School Districts Shutting Down For “A Day Without A Woman”

1950s female teacher (Masterfile)

1950s female teacher (Masterfile)

Tomorrow is A Day Without A Woman, a day to call attention to women’s economic power and labor (including the unpaid and emotional kind). Because women do have economic power: Studies show that “women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and influence about 73% of all household spending.”

One profession that is traditionally female-dominant is teaching. The National Center for Education Statistics found that for the 2011-2012 school year, female teachers comprised 76% of all public school teachers. (This gap is especially prominent in elementary schools.) These so-called “pink collar” jobs are ones where women dominate, but can be considered to be “lower” in status because of the feminine association (which is wrong, wrong, WRONG!!).

Naturally, the public school system might be hit hard tomorrow. Some school districts have already cancelled classes as a result of teachers taking the day off to strike. The Alexandria, Virginia public school system reported receiving over 300 requests for the day off. Brooklyn preschool The Maple Street School and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public school system in North Carolina (where 75% of employees are women) will also be closed. All schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will also be closed, after 1.7K teachers and 30% of transportation staff requested the day off.

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The U.S. Department of Justice Sues North Carolina over Controversial LGBT Law

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

The federal government has spoken, and it is not happy. Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state of North Carolina over its controversial HB2 law.

Quick recap: the non-infamous law bars any anti-discrimination legislation against any members of the LGBT community. Also commonly known as the “bathroom bill,” the law also decrees that any transgender person must use the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth instead of the one with which they identify. (For example, a transwoman would use the men’s restroom, regardless of her physical appearance.)

But what happened first is that the DOJ (led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina) gave North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, a.k.a. the one who started this whole mess, until Monday morning to negate the horrid new law. And guess what McCrory didn’t do?

Instead, McCrory decided to sue the DOJ, claiming that there needs to be legislation regulating “transgender bathroom use” (??) at the national level.

So guess what the DOJ did? The DOJ sued North Carolina right back.

This wasn’t completely out of the blue. The DOJ had previously threatened legal action if HB2 wasn’t repealed. The DOJ is now suing on the grounds that the bathroom restrictions discriminate against transgender people (no shit).

I’m very interested to see how this will play out. I have no doubt that justice will prevail, and McCrory will end up on the wrong side of the law/history. But how long will it take, and what other complications could come up?

 

Porn Site Blocks North Carolina IP Addresses

Typing on a laptop keyboard (Free Stock Photos)

Typing on a laptop keyboard (Free Stock Photos)

By now, we’ve all heard about what’s going on in North Carolina with the House Bill 2 (HB2), which has abolished statewide anti-discrimination legislation against the LGBT community. Many companies are unhappy about it, and have either threatened to, or already have, pulled their business from the state.

One company is doing something a little different. Porn site xHamster has begun blocking any inbound users from any North Carolina (NC) IP addresses. At first, users with these addresses saw only a black screen. Later, NC users were asked if they supported HB2. If they answered affirmatively, they see numbers relating to NC users who search for “gay” and “she male” as keywords for their porn consumption. (Spoiler alert: the numbers for those are not insignificant.)

xHamster.com homepage for NC IP addresses (@xhamstercom)

xHamster.com homepage for NC IP addresses (@xhamstercom)

It is unclear how many IP addresses are registered in NC, and how many visitors xHamster.com receives in a given month.

 

North Carolina Passes LGBT Discrimination Law

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (Instinct Magazine)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. In one of his first acts as governor, McCrory issued an executive order to repeal the nonpartisan judicial nominating commission established by former Gov. Bev Perdue. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Takaaki Iwabu)

North Carolina Mayor Pat McCrory has now ensured that his state has made the news recently for all the wrong reasons: On Mar. 24th, he signed House Bill 2 into law, which overrides any local government’s anti-discrimination bills that benefitted the LGBT community. (The bill was introduced by the North Carolina State Legislature, which I’ve now refer to as the NCSL.) And not only did McCrory sign this into law, he did it in just one day.

Why is this a huge deal? For one, the NCSL has now blocked a measure that the city of Charlotte (the state’s largest city and the South’s banking hub) recently brought forth which banned discrimination against the LGBT community. Where others would see progress, the NCSL saw…inappropriate public restroom use?

“The Atlantic” breaks down what exactly this new law (ick!) entails:

It also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s.

Seriously, this new law is all kinds of trouble. But what really gets me is the notion of forcing transgender students to use the restrooms of the gender for which they were assigned at birth. The NCSL is perpetuating the myth that transpeople are pedophiles, and will follow children into public restrooms to ensure vulnerability. I don’t have to tell you how insane that is, do I?

McCrory’s also sending a statement that the capricious whims of the state government will rule any actions local governments make to better their own communities.

This measure will go into effect on Apr. 1st.

Real talk here: I’m from North Carolina. I haven’t lived there in years, but my parents and much of my extended family still resides there. I love going back to visit, but wouldn’t want to live back there again for various reasons. And this new law has given me yet another reason not to go back.

If North Carolina really wants to show that the state, and its residents, are progressive and accepting of all, the NCSL and Pat McCrory really need to turn this ship around, and fast. (I mean, damn, Charlotte’s newspaper “The Charlotte Observer” just published an op-ed putting McCrory in the ranks of other Southern governors that proved to be on the wrong side of history.)

I’m aware of how Southerners are portrayed and thought of outside the bounds of the South (and have even been the victim of these stereotypes sometimes), and right now, North Carolina is looking like a right bumpkin. And not a cute one. Instead of the little cousin who’s endearingly behind the times due to her own innocent ignorance, the Old North State has progressed (ha!) to being the willfully racist hick uncle everyone just grits their teeth and bears at the best of times.

I used to be proud of where I’m from. But this latest idiocy is making it real hard to be.

FDA Approves “Female Viagra” Addyi

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.

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Addyi (also known by its generic name Flibanserin) for public consumption. The drug, produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is being touted as a “female Viagra,” a way to “even the score” sexually against men (who have many option to treat waning sexual desire). In some circles, it’s seen as a big breakthrough for women’s sexual health.

Interestingly, Addyi is the first drug to specifically treat waning sex drives for both men and women. (Viagra solved a purely medical/physical issue rather than a psychological one.) Addyi targets the central nervous system, putting it in line with an antidepressant.

Addyi purports to help women with hypoactive sexual disorder (i.e. lack of sexual desire.) But it works on a woman’s mind instead of her body. Rather than facilitating blood flow to the genital region, as Viagra does, the drug takes a two-pronged approach:

Flibanserin targets two neurotransmitters in the brain that can help inspire sexual desire. The first is dopamine, which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and could help drive up our interest in sex. The second is norepinephrine, which affects parts of the brain that control our attention and our response to things in our environment and could help direct our attention to a sexual partner.

The ultimate goal is that a woman’s level of desire would increase over time.

(Side note: Apparently, Viagra was marketed to women in 2004. The drug did increase blood flow to the women’s genitals, but didn’t affect their level of sexual desire.)

But the drug isn’t completely out of the woods yet: there are still some concerns regarding side effects. Doctors and pharmacists will need to undergo specific training of the drug before dispensing it, and will need to keep track of the women who take it. The biggest side effects include low blood pressure, sleepiness and “sudden fainting,” especially when taken with alcohol. (I have to say, I don’t really understand the point of making a drug to help with sex that can’t be paired with alcohol, but that’s just me.)

There’s also an argument that the drug “doesn’t work safely enough to justify its approval:” Women who took the drug during clinical trials reported a 37% increase in sexual desire, which averaged out to not even two more “satisfying sexual experiences” per month. The boost over the placebo group was even smaller.

It’s expected that Addyi will be covered under most health insurance plans, requiring a co-pay, and will inhabit a price range similar to that of Viagra. The drug should hit the market as soon as October (i.e. less than two months), with some outlets reporting an exact date of Oct. 17th.

I have to say, I’m really curious to see how this will do. I want to see how well it’ll perform (heh) sales-wise, and how many women report the side effects. But most of all, I want to see how this drug will influence the female-desire drugs that will surely come after it.

Google Trends: How Many People Are Searching for a Female Viagra?

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Little pink pill (Stuff NZ)

Hot on the heels of the news that a female Viagra is edging closer to public consumption, I wanted to see how often U.S. Internet users (which would be basically everyone) were searching for information related to female Viagra. I used “2004-present” as my timeframe.

First, here’s how often “female viagra” (red line) against “viagra” (blue line):

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra' vs. 'Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra’ vs. ‘Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

As you can see, there’s a lot less searching for the former term versus the latter.

Now, let’s look at “female Viagra” on its own:

Google Trends: 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s hard to ignore that huge spike at the end of the timeframe. That occurred this month. It’s no coincidence: Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced that their female desire pill Flibanserin/ADDYI was recommended for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval on Jun. 5th.

Flibanserin/ADDYI will treat women with low libidos, known medically as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). I wanted to see how common Google searches for low sex drives appeared.

First, I searched “low sex drive in women,” which was the first specific option Google autofilled for me:

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Interesting. It appears that the term hit its peak (ha) around a spike in 2011, and then crested in 2013. It’s dipped since then, but is starting to come back up. (Also, I’d love to know what happened in 2007.)

But let’s put this in context. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive,’ U.S. 2004-Present

It’s interesting that the female-specific searches don’t make up that much of the overall searches.

Now let’s find out how many men are searching for information on low desire. Here’s “low sex drive in women” (blue line) versus “low sex drive in men” (red line):

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Low Sex Drive in Men,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Low Sex Drive in Men,’ U.S. 2004-Present

OK, now we can see that low libidos in women are an issue, insofar as they’re being Googled.

So a lot of people (we could probably reasonably assume women) are searching for information on low sex drives in women. But how many are searching for a solution? Maybe a cure, call it “female viagra” (red line)?

Google Trends: 'Low Sex Drive in Women' vs. 'Female Viagra,' U.S. 2004-Present

Google Trends: ‘Low Sex Drive in Women’ vs. ‘Female Viagra,’ U.S. 2004-Present

Holy shit, this is amazing. Sure, users are searching for (presumably) information on women having low sex drives, but they’re searching a lot more for a solution. At no point in this graph are there more searches for “low sex drive in women” than there are for “female viagra.” Also, note how the “female viagra” searches spike at the end, halfway through 2015. As noted above, that’s when Sprout announced their “little pink pill.”

Conclusion:

The evidence here points to the fact that people are actively searching for solutions to cure women’s low sex drives. This certainly warrants a female Viagra pill to be brought to market, but why the hell wasn’t this developed sooner?!

Trojan 2014 Sexual Health Report Card: By The Numbers

Trojan 2014 Sexual Health Report Card (via Twitter)

Trojan 2014 Sexual Health Report Card (via Twitter)

Earlier this year, Trojan (the condom brand, duh) released its 2014 Sexual Health Report Card. Now in its ninth year, the Report Card measures sexual health resources for 140 colleges selected from the Bowl Championship Series. Scoring categories include student health centers’ access to quality information, STI and HIV testing and condom and contraceptive availability, among other points.

This year, PAC-12 school Oregon State wrested the #1 spot from Princeton University. As the Report Card notes, the top spot has typically vacillated between the Ivy League and the Big Ten. The PAC-12 also took spots #4 (University of Arizona) and #5 (Stanford) in the top 10.

I wanted to see if there were any discernible patterns within the data, so I crunched some numbers and played with some pivot tables.

By College Conference:

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: College Conferences

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: College Conferences

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) took the top spot for conferences with 15 entries, and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) came in tied second with the Big Ten with 14 entries each. The Mid-American and PAC-12 conferences each have 12. Conference USA boasts 11 schools, and the American, Big 12 and Mountain West schools each have 10 schools.

The ACC, SEC and Ivy League all had each of its schools place within the rankings.

 

By School Type:

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: School Type

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: School Type

Over 76% of ranked schools were public schools, and 22% of schools were private. Ivies comprised over 25% of private schools listed.

Virginia Tech was categorized as public and military, and University of Pittsburgh was public and private.

 

By State:

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: States

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: States

Texas boasts 11 schools ranked, while Ohio has eight schools for second place. California and Florida tie with seven schools each. Louisiana has six, and Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York and North Carolina each have five schools represented.

On the other end of the scale, several states are one-hit wonders: Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., and Wyoming.

By Region:

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: Region

Trojan Sexual Health Report Card 2014: Region

Here’s something interesting: The South makes up 42%+ of the report’s regional breakdown. I didn’t expect that considering the region’s traditionally rocky relationship with sex education.

By contrast, the Northeast comprises only 14%+.

 

Past Winners:

In the report card’s nine years of age, Ivy League schools have taken the crown four times: Yale (2006, inaugural year), Columbia (2010 and 2011), and Princeton (2013).

Columbia and Princeton have previously topped the list despite not having school-wide Sex Weeks.

Some previous winners have precipitously descended the list since their banner year. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities made #1 in 2007, but has since slid to #24, a rate of 2.8+ spots per year. University of South Carolina-Columbia topped the list in 2009, and is now 29, sliding down the list at a much faster 5+ spots a year. Yale descended to #44 this year, sliding the fastest at 5.3+ spots per year.

 

Interesting Outliers:

Despite Trojan’s claim to show schools from all 50 states in their report, Alaska is conspicuously absent.

Only one HBCU (historically black college or university) made the cut: Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia. The school came in at #133. Savannah State has made the list before, ranking #134 in 2013.

Indiana University-Bloomington checks in at #36. This wouldn’t be weird except the university houses the Kinsey Institute. You’d think sexual health would be a priority considering it’s apparently lucrative research.

 

Methodology:

Trojan outlined the criteria they look for within the report (and even leave room for extra credit), and they’ve ranked schools on a 4.0 scale before. I’d like to learn more transparency about how the different factors were selected and weighted in terms of priority.

One weird thing was that the University of Alabama was listed twice, ranked both #30 and #120. This was confusing and will need to be corrected for future report cards.

 

Final Thoughts:

I’d love to see more diversity of school represented. It’d be great to see other HBCUs (Spelman, Morehouse, etc.) and art schools (Pratt Institute, RISD, etc.). The National Center for Education Statistics puts the number of four-year colleges at 2.8K+ (as of 2010-2011), and it’d be fantastic to see a wider swath of schools surveyed.