Mar 17
Her eye on the news
Voter bias

Earlier this week the U.N. published its Women in Politics 2017 Map, which shows the global rankings for women in the executive and parliamentary branches of government as of January 1, 2017. The results are not wholly encouraging — they show a slow progression toward gender equality in both these areas at regional and national levels, as well as slow progress in the increase in women members of parliament. A new study by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation offers some indication as to what is holding women back in the U.S.

The research reveals the continued impact of a long-held double standard, whereby voters are far more dubious of a mother’s capacity to balance work and family life than they are fathers’ — even those whose spouses also work.

Creating fictitious profiles for candidates, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation tested voter reactions to a variety of candidates, from married and unmarried women, single mothers and lesbian couples, to married fathers with young kids. They found that traditional gender roles still had a significant impact on how people perceived the candidates. Even when voters expressed concerns over whether a male candidate with children could balance his family and office life, they were quickly reassured if the candidate issued a statement addressing those concerns. This was not the case with married mothers of young children, against whom voters held the greatest doubts.

“Despite sweeping societal changes” said Adrienne Kimmell, executive director of the foundation, “many people still assume motherhood is a central role for women. That, in turn, affects how they view women candidates.”

The experience of many women running for office reflects the study’s findings. Speaking to The New York Times, Jane Swift, who prompted a national debate around motherhood and political office when she ran for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1998, said the double standard still operates. “The governor dad who takes his kids along to the county fair is a huge political asset, but it doesn’t work as well for the governor mom,” she said. “Being with children was seen as being distracted from doing your job.”

“I was most successful politically when I shut down the ability for the public to have a view into my private life,” she said. “That’s unfortunate, and it made it harder for me to be relatable to folks.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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A scandal has erupted in Brazil as Bruno Fernandez, a famous and popular goalkeeper who was convicted for ordering a group of his friends to murder Eliza Samudio, his former girlfriend and the mother of his son, has been released from prison and picked up by a professional soccer team. According to prosecutors, Fernandes, angry that Samudio sought custody of their son, enlisted his friends to carry out the grisly crime. The men cut her up and fed her to hungry dogs. Fernandes was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 22 years in prison, but freed on appeal last week after serving just seven years in prison.

One soccer club, Boa Esporte, which plays in the country’s Serie B (second division) thought it wise to sign the player, sparking outrage in a country that has been plagued by high rates of femicide. Adding to the controversy is the fact that Bruno seems to show little remorse for his actions, offering no apologies or words for Samudio’s family. During a press conference on Tuesday, he answered no questions about the case but only talked about how God was looking after him. Nevertheless, the outrage seems to be working: several of the club’s sponsors have already severed ties over news of the signing, while pressure is building on Varghina, the club’s biggest benefactor, to withdraw its funding, which could potentially leave the club financially strapped.

Read the full story at Newsweek.


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Making history

The pink ‘pussyhats’ worn by thousands of women at the Women’s March on Washington are attracting attention once more — this time from museums hoping to add the garment to their collections. Major institutions such as the New York Historical Society and the National Museum of American History have announced the acquisition of pussyhats for inclusion in current or future exhibitions, and a pussyhat knitted by Pussyhat Project co-founder Jayna Zweiman, who together with Krista Suh helped create the original pussyhat pattern for “craftivists” to emulate, is already on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

“This modest pink hat is a material thing that through its design enables us to raise questions about our current political and social circumstance,” explained Corinna Gardner, acting keeper of the V&A’s Design Architecture and Digital department. “[It] has become an immediately recognizable expression of female solidarity and symbol of the power of collective action.”

At The Fuller Craft Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, the garment is being described as “the largest example of social activism through craft in U.S. modern history.”

In other words, the thousands of women who knit pussyhats quite literally made history.

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.


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‘Not today’

Kelly Herron, 36, became an inspiration to many when she shared on Instagram how she repelled an assailant who had hidden inside a women’s bathroom stall.

“Not today, motherf**cker,” she told him, all the while “clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip — never giving up.”

My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming("Not today, M**F**er!"), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and used all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact. #NTMF #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr

A post shared by Kelly Herron NTMF (@run_kiwi_run) on

Despite suffering serious bruising and cuts to her face, Harron beat the man into submission and kept him locked him in a bathroom stall until police could come to arrest him.

In what appears to have been a cynical attempt at fueling fear and distrust of transgender people, a group in Washington state called Just Want Privacy sent supporters an email featuring Herron’s photo, writing that “each week yields new stories of deviant men who found ways to access female’s vulnerable spaces in order to exploit them.” In the missive, the group advocated for the repeal of a law that allowed transgender women to use women’s bathrooms, referring to transgender women as “men” and claiming that transgender-rights laws enable such attacks — all without citing any actual incidents involving transgender people or nondiscrimination laws.

“I was more pissed off about that than I was about the incident itself,” Herron told BuzzFeed, explaining that she in fact supports transgender rights and that the group had used her photo without her permission.

“They’re exploiting me. It’s a complete violation of the trauma that I endured and am recovering from in the name of discriminating against transgender people.”

On Thursday, Herron emailed Washington Won’t Discriminate, a pro-transgender rights group, saying that she wanted to help fight back against the anti-transgender bill being pushed by Just Want Privacy.

“To the people behind I-1552, I say, ‘Not today, motherf*ckers,’” she wrote, reprising the line she used against her attacker. “I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom or locker room to harm someone, period. That’s why when I-1552’s backers claim they want to protect women and children from attack, I’m not fooled.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.


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Video of a 23-year-old Latina woman defending a Muslim couple from a verbally abusive passenger on a crowded New York City subway train has gone viral on social media, with users online applauding the young woman for her “courageous and brilliant voice.”

In the video, a middle-aged woman who later identified herself as Puerto-Rican could be seen berating a Muslim couple, asking them questions such as “Why are you here?” and “Why are you in this country if you’re not with us?”

Apparently sick of the woman’s tirade, another passenger, speaking with an audible accent, asked her to stop.

“No, you don’t understand!” said the woman, swiftly turning on the passenger who dared to confront her and pointing a finger in her face. “You’re not even from here. I am. I was born here in America.”

It was at this point that the hero of the story intervened — a young woman who Univision Noticias has identified as Tracey Tong, 23, of Queens. After engaging the aggressive older woman by asking her what her own nationality was, Tong explained that she herself was born in America of mixed Chinese and Peruvian descent. After the older woman said she was from Puerto Rico, the two women participated in a long exchange speaking a combination of English and Spanish. Seemingly cowed by the younger woman’s audacity, the older woman told Tong she should mind her own business.

“I am not asking you to be quiet. I am asking you to please respect her,” Tong shot back. “In Spanish, in English, in Chinese, in French. Whatever language you want me to tell you. I will tell you whether you are from here, Puerto Rico or wherever you are from. I am born here and I don’t like the way you are treating her.”

Shocked, the older woman and the rest of the subway fell into silence as Tong continued to chastise her.

“We are all in this together. Whether you like what’s going on in the government or not, f**k it, you got to deal with it. You are a grown woman,” said Tong.

Watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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Cold diplomacy

The snowstorm that pounded the Northeast on Tuesday postponed President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting until Friday, when the two leaders came face to face at the White House. Despite the stormy winter weather being long gone, there was still a palpable chill in the Oval Office while the two sat for a photo op. As The Associated Press noted, Trump’s numerous digs at Merkel — most notably he accused her of “ruining” Germany by allowing so many immigrants into the country — while he was campaigning, and her criticisms of him, set the stage for an awkward meeting, and that outcome resulted. Trump and Merkel sat side-by-side in front of reporters, the tension thick as camera shutters snapped furiously.

 “Send a good picture back to Germany, please. Make sure …” Trump said, attempting a little levity, before basically dodging a reporter’s question.

 Then, Merkel leaned toward Trump and asked something like, “Shall we have a handshake?” Trump just ignored the question. Some journalists then asked whether a handshake would be part of the photo op, but again Trump seemed to pretend like he didn’t hear the questions. Earlier in his fledgling presidency, Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the issue of hand embraces also played an interesting role.

Watch the video from Friday below.

A second angle from the press gaggle clearly showed Trump intentionally ignored Merkel’s suggestion to embrace for the cameras.

Later on, Trump and Merkel held a joint press conference where they talked with reporters about the agenda they discussed, including NATO, the fight against ISIS, trade, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Merkel began her remarks saying,  it’s “much better to talk to one another and not about one another.” At the conclusion of the press conference, the two were photographed shaking hands, though Merkel still did not seem amused by Trump, even during a shaky attempt at humor moments before.

U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

Viral video

By now you’ve seen the hilarious video of a BBC news analyst being interrupted by his young children during a live interview last week. In fact, you probably watched it numerous times. The original clip has more than 20 million views on YouTube alone. Perhaps you even wondered, “Hmmmm … what if it had been a mother who was being interviewed at the moment her toddler walked in? How would that have played out?”

Well, the fine folks at the Jono and Ben comedy show in New Zealand have done just that — and the outcome, with the professor depicted by Kate Wordsworth, is quite different than the sort of hilarity that Professor Robert Kelly and his charming family brought the world last week. Watch below. It’s definitely worth it. Hint: It involves lots of multitasking. Enjoy!

Read the full story at Us magazine.


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Amy Schumer has already earned the ire of Trump supporters with her outspoken discussion of sexuality, her support of body positivity, and, of course, by calling Trump a monster straight to his supporters faces. With the release of her new Netflix stand-up show, The Leather Special, it appeared that her own fans had turned on her as well — outlets such as Decider, Yahoo, and The Wrap all reported that Netflix users had bombarded the special with hundreds of negative reviews.

According to an investigative report from Splitsider, however, the vast majority of the negative reviews were written by Trump-supporting trolls — many of whom organized on social media sites such as Reddit to conspire to leave the special with as many negative reviews as possible. Users on popular alt-right subreddits, such as r/The_Donald, repeatedly posted threads recruiting Netflix users to manipulate the special’s ratings — the results of which were perhaps reflected in the sheer number of reviews the special generated. One week from The Leather Special’s premier, it had received more than 900 ratings — already double the number of reviews made of Trevor Noah’s special Afraid of the Dark, which premiered on Feb. 21.

Schumer responded to the story on Instagram, telling fans that while “alt-right trolls” might “organize to get my ratings down,” in the end their opposition makes her feel all the more “powerful and dangerous and brave.”

I am so proud of my special and grateful to all the people spreading love on line about it. I am the first female comic who is selling out arenas all over the world and so grateful for that. I am embarrassed for the "journalists" who report on trolls activities as if it's news. It's indicative of administration right now. Anyone who reported that "viewers aren't happy" with my special, it would have been cool if you did a moment of research before posting. The alt right organized trolls attack everything I do. Read the @splitsider article. They organize to get my ratings down. Meeting in sub Reddit rooms. They tried on my book and movies and tv show And I want to thank them. It makes me feel so powerful and dangerous and brave. It reminds me what I'm saying is effective and bring more interest to my work and their obsession with me keeps me going. I am only alarmed by the people printing their organized trolling as "news" this is what the current administration wants. So this post has nothing against the trolls. I thank you trolls so much. It fills me with hope and power to see you all furiously posting so as always accuse me of whatever lies you want. Call me a whale. Call me a thief and I will continue to rise and fight and lead. I know who I am. I am strong and beautiful and will use my voice my whole time on this earth. Journalists do better it's embarrassing. Trolls see you on the next one! 😘😘😘

A post shared by @ amyschumer on

“It reminds what I’m saying is effective,” Schumer wrote. “Their obsession with me keeps me going … Call me a whale. Call me a thief and I will continue to rise and fight and lead.”

Read the full story at Splitsider.


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