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Sep 14
Her eye on the news
Designed for men

Apple’s decision to release a new line of phones, the iPhone XS, with screens ranging from 5.8 inches to 6.5 inches is being criticized by customers who say that the devices are too large to fit in the average woman’s hand. Adding to the controversy, some women have pointed out that Apple has begun discontinuing their lines smaller phones — meaning that those with small hands are effectively restricted to using old technology if they want to continue using Apple products.

“Women like me with small hands who need the most secure phone for safety reasons are stuck with something they can’t hold and constantly risk dropping,” tweeted Zeynep Tufekci, a sociology professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Some people like the bigger phones. Fine. Keep an alternative for the rest of us.”

Speaking with The Telegraph, British journalist Caroline Criado Perez said that even the 4.7-inch screens of the iPhone 6 had been too large for her hold comfortably, and ultimately caused her a strain injury. Her symptoms subsided after she swapped to the 4-inch iPhone SE, but the company’s decision to discontinue the SE has left her considering alternative brands for her next phone purchase.

“In so much design and technology development the default standard is always that which suits a man,” Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, told The Telegraph. “Companies have got to get better at recognizing that their idea of normal should account for all their customers.”

Adding to the difficulty faced by women customers, most iPhones are now too large to fit inside women’s pockets. According to culture website The Pudding, 60 percent of popular women’s jeans lines won’t fit iPhones that are 5.8 inches or larger.

Read the full story at The New York Post.

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‘She’s dangerous’

Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped in 2002 at age 14 and raped repeatedly while being held in captivity for nine months by street preacher Brian David Mitchell and his former wife Wanda Barzee, has responded with “shock” to the news that Barzee will be released next week after Utah authorities announced that they had miscalculated the amount of time the now 72-year-old should serve. In an appearance made on the steps of the Utah state capitol, Smart, now a 30-year-old married mother and activist for victims’ rights, said that officials had promised her that Barzee wouldn’t be released until January 2024 at the earliest.

“I only found out shortly before everybody else,” said Smart. “And yes, it was a big shock.”

“She is a woman who had six children yet could co-conspire to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, and not only sit next to her while being raped but encourage her husband to continue to rape me,” she continued. “So do I believe she’s dangerous? Yes. [Barzee] saw me as her slave. She called me her handmaiden. She never hesitated to let her displeasure with me be known.”

Smart added that her concern was not a matter of vengeance but rather out of fear for her safety and that of others. Barzee, she said, had shown no clear signs of contrition or rehabilitation ahead of her release. Attorney Scott Williams has said that Barzee suffers from several mental illnesses, and that the terms of her release dictate that she must pursue mental health treatment and not contact Smart’s family. Mitchell is continuing to serve a life sentence after being convicted of raping and kidnapping Smart.

On Monday, Elizabeth Smart was interviewed by Gayle King. Watch her talk about the ordeal below below.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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Name drop

Big Brother host Julie Chen on Thursday evening made her first appearance on television since her husband, disgraced ex-CBS CEO Les Moonves, resigned from the network amid accusations of sexual misconduct from at least 12 women. And while Chen was happy to oversee the drama typical of the popular reality show, arguably the most interesting moment of the night came as Chen was signing off to end the episode.

“From outside the Big Brother house … I’m Julie Chen Moonves,” she said. “Goodnight.”

According to The Washington Post, Chen’s sign off appeared to mark the first time that Chen had referred to herself as Julie Chen Moonves on the show. Chen has hosted Big Brother since the show’s debut in 2000, and married Moonves in 2004. Chen drew immediate attention on social media for the name drop, which most people interpreted as a not-so-subtle signal of support for her embattled husband. And while some reacted with shock, or even positively, many others also interpreted the move as disrespectful to Moonves’ alleged victims.

Since the publication of two investigatory pieces in The New Yorker by reporter Ronan Farrow detailed allegations that Moonves sexually harassed and women at the media company — as well as professionally retaliating against those who refused his advances — Moonves has categorically denied allegations of abuse while also acknowledging having had sexual relationships with at least some of the reported victims.

For Chen, this is the second time she’s publicly stood by her husband. After the initial accusations against Moonves surfaced, Chen posted a statement on Twitter, saying, “I fully support my husband and stand behind him” in his denials of the allegations.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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Perseverance

A 27-year-old Afghan refugee won a surprise Democratic primary victory in a New Hampshire State House race this week, beating out an 8-year incumbent who ran a campaign focused on blaming immigrants for taking benefits from people born and raised in the state. Safiya Wazir, a pregnant mother of two, beat out 66-year-old Dick Patten, a former city councilor and police dispatcher by a margin of 329 to 143 in a victory that even she herself admitted left her “shocked.” Speaking to The New York Times, Wazir credited the young people in her area with rallying her to victory, and recalled what it was like coming to New Hampshire as a 16-year-old who had lived in Uzbekistan for 10 years after her family fled the Taliban in her home country when she was just 6.

“I have memories of the Taliban shooting and bombing and everything getting crazy. I would hide myself in a dark place so they couldn’t find me. When I moved to Uzbekistan, it was peaceful,” she told The Times. “UNICEF sent us to Concord in November 2007, my mom and dad and me, and we decided to stay. We had seen too much violence … I was 16 and had zero English. I was helping my parents, going to Concord High School, studying English and working at Walmart and Goodwill. A friend brought me English dictionaries and I sat down every night and studied the vocabulary so I could communicate. I couldn’t make a sentence, but I could use my vocabulary.”

“The community was good to us, but the problem was younger people at high school.I was older than others in my class and didn’t speak English, and I didn’t have friends to welcome me or introduce me or give me guidance. They didn’t want to have anything to do with me,” she added, recalling her first years in the country.

In 2012, a year before she officially became a U.S. citizen, she went back to Afghanistan to marry a man she had never met before as part of an arrangement made by her parents. She attended business school while pregnant — a two-year degree that she said took her five years to complete because she was taking night classes while also working at Walmart and the campus library. During the campaign, The Times noted, Patten had suggested that she would be unable to balance her duties as a mother and as a state legislator.

“Being a mother and working two jobs and going to school — it’s almost the same as being a state rep,” replied Wazir. “I don’t really respond to those comments. Just to say, women are capable. I was at college, worked two jobs, raised kids, helped out with my parents and am pregnant — I have faced many situations.”

While Wazir’s perseverance and positive attitude evidently paid dividends for her during the election, Patten has apparently remained convinced that immigrants such as herself are a drain on the community. The former state representative has said that he plans to endorse Wazir’s Republican opponent, Dennis Souzy, in November.

Read the full interview at The New York Times.

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Mixed messages

Images of a thin light-skinned model wearing a sweatshirt bearing a fat-shaming slogan posted to online retailer Revolve have ignited outrage — and an explanation from Girls creator Lena Dunham, who said she was involved in the design process of the controversial clothing item. The sweatshirt, she explained, had been part of a line of pullovers featuring quotations of hateful and body-shaming remarks directed at celebrities such as Dunham (“Horrible Result of Modern Feminism”), Cara Delevingne (“Too boney to be boned”), and curvy model Paloma Elsesser (“Being Fat Is Not Beautiful, It’s An Excuse”). The offending sweatshirts were posted to Revolve’s website featured a shirt with the last of the above slogans being worn by a skinny, white model. The image prompted shock and derision from users online — including curvy model Tess Holliday.

“For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with LPA through parent company @revolve – sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse. This is a cause very close to my heart and the proceeds were meant to benefit charities that help young women by empowering them to express themselves through writing and art,” wrote Dunham in a statement posted to Instagram. “Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.)”

“As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm,” she continued. “I’d like to especially extend my love and support to @palomija, whose quote was the first to be promoted and mangled. She’s a hero of mine. Like me, she gave her quote in good faith and shared her vulnerability in order to support arts education and to spread her message of empowerment, and she wasn’t consulted in the marketing. Not an ounce of negativity should be sent her way.”

View this post on Instagram

For months I’ve been working on a collaboration with my friend Pia’s company LPA through parent company @revolve – sweatshirts that highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse. This is a cause very close to my heart and the proceeds were meant to benefit charities that help young women by empowering them to express themselves through writing and art. Without consulting me or any of the women involved, @revolve presented the sweatshirts on thin white women, never thinking about the fact that difference and individuality is what gets you punished on the Internet, or that lack of diversity in representation is a huge part of the problem (in fact, the problem itself.) As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way. This isn’t meant to shame Pia or the great work she’s done with LPA. I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm. *** I’d like to especially extend my love and support to @palomija, whose quote was the first to be promoted and mangled. She’s a hero of mine. Like me, she gave her quote in good faith and shared her vulnerability in order to support arts education and to spread her message of empowerment, and she wasn’t consulted in the marketing. Not an ounce of negativity should be sent her way. *** My only goal on this planet is to empower women through art and dialogue. I’m grateful to every woman who shared a quote and so disappointed that our words were not honored. As a result, I will be making a donation to the charity of every woman’s choice who was wronged with me and I hope that @revolve will join me with a contribution of their own. *** P.S. This Rubens painting makes me happy because it’s about women joining in love, but he didn’t recognize diversity at all- he just loved curvy butts. Problematic fave.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

In order to make up for the failed campaign, Dunham added, she was “making a donation to the charity of every woman’s choice who was wronged with me.” In a statement given to PEOPLE magazine, Revolve apologized to the collaborators involved in the project for both prematurely releasing the images without context and for “[featuring] one of the pieces on a model whose size was not reflective of the piece’s commentary on body positivity.” Revolve also pledged that it would donate $20,000 to “Girls Write Now,” the charity to which the proceeds of the sweatshirts were originally intended to go.

Read the full story at PEOPLE magazine.

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09.14.18

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