Meet Jackie Rotman, CEO and founder of the Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ), a social change organization committed to equity and wellbeing in people’s intimate lives. In this episode you will learn about how CIJ is helping to rewrite the rules in tech companies’ ad policies to allow ads for female sexual health and wellness – which are systematically censored today. She also shares the story of her journey to advocacy in the “sextech” space and the results of a compelling new study.
Among other things, CIJ’s recent study reveals that 100% of 60 companies with a female sexual wellness focus were denied the right to advertise on Facebook. Jackie explains how such discrimination impacts educators and economics alike, a subject about which both Dr. Dweck and Rachel have thoughts. The conversation also highlights long-standing assumptions about – and the more recent medicalization of – women’s sexual wellness and levels of sexual satisfaction.
You’ll hear an interesting anecdote about the censorship Dr. Dweck herself experienced when she was promoting her book, “V is for Vagina: Your A to Z Guide to Periods, Piercings, Pleasures, and so much more,” due to its plain-spoken title and language. Activists like Jackie have been critical to opening up discussion and bringing pressure to bear around sexual intimacy justice and the myriad related issues CIJ plans to take on. Visit this link if you’d like to request a copy of CIJ’s fascinating report, donate or find out more about their work.
Watch Center for Intimacy Justice Founder Answer Questions About Facebook Ad Inequality
Topics Covered in Jackie Rotman’s Interview
- About the Center for Intimacy Justice and how Jackie established it (with a tip of the hat to her sex-positive dad’s impact on her).
- Highlights from CIJ’s new study, based on survey results from 60 companies in the women’s health and sexuality space:
- Facebook had rejected at least one advertisement proposed by 100% of the 60 companies surveyed.
- Some 50% of companies asked had experienced Facebook account suspensions because of their “adult content.”
- Of the 60 companies, 59 were founded and led by at least one woman as well as a non-binary person – all of whom have suffered negative economic impacts.
- About the economic and consumer educational repercussions of discriminating against companies based on mis-classification as “adult products and services” or “adult content.”
- Founders of companies in the sexual wellness space have not typically taken a medicalized route with FDA approval.
- Dr. Dweck weighs in on access to important education and the mandate for gynecologists like herself, as well as other medical professionals, to use accurate medical terms on platforms like Facebook.
- Rachel notes that data indicate children who are taught anatomically correct terms are more likely to report sexual abuse.
- CIJ’s work has resonated tremendously with sex education advocates, who have also experienced censorship on social media platforms. Medical associations and policy-makers have also been very receptive.
- How Jackie Stays Motivated: She’s energized daily by innovative entrepreneurs in the “sextech” sector and previous generations of advocates who have worked against sexual violence and for gender equality.
- Dr. Dweck finds that most sexual assault victims that come to her (typically to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases) don’t choose to share much in the way of details.
- Jackie highlights research by Sara I. McClelland of the University of Michigan (“Intimate Justice: A Critical Analysis of Sexual Satisfaction”
- Dr. Dweck reflects on women, satisfaction and the kind of counsel her patients seek in terms of sex education and wellness.
- About classifying women’s hypo-sexuality as a sexual dysfunction or disorder: Jackie believes medicalization is reductive and non-inclusive.
Quotes from Today’s Episode with Center for Intimacy Justice Founder, Jackie Rotman
“What happens when you can’t get the education that you need to make decisions? Lots of those people wind up … not really getting the direction they need.” (Rachel)
“It’s amazing that so many people have done incredible advocacy and yet we’re still coming together and finding new strategies to deploy to address this long-standing issue.” (Jackie)
“People that are educators in sexual health have been extremely supportive of (CIJ’s new findings) because TikTok and other social media platforms are also censoring on content – not just on advertising. So a lot of educators using social media have resonated deeply with the issue.” (Jackie)
“It’s really, really important to understand that there are not just two groups of people or one way of doing things. We’re talking about a much more fluid gender discussion and set of activities. Our medical educators and professionals have to be aware of that.” (Rachel)
About Jackie Rotman
Jackie Rotman is the Founder and CEO of Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ). She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, MPA from Harvard Kennedy School and BA with University Distinction in Public Policy from Stanford. She has also worked in women’s health investing with Rhia Ventures (then Called Reproductive Health Investors Alliance) and Tara