The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Nov. 28 2016 4:29 PM

Nick Cannon Thinks Planned Parenthood Is “Eugenics” and Black Women Are Pawns

For the second time this month, self-described “GREAT THINKER” Nick Cannon has aimed his considerable critical THINKING skills at Planned Parenthood’s raison d’être. The reproductive health care services Planned Parenthood provides constitute “real genocide,” Cannon said on a New York morning radio show on November 17. “It’s been like that for years.” When a Splash News reporter asked him to elaborate on Friday, he accused the organization of propagating “modern-day eugenics” and “population control.”

Nov. 28 2016 1:20 PM

Hillary Clinton’s Inspiring Words Got Nikki Haley to Run for Office

Were it not for the encouraging words of Hillary Clinton, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley might have never entered politics. The buzzed-about young conservative, Trump’s pick for United Nations ambassador, told the New York Times’ India Ink blog that she saw Clinton give a university lecture more than a decade ago. Clinton used the platform to encourage women to consider running for office, and Haley felt a pull toward public service.

Nov. 23 2016 2:03 PM

U.S. Education Secretary Calls for an End to Racist Corporal Punishment in Schools

U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. sent a letter this week to governors and chief state school officers urging them to end corporal punishment in schools. Corporal punishment was used on more than 110,000 students during the 2013-2014 academic year, according to the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. It’s currently either expressly permitted or not prohibited in 22 states, and is most common in Southern states like Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. A bill to ban corporal punishment on a federal level was introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in 2010, but it has yet to pass. This sets us apart from 42 other countries where such measures are illegal.

Texas, for example, defines corporal punishment as “hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline.” In many states, acts of corporal punishment that are considered kosher in schools would be considered criminal assault or battery if done to another adult. Texas banned this kind of discipline in prisons back in 1941.

Nov. 23 2016 12:54 PM

Watch Obama’s Lovely Tribute to Ellen DeGeneres, Androgynous Gay Ambassador

Today, Ellen DeGeneres represents a kind of hyper-palatable, vanilla gayness that’s more mainstream than subversive. When Barack Obama awarded her one of his last Presidential Medals of Freedom on Tuesday, he reminded viewers that two decades ago, when DeGeneres came out, even rumors of being gay could torpedo an actor’s livelihood.

“What an incredible burden that was to bear, to risk your career like that,” Obama said in his address. “People don’t do that very often. And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders.”

Nov. 23 2016 12:13 PM

Jared Kushner Considers Losing Democratic Friends “Exfoliation.” But What Kind of Exfoliation?

Forbes gave People a run for its money in the race to suck up to the president-elect and his cronies this week. The business biweekly published a long, positive profile of Jared Kushner, real estate scion, owner of the Observer, and husband of Donald Trump’s favored daughter, Ivanka. Kushner’s father donated enormous sums of money to Democratic candidates in the early 2000s, but Kushner has seen fit to abandon his parents’ values and hitch his wagon to the authoritarian movement led by his father-in-law. Asked by Forbes’ Steven Bertoni about the friends who have cut ties with Kushner since he began advising the Trump campaign, Kushner sounded blasé. “I call it an exfoliation,” he replied. “Anyone who was willing to change a friendship or not do business because of who somebody supports in politics is not somebody who has a lot of character.”

Exfoliation is an apt choice of metaphor for Kushner, who was recently described by a journalist as having “an eerily flawless complexion.” Surely someone with such glowing skin knows has ample firsthand knowledge of removing dead surface cells to boost skin’s health and appearance. But Kushner’s metaphor raises more questions than it answers. If losing friends and associates who value equality, tolerance, and inclusion more than social climbing is akin to exfoliation, what kind of exfoliation is it?

Nov. 23 2016 8:36 AM

The Election Has Revealed One Thing Gwyneth Paltrow and Slavoj Žižek Have in Common

A cataclysmic event like this month’s election has a way of dividing everything into “Before” and “After”: The jovial podcast episode that was obviously taped Before, the six-pack in the fridge purchased in the haze of After. Under such gloomy conditions, it’s comforting when something happens to remind us that certain things remain constant, even when the world is crumbling. To be specific, Gwyneth Paltrow has said something annoying.

At a conference over the weekend sponsored by Airbnb, the actress indicated she is feeling giddily optimistic about the presidency of Donald J. Trump. “It’s such an exciting time to be an American because we are at this amazing inflection point,” the Goop founder told the audience. “People are clearly tired of the status quo, and ... it’s sort of like someone threw it all in the air and we’re going to see how it all lands.”

Nov. 22 2016 5:53 PM

Trump Reportedly Assured Vaccine Skeptics at a Donor Event in August That He Will Advance Their Cause



As president-elect Donald Trump carries on with his transition to the White House, our country waits to see which parts of his campaign rhetoric were the swirly-twirly ideas of a callow populist, and which parts were substantial and considered enough to evolve into actual policy.



Among the big ideas many of us hope remain in the first category is Trump’s position on vaccinations. The president-elect has a long history of vaccine misinformation; he first began to express his beliefs that there might be a relationship between vaccines and autism nearly a decade ago—years after this association was scientifically discredited. He’s repeated these ideas over the years, and he never found it necessary to correct or refine his position during the election. As such, he’s left the door open for vaccine skeptics and more extreme anti-vaxxers to see his victory as one of their own.



Nov. 22 2016 2:55 PM

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s TV Show Proves That Snoop Would Be the Better Thanksgiving Guest

Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party is VH1’s glimpse into the unlikely friendship of Martha Stewart, domestic goddess, and Snoop Dogg, rapper and weed enthusiast. Like a nature documentary depicting cross-species animal friendships, the show never misses an opportunity to marvel at the novelty of the bond between two people from such different worlds—hers, a Connecticut preppie’s fantasia of prim dinner parties, DIY projects, and not knowing who Jonathan Cheban is; and his, a hazy cloud of Death Row Records memories and words ending in -izzle. With every new episode (there have now been three), the show seems to ask, surely this can’t last another week? But last it has so far. This week, the show presented the pair with their greatest challenge yet: surviving Thanksgiving.

“If you don’t like the way I make my turkey, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out of Martha Stewart’s house,” Stewart announced toward the beginning of the show, going for sass but sounding slightly out of her depth. Two live turkeys, penned up on the side of the stage, joined Stewart and Snoop in the studio (the two stars gobbled at the poultry awkwardly but gamely), as did actress Naya Rivera, rapper 2 Chainz, and basketball player Chris Bosh, all of whom seem decidedly more comfortable with Snoop but ready to bow at the alter of the all-powerful Stewart. (2 Chainz’s deference to her resulted in a very sweet apology later in the show when he accidentally said a curse word.) For the cooking portion of the episode, she made a perfect roast turkey with 2 Chainz’s help—when Martha was soaking the cheesecloth in butter and wine, Snoop wondered aloud what a T-shirt was doing in the pot—while Snoop and Rivera prepared a baked ham (“with blaze, not glaze”).

If you sometimes have a sneaking suspicion that Martha and Snoop’s endlessly improbable connection is less deep and abiding friendship and more shrewd business alliance, this program will not convince you otherwise. Considering her daytime television show's cancelation in 2012 and her company’s constant downsizing, Stewart’s dominion over lifestyle media has looked precarious in recent years: What’s a domestic guru without her propaganda organs? A gig on VH1 with a hip young hip-hopper (in Stewart’s estimation, anyway) would be just the thing to combat that. Snoop Dogg, meanwhile, is a self-styled entrepreneur who’s always eager to endorse a product, contribute a guest verse, or drop his own line of candles.

Of the two of them, it’s Snoop who does a better job masking that the show’s raison d’etre is likely financial. When Stewart uses a special device to turn large cubes into “ice balls” and “cider balls,” Snoop takes the bait and asks whether one is supposed to put the balls in one’s mouth. “You can try whatever you want” is Stewart’s wan response. When Snoop tries the cider with a frozen cider ball, he exclaims, “It’s strong, Martha!” corny but selling it, in a similar mode as all the odd moments in the show when he busts out a fun little dance move. Martha also proves herself to be a less cordial Thanksgiving host in other ways. During an activity about awkward family moments—everyone picks a paper turkey feather with a “what would you do?” prompt written on it—the question of what one should do if a sibling’s significant other is feeling up your leg under the table comes up. Stewart suggests stabbing the person with a fork, which would have been funny if it wasn’t terrifying.

Snoop is also deft at bringing the show’s guests into the conversation and translating Martha’s habits. When Bosh asked Martha if she was left-handed, Martha snootily replied that she was eating “European-style.” Snoop used the opening to crack that the way he eats, with no utensils at all, must be “Eastside Long Beach–style,” and it was all gravy.

This isn’t to say Snoop is perfect. Asked what he would do if he caught his kid making out with a girlfriend or boyfriend during Thanksgiving dinner, he said he would congratulate a son—“Good lookin’, that was fly”—but punish a daughter’s suitor—“He gettin’ whooped”—proving that smoking all the marijuana in the world won’t make you more progressive on issues of gender equality.

Still, it was Stewart’s lack of good humor and civility that stood out when she and Snoop broke a big wishbone together at the end of the show. When Snoop held up the bone, she insisted he switch sides with her. (You don’t get to where she is without knowing a few tricks, ruthlessness among them, one guesses.) Upon switching, they both pulled, and she of course won the bigger half. No matter, though, as they had both wished for the same thing: more seasons of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. As of Monday, that wish has been granted: VH1 has renewed the show for Season 2. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

Nov. 22 2016 1:41 PM

Ivanka Trump Attempts to Distract Nation From Conflicts of Interest With Banana Bread Tweet

You might think of Ivanka Trump as the villainous mastermind of the Trump campaign, the photogenic face of nepotism and corruption on his transition team, the Cersei Lannister to her father’s Tywin, but you’d be wrong. Ivanka Trump is just another clumsy, fallible working mom, muddling through life as best she can, trying to make treats for her kid’s bake sale but haplessly messing them up! At least, that is the message of her most recent tweet, an expertly crafted appeal to every woman who has navigated the impossible demands of modern motherhood:

Nov. 21 2016 6:16 PM

The People Who Make Ivanka’s Life Run Are As Absent From Her Politics As They Are From Her Instagram


Ivanka’s #WomenWhoWork lifestyle brand is designed to help women whose biggest burden is to navigate abundance. Her website publishes profiles of women who share advice on things like running a business on one’s own terms and tips on how to look “impossibly stylish” while mixing work and family. Oh, and, whaddya know, Ivanka, just so happens to offer a clothing line that she created to help all the busy working women to do just that.



Absent on are women with whom Ivanka is, presumably, incredibly intimate, but whose lives can not be improved by a modest-yet-feminine, $138 sheath.