The Price of Being a Female

It’s 7:00AM on a Tuesday. You roll out of bed after turning off the blaring sound of your alarm and shuffle to the bathroom. As you start brushing your teeth, you rub your tired, crusty eyes and glance up at the mirror. WHAT THE HELL? You move closer to the mirror and zoom in on the patch of brand new zits on your forehead. You quickly rinse and spit, so you’re able to use both hands on the demolition task you’ve just been assigned.

After successfully making your skin red and blotchy, you mosey back into your bedroom to get dressed for work. WHY DON’T I LOOK GOOD IN ANYTHING I OWN? You think to yourself as you throw another fitted dress onto the floor. You settle on something baggy enough to cover up the apparent 10 pounds you gained overnight. Flustered and feeling disgusted at yourself, you make your way out the door just in time to catch the bus.

Fast forward 6 days. You feel less disgusting and more like yourself. It’s lunch time and you find yourself eating dessert first. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, RIGHT? About an hour later, you’re hit with a stabbing feeling in your gut. It’s almost like someone with sharp, french-tipped nails is using your insides as a stress ball. DAMMIT. You know this feeling all too well. You’re too busy at your desk to run to the restroom, plus cramps usually start awhile before you bleed. You dig out some Midol from your purse and swallow a couple down with your iced coffee.

1 hour later and you feel that dreaded ooze downstairs. SHIT! As you run down the hall to the restroom, you realize that you’ve forgotten a tampon. Luckily, you have 75 cents in your pants pocket to get one from the machine. After assessing the damage (on your favorite pair of underwear, of course) you glance into the mirror as you wash your hands. THAT EXPLAINS THE BREAKOUTS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM. DUH.

If you were born with a uterus, you can probably relate to this chain of events. Every month, we wonder why we are so disgusted with ourselves and then one week later, like clockwork, we are reminded again that it’s all caused by hormones. Every month we shell out an excessive amount of money on tampons, pads, panty liners and pain killers. Why is it so expensive to simply exist as a female?

Let’s have a little run-down, shall we? On average, this is how much we spend on period products:

-1 box of 36 tampons, $7

-1 package of 44 pads, $6

-1 package of 100 panty liners, $6

-1 bottle of Midol (40 count), $7

-1 bottle of Pamprin (40 count), $7

According to Pandia Health, a lifetime supply of tampons at the price listed above would cost $1,773.33. Let’s say you work full-time at a minimum wage job. You’d make around $15,000 a year, according to USA Facts, so my calculator says that’s $1,250 a month. That means you’re spending more than a month’s wages on something you NEED, that males don’t have to buy. On that note, there’s actually nothing that males HAVE TO buy on a regular basis. Razors? Not a necessity. Deodorant? Toothpaste? Ok, but women need to buy that stuff too. Also, you can argue that those things aren’t exactly a NECESSITY.

Let’s look further into that dollar amount. What can $1,773.33 buy you today?

  • 1 brand new Apple Macbook Pro AND a brand new Ipad AND an Apple Pencil
  • A decent used car
  • 14 monthly unlimited subway cards in NYC
  • 3 8-day passes to Burning Man WITH parking passes
  • A first-class plane ticket from NYC to Bangkok with only one layover
  • 7,092 rolls of Cottonelle toilet paper

Need I go on? I could, but I think I’ve made my point.

Today I read an article that Scotland has unanimously voted to make all period products free for all those who need them. Schools and universities will provide tampons and pads for free in the restrooms, and the government will provide those things for free elsewhere.

Don’t you think the whole world should follow Scotland’s example? I think free period products are a right. Period.

Tips From A Serial Wanderer

Long-time traveler and friend, Agnieszka, sat down with me to discuss everything she’s learned from a life of traveling. Currently residing and studying in Germany, she splits her time with her family in California. Agnieszka has traveled to roughly 45 countries since childhood including: Canada, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Bahamas, Iceland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Monaco, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania , Kenya, China, Nepal, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Cuba, Dominican Republic


Tanzania, 2012

Where did your desire/love of travel come from?
I’ve been lucky enough to have been raised by a father with an insatiable passion and love for traveling. Since I can remember, he was constantly trying to find any opportunity for an adventure and almost always trying to bring his family along. Traveling with him were and still are the most fun and exciting experiences of my life. 

So where did your dad’s love of travel come from?
It was really his inability to travel. My parents grew up in Poland – which was then a communist country under (official/unofficial?) control of the Soviet Union. Traveling to another country was heavily restricted… people could essentially only travel to other communist/soviet eastern European countries. And when something is forbidden from you, usually that’s something you then really want. Growing up my father actually thought about becoming a sailer because that was then one of the very few opportunities to actually travel and see the world. Instead he immigrated at 23 years old to the US and as soon as he was able to afford it, his (and our) world adventures began.

Nepal, 2017

Do you prefer traveling alone or with others?
That’s a difficult question for me. There is a lot of good in both and I’ve enjoyed both tremendously. Traveling alone is – at least for me – a huge challenge. But it was a challenge that allowed me to learn a lot about myself and how to positively develop as a person. I’m self-conscious and antisocial and really quite nervous around people and so I had a lot of difficulty opening up to incredible people I was meeting during my travels alone and probably missed out on a lot of amazing experiences. But the occasions when someone was brave enough to push through my barriers and invite me along on their adventures or show me kindness and love are memories I will always always always cherish – and I would have probably also never experienced those had I been traveling with others. 

So I am grateful for the times I traveled alone and hope to travel alone again in the future… I had freedom to do and see what I pleased without worrying about what anyone else wanted but I then also had the freedom to meet and spend time with whatever wonderful person I meant along the way and experience so many other awesome things beyond just visiting the next famous site. Traveling with others is wonderful because I then have someone to share not only the incredible moments with but also the difficult times. It is not as lonely and therefore is not as mentally challenging.

Machu Picchu, 2012

Stereotypically, society says that women should not travel alone. Have you also experienced that stigma? Or do you feel that it is equally as safe as long as you’re smart about it?
Of course. As a women I’ve experienced sexism and many kinds of sexual harassment. There are countries I probably would not have traveled to had I been alone and don’t have the desire to visit in the future without a male companion. It is not as equally safe for women to travel in several parts of the world. But that has not and will not prevent me from traveling alone – and I don’t think it should prevent any other woman from doing so. Horrible things happen to people everywhere – even of course in the most “modern” and “safe” countries. In the end, it’s important to be as cautious as possible, avoid any possibly dangerous situations as much as humanly possible, and to always try to plan how to keep yourself safe in any given situation. Also I find that one should also try to respect the culture and customs of whatever place they’re visiting… if you’re visiting a country in which women generally cover their bodies in loose clothing, or cover their hair, or avoid doing a certain thing then I think it’s not only respectful to try to do the same, it also avoids more attention on you and hopefully then keeps you a little more safe.

Do you have any tips for staying in hostels?
I am not particularly easy-going about where or how I sleep, so I spend quite a lot of time and effort in choosing which hostels I will stay at – I proably spend more time on that than on actually planning what I will do outside the hostel once I’m there. I’ve only ever stayed in hostels in Europe and I would find and reserve them on “hostelworld.com.” I would base my decision on reviews, whether they provided breakfast, whether it was located close to the places I wanted to visit but also in a safe area, and of course on price. If you are like me and have a deep dislike of sleeping in dirty beds and showering in disgusting showers, these are my suggestions:

France, 2018
  • Book the hostel in advance. Give yourself time to do research and find the best one… This may however unfortunately require you to not take the cheapest bed in the cheapest hostel. 
  • Try to stay in a hostel in or at least near the areas you’d really like to visit or at least in an area that is said to be safe. I’ve stayed in hostels that fulfilled neither requirement and it made my time in that city/area much less enjoyable. 
  • Unless you can sleep through literally everything, bring earplugs and something to cover your eyes!
  • Bring a bedsheet or a sleeping bag! I am very sensitive about sleeping in unclean sheets and so bringing my own definitely allowed me to sleep much better. (I always brought a thin bedsheet with me which took up very little space in my backpack and which I used to wrap around me while I slept, serving as a mattress & pillow cover and as a blanket.
  • Bring flip flops to wear in the shower and a fast-drying towel!
  • Bring a lock! Oftentimes the hostels would provide lockers or similar to store your baggage but they would rarely come with locks and were of course always in public areas so a lock is great for additional security and sense of peace.
Dubai, 2016

What are 5 must-have essentials when traveling? (Besides the obvious)
I don’t really know if there are essentials other than the obvious. I find more people overpack and worry about bringing so much unnecessary things… unless you plan to go deep into no-man’s-land, you will be able to find and buy soap and other basic essentials. I’ve also never been one to travel and actually try to look attractive so I have no suggestions on essentials for when that is a goal of yours… But I suppose some things that I do try to always bring with me are: a comfortable day backpack/bag that closes all the way, medication for the basic pains and aches that you know works well for you, comfortable shoes, a rain jacket, and some secure way to keep my passport and money on me at all times.

Where is the favorite place/places that you’ve traveled?
I have never had nor will I ever have an answer to this question. I truly have difficulty trying to think of one place that I enjoyed more than the others. I have loved and appreciated every single place I’ve ever been to – even the places where I had unpleasant experiences and the places I’d never want to visit again. From every single adventure I learned something and experienced something good and I am grateful for them all. 

India, 2015

Where’s the most underrated or surprising place you’ve been?
Hmmm… this is also difficult. I suppose I am particularly grateful for my experiences in the economically/systematically “poorer” parts of the world. I am often thinking about my experiences in Tanzania where my father and I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. I will never forget how kind the people were to us and how many huge, happy, beautiful smiles I saw and how much laughter I heard. This memory is something I always try to protect in my heart to remind myself to be grateful, to smile, and to just be freaking kind.

How important is the planning before a trip?
Well… I guess that depends on how easy-going you are, what is important for you to achieve from this trip and what you know you want to see or do. I do always try to plan enough in advance so that I can at least book where I will be sleeping and know what I can do the next day, but I have never planned all details of an entire trip. So it’s not necessarily important… I’ve learned that it is much easier and more enjoyable if you allow yourself to “go with the flow”.

Argentina, 2014

How do you find the less touristy places?
I google and read through a lot of blogs and travel websites, I always ask hotel/hostel staff for recommendations, I ask anyone and everyone I meet along the way for their suggestions, and I always try to get a map of the area from the hotel/hostel and I go through all the sites that are usually marked on them. But… I don’t purposely try to avoid the “touristy” places… they’re often touristy for a reason and I think they are worth seeing if it is indeed something you’re interested in. 

Where’s the next place you’re traveling?
I am deeply saddened to say that I have no idea when or where I will be able to travel next. Not only because of the pandemic, but also because my studies allow me to have very little life or time outside of it and when I do have any time free, I am utilizing it to visit my parents in California. I have lots of ideas and dreams and I hope I’ll be able to make one of them a reality sometime soon. With my boyfriend perhaps Norway or South Africa. My father’s next ambitions are exploring Bhutan and Madagascar, snowboarding in Japan and in the Andes, and kitesurfing in Zanzibar.I also would like to try to find an opportunity to travel a little bit alone again.


Travel Tips for First Time Travelers:

  • Be open-minded. Be open to new experiences (foods, languages, customs, behavior, people) and try to find the good in them all.
  • Be ready to get out of your comfort zone. Traveling often includes stressful, frustrating, uncomfortable situations. Breathe through them. It will be OK and it really is all worth it in the end. Either way, it’s a story to tell for later.
  • Be respectful of other cultures. Do your research about what is illegal and what is considered disrepectful in the area you plan to explore. That is also perhaps involves adapting your behavior/appearance. 
  • Please don’t assume everyone speaks english. I find it more respectful to ask if the person speaks english before beginning to speak to them in it. Perhaps even try to at least pick up some basic words – especially the word “thank you” or “please”. And if you’re American, please do try to speak more quietly… we are really generally quite loud and it really can be quite annoying.
  • Don’t pack too much. You can always wash your clothes while traveling or buy essentials like shampoo at a store.
  • Look into local transport – some cities have apps available for subway lines, buses, etc. And it’s good to know a little bit about what is available in an area so you can always try to find the best and cheapest traveling solution. Find a map of the local area and embrace it! And most importantly – try to walk a little! Some of the coolest things I’ve discovered in a city have just been things I’ve walked past on my way to somewhere else.
  • Go with the flow and be flexible. It will make life much easier for you and you’ll discover incredible things. I promise.
  • Don’t keep important or expensive items in the back pocket of your pants or in the front pockets or the very bottom of a backpack. I’ve met so many people who have had things stolen from them and I’ve seen it in action as well. 
  • Try to be cautious and attentive about everything around you. Be aware of your surroundings so you can try to better protect yourself from possible dangerous situations. Err on the side of safety.
  • Traveling doesn’t have to be unaffordable. Try to be flexible with where and when you travel. Spend time looking at multiple websites for flights and hotels/hostels and try out every single date/location combination you can think of and you’ll be surprised what kind of possibilities you’ll find.

As my father always says, “traveling is the best teacher.” You’ll not only learn about other people and ways of life, but also about yourself and how you can be a better you. You’ll find so much gratitude and love for yourself, for others, and for this planet. Don’t be afraid – be open to the challenges that come with traveling and adventuring and embrace what you learn from them. Follow your heart, find what you want from your life, and just go for it. All in. 

BABs of History: Lizzie Johnson

“BAB?? What’s a BAB?”

It’s a not a what, it’s a who – and she is a Boss Ass Bitch. This article is the start of a new PKC series where knowledge is shared on BABs throughout history that shockingly didn’t make it into our mansplained school curriculum.

First up is educator, entrepreneur, activist, and Taurus: Lizzie Johnson, the “Cattle Queen of Texas.”

Lizzie was born in 1840 in Missouri, but she moved to Texas at such an early age that she really did most of her growing in The Lone Star State. The daughter of teachers, she was quick to follow in their footsteps and became an educator at her parents institute for sometime before opening her own school in Austin. While Lizzie valued playing a part in educating the future leaders of America, she craved a life that was simply more. Her need for change, her general need for more, led her to a bookkeeping gig for numerous cattlemen that all held high status and great wealth in Austin. After a short time of being nose deep in these prominent cowboys’ accounting books, she thought, “Well I can do what these guys do, easy.”

And she did.

By her early thirties, Lizzie had bought her first ten acres of land and was among the first women to wrangle her own cattle along one of the major routes through Texas – the Chisholm Trail. Her success was revolutionary, her path was trailblazing, and while she was building this empire, she was still an educator and did not stop teaching at her school in Austin until well into her forties. Lizzie Johnson challenged societal norms, pushed through gender roles set before her, and was an activist with a passion for both women’s rights and additionally prison reform.

In the midst of expanding her business, Lizzie fell in love with widower Hezekiah Williams. But before she would marry him, our BAB, Lizzie, required a prenup that stated she would remain in full control of all of her finances and all of her property – Hezekiah couldn’t touch it without her say so.

Can we take a moment to applaud this revolutionary act that no doubt caused a ripple in the community? A woman in the 19th century not relinquishing control of her life to her husband?! Blasphemous!

This BAB said, “My blood, my sweat, my tears, my brain – my money.”

And honestly Hezekiah must have been a dope dude, because he signed it and they were happily married, boosting each other along their respective ambitions until his death in 1914. Her husband’s death absolutely crushed her, resulting in her to live her remaining ten years as what locals called her: a miserly recluse. I refuse to end her story on a sad note, so you should most certainly know that by the end of her life, old gal, Lizzie, had acquired 160 acres of land and amassed $250,000 which would convert to nearly $3 million today! And more notably, in 2013, she was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum.

. . .

What can be learned from Lizzie Johnson is that following familial traditions is okay up until the point which you find yourself unsatisfied. Don’t ever ignore the hunger inside you craving more, don’t ever try to tame your fire to make others feel comfortable – sort out what you want and create a realistic path of how you’re going to get there, then make it happen. Most of all, Lizzie is a prime example of all of the limitless possibilities that can happen when you know your worth.

. . .

Sources: Smithsonian Mag, WITH, Wide Open Country, TSHA

Playlist Fiend: The Future is Female

My name is Emily, and I’m a serial playlist maker.

Road trip to Montreal? I gotta playlist for that.

In the mood for some incredibly sad songs that help you justify your tears for the ultimate cathartic release? Yeah, I got a “Feels” playlist obvi.

How about a playlist for that one mood that always happens on the same day every week and you need a playlist to get you out of the funk? Do you doubt me? Of course I have a playlist for that as well.

I’m ultimately obsessed with the power that music has over a situation – don’t even get me started on movie scores (Twilight has the best soundtrack of all time COME AT ME.)

Early on into the conception stage of Peachy Keen Collective, I was desperate to create a playlist that embodied what we were trying to create here. So I dove into massive research and read numerous articles trying to find “Women Empowerment Songs” that also were the right vibe. And honestly I never even found one article that had all the answers, and most articles really only had one song that I was keen on being in our “Playlist Mood Board.”

But alas, this playlist fiend hath created what she believes a worthy playlist.

Below are some songs that made the cut:

JULIANNA CALM DOWN BY THE CHICKS

“Put on, put on your best shoes / And strut the fuck around like you’ve got nothing to lose”

No one likes being told to calm down, but with The Chicks always following up with a “We know…breath. It’ll be okay.” It’s easy to feel that they’re giving advice from a place of deep understanding and “been there” experience. They’re not coming from a condescending place of, “You’re overreacting, chill.”

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I WAS AN EAGLE BY LAURA MARLING

“I will not be a victim of romance / I will not be a victim of circumstance / Chance or circumstance or romance, or any man

If you are unfamiliar with Laura Marling, I would go as far as to compare her to a darker Joni Mitchell. All of her songs have this whimsical story telling to them that’s simply captivating. What really makes this song stand out is the whole premise of “I was an eagle, and you were a dove” ~ go listen and you’ll feel what I mean.

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GOOD KISSER BY LAKE STREET DRIVE

“If you’re gonna tell them everything / Tell ’em I’m a good kisser / Tell ’em all the things you told me / In your desperate whisper

This upbeat jazzy ballad screams PKC – if you’re gonna tell the truth you better tell the whole truth and not just the parts that make you seem better.

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MOTHER’S DAUGHTER BY MILEY CYRUS

“Don’t fuck with my freedom / I came back to get me some / I’m nasty, I’m evil / Must be something in the water or that I’m my mother’s daughter”

I’ll admit, I know full well that Miley is hit or miss for a lot of people. But this song hits the spot. It’s about freedom, openness, & rolls well on a road trip to anywhere – and ain’t that just the ultimate vibe?

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GIRL CAN’T BE HERSELF BY ALICIA KEYS

“In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that make up? / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of? / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem

Alicia Keys is vibes on a million levels, and this song just puts her up even higher in my books. The minute she dropped the Maybelline brand name I was like “Same girl, same.”

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GRIGIO GIRLS BY LADY GAGA

“On the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls / Pour your heart out / Watch your blues turn gold / All the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls / Keep it real cold / ‘Cause it’s a fired up world”

Lady Gaga’s album Joanne is straight fire and arguably one of the most beautiful albums she’s put out. I’m not into Pinot Grigio (more of a Sauv Blanc gal) but this song had me striving to find a Grigio I enjoy just to even more directly relate to this song *sigh*

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F E M A L E BY SAMPA THE GREAT

“Big bold women, round of applause / Get-my-goals women, round of applause / Know-my-roots women, round of applause”

Honestly those first few lyrics speak for themselves, so just listen to the song, vibe along, and feel that boost coming your way.

Full playlist here!

I’m sure there are songs you’re in shock that I didn’t include – why don’t you link your jams in the comments so I can take a peek??