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7 Essays To Read: Preventing Suicide, Crowdfunding Adoptions, And Being Single

This week, J.p. Lawrence explains why military suicide prevention often fails and how we should be addressing this crisis. Read that and other essays from The Columbia Spectator, The Toast, and more.

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1. "Why Military Suicide Prevention Fails" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos / Via

An active duty service member dies by suicide nearly every day, and 22 veterans kill themselves each day — yet to combat this problem, the military has soldiers swapping inspirational quotes and looking at slideshows. For BuzzFeed Ideas, J.p. Lawrence, a sergeant at the New York National Guard, explains why it's so hard for a soldier to even utter the word "suicide" and how programs that allow for open, vulnerable discussion actually help. Read his piece at BuzzFeed Ideas.

2. "China's Singles Day Is About Sexism and Shame" — Racked / Via

Singles' Day, celebrated by bachelors in China as a way to champion their independence, has become known as the world's largest shopping day — but it turns out, the holiday is one that capitalizes on the pressure China's "leftover women" feel to get married. For Racked, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore interviewed a handful of scholars and women about the sexism and shame unwed women in China experience on Singles' Day. Read it here.

3. "Sex-ability" — The Columbia Spectator

Lexi Weber / Via

As a woman who has lived her entire life with diplegic cerebral palsy, Rania Abi Rafeh knew she was rebelling against what society accepts as physically and sexually attractive when she created her OkCupid account. In a powerful essay for The Columbia Spectator, she remembers her first ever date with a man and how he rejected her because of her disability. In it, she describes the discrimination she faces but how she's much more than a woman with a disability. Read it at The Columbia Spectator.


4. "One Bouquet of Fleeting Beauty, Please" — The New York Times / Via

"People buy flowers when they’re in love, in trouble, drunk, devastated, excited and sometimes for no obvious reason," writes Alisha Gorder, who works at a flower shop in Portland. Describing some of the people she's met and the stories she's heard at work, Gorder writes eloquently on why we send flowers — and why we're so fixated on the impermanent. An excerpt: "Why is it that the placeholders we choose are so fleeting? Hold on to them for too long and you end up with a mess of petals, pollen and foul-smelling water." Read it at The New York Times.

5. "My Path to Trans Motherhood" — BuzzFeed LGBT

Raphaëlle Martin for BuzzFeed News / Via

In the past year, we’ve seen narratives of later-in-life transitioning parents like Caitlyn Jenner and Maura on Transparent — but we rarely hear about trans women who are planning for future parenthood like Zoe Wilkinson Saldana. For BuzzFeed LGBT, she writes about her fears and hopes for the future. "I want to be the kind of person who helps a little human navigate the terrors and wonders of childhood, to tell them they are complete in whatever way they unfold — to assure them that love is their birthright," she writes. "Yet I’m still learning what my kind of motherhood would look like, since I live among institutions and ideologies that continue to question my existence." Read it at BuzzFeed LGBT.

6. "No One Believes You Have ADHD, Especially If You're a Girl" — Broadly

Amanda Voelker via Stocksy / Via

Since ADHD is most commonly associated with hyperactive young boys, girls and women are often misdiagnosed or dismissed by doctors, never receiving the help they need. Such was the case with Margaux Joffe, who becomes stressed even from just a trip to Ikea. For Broadly, Gabby Bess interviewed Joffe about the lack of research and understanding about women and ADHD. Read it at Broadly.

7. "Why the Trend of Adoption Crowdfunding Makes Me So Uncomfortable" — The Toast

Nicole S. Chung has donated to crowdfunding campaigns in the past, but as an adoptee, she cringes as the recent trend of people crowdfunding their adoptions for many reasons. To put it simply, the practice perpetuates a narrative that adoptive parents are saving orphans and that adoption is something they "deserve." In an essay for The Toast, she urges people to have wider discussions surrounding adoptions, ones that include actual adoptees. Read it at The Toast.

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at

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