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First lady Melania Trump tours the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, Egypt, October 6, 2018, the final stop on her 4-country tour through Africa. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
First lady Melania Trump tours the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, Egypt, October 6, 2018, the final stop on her 4-country tour through Africa. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: Melania feels bullied, Taylor talks politics and a son has an unwitting #HimToo moment

By Brigit Katz on October 12, 2018

We’re taking a break from our deep dive into Beyoncé’s Instagram to let you know that this week’s newsletter is all about social media. Let’s get right to it then.

Taylor Swift has faced pressure in the past for staying tight-lipped about her political leanings, so it came as a surprise when the pop superstar endorsed two Tennessee Democratic candidates in an Instagram post. Swift announced that she will be voting for Phil Bredesen, who is running for the U.S. Senate, and Jim Cooper, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives, in the November midterm elections. “For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100 percent on every issue,” she wrote, “but we have to vote anyway.” And it looks like Swift’s fans may have taken her words to heart; some 65,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 registered to vote in the 24-hour period following her endorsement, which she then doubled down on at the American Music Awards (where she made it a record night .)

An Australian hotel made the internet angry after it ran a print ad of a man and woman enjoying breakfast in bed — he’s reading The Financial Review, she’s looking through a Chanel coffee table book. Elizabeth Redman, a reporter for The Australia, posted a picture of the ad for Sofitel Brisbane on Twitter and noted in the caption that even though she is but a woman, she reads The Financial Review every day. As criticism spread, the hotel issued an apology, writing that while “there was no intention of portraying a stereotype … we recognize it and apologize for any offense it has caused.” It also noted that it had split from the creative team behind the ad. Was it the same folks who once worked for Gap, perchance?

Melania Trump referred to herself as “the most bullied person in the world” during an interview with ABC News. The first lady spoke with reporter Tom Llamas during her recent solo trip to Africa, and revealed that she’s received so much hate on Twitter since Donald Trump’s election that she had to stop checking the platform. “That’s why my Be Best initiative focuses on social media and online behavior,” she said. “We need to educate the children of social, emotional behavior, so when they grow up and they know how to deal with those issues.” OK, but like … raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Melania’s husband on Twitter.

Thanks to his very own mom, a Navy veteran became an unwitting emblem of #HimToo, a conservative response to #MeToo that claims men are living in fear due to the possibility of false sexual assault allegations. In a now viral post, Pieter Hanson’s mother shared a picture of her son in his uniform on Twitter. “This is MY son,” she wrote. “He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.” The internet went meme crazy, and poor Hanson had to resort to telling The Washington Post that he is not afraid of solo dates, and in fact considers himself an ally of the #MeToo movement. “I love my mom to death,” Hanson said, “but boy … I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this.” Moral of the story? Just be grateful that the worst internet offense your mom has committed is signing her name on her Facebook posts.

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Previously in The Week in Women

The Week in Women: Nobel Prize winners, the Kavanaugh Supreme Court saga and gender disparity in Japan

A bring-your-daughter-to-work day like no other, courageous testimony on Capitol Hill and feminist, weed-growing nuns

Soon-Yi speaks, a milestone divorce ruling in India and love is not officially dead yet