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South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye speaks as she offers a public apology at the presidential blue house on October 25, 2016 in Seoul. (Photo by South Korean Presidential Blue House via Getty Images)


The Week in Women: A soap opera scandal, a rediscovered Frida Kahlo portrait, and the last words of Jo Cox

By Brigit Katz on November 18, 2016

Perhaps because we’re still reeling from the Trump victory that blindsided about half of the American populace, we’ve devoted this week’s news roundup to surprises and revelations. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Beleaguered South Korean president Park Geun-hye was subjected to intense ridicule after it was revealed that she used the name of soap character Gil Ra-im as a pseudonym while staying at an upscale anti-aging clinic in Seoul. Gil, played by actress Ha Ji-won, is a struggling stuntwoman at the center of the popular series Secret Garden. Park has been gleefully mocked on social media over her choice of pseudonym, but that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. A probe from the health ministry also revealed that between 2012 and 2014, a doctor at the clinic issued treatments to Park, but fabricated charts to make it seem as though Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of the president, had received the prescriptions. Prior to this scandal, Park was already facing pressure to step down as president over allegations that she let Choi use her influence to meddle in state affairs. It’s all very convoluted and dramatic. No wonder the woman likes soaps.

It was discovered this week that Mike Pence, who signed one of the country’s most severe anti-abortion laws as governor of Indiana, has made hundreds of donations to Planned Parenthood. Well, not really. Because Planned Parenthood allows donors to make gifts in honor of someone else, a slew of supporters have decided to donate in Pence’s name. The organization has received nearly 80,000 donations since the election, and it confirmed in a tweet that many are contributing in the name of Hillary Clinton—and Mike Pence. If there’s anything that can alleviate our post-election blues, it’s some good old Internet mischief.

The murder trial of British MP Jo Cox, who was killed this summer while meeting with constituents, has revealed the last words she spoke to her colleagues. Fazila Aswat, Cox’s assistant, and Sandra Major, a senior caseworker, told the court that 53-year-old Thomas Mair stabbed and shot Cox as she was walking towards the Birstall Library in West Yorkshire. “Let him hurt me, not you,” Cox said, according to testimony, before she was shot twice more in the head at point-blank range. Mair, an unemployed gardener, is suspected to have been politically motivated in his alleged murder of Cox. Prosecutors provided evidence that Mair researched ‘matricide,’ white supremacist literature, and “assassinations and assassins” at the same library Cox was scheduled to visit.

A portrait by Frida Kahlo, which was rediscovered over the summer, is due to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s in New York City. For decades, the only evidence of the existence of the painting—titled Niña con collar or Girl with necklace—had been a black and white photograph. According to Sotheby’s, Kahlo’s husband, artist Diego Rivera, had gifted the portrait to Kahlo’s assistant in 1954. The owner kept it “beautifully preserved” in a darkened bedroom in California. Niña con collar appears to depict the artist as a girl of 14 or 15; the subject of the portrait wears Kahlo’s jade necklace and possibly her earrings as well. The eyebrows, of course, are on fleek.