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Janelle Monáe's video caused a stir, but you probably missed this the first time around.

This totally makes sense now.

Janelle Monáe has a lot going on right now, with the release of a new record winning over fans and critics alike.

In January, the iconic singer delivered a powerhouse "Time's Up" speech at the Grammys. In April, she came out as pansexual in an interview with Rolling Stone, released a video for her latest single "Pynk," and put out her album "Dirty Computer" towards the end of the month. And apparently, she's still got a few surprises in store, if her recent statements about the symbolism in "Pynk" are any indication.

As many have noticed, one of the outfits Monáe and her backup dancers wear in the "Pynk" video has a certain Georgia O'Keeffe quality to it. "Sometimes I think people interpret those as vagina pants, they call them vulva pants, they call them flowers, but it just represents some parts of some women," Monáe recently told People magazine.


All GIFs from Janelle Monae/YouTube.

As viewers of the video might notice, not all of the dancers are wearing pants — and there's a reason for this.

"There are some women in the video that do not have on the pants, because I don’t believe that all women need to possess a vagina to be a woman," she told People:

"I have one, I'm proud of it, but there's a lot of policing and controlling that people are trying to have over our vaginas and when you think about female genital mutilation, when you think about all these women's issues, I wanted to make sure we were discussing these issues but we were also celebrating each other. I wanted 'Pynk' to be a celebration of women who are unique, distinct, different, maybe different from one another, but when they come together they create something magical and special."

In other words, Monáe believes transgender women are women, and that's really awesome and very cool.

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.

Like she said, "there's a lot of policing and controlling" when it comes to bodies.

We live in a world where politicians are constantly trying to dictate what people should do with their own bodies, their own uteruses. We live in a world where politicians feel entitled to our medical history before we're allowed to use the bathroom. We live in a world where the powerful try to impose their belief systems on the rest of us, working to strip away legitimacy and, at times, our very humanity.

That's why it's important to celebrate our differences. As a trans woman, I see my identity and legitimacy questioned on a near-daily basis.

Whether it's politicians using fear-mongering around trans people to win votes, people who use their religious views as a shield for bigotry, or even some self-proclaimed feminists (most feminists are perfectly cool with trans people, but some aren't) who spend their days trying to fight progress for trans people, I see it all — and it's exhausting, frankly.

Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, and Janelle Monáe at the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

"Are trans women women?" is one of those questions that tells you a lot about the person answering it.

Let's get one thing clear: There's a difference between asking whether trans women count as women (a different subset of women than cisgender/non-trans women, but women, nonetheless) and asking whether trans women are the exact same as cis women — to which the answer is clearly no — and you'd be hard-pressed to find a trans woman who'd argue that we are or that we have the same exact experiences as cis women, as we obviously don't.

Even feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wasn't very open-minded on this front. She hurt a lot of people in 2017 when she responded to this question about trans people, "So when people talk about, you know, 'Are trans women women?' my feeling is trans women are trans women," suggesting that trans women are an entirely different group outside the label of "women."

David Remnick interviews Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at The 2017 New Yorker Festival. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker.

For more information on the debates over whether or not trans women are "real" women, check out trans scholar Julia Serano's excellent essay on the subject.

But Adichie managed to encapsulate many of those conflicts in that single frustrating, disheartening answer. That's because she conflated the question of whether trans women are women with the question of whether trans women are cis women. "Trans" is an adjective that modifies the noun, "women" — therefore, trans women are women. It's a bit of a letdown when a feminist icon like Adichie splits hairs over who counts as a woman.

Adichie elaborated on her position after backlash, writing, "Of course trans women are part of feminism," but the point seemed to be a bit lost on her.

Personally, seeing her remarks and those of people who agreed with her, I just... I just felt like some sort of freak, a subhuman forced into an odd third gender category that doesn't accurately state who I am.

For an artist like Monáe to send a message affirming that trans women are real and legitimate really does mean a lot to me, and many others.

As people, we're a lot more than just our genitals — and really, unless you're romantically involved with someone, or you're that person's doctor, it's hard to understand why those body parts are any of your business.

No two women share identical experiences in life, cis or trans. The best we can do is to try to have empathy for one another, to help one another, to listen, and to learn from one another.

I am extremely grateful that Monáe used her platform to fight back against the policing of bodies and genders. Whether or not we all have the same parts, we're still part of the same club. Thanks for fighting back against the policing of bodies and gender, and ripping up the rulebook on who gets to join, Janelle Monáe.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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