Category Archives: women

What women want

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It’s not that complicated. But brands don’t get that women want to see themselves reflected—their bodies, their ages, their ethnicities, their preferences—in branded messaging. Recently, a Victoria Secret executive dismissed the thought of casting plus size and transgender models in Victoria’s Secret shows.

“Why don’t you do 50?” L Brands CEO Ed Razek retorted, referring to garment sizing. “Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”

It’s Ed Razek’s fantasy, and indeed fatal flaw, that women want to watch an “entertainment special” featuring pantily-clad women at all. Per the NY Times, the company’s stock is down 41 percent this year and in response to questions asked in recent consumer study, 60 percent said they think the brand feels “forced” or “fake.”

I’m recalling a 2013 flameout when an executive at Lulu Lemon told the press that plus sizing was not part of its “formula.” Posted on its Facebook page: “Our product and design strategy is built around creating products for our target guest in our size range of 2-12. While we know that doesn’t work for everyone and recognize fitness and health come in all shapes and sizes, we’ve built our business, brand and relationship with our guests on this formula.”

Meanwhile, ThirdLove, started by women offers 74 sizes and “nude” tones across the spectrum of human skin colors. That’s what women want.

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I Feel Bad About My Neck

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This is the title of a book of Nora Ephron essays, which, when I got it as a Christmas present, I found dated and schtick-y (I also thought, at the time, I’m too young for this). But now it happens to be true, though I feel like a bad feminist for admitting it. Maybe I should reframe the emotion as ‘I feel good about turtlenecks.’

 

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Look at Her

Giuliani

Look at Him

Rudy Giuliani has said and done some odious things since he was declared “America’s Mayor” after 9-11. Getting in bed with Trump was one of them but making matters worse, he took it upon himself to explain why, in his opinion, Trump would have never had an affair with someone like Stormy Daniels.

“I’m mean look at her,” he said in a televised interview, disparaging Daniels as not attractive enough, not educated enough and not classy enough for the likes of Trump. His facial expressions—a wince, an eyeroll and the kind of Borscht-Belty mugging Trump himself deploys—dismissed even the “remotest possibility” of a Daniels/Trump affair. And then he felt the need to add that he couldn’t respect a woman who sold her body for money. “I mean, come on.”

“You misogynistic fool. Are you kidding me? Just look at Stormy Daniels? Just look at yourself,” Mika Brzezinski responded, frostily, after playing a clip from Guiliani’s speech. “Let me tell you something. Stormy Daniels could indeed bring down this president, so I hope you all just look at her.”

Co-host Joe, wisely, refrained from interrupting her, or saying anything at all, as Mika continued, which was a nice piece of theater unto itself.

So many baffling things about Guiliani’s words but some of them include: Trump already admitted to the affair, you fool, and Marla Maples is nobody’s idea of classy and, by the way, FLOTUS, at one time, also “sold her body for money” (see photos below).

FLOTUS

Classy

 

 

 

 

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Take your own dang meeting notes, co-worker dude 

 

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So goes the subtitle of a GirlBoss article helpfully pointing out all the helpful ways in which women help others at work—at their peril. I’ve written about being a young woman with a bad boss (The Boss of Me), a beleaguered commuter (Girl in the Gray Flannel Suit) and a woman trying to decode Broffice Brocabulary.

But this article made me laugh, wincingly, especially this part about being saddled with “girl” tasks:

If women had a dime every time they were asked by a man to take notes in a meeting, for no other reason than the fact that they’re women, we’d be making at least 84 cents to their dollar. 

Yesterday, a colleague I like quite a bit started mansplaining an editorial calendar to me—me being the editor, he being the marketing dude. He looked a bit hurt when I called him out for mansplaining so I apologized…a lot. He’s new to the organization, hasn’t worked a lot with editorial teams, was really just explaining his understanding of the edit calendar, not schooling me about it. But I was in a mood, I guess. I apologized again today. And now I should just stop apologizing.

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Men in Black

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The laudable Time’s Up movement is calling for women to wear black on the Golden Globe‘s red carpet tonight, which should make for a meaningful statement. (Most interesting will be the women who do NOT comply.) Now we read that men, too, are pledging to wear black which is somewhat less meaningful, to my eye. What other color would they wear? Isn’t that a bit like me giving up cigarettes for Lent (I don’t smoke)—the emptiest of gestures? Evangelist Rose McGowan is also criticizing women, especially Meryl Streep in a now-deleted tweet, per Vanity Fair, for what she slams as a “silent protest.”

“Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest,” McGowan wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly and affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”

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Enough

Love this

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I’ll start with the keychain then get the tattoo please

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Every Dog Has His Day

I wrote this as a caption to a Harvey Weinstein post, thinking he’d surely be the year’s most egregious abuser. But no, women are speaking out about their #metoo experiences, outing screenwriter James Toback, who has had 38 women accuse him of abuse, and the already disgraced Bill O’Reilly, who agreed in January to pay $32 million to legal analyst Lis Wiehl, bringing the total to $45 million paid to the five women the anchor is known to have abused, after which time Fox (forced to oust abuser Roger Ailes) signed O’Reilly’s $25 million a year contract.

There’s just so, so much packed into that last sentence, so I will simplify: Men with money and power abuse women and get away with it until the women band together* to speak out. Now with floodgates open and a defiance reminiscent of “…and yet she persisted,” do we expect to hear more and more and more stories about serial abusers? I think so. Just this past week, related reports include:

  • In the wake of Weinstein’s expulsion from the Academy, there’s a movement to do the same to Roman Polanski, who won a 2003 Best Director Oscar even after having pled guilty to having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Polanski’s words, per his accuser: “If you’re not a big enough girl to have sex with me, you’re big enough to do the screen test.” He also, famously, drugged and raped a 13-year-old actress at a French Vogue photo shoot.
  • Bill Cosby, still a member in good standing, even while he stands accused of sexual assault (drugging, rape) by more than 50 women, is also named in a petition to the Academy.
  • Ditto Woody Allen, who married his stepdaughter.
  • Roy Price, chief of Amazon Studios, was fired after an accusation.
  • Lockhart Steele of Vox Media, for whom my daughter worked, sharing a long communal table with him, was dismissed from this role of editorial director after an accuser called him out on unspecified “misconduct.”
  • Chris Savino of Nickelodeon was dismissed after several women leveled accusations.

 

*Another reason for protection: Men buy it with non-disclosure clauses in the settlements they pay. Women, it must be said, sell their silence.

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The Pause

 

Pause is the title of a essay by the poet Mary Ruefle about menopause. It is long and, in many ways not my experience. I never felt suicidal, wanting to kill myself “with a steaming hot turned-on iron.” Ruefle (hmmm… sounds like rueful?) writes in the third person, telling you what you will feel, with no small amount of conviction, which is why I feel the urge to disagree with her. However, this part sounds right to me, especially the italicized bit:

You have the desire to leave your husband or lover or partner, whatever.

No matter how stable or loving the arrangement, you want out.

You may decide to take up an insane and hopeless cause. You may decide to walk to Canada, or that it is high time you begin to collect old blue china, three thousand pieces of which will leave you bankrupt. Suddenly the solution to all problems lies in selling your grandmother’s gold watch or drinking your body weight in cider vinegar. A kind of wild forest blood runs in your veins.

This, and other behaviors, will horrify you. You will seek medical help because you are intelligent, and none of the help will help.

You will feel as if your life is over and you will be absolutely right about that, it is over.

No matter how attractive or unattractive you are, you have been used to having others look you over when you stood at the bus stop or at the chemist’s to buy tampons. They have looked you over to assess how attractive or unattractive you are, so no matter what the case, you were looked at. Those days are over; now others look straight through you, you are completely invisible to them, you have become a ghost.

I do feel invisible, which, Frances McDormand tells me is the best thing that will ever happen to me:

‘You become sexually invisible to both men and women. You gain the power of not giving a shit,’ McDormand says in a profile about her in the NY Times Sunday Magazine.

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Frances McDormand, Difficult Woman

And I love Ruefle’s last lines, finally hopeful, and explaining why the pause exists in the first place:

You haven’t even begun. You must pause first, the way one must always pause before a great endeavor, if only to take a good breath.

Happy old age is coming on bare feet, bringing with it grace and gentle words, and ways which grim youth have never known. 

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