Let’s Stop Acting Like ‘Sex Work’ Is Empowering

When referring to “sex work,” most people are referring to work in commercial sexualized content, along the lines of pornography production or stripping. “Sex trafficking,” in the United States, is defined as to any commercial sex act with a minor, or any commercial sex act involving force, fraud, or coercion. So how do we differentiate between what is often billed as so-called reputable “sex work” and disreputable “sex trafficking”?

Our Awkward Semantics About When Life Begins—And What It Means For Women’s Health Care

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecology found that half of the gynecologist-obstetricians surveyed believe that life begins when the sperm meets the egg, that is, the moment of conception. “One-half of US obstetrician-gynecologists (57%) believe pregnancy begins at conception. Fewer (28%) believe it begins at implantation, and 16% are not sure,” the results stated.

Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ Didn’t Have to Participate in Exploitation to Expose It

I love the idea of media and film putting social ills like sexualization in a critical view, so typically I’d be intrigued by a storyline like that of Netflix’s Cuties—which follows an eleven-year-old Senegalese immigrant girl as she navigates the meaning of her femininity and seeks acceptance among her peers in a hypersexualized culture. However, as I watched clips of the film circulate on social media, I had to pause to consider whether I could view it.

Weinstein Lessons We're Still Learning

This week, Harvey Weinstein—movie mogul of the Weinstein Company whose misbehavior all but started the #metoo movement—was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual crimes against women. For many, this result comes as no surprise. Many have read Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker articles, expanded in his book Catch and Kill. Weinstein has received backlash for accusations of sexual crimes for years in the court of public opinion. But in the judicial court...

Addressing Our Maternal Mortality Crisis with Fertility Awareness

Pregnancy is hard, and it always will be. But, thanks to modern medicine, pregnancy should be life-making and not life-taking. Unfortunately, in America, maternal mortality rates have been increasing since the 1980s, according to the CDC. Further, America’s maternal crisis reveals racial disparities, as black women and Native American women are about three times as likely to die from delivery complications...

Does Hollywood Not Want Us to See 'Judy'?

Judy wasn’t nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. There were numerous contenders for the top film honor, so it was a tight race. But Judy is also not a picture that puts Hollywood in a good light. It would sound conspiracy-theory-like for me to say the Academy doesn’t want you to see Judy, but … I think the Academy doesn’t want us to see Judy. Previous Oscar-nominated films that have featured Hollywood have portrayed it as the good guy. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood...

Girls’ Suicide Numbers Are Increasing—and Current Media Isn’t Helping

This year, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published some troubling findings: suicides in girls have significantly increased in the past decades. The article cited a report in which “female youth aged 10 to 14 years experienced the largest percentage increase in suicide rates compared with other age groups,” and another report found “youth aged 15 to 19 years showed suicide rates for female individuals more than doubled from 2007 to 2015.” In a commentary published alongs

How Brienne in 'Game of Thrones' Relates to our Modern Consent Conversation

For a show that has long stretched the boundaries of appropriate content in favor of an unexpected gut-punch, HBO’s Game of Thrones surprised viewers this past Sunday when the characters Jaime and Brienne had a sexual encounter. For those who have followed the two since the show’s beginning, this was unexpected, even for a last season whose writers are desperate to maintain intrigue while tying loose ends. For some, it was exciting to see these two open up to each other—while equally disappointi

The Human Story of Abby Johnson

From abortion workers to women who choose abortion, 'Unplanned' shows empathy for the many sides of a complex issue. Unplanned, the film about former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson and her change of heart about abortion that caused her to leave her job opens in theaters in this weekend, and is expected to cause a stir. For one of the most volatile topics in our country for nearly the past half-century, abortion is not often a topic one sees showcased at the movies. But for thos

The Longterm Costs of Hookup Culture

Since the dawn of the hookup culture, women have been grappling with its effects—or lack of desired effects. Some women partake in the no-strings-attached alternative to dating thinking it will lead to romance and a deeper relationship; others partake simply because they think it’s a standard part of male-female relations. Given the media landscape depicting men and women jumping into bed with each other on date one without batting an eyelash, it’s not too surprising that real-life young people

What's Hopeful About Hearing Women Who Regret Their IUD

With the IUD hurting so many women, why do we gloss over it so much? Intrauterine devices. Many people love them—or hate them. You may have heard horror stories—for example, that, not only can IUDs fail at preventing pregnancy, it can migrate and lead to a perforated uterus. (Yikes.) If you’re like me, you also may have heard peers express an unconditional love for IUDs you didn’t know was possible to feel toward an implant device. (As it happens, more than one person has told me, in the contex
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