Hereâ€™s what I was up to in New York City yesterday!
I served as the moderator for a series of roundtable discussions that will be turned into mini-webisodes and be featured on the Glam Network. The event was sponsored by Kotex and focused on how our perception of and understanding of our bodies and periods influence our self-image as girls and later as women. Itâ€™s all part of Kotexâ€™s Generation Know project, which encourages females to talk to each other and get educated.
I thought it would be cool to give you all a behind-the-scenes peek at how things like this workâ€¦
So much effort goes into producing a few 30-second to 2-minute long clips. The filming lasted from 9 AM to 4 PM. There were 13 bloggers, two Kotex Ambassadors, a team of videographers, and five or six reps from the Glam Network. Oh, and there were 3 makeup artists and an entire team of chefs and waiters. Intense.
The two ambassadors were really interesting women. Iâ€™m going to try to rope them into guest blog posts.
Dr. Vanessa Schick works at Indiana University. Sheâ€™s in the epidemiology and biostatistics department, but her heart is with the vagina. You heard me right. Vanessa â€˜s â€œresearch generally focuses on biopychosociocultural predictors of men’s and women’s sexual health and wellbeingâ€¦. with a focus on women’s genital perceptions." Sheâ€™s also the author of the book Read My Lips, a guide to vagina health for young women. AND she has authored more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored more than 75 presentationsâ€¦ but sheâ€™s only in her early 30s! As Iâ€™m sure you can imagine, Vanessa was a really intriguing woman to talk to. Unfortunately, I didnâ€™t get any good pics of Vanessa.
The other ambassador was Kat Lazo. She couldnâ€™t have been more different than Vanessa but was equally awesome. Sheâ€™s a YouTube feminist with TONS of personality (like tons - I wish I had 25% of her energy). She catch Kotexâ€™s attention after producing this video:
The bloggers in attendance included:
Liz from So Much to Smile About
Melanie from O So Chic
Victoria from Fasshonaburu
Channing from Channing in the City
Erin from Girl Gone Veggie
Natalie from Fashionably Broke
Lara from Pretty Connected
Janique from Her Goody Bag
Danielle from The Style and Beauty Doctor
Clare from Fitting It All In
Sherrell from Organic Beauty Vixen
So many bloggers, so many phones.
The bloggers were all chosen because they have expressed in interest in womenâ€™s issues. Most were fashion and beauty bloggers, which meant I had lots of pretty shoes to admire. It was fun to take pictures of the fashion bloggers â€“ so good at striking poses!
Clare, Erin, and I represented the healthy living blog world. We just smile for cameras.
And then we talked. And talked and talked.
The discussions were great. The entire Generation Know effort is truly about breaking down barriers to education, busting myths, and encouraging women to be comfortable with their bodies. I swear, I have never said the word â€˜vaginaâ€™ so much in one day. And it was interesting how awkward everyone felt talking about the issues at first and then slooowly opened up until we were all jabbering away non-stop. Nothing wrong with talking about this kind of stuff â€“ if anything, itâ€™s so, so, so important that we do! Knowledge is power, right?
It was also funny to hear all the â€œmy first period stories.â€ Some womenâ€™s moms baked them a cake. Some moms cried upon hearing the news (cough, cough â€“ MomHTP). Some moms plopped their daughters in a bubble bath and handed them an edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the American Girl The Care and Keeping of You book, or Are You There God? Itâ€™s Me Margaret. Claireâ€™s mom is a doctor, and she actually gave â€˜The Sex Talkâ€™ to the local public schoolsâ€¦ including when Claire was a student. The horrrrror!
All in allâ€¦ a strangely empowering day. I didnâ€™t expect that, truthfully. But I walked away feeling proud to be a woman and an urgent need to spread the message that yes, this is your body and yes, your differences are perfectly normal and natural and beautiful. And also â€“ know your body! Thatâ€™s how you know if something is off and needs medical attention. Iâ€™m excited to see how the webisodes turn out.
But the true highlight of my day? My friend Maddie, who use to help me run the Operation Beautiful Twitter, happened to be in New York, too. She lives in Iowa but works for Blue Bunny ice cream, and the Blue Bunny team was in the city to do promotions. We met up and had dinner and drinks before I hopped on my flight. So fun to FINALLY meet someone that I worked so closely with for so many years!
So thatâ€™s what I did in NYC. Crazy, huh? I didnâ€™t get home until well past midnight. I was completely wiped but my mind was so busy. My gears turned and turned and turned until 2 AM when I blissfully surrendered to sleep. And then Henry woke me up at 7:00. Whewâ€¦. Here it goes again!