ChoiceWords Blog

Dené

Major: English creative writing
Hometown: Palco, KS
Favorite writer: My favorite novelist is Neil Gaiman. I also enjoy reading stories written by a few student journalists at K-State.
Favorite sex scene from a movie/TV/book: There's actually an interesting sex scene in my favorite novel, which is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Bilquis, one of the old gods who works as a prostitute, "eats" a client with her vagina during sex. For real; he's gone. It's interesting, to say the least.
Hidden Talent: I sing pretty well; I'm a classically trained soprano. https://www.facebook.com/dene.dryden

Posts By: Dené Dryden

Paid Time Off is a Staple for Reproductive Justice

On Monday, Senator Tammy Duckworth became the first senator to give birth while in office. She will be taking parental leave, but Senate protocol could keep her from being able to vote on legislation during that time. And she faces another problem upon returning to the Senate—no children are allowed on the Senate floor. “You’re not allowed to bring children onto the floor of the Senate at all, so if I have to vote and I’m breastfeeding my child, what do I do, leave her sitting outside?” said Duckworth in Politico’s Women Rule podcast back in February. On Feb. 5, she also penned an op-ed for CNN calling attention to the need for not only parental leave, but more accessible childcare options and paid sick leave for working Americans. “When people… Read more »

Living in a Women’s House Made Me a Better Feminist

During my first two years attending Kansas State University, I chose to live in a small, all-female residence hall called Smurthwaite Scholarship/Leadership House. To describe what it is, I often say that it’s the perfect balance between a sorority community and a typical residence hall. But my experience in this small community of women is much more than logistically perfect. I have been immersed in a supportive, educated, uplifting, engaging, and friendly family. Now that I plan to move off campus for the rest of my time at K-State, I have reflected on the past two years. Smurthwaite has been foundational to my college experience so far, and it has shaped me not only as a student and a friend, but as a feminist. One factor that has helped me… Read more »

Here’s How We Can Actually ‘Restore Life in America,’ Pence

On Feb. 27, The Hill reported that Mike Pence said he hopes legal abortion will end in the United States “in our time.” At a luncheon for the Susan B. Anthony List & Life Institute, Pence said “I know in my heart of hearts this will be the generation that restores life in America.” Pence has a track record of restricting reproductive health care access in his time as vice president and as governor of Indiana. He said to the luncheon attendees that “while we have made great progress, we have much work left to do,” noting the federal 20-week abortion ban bill that the House of Representatives passed earlier this year; that bill was not passed by the Senate. We have much work left to do to enhance and… Read more »

Innovations by Women are the Future of Reproductive Health

With the rise of women worldwide entering STEM fields, more and more modern-day innovations are created by women and girls. We are also seeing more businesses run by women, creating new products and enhancing old products for other women and female-bodied people. Female innovators in every field are important, and their contributions to society are valuable. In particular, women and other people creating great products that positively impact reproductive health are critical, and should be celebrated. First, look at LOLA. It’s a company that sells “tampons and pads by women, for women.” Their products are different because LOLA is straightforward with what materials they’re using; for example, their tampons are 100% cotton. LOLA’s founders, Jordana and Alex, came up with the idea for their product by considering a simple question:… Read more »

Reproductive Health Issues Could Lessen with Better Sex Ed

I have written about the importance of sexual education and why there is a need for more comprehensive sex ed programs in the United States: to provide an education on condom usage, hormonal birth control, consent, and healthy sexual and romantic behaviors. Real sex education can also help break down the stigma attached to sexuality, and our reproductive organs. One reason to promote comprehensive sex education that many people overlook is to include conversations on male and female reproductive organs (plus the more common variances that occur with intersex individuals). Yes, promoting the use of condoms and learning about more than abstinence is great, but learning about our own bodies is extremely important. Teenagers learn about their muscles, their digestive systems, and their brains in high school. Why not their… Read more »

When Birth Control and Anxiety Meet

When I arrived for my first appointment with Kansas State’s Counseling Services in October 2017, I cradled an iPad in my hands and filled out a digital intake form. It asked me how concerned I was about certain factors in my life, like my anxiety symptoms, personal relationships, relationships with my body image and food, and all that jazz. When asked about medications, I reported just one: the allergy medicine I’ve been taking since I was a child. I forgot to mention my NuvaRing; it was a new medication and, since it is not a pill, I forget it is actually a medication. I wish I had mentioned it. Maybe my semester would have been smoother. I have not been diagnosed with general anxiety or anything of the kind, but… Read more »

Hey Guys: I’m Working, Don’t Flirt With Me

Last semester, I worked as an usher in my university’s basketball stadium. Overall, it wasn’t a bad job; I was getting paid for watching basketball games. However, the job required me to stand at the top of an aisle for about eight hours. Patrons often said hello to me as they went to find their seats, sometimes asking for directions to the closest bathroom or their seating area. But, there was one time when a man tried to hit on me while I was working. He showed me his ticket and asked which side of the aisle his seat was on. To my memory, as I gestured to one side of the aisle, he saw a ring on my finger. “You’re already engaged? How old are you?” I told him… Read more »

Why I Put a (Nuva)Ring on My Busy College Schedule

We have more birth control options now than ever. With advancing medical technology, scientists have been able to offer effective hormonal birth control in many different methods. One of the most infamous method is the pill. The advent of the birth control pill as we know it today came from the efforts of activist Margaret Sanger and endocrinologist Gregory Pincus, with contributions to synthetic hormone studies by other scientists. The first oral contraceptive was approved by the FDA in 1957 to treat menstruation issues, then again in 1960 actually as a contraceptive. Since then, more birth control options have been tested and approved for use, and many aim to reduce human error with the medicine. One of the drawbacks of the standard birth control pill is that a person needs… Read more »

Buying Condoms is Not a Man’s Job — It’s Everyone’s

When I first became sexually active, I never bought my own condoms. I had this preconceived notion that the male partner in a relationship was the one responsible for buying condoms. It also did not help that I lived in a very rural town in northwest Kansas where the local grocery store did not sell condoms, nevermind emergency contraception or pregnancy tests. Looking back now, I realized that my belief around who buys condoms was a byproduct of a higher social norm for relationships: the man is in charge. The man is supposed to make the first move, ask the girl on their first date, and initiate sex. Since men are the ones expected to initiate the sexual part of the relationship, they supply the condoms. And in a way,… Read more »