1. Jesse Williams Slays BET Awards.
Alright, I’mma let you finish, but if you haven’t seen Jesse Williams’s acceptance speech (spoiler: it’s more like the hauntingly intense spoken word poem of your dreams) from the BET awards, you should stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. As winner of the Humanitarian Award, Williams used his platform to remind the world of the struggle for racial justice in the U.S., and the ongoing, systematic oppression that lurks in the shadows of American history. But also, here’s the thing: we all already knew him as the single most beautiful actor on Grey’s Anatomy, but seeing the public development of his personality and his visions as a Black Lives Matter supporter and political thinker has been such a privilege--all this *on top* of his beautiful eyes that have stopped many a heart in their time on television. Also in the world of black entertainers and artists, this happened this week. #OscarsLessWhite is a step, y’all!
2. Zika Causes Spike in Abortion Demand.
When we covered the Zika epidemic in the past, it was only an abstract fear that the severely limited access to reproductive health would make dealing with the disease even more of a hardship for women in the global south. According to recent reports, those fears have been validated (not surprised, TBH) as countries like Brazil and Ecuador--both countries that supplemented Zika protection simply by instructing women not to get pregnant--have experienced more than doubling of the demand for abortions in recent months. Because abortion is strictly illegal in so many of the affected regions, women are seeking help from unofficial providers, which has historically been incredibly dangerous, and websites advertising abortion pills. But the good news is, this happened here in the U.S., so at least there is some hope yet for women’s health.
3. Channing Tatum Comments on Rape Culture.
For obvious reasons, Team THINX is a fam of longstanding Magic Mike fans. This week, however, the dude came through for us again, but this time with a more overt feminist flair. Channing Tatum decided to take some of his time during an interview with Cosmo editor Joanna Coles to speak about the Brock Turner case at Stanford, and how he’s pretty pissed at the short sentencing that the rapist received after being convicted of digitally raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Chan Chan spoke about rape culture as a whole--major bonus considering there are still people out there who argue that ‘rape culture’ isn’t a thing--emphasizing that Brock’s potential swimming career had no relevance to the question of his ability to commit a horrific assault. Important question: do you think C Tates has seen our sketch yet?
4. Lena Dunham Calls Out Kanye West For Commercializing Misogyny.
Let’s just say, any variation of “Bitch, I made you famous” isn’t necessarily the greatest pickup line, mmmkay? In that same vein--and in reaction to his controversial lyrics about pop star Taylor Swift in his hit song “Famous”--rapster Kanye West has been under fire for quite some time. It just so happens that he put out the corresponding music video this week, and all hell swiftly broke loose. Quick recap of the vid: naked Kimye is lying on a big ol’ bed of naked celebrity wax figurines. Classic Thursday afternoon activity. For almost 10 whole minutes, the camera pans over the naked bodies, some of whom are celebrity men who have publicly exhibited misogyny and violence against women--and some of whom are placed on the bed next to the women that they have violently assaulted!! *cough Chris Brown* *cough Queen Riri* After it came out that Taylor Swift (and I’m sure others whose wax recreations were featured in the video) was never asked for her consent, people like Lena Dunham commented on the video, reviling its apparent celebration of rape culture and violence against women. Yup, that’s our girl.
5. Military Strikes Down Anti-Trans Ban.
Not long at all after we covered the news of women in the draft, defense secretary Ash Carter announced this week that the ban on transgender people, which barred them from military service, has officially been lifted. Before this decision, the discrimination was palpable; the old rule stated that “transgender people could be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender.” This shift represents a huge victory for trans rights activist groups, including the Transgender American Veterans Association, that have been urging the government to change its policies for years. While there has been some (anticipated) outrage coming from conservative military leaders, the general feeling from people about this change is highly positive. More like don’t ask, don’t smell amirite!? Smell ya later, bigotry!