FOLLOW | Nancy Shanteau
Life’s been a fucking struggle recently, not gonna lie, and I’ve had a lot of past and present traumas come knocking at my sleep, my internal world, and my general life and relationships. So – help is needed. But so many strategies and self-help guides don’t recognise the influence of systemic power on our lives and relationships. We internalise belief systems and practices that don’t help us or reflect our values, we struggle with lived experiences of powerlessness, and to be honest I’m so confused as to where to spend my energy.
Luckily, I got clued into some anarchist channels about those very topics. Nancy Shanteau is a coach and content creator who focuses on creating and communicating tools for change. She offers compassion, pragmatism, vision, and support with her coaching and resources.
Personally, I enjoy how her work is grounded in creating new ways of relating without domination (Cooperative Communication), which I think is an important part of transformative justice, and the space she creates for internal exploration and empowered decision making. She’s created fantastic content on relationship anarchy, empowered boundaries, and Skills for Change.
Check out her videos, written work, or get in touch!
I’m currently working with two chapters of Access to Power: A Radical Approach for Changing Your Life, a super-helpful resource of which Shanteau was a major contributor:
- ‘Chapter Seventeen: How to Recognize Depletion and Create a Life of Plentitude’ which you can find online for free here
- ‘Chapter Thirteen: The Rescue Dynamic’ which you can find online for free here
WATCH | The Pleasure is Ours – The Goop Lab (Netflix AU)
In my textiles class my lecturer has had us looking at the domestic space and how we exist in it, encouraging us to challenge our perceptions of domesticity through performative textiles. I have become increasingly interested in the tension between domesticity and pleasure, how the performative aspects of domestic tasks plays into women performing pleasure, and how the focus of domesticity was and still remains of higher importance than exploring pleasure and sexuality. I’ve been recommended episode 3 of The Goop Lab by my sister and friends several times since it’s release but had always preferred fiction style series rather than documentaries. Whilst I was skeptical about The Goop Lab and Gwyneth Paltrow in delivering a successful show on women’s sexual health, I was pleasantly surprised that it resonated with me.
Through research for this work I watched Episode 3 The Pleasure is Ours which explores our “deep resistance with our own genitalia” and the shame associated with pleasure, encouraging women to take control of their body and pleasure. I, like the women in this episode, felt disassociated with my body growing up, perceiving my genitals and body as not normal, and thus struggled to talk comfortably about sex and pleasure with others. Whilst I’ve become more open and have sat in these feelings of discomfort, I still recognise that being in touch with my body and pleasure is an ongoing process, something that I need to develop through both personal and partner exploration. This episode highlighted that like these women I deserve pleasure, and that pleasure should never be shameful.
LISTEN | Passenger List
I’m not usually a ‘listener’ if it isn’t music – I have never been able to grasp the concept of directing my attention towards one place at a time. Throw in my issues with processing dialogue without subtitles, and the notion of listening to a podcast begins to feel nearly impossible! I’ve tried fiction, true crime, interviews, and self-help; each time, I am forced to rewind the track again and again and again before inevitably throwing in the towel and crawling back to Netflix.
This is probably why Passenger List felt like a Godsend: as well as providing listeners with coherent scripts to read along with (and to translate any conversations between the protagonist’s conversations with her parents, which often fluctuate between Vietnamese and English), it… well, it features Patti LuPone. As a psychic witch.
Passenger List encourages listeners to try their hand at unravelling a seemingly unsolvable mystery alongside Kaitlin Le (Kelly Marie Tran), who embarks upon a civilian investigation when her brother vanishes somewhere between London and New York with the rest of the passengers onboard Atlantic Flight 702. While the premise can sometimes feel a little too realistic, this is not merely used as a tool to induce shock value. The conversation that sparks from Flight 702’s disappearance allows the series to address a number of tricky contemporary issues like faith and race, though I have a particularly soft spot for the subtle highlighting of the emotional distance and difficulties between first- and second-generation immigrants.
Everyone has secrets, and everyone is a suspect. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up replaying each interaction – often “recorded” on Kaitlin’s phone – over and over again, hoping to discover a clue which will aid Kaitlin in her desperate search for closure.
READ | Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
I’ve just recently finished reading Three Women which has been super popular in the book world since it came out last year. Taddeo spent years in different pockets of the United States learning about different women and their particular stories around sex and desire. She presents three in this book.
There’s Maggie, who as a minor was involved with a high school teacher; Lina, freshly separated from her husband; and Sloane, who is non-monogamous. The stories were all fascinating, but I was particularly drawn to Sloane’s and her relationship with her husband.
Three Women, though engaging, definitely suffers form a lack of diversity. In presenting the different relationships these women have with sex, greater representation of ethnicity, class, and sexuality would have greatly added to the book. Who knows, maybe all that research Taddeo gathered over the years could lend itself to a second book. I did still enjoy Three Women for the stories it did present, though.