The “Curvy” Barbie

    Starting March 1st, a new array of Barbies will become available in stores across the U.S. Yes, I’m serious. Now as a child, I only “played” with Barbies long enough to dismember them or chop their hair off. However, as I was sipping my delicious 8 O’clock coffee this morning I heard something on the TV that caught my attention. Mattel, the maker of Barbie, announced that there will soon be 33 new Barbies available to our children. The 3 new body styles come in 7 different skin tones, with new hair styles and colors, and get this, the ability to wear flat shoes! Yay!!! The body types available will be: tall, petite, and curvy. 

    My issue with these new Barbies lies with the “curvy” model. My problem? She’s not really curvy. They’ve basically given her a more realistic ass and slightly thicker legs. But, she is not what I would define as “curvy”. She just doesn’t resemble the “original” Barbie. Let’s not forget, if “original” Barbie were a real person she would be 5’9″, 110 lbs., with a 39″ bust line, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. This equates to a BMI (body mass index) of 16.24, which would make her an anorexic with a tit job. That is what we had our children play with. Toys shouldn’t matter so long as they’re not harmful; but raising your children with dolls that make anorexia “the new pretty”, is harmful. 

    This curvy Barbie is supposed to fix all of that. I suspect her emergence is due, in part, to the company’s 43% drop in stock price since 2013. This drop in price was absolutely effected by all the bad press Anorexia Barbie got. So out comes “tall” Barbie, “petite” barbie, and “curvy” Barbie.  My issue with this curvy Barbie is that again, she isn’t all that curvy; she’s just not completely malnourished. Just barely fixing your past mistake (a too thin Barbie based off the German doll “Lilli”) is not enough. Next to that, it appears she has a thick ass, not a thick body. Her arms are barely bigger than the original 70’s model Barbie and her ankles and wrists are still as slender as ever. So are we supporting all body types? Or are we supporting “thickness” so long as it’s in our hindquarters? 

    Just food for thought. To me, while it’s a step in the right direction and that’s commendable; it’s more of a toe dip into the pond than a jump off the diving board. You can do better, Mattel Inc. 

    Just for comparison:

“Original” Barbie


“Curvy” Barbie


    Yes, there’s a difference. But I don’t believe making her look as if she eats regularly is enough. Why not make one that’s actually curvy everywhere?
by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016

To the Woman who ALMOST Ruined my Best Friend’s Life…

Dear Home Wrecker,

    While it’s true that I will rarely condemn another woman for their actions and I never get involved in other people’s business, you have elicited a certain response from me with your actions. Simply put, what you did was so repulsive that you don’t deserve my silence (or anyone else’s for that matter).

    I know that once upon a time you were a friend to my best friend’s boyfriend. I’m sure he fed you many lies about her, much like he did the rest of the world. When they were young they decided to try for a baby, and eventually became pregnant. He got scared. He ran away. He left her high and dry, working 40+ hour weeks whilst in school full time, all in an attempt to create a future for their family. She busted her ass and broke her body building the life that you destroyed on your back. When he returned from his running away, she gave him another chance. She gave birth to their firstborn (a daughter) and 6 months later became pregnant with their son. I understand this is around the time you met him. According to you and your Facebook, you were a lesbian and he was just your “best friend”. Except, he already had a best friend of 14 years in her. Yet, you never initiated a friendship with her as you were one of the distractions that kept him away from his home and his family. You all the while feeling justified because he had painted her as this “crazy, clingy girlfriend”. You didn’t care that she had a family that was missing it’s father. Was it really so crazy for her to want the father of her children to actually help her raise them? Was she clingy for thinking that his family should come before his binge drinking and social life? I know, I know; “she never left him alone” right? That might’ve had something to do with the 5 other women she found out about after their second child was born though. Would you not, having given the father of your child and your family a second chance, have wanted to check in occasionally? You could try the Home Wrecker national anthem of “You can’t wreck a broken home” but, real women know what you’ve obviously missed. All real relationships take work and have flaws. However, good people don’t take advantage of those flaws. 

    Some might say she was stupid or naive for ever taking him back after he cheated. And maybe she was, somewhat (she was after all, still in her teen years). But this isn’t how she saw it. She had already known him for 14 years when you met him. She knew what he had the potential to be before you ever knew his name. She knew his deepest insecurities before you knew his favorite band. She loved him before you ever knew he existed. She had given him 2 children, thousands of dollars, every kind of support that exists, and a family before you ever showed up and claimed to be “the only one supporting him”. Did you think you were the only one he ever said that to? I heard him say the same words to her. Did he tell you he was miserable and you made him feel like he could breathe again? Did he tell you you were beautiful and send you dirty texts that made even the likes of you blush? When you fucked him did you realize you were condemning his children to the shame of knowing that their father betrayed their mother? Did you even care?

    We both know you only developed a relationship with her because you were dating her boyfriend’s best friend and he didn’t want the drama between you and her. Then when your boyfriend went to jail you started fucking hers. Did your boyfriend know you were fucking his best friend? You actually made her believe you were her friend. You listened to her pain about trying to maintain a relationship that had taken a lot of damage. You listened to her fears and insecurities. You let her tell you her secrets. You let her support you in return. Tell me, when you sat in her home, saw her relationship, played with their children, did your heart throb with envy? Did you wonder why you didn’t have what she sacrificed so much of herself to build? Did you think what she had gained through literal blood, sweat, and tears could be earned on your back? When he proposed to her after you had already slept with him did you think you were missing your chance to steal him? When you sought out and messaged her childhood friends about “being in love with a man who has a family” did you mention to them that “his family” was also hers? Did you think a baby would change everything? Maybe that’s why you went from being on birth control to magically becoming pregnant. I truly believe you planned every step of this. You played her. You told him all the fears she confided in you. You probably laughed at her expense and talked shit on her more times than you’ll ever admit to. Does it make you feel good about yourself to know you intentionally destroyed a 15 year friendship, a relationship, a family, and her children’s future? Do you still feel your actions are justified or okay in the harsh light of day?

    The fact that you finally came clean after lying to her face when she directly asked you if they baby was his does not give you the right to be self righteous now. You are not pardoned of your actions because you admitted to them in a text message. And her having the grace to be civil because you were carrying her children’s sibling does not mean she is required to take this lying down or silently. The fact that you had the audacity to chastise her for posting a select few, non-specific statuses about how heartbroken she was is disgusting. Has anyone told you that you are a disgrace to our gender and that you represent everything that is wrong with it yet? Because you are and do. Home wreckers like you make it hard for women like us to gain respect and be trusted. You walk into people’s lives, with your fire engine red hair (that she dyed), and your lack of morals and you rip families apart without so much as a single apology. You laid on your back, got used as a piece of meat by a treacherous man, and destroyed her family’s future. 

    When she dumped him for his infidelity did you honestly think he would be with you? Even after he begged you to abort the baby he never wanted? If so, you’re even dumber than you act. Did you honestly believe you could gain her hard earned life with one unwanted pregnancy? She gave him 2 children that he did want and he still fucked you didn’t he? Even after all this came to light she still had the grace and self respect to not slam you on Facebook or beat the piss out of you that you deserved. She agreed to be civil, she actually held conversations with you; for fucks sake, she drove him to Domestics for the child support you now want. She agreed to be civil with the woman who fucked the love of her life. Now you want to tell her that she has one year to decide whether or not to ruin her children’s lives with the truth you created? Who are you to put a timeline on something that will impact the rest of her family’s life? Obviously, I realize this will also impact your daughter’s life, but seeing as you created this entire situation and took her life and future into your hands, shouldn’t she be able to make this decision on her own time, whenever she is ready? 

    I’m not sure you even possess the emotional capacity to understand what damage you’ve caused. You have to be pretty cold to play with a woman’s child, in her home, while carrying her fiancées baby. But if you have any heart whatsoever, imagine this scene… Your little girl turns 11 or so, she gets home from school one day, tears streaming down her face. You ask her what’s wrong as your heart breaks from the pain in her cries. She tells you that “Jonny from school said you’re a whore that had sex with someone’s boyfriend and that’s where I came from. He’s lying right mommy?” And at that exact moment, you’ll have a choice to make. Do you lie to your own flesh and blood or do you tell her she is the product of the biggest mistake you ever made? Will you tell her that her conception was the single greatest betrayal another woman ever experinced? Will you feed her the same rationalizations you fed yourself and all your friends? Or will those shallow rationalizations suddenly sound as much like bullshit to you as they always have to us? Will you tell her that you destroyed a family, still in it’s infancy, to get what you wanted? Will you tell her you valued an orgasm over someone else’s entire future? Will you tell her you knew how much pain and hardship your past “friend” had endured and that you still actively chose to cause her more? Will you tell her you promised her father that you would abort her?

    When her first boyfriend cheats on her with another girl will you admit you identify more with the other girl than you do with your own daughter? Will you tell her that she shouldn’t shed a tear over him and that the girl “obviously wasn’t raised right and she should pray for her”? When she asks you how long you were with her father what will you say? That he fucked you for a night and then ran back to the woman he proposed to?

I doubt it. I doubt you’ll ever tell her the complete truth. Why? 

Because no one would ever want to admit to the filth that you are. Because even you wouldn’t be able to stand the look of outright disappointment and pain that would flash across her eyes before she can swallow it, along with the picture of who she thought her mother was. You’ll never admit the complete truth because it’s dirty, vile, and disgusting. And maybe because now that you have a daughter you can just begin to comprehend the damage you’ve caused and you won’t be able to stomach owning what you once acted so casually about. 

    You didn’t win. Your daughter deserves better than the story you’ve condemned her to. She deserves better than the wrongs you conceived her through. She deserves better than a mother who lacks morals and empathy. She deserves better than to be born to this fucked up situation. She deserves better, period. Maybe you’ll be a good parent, or even a half decent person, moving forward. Having children has changed many people’s lives. But this is a decision you can not erase. It’ll be years before you truly see all the consequences of your selfish actions. And while you’re living through the worst of it, the woman whose life you almost ruined, will have moved on. She will be fulfilled and happy. She will be with a better man than you’ll ever attract and her and her children will be better people than you ever were or will be. She will possess strength far greater than your selfishness and an internal beauty that dwarfs your “bad bitch” self in comparison. She will realize that you did her an enormous favor by helping her choose to remove the man she was settling for from her life. She will know that she has won because she will see that all that hard work, all the pain and anxiety, all the rebuilding of her life has made her strong. On this day, you will be nothing but the stupid girl who got knocked up by the father of her children and simultaneously became a single mom and the laughing stock of the Lehigh Valley. You will be nothing. She will be everything we all knew she always was. Even when scumbags like you did their best to break her. 

    Do you still think you’ve won? Do you still feel justified and good about your actions? Do you think you made the right choice?


               The Best Friend of the Woman                                           you wish you were 

The Never-Ending Addiction Argument…

   Is it a disease? Is it merely a set of circumstances? Is it a lack of character or maybe, deficient morals? Maybe it’s a juvenile outlet that becomes a habit? Can it be cured with 12 step meetings? Are drug replacement therapies causing more harm than good? Did we do this to ourselves? Can we blame it all on Big Pharma? How do we fix it? Can it be cured? Is it chronic? What is the “works for everyone” answer?!

   I have been spent the last week reading countless articles, studies, debates, and statistics on addiction treatment. I have seen every method hailed as the savior and then criticized as a complete failure. Not one method made it through the gauntlet of human opinion and came out the other side unscathed. Every single  treatment was nitpicked to death. And all I can think is, “If I have almost 3 years clean and this makes me want to eat a bullet, then how must the desperate addict who’s searching the Internet for a glimmer of hope feel?” The probable short answer: completely hopeless. 

   There are so many questions, that develop into debates, which springs into addiction effected people pouring their hearts out across the Internet, drawing a proverbial line in the sand, and defending whatever side they happen to believe in. It is a never-ending argument that touches the lives of many Americans. The purpose of this post is not to argue what I personally believe. No; it is to look at the biggest issue. We all think we’re right and that there is no way but our way. 

   If you’ve read my previous posts then you obviously already know my personal beliefs about addiction and what worked for me. Let me be the first to say, that’s irrelevant here. I have seen all methods of recovery work. I have seen 12 step programs transform lives and transition “under the bridge junkies” into recovering addicts who die with 25+ years clean. I have seen SMART recovery give addicts a new lease on life, a sense of self control, and years clean. I have seen church and religion bring addicts from the pits of hell to the gates of heaven. I have seen addicts, who couldn’t get a single day clean from illicit opiates, regain manageability and a sense of hope in their lives, through opiate replacement therapies. I have also seen people white knuckle their way out of their addiction and never turn back to drugs using nothing but their own willpower. This last group is the most rare of all; nonetheless, they do exist.  

   There is obvious failure and obvious success in every single one of these options. For every heart-warming story of recovery to be told, there are ones of gut-wrenching pain and failure. What saves one addict’s life can very possibly, kill another. What brought me hope and years clean, was a misery fest for someone else. What worked for her, destroyed him. We could argue this all day for each and every one of the treatment models in place today. Here’s the twist: we aren’t going to. This is not going to be another WordPress post that debates the merits or failures of any number of treatment options. I will not be citing an incomprehensible list of statistics that will in no way tell you how to better help your daughter, your father, your son, your sibling, your friend. I will not be using my own personal success to promote the method of recovery that I chose. What I will be talking about is something that I personally feel, everyone is missing. 

   No two human beings are created equal. We all have an infinite number of things that make us unique and different from the next. We have dissimilar upbringings, particular morals, different religious beliefs, opposing viewpoints, contrasting realities. We are all perfectly individual. 

   So why, in regards to recovery, do we have this “one size fits all” mentality? Why is everyone trying to prove that their way is the only way? Why are we turning addicts off to any of the resources that could possibly help them by speaking poorly of something that didn’t work for a select few? These select failures don’t determine everyone’s possible success, do they? We’ve created an Internet (hell… an entire world) full of criticism. THIS is what the addicts of today have to wade through to try and find some help. And we wonder why they’re dying at alarming rates? Jesus. 

   I remember being in the grips of active addiction and reading through thousands of websites jam-packed with information about Methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol, NA, AA, SMART recovery, and much more. I remember reading message boards that condemned every method and all the while, the terror in the pit of my stomach increased in size. I remember feeling more hopeless than ever AFTER reading all these articles and information pieces. So much so that I stopped reading them altogether. I literally mentally banned myself from message boards and addiction articles because I knew they were making my mental and emotional outlook worse. They were a detriment I couldn’t afford. They made me feel as if nothing would work. I knew I needed as much hope as I could muster in order to get clean and all reading this vast amount of information did was make me feel doomed, confused, scared, fucked. All these criticisms of various treatment methods quite literally gave panic attacks. I closed Safari feeling more convinced that I was going to die an addict than I ever had before. 

   I imagine how I felt, is how many addicts feel. I imagine the loved ones of these addicts are equally as terrified and confused. We’re trapped in this constant race that can only end in recovery or death. People’s lives are at stake. Their families are hanging in the balance and we’re all overwhelmed by the amount of information available today. Yes, we should be grateful there is any information at all; past generations had little or nothing to work with. We are much better off. However, the methods with which this information is delivered are flawed. We spend so much time arguing which method is “the right one” that we forget the much bigger truth. That truth is that there never was and there never will be “the right ONE”. There is no “one size fits all” treatment option. Why? Because, like I said 3 paragraphs ago, no two human beings are created equal. Therefore, no one recovery program, medication, or idea will work for everyone. We are all too different to be treated exactly the same. 

   Unfortunately, the only things we have accomplished by arguing what method is the best, are mass confusion and prejudice. Addiction is still skyrocketing. We are still burying addicts (a.k.a., fellow human beings) at staggering rates. It is estimated that addiction is so rampant in our country that not a single person isn’t somehow impacted or touched by it. What we are doing is not working. If you’ve made it this far in the post you may be wondering by now what exactly it is that I’m proposing. Fair enough…

   What I’m proposing is this: why not offer this amazing amount of information  that we have at our fingertips without then criticizing the hell out of every single method? Let’s flood the Internet with all these perfectly viable treatment options and let people try them without being weighed down in doubts. No, they will not all work if we stop criticizing them. Yes, people will still die. No, it will not cure addiction. What it will do however is give people the information they need to find and try different treatment options without first convincing them that it won’t work. One perspective I can offer is this: I have seen people come into NA completely broken, wanting to get clean, and while they are there (which is amazing), they are also already convinced that it won’t work. Why? Because so and so said their cousin died even though she tried it. Because the Internet says 12 step programs are “cults”. Because this and that site said it doesn’t work. Can you imagine this person having any real chance at recovery if they’re only half committed to their chosen method whilst toting a mind full of doubts? I can’t. 

   What I’m suggesting is simple enough. I don’t believe that the treatment methods themselves aren’t working. I think the amount of doubt placed on each method is making the addicts themselves not work. No treatment program in the world will work if an addict isn’t truly committed to it. There’s an old saying: “If you don’t work as hard to stay clean as you did to get high, you will relapse.” I personally believe this. Whether it’s NA, AA, SMART recovery, or opiate replacement therapy combined with counseling that’s chosen, what matters the most is the commitment to making it work. If you’re thinking that it isn’t up to us how hard an addict works for their own recovery, then you’re absolutely right. I’m simply suggesting that maybe if we didn’t nitpick every single method within an inch of its life then addicts (just like myself) could believe in them a little more. If an addict truly believes in a program then they’re more likely to dedicate themselves to it. The more dedicated they are, the more likely they are to recover. Then, maybe we won’t have to bury as many people this year as we did last year. Maybe we can stop addiction from ravaging our country, our world, our lives. 

   If you are an addict or someone who’s being effected by addiction then consider this; in order for a person to recover they need the best chance possible. Right? They need that hope that addiction has completely robbed them of. They desperately need something to believe in. Most addicts lose faith in themselves throughout their active addiction. They disappoint and hurt themselves just as much as the people around them. They have no faith in their ability to recover. And only through recovery may that faith be restored. So all we can do is give them something to have faith in.

   As a recovering addict myself, I know these feelings all too well. I know what it’s like to believe that I’m trapped and drowning and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I know how it feels to accept death as my inevitable fate. I know what it is to see true pain and fear in the eyes of those who love me because of me. But, I also remember how it felt to have that tiny sliver of hope that maybe NA could work for me because I had seen and heard of it working for so many others. I am not promoting NA here. I said I wouldn’t. But I can only speak on my own experience. You may replace NA with any other treatment option you see fit. My point is this: that sliver of hope brought me to my first meeting. It helped me keep coming back. It grew into real hope as I continued to recover. It saved my life. Every addict deserves that chance. They are already broken. They are already confused. Let’s give them the information we have and let them see how it works, for them personally, before taking that hope away by condemning an entire treatment model because of the addicts who may not have even given it a chance. There are many things statistics can’t show us. One of those things is how dedicated the participants were to their own recovery. We can’t truly know why this or that didn’t work for so and so. I honestly believe that most methods can work if the proper amount of effort is put in. But would you put your entire life in the hands of a program that’s been criticized to death? I doubt it. We need to change how we handle this. We have so many resources. I think it’s time we stop rendering them useless. Do you agree? 

   Stop criticizing. Start spreading hope. Let’s break the stigma of addiction, together. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016


The Courageous and Wise Naghmeh Abedini

Emotional abuse systematically degrades, diminishes, and can eventually destroy the personhood of the abused.  Most people describe emotional abuse as being far more painful and traumatic than physical abuse.  One only has to read reports of prisoners of war to begin to understand the traumatic effects of psychological warfare using emotionally abusive tactics–and this is […]

I am NOT a Man-Hater

   A man-hater is someone who is described as “disliking men”; generally due to a negative history with men or a relationship that went sideways. These negative experiences then transform into a bias against the entire gender. As I was reading through my “Why I’m a Feminist” post yesterday I noticed that in a few areas, my tone gets a little intense.

I’m aware of the fact that that can make me come off as a man-hater. So just to be clear from the gate, I’m not. However, my desire to explain the source of my intensity serves as the inspiration behind this post. 
   If you’ve read my other posts then you well know by now that I’m an abuse survivor. As most of you can imagine, these experiences did in fact severely distort my perception of men and really, all human beings for a period of time. The things I endured at a young age led me to believe a number of things. These included but weren’t limited to:

  1. If someone was nice to me or helped me, they wanted something. 
  2. Every person in my life had an ulterior motive; it was just a matter of finding it. 
  3. Men were not to be trusted. If they weren’t trying to fuck me or kill me then I would spend my time searching for what they did want (see above). 
  4. It was normal for men to have a dark side and it would surely appear once we were behind closed doors. 

   As you can see, my perception was severely distorted. Maybe I believed this because I was abused continuously from ages 5-7. Maybe it was because the next “father figure” in my life passed his time by being mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive. Maybe it was because the one after him waited 3 years (until he had gained my trust) to slide his hand down my pants while I was sleeping. Really though, I believe it was because it was just one after another. A never ending parade of sick men. It’s worth noting that there was one amazing man, in between the first and the second, named Lars. He was a good guy who always treated me with love and kindness. But my mother dumped him. Irony at its finest, I suppose. 

   Hopefully you can understand why by the age of 12 I had my guard up and trusted no one. I believed that older men were all harboring some form of sickness because at that point in my life, with my history, that was my truth. It was pure, unadulterated survival instinct for me to be wary of men. It wasn’t that I was some “man-hating bitch” because one guy cheated on me or because I decided to grow up and be a sexist. No. For me, my distrust and uncomfortability with the older male population was a necessity. It was what was required to survive. Having that wall up saved me from having even more bad experiences to tell you about today. I was able to see and avoid many very real threats because I was acutely aware of the energy that pedophiles, rapists, and women beaters gave off. Yes, I know that sounds like some psychic bullshit; but it’s not. When you grow up surrounded by snakes, you learn which ones are venomous. Our bodies are intrinsically designed to adapt to our environment and how to best survive within it. When you’re environment is sick men, you learn what to look for.

   Moving forward, while this survival instinct did help me, it also had it’s downside. It made me distrustful of boyfriends and older men. Sure, I could almost completely avoid sick men; but that didn’t mean I had any clue what a good one looked like. My mother dated shitty men, and I continued the cycle. I was always uncomfortable when alone with older men; even if they were good people. I knew good men existed due to the example of my grandfather and Uncle  Gerald but I didn’t know how to find them. I pushed away good people. I questioned everyone’s motives. I kept the world at arms length and I didn’t let anyone catch me with my guard down. I went through a period where I wouldn’t let a man close enough to me for me to hate him. I was suspicious of them and due to my personal experience I believed the majority to be selfish, ulterior motive toting, sex abusing, cheating, lying scumbags.  This theory was helped along by my own inability to identify a good man. I thought they existed but because I didn’t know what one looked like, I always settled for who I thought was good. They rarely were. 

   Time moved on and I dared to raise my standards. My foster mom kept assuring me that actual good men existed and told me what to look for. She married one of the good ones. I started choosing better boyfriends. I grew up. I had faith in my ability to protect myself and use discernment enough that I would let people just close enough that I could attempt to get to know them. I made some really great male friends. I saw how they treated their girlfriends. I watched my foster mom’s husband treat her with respect, kindness, and love. I was in his company alone and he never once made a pass at me. He never put his hands on me. He never talked down to me. I feel safe when I’m with him. This man, among a few good ex-boyfriends and friends, and a current amazing boyfriend showed me that good men do exist. They showed me that some people truly only wish to share their lives with you and do not want something in return. I know today that I can allow someone to pay for a date without worrying what they’re going to expect for it. I know that the sickness of a few does not define the character of many. I broke the cycle. 

   I do not judge people based off of their race, gender, religion (or lack thereof), or sexual orientation. I judge you by how you treat me. I judge you by how you treat your waitress, your mother, your friends. I’ll give you a chance, without judgement or unfair expectations, to show me who you are. Then I’ll decide whether or not you’re someone who belongs in my life. That’s the best I can do for anyone. 

   I am not a man-hater. I’m just cautious with who I allow near my heart and my body. However, I refuse to sugar coat how I feel about the men in my past for fear that I’ll be perceived as a man-hater. I’m just a woman who did the best I could with the cards I was dealt. I don’t believe that you have to hate men in order to support women; because you don’t. We’re all incredible. We’re all unique. The mistakes of a few do not define the character of many. It’s our job to support  our fellow human beings without putting others down in order to do so. 

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016