FEMM for Everyone

FEMM OSU Fair
“Hello?”

“Hi, you need to hurry. There is a line wrapping around the block!”

It was a humid fall afternoon in Columbus, OH, as we raced across the Ohio State University campus carrying boxes of flyers to the Student Involvement Fair. We easily spotted the rest of our FEMM volunteer crew, a purple rose situated between the student Democrat and Republican clubs; FEMM for everyone standing out as an emblem of a third way, and a fourth wave.

Clipboards in hand and sporting unisex purple tank tops, our team of male and female volunteers distributed FEMM quizzes, and tossed Frisbees in to the crowd as the line continued to grow. “3 out of 5. Not bad. Were you surprised by your results?” asked one of our FEMM volunteers, discussing the answers to our health quiz with a student. “Yes. I had no idea that you didn’t ovulate if you were on birth control. And that ovulation was a sign of health. Or that alcohol decreased testosterone levels in men. It’s all really interesting!”

This year’s slogan – FEMM for everyone – worn by our male volunteers, made what is often a divisive, polarizing subject – reproductive health – approachable to both men and women alike. “I love that there are guys here promoting this! Commented a female student. “Is this just for women?” asked a male passerby. “No, FEMM is for everyone!” responded another, handing him the sign up sheet to learn more about the benefits of FEMM Education.

According to the brochure, FEMM is “The Sex Ed you never had.” And it’s true. While generation se-X may be well versed in all things hookup related, we have failed when it comes to having the “DTR” (Define The Relationship) conversation about the intimate connection between reproductive health and overall health. Today, women’s health is [still] a period piece. PMS is synonymous with Pretty Much Standard. And pain and PCOS? Isn’t there a pill for that? Sort of.

In this over-commercialized world of women’s health, there’s an App for #empowerment. But what is empowerment without knowledge? With FEMM, women’s health education goes hand in hand with medical management, so that women become informed participants in their health care.  No more medical mumbo jumbo, no more masking, managing and coping mechanisms; no more mistaking your symptoms with your self. With FEMM, there’s treatment of the underlying cause. FEMM Health Centers deliver the highest standards of health care that women deserve: reproductive health in relation to mental, hormonal and overall health.  And yes, we have a #FEMMpowering app, too.  The FEMM App lets you take it personally; no averages or algorithms, your unique health database, bridging the gap (nay, canyon) between personal experience and patient profile.

Driving home with our caravan of volunteers I warmly reflected on the weekend’s events, surprised and impressed once again by the receptivity and willingness of men and women alike to engage in conversations addressing hormones and health, biomarkers and ovulation, depression and mood swings, among other taboo subjects.

Listening to the radio, I was struck by the winsome sentiment streaming through the car speakers, articulated in the Vance Joy song, Mess is Mine: “This body is yours. This body is yours and mine…” After all, one of the great things about FEMM is that it’s reproductive health that everyone can agree on; it’s about caring for what’s yours, mine and ours; it’s collective responsibility; it’s [FEMM] for everyone.

 

This article was first published on the FEMM website, www.femmhealth.org. You can check out photos from the weekend on the FEMM Facebook page.

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