post piece titled “Women’s Magazines Are Dying. Will We Miss Them When They’re Gone?” The first article, written by our editor in chief Meg McDonnell can be found here. Today, we hear from Mary Rose Somarriba, current associate editor and former Culture section editor at the founding of Verily Magazine. For women’s media to succeed in today’s challenging market for publications (which we’ve s

What Women with 4+ Children Have to Tell Us About Letting Things Slide

Some tips on managing stress that everyone can benefit from. “I became okay with imperfection.” Amy, a 42-year-old doctor and mother of four told me over a martini last week. “The imperfection makes it perfect.” These words of wisdom came when I asked her how she acquired her palpable chill factor, for all the balls she juggles between home (four children under 10) and career (serving 13-15 patients a day at the hospital where she works). When so much is happening at once, she seemed to sugges

Why We Need Not Fear the Fairy Tale

These stories were written not to trick children into dangerous situations, but to teach lessons of caution. Disney princesses and #MeToo have shared headlines recently, in a weird way. In some ways it’s a classic attempt at clickbait to make people crazy, but since it’s touching on some cultural notes that are gaining traction—criticism of Disney princesses as problematic for feminism—I couldn’t help but read on. Actress Kristen Bell, who voice-acted the role of Anna in Frozen, told Parents m
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