Young Justice: Outsiders Is Too Good Not to Step up on LGBTQ+ Representation

The Young Justice: Outsiders superhero team standing together.

If you had a working TV and an interest in superheroes in the early 2010s, you have at least heard of the animated show Young Justice. If you somehow missed it entirely, you were definitely made aware of it last year when it was resurrected for a well-earned third season (Young Justice: Outsiders) on DC’s shiny new DC Universe streaming service.

Personally, I was still devastated over the cancellation of Teen Titans a few years prior to Young Justice’s original release, so I never saw it when it aired, but I figured now would be the perfect time to educate myself—and boy, did I learn.

The show is fun, smart, and crazy ambitious. The main cast consists of six characters, but the show also includes revolving additions to the main team, recurring side characters, and steady appearances from almost the entire Justice League—and they don’t just go hard with superheroes, either, as pretty much every major villain for the primary heroes shows up at least once.

Most shocking of all is that it works pretty well, all while balancing these big personalities and storylines with a really good depiction of how hard it is to be a teenager. Sure, not all behaviors have aged well even in the few years since its cancellation (I’m looking at you, Kid Flash), and sometimes the pace struggles under the weight of all the show’s goals, but it’s a success overall and well worth the hype.

The one thing the original seasons consistently dropped the ball on was LGBTQ+ representation. This struck me as sort of odd the whole time I was watching, as the rest of the show is fairly inclusive. It seemed almost to go out of its way to demonstrate heterosexuality in its protagonists as often as possible.

By the end of season one, there were two established heterosexual couples on the team, despite really very little chemistry between those involved. The remaining two characters were both boys, so suitable (read: female) partners had to be found for both, and they closed out the season each kissing a girl they barely knew. Because they’re straight, get it? Okay, just making sure.

Still, when I began the new season after a multi-day binge of the originals, I did so with excitement approaching that of an original fan. This new addition, too, delivers. Most of the main cast is still here, and all of the new additions are interesting and relatable, despite one of them being a human-sized bug from outer space.

The plot so far is intriguing and exciting, and we have gotten some fan favorite characters added to the team or showing up in cameos. It’s really good stuff so far, but I still found myself with that one pesky question: What’s with all the heterosexuality?

That’s not a new question for any media, really, and it’s one that mainstream media still seems to be afraid of. It’s easy to feel exploited for entertainment when most mainstream media that’s LGBTQ+ friendly is either a dramatic foray into gay trauma or a much easier RuPaul romp through reality television. There are middle-ground stories going untold, and queer people exist everywhere in culture, not just where it makes a story more interesting.

It would be refreshing to see that in superhero media, but executives insist that there isn’t any room for it. What few LGBTQ+-led comics there are get cancelled relatively quickly, and these characters’ sexualities get erased from their onscreen counterparts. It’s exhausting, and at this point, it’s just improbable. Remember that huge Young Justice cast I mentioned earlier? Some of them have to be gay; that’s just statistics.

Nevertheless, the new season of Young Justice is really determined to make sure we know all of its protagonists are straight. Again. One of the final episodes released so far was an expedition into the mind of Beast Boy, a character historically used as comic relief despite his surprisingly dark personal background.

This episode really took advantage of those conflicting elements of the character, delivering a wacky and somehow still emotional episode that moved the plot of the season forward significantly. Then, right at the end of this largely successful episode, they cut to three different straight pairs sharing kisses.

Beast Boy and Queen Perdita kiss in DC Universe's Young Justice: Outsiders.

Beast Boy and Queen Perdita kiss in Young Justice: Outsiders.

The first kiss was between Beast Boy and his girlfriend and was mostly earned by the events of the episode, and that’s totally fine. The second was in response to the first, and was wholly unnecessary and also genuinely weird. The third was completely unprompted and took place between two characters who weren’t even in a relationship and who, aside from one semi-shared trauma, really have nothing in common.

It’s worth noting here that one of those interactions doesn’t bother me at all. Beast Boy had a really tough time in that episode. He maintained a positive attitude despite that, as he tends to do, and kissed his girlfriend. Cool! Good on you, Beast Boy! They then went on a date or something, and I hope they had fun.

The other two were rushed, unprompted, and helped the plot and the involved characters in exactly zero ways—just in case any viewers forgot that all the main characters are straight, I guess?

Following the increasing diversity in the show, and its continually skillful balance of personal plots with the larger narrative, this was just bizarre and disappointing. Now almost every main character is in a heterosexual relationship, regardless of whether or not it makes sense, and the show is hinting at even more on the way.

Given that it’s even hinting at a budding relationship between original series regular Artemis and the father of her niece (ew), at this point, I’m really just hoping for no further weird implications about the space bug and the semi-female, semi-sentient Martian spaceship. If Outsiders tries to sell me a heterosexual spaceship, I’m going to riot.

Honestly, this is even more frustrating because it’s just too good of a show for this, but now that we have the newly confirmed release date for the second half of the season, all I can do is sit patiently and hope they step up.

(images: DC Universe)

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On the Parks and Rec Anniversary, a Celebration of Leslie Knope and Multi-Faceted Women

Amy Poehler stars as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation

Let’s open this article with a controversial statement: Leslie Knope can be annoying at times.

I’m not talking about her first season misadventure into being the female Michael Scott. I’m talking about how she’s so passionate that, as her husband Ben Wyatt says, it’s like arguing with the sun. Leslie doesn’t take no for an answer. She pushes people to be the best they can be, and she works tirelessly, and she can be frustrating at times in her determination and drive. And I love her for it.

I love that Leslie’s determination can be grating. I love that occasionally people get mad at her, and that sometimes she has to take a step back and realize she’s gone too far. I love that she fails, and I love when she succeeds even more. I love that she’s not a saint, or a perfect person. We need more characters like Leslie Knope out there.

Women in comedy have always been growing, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Leslie is no exception. Originally, she was supposed to be the goofy, clueless boss like Michael Scott on The Office. However, that just never clicked. It was only when Leslie was written as a smart, take-no-prisoners beacon of ideas and positivity that the show began to flow. When she went against the government shutdown to organize the Freddy Spaghetti concert for the kids of Pawnee, she captured not only Ben’s heart but audiences’ hearts as well.

She’s imperfect, that’s for sure. Leslie’s drive doesn’t always match that of those around her, from disaffected intern April to her libertarian co-worker Ron. Sometimes, she gets angry and overly passionate and upsets those around her. But her passion is never the villain. She wants to do the right thing and push people to be better. When she frustrates us or the characters, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a character moment. Sometimes the people who are upset are being defensive or are in the wrong, and other times Leslie has made a mistake.

This might seem like I’m ragging on Ms. Knope, but please don’t let my word choice fool you. I love that I can call Leslie frustrating and still be inspired by her. She lives fearlessly. She doesn’t care that people might find her annoying, she just cares about doing the right thing and getting the job done. In a world full of imperfect asshole male characters, I live for a female character who can be imperfect and still someone we can all aspire to be.

Female characters in all genres need to be allowed to occupy different boxes. They need to be crass like Abbi and Ilana from Broad City, or messy like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And they need to be complicated like Leslie. Leslie contains multitudes. She is not always in the right, or personable. But she’s tough, and ferocious. She’s allowed to be frustrating at times, because real people are also frustrating at times.

If we’ll forgive Leslie her frustrating at times ferocity, we can maybe forgive messes in others and in ourselves. If Leslie is allowed to be a multi-faceted person, we should allow ourselves to be both perfect and imperfect too.

Besides, it’s refreshing to have a female character who is both identifiable and annoying, fierce and frustrating. Too often, women must be paragons of virtue and, at worst, just likable. I want more women like Leslie, who aren’t always likable but who are still heroic characters in the same way male protagonists can be frustrating heroes. Women are more than just one trait, and Leslie is that to a T. I love Leslie, who’s in turn allowed me to love my own at times annoying nature.

Thank you, Amy Poehler. And thank you, Leslie Knope.

(image: NBC)

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We Finally Know the Real Reason Captain Marvel Wears More Makeup in Avengers: Endgame

Carol Danvers meeting Thor in Avengers: Endgame

Concern about Carol Danvers and her makeup choices in Avengers: Endgame vs. Captain Marvel shouldn’t be shoved to the side, but it also makes me question my own stance on the matter. For one, I think it’s cool when a female superhero is being a badass while rocking a cat-eye.

The concern with Carol Danvers, however, is that she has more makeup on in the clip we’ve seen from Endgame than she had on in her own debut film—which, arguably, you could pass off as the character growing in her own skin and deciding she wanted to try makeup. I don’t know; we women are complex beings and one day, we love wearing makeup, and the next, we hate it. Maybe Carol just felt like showing up to meet the Avengers with a smokey eye.

That being said, she’s also a fictional character, and it’s worth wondering what the real-world reason behind the difference was. The Russo brothers cleared up this concern at the Avengers: Endgame press junket, also giving us a fun look into the process the actors get to have with their characters:

“We empower them to have control over their characters because they need to be comfortable playing those characters. This was Brie’s first time playing the character ever. First day on set as the character ever. And those are the choices that she and her hair and makeup team made. I think as it approached the [Captain Marvel solo] film, [when] she started to think more about the character, she made other creative choices. But everyone should be given the right to have the freedom to make whatever creative choices they want to make. And those are the ones that she made that day with us.”

It makes sense now, looking at each character, how they feel so grounded in the actors we’ve come to know. Sure, they’re different; that’s what acting is, but the ability to have that kind of say over a character, to dictate what they’d wear and their hair and makeup choices? It’s kind of wonderful.

So sure, Carol Danvers has a bit more make-up on in Avengers: Endgame, but at least we know that it was a choice that Brie Larson made before she explored the character more in Captain Marvel.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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It’s Marvel’s Own Fault We’re Jamming Out to a Song About Ant-Man in Thanos’s Butthole

screengrabs from the Avengers: Endgame trailer

There is talk of a theory, one that is only found in the darkest of places, that foretells the destruction of Thanos at Ant-Man’s hand. I’m talking, of course, about the fan-favorite (in our hearts) theory of Ant-Man crawling up Thanos’s butt when he’s tiny and then just turning into a full-size human while inside, effectively blowing him up from the inside.

Much like if Thanos decided to go get some Chipotle, he would be torn apart from the inside, and the Avengers would succeed in their mission. Celebrities have joined in on this theory, especially with Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, showing us how he’d fight back against Ant-Man’s dirty tricks. (Spoiler alert: It’s a poop joke.)

So now, with talk of Thanos and his ever prominent butthole being hot news, is it surprising that all the memes were remixed into a song about his butthole being the reason for his downfall?

Look, here’s the thing: I’m furious. Do I want to be marching around singing, “I’m gonna get real small and get inside your butthole”? Absolutely not. But here we are, because Marvel fans are wonderfully creative but also maybe the worst, and this is what comes of telling us next to nothing about what’s going to happen in this movie.

The Russo brothers even opened up about how this theory isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, but also wouldn’t end so well for Ant-Man:

“Listen, here’s the thing, Thanos is incredibly strong. His skin is almost impervious. The question would be what would happen to Ant-Man if he did that. Would it work? Would it not work? If it didn’t work, it would be really bad.”

Now, I don’t think that that means we’ll see Scott Lang with his head in Thanos’s ass, but at least we know that maybe in one of those futures that Dr. Strange saw, he had to witness as Ant-Man trying to blow up Thanos from the inside. I get a sick sense of satisfaction thinking that Stephen Strange had to have that image seared into his brain for the rest of time.

Now, can we get a remix for “Get Small” to play out in bars and clubs?

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Drew Barrymore’s Beloved Nerd Girl Classic Never Been Kissed Turns 20

In yet another installment of “oh no, how did we get so old?!”, this week marks the 20th anniversary of the Drew Barrymore romcom classic Never Been Kissed. The 1999 film, directed by Raja Gosnell, stars Barrymore as Josie Geller, a meek copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times who dreams of being a reporter. Her big break comes when the paper’s editor Rigfort (played hilariously by Garry Marshall) assigns her to go undercover as a student at a local high school.

The only problem is, Josie was a massive nerd in high school, and has zero idea how to get in with the cool kids. What follows is a Cinderella story in which Josie stumbles her way into popularity and develops feelings for her handsome English teacher Mr. Coulson (Michael Vartan).

Re-watching the film felt like reuniting with an old high school friend. The movie was massively popular for my generation, quickly becoming an eminently quotable slumber party staple. It was especially poignant if you were a nerdy girl, thanks to Barrymore’s vanity-free performance.

High school Josie was not like the other nerd girls of popular culture at the time. She wasn’t a hot girl in glasses and a ponytail; she was a hot mess. Barrymore delights in playing the awkward and insecure Josie, as well as the mousy adult version of her pre-makeover. Josie’s nerdiness, while played for laughs, never punches down. We genuinely feel for her when her high school crush rejects her as part of a cruel prank.

Even more satisfying, we see Josie thrive when she finds her tribe, led by nerd queen Aldys (Leelee Sobieski—who, to be fair, is a hot girl in glasses and a ponytail). Josie joins the mathlete team The Denominators, and we see her having a blast at competitions and roasting marshmallows over Bunsen burners.

In one highly relatable scene, Josie and Aldys spend the night drinking milkshakes and driving around town while loudly belting out “Free to Be You and Me.” Before Never Been Kissed, nerdy girls were hard-pressed to find images of themselves that were not mocking or degrading.

Never Been Kissed also features a strong supporting cast, like Molly Shannon as Josie’s horny co-worker Anita, who accidentally gets roped into teaching Sex Ed. There’s John C. Reilly as Josie’s curmudgeonly boss Gus, as well as several actors in the ensemble who went on to become famous, from Octavia Spencer to James Franco to Jessica Alba. The film serves as a terrific time capsule of late 90s fashions, thanks to Mona May’s vibrant costuming (May also did the costumes for Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Clueless, making her the architect of countless 90s fashion trends).

But the best supporting performance by far is David Arquette as Rob, Josie’s goofy jock brother who joins her at high school and helps her become popular. Arquette has never been better, bringing genuine emotion to what could have essentially remained a one-joke character.

Twenty years later, the film holds up surprisingly well. While modern audiences may be squicked out by Josie flirting with Vartan’s hunky English teacher (who thinks she’s a teen), that storyline remains chaste enough to not feel so gross.

Never Been Kissed remains one of the best teen movies and romcoms of the ’90s, and a true ode to nerdy, overly enthusiastic girls of all ages.

(via CNN, image: 20th Century Fox)

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Things We Saw Today: Long-Awaited Star Trek: DS9 Documentary Will Arrive in Theaters For One Night in May

DS9 fans, it’s time to set our calendar reminders on May. What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is finally approaching, but we could only have one chance to catch it on the big screen.

The trailer above has me screaming at the tantalizing looks it seems we’ll be getting into the drama both on the screen and behind it. “This is Rashomon,” declares Armin Shimerman (Quark). “Everyone has a different point of view.”

May 13, 2019 is the date to be marked with bold red ink in your appointment book. Fathom Events is bringing What We Left Behind to theaters across America for the evening. A special taped roundtable will follow the feature presentation, with directors Ira Steven Behr, David Zappone, and producers taking a “comprehensive look at the making of the film, the show’s fans and the series’ ongoing appeal to Trekkers of all age.” While supplies last, there may be special posters to bring home to hang beside your Odo pin-up.

From Fathom:

The film presents a fascinating in-depth look at the past, present and future of a series whose dark, edgy take on Gene Roddenberry’s vision was often misunderstood when it premiered but has grown into a beloved mainstay in the Star Trek franchise.

Featuring extensive new interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as newly remastered HD footage from the television series, “What We Left Behind” also focuses on the original writers of the series as they craft a brand-new episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, developing what would be the eighth-season premiere if the show were to return to the air today.

I’ve been waiting for this to arrive for a long, long time. See you May 13th. I’ll be the one yelling about Jadzia Dax.

Tickets for “What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” can be purchased beginning Friday, April 12 at www.FathomEvents.com and participating theater box offices.

What else have we gazed upon today? So glad you asked:

  • A round-up of some of the finest cosplay from C2E2. (via Kotaku)
  • Lori Loughlin (AND HER HUSBAND, though you wouldn’t know it from the headlines) and 15 other parents are facing more charges in the college admissions scandal. (via CNN)
  • Bank of America is raising its minimum wage to $20, a great idea that other American banks and corporations should emulate in order to somewhat delay their inevitable razing in the fires of the coming social revolution. (via NPR)
  • There’s a new comic launching for “Buffy’s Angel” starring a dated sketch of David Boreanaz. (via CBR)
  •  Gimme this Star Wars Leia Endor bag. Gimme. (via GeeksAreSexy)

What you see today, my Trills and Tribbles?

Deep Space Nine tribbles

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We’re Still Waiting on the Winona Ryder Comeback We Were Promised

Winona Ryder wins sag award for stranger things.

When Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in the summer of 2016, it drew raves from audiences craving the nostalgia of their youth. There was the 1980s setting, the homages to Spielberg and the Amblin films, and perhaps most poignantly, there was Winona Ryder.

Ryder’s performance as panicked mom Joyce Byers was an arresting return for the beloved 90s “It Girl” whose career came to a screeching halt in 2001 when she was arrested for shoplifting while on painkillers.

The Winona Ryder scandal happened at a critical time in internet culture. The trial and scandal dragged on into 2002, the same year that Nick Denton launched Gizmodo and Gawker, beginning the gossip blogger boom. Two years later, Perez Hilton would start his eponymous gossip site that viciously detailed celebrity scandals and feuds.

Ryder, whose scandal happened long before those of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Tara Reid, and other crash and burn starlets, was the first major modern movie star to be pilloried online over her bad behavior. Though Ryder ultimately served no jail time (she got probation, community service, and a fine) she was quickly labeled “unstable” and put in Hollywood jail, where she would remain for over a decade. Ryder was only 30 when she was arrested, bringing her A-list career to an end.

Ryder still worked steadily, bouncing around between indie projects and the occasional high profile cameo in films like Black Swan and Star Trek, roles that had her playing a has-been prima ballerina and Spock’s ill-fated mother. But it wasn’t until her casting in Stranger Things that she truly experienced a comeback.

Stranger Things was an instant smash hit, earning Ryder Golden Globe and SAG nominations, eventually winning a SAG alongside her co-stars for best ensemble. Ryder was primed for a comeback, a collective feeling so strong that it launched a massively popular L’Oreal commercial titled “The Comeback.”

Yet despite the surge of goodwill, Ryder has not been cast in anything beyond future seasons of the Netflix series. She did the middling indie romcom Destination Wedding with Keanu Reeves, but has otherwise not committed to anything else. Maybe this is a personal choice, with Ryder only wanting to work on her series. Or maybe it’s the fact that, as a woman in her late 40s, good roles for her are few and far between.

After all, her Stranger Things co-stars are experiencing massive success thanks to the franchise. David Harbour, who plays Chief Hopper, is starring in the titular role in Hellboy. Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler) starred in It and was just cast in the new Ghostbusters film. Millie Bobby Brown will star in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. So where is Ryder’s big franchise vehicle?

The slowness of the Ryder comeback is especially galling when you consider that other scandal-plagued actors have bounced back seamlessly. Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving in 2006, after he went on an angry tirade against Jews and women. Then in 2010, he was recorded being verbally abusive to his then-girlfriend and dropping the n-word. He then entered a plea deal pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery. A few years later, he played one of the leads in 2017’s Daddy’s Home Two. Gibson has several more projects in development.

And that’s just one example. More recently, Louis C.K. was canceled after accusations of his sexual misconduct came to light. Less than a year later, he was back to touring. And yet Ryder still seems to be paying for her 2001 mistake. It’s high time she starts getting the roles and opportunities that her peers are entitled to. Can somebody get Ryan Murphy on the phone?

(image: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner)

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Twitter Temporarily Suspended That Vile Anti-Abortion Movie & Now Ted Cruz Is Getting the Senate Involved

Ted Cruz stands all alone with his gross beard during a senate hearing.

The anti-abortion cinematic atrocity Unplanned had a big weekend. In addition to having its opening weekend in theaters, it got a boost from Mike Pence, tweeted out some conspiracy theory propaganda, and sparked a quasi-conspiracy theory of its own.

On Saturday, the movie’s official account was briefly suspended, prompting the film’s creators and supporters to cry liberal censorship. While it turned out that account hadn’t violated any of Twitter’s rules (and was thus reinstated), another account that was linked to the movie’s account had. When one account is suspended, Twitter also cracks down on linked accounts to keep violators from creating new pages. After the account was reinstated, some users said they were unable to re-follow it. That seems to have now been fixed and maybe it’s just my liberal bias speaking, but it sounds like a glitch more than a conspiracy.

Of course, that didn’t stop the movie’s team from milking the occurrence for all the promotional value they could. Because from the sound of it, as expected, the movie is basically unwatchable. Rewire.News says the movie “follows in a long tradition of anti-abortion filmography that relies little on good filmmaking and much more on a heavy-handed combination of religious redemption, misinformation, shock and gore, and traditional ideas of gender and family.” The Daily Beast says “Unplanned is the cinematic equivalent of an anti-abortion pamphlet peddled by one of those holier-than-thou creeps who lurk outside clinics, reciting biblical quotes in order to terrorize (often young) women looking for much-needed reproductive health care.”

Nothing gets the anti-choice crowd more excited than the feeling they’re being persecuted by liberals. So rather than promote their terrible-sounding movie, then, it makes sense that they would lean into that narrative and use it as marketing.

Plus, as I mentioned, whoever runs the Unplanned Twitter account has already proven they’re really into conspiracy theories.

All of this eye-roll-worthy. The makers of gory, amateurish anti-choice propaganda leaning into conspiracy theories and anti-abortion rage as a way to promote their movie–It’s predictable and not exactly groundbreaking. We point and laugh and then we move on.

And then Ted Cruz had to go and get involved.

Cruz announced Monday that he’d be leading a congressional hearing on Twitter’s perceived censorship of the film’s account. The hearing will be titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technology Censorship and the Public Discourse” and is set for Wednesday. The film’s co-writer and co-director Chuck Konzelman will speak, and executives from Twitter, Facebook and Google have been asked to testify.

There have been previous congressional hearings regarding social media practices on actually serious issues like election interference and the spreading of fake news, and even those did little more than prove how little our lawmakers understand social media. For Ted Cruz to orchestrate a hearing over a piece of anti-choice propaganda is a disgraceful waste of time and resources, and it’s essentially slapping a government endorsement on that propaganda.

If there’s a sliver of a silver lining here, it’s that Kamala Harris is also on Cruz’s committee, and I’m guessing her time will be used very well.

(via THR, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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This “Consent Condom” Misses the Point and May Possibly Encourage Unprotected Sex

tulipan consent condom needs four hands to open it.

Here’s the thing: sometimes our best intentions go horribly awry. Sometimes things sound better in our head than coming out of our mouth. And some ideas, ideas presumably approved by several professionals in an industry, are just plain bad. One such idea is Tulipán’s Consent Pack of condoms.

The Argentine sex toy company has released a limited edition condom to emphasize the importance of consent and safe sex. The packaging requires four hands to open it, ensuring that both parties are consenting to sexual activity. “Tulipán has always spoken of safe pleasure but for this campaign we understood that we had to talk about the most important thing in every sexual relationship — pleasure is possible only if you both give your consent,” says Joaquin Campins of BBDO, the ad agency promoting the condoms. Ah yes, just what the world has been clamoring for: condoms that are harder to unwrap!

Ever since the rise of the #MeToo Movement, the cultural conversation has focused on issues of consent. And that’s a great thing: understanding and respecting consent is a cornerstone of good sex education. And it’s quite simple really: when engaging in any sort of sexual contact, the absence of an enthusiastic “yes!” is a hard no. Many terrific articles have been written and videos have been made regarding consent, with one of the best being “Tea Consent”:

However, these consent condoms will not stop sexual assault. Chances are that rapists and abusers won’t be held back from a difficult-to-open condom box. For that matter, the box presents a challenge for disabled couples and people without the dexterity to press all eight unlocking buttons. As someone who is frequently stymied by child-proof Tylenol bottles, this condom sounds like a goddamn nightmare.

Furthermore, the consent condoms imply that once a condom is out, consent is sealed, which is not the case. Consent is constantly fluid, and participants can change their mind at any point during the encounter, even after the condom has been unwrapped.

And most importantly, condoms are already facing an uphill battle. Many folks don’t like using them because it changes the sensation of sex (to which I say, you’re using the wrong condoms, but that’s an article for another day). People also can get swept up in the heat of the moment and forget or ignore the need for condoms. Making a condom harder to open won’t exactly help with that.

Ensuring consent during sex is always a good idea, and clearly Tulipán was doing this for the right reasons. In fact, the idea came after a study from AHF Argentina found that only 14.5 percent of Argentinian men regularly used a condom. Yikes.

If we want to emphasize consent, this isn’t the way to do it. Comprehensive sex education, starting in school, is going to be the thing that truly changes our perceptions of sex. In the meantime, can someone open this bottle of Tylenol for me?

(via The Independent, image: screencap/Mashable)

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This Terrible “Tipping Trick” Is Not a Life Hack & Twitter Is Here to Tear It Apart

Everyone is interested in saving money, right? It doesn’t matter how much you make, most of us are open to ideas for new ways to be a little thriftier. Well, a video from CNBC Make It is testing the limits of what people will sacrifice to save a bit of cash.

In the video, host Zack Guzman explains that the standard for tipping in restaurants is 15-20% of your bill. But people have a number of different “tricks” for figuring out that amount quickly. Some people use the decimal trick of moving the decimal point of your total over to the left one spot (or finding 10%) and then doubling that number. Others just double the sales tax. In states that have a tax rate of about eight to nine percent, this means you’ll leave a tip of around 16-18%.

That sounds like it’s the set-up for Guzman to now get to his trick, but actually, that is his trick. Basically, the “trick” is that if you are decimal point mover, you should switch to being a sales tax doubler.

Translation: His trick for saving money is to start tipping 16% instead of 20. That’s it.

In the article that accompanies the video, Guzman writes that he realized he was tipping wrong, though he notes “‘wrong’ is a subjective term when it comes to a cultural norm like tipping that, for the most part, involves individual customers choosing what amount seems ‘right.’ But when I realized my peers had been tipping differently, and potentially saving over $400 a year,” he writes, “it became clear I had to rethink my strategy.”

Funny, if I noticed that all of my friends were always tipping 16% instead of the 20% rounded up that I default to, I’d feel good about my choices, not change my behavior to match theirs.

Guzman notes that that two to four percent difference on one check is negligible for most people, but it can add up over time. You know who else a few dollars here or there really adds up for? The servers taking care of you during your meal.

If you’re tipping 15%, you’re still in Emily Post’s range of what’s considered decent and there’s no shame there. There are far too many people who tip way less that that or not at all, even in states that aren’t mandated to pay servers minimum wage. But if you’re offering advice on how to save money, tip less is a hell of a hill to die on.

(image: Visualhunt.com)

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