Chapters 2 and 3

Welcome back to book club! Where we read the book and then you read about what we read. Tonight’s wine of choice was selected by our very own Kelcie. Winking Owl Wine is a $3.00 bottle that can be found at Aldi grocers. The wine can be described as cheap, worth it, and ‘it does the job’. So pop that cork and let’s get to drinkin. I mean reading…

Chapter 2: Bitchy Like Clockwork
Tonight we covered two chapters so we’ll approach them separately. Chapter 2 of Moody Bitches was all about the cycle. Dr. Holland argued that hormonal birth control negatively alters our menstrual cycles. As birth control prevents the initial monthly release of an egg, it also prevents our hormones from acting as they should. Essentially, birth control biologically stops the menstrual cycle, leaving women in the dark about a lot of information their bodies are telling them. Dr. Holland explains that a woman’s cycle has its ups and downs, like a wave or roller coaster. These ups and downs throw us into different moods. When estrogen levels are up we’re happy, flirty, more apt to attract a mate (at the most basic level of biology). When estrogen levels are down, we tend to be ‘moody’, ‘bitchy’, ‘short’ etc.  Holland claims that when we’re on our periods we don’t take shit from people. The lower levels of estrogen reveal a raw side of the female psyche and there’s nothing wrong with it. Let me repeat that…THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Women are constantly ridiculed for their cycles. At work we’re moody because it’s our time of month. We find ourselves apologizing because we’re on our periods. Dr. Holland wants us to stop. In fact, she encourages women to become intimately familiar with their own cycles. She says to keep track of when we’re happy, sad, angry, horny, bossy, or on a cleaning frenzy. Becoming friendly with the mood changes will make it easier to understand them and when they’re coming on.

This particular subject sparked some debate in our group. As we all bitched and moaned about how much we hate our birth control, the quick and easy conclusion was to agree with Dr. Holland. But Corinne brought up a good point. If birth control was so bad for us, it wouldn’t sell. Wouldn’t women realize the negatives and give it up? If what Dr. Holland is saying is actually true, women on birth control wouldn’t have a libido or sex drive. Yet the purpose of birth control is to be able to have sex without getting pregnant. So wtf? The discussion turned to a more nature vs nurture debate. How much of what Dr. Holland argues is correct? She speaks from a purely biological perspective so her observations and conclusions about humans are almost jarringly animalistic. Birth control is bad. Sex is for reproduction. She only considers heterosexual women in her study. On the other side; how has society conditioned us? Pharmaceutical companies push drug sales so much because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t make a dime. So when women go on birth control we’re thrilled that we can have all the pleasure without the impending consequences. Does that thought alone drive a libido? Because according to Dr. Holland women on hormonal birth control lack sex drive. How much of what society tells us alters our physiological behavior and makeup? Are we changing nature? Can we change nature?

Chapter 3: This is Your Brain on Love
The theme of nature vs nurture carried over into our third chapter. Chapter three was all about the chemicals of loveeee. Dopamine and norepinephrine work together to make sex the best thing since sliced bread. Dr. Holland reminds us that dopamine is the chemical that gets released when humans are on drugs like cocaine. So basically, sex can be just as addicting as cocaine. Dr. Holland also talked about pheromones. Those natural smells we give off that attract a mate. As women under the influence of wine we giggled when Dr. Holland suggested that we smell the armpits of our boyfriends and husbands. She argues that finding the smell of someone’s armpit pleasurable is a strong indicator that they are your soulmate. This, once again sparked debate. What if all we smell is bath wash or cologne? Society has given us ways mask our natural body odors. So have we evolution-ed our way out of recognizing someone else’s pheromones? And what does that mean for us in the future?

As we read on in the book, our perspectives are differing. Dr. Holland approaches heterosexual women in heterosexual relationships. And while she argues that women are unjustly represented in medical inquiry, so are many other groups. Tonight we questioned whether the physiology of LGBTQ individuals is the same or different from the heteronormative. Where is their representation in medical inquiry? Perhaps because Dr. Holland argues at the most basic scientific level, her arguments seems regressive, reminiscent of the 1950’s. Women make the babies, men make the money. There’s a caveman mentality to her study that doesn’t sit well with us. Here’s hoping that changes!




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