Demystifying Global Beauty Standards: How Living in Medellín, Colombia Transformed My Self-Confidence

When I decided to take a leap and move to Medellín, Colombia, one of the most common reactions I’d receive from people was, “The women there are SO beautiful.” Naturally, I was a little annoyed. I couldn’t believe I was about to embark on the biggest, most exciting adventure of my life and all anyone could talk about—both my male and female friends—was how beautiful the women were in the country I was headed to.

Demystifying “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

Everything is wrong with the title of this article. First of all, using the word “demystifying” makes it sound like Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are some esoteric entity way cooler than they actually are. And to use the term “Crisis Pregnancy Center” is to call it by its actual name, which, as I have learned as a community organizer, doesn’t actually harm the cause. We want to reframe it, to make it ours. So,

#DBC: When They Call You a Terrorist

Welcome to Demystified Book Club (#DBC), a new segment where we talk about the books we’ve been reading that we want to share, discuss, and promote. When They Call You a Terrorist has remained vividly in my mind in the weeks that I’ve read it. I’ve struggled to write a piece about it since then, but for awhile I couldn’t figure out how to. Often when I write about books I relate them to my

Demystifying Varicose Veins (A Poem)

I notice a dark vein on my right leg. My mother has varicose veins. I do not know what “varicose” means (But I always imagined it spelled “vericose,” with ver meaning truth), but I know this: She does not wear shorts, or skirts above the knees, or sheer pantyhose. I know she hates her legs. She hates her body and my body is her body and my body has varicose veins. I used to be

Demystifying Borderline Personality Disorder

A few years ago, I mentioned my borderline personality disorder in an article for Slate, in the context of the difficulties it presented for dating, along with depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder. My friends and family were supportive, telling me it was well-written and brave. The comments, over 800 of them, largely told me I was a toxic human being. There is no nuance in stigma, no qualms in telling a stranger, “You shouldn’t

Demystifying Binge Eating Disorder

My eating disorder, for the most part, has always been mostly invisible. Whether I was fat or thin or “average,” everyone always paid attention to my size rather than my behavior. As a kid, I was always somewhat overweight until I decided to “do something about it” in middle school. I spent the entirety of seventh grade until well into my college years manipulating my body through diet and binge cycles, restriction, and excessive exercise. When I was officially

Demystifying Polyamory

Polyamory: loving and being involved with more than one person at once. I learned about polyamory shortly after I turned 23. I had just entered into my first serious relationship, and despite feeling overwhelmed by the experience of falling in love, I also didn’t feel ready to commit to one person and one relationship. As a late bloomer, I had only been sexually active for a few years and was too excited about sex, queerness

Demystifying Women in Male-Dominated Sports

Over the past couple of years, I made a conscious effort to pursue activities that have always interested me, but that I had previously avoided out of my own fears or insecurities. One such activity was kickboxing. As a teenager, I admired the courage, strength, and fierce realness of the women who participated in male-dominated sports but did not yet have the confidence to enter into these spaces so outside my comfort zone. Initially, I

Demystifying Body Hair

I’m in fifth grade, and I’ve been wanting to shave my legs since I realized that was an option. My mom buys me a bottle of Nair instead. She says most people only shave their calves, but she has fine, thin hair, and I end up doing my whole legs pretty soon. I shave my fingers and toes, too. I’m in sixth grade, and I have a unibrow. It’s the early ’00s, and thin, delicate

Demystified Approved: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life

Note: Demystified Approved posts are not sponsored content. They are products and services we actually use, love and believe more women should know about! If you have a suggestion for a Demystified Approved post let us know in the comments below, or email us. I only came across Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are this year, and, as promised, it has totally changed my life. We and our writers have discussed in past posts how female sexuality