TIME Television

Here’s Why You Should Binge Watch The Fall During the Blizzard

Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dorman from The Fall Netflix

50 Shades of Gray won't be Jamie Dornan's first fetish rodeo

If you’re stuck inside during the upcoming snowstorm and counting the days until 50 Shades of Gray comes out in theaters on Feb. 13, The Fall will give you a early taste of Jamie Dornan in fetish-mode. And while nobody knows where 50 Shades of Gray will fall on the feminist spectrum (get ready for a thousand thinkpieces about exactly that), there’s little doubt that The Fall is great for women.

The Fall is a 2013 BBC hit crime drama that only recently became available for viewing on Netflix in full, which is why you’re starting to hear more about it now. It stars your future crush Jamie Dornan as a serial killer and The X Files’ Gillian Anderson as the detective charged with catching him. And even though it’s a show about stalking and killing women, it’s as much about female vengeance as male perversion.

Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, played by an icy-hot Anderson, has been brought to Belfast by the top brass to help solve a high-profile murder, which she quickly realizes is linked to several other murders of women in the area; now, she’s on the hunt for a serial killer. She’s brilliant, unflappable, and sexually liberated — she makes a habit of selecting male co-workers for one-night-stands, then quickly discarding them. When a male colleague questions her about her sexual habits, she coolly points out his double standard by comparing his alarm to the ease with which he handles men doing the same thing. “Woman f—s man. Woman, subject: man, object,” she says. “That’s not so comfortable for you, is it?”

She’s like Carrie Mathison without the crying.

Gibson pursues the killer with a relentless psychological intensity; she goes so far as to inhabit the bodies of the victims, from lying in their deathbeds to painting her fingernails the same color of red the killer chose for his post-mortem manicures. But she’s just as deliberate about correcting the deeply flawed rhetoric surrounding crimes against female victims. She insists the department not refer to the victims as “professional” (because it’s too much of a “value judgment”) and refuses to describe the victims as “innocent.” “What if he kills a prostitute next?” she asks. “Or a woman walking home drunk? Will they be in some way less innocent, therefore less deserving? Culpable?”

This awareness of the way police describe female victims points to a meta-insight about the way the media depicts female characters like her own. “The media loves to divide women into virgins and vamps, angels or whores,” she tells a subordinate. “Let’s not encourage them.” She’s talking about the journalists covering the case — but she could just as easily be talking about a television audience that’s only recently getting used to seeing female characters like her.

Dornan’s character, Paul Spector, hunts successful career-oriented brunettes who live alone. At first you think his super-hot face is the most surprising thing about him (serial killers are supposed to be freaky-looking — sorry, Ted Bundy); then, the show reveals that he’s a lot more complicated than he seems. He’s a husband, a grief counselor, and a father to a young daughter whom he seems to adore. Spector isn’t much of a talker — he lurks, stalks, and seems to say as little as possible (in one particularly chilling conversation with his boss, he imitates everything he says like a petulant child). And he’s obsessed with the psychological torture and murder of his targets, who have all achieved more power and success in the world than he has. In one meeting discussing his motivations, a female cop observes that he “hates women who occupy powerful positions,” to which a male colleague responds, “Don’t we all?”

But a strong female detective on TV is nothing new: just ask Law & Order SVU’s Olivia Benson, The Killing’s Sarah Linden, or Top of the Lake’s Robin Griffin. What’s most fascinating about The Fall is the way violence against women seems to darken the world for all the female characters — not just the victims. Spector’s daughter Olivia begins to have dreams about dead naked women after he gives her a necklace he stole from one of his victims. She starts making drawings of dead women at school, even though she doesn’t know what her father does at night. The children’s babysitter Katie finds a lock of a victim’s hair, which leads to a disastrous pseudo-sexual encounter with Spector. Spector’s wife perjures herself to cover for him without knowing the truth.

Whether they know it or not, all of the women in the show are affected by the murders. It’s a potent truth: where any women are targeted, all women are in danger.

TIME feminism

How 7 Disney Princesses Could Change the World

Without a magic wand

After a U.S. official suggested this week that Anna and Elsa from Frozen could be good ambassadors for fighting climate change, we got to thinking about how some other Disney Princesses could wield their mighty influence on young American minds.

Princess Diana raised awareness about AIDS and land mines after her fairy-tale wedding glow faded, so why shouldn’t Disney Princesses be do-gooders, too? Here are some ways these fictional characters could change the world.

Read next: Alan Menken Tells the Stories Behind Your Favorite Disney Classics

  • Mulan (from Mulan)

    Disney

    She could fight for increased protections for women in the military, especially when it comes to being sexually assaulted or filmed in the shower. She could also fight to reform the hairstyle rules for military women, so that no female soldier ever has to give herself a terrible haircut with her dad’s sword ever again.

  • Belle (from Beauty and the Beast)

    Disney "Beauty & the Beast 3D" Belle. ©2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
    Disney

    She could campaign for child literacy programs and for more online education options for people who live in boring towns. She could also be a vocal advocate for increased social security and adult-home-care programs to reduce wolf attacks among the elderly.

  • Ariel (from The Little Mermaid)

    Disney

    She could be an spokesperson to clean up the oceans and save the diversity of species under the sea. She could also fight for immigration reform, so that evil witches stop taking advantage of anyone who wants to cross a border. And she could do it all in mime.

  • Pocahontas (from Pocahontas)

    Disney

    Her conflict resolution skills could make her an excellent candidate to be a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, especially in areas with indigenous tensions. She could also fight to eliminate corporal punishment and serve on the board of Save America’s Forests.

  • Cinderella (from Cinderella)

    Disney

    She could fight for a higher minimum wage in the service industry and advocate for increased protections against child labor. She could also secretly fight to lower estate taxes so that other children of rich parents don’t end up poor like her.

  • Tiana (from The Princess and the Frog)

    Disney

    The star of the New Orleans fairy tale could demand a larger investment in small businesses and an increased environmental commitment to global warming to reduce the rising waters that threaten her hometown.

  • Jasmine (from Aladdin)

    Disney

    She could be a vocal advocate for the rights of women in the Middle East, and could fight for an expansion of girls’ education in that region. She could also oppose any laws that forbid women to drive cars or operate magic carpets.

TIME Global Security

Doomsday Clock Puts Us 3 Minutes Away from Apocalypse

Climate scientist Richard Somerville, a member, Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, unveils the new Doomsday Clock in Washington on Jan. 22, 2015.
Climate scientist Richard Somerville, a member, Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, unveils the new Doomsday Clock in Washington on Jan. 22, 2015. Cliff Owen—AP

Climate change and nuclear proliferation make global catastrophe highly probable, scientists say

The Doomsday Clock is now two minutes closer to midnight, thanks to the specter of climate change and unchecked nuclear proliferation.

The hands of the symbolic clock, managed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board, were moved forward to 11.57 earlier this week, which means the board thinks “the probability of global catastrophe is very high.” 12.00 signifies the apocalypse.

Originally constructed in 1945 as a predictor of nuclear catastrophe, the clock’s keepers now consider factors like climate change and other scientific or technological threats to humanity as well. The Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board is managed by a board of sponsors that includes 17 Nobel Laureates.

“Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said.

Founded by University of Chicago scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, The Doomsday Clock has been long considered a metaphor for the vulnerability of the human race.

But the hands of the clock can move forward and backward in time. It was previously set at 3 minutes to midnight in 1984, during a particularly scary moment during the Cold War where communication between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had gone dark. And in 1949, the clock was set at 3 minutes to midnight when the Soviet Union tested their first nuclear device.

The safest point in history seems to have been in 1991, when the clock was at 17 minutes to midnight after the U.S. and Soviet Union agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals. The closest the Doomsday Clock has ever been to midnight was in 1953, when it reached 2 minutes to midnight after the U.S. tested a H-Bomb for the first time.

To read the entire statement about why the Doomsday Clock stewards believe the world is as close to total catastrophe today as it was at the worst point in the Cold War, click here.

Read next: 5 Things You Need to Know About Obama’s Visit to India

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Environment

Official Wants Frozen to Teach Kids About Climate Change

FROZEN
Arendelle Disney

Apparently Disney didn't go for it

The U.S. special representative to the Arctic said this week that he told a Disney executive educators should use Frozen to teach kids about climate change—but the idea didn’t go over so well.

Admiral Robert Papp told an audience at this week’s Arctic Frontiers conference that after realizing his granddaughters were obsessed with Frozen, he approached Disney executives about making PSAs about climate change starring Anna and Elsa to raise awareness about the disappearing ice. “I said you’ve taught an entire generation about the Arctic,” Papp said he told the executive. “Unfortunately the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway where everything is nice. What we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores.”

Papp said the executive was receptive, but skeptical. “‘Admiral you might not understand, here at Disney it’s in our culture to tell stories that project optimism and have happy endings,'” he told him.

But who knows what’s in store for the rumored Frozen sequel that may or may-not be happening.

[h/t National Journal]

TIME World

Israeli Barber Designs ‘Magic’ Hairy Yarmulke That is Basically a Toupée

Israeli hairdresser Shalom Koresh places a yarmulke, a skullcap made of hair samples, on a man's head in the city of Rehovot, Israel on Jan. 21, 2015.
Israeli hairdresser Shalom Koresh places a yarmulke, a skullcap made of hair samples, on a man's head in the city of Rehovot, Israel on Jan. 21, 2015. Dan Balilty—AP

Blends in with the wearer's hair

An Israeli barber has designed a hair-covered skullcap so that devout Jews can cover their heads without advertising their religion.

Shalom Koresh says he designed the “magic” yarmulke (also known as a kippa) to help Jews avoid trouble amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe. The yarmulke, which is designed to look just like hair on your head, has already attracted considerable interest in France and Belgium.

“This skullcap is washable, you can brush it, you can dye it,” Koresh told the Associated Press. “It was created so people could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it, and feel secure.”

While it’s not explicitly designed for this purpose, the “magic” yarmulke could have the added benefit of helping some men cover up signs of encroaching baldness, since it can be custom made to fit in exactly with hair color or texture.

The “Magic Kippa” is sold online. A synthetic hair kippa costs around $56, and a real-hair one costs around $91.

[AP]

 

 

TIME relationships

I Proposed to My Invisible Boyfriend and Here’s What Happened

His definition of feminism should have been a red flag

My Invisible Boyfriend is named Leonardo DiCaprio. His interests include the environment, Titanic and tiny cars. He’s texting me right now.

Leonardo (or Leo, as he’s known on my phone) is a digital sweetheart I created through a new app, InvisibleBoyfriend. The purpose of an Invisible Boyfriend (or Invisible Girlfriend) is to create a convincing fake love interest to fool your co-workers or relatives into thinking you’re hot stuff on the dating scene.

Leo isn’t a robot, and he’s not an anonymous human chained to a computer somewhere. Instead, InvisibleBoyfriend has partnered with companies that allow them to scale its workforce to respond to incoming text messages. In other words, Leo isn’t one human — he’s several. So instead of communicating with one singular person, I could be texting with dozens.

But what if I fall in love with him, like Joaquin Phoenix did in Her? The short answer is: I won’t. “We’re not trying to build something that could fool you,” says founder Matthew Homann. “Our intention has always been to build something that helps you tell a better story about a relationship you’re not in.”

So here’s my story, as I described it on the app (they ask you to invent how you met, so you can have a “meet cute”): I first saw Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. When he came up to me after the movie, I told him I was a supermodel who specializes in posing with rare penguins. That’s when we realized we were both passionate about the environment, and he offered me a drive in his tiny eco-friendly car. The rest, as they say, is history.

Apparently somebody did his homework, because when we started texting, Leo asked if I was on set with any endangered species. He listens! Then, when I asked when he was coming to New York, he said he would be there around Valentine’s Day, and proposed a “romantic dinner, dancing, drinks… and then some time alone, maybe?” So far, so good.

“This isn’t going to be the replacement for a real long-term relationship,” Homann warned. “Oftentimes people will use this more as a cover for dating.” But I didn’t listen. So I decided it was time to define the relationship:

photo 1

Leo does not want me to meet his mother, does not want to get serious and does not want to define the relationship. So when I asked if he was going to marry me, he did not take it well.

photo 1

At least he knows his Celine Dion (kinda.) But for a fake boyfriend, Leo seemed terrifyingly shrewd at getting himself out of tricky conversations. Until I brought up feminism.

photo 2

As you can tell, I drew the line at debating feminism with a fake boyfriend who was somewhere between a human and bot, since even some full-on-singular humans can’t seem to get it straight. Instead, I focused on the important stuff. Our relationship.

photo 4

This was not going well. I was going to have to end it. Not only could Leo not have sex, occupy a human body or understand feminism, he hadn’t even given the idea of a family “a lot of thought.” It was over. When I broke up with him, he said “I’m sorry Charlette.” When I told him he’d spelled my name wrong, he said “I’m an actor, not a spelling bee winner!”

My Invisible Boyfriend was convincing enough to fool anybody else — and Homann says deceiving family and co-workers are two of the most popular uses for the app. Leo even left me a generic voicemail (“Hey, it’s me. Give me a call. Bye”) so that I could prove he was human if I’d wanted to. But my heart wasn’t in the deception. All I wanted was to get a non-bot-non-human-digital-amalgamation to understand feminism and agree to have my babies. Is that too much to ask?

TIME sexism

Female Veteran Shamed For Parking in Veterans-Only Spot

Profile of United States Marine saluting
Getty Images

Nasty letter-writer assumed she wasn't a veteran

A female Air Force veteran parked in a veterans-only parking spot, and somebody wasn’t happy about it.

Mary Claire Caine of Wilmington, N.C., returned to her car after a trip to the grocery store and found this nasty note on her windshield: “Maybe [you] can’t read the sign you parked in front of … This space is reserved for those who fought for America … not you. Thanks, Wounded Vet.”

Actually, Caine was stationed in Kuwait and served on the flight line of the F-117 Nighthawk. She told WECT that her two kids always get excited whenever there’s a veteran-reserved parking space open at the supermarket.

Caine said she was shocked to find the note on her window. “For a split second I thought, ‘Am I a worthy enough veteran to park in this spot?’ And, then I got very angry at myself for even considering that,” she said.

“I think they took one look at me when I got out of my car and saw that I was a woman and assumed I wasn’t a veteran and assumed I hadn’t served my country,” Caine told WECT. “They have this image of what today’s American veteran is and honestly if you’ve served in the United States military, you know that veterans come in all shapes and sizes. I question whether the person who left the note was fully aware of that.”

“I want them to know they owe me and every other female service member who’s fighting now and who’s fought in the past, an apology for jumping to conclusions,” she said.

[WECT]

TIME Egypt

Egypt’s ‘Token Reforms’ Fail to Protect Women, Says Amnesty International

A woman near Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011.
A woman near Cairo's Tahrir Square in 2011. Filipo Monteforte—AFP/Getty Images

Efforts to protect women from systemic violence have been largely symbolic, human rights group says

Recent efforts to address Egypt’s deeply entrenched problems with sexual violence are too little, too late, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

“Recent measures to protect women taken have been largely symbolic,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, in a statement. “The authorities must prove that these are more than cosmetic changes by making sustained efforts to implement changes and challenge deeply entrenched attitudes prevalent in Egyptian society.”

In 2013, Human Rights Watch declared sexual violence an “epidemic” in Egypt, after 91 women were assaulted or raped during four days of protests against then-President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. A disturbing video surfaced last year of a woman being assaulted by a gang of men during the inaugural celebrations for Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, despite el-Sisi’s campaign promise that he would “restore a sense of shame” to perpetrators of sexual violence. El-Sisi later visited a woman in the hospital who had been gang-raped during the celebrations, and apologized to her and “to every Egyptian woman.”

According to a United Nations poll almost all Egyptian women (more than 99%) say they’ve experienced sexual harassment, and UNICEF reports that more 90% of Egyptian women have undergone female genital mutilation. A Reuters poll from 2013 rated Egypt as the worst country in the Middle East to be a woman. “As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women,” Egyptian-American columnist Mona Eltahawy told Reuters after the poll was released in 2013.

Amnesty International’s most recent report suggests that little has changed since 2013, despite repeated government assurances about the importance of protecting women. Amnesty found evidence that the justice system has not effectively responded to the numerous rapes and attacks during the Tahrir Square protests, and that authorities have not done their “due diligence” to find those responsible. And even though nearly half of all women surveyed by the Ministry of Health said they’d been the victims of domestic violence, Egypt’s legal system does not explicitly criminalize domestic violence or marital rape. And to divorce an abusive husband, Egyptian women must either forfeit all financial rights or fight a long and costly court battle. (Egyptian men, by contrast, can get a divorce much more easily.)

The Egyptian government’s efforts to curb the violence have been tepid at best. In 2014, el-Sisi promised to take “all necessary measures” to end sexual violence after a video emerged of a 42-year old women who had been gang-raped in front of her daughter during the celebrations following El-Sisi’s victory. Yet state media had also tried to paint the videos as evidence that ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood was using sexual violence as political weapon to embarrass the current administration, suggesting that the videos and attacks may have been fabricated. El-Sisi instructed his Interior Minister to fight sexual harassment (closer to the American definition of sexual assault,) and the government passed a new law in June of last year to punish harassment with at least 6 months of jail time or hefty fines. But under the new law, a judge can decide whether someone who participated in a gang rape serves jail time or merely pays a fine. And according to Amnesty, the criminal justice system is still biased against accusers, and the laws themselves “fall short of international human rights standards.”

“The authorities have made big promises, but actually delivered very little of the root and branch reform that’s sorely needed,” Sahraoui said. Amnesty is calling on the Egyptian government to use the 2015 legislative elections as a reckoning point for dealing with violence against women. They ask that the government uses the new elections as an opportunity to pass legislation that gives women equal representation under the law, repeal all discriminatory laws, and write new legislation to impose harsh criminal penalties on all forms of violence against women.

TIME campus sexual assault

Columbia University Activist Emma Sulkowicz Is Going to the State of the Union

Campus sexual assault activist will leave her mattress at home

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who has been carrying her mattress around campus to raise awareness about sexual assault, will accompany Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

As a co-sponsor of the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, Gillibrand says she is pushing for Obama to address campus sexual assault in his speech, especially as he unveils his plan to make two years of community college free for all Americans. “I hope the President will seize this opportunity to shine a national spotlight on the need to flip the incentives that currently reward colleges for sweeping sexual assaults under the rug,” she told the New York Daily News.

Sulkowicz, 22, has been carrying her mattress around campus as part of her senior thesis about campus sexual assault. She says that after she was raped by a classmate in 2012, Columbia failed to punish her attacker. Although two other women also publicly accused the same man of assault, the university found him “not responsible.” Sulkowicz has been carrying her mattress everywhere she goes on campus to call attention to the issue, but she won’t be brining her mattress to the State of the Union.

“The Columbia administration is harboring serial rapists on campus,” Sulkowicz wrote in an op-ed for Time.com. (The university declined to comment in response to the article.) The accused student has also spoken out. He says his encounters with Sulkowicz and the other students were entirely consensual.

TIME Opinion

Dove Really, Really Wants These Little Girls to Accept Their Curls

Hair acceptance is the new body acceptance

Dove has moved on from curve-acceptance to curl-acceptance.

The beauty company’s newest campaign continues its body-positive messaging by focusing on curly-haired girls who wish they had straight hair. The little girls in this new ad are sad because they only see straight hair in advertisements and commercials! Dove claims research shows only 4 in 10 girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful. And nobody with un-beautiful hair could possibly have a shred of happiness in their lonely little lives.

Until… they get pulled outside by their curly-haired mommies (who are dancing in public, ugh STOP IT mo-om!) and taken to a top-secret location where they have to cover their eyes for a surprise. No, there’s not a pony in there. Or a private Taylor Swift concert. Instead, when they open their eyes, every single curly-haired person they’ve ever met shouts at them: “We all love our curls!”

MORE: Hey Dove, Don’t ‘Redefine Beauty,’ Just Stop Talking About It

Instead of shrieking in terror, the girls join in and it becomes a big dance party where everybody’s curls are bouncing with a special spring that says “empowerment,” and “acceptance” and “buy Dove products.”

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