Category Archives: VICE

Women in Office = Better Healthcare for Women

By now, every Republican-led move related to women’s health feels like a legislative subtweet directed at feminism and the female body—perhaps a thinly-veiled backlash to the perceived threat on male supremacy, or just a muscle-flexing reminder of the gendered power dynamic behind healthcare policy. (See, for instance, the all-male contingent reveling in the House’s passage of the American Health Care Act, and the Senate’s unveiling of its new healthcare working group of 13 white men.)

In theory, political representation shouldn’t determine political priority: Our elected officials should represent the interests of their constituents regardless of gender. But in reality, the gender of our public servants sets the women’s health agenda, and in the US, men control a filibuster-proof majority.

Full article on VICE

Why Do People Cry More on Planes?

Last month, I was midway through an overseas flight and near the end of my in-flight movie when I discovered a vaguely salty liquid building up inside my eyes. Immediately diagnosing the rare secretion as tears, I thought back to the last time this non-gendered and totally acceptable phenomenon occurred in my life. It was on a plane just a few days prior.

While it’s possible that the two on-board movies I watched, Steve Jobs and Inside Out, cause a disproportionate amount of proverbial dust to accumulate in all viewers’ eyes, something seemed different. Sure enough, when I mentioned it to a few friends and colleagues, they revealed similar experiences watching movies and TV shows on airplanes: uncontrollable bawling during Miss Congeniality 2; soft, quiet sobbing during The Lobster; imbalanced laugh-cries during Infinitely Polar Bear. It turns out a portion of us have unknowingly been part of the Mile Cry Club all along.

Full article on VICE/Tonic

Is This the End of Solitary Confinement?

Not that facts matter anymore, but back when they used to, they had a remarkable ability to drive policy change during public health emergencies, even among unpopular groups of patients. Look no further than famous fact-denier Mike Pence, whose solution of “praying the virus away” was failing to control an HIV outbreak among heroin users in Indiana. Eventually swayed by studies showing that distributing clean needles was the most effective infection-prevention policy, Governor Pence begrudgingly bowed to the altar of fact and lifted the state’s ban on needle-exchange programs, slowing the HIV crisis.

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon (or epidemiologist, as it were) to see how acting on basic public health knowledge can go a long way in keeping society healthy, even the parts of society we tend to cast aside. It’s no surprise then that our failure to act on the facts around solitary confinement has led to a mental health epidemic that reaches well beyond the prison walls. This is the central focus of VICE’s ongoing project streaming live from a solitary cell.

In the US today, there are nearly 100,000 inmates in solitary confinement, where they spend all but an hour a day in a six-by-nine-foot cell, in total isolation. While some solitary sentences—determined not by a court, but by a jury of one’s guards—could last a few days, many continue for years, and almost all produce an inmate in worse psychological condition than when he entered. Since most prisoners will eventually walk free, the current use of solitary has yielded a breeding ground for mental illness that affects millions of Americans.

Full article on VICE/Tonic

The Women of Rural Zambia Walk Miles to Give Birth

Hariane hadn’t heard the expression “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” To this modest young mother living in rural Zambia, her life, and that of her newborn daughter, was very much about the destination.

“When I was due for delivery, I came to the clinic but there were no nurses or staff there,” Hariane says. We’re sitting in a one-bed labor ward in Zambia’s Southern Province, just out of the earshot of a dozen mothers and newborns waiting for immunizations. “As I walked back to the village, the baby’s head was already coming out. I didn’t know what to do.”

So Hariane gave birth to her daughter, Violet, under a tree next to a narrow dirt road about an hour’s walk from her village. In other words, her childbirth happened on the journey because her destination was out of reach.

Full article on VICE/Tonic