The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Sept. 27 2016 1:42 PM

Why Did Trump Bring Up Rosie O’Donnell of All People in the Debate?

In Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump ticked off some of the accomplishments that qualify him to lead our nation: He has had big-league success in the business world, he was against the Iraq war (ish), and he and he alone has protected our country from the longstanding threat that is Rosie O’Donnell. Yes, Rosie O’Donnell: actress, comedian, former talk show host, freeform poet, onetime bestie of Madonna, and, apparently, national menace worthy of mentioning in a presidential debate. Now, shouldn’t a presidential candidate have bigger concerns? Wouldn’t a worthy presidential nemesis be, I don’t know, the head of ISIS or North Korea, and not a woman who used to be best known for starring in A League of Their Own and shooting koosh balls into her adoring audience?

Sept. 27 2016 1:15 PM

Helpful Critiques of Hillary Clinton’s Mouth Shape From Men Watching the Debate

Monday night’s presidential debate looked and sounded like a tiff between a petulant, sociopathic toddler and the world’s most patient, cool-headed teacher.Hillary Clinton was unflappable, maintaining a calm, slightly condescending smile while Donald Trump dribbled out bits of wordstuff. She stuck to facts and arguments without taking his ad hominem bait, while he shredded whatever bits of political decorum America has left.

Sept. 27 2016 10:41 AM

This Ice Cream Shop Came Up With Two Candidate-Themed Flavors That Don’t Trivialize the Election

Every fall of an election year, like clockwork, the candidate-themed food and drinks start appearing. In 2000, 7-Eleven introduced its unscientific 7-Election poll, allowing customers to choose between Bush- and Gore-labeled cups for their coffee. In 2004, D.C. residents chose between a Kerry burrito (featuring baked beans and Heinz 57) and a Bush burrito (with potatoes and hickory) at California Tortilla. In 2008, you could order an Obama- or McCain-themed burger, wash it down with an Obama- or McCain-themed cocktail, and then have one of Baskin-Robbins’ Obama- or McCain-themed ice creams for dessert. There were too many establishmentsoffering up Obama- and Romney-themed dishes in 2012 to count. All of these limited-time offers were transparent ploys for publicity, attempts to gin up sales by appealing to consumers’ inner political animals.

Sept. 27 2016 8:47 AM

Muslims Should Praise Hijabi Journalist Noor Tagouri, Not Criticize Her

Last year, Playboy made a public decision to shake nude photographs from the brand. The announcement was initially met by skepticism, but since then, the magazine has successfully enhanced the place of actual journalism within its pages. In the latest issue, Playboy reporters wrote about race in a feature on Paul Beatty, a black novelist. They discussed activism in an interview with rapper Vince Staples. And, for the first time ever, Playboy featured a Muslim American in the magazine. Journalist Anna del Gaizo interviewed aspiring news anchor Noor Tagouri about the American-hijabi (headscarf or veil-wearing) experience, her aspirations, and the current political climate. It was a great opportunity for a Muslim woman to get some visibility.

But none of what she talked about seemed to matter to the droves of critics Tagouri, a reporter for Newsy, subsequently encountered online. Articles published in large outlets question whether or not she let Muslims down. On Twitter, users called her ugly names like #hoejabi. One Muslim publication even questioned her commitment to God. As a Muslim man, I try to avoid speaking for Muslim women, as that happens enough as it is. But right now, in a campaign season during which the Republican party has made white supremacy and Islamophobia central to its platform, this controversy around a wonderful interview of an awesome Muslim woman demands a response.

Sept. 27 2016 12:54 AM

At the First Presidential Debate, Hillary Proves She’s Got This

When Democrats started panicking in the fall of 2008, a popular meme emerged showing a steely-faced Barack Obama and the words “Everyone chill the fuck out, I got this!” It spoke to liberals’ admiration, at times bordering on awe, for his temperament, his deep, abiding steadiness. Most people don’t think of Hillary Clinton that way, but maybe we should. The Clinton who showed up to debate Donald Trump on Monday night is the same woman who remained wryly unruffled during 11 hours of Republican grilling over Benghazi—an endurance test she reminded viewers of during a heated exchange about “stamina.” Once again, her discipline and composure were uncanny. She is the only thing standing between us and the civic abattoir of a Trump presidency, and for 90 minutes she showed herself up to the job.

In retrospect, it seems obvious that she would best the impulsive, ignorant Trump, but before the debate that outcome was far from clear. At the start, I was so nervous I could barely watch; the pressure on her must have been beyond comprehension. A woman who evokes profound anxiety in a great many Americans was set against a man who is basically a walking phallus—it was a psychosexual minefield. She had to debate a bullying professional performer without seeming either too robotic or too passionate. She had to correct Trump’s serial lies without appearing like a shrewish know-it-all. She had to parry Trump’s attempts to display raw dominance without betraying anger or aggression. She had to decide which of his lies, evasions, and slanders to press and which to let go, when the temptation to respond to each and every one must have been overwhelming. She had to have all her facts airtight. She had to not cough. She had to do it all in heels. And she did.

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Clearly, Clinton got under Trump’s skin. She diminished the man who likes to be called “Mr. Trump” by continually referring to him as “Donald.” When she pointed out his history of stiffing the tradespeople who work for him, this was his response: “We used certain laws that are there and when Secretary Clinton talks about people that didn't get paid, first of all, they did get paid a lot, but taken advantage of the laws of the nation.” He demanded plaudits for opening a club in Palm Beach, Florida, that doesn’t practice illegal discrimination against black people or Muslims: “I have been given great credit for what I did.” He doubled down on his idiotic feud with Rosie O’Donnell: “I said very tough things to her and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.” It was immensely satisfying to see Clinton call Trump out on the “racist lie” of birtherism. She showed him for the small, nasty man he is.

Of course, people like me are not the ones Clinton needed to impress. There’s always something a little false about pundits deciding who won a debate, since winning means persuading people who pay so little attention to politics that they’re undecided at this stage of the campaign. Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group of undecided voters, however, confirmed my impressions. As he tweeted, six of his participants thought Trump won. Sixteen thought Clinton did. “Hillary Clinton has learned how to bait Trump,” he tweeted. “He doesn't know how to not take it. Her attacks work. His defenses don't.” 

One can criticize aspects of Clinton’s performance. She started out a little shaky and could have used a much stronger populist economic message. Unlike Trump, she’s no entertainer and tended to step on her own zingers. “A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes as far as I think anyone with any sense about this should be concerned,” she said at one point, a less pithy version of a line she used in July. But for once—instead of nitpicking everything that Clinton does, critiquing every modulation of her voice and expression on her face—let’s give her some credit for being so preternaturally poised at such a harrowing historical moment, when so many of us were freaking out just thinking about the stakes. This is still a terrifying time, but for now, it seems like she has everything under control.

Correction, Sept. 27, 2016: This piece originally attributed a tweet to Rudy Giuliani that was actually from a Rudy Giuliani parody account. That line has been deleted.

Sept. 26 2016 11:29 PM

Clinton Shaming Trump for His Alleged “Miss Piggy” Comment Was Maybe Her Best Moment

 

Near the end of Monday night’s first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton had one of her best moments of the night when she called out Donald Trump for his long history of horrible statements about women.

 

 

Debate moderator Lester Holt had asked Trump what he meant when he said that Clinton, the first major party nominee for president who is a woman, “doesn't have a presidential look.” Trump filibustered the question and failed to answer even as Holt attempted to press him on it.

 

Sept. 26 2016 11:05 PM

In a Debate-Long Power Move, Clinton Only Called Trump “Donald”

Donald Trump has never held political office, which explains a lot of his misconceptions about executive power and his forgetfulness Re the existence of Congress. And, since that means he's never held an official title, it also gives Hillary Clinton a nice tool for undermining Trump’s swagger. Throughout Monday’s debate, Clinton called Trump by his first name, while he mostly called her by her appropriate political title: Secretary Clinton.

From her first recognition of his presence (“Donald, it’s good to be with you”) to her few pointed zingers (“Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but those are not the facts”), Clinton reduced her opponent to a casual first-name sparring partner. This is a man who loves his last name so much, he’s embroidered it on tie labels, stamped it on steaks, and splattered it in gold all over a chain of tacky hotels. Clinton's refusal to use it must be grating at his quivering ego.

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It also reverses the typical way politicians’ names are used in campaigns, wherein men get called by their last names (serious and professional) and women get called by their first (casual and low-ranking). In this debate, Clinton is the experienced, poised politician and Trump is the whining, pestering schoolboy. John Oliver proposed that we call Trump “Drumpf” to take the strength out of his name. Clinton's strategy is better, because it’s not an explicit or petty insult; it’s his real name but spoken in a way that unmistakably says he doesn’t deserve her respect. She may not be able to convince Trump’s supporters that he's a lying racist, but Monday night, she reminded them that he’s no white knight—he’s just Donald.

Sept. 26 2016 6:05 PM

Leave the Hot Moms Alone

Like a good many New York Post trend pieces, the recent one about “hot moms [who] love to strut their stuff at school drop-off” has a whiff of manufactured controversy about it. The thesis of the story—that more and more moms these days are “too hot for school, donning high heels, sexy frocks and conspicuous labels just to unload and pick up the kids”—is supported by a handful of personal anecdotes, including the founder of a blog called “Divalysscious Moms” and an Upper East Side plastic surgeon. Whether or not this is representative of an actual movement is debatable—and not the point. When it comes to generating clicks and outrage, there are few combinations as potent as “hot” and “moms.” Everybody wants a look, as well as the ephemeral pleasure found in rolling one’s eyes at a group of privileged fools.

Sept. 26 2016 5:39 PM

An Arizona Boys’ Soccer Team Refused to Play a Team With Girls for Religious Reasons

God has offered many divine tips about how people should conduct themselves here on Earth. According to the heavenly stewards of Faith Christian School in Mesa, Arizona, one of God’s ground rules for life is that mankind should not engage in sport with or against womankind.

That’s why the high school’s boys’ soccer team forfeited a game rather than play against a team that included two girls. On Friday, Faith Christian administrators told the Foothills Academy College Prep boys’ soccer team that, because sisters Alyssa and Colette Hocking play midfield, Faith Christian would not participate in the game.

Sept. 26 2016 4:52 PM

Madonna’s Son Defeats a Donald Trump Piñata

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Madonna. What’s that pop provocateur up to these days? She’s mostly retreated to the idylls of Instagram, where she posts photos of her kids, her travels, and her past glories. But being Madge, she still knows how to stir the pot now and then. So when she threw a party for her son David Banda’s 11thbirthday this past weekend, naturally she got the kids a Donald Trump piñata to break open.

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