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A screen grab from Mad Max: Fury Road


The Week in Women: a chastity belt crisis, Palin stumps for Trump, and an Iranian woman’s “stealthy freedom”

By Brigit Katz on January 22, 2016

Last week, three pre-teen girls took to the stage at a Donald Trump rally and sang a ditty about American supremacy and freedom, which will forever haunt our dreams. But maybe the so-called “Freedom Kids” were on to something, because this week was rife with stories that pertain to liberty, autonomy, and emancipation (from metal underpants, among other things). Let’s take a look back, shall we?

While we’re on the subject of Trump: this week, Sarah Palin officially endorsed the presidential hopeful during a campaign rally at Iowa State University. Predictably, Palin touted Trump as the only candidate capable of preserving America’s freedom. “[I]f you love your freedom, thank a vet,” she said. “Thank a vet, and know that the United States military deserves a commander-in-chief that … will never apologize for this country.” Palin also threw some shade at President Obama, referring to him as “he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea.” And by that she means … uh … Actually, we have no idea.

In an act of defiance against a law that requires women to wear hijabs when driving, an Iranian woman gleefully tossed off her headscarf as she cruised down a highway. A video of her protest was posted to the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, which was launched by exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad. The page encourages women to share pictures of themselves flaunting strict dress codes. Alinejad told The Independent that while most Iranian women are wary of sharing their resistance on social media, “[t]he woman who sent this video to us was only an example of a silent majority.”

El Chapo may have lost his ill-gotten freedom thanks to his crush on Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. The notorious drug lord, who was captured by authorities earlier this month, escaped from prison last July. He promptly began sending a steady stream of flirtatious text messages to del Castillo, which were intercepted by police and recently released to the public (sample: “I will take care of you more than my own eyes”). El Chapo may have also funneled illicit money into del Castillo’s tequila business, which is currently under investigation. Before the hammer fell, El Chapo seems to have been optimistic about his prospects with del Castillo, because he reportedly ventured out of his secure hiding place to undergo “a male enhancement surgery” in Tijuana. This detail was left out of Sean Penn’s relentlessly mocked profile of the kingpin, though the actor did take it upon himself to supply plenty of information about his own penis.

And lest we forget that freedom can take many forms: an Italian woman was forced to ask firefighters to liberate her from a chastity belt because she lost the key to the contraption. The woman, who has not been named due to privacy reasons, reportedly wore the belt of her own volition to stop herself from having sexual relations. Chastity belts were long thought to have been inflicted on medieval wives in order to prevent them from having affairs, but historians now believe that they are the stuff of myth; most references to chastity belts in medieval literature are satirical. Our anonymous Italian friend, it seems, did not get the memo. If only she had guarded the key to her iron panties with the same sort of fervor that she dedicated to protecting her loins.