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The Week in Women: An impeachment trial, a move to defund Planned Parenthood, and a magazine’s big blunder

January 6, 2017

Hello, 2017! The first week of the New Year was marked by excitement, optimism … and a fresh crop of epic fails. Let’s take a look back at some of the missteps that had us scratching our heads (also, crying silently) over the past few days:

The Washington Post Express, a free daily newspaper distributed to commuters, ran a cover story about the upcoming Women’s March on Washington, accompanied by a graphic that showed a crowd of women standing in the form of a gender symbol—the male gender symbol, to be exact. Twitter users, of course, had a field day with this, prompting the publication to tweet that it “made a mistake” and was “very embarrassed.” Ah, well. We’ll get there … someday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who does not know what the dab is, told reporters that Republicans will move to completely revoke all federal funding of Planned Parenthood as part of a broader effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The measure would strip Planned Parenthood of $400 million in Medicaid funding in the first year, which would subsequently result in some 400,000 women losing care. The announcement was sharply denounced by Democrats and pro-choice advocates. “I just would like to speak individually to women across America,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “This is about respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs …  [W]e’re pointing out very specifically what repeal of the [Affordable Care Act] will mean to women.”

Kim Burrell, a Gospel singer who has collaborated with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Frank Ocean, faced heated backlash for making homophobic remarks during a sermon at a Texas church. Burrell referred to specific homosexual acts as “perverted,” claimed that gay and lesbian people have “embarrassed the Kingdom of God,” and implied that they will die in 2017. A slew of entertainers—from Pharrell, to Octavia Spencer, to Janelle Monae—denounced Burrell’s words, and her appearance on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ was canceled. Burrell addressed the controversy in a Facebook Live broadcast, saying that she makes “no excuses or apologies” and that her “love is as pure as it comes.” Because what is love, if not telling an entire class of people that their lives are perverted and embarrassing?

At the impeachment trial of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first woman president, the lead attorney made the … interesting move of comparing his client to Socrates. And Jesus. Seo Seok-gu suggested that Park, who has been embroiled in a tawdry corruption scandal for months, is the victim of mob justice, just like certain revered historical figures. “Socrates was put to death, and Jesus crucified, in mob trials,” he told the Constitutional Court. “Our democracy is in danger because of so-called majority opinion instigated through demagogy.” As far as we know, neither Jesus nor Socrates was ever accused of making mass purchases of Viagra, but those are just details.