Lara Freidenfelds

Of Rifles and Responsibility: How Can We Speak to Each Other Across the Gun Control Divide?

As a kid, I loved shooting a rifle with my uncle, out back at my grandmother’s farmhouse. My dad and I would go out with Uncle Bill, in his ubiquitous plaid flannel and hunting cap, and my cousin. We’d set a tin can on a stump. Uncle Bill would show me, holding the rifle firm… Read more →

Yes, I’m a Wife, But You Can Call Me the “Current Supporting Spouse”

The year my second son was born, I went to work, and my husband stayed home. It was the most luxurious year of my life. In the mornings, I nursed my baby while my husband brought our older child to preschool. When he got back, I handed off the baby, said, “bye, Sweetie, see you… Read more →

Average-looking Married Couples Having Caring, Respectful Sex

A friend of mine recently lamented that when he sat his teenage son down to have “The Talk,” he had to focus on the internet instead of relationships. “It’s not like the old days, when you’d tell your kid about the mechanics of it, and protection, that kind of thing. My son knew the basics… Read more →

If You’re Not a Jerk, Then I’m Not Disabled

This is my fantasy: I’m standing at the Main Street corner in my little New Jersey suburban downtown, waiting to cross the street. As usual, I’m stressed out by the giant SUVs whipping by, oblivious to the crosswalk. But then I remember the “alterations” I made to my ID cane. I whip it out, and… Read more →

Yes, We Should Tell about our Miscarriages on Facebook

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg joyfully announced on Facebook that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting a daughter. More solemnly, he added that Chan had experienced three miscarriages before this pregnancy. He shared this personal story as a gesture of support and solidarity with other couples facing similar difficulties. It had meant a lot… Read more →

VULVALUV: Taking Wearable Tech to a New Place

It seems like every day a new health tracking gizmo appears in stores. The fitbit. The Apple Watch. TICKRx. Leaf, a tracker that’s advertised as “for women” because it’s a fitbit copycat shaped like a piece of jewelry. But are any of these really that special? Do any of them really understand what women need?… Read more →

Obergefell Made History, and History Made Obergefell

History matters. Sober and sophisticated historical research can make a difference in the world. I am proud to live in a nation that now, per the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, recognizes the rights of gay and lesbian Americans to marry their chosen partners. And I am proud to be a member of the historical profession,… Read more →

Summer, Now Known as Pedicure Season

“Isn’t the weather beautiful?” I was standing outside my child’s elementary school, making small talk with other parents at pick-up time. “Just about time to pull out sandals.” “Ooh, that’s right, I need to get a pedicure!” exclaimed another mom. “Wait,” I thought, “need to get a pedicure?” I had to ask. Maybe it wasn’t… Read more →

Can a Gluten-Free Diet, Qi Gong, or Ballet Barre Cure my MS? Only a Randomized Controlled Trial Can Say…

By Lara Freidenfelds

“You have multiple sclerosis? My cousin cured her MS with a gluten-free diet and qi gong — you should really try it!”

Since I was diagnosed with MS 17 years ago, I have heard many, many versions of this story, though with a rotating cast of miracle cures in the starring role. Some involve mainstream pharmaceuticals; many more are from the world of alternative medicine. I usually politely say, “Thanks for letting me know,” and let it drop. Everyone who tells me a story like this wishes for my good health, and I do appreciate that.

The Secret to Girls’ Success (Think: Periods)

By Lara Freidenfelds

When you were 14, if you had your period, but your parents couldn’t buy you pads or tampons, would you have gone to school? It’s unimaginable, right? It would have been too gross and humiliating to even consider. Better to pretend to be sick, and deal with the missed work and the bad grades.

In many parts of the world, that’s exactly what happens. And that means that girls don’t get educated, even where they have access to schools.