Apr 17
Her eye on the news
'Total chaos'

In an uncharacteristically candid interview with British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Prince Harry opened up about the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was just 12 years old. The prince, now 32, went into great detail about how the tragedy upended his life and his mental health.

“My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?” he recalled about his teenage years and the period into his early twenties, adding that he outwardly pretended his life was great. Harry was candid about the range of emotions, including anger, he went through even years after the death of his mother. He often found himself “on the verge of punching someone.” The culmination of the inner turmoil, he said, was “two years of total chaos” during which time his behavior made for some salacious headlines and photos.

Prince Charles touches the shoulder of his son Harry as his other son Prince William watches the hearse bearing his mother Diana, Princess of Wales being driven from Westminster Abbey following her funeral service September 6, 1997. Millions of mourners lined the route to pay their respects. (Reuters).

But, he eventually sought help from a therapist and confronted his feelings head-on. “All of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with,” he said in the interview. “I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else,” Harry said.

Speaking out in such candid terms about one’s own mental health is a departure from royal social protocol, but having done so is winning Harry plaudits. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday commended the prince for speaking out candidly about his troubles. She said it was “a really important moment” for the country. Indeed, following her statement, numerous government officials have taken to Twitter to also praise Harry for his courage and offer their own similar stories.

Watch the video below for more on the story.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Remembering Princess Diana

The rise of Charlotte


In Bihar, one of India’s poorest, most agrarian regions, the success of a new prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol is being credited to the region’s women, many of whom have banded together to prevent the local men from spending their wages on alcohol and impoverishing their families.

Nearly two years ago, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was on the campaign trail when he was confronted by a woman demanding that he ban alcohol. Kumar, enmeshed in a difficult fight for re-election with the Prime Minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party, promised the woman that he would ban alcohol if elected. A day after his surprise victory in the race, Kumar put together a law that imposed a maximum sentence of seven years for consumption of alcohol — with a potential sentence of a lifetime in prison for those caught making it.

Since the bill’s passage, murder and gang robberies in the region have decreased by almost 20 percent. Household spending, meanwhile, is up — cheese sales increased 200 percent, sale of two-wheeled vehicles rose by more than 30 percent, and electric appliances sales have increased by half.

According to Raj Kumar Prasad, chief of the Halsi police, 60 percent of the alcohol-related tips he gets are from women. On a recent Saturday, he recalled, dozens of broom-wielding women from the village of Bandol sent a man fleeing through a rice field after uncovering his secret cache of fruit alcohol. At another nearby farm, a group of women unearthed a vast trove of moonshine hidden underneath a cornfield and guarded the area until police arrived.

Omprakash Ram Chandrawanshi, 35, said that he was approached by a gang of women demanding that he cease his alcoholic ways even before the bill passed. Intimidated by the news that a group of 100 women had personally shown up and shut down a local alcohol seller the week before, Chandrawanshi caved into the pressure.

“If I earned 500 rupees, I would spend 200 on alcohol,” recalled Chandrawanshi. “I often wouldn’t bring any money home.”

Now sober, Chandrawanshi works with the women’s vigilante group to identify and stop illegal alcohol manufacturers.

While more than 30 million Biharis — about one-fourth of the region’s population — joined hands in support of the alcohol prohibition in January, the measure does have its detractors. Some critics have condemned the bill for making alcohol production a greater crime than armed robbery, while others have cited the 42,000 people arrested and awaiting trial under the new law.

The bill remains popular locally, however, and state legislators from across the country have visited the region in recent months in an attempt to understand its success.

Kumar, for one, had a simple explanation.

“Only when you have the women behind you can you succeed,” he said.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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'True story’

Prefaced with the tagline “a true story,” the newest ad from Vicks, part of the Proctor & Gamble family, has gone viral. Released online on March 31, the ad, titled “Generations of Care,” has received more than 9 million views on YouTube, but the message has polarized its audience.

Told through the eyes of a young girl named Gayatri, the narrative is a simple one. Gayatri is on her way to boarding school because her mother desires that she should study to become a doctor. “Mummy,” she explains, has built her own life for herself after being kicked out of her home at the age of 18. But Gayatri’s tale takes a turn when she explains that her birth mother died when she was a child and “mummy” adopted her. We see nothing but glimpses of her mother — a sari here, a pair of hands there — until the very end when it is revealed that her mother is actually Gauri Sawant, a transgender woman.

“In our civics text books we read that everyone is entitled to the same basic rights.” Gayatri explains. “Then why is my mom denied them? This is why I’m not going to be a doctor, but a lawyer. For my mom.”

The message is a powerful one and the story is in fact true and the real Gauri and Gayatri appear in the ad as themselves. Gayatri, whose mother was a sex worker who died of AIDS when she was only 6 years old, was adopted by Gauri, a friend of her mother’s. The ad, while heartwarming, has moved beyond the message of “motherhood has no gender” and sparked serious debate about the rights of transgender people in India.

Although the third gender was officially recognized in India in 2014, the legal ability of transgender people to adopt children are still widely debated. Gauri Sawant, who runs an NGO in Mumbai, was one of the original activists that lobbied the government and the Supreme Court of India to pass the law which grants equal rights to transgendered people. However, because adoption regulations are still undecided, many have pointed out that the ambiguity brings into question whether or not Sawant has the right to raise Gayatri at all. Neeraj Ghaywan, the director of the ad, was quick to point this out. “It is actually Gauri Sawant (and not an actor) playing her part. Of course, legally she cannot adopt a child. Just hoping someday the world will be as one.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many have accused Vicks, and its parent company Proctor & Gamble, of co-opting the transgender movement in India to sell a product. After all, Vicks is traditionally a purveyor of health and wellness products and their chief goal is profits. Nitin Darbari, the marketing director for Asia at Proctor & Gamble, spoke out about the controversy surrounding the ad, stating that the main purpose was to “celebrate” the ever-changing way we define family. Proctor & Gamble, who have released a bevy of progressive ads over the past few years, was pleased with the online response. “We are overwhelmed by the reactions and the willingness to engage in the conversations and the number of people who have evinced interest/stepped forward.”

Despite the criticism, Harrish Iyer, a fellow equal rights activist in Mumbai pointed out that whether you agree with the ad or not, it has accomplished something much better than what it might have intended. “It does something even our mainstream media hasn’t managed: This ad normalizes [people who are transgender]. So many times if there’s a gay or trans person portrayed, they’re a caricature or a cause.”

Watch the ad below and hear Gayatri’s story in the video below. Earlier this month at the 8th Annual Women in the World Summit, Laxmi Tripathi, the transgender woman who was instrumental in the case that ultimately won third gender rights in India, appeared onstage to discuss her life and the outlook for trans people in India. Watch her full interview with Barkha Dutt here.

Read the full story at NPR.


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Kelly Diane Howland was shopping at Target with her new baby in tow when, she wrote in a post on Facebook, she was approached by a woman who tried to pitch her a weight-loss product.

“Listen. I’m not upset this company exists. And I’m not even upset at this woman because she could be absolutely charming and just trying to hustle her own living and I have respect for a woman with guts to do that,” wrote the new mother in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

“But let’s not pretend that approaching me specifically was a coincidence,” she continued. “We all know that this culture hammers into postpartum women a lot of physical insecurity about their bodies after delivering their miracles from their wombs. I don’t think I have to spell out for a single woman the cultural pressure that postpartum mothers face regarding their physical appearance. We know. We all know. She knew. And that’s why she approached me.”

The pressure put on new mothers to immediately shed their baby weight, Howland wrote, is unrealistic and unhealthy. Rather than perpetuate these “superficial ideals,” she suggested, why not “start bucking the system and instead start praising each other for being the amazing, life giving, creation birthing vessels that we are?”

“THAT,” she concluded, “is beauty.”

Read the full story at Refinery29.


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Oh, baby

One enterprising father has discovered the secret to a better, post-birth experience: frozen condoms. Before your mind finds its way to the gutter, these popsicle prophylactics are finding new purpose with parents and, according to midwives, they’re nothing short of a latex miracle.

Martin Wanless, an avid daddy-blogger, has added condoms to his list of must have purchases for the 21st century dad to be. While they’re out picking up pickles and ice cream at two in the morning, Wanless says men should stock up on condoms as well. With modern medicine the way it is, mothers who choose to give birth vaginally in a hospital setting often stay on average only two-days after delivery — barring any unforeseen complications — before heading home with their bundle of joy. When his wife returned home after giving birth to their son, Wanless realized that his wife’s recovery was going to be no easy challenge.

While he realizes that condoms might give his readers the wrong idea, Wanless was more than candid about how they should be used. “Trust me, after a few days at home with a screaming ankle biter, and having recently witnessed your partner’s vagina being turned inside out and a little person pushed out of it, neither of you will be wanting or even thinking about risking anything down there for at least a matter of week.”

The mental picture isn’t a pretty one but neither is the reality. But as Wanless goes on to explain, condoms are one of the best and cheapest cures for a woman’s discomfort, “filled with water and frozen, they’re the perfect shape to rest in between new mum’s legs and ease a bit of pain and swelling.”

Long story short: Whether parenthood is or isn’t for you, condoms have got you covered.

Read the full story at Bravo.


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Kind heart

A 33-year-old mother of three from Michigan is running the Boston Marathon on Monday for a cause larger than the grueling challenge of finishing a 26.2-mile race: She’s using her participation in the storied event to raise money for refugees from Syria.

Rahaf Khatib rose to prominence last September when she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Women’s Running magazine wearing a hijab. Khatib is the daughter of Syrian immigrants and over the last two years has completed six marathons. She’s also become something of a social media sensation, having amassed more than 10,000 followers of her runlikeahijabi Instagram account.

As the crisis in Syria has continued to worsen, Khatib found herself wanting to do something to help those fleeing the carnage. But, she told CNN, as a stay-at-home mom, she didn’t have the money herself to donate to the cause. So, she vowed that if her dream of running the Boston Marathon came true, she would use the occasion to raise awareness and funds — and that’s exactly what she’s doing. “This is giving back to both humanity and giving back to the running community,” she said, adding that there was a “deep need” for it in her community, which has one of the highest concentrations of Syrian refugees in the country. Khatib had set out to raise $15,000 and exceeded that total, leaving only the challenging race course as the last obstacle to completing the mission. On the morning of the race, Khatib posted on Instagram saying that she was “tossing and turning all night” and that she’s “honored and thrilled” to be taking part in the iconic race.

Khatib’s viral success has even surprised herself, she told CNN. “I never really imagined myself as a figure on social media. I’m just an average joe runner who’s trying to make a point and break stereotypes.”

Read the full story at


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A new study, conducted by Northwestern Law professor Tonja Jacobi, found that female Supreme Court justices are interrupted about three times more frequently than their male counterparts. Jacobi had to rely on transcripts (since cameras are not allowed in the nation’s highest court), which posed a challenge to the study, but nevertheless the outcome is clear. While Supreme Court justices cut each other off in conversation frequently, Jacobi found several instances of a lawyer cutting off a female Supreme Court justice — something that would rarely happen to a man. “Here we have subordinates, clear subordinates, i.e. lawyers, interrupting justices who have reached the highest pinnacle of a very high status profession,” Jacobi said.

Read the full story at CBS News.


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Title X

Last week, a teenager from Tucson, Arizona, took Republican senator Jeff Flake to task in a town hall for his support of a bill — signed into law by Donald Trump later that same day — that gave states the right to deny Title X funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion-providing organizations.

“Jeff Flake, my name is Deja Foxx and I’m a 16-year-old from Tucson,” the straight-talking teenager began. “I just want to state some facts. So, I’m a young woman, and you’re a middle-aged man. I’m a person of color, and you’re white. I come from a background of poverty, and I didn’t always have parents to guide me through life. You come from privilege, so I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why it’s your right to take away my right to choose Planned Parenthood and to choose no-co-pay birth control, to access that.”

While accepting that he had “a lot of advantages that others haven’t,” Flake suggested that his support of the bill was somehow related to helping people “realize the American dream,” although he did not offer clear reasons as to how preventing women from accessing health care would achieve that.

Foxx, for her part, wasn’t willing to let Flake’s response stand. Her dream, she suggested, was to complete a higher education degree — a goal that the support of Planned Parenthood had helped her move towards.

“I am a ‘youth on their own’ — meaning I don’t live with my parents or have a permanent home,” said Foxx. “So when I needed birth control and reproductive health care, I didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the healthcare system.”

Unable to access her state insurance card, she said, all her health care coverage came from Title X funds.

“Why,” she asked, “would you deny me the American dream?”

Watch Foxx and Flake square off below.

Later, Foxx appeared on CNN to talk about the epic showdown with the senator, and explained what inspired her to get up and speak the way she did. “I can’t sit idly by while women like me are countlessly and constantly being ignored on Capitol Hill,” she told Don Lemon. Watch her complete interview below.

Read the full story at Business Insider.


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