This week:

The airlines introducing a non-binary gender option, an interview with Oscar-nominated Yalitza Aparicio of “Roma,” and a baiku inspired by New York Fashion Week.

The growing research around women losing desire in long-term relationships

In a piece published in the Atlantic last week, culture critic and author Wednesday Martin looks at the growing research around how desire degrades over time for heterosexual women in long-term monogamous relationships. Despite the cultural perception that women are made for exclusivity, Martin writes, many studies find that the opposite is often true: Female passion is shown to drop dramatically over years-long relationships, while men’s holds relatively steady.

At the article’s conclusion, Martin argues: “When we speak of desire in the future, we should acknowledge that the fairer sex thirsts for the frisson of an encounter with someone or something new as much as, if not more, than men do.”

Yale women sue university over sexist fraternity culture

(iStock; Lily illustration)
(iStock; Lily illustration)

Three women who attend Yale University — Ry Walker, a junior; Anna McNeil, also a junior; and Eliana Singer, a sophomore — filed a class-action lawsuit last week against the university and its nine all-male fraternities, which the lawsuit claims are “a microcosm of the ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault at all-male fraternities.” The lawsuit seeks to ban frats from considering gender when accepting members and to open up their alumni and professional networks to women. “It’s not only breeding a very toxic sexual culture but also is giving undue economic and professional benefits to the male fraternity members,” said 20-year-old Walker. A lawyer for the fraternities called the students’ accusations baseless.

National task force releases guidelines to help prevent pregnancy-related depression


An estimated 1 in 7 women will suffer depression while pregnant or after giving birth. Last week, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force released new guidelines to help prevent perinatal depression. After reviewing 50 studies, the panel identified two types of counseling as being most effective: cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches people to manage negative thinking, and interpersonal therapy, which addresses relationship problems.

Newly surfaced videotape may lead to R. Kelly’s indictment

R. Kelly. (AP/Lily illustration)
R. Kelly. (AP/Lily illustration)

Last week, a VHS tape that allegedly shows R&B singer R. Kelly engaging in sexual activity with a minor was turned over to authorities by attorney Michael Avenatti. On Thursday, in a statement released on Twitter, Avenatti said that the approximately 45-minute-long tape is within the Illinois statute of limitations. A senior law-enforcement official has said that an indictment is pending and that the tape could lead to Kelly’s arrest soon. The news comes a month after the premiere of “Surviving R. Kelly,”Lifetime’s six-part docuseries, which documented multiple allegations that Kelly has preyed on underage girls for more than two decades.

Airlines to introduce a non-binary gender option for fliers

(iStock; Lily illustration)
(iStock; Lily illustration)

The Daily Beast reported that Airlines for America — the trade group representing companies including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United, JetBlue and Southwest — said it will add a new gender option, in addition to “male” and “female,” for non-binary passengers who identify as “X” on their IDs. Currently, five states and Washington, D.C., allow people to identify their gender as “X” on driver’s licenses, but those passengers are still forced to choose “male” or “female” on airlines’ drop-down menus. The policy change will take effect in June.

Many cases in the pipeline to the Supreme Court could affect Roe v. Wade

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to block a Louisiana law that would have left the state with only one doctor eligible to perform abortions. But there are at least 20 other lawsuits that could significantly alter the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion in 1973. Most of those cases are related to state laws that restrict access to abortion; another case still awaits a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that would challenge a policy preventing undocumented teenagers in custody from getting abortions.

Both abortion rights supporters and opponents say this is one of the most contentious times for Roe v. Wade since 1992, when a conservative court, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ruled that a state may place restrictions on abortion, as long as it doesn’t create an “undue burden” on a woman’s federal right to one. With Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the Supreme Court has shifted to the right.

Here is a list of some of the most significant cases working their way through the courts, including a challenge to an Indiana law that institutes waiting periods between ultrasounds and abortions and a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.


• HSBC’s offices in Hong Kong came under fire for offering special deals on laptops “for him” and vacuum cleaners and kitchen appliances “for her” on Valentine’s Day.

• In the most significant penalty for abuse in the Roman Catholic Church’s recent history, it defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, stripping him of the rights of the priesthood, after finding him guilty of sexual abuse, the Vatican announced Saturday.

• The New York Times published the accounts of seven women alleging that singer Ryan Adams engaged in sexual misconduct and manipulation, including an account from Mandy Moore, Adams’s ex-wife. In a statement, Adams apologized and said he wasn’t “a perfect man” but said the story was “upsettingly inaccurate.”

• Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to work for the first time Friday, following surgery to remove cancerous nodules from her left lung.

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who has highlighted women’s issues in her presidential campaign for 2020, reportedly said she would support the federal recognition of a third gender.

An interview with first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio of ‘Roma’

(Lily illustration; Carlos Somonte; Alfonso Cuarón)
(Lily illustration; Carlos Somonte; Alfonso Cuarón)

Yalitza Aparicio had no experience acting before signing on to portray Cleo, a nanny for a family in 1970s Mexico City, in “Roma,” which is based on director Alfonso Cuarón’s own childhood. Yet the 25-year-old Aparicio, who is from Tlaxiaco, Mexico, is now the first indigenous Mexican woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for best actress — just one of the 10 nominations the film garnered this year.

In this pivotal beach scene in “Roma,” Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is surrounded by the family she cares for. (Carlos Somonte)
In this pivotal beach scene in “Roma,” Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is surrounded by the family she cares for. (Carlos Somonte)

In an interview with The Lily, Aparicio, who had been set on becoming a preschool teacher, spoke about the embarrassment and nervousness she experienced being in front of the camera for the first time. The acting, though, eventually became “a very natural process,” she said. She also took inspiration for the role from her mother, who is a domestic worker. Here’s what else Aparicio said about shooting without a script, the political aspects of the film, and what she learned about teaching while on set.

I have an unhealthy obsession with gum. Sometimes I have to take a break because my jaw gets so sore. I’ve tried almost every brand of gum there is. Project 7 has gum flavors like “s’mores,” “cupcake bites” and my personal favorite, “kettle pop.” It’s perfect when I have a craving for something sweet. When I pop one of these into my mouth, I feel like I’m at the farmer’s market buying a $5 bag of kettle corn. A disclaimer: the artificial sugar isn’t for everyone.—Maya Sugarman, Lily video editor

*Have an idea for a news-inspired baiku? Send us your creation at lily [at] washpost [dot] com, and you might see it in the next Lily Lines. We follow 5-7-5.

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