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Jenny Beavan accepts her Oscar for best costume design for Mad Max. ((L) Getty Images; (R) Getty Images)


The Week in Women: employees go on “period leave,” a refugee aims for the Olympics, and the hero of the Oscars speaks out

By Brigit Katz on March 4, 2016

TGIF, as the kids these days say. But before we usher in the weekend, let’s salute the working women who dominated this week’s news cycle with their rather eclectic range of jobs: costume designer, professional swimmer, and high priestess of a “sexual healing” temple (read: brothel). Here goes:

A small company in the United Kingdom has started offering “period leave” to female employees. Coexist, an event venue for artists and musicians, employs mostly women, who are now able to take time off while dealing with the more unpleasant side effects of menstruation. “I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods,” said Ben Baxter, a company director. “Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell. And this is unfair.” We can’t help but wonder if male employees will soon ask Coexist to enact a similar policy for them. Let it be known that the man period is real.

Professional swimmer Yusra Mardini, who fled from Syria on an inflatable boat, may join a team of refugees set to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. A list of 43 athletes has been approved by the International Olympic Committee; 17-year-oldMardini is in contention for one of 10 spots on the final team list. In August of last year, Mardini and her sister boarded an inflatable boat in Izmir, Turkey, that was headed for the Greek island of Lesbos. When the boat’s motor broke down, the two girls—the only swimmers on board—jumped into the water and swam the boat to shore. Mardini is now living with her family in Berlin and has received a scholarship to help fund her training.

A Phoenix woman was found guilty this week of operating a brothel, despite mounting the, erm, interesting defense that “sexual healing” is her religion. Tracy Elise ran the Phoenix Goddess Temple, where “goddesses” worked in bedrooms that were otherwise known as “transformation chamber[s].” The “deities” in the temple were naked women who would engage in “sacred unions” with “seekers.” Police raided the establishment in 2011 and Elise was arrested along with several accomplices. Elise’s son said his mother is “continuing her ministry” from within prison, “teaching women about the goddess.”Orange Is the New Black, we have a new plot line for you.

Sartorial hero/costume designer Jenny Beavan spoke out about the audience reaction to her Oscars outfit this past Sunday. Beavan, who won the Best Costume Design award for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road, made a rather unconventional wardrobe choice: black jeans, a scarf, and a motorcycle jacket bedazzled with the symbol of Immortan Joe, the villain of Mad Max. A Vine viewed over 37 million times captured a line of famous audience members looking bemused and not applauding as Beavan strutted to the podium. “I don’t mind in the least if they didn’t clap,” Beavan told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was so proud of doing the film … and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, really.” You tell ‘em, Jenny. And where can we buy an Immortan Joe jacket?