The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Oct. 26 2016 7:02 PM

BYU Says It Will No Longer Punish Rape Victims for Violating the School’s Honor Code

Brigham Young University will no longer punish sexual assault victims for violating the school’s stringent honor code, the university’s president announced today. The Mormon university was the target of nationwide criticism earlier this year when a number of rape survivors came forward with stories of being investigated by BYU’s Honor Code Office after they had reported their rapes to the school’s Title IX office. BYU convened an advisory council of professors and administrators to review its sexual assault policies and practices, and on Wednesday the school released the council’s report. BYU’s president, Kevin J. Worthen, promised to implement all 23 of the report’s recommendations, which include not only amnesty for sexual assault victims but also an expansion of BYU’s Title IX office, the creation of a victim advocate position, and enhanced training for administrators who investigate sexual assaults.

Oct. 26 2016 4:52 PM

Donald Trump Seems Jealous That Hillary Clinton Got to See Adele In Concert

British superstar Adele is at the center of the rigged system that’s conspiring to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, the candidate implied on Wednesday.

While Trump was posing for photos at his Miami resort on Tuesday and traveling to Washington, D.C. for the ceremonial opening of his gaudy new hotel, Hillary Clinton celebrated her 69th birthday at an Adele concert, landing the singer’s coveted endorsement in a personal shout-out from the stage. It’s not right, Trump told George Stephanopoulos in an ABC News interview on Wednesday, that Clinton was allowed to have a fun night on the town while he caught flak for using campaign press to promote his own businesses.

Oct. 26 2016 2:13 PM

Moms Have Way More Influence Over Their Children’s Religious Lives Than Dads

Religion, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, “reigns supreme in the souls of women, and it is women who shape mores.” Just over 180 years later, the observant Frenchman is getting some backup from the world of social science. The Pew Research Center released a new study on religion and family life on Wednesday, and one major conclusion is that women have a significantly greater influence over their children’s religious lives than men do.

In a way, this is not earth-shattering news. For one, women tend to be more responsible for childcare in general than men. And there is plenty of previous research that shows women are more religious than men, too (in case you didn’t believe Tocqueville on that, either). As Pew summarized earlier this year, American women are significantly likelier than men to say religion is “very important” in their lives, to say they pray daily, and to attend religious services at least weekly. The gap holds true all around the world, and, with a few minor variations in specific measurements of religious commitment, in every leading religion. In the new study, 83 percent of those with one religious parent and one unaffiliated parent said their mother was the religious one.

Oct. 26 2016 12:43 PM

Hillary Clinton Celebrates Her Birthday at an Adele Show, Gets the Coveted Adele Endorsement

Hillary Clinton turns 69 today, and like any grandmother who likes to kick back with some smooth tunes and a good cry, she spent her last hours of 68 listening to Adele.

Clinton celebrated her big day a few hours early at Adele’s concert in Miami Tuesday night, where the singer beseeched the crowd, “Don’t vote for him.”

As a Brit, Adele abides the polite custom of referring to unsavory characters in euphemistic pronouns like “you-know-who” and “him.” At Tuesday’s show, her target was clear: If she’s not pro-him, she must be #withher. “I am English, but what happens in America affects me too,” she said. “I am 100 percent for Hillary Clinton. I love her, she’s amazing.”

Oct. 26 2016 9:59 AM

New Parents Want to Be Great Employees, but Suspect Their Colleagues Think Otherwise

Potential parents often consider a variety of factors before having children. Do they feel financially secure? Will they have any support from friends and family? Is their current living situation hospitable to the mobile and judgment-free? Do they have a deep yearning for a plump, sweet-smelling tiny person? Are they sick of spending $15 on muddled and infused specialty cocktails and looking for a way out? And, in our near-dystopian family unfriendly society, what would their employer think about it?

According to the Bright Horizons Modern Family Index, a new survey commissioned by the child care company Bright Horizons, “nearly 70 percent of expectant women and new parents say their employer tops the list of considerations when deciding to start a family.” That’s a lot of people seeking explicit or implicit approval from their bosses for what is an exceedingly normal, and existentially necessary, personal decision. In a just world, the culture of individual workplaces would play no more of a role in our choice to have children than it would in our choice to marry, adopt a Labradoodle, or take up long-distance running. We don’t live in a just world.

Oct. 25 2016 5:38 PM

The New York Giants Cut Admitted Abuser Josh Brown Because They Had To

The New York Giants have cut kicker Josh Brown from the team nearly a week after the National Football League reopened an investigation into his admitted history of domestic abuse.

Last week, after police released a series of damning documents from an alleged May 2015 assault against his then-wife, the NFL placed Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list, a kind of paid leave from the team. After Brown’s 2015 arrest, charges against him were dropped, and the NFL suspended him for a single game.

The league now claims it didn’t know the extent of Brown’s abuse until the release of last week’s documents: letters, journal entries, police reports, and emails that contain admissions of repeated attacks and Brown describing his delusion that his wife was his “slave.” That’s why NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reduced Brown’s boilerplate six-game suspension to a single day off. On Tuesday, Giants President John Mara said in a statement that team officials “believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” but “our beliefs, our judgments, and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility.”

Oct. 25 2016 4:00 PM

Young People Are Closing the Alcoholic Gender Gap

Younger generations are closing the gender gap in drinking habits, according to a new meta-analysis of data from 68 studies. The authors of the study, which published this week in the British Medical Journal, assembled drinking statistics from 1948 to 2014 and calculated the male-to-female ratios of alcohol consumption, excess alcohol use, and alcohol-related harm. Men born in the early 20th century were more than twice as likely as women to drink and three times as likely to “drink alcohol in ways suggestive of problematic use”; those born in the late 20th century are just 1.1 times as likely to drink at all and 1.2 times as likely to overdo it.

Oct. 25 2016 3:52 PM

Now That Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx Have Reportedly Broken Up, a Theory About Who She Will Date Next

Though they never actually confirmed that they were together, Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx have reportedly broken up. And because Katie Holmes only gets romantically involved with people who starred in the movie Collateral, it seems very clear exactly who the next person Holmes dates will be. Let me explain.

Holmes and Foxx always seemed like a strange pairing, and not just because they dated for three years while refusing to publicly acknowledge it. The relationship followed Holmes’ marriage to Tom Cruise, one of the most publicized and speculated about unions of the ’00s. When they first got married, it looked like Cruise and Holmes might be the next great A-list couple, a fixture on red carpets for years to come. But due to some combination of couch-jumping (or perception of couch-jumping), Scientology skepticism, and stalled careers, things did not go as planned. When the marriage ended, Holmes likely knew the next person she dated would make a big statement, and she had to choose carefully.

Oct. 25 2016 12:51 PM

Samantha Bee Schools Donald Trump on the Finer Points of Abortion Policy

Samantha Bee didn’t have to do much to make Donald Trump sound like a cruel ignoramus on Monday’s episode of Full Frontal. His remarks on abortion at last week’s presidential debate were so clueless and primitive, he all but wrote the jokes himself.

Oct. 25 2016 9:30 AM

Women Fight for Their Right to Wear Yoga Pants

A photo posted by Susan Walker (@foundbysusan) on

Over the past 20-odd years, women’s lives have improved in countless ways. We’ve elected more female politicians and world leaders than ever before. We’ve seen our wages rise steadily. And by God, we got yoga pants.

I sometimes wonder why we don’t throw yoga pants parades every day, to celebrate the miraculous stretchy garment that freed women once and for all from the constant struggle of having to choose between comfort (aka thoroughly unpresentable sweatpants) and style. If your ancestors who squeezed into corsets could see you now!


But no, it turns out it took someone threatening women’s right to wear yoga pants for the spandex throngs to come out in full force, prompting the world’s very first recorded yoga pants parade this weekend in Rhode Island.

This all started last week, when a man wrote in to the state’s Barrington Times to complain about women wearing yoga pants. “[T]here is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public,” Alan Sorrentino wrote, especially for those “coping poorly with their weight or advancing age.” As a cultural observer, Sorrentino is late to the party, calling the “recent development” of yoga pants outside yoga studios “[t]he absolute worst thing to ever happen in women fashion” [sic]. Uh, Alan, this isn’t exactly a recent development—“athleisure” has been around for several years, and in case you haven’t heard, yoga pants and adult coloring books are pretty much propping up the American economy at this point. Sorrentino claims to have seen these infernal things worn at “weddings, funerals, shopping, and even for the workplace,” a statement whose accuracy I question just because there is little chance this rule-crazy, pants-banning man has ever attended an invitation-only social function.

Sorrentino did not state whether he had any objection to bloomers, the 19th-century trousers women wore in order to participate in the then-nascent bicycling craze. But I wouldn’t put it past him. Because Sorrentino’s issue was purely visual: Yoga pants do not look good on women over 20 years old, and Sorrentino believes he should not have to look at anything that doesn’t please his discerning senses. Seems to me that it would be equally logical to ask Sorrentino to look away, start wearing a paper bag on his head, or otherwise avert his eyes, but in his letter he suggests that women “grow up and stop wearing them in public.”

The letter was received poorly among the yoga pants–loving population of Barrington, the most ambitious of whom decided to organize a demonstration of yoga pants wearing right past Sorrentino’s house, to speak out against “[m]isogyny and the history of men policing women’s bodies.” Yes, yoga pants are awesome, but this is also about more than yoga pants. (In response, Sorrentino apparently hung a banner that read “free speech” outside.) Around 400 people participated in Sunday’s protest, many of them wearing leggings, thus bringing together the technically separate categories of yoga pants wearers and leggings wearers under the inclusive banner of comfy-pants solidarity.

I feel a little bad for Sorrentino, who admitted in his letter that he “struggle[s] with my own physicality as I age.” If only there was a garment out there that made him feel both fashionable and endlessly comfortable that he wouldn’t feel weird about wearing. Maybe that was part of the real problem here—the choice to wear yoga pants is one of the few freedoms women have that men don’t. And thankfully, it’s a freedom that can be exercised whether you’re breaking a sweat or engaging in a peaceful protest past some hater’s house.