Lots of people cheat on their partners every day. But few have to face the heat quite like Kristen Stewart has. Ever since she was caught romancing her Snow White and the Huntsman director on oh-so-candid camera, the public and media have rolled her over the coals.
The vitriol is such that a fellow actor labelled her a 'trampire' and T-shirts are already being sold, allowing total strangers to profit from her romantic fail. Really, why is it anyone's business?
Few have openly rushed to Stewart's defense. Until now. Jodie Foster, who played then 11-year-old Stewart's mom in Panic Room, recently felt the need to play mama bear.
In the Daily Beast, the 46-year-old actor lashes out at the media circus for treating young celebs like Stewart "as a moving target." She recalls her own career which began at the ripe age of three, and admits that the climate for young actors today is different. She questions whether she would have survived as an actor amid the current media assault, and admits that she would have quit "before I started."
It doesn't make sense that just by virtue of their chosen career actors open themselves up to the media vultures, sacrificing any chance at a private life for being in the public eye. Foster was one of the smart ones, who learned early on to "willfully disassociate, to compartmentalize."
But it's a hell of a way to live, for the sake of some movies. Perhaps recognizing some of the vulnerability she felt as a child actor, Foster feels a motherly protection for Stewart. Maybe we can all move on and let actors do what they do best... We have no more business peeping in their windows than they do ours.
At last it looks like birth control need no longer be the sole responsibility of women all over the world. A new study would appear to have found the long-elusive male contraceptive pill.
After testing a small molecule compound to generate "reversible birth control" in mice, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Baylor College of Medicine appeared triumphant.
Results of their findings appears in the current issue of Cell, detailing how the compound known as JQ1 decreases both the number and quality of sperm. When JQ1 was discontinued, normal sperm production resumed and wasn't compromised. Testosterone production, mating behaviour, and the health of offspring conceived after use all seemed unaffected by use of JQ1.
Interestingly, JQ1 was originally conceived (no pun) to block the cancer-causing gene, BRD4.
"These findings suggest that a reversible, oral male contraceptive may be possible," said James Bradner, study author and faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. "While we will be conducting more research to see if we can build on our current findings, JQ1 shows initial promise as a lead compound for male contraception."
So while it's still early days, and remains to be seen if the result is transferrable from rodents to human males, the study is a legitimate reason to get excited. Soon it may well be his turn to remember popping the pill each day. Now, if only scientists could come up with a compound so men could try menstruating, too...
In a eureka moment for activists around the world, Somalia has finally put a stop to its custom of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in its new constitution. Following in the footsteps of Senegal, the African country previously saw 96% of women undergo the mutilation.
"Circumcision of girls is a cruel and degrading customary practice, and is tantamount to torture. The circumcision of girls is prohibited," says the new provision.
But activists are concerned that without legal enforcement, the provision will mean little more than ink on paper.
According to the World Health Organization, one means of FGM/C, known as infibulation, involves the "removal of part or all of the external genitalia (clitoris, labia minora, and labia majora) and stitching and/or narrowing of the vaginal opening."
It's estimated that 92 million women in Africa live with FGM/C, while another 3 million are at risk of undergoing the procedure every year.
"[Female] circumcision is painful and the problems it creates for you are there until you die," Hawa Abdi, a 23-year-old mother of two, who was circumcised when she was 10. "You are robbed of your womanhood … Now parents who do not want their daughters circumcised can say the law does not allow it."
But ending a longstanding cultural tradition isn't so cut and dry. FGM/C remains a religious requirement, as it is supposed to make women pure and chaste by reducing sexual libido. Some worry that 'uncut' girls will no longer find men willing to marry them.
According to Sheema Sen Gupta, a senior child protection officer with UN children's fund Unicef, it will take time to educate religious leaders and reverse ideologies. Without adequate community involvement, the new law risks driving the practice underground rather than eradicating it.
"As we have learned from several other countries, community empowerment is very crucial to avoid the practice from going underground," said Sen Gupta.
Beyond the myriad physical side effects of cutting—severe bleeding, infection, infertility, postpartum hemorrhage and infant mortality—girls who have undergone the procedure are reportedly more prone to mental disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Still, it's an important first step and a definite cause for celebration in all African nations. This, while male circumcision remains tainted with controversy here in the West.
Is male circumcision really any different than that performed on females? Sure, boys tend to be cut when they are babies, not boys. But the reasons for the procedure are largely still limited to religious tradition.