The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Nov. 17 2016 6:04 PM

God Bless Hillary Clinton for Not Wearing Makeup During Her Children’s Defense Fund Speech

The presidential candidate who won the 2016 popular vote gave an impassioned speech to supporters of the Children’s Defense Fund on Wednesday night, emphasizing the importance of tolerance, anti-poverty efforts, and civic engagement. “I believe the measure of any society is how we treat our children, and as we move forward into a new and in many ways uncertain future, that must be the test for America and ourselves,” Hillary Clinton said in her first public appearance since her graceful concession speech last week.

If you get your news from the Daily Mail’s Femail (get it?) section, you wouldn’t know anything about the content of Clinton’s speech. All you would know is that she looked old AF while giving it. “Mrs. Clinton appears to have dropped her ‘soft’ and polished aesthetic in favour of a sterner look,” reads a subhead on the British site’s 2,500-word article about Clinton’s appearance during the Children’s Defense Fund speech. At a speed of three words-per-second, it would take you more than 13 minutes to read every word of this Daily Mailarticle. For scale, Clinton’s speech lasted 20 minutes.

Nov. 17 2016 4:12 PM

The Now-Scuttled Peach Emoji Actually Looked More Like a Butt Than the Original. Sad!

Apple caused a minor dust-up earlier this month when it revealed a modified peach emoji with the iOS 10.2 update. The old peach icon—a flat, pinkish heart with a hint of a wrinkle in the middle—was easy shorthand for “butt.” The modified peach, many users complained, was too detailed and peach-like to serve the same purpose. Coy emails about butts got fruitier. Internet people said Apple had “ruined sexting.”

Nov. 17 2016 1:13 PM

Tennessee Woman Charged With Three Felonies for Coat-Hanger Abortion

A Tennessee woman has been charged with three felonies for attempting to induce an abortion at 24 weeks of pregnancy. Since December 2015, 32-year-old Anna Yocca has sat in jail, after being arrested for using a coat hanger to try to terminate her pregnancy in September 2015. Her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital when she started experiencing severe blood loss. There, she delivered a live premature baby. He was adopted by another family and, the prosecution says, may never fully recover from the injuries he sustained in the womb.

Yocca was originally charged with attempted murder; that charge was reduced to aggravated assault in February. Now, prosecutors have succeeded in raising the stakes to three felony charges: aggravated assault with a weapon, attempted procurement of a miscarriage, and attempted criminal abortion. She will stand trial on November 28.

Nov. 17 2016 12:58 PM

There’s a New Twist in the Ongoing Legal Battle Over Sofia Vergara’s Frozen Embryos

If Modern Family ever does a gritty hourlong reboot on HBO, the years-long battle between one of the show’s stars and her ex over a pair of frozen embryos would make a good storyline. Sofia Vergara and her then-fiancé Nick Loeb attempted in vitro fertilization twice in 2013. Both attempts failed, and two embryos remain frozen in a California clinic. Though the couple broke up soon afterward—and had signed a form saying the embryos would be brought to term only with both parties’ consent—Loeb has been fighting ever since to be allowed to implant them in a surrogate. “A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed last year. “Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?”

It’s a bizarre case, but it won’t be the last of its kind. Most states don’t have laws regulating the custody of frozen embryos, and many experts say the court system has not caught up to the science. In the meantime, there are hundreds of thousands of embryos sitting in ice in labs and clinics across the United States. The vast majority will never be implanted. But as Slate’s Christina Cauterucci reported earlier this year, the fate of embryos produced by now-estranged couples is of increasing focus to anti-abortion activists who see them as a sympathetic and morally pure cause. (Since embryos are fertilized eggs, some view them as “pre-born children.”) An organization called Embryo Defense has taken a particular interest in the Vergara-Loeb case. At a movie premiere in 2015, the actress was confronted by protesters who chanted “Unfreeze your daughters, unfreeze your heart” and carried banners with slogans like “Embryonic Lives Matter.”

Nov. 17 2016 9:24 AM

I Cannot Believe We’re Still Explaining the Benefits of Birth Control in 2016

When Donald Trump became President-elect a week ago, America seemed doomed to experience an uptick in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. The vice president-elect, Mike Pence, is famous for putting a hit out on Roe v. Wade, and Trump himself is a-OK with leaving the legality of abortion to the states, hanging women, particularly poor women, out to dry. Meanwhile, women across the country are asking their doctors about long-acting birth control methods in the event that their contraceptive access is reduced or eliminated altogether when the new administration carries out its promise to repeal Obamacare.

In the face of these legitimate fears, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy started a hashtag, #ThxBirthControl, to get women to share why controlling their reproductive health is important to them.

Nov. 16 2016 5:21 PM

The Trumps Love Using Press Appearances to Sell Their Own Products

America’s first family–to-be is already trying to use its political power to make a bunch of money. Two months before Donald Trump and his capable team of smart, probably-not-literally-Nazi advisers take the White House, their nascent kleptocracy is hawking diamond bracelets on news programs.

The day after Ivanka Trump appeared on a 60 Minutes episode about her father’s election, a vice president of her jewelry company sent journalists an email about the bracelet Ivanka had worn on the show. “Please find attached a style alert of Ivanka wearing her favorite bangle from the Metropolis Collection on 60 Minutes,” she wrote. “Please share this with your clients.”

Nov. 16 2016 2:35 PM

Tinder Now Lets Users Pick Whatever Gender Labels They Want

In a move to make its service friendly to transgender and nonbinary users, Tinder has modified its platform so that users can identify their own genders instead of choosing between a male and female option.

Previously, trans or gender nonbinary people who wanted to use Tinder had to pick a gender category that might not have fit their identity, then explain their real deal in the limited profile space Tinder allows. Tinder CEO Sean Rad told the New York Times that trans people reported persistent harassment from other Tinder users. Some trans users reported abuse from people they’d matched with, once their matches found out they were trans; others were the targets of abuse reports from users who claimed trans people on the app were lying about their identities to manipulate potential dates. Once those trans users got reported a certain number of times, they’d get blocked from the platform.

Nov. 16 2016 2:16 PM

Private School Parents Are Keeping Austin Weird—and Unsafe—by Not Vaccinating Their Kids

Cool free-thinkers in Texas are doing their part to “keep Austin weird” by promoting conditions that could lead to deadly outbreaks of funky retro diseases. As Kaiser Health News reports, public health officials in Texas are increasingly concerned about growing clusters of unvaccinated children in the state. There are several such clusters in the state capital, where vaccine exemption rates in some areas top 20 percent. At the Austin Waldorf School, tuition is more than $13,000 a year and more than 40 percent of the students are not fully vaccinated.

To prevent outbreaks of diseases like measles, the threshold for “herd immunity” is a 95 percent vaccination rate. The statewide rate in Texas remains high, at a comfortable 98 percent. But Kaiser reports that public health officials are worried about pockets where the rates are much, much lower. The problem is worst in wealthy, highly educated communities. In Austin, for example, the exemption rate in public schools is 2 percent, but at many private schools it’s more than 20 percent. At one private school in East Texas, almost 38 percent of the students are unvaccinated.

Nov. 16 2016 11:13 AM

Is It OK to Be This Annoyed About Older Men Who Date Much Younger Women?

How’s this for kismet: One fateful day in 1966, singer Tony Bennett met and took a photo with a couple after one of his shows. Little did Bennett know at the time, his future wife was there, too: She was the baby growing inside the belly of the female fan.

Bennett, 90, recounts this meet-ick between him and his third wife, Susan Benedetto, 50, in his new book, as the all-seeing, no-casting-shade-here eye of People magazine recently reported. It’s hard to be rational about how skin-crawly this is: Fine, maybe they love each other, but he was 40 and she was negative several weeks when they met. It’s the punchline to a Saturday Night Live skit come to life, as the Cut was quick to note; it’s Twilight’s Jacob imprinting on Bella’s vampire baby; it’s that guy on Game of Thrones who marries his daughters. It captures everything that’s wrong with our sexist, youth-worshipping, male-privilege-run-amok society.

Nov. 16 2016 9:47 AM

Working at a Top Company Is No Guarantee That You Will Get Paid Family Leave

The oft-ballyhooed paid leave arms race taking place among technology companies is a sign of progress—and a distraction. The vast majority of Americans still contend with unforgiving, or non-existent, leave policies, including those who work for some of our country’s biggest companies.

For a new report, the paid-leave advocacy organization PL+US inquired into the paid leave policies of the 60 largest employers in the United States and found that the majority of them either offer no policy or refused to answer questions about their policies. Of the 27 companies whose policies they could confirm, Amazon, Bank of America, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young have the most expansive policies, and give mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, 16 or more weeks of fully paid parental leave. Others at the top include Citigroup, General Electric, and Procter & Gamble, all of which offer 16 to 18 weeks for birth mothers, 4 to 12 weeks for birth fathers, and 4 to 16 weeks for adoptive parents.