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Japan's Princess Mako, the first daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, in full dress leaves the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: A burka ban in Austria, alleged road rage in Tennessee, and a royal romance in Japan

May 19, 2017

Legislation, lawyers, and accused law-breakers dominated the headlines this week. So if you don’t object (see what we did there?), let’s take a look back:

A Tennessee woman has been charged with reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run her congressman off the road, reportedly because she was upset that he had voted for Trump’s controversial health care act. According to a police statement, Wendi L. Wright pursued a car carrying U.S. Representative David Kustoff and his aide, prompting the passengers to fear that Wright was about to force them off the road. When Kustoff’s car pulled over, Wright allegedly began screaming and striking at the windows of the vehicle. We can certainly understand her frustration over the American Healthcare Act, which may leave as many as 24 million Americans without insurance, but this is not the way to get through to your representatives. Better to hurl verbal abuse at them during town hall meetings.

Austria approved legislation banning full veils in public places, prompting criticism from Austria’s Muslim community. Under the law, which takes effect in October, women wearing burkas or niqabs in public will face a fine of about 150 euros ($167). Sevgi Kircil, a member of Austria’s Muslim community, called the new restrictions a reckless “intervention in religious freedom and the freedom of expression,” while the Austrian Bar Board said it breached democratic values and “the fundamental rights of the freedom of conscience and the freedom of private life.”

Michael Cohen, a longtime attorney for President Donald Trump, found himself in a real strange situation when he tweeted a photo of his daughter, Samantha Blake Cohen, wearing lingerie. “So proud of my Ivy League daughter … brains and beauty,” he wrote. It was a bit of an odd thing to post — as many Twitter users happily pointed out — but maybe it’s kind of cool that Cohen can be relaxed about his daughter embracing her body and taking agency of her sexuality? In response to one user who suggested that the photo was pornographic, Cohen’s simply replied: “Jealous?” Now that … That’s just weird.

News broke this week that Japan’s Princess Mako will be engaged to a “commoner” (oh, the humanity!), meaning that she will have to surrender her royal status. Under Japan’s Imperial Household Law, women born to the royal family cannot inherit the throne and must become commoners after they marry. But with only five male members left in the imperial family, many have suggested that it’s time to change the rules. We certainly hope those changes happen, because it’s only right and fair, and also because this story would make for a great Disney movie. A princess! An interclass romance! A woman struggling against antiquated gender norms! Throw in an adorable talking animal and we’re golden.