Business Feature: Feminist Book Club

I have never paid for a monthly subscription to anything that wasn’t a newspaper or magazine. A subscription box always seemed like a waste of money to me – a way to pay to collect miscellaneous makeup products I’d never use or fluffy fiction I’d never read. Then a client introduced me to Feminist Book Club and their monthly subscription box. My mind was changed when I saw the amount of value included in their monthly boxes, and their emphasis on community building and intersectional feminism.

I’ve received three boxes so far, and I am beyond impressed with the customer service, packaging, care, and the carefully chosen products inside! It’s like getting a little present for myself each month full of surprises I’ll (mostly) use, that support an array of woman owned businesses, and woman authors! If you’re looking to support small business, organizations doing great work, and get quality intersectional feminist reading material, I highly suggest trying this subscription box out! And gifting it to all the feminists in your life this holiday season!

The first thing that I noticed and immediately loved is that there are three subscription options to fit most budgets.

Subscription Options:

– $12 per month will get you access to all Feminist Book Club’s virtual content. This includes the ability to vote on book options (what?! I love this), video chats and virtual discussions about the books.

– $25 per month includes a physical copy of the book of the month, a pamphlet outlining all the awesome businesses featured in the expanded subscription box, a hand written thank you note from the owner (usually), and all the virtual content mentioned above.

– Lastly, for $49 a month you get everything described above AND 3-5 unique products from small woman-owned businesses! I subscribe to this tier because I love supporting small business and learning about new brands.

Thing to Note:

– 5% of all proceeds every month are donated to a different charity that must be “committed to intersectional social justice, preferably working with marginalized populations.”

– They have the Feminist Book Club Scholarship Program. You can sponsor it, or apply to receive it!

We firmly believe feminist literature and intersectional feminist businesses should be accessible to everyone, regardless of location, finance, or circumstance. So we’ve created a scholarship to help bring Feminist Book Club to everyone.

– You can gift a subscription for three, six, or twelve months!

– If you’ve already read or own the book of the month, you can swap it out for a different option.

– You can cancel any time, are charged on the 10th of each month, and your box ships out the first week of each month.

– The founder of Feminist Book Club, Renee M. Powers hosts a weekly podcast called Feminist Book Club: The Podcast featuring conversations and interviews with feminist authors, writers, and readers!

– FBC also hosts a blog that you can apply to contribute to!

Monthly Examples That I Have Personally Received:

August Box
September Box
October Box

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All photos, information, and quotes pulled directly from https://www.feministbookclub.com

Go sign up or follow along @feministbookclubbox

What if Our Cycle is an Advantage Rather than a Liability?

As a thirteen year old girl in the eighth grade I was taught that my period was something unfortunate I had to deal with. It was a miserable curse bestowed upon me once I was old enough to get pregnant – a shameful experience. I was taught to keep quiet about it because it would make others uncomfortable, especially boys who thought it was “gross.” I learned to internalize the emotional and physical pain because I was taught it was unavoidable, and there’s no point in discussing it, since I couldn’t be fixed. I was taught it was messy, uncomfortable, painful, and ultimately a sign of weakness.

My period was a gateway to my unrelenting and unfortunate tendency as a female, toward emotional and irrational thinking and behavior. An inconvenience for potential partners. It would overtake me each month, turn me into a weaker and angrier version of myself, and this narrative would justify every societal and personal subordination I would endure in life. Until I hit menopause, when we’d intensify the emotional roller coaster and subtract the period and the impossible task of being a presentable sex object 24/7, that never shows a sign of actually being a woman in her physical body.

I was 31 years old when I learned that bleeding is only one of four phases of my cycle, and that almost every bit of what we’ve learned and internalized about ourselves and our periods isn’t true. On some level every woman (and some others, I’m sure) know that simplifying the female reproductive system down to period and able to make babies is ridiculous. The fact that a woman’s body is powerful enough to create life seems to be more complicated than that. When you zoom out and start to look at how complex, intuitive, and strong women are, we are forced to confront the uncomfortable reality that the only parts we learned about our physical bodies from public education and some of our parents are the parts that have to do with the immediately external. Things that affect men or the people around you. Things that define you as either a baby maker or a non-baby-maker, someone who needs to be controlled because we hold the power to control the ultimate outcome.

Women’s bodies have been politicized all over the world for centuries, but this is not what this post is about. This post is about the knowledge that can liberate you from the seemingly hopeless period drudgery, and from the negative mental loop many of us grew up teaching ourselves was normal – to hate what our bodies are capable of. Learning about the four phases of my cycle has opened up an entire world of possibility and has inspired me to flip everything I thought I knew on it’s head. I now look at my cycle as an opportunity to wield my power as a woman, connect with nature, and optimize my life in all areas, outside the masculine “efficiency” paradigm. Men teach how to optimize your life within 24 hour cycles. Why are women working so hard to conform to this strategy when we would be better served to “optimize our lives” working on a 28 day cycle? Because the world is set up to serve the patriarchy, and because no one taught us how. Imagine what our life could have been like if we were taught as girls that our cycles made us stronger? That they were an advantage, rather than a liability.

I plan to write about this topic more as I advance on my journey to essentially “biohack” my cycle to improve every area of my life. It’s extremely complex and I imagine I will be working on this daily and improving it forever as I learn and change. Today’s post builds the foundation by very briefly explaining the behavioral aspects of the four phases and giving you resources to do further research – I’m sharing the information I wish I had years and years ago. Once I had this basic foundation, I was fascinated by how much more I could learn.

I gravitate toward this form of “self-improvement” because it’s empowering – it does not ignore or omit my femininity altogether, or label it as an unfortunate side effect of my existence as a woman – it treats every aspect of your cycle as an advantage, as it should be. Woman as center. I feel like in the last eight months of close observation, I’ve already been able to make small changes with big impacts. It may seem silly to alter and plan my workout routine, my foods, my work schedule, my projects, and my social events around my cycle, but I think that is the key to unlocking your feminine power. It only sounds silly because we’ve been taught that our emotions, empathy, and intuition make us weak, when the opposite is true.

The Four Phases:

Follicular

Duration 7-10 Days

Season: Spring

Women Archetype: The Virgin Warrior

Moon: Waxing

This phase begins after your bleed ends when hormones are at low levels and slowly begin to increase in concentration. This is a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, openness to new things, and creativity. This is the most productive phase of your cycle. Brainstorming and creative capability is high so this is a great time to start new projects, go to events, or try new hobbies or things at work.

Ovulatory

Duration: 3-4 Days

Season: Summer

Woman Archetype: The Mother/Lover

Moon: Full

During this phase there is a dramatic rise in estrogen. You may feel more social and your communication skills are on point. This is the time in your cycle when your intuition and awareness are at an all time high, and you have extra energy to burn.

Luteal

Duration: 10-14 Days

Season: Fall

Woman Archetype: The Enchantress or Wild Woman

Moon: Waning

This phase is marked by steady and declining physical energy levels as your body prepares for the Menstrual Phase. You may begin this phase with high social and physical energy but may feel the need to turn inward as it progresses. Your connections with other women feels stronger, however your need for introspection may increase so this is a great time for writing, journaling, and working on projects alone. Your brain chemistry is optimized for organization, task completion, and detail orientation at this time At the end of this phase anxiety levels may begin to rise as well, so holding boundaries and protecting self is important.

Mentrual

Duration: 3-7 Days

Season: Winter

Woman Archetype: The Wise Woman

Moon: New

This is a time of new beginnings, and a perfect phase for reflection and looking inward. This is a great time to rest (since physical energy levels are lower) and spend time reflecting on the last month and everything that worked and didn’t work for you. Objective decision making should be done during this phase because your ability to analyze situations and intuit what needs to be done are both strengths. Strategize for the month ahead.

Cited Sources and Further Research for Beginners:

In the Flow, Alisa Vitti

My FLO App

Expanded Podcast With Lacy Phillips, Episode 80, “In the Flo with Alisa Vitti, Female Hormone and Functional Nutrition Expert.” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/expanded-podcast-with-lacy-phillips/id1419732648?i=1000464207886

Limitless Life Podcast With Melyssa Griffin, 9/24/20, “How to Use Your Menstrual Cycle to Plan Your Life.” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/limitless-life/id1251824599?i=1000492348580

FemmeHead YouTube Channel, 3/22/18, “Make the Most Out of the Phases of Your Cycle.” https://youtu.be/4PJgCLsnF_o

Monthly Resource Collection: September 2020

This month I found myself listening to music (the new Katy Perry album Smile, and the In the Heights soundtrack) and true crime podcasts (see: Weird on the Rocks and My Favorite Murder) during my morning workouts and makeup sessions. I don’t believe this was an attempt to distract myself from our current reality, but somehow it does feel nostalgic to listen to things as if we were pre-pandemic. To rest your mind as you prepare for another day. Fall reminds me of true crime podcasts and training for half marathons; running through the leaves and rain. It reminds me of wrapping up my wedding season at work just in time for a big vacation. This year is obviously different.

However, in between my distractions, mental “breaks,” or privileged lapses from reality I did go back to my morning ritual, complete with coffee, a lit candle, and a book, followed by fifteen minutes of meditation to absorb what I’d read. And this month I dove into Ta-Nehisi Coates, requiring extra time for absorption.

This month’s resource guide focuses highly on Coates’ work because I am fascinated by it. His writing reads more beautifully than anything I’ve picked up in a decade, like poetry with poignant edges. I cannot believe it’s taken me this long to sit with it and I hope you’ll join me.

Books:

Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol takes a close look at the normalized relationship most of us have with alcohol, it’s effects on our mental and physical health, and how the constructed “alcoholic / non-alcoholic” binary created and enforced mostly through Alcoholics Anonymous-style programs designed by white men, and for men is harmful for women looking to quit. Whitaker examines the ways alcohol is marketed specifically toward females, why women choose to drink in the first place, and why teaching women to give up their power, intuition, and control over their own lives in order to become sober is a damaging and patriarchal idea.
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes this book as a open letter to his teenage son, explaining the complexities and dual realities of navigating this world, and specifically this country, as a Black man, in a Black body. Coates explains that there is a separation between lived realities, or worlds. There is what is true, and there is the “dream” – an illusion of democracy built on stolen land using labor stolen from Black bodies. The dreamers continue living this comfortable illusion, given the truth but in denial or refusal of it, the reality that our very democracy and every institution therein exists only because of current and historical violence against the Black body. Are we capable and willing of awakening?
We Were Eight Years in Power is a collection of powerful essays written by Ta-Nehisi Coates meant to chronicle the years President Barack Obama was in office and the dangerous white supremacist backlash that followed. Fear of a Black President, The Case For Reparations, and The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration are some of the works included. Each essay is prefaced with context and personal memoir making the collection even more compelling.

Notable Podcast Episodes:

The Rich Roll Podcast Episode 547: We are Water: Erin Brokovich on Pollutants, Politics & People Power https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-rich-roll-podcast/id582272991?i=1000491955278
In this episode Rich Roll and Erin Brokovich talk about her new book Superman’s Not Coming and discuss the roles corporations and government really play in protecting our environment and the water we think is safe.

Bookstores to support: https://www.semicolonchi.com https://eurekabookshop.com https://keybookstore.com