Inspired by Jack Myers' new book, The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century (out now!), this is a weekly blog focused on gender equality. This week, Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, Newsweek tackles period stigma and Whitney Johnson chronicles the plight of the stay-at-home dad.
After almost a year of public comments over the removal of Alexander Hamilton from the $10 bill, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday that Hamilton will remain and anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will replace slave owner Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. Tubman will be the first woman to appear on a US banknote in more than a century. Many cite the overwhelming popularity of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" as one of the main reasons for keeping the founding father on the bill. The announcement comes on the heels of "Hamilton" and its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama earlier this week. The new currency designs, which will feature other depictions of women and civil rights leaders, will be made public in 2020 to celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage and the 19th Amendment, the New York Times reported.
With a bold and blunt cover declaring "There Will Be Blood. Get Over It" Newsweek's latest cover story tackles the shame surrounding women's periods and the negative impact this lasting stigma has on women's lives. "Let's begin with the obvious," the article begins. "Every woman in the history of humanity has or had a period ... This process is as natural as eating, drinking and sleeping, and it's beautiful too: There's no human race without it." And yet we treat menstruation as if it is an illness, the author continues, ignoring women's discomfort and pain, not making sanitary products easily accessible in schools, and taxing tampons and pads in many states. In addition, the FDA does not require companies to list the ingredients used in these products, which some researchers claim can contain "residue from chemical herbicides," meaning women aren't aware of potential health consequences. However, last year, fueled by activists, menstruation started to become a public topic, causing trending hashtags of #TheHomelessPeriod, #HappyToBleed, #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult and #FreeTheTampons. NPR called 2015 "The Year of the Period." There has also been a rise in period-related product innovations. THINX, a company that made headlines when the MTA refused to run its advertisements due to the use of the word "period," offers leak-proof underwear that allows women to skip the use of a tampon, and Whoopi Goldberg is launching medical marijuana products to ease menstrual cramps. While most of us loathe talking about periods, the author concludes, its about time that we change the conversation.
In a commentary in the Harvard Business Review this week, author and leading management thinker Whitney Johnson chronicled the difficulties her husband, Roger, faced as a stay-at-home dad -- and when he decided to relaunch his career. In 2012, because she was a working mother who travelled frequently, Johnson and her husband decided that he would pause his career to care for their two children. At the time, only 21% of the two million stay-at-home dads in the United States were home solely to care for children. The family greatly benefitted, Johnson admits, but her husband's career suffered; while women have an arduous but doable path back to work, men face different obstacles -- including a long-lasting stigma about out-of-work husbands suggesting that there must be something wrong with a man who chooses his family over his work. Additionally, while stay-at-home moms typically have a strong support network, stay-at-home dads lack similar support, which can take a substantial emotional toll, Johnson writes. Media images and public perceptions also don't help the transition. Men are often portrayed as buffoons who can't do basic housework and are mocked and emasculated for taking primary responsibility for childcare. "No one benefits from a dialogue that demeans the work of anyone who chooses to be a career parent," Johnson concludes.
A new campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners and production company Prettybird, which aims to raise awareness of sexual assault on campus, has begun running print ads of mock acceptance letters that take a disturbing turn halfway through, Adweek reports. In the middle of the letter, the admissions department apologizes to the student for the sexual assault that they will likely face on campus. "We know you will make lifelong friends and memories here on campus. We're sorry that one of these memories will include being raped by someone you thought you could trust. You'll fear him the night he presses you against the wall and every day after that," the letter reads. The ad then cites the statistic that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college, proposing to its readers, "If they accept you, don't accept this." An accompanying online campaign features video spoofs of the reactions of students getting the acceptance letters. You can check out the campaign at DontAcceptRape.com and watch a few of the video companions below.
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The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated bloggers. Photo courtesy of Women on $20.