5 Important Articles Every Feminist Should Read This Week, Like How Addyi Works & What's Missing From 'Straight Outta Compton'
Staying up to date on current news can be overwhelming for a lot of reasons. We're constantly inundated with information from myriad sources: Twitter, Facebook, messages and conversations with friends, news programs, and the news websites we frequent. It can be hard to keep up, and more than that, it can be draining. As a news writer, sometimes it's hard to me to want to check my various feeds, because what I see is often really disheartening and painful to digest. But when it comes to important issues that we face as women and as feminists, it's vital that we maintain an acute awareness of what's happening in the world around us, especially as it affects our fight for equality. Many issues we read about have a direct impact on our lives, or on the lives of others with whom we act in solidarity. So we need to read about current events that matter to feminists, and stay informed.
There's so much happening in the world right now, and different news items will feel more significant to different people. To get the ball rolling on some important and ongoing issues that occurred over the last week, I've opted to focus on Addyi, the new drug that's being called the "female Viagra," as well as perspectives coming out of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the violence currently facing transgender women in the U.S., among some others. Take a read, and maybe even go a step further to think about how you might like to get involved.
"Let's Stop Calling It Female Viagra, Okay?"
On Tuesday, the FDA approved Addyi, Sprout Pharmaceutical's drug which will treat Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in women. The pill has been termed "the female Viagra," even though the medication is actually nothing like the erectile dysfunction drug. In her essay, "Let's Stop Calling It Female Viagra, Okay?" written for New York Magazine earlier this month, Melissa Dahl explains why confusing Addyi with Viagra is a problem. She points out that Viagra treats erectile dysfunction on an as-needed basis by increasing the flow of blood to the penis, whereas Addyi is a daily pill which works on the brain to increase sexual desire. Both Viagra and Addyi treat disorders related to a person's sex life, but the way they are administered and the effects they have are very different.
"In Girl's Account, Rite At St. Paul's Boarding School Turned Into Rape"
This week, the teenage girl accusing her former St. Paul's Boarding School classmate of rape testified in horrific detail about her alleged assault. The girl said that the defendant allegedly asked her to accompany him to the roof of a building for a ritual at the school called the "Senior Salute," in which senior men would ask younger classmates to go for walks, kiss, etc. The girl described the alleged assault, and also testified that she attempted to be "polite" and not cause "a conflict." This trial is a devastating reminder that women are still very much socialized to sacrifice their personal safety and autonomy in order to play the role of peacekeeper. This is an important case for all of us to follow.
"Hillary Clinton's Brutal Frankness To Black Lives Matter Reveals Her Approach To Politics"
Writer Andrew Prokop wrote an essay for Vox on Tuesday, regarding Hillary Clinton's meeting with Black Lives Matter activists last week. Clinton told the activists, "I don't believe you change hearts. You change laws." In his piece, Prokop claims that at her core, Clinton is a pragmatist who has always shirked optimistic rhetoric, and has focused on policy rather than social change. He further argues:
There's a common concern on the left that Clinton has long been too willing to back policies they see as deeply misguided — from a "tough on crime" agenda to the Iraq War to helping Wall Street — to advance her own political career. Under this interpretation, the language of "pragmatism" is merely used to obscure that true purpose.
As Clinton's presidential campaign continues, we can all keep an eye on her tendency toward the pragmatic, and continue to ask difficult questions about how she will handle underrepresented voices if she were to be elected president.
"Here's What's Missing From 'Straight Outta Compton': Me And The Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up"
In a powerful and very necessary essay for Gawker, Dee Barnes spoke up about the violence Dr. Dre perpetrated against her — important information that was not included in the recent N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Dr. Dre pleaded no contest to assault charges and settled a civil suit with Barnes out of court. In her essay, "Here's What's Missing From Straight Outta Compton," Barnes discusses the times Dr. Dre allegedly physically abused her and other women, adding:
That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up ... But what should have been addressed is that it occurred.
Barnes' assessment of the film is that it sought to depict how difficult it is for young black men to contend with police brutality, but that in so doing, it completely erased the allegedly violent actions of its rap star heroes. Barnes claimed that the film's director is well aware of these actions, and that he willfully left them out of the plot. Her essay ends with: "The biggest problem with Straight Outta Compton is that it ignores several of N.W.A.’s own harsh realities. That’s not gangsta, it’s not personal, it’s just business."
"Protesters March Against Murders Of Trans Women"
At least 17 transgender women have been murdered so far in 2015, and activists are demanding that the country take notice. Dawn Ennis wrote "Protesters March Against Murders Of Trans Women" for The Advocate this week, covering the crowd of activists who gathered in Los Angeles to protest the violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. In particular, the protesters were calling for an investigation into the shockingly brutal murder of Tamara Dominguez, who was repeatedly run over by a man driving an SUV in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday.
Image: Adam Jones/Flickr