Demi Lovato has long been outspoken about what it’s like living with addiction, bulimia and bipolar disorder, particularly in the wake of her time in rehab. Now the singer/actress is doing even more to give others the resources to become healthy by becoming a co-owner of CAST Centers, the same group of rehabilitation centers she turned to for help.
Demi told CBS’s “Sunday Morning” correspondent Tracy Smith that, even though she wasn’t exactly the most receptive patient to ever walk through the facility’s doors (“Yeah, I was a nightmare,” she said.), she ultimately benefitted from the experience and now wants to now do her part to help others find that same peace:
“It sounds ridiculous but, like, I kind of made a pact with God. And I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that, but I was, like, I promised, ‘If you make me a singer one day, I’m going to use my voice for so much more than singing, and I’m going to help people with it.”
Museums, by definition, are institutions that conserve collections of objects and artifacts of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific significance. Of course, this significance is almost always influenced by a museum’s location—the Dalí Theatre-Museum surely belongs in the town of Figuieres, Spain, where Dalí lived and died, and the Blue House is the only place that could adequately capture the lives of Frida and Diego. It’s true that traveling exhibits can bring new knowledge to museums around the world, but a museum’s permanent installations are what really define its impact. As more than half the planet’s population possesses a vagina, the new Vagina Museum in London’s Camden Market is no exception. With its educational posters, sculptures, and feminist-focused gift shop, it boasts content of truly universal (and gynecological) importance.
Fueled by a goal to end stigma, support reproductive justice and promote public health initiatives, London’s Vagina Museum is the first of its kind.
Unlike Reykjavik’s famous Phallological Museum—a space densely packed with nearly 300 penile specimens from local animals—the Vagina Museum focuses on disseminating information, rather than putting biological samples on display. Even so, visitors might expect the Vagina Museum to resemble a sex museum (which, no joke, exist all over the world, from New York to Amsterdam to Barcelona), showing examples of early pornography or ancient Stone Age dildos. But in lieu of tangible collections, the Vagina Museum is dominated by its first exhibition, Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them, comprised mostly of informational panels that address and shatter long-held myths about vaginal health.
“The anatomy has such complex politics around it that we found it was best to first engage people through what they know, so we can teach them things they don’t know,” said Sarah Creed, the museum’s curator, to The New York Times. “We can talk about cold, hard facts all we want, but that’s not going to change people’s minds. It’s all about unpacking social constructs and changing perspective through engagement.”
While the space itself is quite small, Florence Schechter, the museum’s founder and director, takes advantage of the museum’s intimate atmosphere to fully realize this intention. A single room with exposed brick and wood floors, the museum feels comfortable and safe, inviting people—of all genders, sexes, and ages—to enter and learn about the nuances of the female anatomy (a subject that is still widely and unnecessarily taboo). To Schechter, this information is of particular importance to visitors who themselves possess this anatomy.
“According to a recent poll, more than half the women couldn’t identify the vagina on a diagram,” she said to The Daily Beast.
credit: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images
3-D drawings and sculptures serve as original, customized extensions of the information on the posters, helping to distill and demonstrate the educational content hanging from the walls. Schechter emphasizes the necessity of these creative renderings, affirming that her museum is not rooted in the questionable, largely patriarchal tradition of “steal[ing] some stuff from Africa, put[ting] it in a building, and pretend[ing] it’s a really good thing”—to Schechter, the Vagina Museum is about connecting with its visitors in a way that is current and relevant, focusing instead on “sharing a particular story.”
With her plan to run two exhibitions per year, covering everything from human cervical health to reproduction in the animal kingdom, Schechter intends to take full advantage of this new brick-and-mortar space. On its very first day, the museum drew large, eager crowds, which seems to bode well for the museum’s future.
The Vagina Museum currently has a two-year lease on its Camden Market property, with plans to expand when the contract ends in 2021.
credit: Angus Young/The Daily Beast
“The ultimate goal is to build a permanent museum, but that takes a lot of time and resources. This is like our starter home,”Schechter told the New York Times. The Vagina Museum team has expressed surprise at the public’s positive reception, though they’ve also conceded that the internet has been difficult to navigate.
“Algorithms are set to assume that anything with the word ‘vagina’ in it is adult content or porn,” said Development and Marketing Manager, Zoe Williams. “Our emails go to spam and our online ads get rejected, and it’s all because of stigma.” The hope is that by challenging this stigma with its educational approach, the museum—and other emergent institutions that are sure to crop up in its wake—will not continue to face this sort of issue in the future.
Fortunately, word of the Vagina Museum has spread organically, and people have continued to flock there in pursuit of knowledge, support, and camaraderie.
“I would like people to leave the Vagina Museum knowing that there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Schechter. “I want to get rid of the stigma, so we can start making progress towards equal rights and protecting women around the world.”
Earlier this year, Instagram began trialling the removal of likes in Canada. In a bid to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding the user experience with the platform, Instagram has announced that the social media will be test hiding likes in the US, too —And Cardi B had some thoughts.
Instagram announced that the platform will be hiding ‘likes’ in the US this week.
Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri, announced last Friday that the platform will be hiding the number of ‘likes’ on posts this week. The new feature is being met with strong backlash, especially many influencers and celebrities —among them, the opinionated rapper, Cardi B.
Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn’t make Instagram any less toxic because “the comments affect more than the likes.”
The rapper posted a video on Instagram, explaining how she believes that the comments section is more toxic to users than seeing likes or not. She said: “If anything is affecting Instagram right now, I really feel it’s the way the comments have been done or have been changing these past few years.”
Cardi voiced her concerns of the comments section, pointing out how many trolls will post triggering comments just to get reactions.“That’s when I feel like when people started sayin’ nasty things … somebody would just say something so vile because … they want comments back,” she explained.“Because I feel people been saying the most weirdest shit, been starting the craziest arguments, been starting to race bait, all because of comments, because they want to get to the top, they want to get the most reactions.”
The feature was already been tested in other countries, and now that it’s coming to the US, celebrities are sharing their take.
The feature has already been tried out in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada in recent months. When it was rolled out there, influencers complained that hiding likes would give them less leverage over brand deals and sponsored content now, celebrities are calling out the app for experimenting with removing likes, with some threatening to stop posting to Instagram.
Nicki Minaj says she won’t be posting on IG anymore.
Another rapper known for not holding back on sharing her opinions, threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature were to take effect. What indeed would we do with all the time we’d have without Instagram?
Nicki has a sort of conspiracy theory to explain what’s behind Instagram’s new move.
Minaj went on to tweet about her speculation that Instagram is hiding likes to manipulate what posts users get to see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting. Nicki’s speculations might have some grounds. She referred to the well-documented phenomenon of YouTube view counts fluctuating after videos are posted, which can happen when YouTube determines views come from bots or other fraudulent sources.
Juicy J also had something to say about the new IG feature.
The rapper predicts backlash against the change, tweeting that he expected people to leave Instagram and go “back to real life.”
Others however, think that the decision to hide likes is a good thing.
Despite having more than 151 million Instagram followers and the platform being crucial to making some of her $350 million personal net worth, Kim Kardashian West seems to agree with Instagram’s decision to hide ‘likes’. “As far as mental health, I mean it’s something that taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people,” Kardashian West said during The New York Times’ DealBook conference last week.
Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced her support for the change.
Everyone’s favorite person on IG right now, Tracee Ellis Ross, is also in support of removing likes. She said that the like count had “adverse effects.” “It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for well-being and isn’t fruitful for creative energy,” during a panel discussion with Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri.
The popularity-contest-style pressure associated with Instagram likes will probably just shift to another one of the many metrics measured on the platform —or who knows, maybe the move will actually make everyone happy? Either way, the social media platform will be rolling out the new feature on a small group of users this week, whether we like it or not. And we’ll be keeping our eyes open to see what the change brings.
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