Statue of J. Marion Sims, Father of Modern Gynecology, Removed from Central Park

J. Marion Sims Statue in Central Park (Curbed NY)

J. Marion Sims Statue in Central Park (Curbed NY)

Dr. J. Marion Sims is considered the father of modern gynecology. But this honor comes at a heavy price: Sims carried out his experiments on African-American slave women. It cannot be overstated that these experiments were performed without consent of the patients.

From 1845 to 1849, Sims practiced his methods on 12 slave women who suffered from vaginal issues. In his records, three women reoccurred: Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy #SayTheirNames. Though we don’t know exactly how many operations he performed (and subsequently botched), Sims operated on Anarcha 13 times before successfully repairing her fistula.

Obviously, this is an extremely important and painful part of history, and it should never be repeated. On Tuesday, after 84 years, Central Park removed the statue of Sims. The statue will later be set up in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.

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Sales of High Heels Dropped 17% in 2017

Christian Louboutin shoes (Knowledge @ Wharton High School)

Christian Louboutin shoes (Knowledge @ Wharton High School)

Analysts have been sounding the alarm bell about the death of retail for a few years now. A few categories are also shifting. Among them are various trends in womenswear. Right now, one major category is getting shaken up: women’s shoes.

Market research firm NPD Group found that sales of high heels dropped 17% in 2017. The women’s footwear category then saw a substitute effect: Sales of women’s sneakers jumped 37% within the same time period.

There are a few reasons at play here: One is that the office is getting more casual, and it’s more acceptable for women to wear flats to work. Another is that sneakers are also having a moment in casual wear. An overarching reason is that women are claiming what they want to wear, and not bending to society’s expectations.

We can’t yet say if this will be a trend for retailers, or the beginning of a larger shift. It may be time to find out how men respond to flats and sneakers in terms of attraction.

 

Oprah Winfrey Is the First Black Woman to Receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award

Oprah Winfrey at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Variety)

75th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS — Pictured: Oprah Winfrey, Winner, Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

We all know that Oprah is a supreme being, right? Is there anything she can’t do? Seemingly not, especially when it comes to her role throughout the decades in entertainment. And now she has the one of the highest honors.

Last night, Winfrey was awarded the Cecil DeMille Award. Named after the famed director, the award recognizes individuals in the entertainment industry who’ve, well, achieved a lot within their lifetime (obviously).

Winfrey is the African-American woman to receive the award. This award has been presented since 1952.

Oprah then gifted us all with an acceptance speech to end all acceptance speeches. She started out speaking on what the award personally meant to her (#representationmatters), tied in into history, and spoke on the fact that the tide is finally turning against sexual harassment, in every industry.

Her speech was so good that some are calling for her to run for president (though not everyone feels this way).

Congratulations to Oprah! Only one question: why didn’t she receive this award sooner?!?!?!

California Public Schools Will Now Require Teaching LGBT History

Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987 (The Washington Post)

Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987 (The Washington Post)

California has long been one of the most progressive states in the union, fearlessly blazing a trail where other states dare not tread.

OK, maybe I’m biased because I live here.

But California is about to do something (else) no other state has done: require teaching LGBT history in public schools.

Granted, this isn’t a complete shock. Last year, the state voted to pass a new curriculum for history and social studies where children will learn about LGBT history at various points during K-12 schooling. Topics will range from learning about diverse families in elementary school to historical nuts-and-bolts in high school.

(Side note: A public forum was held in 2015 regarding the new curriculum. While there were disagreements over how some religious groups were portrayed, “no one protested the inclusion of the history of LGBT rights.” Progress!)

This measure comes after the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Act (FAIR) Education Act was passed in 2012. This act bolstered the inclusion of minority groups (including the LGBT community) in public education on history. The deadline to include this new information in textbooks was this year.

With California leading the way, I hope other states will follow suit in teaching inclusive history to their students.

 

Sprout Pharmaceuticals’ Female Viagra Closer to Becoming Publicly Available

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals has developed what they’re calling the Viagra for women. The new drug, named Flibanserin, purports to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low sex drive, in other words) in pre-menopausal women. So far, $50M has been raised in preparation for the drug’s launch, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its benefits/risk profile.

The drug, now known as ADDYI, has had a long road thus far:  The drug was first rejected in 2010, when it was determined that the risks outweighed the dubious (at the time) benefits. Sprout began working on the drug in 2011, after being sold by the drug’s initial developer Boehringer Ingelheim. In December 2013, the FDA had rejected the drug for the second time.

In February 2014, the FDA wanted to see more tests done, specifically how the drug behaved when used with other medications. (Almost 10% of women taking the pill reported sleepiness during the trial.) The company resubmitted New Drug Application (NDA) this past February. The “little pink pill” was approved by an FDA advisory committee (done one step before final FDA approval), provided that more safety restrictions were added.

So far, Flibanserin/ADDYI has been tested on 11K+ women, and claims to be the “one of the most studied women’s health products in history.” Here’s what Sprout found after some recent trials:

In three 24-week randomized Phase 3, six-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group North American studies of premenopausal women with a mean age of 36 years, ADDYI consistently demonstrated a highly statistically significant difference over placebo on three key endpoints, including increase in sexual desire, decrease in distress from the loss of sexual desire and increase in the frequency of satisfying sex. Women treated with ADDYI showed significant improvements at every point of measurement in all pivotal clinical trials, with benefits seen as early as four weeks and sustained over the 24-week treatment period.

It’s too early to know when the drug will hit the public market. But it’ll be interesting to see how it performs (haha).

Thursday Trends: Same-Sex Couples Reflected in Advertising

Tiffany's first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Tiffany’s first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Advertisements are finally getting with the times, and featuring more diversity than your run-of-the-mill straight white couple.

Last month, jewelry giant Tiffany’s debuted a new print ad for their wedding rings. But this ad had one thing different: it prominently featured a gay couple. And apparently the two men are a couple in real life, and were photographed on their own New York stoop.

This was the first time Tiffany’s has used a same-sex couple in their advertising. But it won’t be the last: Just this week, the brand used the same couple in a TV-spot ad. (The ad also features straight and interracial couples.) It signals that the 178-year-old brand recognizes that love comes in many forms, and they want to be all-inclusive. (And it’s a smart business move.)

Other brands in recent years have featured same-sex couples. Preppy retailer J. Crew used a gay couple in their catalog in spring 2011, and Gap used another couple on a billboard the following year. Incidentally, neither sets of couples are professional models: In the case of the J. Crew couple, one of the men was a designer for the brand. (It seems there’s also a side-trend of using real people.)

Lesbian couples are also increasingly represented. In 2012, JC Penney featured a lesbian couple with their children in a catalog pegged to Mother’s Day. Last year, condom brand Durex used two women being playfully affectionate with each other in an ad for a massage gel. This year, Hallmark showed an ad featuring a real-life lesbian couple describing their feelings for each other in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

It’s clear that things are changing. Even “The Onion” got in the action, with a (mock) article claiming that jewelry company Zales created an ad featuring a polyamorous triad. (But the article did rightfully call out that we, as a whole society, aren’t quite there yet.)

Hopefully this follow its natural progression, and  will eventually lead to more ads featuring same-sex couples with families. It’d be great to see future print and online ads and commercials where we see a family with two dads or two moms, NBD.

After all, this would make complete economic sense for these companies: In 2012, “Adweek” reported that the LGBT market is estimated to be worth around $743B+.

 

Why is Argentina Battling a Tampon Shortage?

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

o.b. Tampons (Jezebel)

“The Cut” recently reported that Argentina is currently experiencing a woman’s worst nightmare: a tampon shortage.

According to the Associated Press, the shortage has been going on for over two weeks. The problem stems from an impasse between importers and the government. Businesses think the Argentinean government has been slow in issuing permits for imports (Argentina imports most of its tampons from nearby Brazil), while the government feels that businesses are driving up the prices to increase profits.

A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson claims that only the most popular tampon brands and quantities are affected by the shortage.

The situation isn’t uncommon for the country. Argentina periodically has experienced shortages of medical supplies such as needles and latex gloves.

The U.S. experienced a similar situation form 2009 to 2011. Johnson & Johnson took o.b. tampons off shelves in 2009, citing a “temporary supply interruption.”  The tampons are beloved for not having an applicator and for being environmentally-friendly. The supply shortage emptied drugstore shelves and drove demand up to $99 a box on eBay. The o.b. black market ended when stores began to restock the popular tampon.

No explanation was ever given for the shortage.