BLOOD – Bodyform

When I heard the buzz that there was, floating around the media ether, a new advertisement for a feminine hygiene product that showed real blood, I felt the same way my grandmother must have felt when the newspapers announced she could now buy luggage with wheels on it. This is great, but did no one really think of it before now?

That we have been forced to watch, for decades, various disembodied female hands wipe the most vomitous of ground-beef spills from nondescript surfaces with their preferred brand of paper towel, and yet have not witnessed a single pad or tampon come into contact with blood (or even blood-colored liquids), is just as laughable as the male squeamishness around most female bodily processes. And don’t let me begin to complain about the ratio of period blood to actual vomit on network television: of these things, only one is disgusting—is actually a common symbolic stand-in for the experience of disgust. But I digress.

Playing period-coy is a common theme in advertising, and has long been a source of frustration and derision from the feminist corners of the internet. And so it was with great hype that this fabled commercial surfed its way to my computer screen. But after a couple views, I remain palpably un-hyped. Continue reading

AMERICANAH – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah cover

I knew Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s name only from the Beyoncé song (ladies, tell ‘em). And so when a close friend recommended earnestly her newest novel Americanah, I expected (so, so whitely) a smart and sharp commentary on race, nothing more. A work of nonfiction dressed up in fictional names. And while commentary is certainly a catalyst of the story, one of its strongest flavors, the novel contains multitudes beyond simply that. It is, at its core, a love story: a tale of well aimed psychological depth and emotional heft, where the characters’ feelings can stack on top of you like steep, rolling hills.

Americanah follows Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who moves to America during college; and Obinze, her first—perhaps her only—great love. Ifemelu and Obinze meet in high school and fall for each other, fast and hard, with a precocious kinship of spirit. But after a series of strikes render their educations inert and Obinze fails to obtain an American visa, they must part ways: Ifemelu to America and Obinze to London. Continue reading