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The first all-female spacewalk makes history, what a group of suburban women said about Elizabeth Warren, and the anti-Trump Times Square billboard drawing backlash
Today’s featured news
Pain during intimacy can affect women of all ages, and for a variety of reasons, according to a recent piece in The Washington Post. In 2012, for example, a survey found that about 30 percent of women reported pain during their most recent sexual contact. Painful sex, known medically as dyspareunia, can have a clear culprit — such as endometriosis, which is thought to affect up to 11 percent of American women of reproductive age — or have no discernible cause. Many women begin experiencing it with menopause.
What’s more, dyspareunia often goes undiagnosed and untreated, given its highly personal nature. It can affect self-esteem and relationships: According to a 2014 survey, 58 percent of postmenopausal women with vaginal discomfort said they avoid intimacy, and 78 percent of their male partners agreed.
Experts say women shouldn’t feel ashamed to broach the topic with their doctors. For more Post articles spotlighting women’s health, from PTSD to exercising during pregnancy, click here.
Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history Friday when they stepped outside the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger. Although a history-making all-female spacewalk was slotted to take place last March, it was canceled because NASA didn’t have enough spacesuits in the right size. Many cheered the milestone, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will build on the astronauts’ efforts and send the “next man and the first woman” to the moon by 2024.
In a clip of a documentary called “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, opened up for the first time about the difficulty of being a new mother in the spotlight. In the clip — the full documentary, from the British broadcaster ITV, was released Sunday in Great Britain — journalist Tom Bradby asked Meghan about her “physical and mental health” in relation to “all the pressure that you clearly feel under.”
“Look, any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, so that was made really challenging,” she said in the emotional interview.
Earlier this month, Meghan sued the tabloid Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter she had sent to her estranged father. Prince Harry said the decision to take legal action came after he could no longer be a “silent witness to her private suffering.”
The first public hearing on a controversial bill that would eliminate criminal penalties for selling or buying sex in Washington, D.C., generated heated debate last week. If the bill passes, D.C. would become the only U.S. jurisdiction to allow prostitution, save for some Nevada counties. Experts also said that the city would see a jump in the number of people willing to pay for sex.
Proponents of the bill, including sex workers and LGBTQ rights groups, said the bill would empower sex workers by making it easier for them to find housing and eventually leave the industry without prostitution-related arrests on their records. Critics, including anti-trafficking advocates, said decriminalizing the act of paying for sex would embolden pimps, traffickers and others who force people into sex work.
A photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) went viral last week after it was first used by President Trump as an insult — and then celebrated by her supporters as a symbol of Pelosi literally standing up to the president. Trump tweeted the photo, which shows Pelosi as the lone woman at a table with all men, after she walked out on a White House meeting regarding Trump’s widely criticized decision to pull troops out of northern Syria.
Trump’s attempt to mock Pelosi backfired, with many on social media, including some conservatives, criticizing the move. As she has done in the past, Pelosi seized on the image, making the photo her Twitter cover photo.
Caroline Kitchener watches the debate with a group of women in Richmond, Va.
Lily staff writer Caroline Kitchener watched the fourth Democratic debate on Tuesday with a group of white women in the suburbs of Richmond, Va. Why? “The suburban white woman — especially in politically purple regions like this one — has been called the ‘hidden Trump voter.’ In 2016, it’s clear some percentage of this demographic decided to vote for President Trump, after claiming in polls that they planned to vote Democrat,” she writes.
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
1. In a conversation on the podcast “Campaign HQ,” Hillary Clinton suggested that Russia is leveraging a number of U.S. politicians, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). “I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said, although she did not provide any evidence for her claim. Gabbard, who has previously said she would not run as an independent, responded harshly on Twitter, calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers” and an “embodiment of corruption.”
2. A Times Square billboard depicting a President Trump impersonator being tied up by model Michal Mesa drew backlash from conservative politicians last week. In the ad, Dhvani, a small athletic-wear company, takes aim at the administration’s efforts to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Experts say the billboard is perhaps the most extreme example of politically charged advertising to date.
3. Hajar Raissouni — a Moroccan journalist who was sentenced to a year in prison for an illegal abortion and premarital sex — was pardoned by Morocco’s king. Raissouni maintained from the start that she never underwent abortion; her fiancé and a doctor, who had also been sentenced in the trial, were pardoned as well.
4. Cyntoia Brown-Long, an alleged sex-trafficking victim who was granted clemency after spending 15 years in prison for murdering a man when she was 16, gave her first television interviews since her Aug. 7 release. In an interview on the “Today” show, Brown-Long apologized to the family of Johnny Mitchell Allen, the man she killed.
5. “Jane the Virgin” actress Gina Rodriguez apologized after she rapped the n-word in a video she posted to Instagram Stories, prompting fierce criticism. Rodriguez has faced similar criticism before for racial comments, including mistakenly claiming that black women get paid more than Asian and Latina women.
A spotlight on what women are writing in the newsroom
The relationship between Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rosario Dawson, an actress and activist, has been under much scrutiny — but to little avail, seeing as the two have, until now, rarely been seen together in public. In a recent profile of Dawson, Jada Yuan, a Washington Post features reporter, pulls back the curtain on the “power couple.” Dawson told Yuan that she maintains her own space for her personality and career: “I don’t need to be on his arm to be supportive of him and vice versa,” she said. Read the full profile here.
This week, we hear from electronic music duo Krewella
Yasmine and Jahan Yousaf are the sisters behind Krewella, an electronic dance music group. The group, originally a trio, has been creating music since 2007. Recently, the half-Pakistani sisters have been incorporating their heritage into their music; they most recently released a song called “Ghost.”
What are the best and worst parts of working with each other?
Jahan: “For me personally, the worst is realizing how my own difficulties with communicating or lack of gratitude get in the way of our relationship, and so much of that is heightened in a creative relationship. … The best is that we have so many of the same connections, we’re completing each other’s thoughts and sentences and rhymes.”
Yasmine: “Working with someone that you’ve known literally since the first day of your life, it’s like putting a mirror up to yourself. It reflects all the stuff back to you that you keep hidden. That’s the hard part — facing all these things about yourself, but there’s also growth that comes with it. My relationship with Jahan is the one that I’ve grown through the most in my entire life.”
What’s it like being women in a music scene that’s male dominated?
Yasmine: “The fan base being a majority male has been something we’ve had to think about before. It really did affect the way we made music. From the confinements of the type of lyrics to the types of production we would use. In the past couple years … we’ve gotten more vulnerable.”
How does your half-Pakistani heritage factor into your music?
Jahan: “Three or four years ago, we started wanting to uproot the music and art that was a huge part of our growing up and our household. That’s when we started exploring the influence of Pakistan and India — the vocalizations, the chants.”
Yasmine: “I think in food metaphors a lot … I think it’s like if you eat the same thing every single day and it’s really bland food, and then one day you try something with this incredible spice in it. That’s how we felt adding back in Pakistani elements in our music. It was like, now that we’ve done it, we can’t go back because we know what it tastes like.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
I’ve had a wooden bath mat for over a decade and I am never going back. This mat perfectly absorbs moisture while staying clean for years. I love its minimalist look. It feels so luxurious under my bare feet after a shower.
—Maya Sugarman, Lily video editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week