The Waves

The “On-Brand Analysis” Edition

The Waves on Jacinda Ardern, The Act, and sex education in schools.

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On this week’s episode of the Waves, Marcia and June are joined by Maya Salam, a gender reporter for the New York Times. Together, they discuss the response to Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. Her leadership is a striking contrast to the likes of President Donald Trump, but it also sets her apart from other women in power. What does the way she’s perceived reveal about our own values? Then, The Act is a new true-crime series based on the viral 2016 BuzzFeed story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard. Can an overwhelmingly female writers room and cast overcome the queasy, quasi-exploitative premise? And what does the story—in fiction and in life—say about race, class, and health care in America? Finally, a renewed push for accurate, inclusive sex education in schools has been met with protests—and given the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage these programs, the stakes feel higher than ever. The hosts debate whether schools should be the first port of call for sex ed in the first place and situate these developments in their historical context.

In Slate Plus: Is it sexist to use the term “ragging on”?

Other items discussed on the show:

• “Jacinda Ardern Is Leading by Following No One” by Maya Salam in the New York Times
• “Jacinda Ardern Has Rewritten the Script for How a Nation Grieves After a Terrorist Attack” by Masha Gessen in the New Yorker
• “Why Jacinda Ardern Matters” by Sushil Aaron in the New York Times
Slate Day 2019
The Act starring Patricia Arquette
• “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered” by Michelle Dean in BuzzFeed News
• “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” by Enimen
• “In ‘The Act,’ Real-Life Horror Has an Emotional Logic” by Eleanor Stanford in the New York Times
Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams
I, Tonya starring Margot Robbie
• “Let’s Stop Ignoring the Truths of Puberty. We’re Making It Even More Awkward.” by Maya Salam in the New York Times
• “Compulsory Sex and LGBT+ Education Sparks Religious Backlash in UK” by Rachel Savage in Reuters
• “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn” by Maggie Jones in the New York Times Magazine

Recommendations

Marcia: Ali Liebegott’s The Summer of Dead Birds

Maya: Carmen Maria Machado‘s Her Body and Other Parties

June: Everybody Knows starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz

This podcast was produced by Danielle Hewitt. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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