Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com  High-res

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com 

Black Eyed Peas and Mattress Dancin’: How the Dixie Chicks Shaped My Feminism

My feminism arrived draped in feather boas and riding on a baggage claim conveyor belt. The year was 1997 and as a 10-year-old Midwestern girl innocently enjoying CMT music videos, I fell completely and unconditionally in love with the Dixie Chicks. 

The video for the Chicks’ first single “I Can Love You Better,” which featured three platinum blondes by the names of Natalie, Emily, and Martie performing in an airport lobby, singing about rescuing a potential lover from the intoxicating grasp of another woman wasn’t exactly riot grrrl, or even Lilith Fair fare. But the brash, in-your-face attitude of the vocals and the shredded fiddle and dobro solos were a hint of things to come.

When “Wide Open Spaces” hit the airwaves in the summer of ‘98, a legion of girls and women instantly connected with this insanely talented trio singing about independence and taking chances in an elusive place out west where we’d find “room to make [our] big mistakes,” often while wearing regrettable velvet cowgirl hats and, yeah, pink feather boas. “Wide Open Spaces” was our anthem. 

One part Lubbock and two parts Dallas, the Dixie Chicks personified the Texas-bred independence they sang about. Growing up in a tiny rural farm community in southeast Missouri, the idea of this illustrious land of open spaces and high stakes, combined with my inherent love for cowboy movies, cultivated my lifelong obsession with Texas. At 24, I finally moved here. I probably wasn’t supposed to take the Dixie Chicks literally. But I’m glad I did.

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The Game

"do you want someone to sigh

at the way the sun rays set your eyes aglow,

unabashed admiration?

is that even real? do you really know?”

but the stain between his front teeth,

permanent, like his naivety,

disturbed my thoughts like an interrupting child,

his one flaw visible, holding its own gravity.

lips pursed, his smoke inseminates the air

"you’ve a severe elegance to you" he said

mercurial smile hiding my haughty hurts

all as my fragile vanity bled

a lemony sky laps at my wounds.

it’s my turn, but we’d stopped keeping score.

always thought i wasn’t good enough,

but it was he who was the bore.

his platitudes  - mere cosmic ejaculate,

his ideals die in the face of practicality,

while i wear my jaded effects with pride,

i sustain some tentative ties with reality.

crossing his “faith” with my “strength”

with night swooping in, i laid down my word.

98 points but it held no weight,

a reminder of affections deferred.

bed creaking as his body collapses

for all the weight his indifference did spawn

esteem leaking as i make the finally tally,

"doesn’t matter", he said, but i had won.

—By Alaska Jones

Did anyone else watch that Vera Wang video three times and then desaturate everything and then paint your nails a ~moody~ pastel?  Oh, okay. Me either. I was just asking. High-res

Did anyone else watch that Vera Wang video three times and then desaturate everything and then paint your nails a ~moody~ pastel? Oh, okay. Me either. I was just asking.

1:47 AM

You’re a big girl. You’re completely capable of walking home by yourself. It’s really cold outside and you don’t need him to leave his warm room just to walk there and back for you. Your dorm isn’t even that far from his. It’s not even that late. You don’t need him. You’re a big girl.

You kiss him good night. You’re both tired, but you can’t stay at his place. His roommate’s on his way home. You’re not high maintenance. You’re a good girlfriend. You get out of the way without being asked. You let him hold you for a moment after you kiss. You hear him whisper something in your ear. Probably I love you. Probably something you don’t deserve to hear.

You don’t want to make a scene of it. You kiss him on his cheek and walk out of his room into the suite and down the stairwell to the door. You take a step outside the building. The earth is collapsing beneath you. You quicken your pace. It takes a maximum of six minutes to get to your place from his. It’s a small campus.

The campus is a minefield. You want to stay on the sidewalk because it’s better lit. But you don’t want to be seen. A group of frat boys yells drunkenly from their house. The noise makes your pulse jump. It’s open season.

Almost three minutes away, you think about calling him. Letting his voice walk you home. You don’t want to make him feel guilty. You can handle yourself alone for five minutes. But the thing is you’re not alone.

You’re reminded of the worst-case scenario survival guide you got your dad for Fathers’ Day. He’s a paranoid guy so he loved it. He read the scenarios out loud and you have never forgotten that when you wrestle an alligator, aim for the eyes and when you see a mountain lion, make yourself seem as big as possible.

You’re not paranoid. That’s what you tell yourself as you try to control your breath. It’s shaky and shallow like you’re hyperventilating. You should call him. But you won’t. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Isn’t hurting him.

You push the incident from your mind. You’re not afraid. You’re a big girl. No one’s going to grab you in the night. No one’s going to drag you behind a forest green Toyota and—

You slip in puddle of melted snow and skin your knee through your leggings. The sting is a distant familiar feeling, like the strawberries you earn when learning to ride a bike. Your hands are wet and scraped from trying to stop your fall. You pick yourself up quickly. You stand still for just a moment, surveying the damage to your knee and hands. You hear voices behind you. You run.

Your lungs labor to keep up with your feet. You have to stop. You’ve come to the street. You remember Ichabod Crane trying to cross the bridge. If you can just make it across this last stretch, you’re home free. You think about the headless horseman and you involuntarily release a sob of terror. It was just a story you read as a kid in class on Halloween. It was just a ghost story. Ghosts aren’t real. You’re a big girl. You know it’s not real.

You remember what they said to you after it happened. You remember when they told you it wasn’t real.

You can’t calm down. You don’t look both ways before you cross. You’re sprinting. Your clothes are ripped and you’re sprinting. Blood runs down your legs and you’re sprinting. You can hear the horseman catching up to you.

You reach the door to your building. You fumble for your keys. You’re trembling too much to turn the key in the lock. The tears freeze on your cheeks. The earth is collapsing beneath you.

You grip the door handle to keep yourself upright. You turn the key. You pull open the door and race to your room. You lock the door behind you and slide to the floor, sobbing, thankful your roommates aren’t home yet to see you like this.

You hold your knees to your chest. It wasn’t real, they said. It wasn’t real, you tell yourself. You work to catch your breath as you imagine who would come out on top in a fight: you or the mountain lion. 

— By Allie Fry 

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com High-res

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com

A Family Freed

 

My father used to say that every time he mowed the lawn he’d find another car. That came out to roughly one car per year. They were all junkers, but the RV was junk royalty. He spotted her the night we sat in the bright red vinyl booths of Seven Seas Szechuan. She was alone and askew in the Shanty Tavern’s lot, her brown paneling echoing the bar’s sign that showcased an outhouse for an emblem. She deserved better. He had to save her.

To my mother, his motives were clear. Her narrowing eyes were fixed on my father, and their intensity steeped the air. I could feel the mounting stress that accumulated behind her brow. Her lips pursed in silent protest.            

She saw his engorged pupils drooling, pouring, out the window.  The slow steam that rose from the massive, glistening bowl of egg drop soup, created a delicate, dewy veil that cocooned him with his newfound vision. She melted. How could she disrupt that childlike ecstasy so often far removed from the man she had married? He was making the same face her children endlessly deployed to turn her heart to humbow. 

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Uncommon Commodities

Fema Fresh - Dietary Supplement Capsules for Feminine Hygiene

$8.55 for a 60-count box 

Finally, another pill to pop! In case regular washing and proper hygiene just don’t cut it for you, there’s now a supplement for your vaginal health. Throw two of these down your food chute a day and expect a removal of that feminine funk. Because this product is not a spray or cream, it evidently doesn’t mess with your delicate pH balance. It’s a dietary supplement that, through all-natural means (which aren’t specified), manages to eliminate feminine odor by seeking out odor-causing bacteria. Sounds shady, but reviews are pretty positive. Ladies tout “feeling fresh” as well as confident — just what the slogan provides.

Verdict: Interesting alternative to sprays and douches if you are worried about vaginal odor and don’t want to get yeast infections.

P-Mate Female Disposable Urine Director

$4.95 for a pack of 5 
On the whole, being a woman is something I’m proud of. However, I find myself wishing to trade in my vagina for a penis each and every time I go camping. No matter how well you think you’ve mastered the pop-and-squat, you will still pee on your feet. Or your pants. Having my whole bottom half exposed in the woods doesn’t exactly make me feel at ease either. Thorns, bugs … there’s just too much that could attack my sensitive bum. However, this odd little funnel gives you the ease of urinating upright. My penis envy has come to a close. Hallelujah!

Verdict: Say what you will, but this is going to save my ass (literally) next time I head into the great outdoors for a bit.

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When you start to think ugly thoughts about your body, I highly recommend squelching them with some ice cream. Or a snow cone. Hi, vegan friends. High-res

When you start to think ugly thoughts about your body, I highly recommend squelching them with some ice cream. Or a snow cone. Hi, vegan friends.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Spring ‘14 issue — Vagina’s very first full-color, professionally printed issue! High-res

Here’s a sneak peek at the Spring ‘14 issue — Vagina’s very first full-color, professionally printed issue!

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com High-res

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com

The Ink That Never Dries

It would really do me good if I can keep myself from 

writing about you

—the sooner, the better.

Cause if I don’t stop, you’re going to find out 

that I—

will drop everything, 

and anything 

off my lap 

just to stand up and start running right next to you.

All the cells in my body are 

asking me to kick my stupid ball of doubt and slide down over this 

pile of messy despair—

to get to wherever you are.

Every thought that bubbles up from 

my rib cage 

bursts and lands on this perfectly white blank page

—rearranging itself and 

spelling out your [name].

You see, 

I don’t want you 

to know that this is my constant state. 

I’m afraid that every word I put in print, 

will somehow make you see me and stare my way. 

Then I would run out of 

things 

pretend 

do.

Because all I’m ever made of is meant to write about you. 

Even if I type the coldest letters,

—fuck this shit—

it wouldn’t matter. 

You are the weight that goes with this bold font. 

If you were italicized, would you lean onto me? 

You are the ink that never dries, underlining the meaning in my life. 

—By AJ Cadavedo 

Go to the Movies Alone

Go because you need some time to yourself. Go because you have to ignore your cell phone. Go because you don’t have to share your Reese’s Pieces with anyone. Go because you get to choose your favourite seat. Go because no one will see your spit-take or running mascara. Go because you need a break from reality. Go to the movies alone just because. 

—By Hillary-Anne Crosby, Vagina Editor-in-Chief

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com  High-res

Thanks to everyone who sponsored Vagina's Winter ‘14 issue! If you’re interested in sponsoring a future issue, email me at Hillary-Anne (at) TheVaginaZine.com