TIME gender

Fashion Model Comes Out as Transgender Woman

Jean Paul Gaultier - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2011 Runway - Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week
Andrej Pejic walks the runway at the Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on January 26, 2011 in Paris, France. Nathalie Lagneau—Catwalking/Getty Images

Andreja Pejic was famous for her androgynous runway look.

Andreja Pejic, the famously androgynous Serbian fashion icon who has modeled both men’s and women’s styles, came out as a transgender woman on her Facebook page Thursday.

Pejic, who was known throughout her fashion career as “Andrej” but has changed her name to Andreja, posted a selfie along with an announcement that she said she hoped would inspire other transgender youths:

I think we all evolve as we get older and that’s normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn’t made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all just a different sex I hope you can all understand that.

I would also like to to reach out to all young gender non-conforming youth out there: I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but remember it’s your right to be accepted as what you identify with—you deserve the same respect as any other human being on this planet. As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past.

The model told People.com that despite her long and successful career modeling both women’s and mens’s fashions, she opted to have gender reassignment surgery in order to identify as a transgender woman. “I was proud of my gender nonconforming career,” Pejic says. “But my biggest dream was to be comfortable in my own body. I have to be true to myself and the career is just going to have to fit around that.”

Like other major transgender activists like Laverne Cox, who was featured in TIME’s cover story on the transgender movement, Pejic declined to discuss the specifics of her surgery with People.com, saying that “what’s in between anyone’s legs is not who they are.”

 

TIME Toys

Your Barbie Can Now Slay in a Suit of Medieval Armor

Dungeons and Dragons and Barbie?

Barbie has plenty of pantsuits and party dresses, but her closet is still missing the one outfit she never knew she needed: A suit of armor. And even better, it’s not pink. Designer Jim Rodda launched a Kickstarter in April to fund a 3D-printed design of a medieval armor suit that’s specifically made for Barbie.

Rodda, who isn’t affiliated with Mattel, wants to make Barbie powerful by outfitting her with intricate battle suits and weapons in his new “Faire Play” battle set. Rodda designs and sells the 3D blueprints, so customers can print the Barbie armor on their own 3D printers. Fans are given the option to buy three different types of outfits: A robe with swords and a Barbie medusa-faced shield; a highly adorned gold suit; and a silver suit of armor.

Rodda says the idea came to him when he was coming up with a birthday gift for his niece. “Back when I started this, my niece was obsessed with My Little Pony,” says Rodda. “So I wanted to make My Little Pony compatible glitter cannons.”

Rodda struggled to 3D print a spring for the cannons, so he turned to the next logical thing in the “little girl toy market:” Barbie. The “Faire Play” battle set is a result of the successful $6,000 Kickstarter campaign that closed with 290 backers. “They are the ones who have actually made this thing possible,” Rodda says.

Barbie may have shown her strength in 1965 when she went through astronaut training, Rodda points out, or her business chops with Entrepreneur Barbie, but he thinks the popular doll is stuck in the past.

“The fashion-obsessed part of Barbie’s personality pervades the collective consciousness,” says the designer. “I think Entrepreneur Barbie’s a step in the right direction, but ‘Babs’ is still carrying a lot of cultural baggage from the last 25 years. People are still bringing up 1992’s ‘Math class is tough!’ debacle, even though Mattel released Computer Engineer Barbie in 2010 and Mars Explorer Barbie in 2013.”

The designer hopes his “Faire Play” set will help young girls learn about 3D printing and foster their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). “Maybe she grows up to be the one that invents the solution to climate change, or helps get humans to Mars,” Rodda says, “or becomes the nest Neil deGrasse Tyson and evangelizes a love of science for another generation.”

Collectors and 3D-printing enthusiasts alike stand among the ranks of customers eager to see the warrior Barbie, says Rodda. Even Rodda’s daughter, who was, “never a Barbie kid,” is helping design the armor suits.

“If there’s a lesson I’d like my daughter to learn from this phase in Barbie’s career,” says Rodda, “It’s that girls can grow up to do anything.”

Blueprints for the “Faire Play” battle set are available for $29.99 along with other 3D-printed fun..

TIME Media

Jill Abramson to Katie Couric: ‘I Put Out a Terrific News Report’

The ousted editor continues her media tour

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson continued her postmortem analysis of what went wrong at the newspaper during another interview, this time with Katie Couric at Yahoo News.

Abramson, who was abruptly fired from the Times in May amid grumblings about her “management style,” told Couric that during her tenure she was more interested in the quality of the newspaper than in making sure everyone in the newsroom liked her. “As managing editor for eight years and as executive editor for three years, I put out a terrific news report,” she said. “And led the kind of journalism that I believe in. I am hard-charging, I was certainly aware that some people had already described me as tough. I have high standards…I think a lot of people who worked for me found that inspirational, some people didn’t like it. That is how it is at every news organization that makes a difference.'”

“I can scarcely think of an executive editor of the times that wasn’t described in the same way,” she added.

(MORE: Jill Abramson Insists on Calling Herself “Fired”)

But was her firing about gender? “I think that women are scrutinized and criticized in a somewhat different way and that certain qualities that are seen in men as being the qualities of a leader or ambition as seen as a good thing are somehow not seen in as attractive a light when a woman is involved,” she said. “And I’m hardly the first person to observe that.”

But when Couric attempted to drill down into the gendered aspects of her firing, Abramson said her record at the Times was more important than the details of why she lost her job. “I don’t see gender as being the whole explanation by any means… but it’s somewhat irksome to me to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired. First of all, let’s be honest, how many people in the real world really care about why Jill Abramson lost her job?”

“I think the amount of attention that’s focused on my last days as opposed to the 11 years that I [ran the New York Times] everyday is just out of proportion,” she added.

 

 

TIME energy

Poll: Men and Women Think Differently About Energy

Energy Power Lines
Getty Images

A new global survey for TIME shows how attitudes toward conservation may be guided by gender

More women than men worldwide say energy conservation is a “very important” issue, while men report greater personal concern about global warming, according to the results of a new global energy survey conducted for TIME.

The survey polled online respondents in six countries—the U.S., Germany, India, Turkey, Brazil and South Korea—on their attitudes toward energy. It revealed that conservation habits and perspectives about energy challenges differ along gender lines, and not always in the ways you might expect.

Nearly 70% of women said energy conservation was a vital issue, compared with less than 50% of men. At the same, 65% of males reported that global warming was a very important issue to them, far outpacing the 37% of females who said the same.

The survey suggests that women are more leery of nuclear power (by a 48% to 40% margin), slightly more convinced the earth is warming (60% to 56%) and more likely to report high degrees of concern over rising sea levels, pollution and gas prices. By a couple of percentage points, women also took a more favorable stand on the oil-and-gas industry’s role in the issue.

Men, on the other hand, were more likely to say that rich nations should take the lead in the fight to reduce emissions (50% to 46%), and more likely to lay blame for the global warming crisis at the feet of the United States (45% to 38%), which has long held the ignominious title of the world’s largest carbon emitter.

The sexes were also split in their assessment of their home country’s role in the climate crisis. Sixty-three percent of women say their nation is part of the problem, compared with 54% of men. Men were more likely to say their country was part of the solution, by a 46% to 37% margin.

The survey was conducted among 3,505 online respondents equally divided between the U.S., Brazil, Germany, Turkey, India and South Korea. Polling was conducted from May 10 to May 22. The overall margin of error overall in the survey is 1.8%.

TIME Media

Jill Abramson Insists on Calling Herself ‘Fired’

WIRED Business Conference: Think Bigger
Executive Editor of The New York Times Jill Abramson attends the WIRED Business Conference: Think Bigger at Museum of Jewish Heritage on May 7, 2013 in New York City. Brad Barket—Getty Images

"That's what happened to me, and I've devoted my whole career to truth-telling, so why hide that?"

Jill Abramson insisted Greta Van Susteren call her “fired New York Times editor” in her first television interview Wednesday since her contentious departure from the newspaper in May.

“That’s what happened to me, and I’ve devoted my whole career to truth-telling, so why hide that?” Abramson said on Fox News’s On the Record. “And there are an awful lot of people in this country who, like me, have been fired from their jobs.”

Abramson didn’t assign any specific blame for her firing, but did allude to the whispers that her firing was more about her personal demeanor than professional accomplishments. “It was said because my management style. I was a hard-charging editor, and there were some people who worked for me that didn’t like that style,” she said. “Women in leadership roles are scrutinized constantly and sometimes differently than men…there are certain code words: ‘strident,’ ‘too tough.'”

But she doesn’t think it was only about gender. “Plenty of guys get fired,” she said.

Abramson also observed that “it’s mighty strange going from one day being an editor of stories to being the story, but I think actually it’s healthy for journalists to know what it feels like on the opposite end of the probing and questioning.”

 

TIME viral

This Guy Can Make His Voice Sound Exactly Like a Girl’s

Okay, this might not sound all that impressive, but trust us

+ READ ARTICLE

At first, it’s just a regular dude with a regular dude voice. But then, all of a sudden, coming out of this regular dude’s mouth is a completely convincing girl voice.

The dude in question is actor and musician Matt Bittner, who seems to be a bit surprised that a video of him doing his girl voice — until now only famous among his friends — is getting attention on the web:

Hey man, remember: this is the Internet, where weird talents are worshipped.

TIME society

What I Learned as a Woman at a Men’s-Rights Conference

184867516
Don Bayley—Getty Images

I went to the conference in suburban Detroit expecting a group of feminist-hating Internet trolls; I found much more

Detroit once epitomized the possibilities of the American Dream: as the hub of the U.S. auto industry, money, power and a sense of virility seemed available to the men who worked hard enough, in factories and in boardrooms, to attain them. Now the city is a husk, and as the jobs trickled into other places, so too did the feeling that the only obstacle separating men and power was their own effort. Once a stronghold of American influence, the city of Detroit is now shorthand for decline and bankruptcy. It makes some sense, then, that the International Conference on Men’s Issues, a gathering staged to raise alarm against what its organizers describe as rising discrimination against men, chose the city for its inaugural meeting the last weekend of June.

For this passionate set, the leaders of what has become known as the men’s-rights movement, Detroit’s losses mirror their own sense of what they see as men’s flagging influence. Sure, women may have once been unequal, they say, but not anymore and not by a long shot.

As a journalist who thinks and writes frequently about women’s issues, I’m well acquainted with the darker side of the men’s-rights movement, which rears its ugly head in “the manosphere” and on Reddit forums, shielded by a comforting cloak of anonymity. And though I’ve never tackled its existence specifically in any story, I knew what some men’s-rights activists had done to women who had — launching large-scale rage campaigns full of name-calling, threats and crusades to get them fired. When I went to Detroit, I expected the men who attended this conference to not be thrilled with my presence — and many made clear that they weren’t — and to make provocative statements about “the myth of rape culture” and even to smoke a lot of e-cigarettes.

But what I didn’t expect was how it would make me feel: sad and angry and helpless and determined, all at the same time. Moreover, I didn’t expect to talk to so many men in genuine need of a movement that supports them, a movement that looks completely different from the one that had fomented online and was stoked by many who spoke at this three-day conference.

The event came at a time when attention for its supporters’ ideas are rising beyond the Internet’s fringe. And while nearly every corner of the web is now home to discussion of the state of feminism today, with anyone from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to Beyoncé participating, a countermovement is growing. Nearly 150,000 people subscribe to forums dedicated to men’s rights on the social-media site Reddit. A recent Saturday Night Live sketch starring Lena Dunham attacked their beliefs. And in May, these views came under greater scrutiny following the murders committed in Isla Vista, Calif., by Elliot Rodger, whose views of women matched those found in the extreme corners of the men’s-rights movement.

Beneath the vitriol and fear these men (and a small number of women) express are some truths about the state of men today. In a growing number of ways, boys and men are at a disadvantage. Men and women were hit unevenly by the recession. Women recovered job losses this spring. Men did not. Women are outpacing men in college enrollment, with 71% of women enrolling in a university immediately after high school, compared with only 61% of men, a 2012 Pew Research Center survey found. The suicide rate among men is four times the rate of women, with males accounting for 79% of all U.S. suicides, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. Frequently boys do not have the same support network as girls their age (the cost of this deficit was detailed by Rosalind Wiseman in TIME last December).

And yet despite these real troubles, the leaders of the movement have been unable to move beyond a reputation for hate. Its most influential online gathering place, the website A Voice for Men, founded in 2009 by Paul Elam, who led the June conference, has been described as “misogynist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama nonprofit that tracks hate groups. In addition to purporting to “expose misandry on all levels in our culture,” the site is also frequently a soapbox for Elam to attack individual women he feels are threats to the movement.

Elam and nearly 150 supporters came to Detroit, then, to increase awareness of their cause, but also to try a little rebranding. Perhaps by organizing an official conference, they could make their movement more palatable to outsiders.

“Men’s rights is a tougher-than-necessary fight in a world that believes that men made the rules and have all the rights to begin with,” said Dr. Warren Farrell, an author and Elam’s mentor, who addressed the conference. “It’s like asking for kings’ rights.”

Beginning a Movement
Dr. Warren Farrell did not start the movement himself, but he’s been an icon for believers since the 1970s when two distinct camps of men’s activists began to emerge, one pro-feminist and one anti-feminist. The men’s-rights movement represented at the Detroit conference has its roots in anti-feminist, pro-masculine movements that ripened in the early 1980s. Farrell, once a prominent second-wave feminist who served on the board for New York’s National Organization for Women and was tasked with creating feminist groups for men, became disillusioned in the mid-1970s when NOW opposed “the presumption of joint custody” for parents. Since then, Farrell has focused primarily on men’s gender issues, writing the best seller The Myth of Male Power in 1993, which challenged the notion that men are oppressors.

Many of the men active in the movement seem to have been drawn there through their own harrowing personal experiences, whether with divorce courts that stripped them of custody or ex-wives who cheated. Born into a military family, Elam worked as an addiction counselor for 20 years, before becoming disenchanted with the academic direction of psychological treatment and what he saw as a feminist overhaul of psychotherapy.

Elam quit his job and spent time as a truck driver before starting A Voice for Men in 2009. The site launched just as the global recession was peaking, leaving many men out of work and struggling to reconcile their identities outside the role of primary breadwinner. Early on, notes Dr. Julie T. Woods, a professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has written several texts about gender and culture, the 2008 recession was called the “mancession” because many more men than women became unemployed.

“I think you’re hearing real anxiety about not being able to fulfill this basic commandment of manhood as they define it,” Wood says.

This angst was palpable in Farrell’s remarks during the press conference. “Women don’t marry men in unemployment lines,” he said. The audience nodded in agreement.

Today, Farrell’s concerns are not just financial. He speaks in favor of developing a male birth control pill, establishing better programs to care for veterans and helping boys struggling through adolescence. His allies rally against what they see as rampant paternity fraud (when a woman attempts to pin paternity on the nonbiological father of her child with the hopes of getting child support), a biased court system that favors mothers over fathers, soaring male suicide rates and prominence of domestic violence against men.

Women, they say, have distorted private life and taken over public life (never mind that 4 out of 5 Representatives in Congress or 9 out of 10 governors are male).

“Legislation is routinely drafted to advantage women and disadvantage men,” said British activist Mike Buchanan, later adding, “Boys are being relentlessly disadvantaged by an ever more feminized education system.”

Despite a shared feeling of disenfranchisement, most of the attendees I spoke with struggled to recall a time in their lives when they were discriminated against for being men. When asked, two different attendees mentioned losing out to a woman for a job opportunity, though one conceded that she could have simply been more qualified.

Some of the men at the conference said they were drawn to the movement after alarming personal experiences caused them to realize there were far fewer resources for men’s emotional and physical health than there were for women.

Brendan Rex, a 28-year-old who flew down from Manitoba, Canada, to attend the event, confided that he lost his virginity at the age of 14 when a woman climbed on top of him and had sex with him while he was drunk and unconscious.

“It kind of took me a few years to come to terms with the concept that I had nowhere to go,” Rex said. “Then about six years ago I kind of realized that there were a lot of other people like me; it’s not uncommon for men to be sexually abused, it’s not uncommon for men to be sexually abused by women. But because there’s this lack of knowledge, there’s this lack of community — you’re completely isolated. You have no one to talk to who understands this.”

‘Evil Empire’
Throughout the three-day event, the specter of feminism, or what British domestic-violence activist Erin Pizzey called “the evil empire,” loomed large, threatening to rip children from their fathers, lobby false rape accusations and remind men that in parenting, work and war they are forever disposable. (The movement includes a small fraction of women dedicated to the same mission.)

A palpable distaste for women seeped between the cracks of the conference, in comical asides and throwaway comments. When the conference’s M.C., Robert O’Hara, asked a woman in the audience a question and she responded with a no, he quickly shot back “Doesn’t no mean yes?” The audience burst into laughter.

During another panel, psychologist Tara Palmatier cued up a slide with a photo of Miley Cyrus displaying her naked stomach. Transposed atop it was the caption, “Quit objectifying me. You’re being rapey!” a clear nod to the belief that a woman’s attire and behavior are causal factors of sexual assault.

Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian radio host, blamed mothers for the violent behavior of men.

Molyneux said that because 90% of a child’s brain is formed by the experiences it has before the age of 5, and women have “an almost universal control over childhood,” violence exists in the world because of the way women treat children.

“If we could just get people to be nice to their babies for five years straight, that would be it for war, drug abuse, addiction, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases,” he said. “Almost all would be completely eliminated, because they all arise from dysfunctional early childhood experiences, which are all run by women.”

Dr. Jay Giedd, who serves as chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch, said that he didn’t think this idea “could be more wrong.”

Though a child’s brain reaches 90% of its size by age 5, that doesn’t mean it’s done developing. “Almost nothing is set in the first five years or even in the first 10,” he said. “There’s no scientific support for these claims.”

At Elam’s request, the majority of the speakers were noticeably less anti-woman in person than many are in their writings or speeches elsewhere. A recording from Molyneux’s radio show from January posted to YouTube with the title “The Matriarchal Lineage of Corruption” reveals the full extent of his thinking.


(Warning: NSFW material)

“Women who choose a–holes guarantee child abuse,” he says. “All the cold-hearted jerks who run the world came out of the vaginas of women who married a–holes. I don’t know how to make the world a better place without holding women accountable for choosing a–holes.”

“Women worship at the feet of the devil and wonder why the world is evil,” he adds later. “And then know what they say? ‘We’re victims!’”

The movement is quick to disavow the concept of misogyny and instead direct attention to so-called Honey Badgers, a handful of women who support the cause. When I introduced myself as a reporter to two men sitting in the audience during the first day of the conference, one attempted to predict my first question by saying, “Do I hate women? No.”

Still, being surrounded by men who belly-laughed at rape jokes and pinned evil elements of human nature wholesale on women was emotionally taxing at best and self-destructive at worst. Once, during a particularly upsetting segment of the program, I had to excuse myself from the auditorium to seek refuge on the bug-filled bank of Lake St. Clair. I kept wondering why I had volunteered to fly 600 miles to attend the conference alone, to surround myself not just with crass ideological opponents, but with people with violent Internet histories who believed my very existence oppressed them. But to emerge on the other side of this with both my sanity and a worthwhile story, I would have to actually adopt a grain of their advice. I would have to stop feeling like a victim, and in turn cast aside all of the humiliating and unfair and devastating experiences I had collected as a woman.

Online Intimidation
For the most part, the conference tried to display the gentler side of the movement, one that embraces activism for significant men’s issues. Its organizers are aware of the fact that it would tarnish their authority to allow misogyny to overshadow their policy prescriptions to help real problems that affect men.

Days before the event began, Elam published a warning post on A Voice for Men saying that some ideological opponents and members of the media “will be looking for anything they can to hurt us with,” so anyone caught trash-talking women would be ejected from the conference.

For Elam, who once created a website called Register-Her, which encouraged men to name and shame women who supposedly made false rape allegations, shifting to a less polarizing agenda would mean a powerful change of heart. Elam has since shuttered Register-Her, and at the conference spoke of working to “build bridges between men and women instead of walls.”

“I find it hard to believe that this is Saul on the road to Damascus,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, “that Elam has really had an entire personality change.”

Though in person the activists worked hard to coat their message in a kinder, press-friendly sheen, the conference had barely been over for a day before Elam published a post to A Voice for Men taking issue with my tweets during the conference, which made clear that I was upset by many of the sentiments expressed.

In the post, Elam called me a “low rent hack” who “practiced journalistic scumtardery,” a “liar and a bigot [who] will be exposed.” He titled the post “An Amazing, Amazing Conference, Even With the Stink of Jessica Roy in the Air.” Those who tweeted at me following the publication of the post minced fewer words.

It seemed the perfect example of the fact that though the movement was attempting to put a polite face on in public, they still continue to harass and intimidate online. (Though they adopted similarly skeptical attitudes, none of the male reporters who tweeted or wrote about the event were subject to similar treatment.)

Elam says that being satirical and controversial is his way of drawing attention to the message.

When you talk to someone like 68-year-old Steve DeLuca, the legitimate need to remedy some of the issues raised by men’s-rights activists becomes more evident. A Vietnam veteran who was injured in combat, DeLuca spoke movingly to me about the two brothers he lost to suicide, and the unfathomable toll the high suicide rate among men can take. There are men out there, like DeLuca and Brendan Rex, who have a real stake in the movement’s success. The paranoia and vitriol of its leaders can’t possibly do anything for them.

Update: This original story has been updated to clarify comments from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

TIME Television

Whitney Cummings: “Crazy” Is the “New C-Word”

Whitney Cummings
Comedy Central

The comedian's new stand-up special premieres June 28 on Comedy Central

The fictional characters created by comedian Whitney Cummings — whether on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls or NBC’s Whitney — tend to struggle when it comes to love. But the real-life Cummings is eager to say “I love you,” at least in the title of her new one-hour stand-up special, which premieres June 28 on Comedy Central. Here, she talks to TIME about the special, her changing attitudes toward marriage, why she thinks feminism has won and how women being called “crazy” inspired her work:

TIME: Let’s talk about the title, “Whitney Cummings: I Love You.” Is it “I love you, says Whitney Cummings,” or “I love you, Whitney Cummings”?

Cummings: At the end of every show I always say ‘Thank you, I love you’ and so my director was like, Why don’t you call it that?

And with any luck people will say “I love you too.”

Exactly. The nice thing about saying “I love you” is usually someone feels obligated to say it back. People think comedians are sociopathic robots yelling at a crowd. In reality we love you and want you to love us back.

Speaking of love, I saw on Instagram that you got ordained as a minister.

The plot twists in life! I think the big theme of this phase of being a stand-up is that I thought I knew everything in my 20s. In your 30s, all of the sudden you realize you know nothing. The ironic twist is that a friend asked me to officiate her wedding, whereas my whole first special and the TV show I did at NBC were all about how I didn’t believe in marriage.

Has the wedding already happened?

No, it’s in August. I consider myself pretty good at public speaking. Like, I kind of do this for a living. But I’m so nervous.

What about?

The pressure is just so intense to do justice to this moment. If I worked half as hard on my career as I did on this wedding-officiating, I’d probably have accomplished all my goals by now.

A lot of the material in this special is about the differences between men and women.

When you say that I kind of cringe a little bit, because that’s such a fraught territory.

I don’t mean necessarily biological differences…

As a comedian, the edge is my comfort zone. What makes people uncomfortable? What’s the elephant in the room? What are we all struggling with but nobody has the courage to admit? What’s the truth, basically? But when you start saying men and women are different, people get weird. I think feminism has done its job and now you can’t imply that women and men aren’t capable of the same things.

You’re not allowed to say that women are more emotional. That pisses me off when somebody says that. I don’t want someone implying that I’m weak in any way. I didn’t cry until I was 28, you know? It’s made me feel like I have to be so strong and tough all the time. I think that’s caused me a lot of struggle in terms of what I’ve expected to be versus what seriously biologically is going on with me. That was something I wanted to get into. I wanted to play around with the idea of giving women permission to be sensitive again.

It does seem like a lot of differences are from cultural expectations, like what you say in the special about how long it takes women to get ready to go out.

I got to the point where I was like, “No wonder women aren’t achieving as much as men. We have three less hours a day.” When I did the TV show with my male co-star, my call time was 5 a.m. and his was 8! I had to do make-up for three hours. I just started getting so frustrated with the fact that I had to have someone else’s hair snapped into my head every morning. Guys get so mad that I’m taking too long in the bathroom and it’s like, “I’m doing this for you!” I’m not saying I have the power to change it or I’m going to start some revolution. Just be a little nicer to me. Just be a little patient. I can’t feel my feet, I have blisters, I have a string up my butt, I just spent three hours putting pencils in my eyes to try to fit this standard of beauty.

I really think the special was driven by the rage I felt when people call women “crazy.” That really, to me, is like the new c-word. It’s just so dismissive and frustrating and such an ignorant thing to call someone. To me it was like, “Ok, you think we’re crazy, here’s all the things that go into this.”

How so?

We can do all the same stuff with all these insane obstacles and 2 hours less of sleep and the added obstacles of being more sensitive and feeling five different emotions at once. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like we’re allowed to say “uncle.”

The digital album of Cummings’ special is available July 1.

TIME Aviation

It Sounds So Last Century, but Cabin Crew Are Still Hassled by Sex Pests

481520649
Getty Images

From Coffee, Tea or Me? to The Swinging Stewardesses to the Singapore Girl. For years, books, movies and marketing campaigns have sold us the story that flight attendants are sexy girls who serve, not working men and women. Years of organizing and activism has helped alter this perception and has dramatically improved working conditions in many parts of the world. But decades after Continental promised to “move our tails for you,” there are those who still feel free to return an attendant’s smile with a wink and a leer — or even a casual grope.

Thankfully, legislation is slowly changing that. Last week, Hong Kong became the latest jurisdiction to take action on the issue after officials proposed an amendment to the territory’s sexual-harassment laws that would make sexual harassment of service providers illegal, even if it happens outside the territory. Under the Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2014, airborne sex pests would face civil action in Hong Kong courts. “Some people think they can run away from their actions — well, maybe they can’t run away anymore,” says Dora Lai, who heads the flight attendants’ union for local flag carrier Cathay Pacific. It’s a far cry from the 1970s, when the airline used to market itself with a nudge-nudge play on its code: “Try CX. You’ll like it.”

Though all this may sound like an improbable 1960s throwback, in-flight harassment is an enduring, industry-wide problem. Global stats are hard to come by because such behavior often goes unreported, or may be logged as an in-flight “incident.” But veteran flight attendants with international experience say it is a semiregular occurrence and an unfortunate fact of the job. The new rules in Hong Kong, for instance, follow a survey by Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunity Commission, which found that 27% of Hong Kong flight attendants reported being sexually harassed in the past year.

Statutory protection is a step in the right direction, but is still limited in scope. In drafting their proposal, Hong Kong officials looked to existing laws in Canada, New Zealand and Australia — a small slice of the travel pie. Some markets still lack harassment laws, many the will to enforce them. And it is notoriously tough to pursue claims against someone who may live and work elsewhere.

Part of the problem is that in-flight offenders are emboldened by a perception that they will not be called out. Airlines are certainly not the only place where this happens — creeps and criminals are universal — but there is something about flying that seems to bring it out, says Kathleen M. Barry, author of Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants. “There has always been that sense that there is something distinctive about being on an airplane, it is a space apart, away from your family, removed from normal constraints of a service relationship.”

Airline marketing has not helped. In 1974’s Sex Objects in the Sky: A Personal Account of the Stewardess Rebellion, Paula Kane observed a link between the rise of sexy ad campaigns (“Fly me”), salacious depictions of stewardesses and real-life, one-the-job harassment. Her businessmen customers felt entitled to a “pinch or a pat.” Some still do.

Today, few would venture to grab a bank teller’s breast, or to casually show a shop assistant or receptionist part of their anatomy without expecting consequences. But both still happen in-flight, cabin crew say. One Chinese employee for a German airline told me in an email how the mere act of pouring a beverage — a humdrum part of the job — prompted one passenger to joke about ejaculating on her. (Fearing repercussions at work, she asked to withhold her name.)

Flight attendants have led the charge to change the industry. Bolstered by the civil rights movement and feminist activism, workers at U.S.-based airlines successfully campaigned for an end to things like age and weight limits and the requirement that stewardesses stay single. They also fought for better pay and benefits. In doing so, they helped changed the perception that working on an aircraft is somehow not real work at all.

Current conditions vary widely across regions and carriers. The International Transport Workers’ Federation last year called out the United Arab Emirates and Qatar for “flagrant abuses” of aviation-workers’ rights (including restrictions on marriage and pregnancy). Hong Kong–headquartered Cathay Pacific has a strong and vocal union, but flight attendants in mainland China cannot organize. Major Chinese airlines still have height and age requirements. At a 2011 recruitment pageant, prospective hires had to walk a runway in swimsuits and were evaluated on the shape of their legs.

Of course, it is not really about what recruits wear, or how they look, but about power. Flight attendants could wear potato sacks and still get hassled. Stopping would-be offenders means showing passengers and staff alike that abuse will not be tolerated, says Heather Poole, an industry veteran and the author of the bestseller Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet. “There’s a reason foreign carriers like to keep their flight attendants young,” she says. In her experience, young people, who often have less job security, may be hesitant to speak up.

When, as a rookie, she was groped by a passenger in first class, she fled to the galley and did not report it. “I had just started flying, and I didn’t want to lose my job by causing a problem with an important passenger,” she recalled in an email. “I still don’t [know] who I’d go to for something like that. The union? Human resources? A 1-800 number?”

For Hong Kong–based crew, at least, the new rules may provide some help. And at least the issue is being discussed. But tackling the problem globally will require all jurisdictions, and airlines, to step up. Not to mention passengers. “I’d suggest that any person with a propensity to act out in this manner consider traveling as if their mother is sitting next to them,” Poole says. “An 18-year-old new hire may handle a situation differently than a flight attendant with 10 years’ seniority and a black belt in Taekwondo.”

Creeps: consider yourself warned.

TIME Companies

Almost 70% of Facebook’s Employees Are Male

+ READ ARTICLE

Like many other tech companies, Facebook does not boast an especially diverse workforce. The social network revealed the demographic makeup of its staff for the first time Wednesday, following similar disclosures from competitors such as Google and Yahoo. Facebook’s global workforce is currently 69% male and 31% female. While 57% of the company’s employees in the U.S. are white, another 34% are Asian, 4% are Hispanic, 3% are multi-racial and 2% are black.

On the tech side of the company, the numbers are more skewed, with 85% of workers being male and 94% being white or Asian. There’s more parity gender-wise among non-tech jobs, where 53% or workers are male and 47% are female.

Facebook

 

01_ethnicity_all2
Facebook

Men are also dominant in senior level positions, comprising 77% of the workforce compared to women’s 23%. 74% of top-level employees are white, while 19% are Asian. Just 6% are black, Hispanic, or multiracial.

Facebook acknowledged in a blog post that it has a long way to go to build a diverse workforce. “Diversity is something that we’re treating as everyone’s responsibility at Facebook, and the challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we’re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook,” the company said.

The social network mentioned several initiatives to improve its diversity, including: launching a strategic diversity team; expanding Facebook University, an internship program aimed at college students from underrepresented groups; and partnering with training programs such as Girls Who Code, Code 2040 and national groups for black and Hispanic engineers.

Facebook’s diversity figures are about in line with data released by its peers. Google’s staff is 30% female and 9% black, Hispanic or multiracial, while Yahoo’s is 37% female and 8% black, Hispanic or multiracial. For all the companies mentioned, gender data is for all employees worldwide while ethnic data is for workers in the U.S. only.

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser