The Week in Women: Burqa confusion, New Zealand leader’s Labour pains, and Lara Trump’s ‘real news’

New leader of the new Zealand Labour Party Jacinda Ardern (C) with her cabinet members at her first press conference at Parliament in Wellington on August 1, 2017. (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

It was an illuminating week in news, with many a revelation coming to the surface (and others being deliberately concealed). Let’s take a look back:

Why not start with the weirdest news of the week? Members of a Norwegian anti-immigrant Facebook group were fooled into denouncing a photo of bus seats, which they believed portrayed rows of burqa-clad women. Journalist Johan Slattavik found an image of empty transit seats that appeared to depict women wearing full-face veils, thanks to a trick of the light. As a practical joke, Slattavik shared the image to the Facebook group, along with the caption, “What do people think of this?” The supposed scenario elicited hostile reactions from commenters (“Get them out of our country,” one person wrote), who probably felt like big dummies when the post went viral and it was revealed that they had mistaken bus chairs for actual human women. Don’t you hate it when that happens though?

New Zealand’s new Labour leader refused to respond to the radio host who pressed her to disclose her child-bearing plans. Jacinda Ardern, who recently became the youngest person to ever lead the party, was speaking to interviewer Dan Richardson when he asked her if it is “OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office.” Members of the public “need to know that type of thing from the women you are employing,” Richardson added. To her credit, Ardern quickly put her foot down. “It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace,” she replied. The interview was gross on so many levels—no one would ever direct such a question to a man—but we would just like to note that New Zealanders could do a lot worse than a pregnant political leader.

A recently filed federal lawsuit shone a light on disturbing practices within the Nebraska State Patrol. The suit, filed on Tuesday by State Trooper Brienne Splittgerber, alleges that for years women have been required to undress from the waist down and submit to vaginal and rectal examinations—ostensibly in order to check them for hernias. Most if not all male recruits, by contrast, were not required to undress or undergo the invasive exams. Splittgerber had complained about the procedure to her superiors, but soon found out that potential female recruits were still being referred to the same doctor to undergo the examinations. After the lawsuit was filed, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced that a criminal investigation into the claims had been launched.

If you want to know what’s really going on inside the White House, look no further than unbiased reporter Lara Trump, who has launched a weekly video series about her father-in-law’s accomplishments. In the first installment, which was posted to the president’s Facebook page, Trump said she hoped to inform viewers because “there is so much fake news out there.” She then proceeded to note that the president had donated his quarterly salary and that unemployment rates had recently dropped to record lows—news that had in fact been covered by the mainstream media. The video ends with Trump saying: “I’m Lara Trump and that is the real news.” But what about the local milk people, Lara? What about the milk people?

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