Swimming to New Shores
When Yusra Mardini fled Syria last year, she had no idea that the journey would take her to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 18-year-old athlete left with her sister to take a small and overcrowded boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. When the boat began to sink, Mardini and her sister jumped into the water to push the boat to shore. From there the sisters traveled on a long journey to get to Germany, where Yusra soon became part of the Refugee Team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Mardini is one of only ten athletes on the Olympic Refugee Team, but she will not be discouraged from participating in the games. Along with her teammates, Mardini is a hope and inspiration for refugees everywhere—and we can’t wait to cheer her on at the upcoming games. —Grace Cooper
Donald Trump's Sexism Strikes Again
When Donald Trump was asked in an interview this week what he would advise his daughter to do if she experienced sexual harassment at work, women everywhere were less than thrilled with his response. Trump suggested that Ivanka would find another company or even another career if necessary. Let's just say the comment sparked some interesting conversation about workplace sexism. Because, the truth is, it’s all too common for women to do exactly what Trump has suggested.
The EEOC handles thousands of workplace harassment cases a year, but those are only from women who actually file charges. Many women choose to leave their jobs or just grin and bear it because they don’t have the luxury of being able to find another career—and leaving doesn’t ensure that you won’t encounter sexual harassment elsewhere. When Ivanka finally spoke up about the whole situation, she said exactly that—that sexual harassment needs to be dealt with in ways that don't continue to sacrifice women and their ambitions. —GC
Kesha Changes Course in Legal Battle
This week, Kesha’s legal team announced she had dropped charges against Dr. Luke in California but is still pursuing a lawsuit against her producer in New York. Since Kesha filed a suit against Dr. Luke for alleged sexual, emotional, and physical abuse in 2014, the two have been involved in a messy legal battle, with Dr. Luke also suing Kesha for defamation. It may sound like Kesha is giving up, but the California suit had been stalled since May, and as the “Tik Tok” singer posted on Twitter, she wants to get back to releasing music: “My fight continues. I need to get my music out.” While Kesha may not have to work directly with Dr. Luke on her music, she will still be releasing songs with Sony, and her producer is still profiting from her success.
In April, Kesha revealed that Sony offered to release her from her contract if she said she had never been assaulted, but she stood her ground. All too often, victims of sexual assault feel like they have no choice but to silently carry on, so it was inspiring to see Kesha take the brave step and say something about what she’d gone through. Obviously she’s tired of putting her career on hold for the sluggish legal system, but that doesn’t mean she’s given up the fight. —Madeline Fry
JoJo and Jordan Sitting in a Tree
So, the latest season of The Bachelorette is over (insert sigh of relief here), and we definitely learned some lessons—although some of them may have been more common sense than was necessary. We’ll save you the gory details and stick to the main takeaways our relationships editor Monica Gabriel Marshall got from this season’s finale.
This week our bachelorette JoJo gave out her last rose (which was actually more like receiving a ring than giving a rose) to a less-than-ideal bachelor: Jordan.
After meeting the family and the whole he-didn’t-ask-for-my-father’s-blessing debacle, JoJo decided to go for the guy she couldn’t spend her life without—not so much out of love as because of a debilitating case of FOMO. The moral of the story is that true love isn’t about picking the lesser of two losers, it’s about loving someone for who they are. —GC
Muslims Pray With Catholics Following Last Week’s Attacks
Following the tragic events last week in France, many Muslims attended Mass in Rouen where Father Jacques Hamel was slain. There were more than a hundred Muslims in the group of two thousand who came to the cathedral on Sunday to grieve in solidarity. It wasn’t just there that the Muslim community came to show their support—Muslims were in attendance at many Catholic Masses all over the country on Sunday, including Nice where the Bastille Day attack took place that claimed eighty-four lives.
France has the largest population of Muslims in Europe, totaling five million, making it even more essential for the country to unite in this time of need. The Archbishop of Rouen thanked the Muslim community for showing its support, saying, “In this way you are affirming that you reject death and violence in the name of God.” —GC
Way to Go, Interns!
Three interns at BBH, a creative agency based in New York, London, and Los Angeles, have started the campaign #itsajobnotagender to get more female CEOs in the Google Image search results. Currently if you search “CEO” on Google Images, only a few of the results will be female—including a stock photo and a picture of CEO Barbie. The interns have created the campaign to bring awareness to the sexist search results but also to improve them. By going to MoreWomenCEOs.com and sharing the image, social media users can actually help bring more women into the CEO Google Images. —GC
The White House Has a New First
A deaf receptionist is now on staff at The White House—and it’s pretty great. Leah Katz-Hernandez is a receptionist and the first smile guests see when they enter the West Wing. Katz-Hernandez worked as an intern for the Obama campaign in 2012 and says she is loving her job as receptionist of the United States (or ROTUS, if you will). Here you can watch her give a tour of the White House. —GC
No, Doctor, I Haven’t Been Flossing (and That’s OK)
According to the Associated Press, everything your dentist ever told you about flossing is a lie. OK, not everything, but apparently the evidence that flossing actually prevents cavities and disease is slim to none. The AP asked the government for research on flossing benefits last year, and when Uncle Sam’s findings came up short, it investigated two dozen studies on the benefits of flossing and found their evidence weak as well. Looks like you can toss that pile of free floss from the dentist’s office that’s collecting dust under your sink. Or, keep flossing anyway because its benefits haven’t been disproven. Either way, next time the doctor asks if you’ve been flossing, you won't have to feel bad if your answer is no. —MF
Instagram Fights Cyberbullying
So about the lovable ‘gram, what’s up with the new stories feature? Now you can share photographs of “everyday moments” that will disappear after twenty-four hours—just like Snapchat. But hey, your favorite photo-sharing app for everything that’s too aesthetically pleasing to stay on Snapchat is also getting an anti-cyberbullying update. The app will soon introduce an update that is pretty cool, or pretty restrictive, depending on how much you trust your followers. The update, which will allow users to disable and filter comments, will be available first for “accounts with high volume content threads” (read: celebrities) in the coming weeks, and after that, it will be coming soon to an app near you. —MF
Pass the Tea, Please
Can we have a show of hands? Who else is addicted to The Great British Baking Show (also known in the United Kingdom as The Great British Bake Off)? If you're not, you need to check it out in time for the season three finale, which airs Friday, August 12. This show is seriously charming, sweet, and probably the most polite reality TV you’re ever likely to see (we’re talking gentle judges and contestants who actually help each other). As well as being a huge cultural phenomenon and an obsession with my fellow Brits, it’s also gaining popularity here in the U.S.
The series features a group of amateur bakers from all over the U.K. who complete three weekly challenges to test their skills and creativity. In each episode one person is crowned the Star Baker and one is sent home. The semifinal is airing tonight, and you’ll see the remaining four bakers tackle chocolate-themed challenges. Tune in via PBS at 9 p.m. EST, or catch up on the episodes you've missed online, and make sure you have some baked goods on hand to satisfy the cravings it’s definitely going to inspire. —Sophie Caldecott
Zika Strikes Again
The CDC is advising against traveling to certain parts of the U.S. for disease-related concerns for the first time ever. Thanks to the Zika virus, pregnant women should avoid one Miami neighborhood after fourteen Florida cases were recently reported. And that’s not the only bad news. Apparently stocking up on mosquito repellent isn’t enough to protect you: The CDC also announced that Zika can be a sexually transmitted disease. The good news is that the federal government is beginning human trials of a potential Zika vaccine. At least eighty volunteers will test out the vaccine through several rounds of vaccinations, and the results from the trials—successful or unsuccessful—should be determined by January next year. —MF
The Devil Wears Prada Meets Hamilton
What happens when you combine Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in one movie? Well, we don't know yet, but we'll get to see soon as The Devil Wears Prada costars and the Hamilton creator are joining forces for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, and it looks supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Pulling from story lines in all seven of P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins books, the movie will follow the adventures of Mary Poppins (Blunt), a streetlamp lighter named Jack (Miranda), Poppins’ cousin Topsy (Streep), and the grown-up Banks siblings. Set in Depression-era London, the film is set to come out Christmas Day of next year. It may be hard to top the dynamism of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the 1964 original, but with this cast, the new Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar is looking pretty sweet. —MF
The Other Olympics
What’s better than watching the best athletes in the world compete against each other in the quest for worldwide acclaim? Watching almost a hundred kittens crinkle their noses and bat their paws as they bumble around various mini sports arenas. In case you get tired of watching the Olympics opening ceremony (it starts tonight at 7 p.m. EST), take a break to watch kittens participating in events like tennis, wrestling, and pole vaulting. On the Hallmark channel at 8 p.m. EST, watch kittens like “Felina Williams” show off their athletic abilities and enjoy even more kitten puns about these cat-thletes. The best part is that all ninety kittens who participated in the games were adopted. —MF
Apple's Latest Isn't A Device, It's Equal Pay
According to Apple’s latest diversity report, the company is now paying its female employees the same amount as their male counterparts. Overall, Apple is still male-dominated with only 32 percent female employees, but the company is still trying to make strides for gender equality in new hires. The new hire trends for females and minorities have been moving upward, albeit slowly, for a few years now.
The company has also been focusing on closing the wage gap for race and ethnic diversities as well. So now every Apple employee—no matter their gender, race, or ethnicity—gets equal pay. When I asked Siri what she thought of the change, she said, "In my realm, anyone can be anything." —GC
A Wrinkle in Time Is Making Up for Lost Time
If you already can’t wait to see the epic likeness of Mrs. Which brought to life by none other than Oprah Winfrey, then get ready for another awesome reason you’re going to want to see the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. This highly anticipated live-action remake will be directed by Ava DuVernay, who has worked with Winfrey before but not on a project of this magnitude. In doing this film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic, DuVernay will become the first black woman to direct a live-action movie that has a budget of more than $100 million.
In light of the news, the director tweeted a bittersweet message to her fans and all the women in Hollywood who have been waiting for this change: “Not the first capable of doing so. Not by a long shot. Thanks to @DisneyStudios for breaking this glass with me.” —GC
Nudes Are Being Used for Loan Collateral
Chinese women are striking a risky bargain to secure higher loans—by using nude selfies. Sending nude photos of themselves holding their ID cards as collateral, college students can receive greater loans through the peer-to-peer system (loans from individuals, not a bank). Perhaps thousands of women are involved in this practice, which allows them to apply for two to five times more money, but it comes with a price. If they fail to pay, loaners can blackmail them, threatening to release the photos or demanding the women pay up: with sex. The practice has been an open secret on one popular peer-to-peer loan website, Jiedaibao.
The news prompted thousands of outraged citizens to take to message boards condeming the practice, according to The Guardian. But the company seems to be sending mixed messages. A spokesman for Jiedaibao told The Guardian that the “naked loans” weren't something they condone and said the company would cooperate with law enforcement on any investigation about it. On the other hand, the company claims it doesn’t interfere with private transactions among lenders. In the meantime the women participating in this are trapped by interest rates as high as 30 percent per week. —MF