LW: The first time I publicly shared the story was during a one-woman show I was doing in Sommerville, Mass., back in 1996 I think. Now it’s an essay in this book I have coming out in June. For me, the importance of this story is that it’s not extraordinary. It’s real. I am one of many, many young girls who through the course of their coming of age was very conflicted at 16 about being a sexual being … and what happens when you have to hide your behavior and don’t get information and become a sexual being.
PW: Did it feel really transgressive to say out loud? Did you agonize about it? I mean, it’s really transgressive still now.
LW: It’s really transgressive now. Where I’ve come to is: The right hates me anyway, because of the whole myriad of beliefs I have. So having my story and telling it, isn’t really about people are going to react negatively, because they’re going to. It’s about … how people react when you do tell the story … I’ve had hundreds of women say, ‘I’m going to start telling my story.’ And if enough women tell that story, whatever that story is, about Planned Parenthood in general then you can’t deny the numbers.
My goal is to have women not have to have shame about their sexual health and have Planned Parenthood which provides services be like Lens Crafters, why can’t it be? Why can’t it be in malls? … That would be a dream. So if more people talk about it, and there’s more faces and names to it, maybe down the line that can be something that happens.
PW: I have to ask you about this: with everything going on with women’s reproductive rights, I’m curious how you feel about this whole “End of Men” pop culture thing going on. The essay, and then the book coming out, and there’s a really wide cognitive dissonance between that and reality … It’s not the end of men. Men are making laws stripping women of reproductive rights.
LW: Again it goes back to who’s controlling the narrative, and the men still are. The fact that there’s a book called End of Men that people will buy and buy into that theory, the theory is bullshit. The end of men? Where are they ending? I think it’s bullshit, quite frankly. Especially when you look at the women being promoted in the Republican agenda. I’m sorry, it’s not brilliant scholars they’re putting up. I think they’re trying to demonize women by having a large group of women who seem unqualified to lead, to take the forefront for a while so they can say, “Look what happens when women get into power.”
PW: Yeah, like a minstrel show.
LW: A menstrual show, if you will.