As a journalist, I gravitate to covering issues of gender, history, and sexuality. I also love to interview people I'm curious about, from scientists to rock stars. Here are some of my favorite stories.
"The dramatic history of american sex-ed films"
Published in bitch, june 2014
In 1948, in a seventh grade classroom in Eugene, Oregon, a teacher dimmed the lights and flipped on 16mm projector. A film called Human Growth began to play and for 20 minutes, a fictional teacher explained the human reproductive system while animated sperm and ovum flickered on-screen.
The presentation of these simple facts of life was so momentous that national magazines Time, Newsweek, and Life all covered the event—this was the first time a sex-ed film was ever shown in an American public school.
"interview with kathleen hanna on the strength it takes to get onstage"
PUBLISHED IN BITCH, SEPTEMBER 2013
The Julie Ruin just about burned down the stage at Portland’s Time Based Arts festival last Thursday night. The group kicked off the contemporary arts festival as part of a national tour to celebrate their album Run Fast and as front-woman Kathleen Hanna launched into their raucous playlist, the room suddenly felt hot, sweaty, and electric.
It’s a big deal for Hanna to be on stage at all. The singer who brought seemingly boundless energy to Bikini Kill and Le Tigre has spent the last six years dealing with the effects of Lyme Disease, which hinders both physical and neurological abilities. When we spoke in early September, Hanna talked about living with an invisible disease, how vulnerability can create true confidence, and how the best thing that ever happened to riot grrrl is critique.
"THE EMPOWERMENT CURE: HOW TEEN SEX-ED HAS UNDERGONE A BRILLIANT AND RAPID REVOLUTION"
PUBLISHED IN THE PORTLAND MERCURY, AUGUST 2013
The news on reproductive rights this year has not been good. Texas is shutting down health clinics, Ohio is forcing women to get an ultrasound before they get an abortion, Oklahoma is trying to restrict teens from buying Plan B over the counter—the country's reproductive options are generally going to hell in a Republican handbasket. But there's one area of reproductive health that has been quietly and steadily improving for years: reducing teen pregnancies. Near the end of the Bush administration, the teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1992. But from 2007-2011 (the five most recent years the experts crunched the numbers), the trend swiftly reversed and the teen birth rate nationwide dropped a whopping 25 percent.
"The Dead Freeway Society: The Strange History of Portland's Unbuilt Roads"
Published in the Portland Mercury, February 2009
Scattered all over Portland are artifacts of a city that could have been. Bikes rush down a concrete ramp on the west side of the Hawthorne Bridge that 40 years ago originally connected to an expressway instead of grass. Tiny Piccolo Park off SE Division was the site of homes demolished to make way for the pylon of an unbuilt freeway. These vibrant sites are tombstones. We are a city of dead freeways. While other American cities have built, built, built, Portland's freeway history is boom and bust: massive road projects were planned, mapped, and sold as progress by one generation, then killed by another. When current transit planners visit from exotic Houston and DC to admire Portland's progress, what they are really admiring are the roads not built—freeways erased from the maps decades ago.
my money story: the biggest thing I own is a mattress
HEARD NATIONALLY ON MARKETPLACE, JULY 2014
The biggest thing I own is my mattress. Some people have trucks or boats or houses or heirloom chests of drawers or ambitiously large desks or impressive, ill-conceived contemporary art pieces, but the most impressive thing I own just this big, squishy rectangle.
It might not seem like much, but getting this mattress was a major life step for me. When I first moved to Portland, Oregon six years ago, I was determined to furnish my room through only things I could get for free.