#ThrowbackThursday: “The Year of the Woman,” 1992

Democratic Women elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 (Wikipedia)

Democratic Women elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 (Wikipedia)

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for women in politics in terms of sheer visibility. Already, a record number of women have committed to running for public office in this year’s mid-term elections.

Another year in the not-too-distant past that proved significant for women’s gains in government was 1992. This year saw four women elected to the Senate: Patty Murray, Carol Moseley Braun, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. They joined Barbara Mikulski, who had been elected in 1986.

Four new women elected into the Senate set a record, and led to “Time” calling 1992 “The Years of the Woman.” But Senator Mikulski refuted this title:

“Calling 1992 the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus. We’re not a fad, a fancy, or a year.”

Hopefully the 2018 mid=terms further prove this point.

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500+ Women Are Running for Office in 2018

US Capitol Building (City Segway Tours)

Are you a woman running for office this year? If so, you’re in good and widespread company. Initial estimates made by the Associated Press indicate that that a record number of women are running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives during this year’s midterm elections.

Overall, 526 women have been counted as running. As of last week, 309 women from both parties had registered to run. The previous record was set in 2012, when 298 women registered to run for office.

Google Trends: “Feminism” and “Feminist” in 2017

Gloria Steinem (Viva Media)

Gloria Steinem (Viva Media)

“Feminism” was Merriam-Webster’s most-searched term in 2017, and the dictionary reported that the searches for the term rose 70% over searches in 2016.

I’m curious to see how other search engines (namely, Google) saw any trends in searches for the term. Let’s take a look!

Here’s Google searches for “feminism” worldwide over 2017:

Worldwide searches for "Feminism" in 2017 (Google Trends)

Worldwide searches for “Feminism” in 2017 (Google Trends)

That first spike is right around the time of the Women’s March! Several marches were held all over the world, so this makes sense.

Now here are worldwide searches for “feminist” in 2017:

Worldwide searches for "Feminist" in 2017 (Google Trends)

Worldwide searches for “Feminist” in 2017 (Google Trends)

So that’s pretty much the same. Not too surprising.

Let’s look at how these two terms fared in search for the US.

Here’s how “feminism” did:

US searches for "Feminism" in 2017 (Google Trends)

US searches for “Feminism” in 2017 (Google Trends)

That’s the highest spike around the Women’s March that we’ve seen for the term!

And here’s “feminist:”

US searches for "Feminist" in 2017 (Google Trends)

US searches for “Feminist” in 2017 (Google Trends)

Another big spike around the Women’s March!

The data clearly supports Merriam-Webster’s findings!

Trends: Technology in Sex Toys

Crave's Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

Crave’s Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

This post was originally published on February 5, 2015.

Legend has it Cleopatra may have been one of the first women to use a vibrator. (In her case, it was a calabash filled with buzzing bees.) The legendary queen/sex toy early adopter clearly knew she needed some extra stimulation, and the simple invention paved the way for a future industry.

Now, things have become a little more complex (and thankfully bee-less). Some sex toys have become more high-tech, and take advantage of opportunities within that field. Clearly, when technology enters the bedroom, fun follows.

Below are just a sampling of what tech looks like…in bed:

We Vibe:

The couples’ vibrator We-Vibe 4 Plus makes use of an app designed to maximize each users’ experience. It can used during sex, stimulating both partners. But it can also be used at a distance, with one wearing and the other controlling via the complementary app. The controller can choose the sensations, which the other partner then receives.

Lelo:

Sometimes you just want oral. Enter the Ora 2, which simulates cunnilingus via a rotating hub that stimulates the clitoris.

Crave:

One central component of technology is that it must look good (thank you Steve Jobs for making this commonplace). Sleek is generally the operative term. Crave’s Vesper is a wearable, thin vibrator the consumer can wear around her neck (and only use externally). Creators of the Vesper made sure the product is as elegant to wear as it is useful.

…And into the future:

Una:

This company doesn’t yet have a product on the market. But their goal is to sell a “smart” vibrator that learns from what the user likes. It’ll be interesting to see how this one takes shape.

As technology continues to evolve, it’ll be interesting to witness how sex toys incorporate the new tech into existing and new toys. Who knows? We could soon see something that looks straight out of “The Jetsons.”

#ThrowbackThursday: Hitachi Magic Wand, 1968

Magic Wand packaging, pre- and post-rebranding (Engadget)

Magic Wand packaging, pre- and post-rebranding (Engadget)

This post was originally published on February 5, 2015.

On April 25, 1968, Japanese company Hitachi listed its Magic Wand for business in the U.S with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Originally advertised as a massager in the 1970s, it quickly gained a new (and arguably larger) reputation as a powerful vibrator.

Sex educator Betty Dodson was the first person to recommend it, using the device in her classes on female masturbation. For women uneasy about going to a sex shop to purchase a toy, the Magic Wand filled a previously-unknown niche: Dodson got hers in the small appliance section at Macy’s.

It looks almost orthopedic, with a “tennis-ball-size” head sitting at the end of the white plastic shaft. (And it’s almost as long as the model’s forearm on the old packaging.) The Magic Wand has two speeds: low (5K vibrations per minute) and high (6K vibrations per minute). It weighs 1+ pound, and measures 12 inches. But nationally-known sex shop Good Vibrations reports that the Magic Wand has been one of their best-sellers since 1977.

In 2013, Hitachi rebranded the massager, as they were uneasy as being unofficially branded a covert sex toy. (I guess it took them 46 years to catch on?) Hitachi’s name doesn’t feature on the new packaging, but it doesn’t obscure what everyone knows: The Cadillac of vibrators is inside.

Grindr Allowed Third-Party Companies to See Users’ HIV Status

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Yesterday, “BuzzFeed” broke the news that Grindr, the dating app aimed at gay men, had been selling users’ data to two third-party companies. Among the data sold were users’ HIV status.

Grindr admitted that it sold data to Apptimize and Localytics. (No word on how these companies were using the data.) Grindr users can provide their HIV status and date of their last HIV test in their profile on the app. The two third-party companies would’ve had easily identifiable information because the HIV status data was sent along with “users’ GPS data, phone ID and email.”

Norwegian research nonprofit company SINTEF was the first entity to find the problem.  Though Grinder said that the information sent was encrypted (simply put, made into a code that’s not easily broken), the company also revealed that the data provided from Grindr could be further hacked.

In recent months, Grindr has made more strides related to HIV. The app nows offers ad-targeting to HIV-testing websites, and users can sign up for HIV-test reminders.

Though Grindr announced plans later yesterday to discontinue sharing HIV data with the third-party companies, the damage has already been done. It will be interesting to see if this data breach will affect the app’s number of users in the near future.

Grindr reports 3.6M+ “daily active users” worldwide.

Searches for “Feminism” Rose 70%+ in 2017

Beyonce's 'Flawless' performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards

Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ performance at the 2014 MTV Video Music Award

Feminism made a huge impact in 2017, and it was especially felt on the Internet. Dictionary website Merriam-Webster reported that searches for the term grew 70% over searches in 2016.

Searches for “feminism” corresponded to major events in 2017, such as the Women’s March in January and the #MeToo movement, and the release of relevant media such as “Wonder Woman” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The dictionary also named “feminism” its 2017 Word of the Year. The term beat out other popularly-searched terms such as “complicit,” “empathy” and “gaffe.”