May 19
Her eye on the news
‘Au naturel’

Female armpit hair is back — and it might be here to stay. According to recent figures from research group Mintel, the percentage of women aged 16 to 24 who shaved their armpit hair has declined from 95 percent in 2013 to just 77 percent in 2016. Leg shaving is on the decline as well — 92 percent of women shaved their legs in 2013, but by 2016 those numbers had decreased to 85 percent. The Mintel figures are supported by numbers from the shaving and hair removal industry, which saw sales drop by five percent between 2015 and 2016.

“Clean eating is behind some of those changes. They’re worried about causing irritation from their skin because of these products. We can also see that they’re doing other things instead — so 29 percent say they’re adding steps to their skincare routine,” explained Roshida Khanom, Mintel’s associate director in beauty and personal care. “There’s also some pushing back against societal expectations of what women should look like.”

Men, meanwhile, appear to be increasingly preoccupied with maintaining their appearance. The menswear market grew by 2.8 percent the past year, while sales of women’s clothes grew by only 1.3 percent. In 2015, only 44 percent of men between 16 and 24 said they used hair conditioner. According to the most recent figures, 70 percent of young men now use it.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.


Wonder Woman’s lack of armpit hair sparks feminist debate

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French women making a statement online by showing off body hair

Hate speech

Twenty people were convicted of racist and sexist online hate speech in a Dutch court on Thursday, after a black politician, Sylvana Simons, faced online abuse from a reported 40,000 internet users. Only 22 people had been charged in the case, after the court decided to prioritize prosecutions of those who had made the worst comments and whose identities were verifiable.

“Freedom of opinion is great, especially if it fits into a social debate,” the court said in a statement. “But when this opinion is an insult, threat, riot or discrimination, there is a criminal offense.”

Simons, 46, had became famous as a television and radio host before announcing her candidacy for Denk, a pro-immigrant party that focuses on combating racism, sexism, and misogyny. After the announcement of her candidacy, Simons said she had been bombarded with racist invective. Further abuse came, she added, after she was seen protesting against Black Pete, a controversial Dutch Christmas tradition that involves children running around in blackface.

While the court said it hoped that the sentences would have a “deterring effect” on online abuse, the harshest punishment issued was for only 80 hours of community service. In that case, the defendant had been accused of digitally altering a video of a Ku Klux Klan lynching so that Simon’s face stood in place of the victim’s. Another 16 defendants faced fines of roughly $165 to $500, while three others were also sentenced to community service.

Just after the sentences were handed out, a phone outside the courtroom could be heard playing “Oh Susannah” — the same song used as a soundtrack for the altered KKK lynching video.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


Paris outlaws ‘sexist and discriminatory ads’ from appearing in outdoor public places

17 times politicians have resorted to wildly sexist speech over the last year

Video games cultivate ‘sexist attitudes’ among teenagers, study says

Been there

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who is married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, told Billboard magazine that she’s confident that Brigitte Macron, wife of the new president will be able to handle her new position. She added that she hadn’t met the Macrons, though they “seem to be nice people,” and said she wouldn’t give any advice to her because it would look pretentious. “She looks intelligent and clever. I’m sure she will manage,” she told the magazine. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a former model and singer who was a darling of the French and international media as France’s first lady, is releasing her fifth album later this year. Since her husband left his office 5 years ago, she said she’s been holding back from “making political comments.” When prodded by the magazine about French and American politics, all she had to say was that she wished America and its president “good luck,” and she had the same message for President Macron, “because it’s a hard job.”  She also mentioned that she didn’t miss her own time in politics: “It doesn’t leave you a quiet, serene life.”

Read the full story at The Independent


Macron condemns critics of his marriage for ‘rampant homophobia’ and ‘misogyny’

French women loving the May-December age gap between presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte

Meet France’s unconventional new first lady, Brigitte Trogneux

Out of control

Disgraced former U.S. Congressman Anthony D. Weiner entered a guilty plea in federal court on Friday for having transferred obscene material to a minor. The charges, which stemmed from a months-long online relationship that Weiner allegedly began with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in January 2016, could carry between zero to 10 years in prison. Weiner reportedly agreed not to appeal any conviction between 21 and 27 months of prison. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” the former congressman said in court, reportedly breaking down in tears. The judge told Weiner, who had surrendered to FBI agents early Friday morning, that he would have to register as a sex offender.

Weiner, 51, had resigned from Congress after a sexting scandal in 2011. He also saw a mayoral bid collapse in 2013, after it was revealed that he had sent a woman a photo of his genitals under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.” In August of 2016, it was revealed that Weiner had been sexting for more than a year with “a 40-something divorcee from the West” who also happened to be a Trump supporter. In one of the photos sent to the woman, Weiner could be seen in boxers with a visual bugle while his son, who was 4 at the time, slept in bed beside him. The report would prompt his long-suffering wife, Huma Abedin, a former Hillary Clinton aide, to separate from Weiner.

The news that Weiner would face federal investigation came in September, after The Daily Mail uncovered Weiner’s online relationship with a 15-year-old girl who had told him she was a fan of his through Twitter. During the investigation, F.B.I. agents seized a laptop from Weiner containing emails from Abedin — a discovery that led to former FBI Director James B. Comey’s October announcement that the bureau would be reopening investigations into Clinton’s handling of her email. Clinton has cited that inquiry, which ended without bringing any charges just two days before the election, as a factor in her electoral defeat.

According to The Daily Mail, the 15-year-old does not want to press charges against Weiner because she felt that their relationship was “consensual,” but she agreed to be interviewed about the matter “out of concern that Weiner may be sexting with other underage girls.”

Also on Friday, Abedin officially filed for divorce from Weiner in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to The New York Post. The filing is uncontested, which means Abedin is likely to not end up in a custody fight with Weiner over their son, who is now 5, or over her assets.

Read the full story at The New York Times and The Associated Press.


Huma Abedin opens up about what sustained her through Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandals

Weiner thought marriage was doomed, text messages show

Alabama gets its 2nd woman governor after sitting governor resigns amid sex scandal, arrest


The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a maternal rights campaign group, has criticized new guidelines issued by the NHS in 2016 that say women should completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Such claims, the group argues, are alarmist — and may even prompt some expecting mothers to seek abortions out of fear that they had irreparably damaged their child.

The revised guidelines came after the U.K.’s first in-depth review of the evidence on drinking during pregnancy since 2008. The review concluded that “definitive evidence, particularly on the effects on low-level consumption [on a baby’s health] remain elusive” but that “the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all.” Previously, pregnant women had been recommended to restrict themselves to one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week.

“We need to think hard about how risk is communicated to women on issues relating to pregnancy. There can be real consequences to overstating evidence or implying certainty when there isn’t any,” said Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at BPAS. “Doing so can cause women needless anxiety and alarm, sometimes to the point that they consider ending an unplanned but not unwanted pregnancy because of fears they have caused irreparable harm.”

Ellie Lee, director of Kent University’s center for parenting culture studies, added that the new guidelines risked socially isolating or even stigmatizing pregnant women.

“As proving ‘complete safety’ [of drinking in pregnancy] is entirely impossible, where does this leave pregnant women?” asked Lee. “The scrutiny and oversight of their behavior the official approach invites is not benign. It creates anxiety and impairs ordinary social interaction. And the exclusion of women from an ordinary activity on the basis of ‘precaution’ can more properly be called sexist than benign.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


Pregnant women riding the subway in NYC to be given special button with 3-word message on it to wear

Anti-abortion lawmaker says pregnant women are ‘hosts’ for unborn babies

Woman who’s 260 weeks pregnant is ‘too busy to give birth’ in pointed new PSA