Press Releases and Sex Positions
By Alexis Brooke Felder
I grab my food tray, meander around the dining hall looking for something healthy to eat, and then head over to my usual table to chat with my friends over dinner. It is senior year, and we are excited, anxious, elated, and scared to death about what we will do after college.
My friend starts chatting about her day. “I just don’t know, I mean, I have studied Communications and Marketing for four years, but I absolutely hate my internship. At the end of the day I think to myself, would I really want to do this for the rest of my life? I mean, the money would be great, but I have no time to relax, and when I get home at the end of the day I am just beyond exhausted. Ya know?”
No, I think to myself, I really don’t know. I love my internship. I get home at the end of the day and I feel like I have learned valuable information, feel excited to tell friends about the latest developments about women’s health or share the newest YouTube video posted on www.ourbodiesourblog.org.
“What did you do today Lex, anything exciting?” my friend enquires.
“Um, I spent most of the day compiling photos and drawings for the upcoming book on childbirth. A lot of the images featured different sex positions that women could use comfortably during pregnancy. One of the images was a diagram of how wide 10 centimeters really is. It is really wide,” I say as I use my hands to show just how wide 10 centimeters really is. (That’s how wide the opening to a woman’s vagina stretches when she’s ready to give birth.)
“And then, after I was done compiling the images, Heather, Elana, and I watched this really interesting documentary on birthing and the benefits of giving birth naturally. Did you know that having a doula present at birth reduces a woman’s use of pain medication? I think that is amazing,” I say before I am interrupted by my friend.
“Wait, wait, wait! So you spent the day compiling images of different sex positions and watching movies while I was writing press release after press release without so much as a lunch break!? That seems fair,” my friend jokes.
“Don’t you like doing that though? I mean, don’t you like your job?” I ask.
“No. But I guess it will be worth it when I finally start making money. Ya know?” she says to me.
No, I think to myself, I really don’t know. I think it is important to know that what you do is worth it in every moment. A big part of what I have done as an intern at Our Bodies Ourselves is to create new health education workshops and update pre-existing workshops that I take out into the community – onto college campuses, into women’s centers, and into homeless shelters. This work doesn’t earn me any financial rewards. The payoff I get is when I am conducting a safer sex workshop and a young adult learns how to properly put on a condom, or when a group of women gasp when I show them how big a serving size of meat is actually supposed to be. The payoff is sitting at conferences and events and having women and even men come up to me and tell me how much the book Our Bodies, Ourselves means to them and what an impact it has had on their lives. The payoff is when a single father approaches me at a conference table and says, “I have had to raise four girls as a single parent and I couldn’t have done it without this book!” The payoff is when I ask a room full of women what percentage of women diagnosed in the U.S. with HIV/AIDS are women of color and the entire room guesses about 30 percent, and when I say 77 percent, the entire room is in shock.
I am leaving in July to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic. I know that the knowledge and skills that I have acquired while working at Our Bodies Ourselves will enable me to give important health information to women 6,000 miles away from 34 Plympton Street, and the experience that I have had running workshops will enable me to be a more effective instructor. The awareness and the facts that I am able to disperse among women every day as an OBOS intern is what makes my position so fulfilling. Of course, compiling images of sex positions isn’t bad either.