The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Sept. 22 2016 4:43 PM

Use Gendered Words in Job Descriptions? Expect Way Fewer Applicants.

Whether or not words like aggressive and support conjure explicitly gendered images in a job applicant’s mind, studies have shown that women are turned off by job descriptions that skew toward masculine stereotypes. New research from ZipRecruiter, a job listings site, indicates that using traditionally gendered words in job postings can cost employers a wide swath of potential applicants who feel unqualified for the gig or uninspired by the description.

Sept. 22 2016 4:38 PM

Donald Trump Needs to Smile More

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has received plenty of advice during the course of her campaign, including plenty of commands to smile more often. Joe Scarborough tweeted the imperative “Smile. You just had a big night” at Hillary during the primaries. Atlantic editor Steve Clemons repeatedthe suggestion when she accepted the nomination. RNC head Reince Priebus criticized Hillary for having “no smile” during this month’s military forum aboard the Intrepid. And this week, the Democratic former governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell added his voice to the mix:

Sept. 22 2016 12:35 PM

Arizona Prosecutor Promises Not to Persecute Innocent Parents Like His Predecessor Did

Last week, the Arizona Supreme Court handed down an alarming 3-2 decision interpreting a state statute to criminalize the intentional touching of a child’s genitals—even for non-sexual purposes, like bathing infants or changing their diaper. Slate, along with myriad other outlets, covered the ruling by pointing out what the chief justice explained in dissent: “Parents and other caregivers” in the state are now considered to be “child molesters or sex abusers under Arizona law.”

The decision provoked a public outcry, largely because it gave prosecutors immense discretion to dangle charges of child abuse before any parent and presented grave constitutional concerns. But on Tuesday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery decided to clear the record. Or, rather, he decided to have his communications director, Amanda Jacinto, email the journalists who wrote about the case, insisting that their coverage was inaccurate and needed to be altered. “The story was misleading in its presentation to readers,” Jacinto informed to Slate’s corrections department. “I am writing to ask … that a correction be made to the story.”

Sept. 22 2016 11:53 AM

Welp, the Jolie-Pitt Divorce Got Real Depressing Real Fast

When news broke Tuesday that Angelina Jolie had filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, America gasped in schadenfreudian shock. A divorce involving young children is no one’s definition of good news, of course. But when the other headlines are as grim as this year’s are, the sudden breakup of two gorgeous superstars counts as a refreshing palate cleanser. It’s an excuse to talk about sex and pot and parenting, instead of racism and xenophobia and fascism. We deserved this. We needed this.

Well, after a mere two days of Aniston gifs and #brangelexit jokes, this amuse bouche is now turning less amusing. This morning, TMZ reported that Pitt is being investigated for child abuse by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. TMZ also reported that the LAPD was looking into the allegations, but the police department tells US Weekly that “there are no active investigations regarding Brad Pitt.”

The incident in question occurred last week when, TMZ claims, Pitt “got wasted” on a private jet. So far, so good! What is more satisfying than hearing that a millionaire has thrown a drunken tantrum on his own personal airplane? Unfortunately, as today’s account has it, Jolie and at least some of the couple’s children were also on the plane and “he allegedly went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids.” After the plane landed, Pitt continued to “rant” on the tarmac, and apparently attempted to leave the scene in a fuel truck parked nearby. An anonymous source tells People that someone on the tarmac anonymously reported the incident. A formal DCFS investigation is standard practice when reports like this are made to authorities.

TMZ says that both Jolie and Pitt have already been interviewed by the DCFS.  A Pitt source has been telling various news outlets today, “He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children," and that “it's unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light.” Although 

Patience and skepticism are warranted here, and not just because of the conflicting early reports on the details of the investigation. We don’t know what really happened on the plane; we don’t know who reported it, and what their motives might have been. This is not just a high-dollar divorce, it’s a high-stakes P.R. war. And it’s one that seems destined to get uglier.

While responsible gossip consumers wait patiently for clarity that may never come, a question: Must all of America’s best scandals eventually turn dark? Johnny Depp’s abrupt divorce last spring seemed like perfect tabloid fodder, and then it quickly spiraled into allegations of ongoing violence and abuse. Just yesterday, former congressman Anthony Weiner’s years-long sexting scandal turned from story that had previously featured a bunch of consenting adults bantering painfully online into a story about a 52-year-old man (allegedly) texting a 15-year-old about rape fantasies. At least we had a few years to enjoy “Carlos Danger” together as a nation. We’ve had mere days to experience the Brangelina split as a guilty pleasure. Celebrities, we’re begging you: Keep your scandals shocking but not depressing. Now more than ever, your country needs you.

Sept. 22 2016 9:03 AM

We Can Normalize Miscarriages Without Calling Women Who Have Had Them “Survivors”

Ashley Williams, an actress who stars on The Jim Gaffigan Show, really wants to tell you about her miscarriage. In a recently published essay, she recounts her experience of pregnancy loss, including the gush of warm blood that ran down her thigh at Whole Foods as well as her shock at her previous ignorance of how common such a loss is. Ultimately, her sadness and frustration over her own miscarriage is eclipsed by the sadness and frustration she feels over how rarely women talk about their miscarriages. “If 25 percent of my peers are currently experiencing miscarriages right alongside me, why wasn’t I prepared? Why don’t we talk about it? Why was I feeling embarrassed, broken, like a walking wound?” she writes.


These were questions I asked myself after miscarrying an 8-week-old embryo last spring. I was aware of how common miscarriage was, but had heard little about what it would actually feel like. As such, I was not prepared for two weeks of bleeding, nor did I anticipate going into labor and giving birth to two softball-sized blood clots halfway through. Knowing this was possible beforehand would not have relieved the immediate discomfort, but it would have helped prevent much of the debilitating shock I felt for the following weeks.


So yes, stories like Williams’ are exactly what we need more of in order for women to understand that miscarriages are really upsetting, bloody things that happen all the time. At first, I was thrilled to see someone with a wide reach attempting to, in her words, “normalize miscarriage.” And I maintained this enthusiasm throughout nearly the entire essay, until I neared the end and came upon this phrase: “I’m a survivor. Healed, I will try again.”

Sept. 21 2016 10:38 PM

Marion Cotillard Weighs in On #BRANGELEXIT Via Amazing Instagram Post

This blog post is (probably) going to be Slate’s first and only reaction to an amazing document that Marion Cotillard recently released online. As you may know, the French actress has been in the news for some reason—probably because she has a movie coming out, and surely not because salacious gossip tied her to the impending divorce of her co-star.

By way of response to those rumors, Cotillard posted a photograph to Instagram that shows… actually, we’re not sure what it shows. Maybe the seagull represents our innocence and freedom unsullied by the slings, arrows, and watercolor Rorschach blots of tabloid culture?

This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into. I am not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up. Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need. Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn't distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love Marion Ceci sera la première et seule réaction que j'aurai concernant la déferlante inouïe qui à commencé il y a de ça 24 heures et à laquelle je suis mêlée malgré moi. Je n'ai pas pour habitude de commenter ni de prendre au sérieux le tas d'absurdités déversées à mon sujet mais la situation prenant une telle tournure et affectant des gens que j'aime, je me dois de m'exprimer. Pour commencer, j'ai rencontré il y a quelques années l'homme de ma vie , le père de notre fils et du bébé que nous attendons aujourd'hui. Il est mon amour, mon meilleur ami et le seul homme dont j'ai besoin. Ensuite, à ceux qui me prétendent dévastée, je vais très bien merci. Ce genre d'inventions aberrantes ne m'affectent en aucun cas. Et pour finir, à la "presse", à tous les haters, trolls et consorts qui ont le jugement si rapide je vous souhaite sincèrement... un prompt rétablissement. Ceci dit et un peu plus sérieusement, je souhaite à Angelina et Brad, deux personnes pour qui j'ai un profond respect, de trouver la paix dans ce moment tumultueux. Avec tout mon amour. Marion

A photo posted by @marioncotillard on

In any case, what really matters here is the lengthy text that runs beside the image in both French and English. If you’re used to Instagram captions describing people’s meals or whatever, put your reading glasses on, because this one’s a doozy. We reproduce it here in full:

This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into.

I am not used to commenting on things like this nor taking them seriously but as this situation is spiraling and affecting people I love, I have to speak up.

Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.

Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn’t distressing.

And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery.

Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment.

With all my love

There’s a lot to admire here, not least of which is the sometimes eccentric actress' clarity and seeming calm. Celebrity gossip may well be our only true international sport, but Cotillard’s nod to how stories like this one affect others is a further inducement to focus on the celebrity couples we still have (including Cotillard and her own partner, Guillaume Canet, with whom she is expecting a second child).

Cotillard’s decision to convey her message through Instagram might seem a little peculiar, but in a statement in which you’re declaring that members of the media (as well as “the haters”) are literally ill, maybe non-traditional channels are the best. (Or maybe she was just trolling publications that inexplicably weighed in on whether or not she’d comment through social media.)

Ultimately, we’re just glad that Cotillard spoke up, and we want to state for the record that we echo January Jones’ response to the post:

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.00.33 PM


With all our love,


Sept. 21 2016 6:23 PM

Lethal Weapon Is the Schmaltziest, Most Emotionally Satisfying Show of the New TV Season

It’s fall, season of mists, mellow fruitfulness, and new TV shows. Around this time of year, the networks try to convince those elusive creatures—adults 18 to 49 who watch television within a few days of original airing on a device that isn’t their computer or smartphone—to commit to watching 20+ episodes of a brand new program. As if that weren’t challenge enough, television, like razors and deodorants, is gendered. The networks, which need to draw millions of young eyeballs to commercials, have had some success attracting female viewers with soapy dramas like Fox’s Empire and ABC’s Thursday night ShondaLand lineup. But young men, who don’t seem to watch much of anything other than sports and action movies, are the networks’ unicorns. (NCIS is a ratings monster, but its old-skewing audience isn’t the one the networks are hot for.)

One way the networks have tried to woo male viewers is with small-screen reboots of action and thriller franchises. Rush Hour was a dud for CBS this summer, but in the coming weeks and months we’ll see The Exorcist (Fox), Westworld (HBO), Training Day (CBS)—and MacGyver (CBS), a reboot of a 1980s TV show. Maybe these third-generation-photocopy shows will draw male eyeballs, but they don’t seem to hold much appeal to women.

Sept. 21 2016 4:28 PM

Everything You Need to Know About Angelina Jolie’s Divorce Lawyer, Laura Wasser

Most celeb watchers were caught off guard by Tuesday’s revelation that Angelina Jolie had filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, but there’s one aspect of the case that surprised no one: Jolie hired Laura Wasser, Hollywood’s most famous divorce lawyer, to represent her. Wasser exists on the fringes of Hollywood as someone who is not quite a household name but who, thanks to her celebrity-adjacent status, has attracted plenty of press attention over the years. Born in Los Angeles to two lawyer parents, she was given a name laden with career pressure. “I was actually conceived the night that my dad found out that he passed the bar exam, so they decided that my initials would be L.A.W.—Laura Allison Wasser,” she explained in Interview magazine in 2012. She got her B.A. from Berkeley and her J.D. from Loyola, and she joined her father’s firm, Wasser, Cooperman & Mandles, in 1995. She’s worked there ever since.

Sept. 21 2016 3:14 PM

A Federal Court Ruled That Companies Can Fire People Just for Having Dreadlocks

In a decision that delimits the concept of race to physical characteristics that are “immutable,” a federal appeals court ruled last week that firing an employee for wearing her hair in dreadlocks is not racial discrimination.

The case centers on Chastity Jones, a black woman who accepted a job at a Mobile, Alabama, insurance claims processing company in 2010. The company, Catastrophe Management Solutions, required its employees to project “a professional and businesslike image”; Jones claims a white human resources employee told her that she’d need to get rid of her dreadlocks because they “tend to get messy.” When Jones refused to modify her hairstyle, the company rescinded her offer of employment.

Last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Jones’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit from 2013. The EEOC’s initial claim contended that Catastrophe’s actions, and all policies forbidding dreadlocks, are racially discriminatory because “dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.” Essentially, the EEOC was arguing for a theory of race as a social construct, rather than some kind of biological classification with easily definable bounds. Race “has no biological definition,” the claim read, and besides that, “hairstyle can be a determinant of racial identity.”

The Alabama appeals court disagreed, voting 3–0 to dismiss the suit. “We recognize that the distinction between immutable and mutable characteristics of race can sometimes be a fine (and difficult) one, but it is a line that courts have drawn,” Judge Adalberto Jordan wrote in the decision. “So, for example, discrimination on the basis of black hair texture (an immutable characteristic) is prohibited by Title VII, while adverse action on the basis of black hairstyle (a mutable choice) is not.”

This decision is one setback among a series of recent victories among black women fighting to wear their hair in traditionally black hairstyles at work. Last year, a black Baltimore woman fired from Hooters for having blond streaks in her hair (it was “unnatural,” managers claimed) won $250,000 in a discrimination suit. In 2014, at the urging of female members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the U.S. military changed hairstyle regulations that forbade women from wearing the kinds of cornrows, dreadlocks, twists, and double ponytails that black troops might use to keep their hair out of their faces. The recommended styles, advocates argued, were difficult to manage for black women with natural hair. The Pentagon eventually agreed.

That’s one reason why last week’s appeals court decision is so wrongheaded. Dreadlocks don’t just have a long, deep history within black culture—they’re also directly connected to black hair texture. But focusing on physical traits while ignoring cultural signifiers of race is to misunderstand the entire construct. Nothing is permanent or absolute in race. Even the traits the court describes as “immutable” can be changed: Skin can be lightened; hair can be straightened. Theories of race as a clear-cut system of binary physical attributes have led to such dehumanizing classification measures as the paper bag test and the pencil test. Racial categories have always been subjective and culturally informed. “Professional,” “businesslike,” and “neat” are subjective, too. It’s no coincidence that traditional black hairstyles so often fall on the adverse side of those terms’ interpreted meanings. It’s discrimination.

Sept. 21 2016 12:39 PM

Jim Carrey Gets Sued for His Ex-Girlfriend’s Suicide, Calls It a “Heartless” Profit Grab

One year after Jim Carrey’s girlfriend died of an intentional prescription drug overdose, her estranged husband is suing the actor for allegedly getting her the drugs under a fake name.

The wrongful death suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday by Mark Burton of Portland, Oregon, alleges that Carrey acted with “reckless disregard of causing serious harm and injury” to Cathriona White, a 30-year-old makeup artist and hairstylist from Ireland whom Carrey had reportedly been dating off and on for about three years. This summer, new details about White’s September 2015 suicide emerged with her autopsy report, including a note addressed to Carrey, with whom she’d split just before her death.