The Vagina Bible: Debunking Myths and Misinformation Around The Female Body Ft. Dr. Jen Gunter

Do you ever feel like you don’t have all the answers and information you need around your very own body? Are there beliefs or “facts” you might have learned that maybe aren’t actually centered around truth or science? Perhaps you’ve entered various seasons of your life as a female (menstruation, fertility, childbirth, hormone fluctuation, perimenopause, menopause) where you’ve felt like your concerns were dismissed or you weren’t given the tools, knowledge or treatment to help you navigate these season as well as you’d like. Whether you avidly seek knowledge about your body, or you’re bumping up against walls in what has been, historically, a lopsided research culture where male health has been more highly prioritized, we’ve got a guest today who is determined to correct that inequity with scientific and experiential information, research and active destigmatization. Dr. Jen Gunter is an obstetrician gynecologist and a bestselling author (The Vagina Bible, The Menopause Manifesto) who has made it her goal in life to “fix the internet” regarding information about women’s bodies and correcting the misinformation that runs rampant there; long held myths that cause fear, stress and even shame around our female physiology. Dr. Gunter debunks common misconceptions around our periods, our hymens (fyi, it’s not a “freshness” seal), synthetic hormones, menopause symptoms and more. Bottom line: you deserve to know about your body, and this conversation opens the door to finding true and accurate information that will help dismiss the fears you may have around all the seasons of your female health experience.  

 

Demystifying Therapy with Lori Gottlieb

If you or anyone you know and love has ever had issues with their mental health, you know how painful it can be. As we conclude our “For the Love of Being Seen and Heard” series, we just want to remind you that there’s no shame in admitting that you might need a little help. Maybe you’re feeling low, or more anxious than usual, or sad, scared, or just off—anything that feels different or keeps you from flourishing. Our guest today is here to encourage you to take agency over your mental health, and as a therapist herself, she’s here to help us shed those stigmas around seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Lori Gottlieb is a renowned psychotherapist, a bestselling author, and a leading voice in the mental health space. Her latest book Maybe You Should Talk To Someone leads us into her own experiences with the transformative power of therapy and gives answers to those who might have hesitations about beginning this process. Lori and Jen talk about: 

  • Identifying the stereotypes about therapy and debunking them, plus what to expect so that you can a get the most out of your time with a therapist
  • Developing an attitude that mental health is just as important as physical help and that seeking a therapist is on the same level as getting a check up with a medical doctor toward whole body health
  • Jen’s personal experiences with therapy – and how she processed pain and betrayal, plus what it looks like to be in active recovery
  • Becoming aware of and taking responsibility for our own patterns, actions and responses to life events as it pertains to our mental state and interactions with others

As Lori says, “one thing that therapy will teach you is how to be your real, messy, imperfect, fallible self, but also still love who you are.”

Seeing and Loving Your Body (and Yourself) With No Shame: Jessamyn Stanley

We’re back with maybe the most foundational episode in our Being Seen and Heard series–and it’s all about how we see ourselves. Were you taught how to love yourself when you were growing up? Many of us never grew up hearing anything about embodiment, and maybe we’ve treated our bodies as “the enemy” for most of our years. Maybe you grew up in a time where you didn’t see people that looked like you, or had your body type represented in magazines, on TV or in movies. Perhaps you even had shame about your body (or still do), and you bought into diet culture and were constantly worried about your size and the number on the scale. It’s hard to see ourselves as beautiful when we’re looking outside ourselves for what that standard of beauty is. Our guest today is doing the good work of helping people see themselves differently, and it’s giving them freedom to love themselves for who they are today. Jessamyn Stanley has become a powerful voice for wellness and body acceptance (she also dubs herself the “Beyonce’ of yoga” – I mean who can’t get behind that?). After attending yoga classes with a friend, Jessamyn fell in love with it, but she noticed that she didn’t see anyone who looked like her or had a body like hers–and when she moved to a different city and wasn’t attending yoga classes anymore—she craved a community to share her practice–except she wanted all kinds of people and body types to be a part of it. She began sharing her yoga practice on Instagram back in 2012 and was amazed by the overwhelming response from many who had never done yoga before because they had felt just like Jessamyn had–that maybe it wasn’t for “people like them.” Her fledgling Insta-yoga classes grew into an organization called The Underbelly, a unique and inclusive digital wellness experience that now draws thousands of people into its safe and accepting space.

Jen and Jessamyn touch on these topics:

• Jessamyn’s experience with being ashamed of her body as a middle schooler and also being bullied for being different, and how she looks at those years of bullying as a revelation that everyone is self conscious about their bodies–bullies included

• The realization we all have at the end of the day; all we have is ourselves–and if we can accept ourselves as we are right now–not who we thought we should be, or who we might be–we’ll enjoy the ability to be fully present and authentic in all of our encounters

• Debunking the long held notion that many people have about black women (and also that black women have been taught to believe)–that they are “stronger” and “superwomen,” and what it means to allow themselves moments of rest and self-care

• Key changes that could be made to empower everyone to have their own agency toward self care, by making it possible for anyone–no matter how much money you make, or where you live–to participate in wellness practices like yoga

If we can face the truth about ourselves, and not turn away from the fullness of who we are–including the ugly and complex things, we can begin a journey to a shame-free life that will change the fabric of who we are and what we bring to the world.

 

Retelling Our Past & Future: Podcasters Propaganda, Dr. Alma & B.T. Harman

This 4th episode in our For the Love of Podcasts series speaks to the powerful way podcasts can affect change. In fact, we’ve seen podcasts start important conversations and transport us to moments in history we’d have never encountered otherwise. Jen talks to a few of her podcaster friends who are bringing the heat to their spaces: The Red Couch Podcast’s Jason Petty (aka rapper Propaganda) and his wife, Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty, and Catlick’s B.T. Harman (Brett Trapp!). First, Prop and Alma give us a deep dive into the world of the Red Couch, where they empower the experiences of people in non-majority culture who may not have conventional degrees, but can school us on politics and economics all the same (because everybody comes up against money and power, no matter where they live). Prop and Alma invite folks in majority culture to spend time in a space that’s not designed for them—because experience breeds empathy. In the second half of the show, we catch up with B.T. Harman, who was on the show last spring when we still called him Brett Trapp. Today we learn about the podcast B.T.’s been working on for four years: a true-crime story filled with complicated Southern history reaching back across centuries that he unearthed right in his own backyard: Atlanta’s Cabbagetown neighborhood. These storytellers encourage every generation to retell the hard stories, and to make room for voices from the margins to move to the center of the discussion.

Armchair Expert-ise with Podcast Creator and Host Monica Padman

As we wrap up our For the Love of Podcasts series (insert sad face), Jen’s sitting down with the one and only Monica Padman, co-creator and co-host with Dax Shepard of Armchair Expert—aka THE most-downloaded new podcast of 2018. Monica is a creative powerhouse, and today she and Jen go down memory lane to trace Monica’s path from theater major to LA-babysitter-trying-to-land-an-acting-gig to getting a text from Kristen Bell asking if she wanted to watch her five-month-old baby—which, by the way, was a job Monica almost didn’t take (!). Monica’s relationship with Kristen and Dax gradually developed into a creative partnership that’s spawned multiple projects, including the always-insightful Armchair Expert where some of the most creative and smart people spill their guts for two hours. Monica shares that finding a north star and following it, even if it doesn’t take you where you planned to go, is always worth the risk.

This American Life’s Bim Adewunmi on the Magic of Stories Big and Small

Our next episode of For the Love of Podcasts takes us to the gates of one of the most beloved audio shows of all time, NPR’s This American Life. And here to take us by the hand and lead us through the gates is producer Bim Adewunmi! Bim has had a rich media career, working for the BBC, The Guardian, and Buzzfeed News before starting her own podcast called Thirst Aid Kit then joining the ranks of This American Life. Radio was Bim’s first love (she’s had the same radio in her house for two decades!) so it’s only fitting that she works with the OG, circa 1995 podcast, telling stories from every corner in America from summer camp magic to a used car lot to African American blueberry farmers in Michigan. Bim’s perspective on uncovering hidden story gems, polishing and presenting them in an engaging way is equal parts fascinating and inspiring, and she reminds us that what we put into a story is just as important as what we leave out of it—and to appreciate narratives both big and small.

Hardcore History’s Dan Carlin Breaks Down History for our Ears

Today we’re cracking open the history textbooks and learning from OG podcaster—we’re talking, 2005 OG—Dan Carlin! Dan’s had a long career in broadcasting and his podcast, Hardcore History, combines gripping moments in history with Twilight Zone-style twists only a master storyteller could pull off. Dan and Jen examine that while we may be players on the world’s stage, we really have no precedent for today’s society. How do we navigate it when there’s nothing in our experiences we can compare it to? Through it all, Dan provides invaluable insight into seeing ourselves through the lens of history, learning from our ancestors, and fitting ourselves into the giant puzzle.

“How To! With Charles Duhigg Podcast” Gets Answers to Life’s Burning Questions

We’re learning truckloads and having a ridiculous amount of fun in our For the Love of Podcasts series—lifehacks abound in these episodes, and especially in the show of our next guest: How To! with Charles Duhigg. Charles is a Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter and NYT bestselling author (who’s disarmingly charming), and he’s come up with a genius way to answer all of life’s “important” questions. Want to manage your anxiety? He’s your guy. Need tips on robbing a bank? Got you covered. Want to be ripped like Ryan Reynolds? Look no further! On his podcast, Charles talks to people with real questions we all have but never knew who to ask, and he hooks up the question-askers with experts who break down the big problems step by small step. And in fact, Charles is an expert in his own right: for his bestselling book The Power of Habit, Charles learned why people develop their habits—good or bad—and how we can fix them. And at one point, he walks Jen through her own mini-counseling sesh, peeling back the layers of why Jen (and we) procrastinate, and how the heck we can fix it. Charles’ insights into breaking down big problems into small, manageable steps are practical, applicable, and just plain fun podcast listening.

Manage Your Money Like a Boss: The Rachel Cruze Show

One of THE best things about podcasts is how we can instantly connect with wise teachers who change our lives for the better. And that’s 100% true for today’s guest, personal finance expert Rachel Cruze! For some of us, throwing around words like “budget” and “401k” is the verbal equivalent of sticking pencils in our eyeballs. But thankfully, Rachel doesn’t have that effect on us. In her podcast and web series, The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel takes a warm, practical approach to money that makes it all so much more doable and manageable (after all, she’s had a lifetime of training, thanks to her dad Dave Ramsey!). Today Jen and Rachel talk about why sticking to a budget actually gives you freedom, the surprising secret to having more peace with your partner around finances, and how to teach your kids healthy money habits from an early age. As a self-admitted spender at heart, Rachel empowers us with tips and tools to help us remember that despite our feelings and past choices around money, it is always possible to make a change—because we are more than just our stuff.

Behind the Scenes with Podcast Queens: The Secret Lives of Black Women

Calling all podcast nerds: today we’re launching a brand-new series celebrating the shows and hosts we love—that’s right, it’s time to kick off For the Love of Podcasts! And today we’re thrilled to bring you two fresh voices who started a new in the summer of 2019  and are just killing it: Charla Lauriston and Lauren Domino from The Secret Lives of Black Women! Charla and Lauren have created a space where they’re inviting all listeners to join, but they’re carving a space where black women can especially relate and be celebrated. Charla and Lauren have been friends for nearly a decade after meeting in a not-so-great workspace. Being in the trenches brought them closer together, and now they bring hilarious and poignant observations to their listeners with episodes each Thursday. Lauren and Charla share the unique challenges of being a black woman, their favorite role models—including their dream guests for their podcast (some of which mirror our own—psst, Oprah and Michelle Obama, call us!). Through podcasting, Charla and Laura have been able to confidently (and vulnerably) show who they are, where they’ve come from and share that sense of self with others as we all blaze a trail into the future.