Elevate Difference

Doris #23

In the latest issue of her acclaimed zine, Cindy Crabb delivers more of the insightful, self-revelatory, meandering prose her readers have come to love. The issue opens with a beautifully-written meditation on love’s many forms. Other topics recounted include her canoeing trip with Julian, but touches upon dreams about her dead mother, the white co-opting of Native American experience, a friend’s disclosure of childhood sexual abuse, and her struggles with feelings of worthlessness. Also included are reminiscence about her friend Nicky, whom she met while in jail (for what offense we are not told), and the story of her attempt to see the redwood trees in California with her friend Jono, which turned into a miserable experience of camping on an exposed beach in a chilling rainstorm and nearly getting hypothermia.

“Ladies lunches” is a lighthearted section about attending weekly luncheons with her grandmother and other elderly women in the Southwestern United States. Her sense of the women’s joie de vivre and her respect for them is relayed well: “At Ladies Lunch they talk and laugh, they have nothing left to prove. They have seen so much and are interested in everything, they have been through the subject of death together a million times.” Crabb notes that before her mother’s death she did not get along with her grandmother, but now enjoys spending time with her and helping care for her grandfather; it’s a small but cathartic confession.

The section on menstrual extraction may be too “out there” for most readers. It is a method through which one can supposedly lighten and shorten one’s period by suctioning out the contents of the uterus, including an egg fertilized in the preceding few weeks. As such, it could be considered both a method or emergency contraception and abortion. The idea of women taking control of their own bodies is appealing, but building and operating the contraption necessary for the procedure makes it seem as if a traditional clinical abortion would be much easier to endure. (If you actually knew how to do menstrual extraction it would be much less expensive, as the equipment needed includes only such every day items as a syringe, valves, plastic tubing and a mason jar, but the training sounds difficult and hard to come by.) Overall, this issue engages the reader and sparks both empathy and insight.

Written by: Karen Duda, February 15th 2007

I don't think the point of the menstrual extraction article is to encourage people to participate in it in 2007, but rather to put women in touch with the history of precedence of how things have been done.