Welcome to Diem’s (new) weekly-ish newsletter, The Things We Don’t Talk About. Its goal is to curate the best knowledge, stories, and snippets from around the web that cover, well, the things we don’t talk about (especially as women and non-binary people).
We’ll start with something that I actually wrote for Femstreet (one of my favorite newsletters for women in tech and VC) this week. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact that big social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are specifically having on the mental health of teen girls. I’ve started to reflect on my own teenage years, which in retrospect felt like some of the worst years of my life (not to be dramatic) because of the insecurities I had at the time.
In that sense, I’m thankful I’m not a teenager using social media today, because if you’ve actually been a teen girl at some point in your life, the emerging reports that Instagram makes girls suicidal and TikTok causes girls to develop tics are downright horrifying. Of course, it’s worth noting that the founders of the biggest social media platforms—Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter—do lack this perspective, as they are all men and none of them have ever been a teen girl.
I keep thinking — if any of the largest social media companies were founded by women, would things be different for teens today? I think so, because there’s certain features you simply do not build based on your lived experience, check out my thoughts on what they are here.
💻 The "hot lesbian" trope. It’s 2021 and (almost) everyone is gay. According to the Washington Post, more people, especially Gen Zers, are actively embracing their queer identity. With this liberation, however, a resurgence in queer propaganda has dug up an age-old stereotype that’s toxic within the queer community: The “hot” lesbian. (The Power Outlet)
👀 Femicide. With the high-profile murders of Gabby Petito and Miya Marcano capturing extensive media and social media attention recently, it's worth noting that these killings are exclusively referred to as homicides. Instead, referring to murders of women as “femicides” can help stop the erasure of the ongoing murders of women and the larger social patterns connecting them. (Ms. Magazine)
🇺🇸 America's first gender equity strategy. The White House’s Gender Policy Council has published the nation’s first (!!) strategy to achieve gender equity, a multi-part approach that centers economic security, abortion access and voting rights with a focus on ensuring that people from marginalized groups are prioritized. AHHH!! (19th News)
🔥 The harassment firefighters face. Women firefighters in L.A. are reporting harassment, which is apparently part of a nationwide problem. Only about 4% of firefighters are women, and they're now reporting on-the-job abuse, harassment, and even sexual assault. (The Lily)
📝 Professionalism and pronouns. Writer Alex Masse talks about feeling humiliated by their own identity as a non binary person at work. "I think it’s because trans folks—especially those who don’t strive to “pass” as cis—have always been seen as inherently unprofessional." (The Power Outlet)
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That’s all for this week! Catch you next time.