VIRAL NEWS: OTC BIRTH CONTROL, BARBENHEIMER, AND THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE
A peek into the topics buzzing at Cassandra
It's Friday again, so it's time to talk about the most relevant internet news of the past seven days. Culture moves fast, and we at Cassandra try to move even faster to keep up with all the issues Gen Z can't stop discussing. This week we'll discuss the FDA's approval of over-the-counter birth control, the battle of the box office between Barbie and Oppenheimer —or lack of—, and the SAG-AFTRA union's official strike. All this and more in this week's edition of Viral News!
OVER-THE-COUNTER BIRTH CONTROL
The FDA has made history by approving the first over-the-counter birth control pill, making it easier for women to access this essential medication. The "Opill" is now available for people ages 18 and older without a prescription. This major victory will help young people —who may not have access to healthcare or be uncomfortable talking to a doctor about birth control— to take control of their reproductive health. The conversation around this not only revolves around convenience and easier access but also the fact that this is a step toward ending the stigma around women being sexually active. On TikTok, slamming slutshaming has been one of the many pros of the #FreeThePill movement advocating for this outcome to become a reality and accumulated over 2.8 million views.
Two major movies are opening in theaters next weekend: Barbie and Oppenheimer. Both films are projected to be big hits, but they are very different from one another. Barbie is a live-action film based on the iconic doll. It stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken. The film, directed by Greta Gerwig, is expected to be a bright and aesthetic comedy, while Oppenheimer, the historical drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb, definitely has a darker vibe. It stars Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer and is directed by Christopher Nolan. Some would expect these two movies to attract a very different fanbase with perhaps a little rivalry that first weekend. But not Gen Z. They’re embracing the duality of both vibes and have created the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon where they plan to go see both on the same day. There's even a trend on TikTok in which people share the outfits they will rock when doing the double feature that juxtaposes both styles. As Cassandra stated in our past That's So Aesthetic report: Traveling through aesthetics is the way to go for Gen Z!
Speaking of Oppenheimer, the cast of the film walked out of the London premiere last night upon the news that The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) officially went on strike. SAG-AGTRA, which represents over 160,000 actors, singers, dancers, and other entertainment professionals, joins the WGA which has been on strike since early May. Both unions are striking over pay equity, healthcare, residuals, AI, and other specifics. Gen Zs are showing their support to the unions through social media by creating content explaining and documenting the situation. As a generation that tends to be considerably pro-union, this doesn't come as a surprise. The strikes have already had a significant impact on the entertainment industry. Production on several TV shows and movies has been delayed or canceled. Some internet content creators even warn others to avoid being a "scab" and respect the strike when desperate big studios reach out to them to overcome the lack of workers. Others call out big networks about their plans to "starve" the people on strike.