Trends: Updating Classic Films to Be More Inclusive

Emma Watson as Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast' (The Leaky Cauldron)

Emma Watson as Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (The Leaky Cauldron)

Within the last few years, many films have been updates to classic films. While it’s no secret that Hollywood likes to recycle its own ideas, there’s now a push to make the films more inclusive.

The 2016 release of “Ghostbusters” brought one change to the classic film: the ghostbusters were all played by women (the very funny Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones). While some butthurt fanboys cried that the reboot  killed their childhood (actually, they usually used a much more brutal, assault-y verb for it), the movie brought in $46M+ on its opening weekend, and grossed $229M+ over its theatrical run.

“Ocean’s 8,” which will be released in (wait for it…) 2018, will also feature all female leads in its remake-of-a-remake. (Seriously, the first version involved Frank Sinatra and his boys’ club Rat Pack and was released in 1960.) But “Ocean’s 8” does one better than “Ghostbusters” in that it’s more diverse. In addition to Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling and rapper Awkwakfina will also star in the ensemble. And that first cast photo looks lit.

This weekend, Disney is releasing a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This movie has a lot going for it: For starters, Emma Watson as the titular character gives it some feminist cred. Watson had a lot of input on the character, and  Belle doesn’t wear a corset and is an inventor. (Remember, in the original 1991 film, Belle’s father was the inventor with the wacky contraptions.)

Updating the characters to reflect modern times also extends to the supporting cast. Le Fou, muscle man Gaston’s main lackey, is now going to be gay. And in love with Gaston. Which puts a lot of things into perspective, actually. Though Le Fou will be the first openly gay character, he’s far from the only gay character that Disney has created.

The movie will also feature the first two interracial kisses in a Disney movie: one between wardrobe Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and harpsichord Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), and the other between candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor) and feather duster Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). And Disney is here for it.

I can’t wait to see how Disney movies continue to grow and evolve in terms of representation in the future.

 

 

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Condoms Provided during the Summer Olympics: By The Numbers

Rio Olympics 2016 (Indian Express)

Rio Olympics 2016 (Indian Express)

By this point, it’s no secret that Olympic Village is famous for hook-ups. (Though whether athletes are partaking before or after their events, who can say?) It makes sense: Throw together thousands of elite athletes from all over the world who are in peak physical shape who’ve trained most, if not all, of their lives, for a sport with a laser focus that more than likely excludes almost everything else. And what better way to blow off some steam during this once-in-a-lifetime experience?

Officials at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) clearly had the same thought, because athletes at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics have been provided with a record number of condoms: 450K+ condoms were ordered for 10K athletes. This breaks down into 350K male condoms, 100K female condoms, and 175K packets of lube. This further breaks down into 42 condoms per athlete, assuming said athlete stays for the duration of the Games.

Providing condoms to the athletes isn’t a new phenomenon; the practice began during the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea. Only 8.5K condoms were provided that year. But that number has steadily grown over the years, and has grown exponentially in the recent past. During the last Summer Olympics held in London in 2012, 150K condoms were provided.

Here’s a data table that shows how the number of condoms has risen during the Summer Olympics:

Number of Condoms Provided During the Summer Olympics, 1988-2016

Number of Condoms Provided During the Summer Olympics, 1988-2016

And a data table that shows the same data for the Winter Olympics:

Number of Condoms Provided During the Winter Olympics, 1992-2014

Number of Condoms Provided During the Winter Olympics, 1992-2014

(Somehow, no data was available for Turin in 2006.)

This data table shows how the number of condoms provided has risen through both the Summer and Winter Olympics:

Number of Condoms Provided During the Summer and Winter Olympics, 1988-2016

Number of Condoms Provided During the Summer and Winter Olympics, 1988-2016

There is one problem with these numbers: Aside from the data from Rio, we can’t tell how many, if any, condoms were female condoms, or if they were all male condoms.

It’ll be interesting to see how the number of condoms provided grows over the next few Olympic Games.

 

 

 

France Outlaws Paying for Sex

French prostitutes (The Independent UK)

French prostitutes (The Independent UK)

Earlier this month, France made a major move: The country has now made paying for sex illegal.

If someone is caught paying for sex, they’ll be fined up to $1.7K for a first offense, and up to $4.2K+ for a second time. The offender may also be required to attend classes on sex workers’ conditions.

France isn’t the only country to pass a measure of this kind, or even the first: The country follows in the footsteps of the U.K., Sweden, Iceland, and Norway.

Advocates of the new ban claim that this will help sex workers get out of the trade. But sex workers are opposing this new measure, reasoning that it will expose them to more violence.

It’s estimated that France has between 20K to 40K sex workers. (Naturally, it’s difficult to get an accurate count.)

Kim Kardashian West’s Implanted Male Embryos: How Common Is It?

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West (US Weekly)

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West (US Weekly)

As the whole world knows by now, Kim Kardashian is pregnant with her second child, a boy, through in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Apparently, her husband Mr. Kim Kardashian (a.k.a. Kanye West) wanted a boy, or, as he calls it, “an heir.”

To achieve the desired result, Kardashian chose to only implant male embryos (and evidently, it worked). She most likely underwent preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a procedure which screens embryos for sex characteristics, looking for XX (a girl) or XY (a boy).

In 2012, it was estimated that PGD was used for 4K-6K procedures per year. In 2014, fertility treatment procedures, including but not limited to IVF, were estimated at around 165K+ per year. PGD is used with IVF, so PGD cases comprise between 2%-3% of total fertility treatments.

Interestingly, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world within which PGD may used for “prenatal sex selection.” In many countries, its use is restricted to medical and chromosome-related issues.

Nobody can yet say if this will become a widespread practice. It does raise some questions about the ethics of calling the shots on choosing your child’s sex. But this isn’t a new concern: New York University’s Director of the Bioethics Program S. Matthew Liao wrote a paper on the subject in 2004 for the “Journal of Medical Ethics” while at Johns Hopkins University. About halfway through the paper, he acknowledges, “As far as I know, no one has tried to use genetic engineering for sex selection.” Things have certainly changed in 11 years. Welcome to your brave new world.

Why is There an Orgasm Gap in Hook-Ups vs. Relationships?

Orgasm (NYC Barstool Sports)

Orgasm (NYC Barstool Sports)

In honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, let’s examine a very real issue that a lot of women face: the orgasm gap in hookups vs. relationships.

There have been a few studies on this. A 2013 study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that “women were twice as likely to reach orgasm from intercourse or oral sex in serious relationships as in hookups.” The study surveyed 600 male and female college students. A study out of New York University found that only 40% of women achieved orgasm during their most recent hookup that included sex, where 80% of men reported climaxing. This study polled 24K students at 21 colleges.

But when a woman is in a committed relationship, their orgasm rate shoots up to 75%.

Why is this?

There are several reasons for this: more frequent and consistent practice with a steady partner, communication with a partner and/or feeling empowered and confident within one’s sexuality.

Dr. Debby Herbenick of The Kinsey Institute points out that men tend to report orgasms more than women, so the number of women having orgasms might well be higher. Also, the term “hook(ing) up” includes sexual acts that might not result in having an orgasm, such as kissing.

But women can have sex and get pregnant without climaxing. So why are we so worried about having one (or multiples)?

Dr. Elisabeth A. Lloyd, author of “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution,” puts it best:

“The female orgasm is for fun.”

And she’s so totally right. So get out there and go get yours!