Rewind

The Week in Women: creepy rom-coms, the women of Stonehenge, and a funeral surprise

A visitor to Stonehenge during Winter Solstice. (REUTERS/Kieran Doherty)

There is no narrative device more thrilling than the plot twist, and this week’s news cycle was full of turns and surprises. So we’re going to get all Sixth Sense and delve into headlines that threw us for a loop. Let’s take a look back:

An Australian-Burundian woman showed up at her own funeral after her husband unsuccessfully tried to have her murdered. While visiting her native Burundi, Noela Rukundo was kidnapped by a group of ethically-minded hitmen, who ultimately informed her that they would let her go free because they did not believe in killing women. The hitmen also told Rukundo that her husband had hired them. Rukundo then took the rational course of action for any person who has discovered that her significant other wants her dead: she let her family stage a funeral and popped in to pay her respects. After confirming that Rukundo was not, in fact, a ghost, her husband confessed to the crime. And yes, Rukundo is officially the real-life version of Tom Sawyer.

Popular wisdom has long dictated that Neolithic society was dominated by men (think hairy dudes with clubs), but a recent archaeological discovery at Stonehenge seems to suggest otherwise. An excavation at the iconic monument uncovered the remains of 14 women, who were buried between 3,100 BCE and 2,140 BCE. Archaeologists believe that anyone interred at Stonehenge enjoyed elevated social status — as religious and political leaders, members of prominent families, possessors of special skills—and so the findings indicate a “surprising degree of gender equality,” according to researchers. Of course, anyone who has seen The Flintstones will not be floored by this news. We all know Wilma was the real boss of the house.

A study from the University of Michigan has found that classic romantic comedies depicting the persistent pursuit of a love interest — scenes that are supposed to make you feel all mushy on the inside — promote women’s tolerance of stalkerish behavior. Researcher Julia R. Lippman found that a survey sample of women who watched rom-coms that glorify dogged romantic pursuits more readily accepted aggressive behavior from men, while the opposite happened for women who watched movies depicting stalking in a negative light. Moral of the story? That gushy notecard scene in Love, Actually should in fact be set to the score of Psycho.

Though he put on quite the display of bravado, blogger/universally-detested-human Roosh V canceled worldwide and highly controversial meetups of men who share a belief in “traditional sex roles.” Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, who has openly stated that females are biologically inferior to males, had previously vowed to travel to Australia to lead a so-called “tribal meeting.” Roosh remained defiant when Australian officials suggested that they would block his visa, tweeting that he would “penetrate the country…by boat.” But when a Toronto group of female boxers threatened to attend one of the meetups, Roosh canceled the event due to safety concerns. The world’s pre-eminent “neo-masculinist” is now hiding out at his mother’s house in Maryland. Make of that what you will.

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