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The Week in Women: Putin’s Daughter – Understanding ‘Mini Merkel’ – TBD with Michael Douglas

Katerina Tikhonova (L), daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, dances with Ivan Klimov during the World Cup Rock'n'Roll Acrobatic Competition in Krakow, Poland, in this April 12, 2014 file photo. (REUTERS/Jakub Dabrowski/Files)

BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR

Women are dominating an epic December in the music industry. 2019’s Grammy nominations see women earning the majority of spots in each of the “Big Four” categories, and the critics agree: NPR’s Top 10 Albums of 2018 is made up entirely of solo female artists. It’s a hell of a response to last year’s statement by the Grammy’s president that women needed to “step up” if they wanted industry recognition.

IN THE NEWS

“Your daughter should have been safe here. She wasn’t, and I’m sorry for that.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered a moving apology to the parents of an English girl whose body was found in Auckland this week.

In a rare interview, Anita Hill revealed she’s in touch with Christine Blasey Ford, whose public trial reminded so many of her own. While she’s hopeful about certain aspects of politics, that doesn’t include the state of the Senate confirmation process, which has barely changed since the day she delivered her famous testimony in October 1991. For Hill, “It’s as though they stuck their heads into the sand and assumed either it didn’t matter or they didn’t need to pay attention to it.”

Accepting the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege lambasted the international community for their indifference to wartime sexual violence. Murad, forced to be a sex slave under Islamic State rule, addressed her captors in an 2016 interview with Women in the World, telling them, “You took my family, my future, my life. But because I have rights, I will go after my rights.”

GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

Last night’s annual Voices of Solidarity awards, arranged by the Vital Voices organization to recognize stand up men, was a much needed antidote to a year of #MeToo horror stories. Honors went to Marc Prichar, the trailblazing Proctor and Gamble exec who has used one of the world’s biggest marketing budgets to promote gender equality, and also to heroic Guinean doctor and activist Morissanda Kouyaté, who was galvanized to combat FGM when two 7-year-old girls were brought to his surgery and he was unable to save them. The night’s various awardees delivered a masculinity reboot we all deserved to see.

DAUGHTER UNVEILED

The woman long-assumed to be Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter has given her first ever television interview. The conversation focused on her scientific work, perceived as an attempt by Putin to show his entire family is focused on serving the country. Most Russians know her better, however, as a dancer who specializes in her acrobatic take on the ‘boogie-woogie’ style.

ARE WE RIGHT TO CHEER?

Lazy commentators have anointed her as ‘Mini-Merkel’, but Mutti’s newly-elected replacement, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, proudly admits she skews way to Merkel’s right on social issues. AKK is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-adoption, pro-conscription … The silver lining (if there is one) is that her victory spelled the end of her competitor Friedrich Merz, who claimed class was “not about money,” and that his two private jets revealed nothing about his character.

SICKENING

A woman is suing the New York Police Department after being forced to give birth while handcuffed to a hospital bed, her ankles shackled also. The woman struggled in labor for nearly an hour, and told the court she hasn’t been able to tell her family what happened.

Iceland’s former prime minister was recorded mocking the #MeToo movement over a meal with his Foreign Minister, a self-styled women’s rights champion. Audio captured the men insulting a female politician for coming forward with assault claims, ridiculing domestic violence allegations against a male colleague, and discussing which women politicians they wanted to have sex with. When they were confronted about their words by a woman in their group, they laughed in her face.

LET HER RIP

Comedian Hannah Gadsby skewered the “good men” of late night television — “the Jimmys,” as she hilariously calls them — for denouncing the sexual crimes of their industry peers as “creepy.” Choice quote: “Do you know what’s creepy? Spiders, because we don’t know how they move. Rejecting the humanity of a woman is not creepiness; it is misogyny.”

“SEX SCENES ARE SIMILAR TO FIGHT SCENES”

On the newest episode of TBD, Michael Douglas — who wowed ’80s and ’90s movie audiences as the hot lead in the steamy trifecta of Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and Disclosure — tells Tina Brown about his father’s obsession with FaceTiming him and Catherine in bed, why Gordon Gekko would look small-time compared to today’s crooks, and what it was like to play an over-the-hill actor in his new Golden Globe-nominated Netflix sitcom, The Kominsky Method. Listen here.

DOWNTIME

“My hair has been blasted by chemotherapy and is still growing out.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus opens up about sexism in her career, battling cancer and being a mother in a predictably hilarious new interview.

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Previous newsletters

The Week in Women: Wall Street Wimps – A Kidnapped Princess – Funereal Diplomacy

The Watergate of Sex – Tragedy in South Sudan – Margot Robbie on her new film

Pelosi’s Triumph – Judy’s Riches – A Feminist Bible

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