TIME

Amal Alamuddin Is The Latest Exhibit in the Museum of Disempowered Women

Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney speaks to media in Athens, Oct. 13, 2014.
Lawyer Amal Clooney speaks to media in Athens on Oct. 13, 2014 Yorgos Karahalis—Reuters

The new Mrs. Clooney is advising the Greek government on its campaign to regain looted sculptures. But the overlapping interests of her and her husband feels uncomfortable

Amal Clooney, lawyer, is reported to be at the epicenter of “the west’s longest-running cultural row.” The Guardian, which coined the phrase, meant the two-century-long tussle between Athens and London over the rightful home of marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon between 1801 and 1805 by the English aristocrat Lord Elgin and later sold by him to the British Museum, where they still reside. Clooney, née Alamuddin, arrived in Greece on Oct. 13 at the invitation of the Greek Culture Minister to assist with the campaign for the marbles’ return.

But the frenzy of flashbulbs and fashion commentary that greeted Clooney’s visit shows that she has become entangled in a cultural row of greater longevity and importance than the disposition of some antique artworks, however significant those may be. Throughout her adult life, this 36-year-old attorney specializing in international jurisprudence, extradition and criminal law has stood on her own merits accomplished, independent, respected. Now her identity risks being spirited away as the sculptures she seeks to repatriate once were. Even in the 21st century and among first-world elites, marriage retains the power to transform women into appendages, while celebrity culture reliably reduces females to ciphers. Since Alamuddin’s engagement and Venice wedding to actor George Clooney, she has never been more closely observed by a wider audience — or in greater danger of disappearing.

You might say this is Amal Clooney’s business. It is she who chose to say “I do” not only to “Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor” but also to celebrity-encrusted nuptials that created “intimate, exclusive” images for the happy couple, friends, family and the many millions of readers of publications such as People and Hello! to enjoy, showcasing the bride’s ability not only to anatomize the unfair trial of al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt under the military-backed government but also to wear nice dresses and skyscraper heels. It is Clooney who chose to retire the maiden name of Alamuddin under which she had scored many career successes and a client roster including Julian Assange and Yulia Tymoshenko. It was not, however, Clooney who chose to memorialize her first professional foray as the new Mrs. Clooney with banal reportage like this (“Move over, Kate Middleton! There’s a new hair queen in town!”). Clooney has always seemed to wear her startling beauty as lightly as her startling accomplishments, and there is nothing to suggest that she has changed.

The problem — and the reason the media repurposing of Clooney from queen of jurisprudence to hair-queen matters — is that there is still a dearth of women who rise to prominence through their own merits, reflecting the harsh reality of a world resolutely skewed against female achievement.

Many interlocking mechanisms keep women down, but in watching the transmogrification — and trivialization — of Clooney we are witnessing one of the most pernicious of these. I laughed back in June, when Britain’s Daily Mail turned its report about a global summit on combatting sexual violence into a slavering commentary on Clooney’s appearance. I laughed at reporting of the Alamuddin-Clooney marriage so tremulously overexcited by the groom (two-time “sexiest man alive”!) that it characterized the bride’s crowning attainment as “snaring” him. I laughed louder at the spoof headlines this spectacle inspired: “Internationally Acclaimed Attorney Marries an Actor,” etc.

I also laughed at that actor’s ham-fisted attempt earlier this year to boost the long-running initiative to reclaim the Parthenon marbles for Greece. “Even in England, the polling is in favor of returning the Pantheon [sic] marbles, the marbles from the Pantheon,” George Clooney said during a promotional tour for his movie about the restitution of art looted by the Nazis, The Monuments Men.

There’s nothing wrong and a lot right with stars using their celebrity power to publicize worthy causes (though it’s generally better to do the research first). However the overlapping interest of Mr. and Mrs. Clooney in this case feels uncomfortable. The Greek government originally approached the then Amal Alamuddin in 2 B.C. — that’s 2011, two years Before Clooney entered her life. Greece sought her services and those of her storied colleagues at the London-based law firm Doughty Chambers for one reason only: their collective legal expertise. Now Mrs. Clooney’s involvement in the case has been ascribed a new and more tenuous value. “We will of course be discussing all our legal options but what we really want is to keep the issue alive,” a “well-placed policy maker” told the Guardian. “There would be no better way of doing that than getting Hollywood involved and, hopefully, [George] Clooney too.”

A brilliant lawyer and strong female role model is being misappropriated, to be put on show as the latest exhibit in the Museum of Disempowered Women. Never mind restoring the marbles to Greece: give us back Amal!

MONEY Careers

Career Advice for the New Mrs. Clooney

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Robino Salvatore—Getty Images

Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney. Chances are the name change won't hurt the human-rights attorney's career, but less famous wives may want to do some planning before adopting a spouse's name in the workplace.

Just back in the office after getting hitched to an actor in Venice, London-based human-rights attorney Amal Alamuddin is going by a new name: Mrs. Clooney. While the former Ms. Alamuddin, 36, has established a professional reputation under her own moniker, it’s safe to say that being identified as the woman who got the sexiest man alive to settle down won’t damage her career prospects.

But what about accomplished women who aren’t boldface names by marriage or—like Kim Kardashian, who announced earlier this summer that henceforth she would be known as Mrs. West—boldface names in their own right? Suddenly appearing in the workplace as Mrs. So-and-So can cause some confusion among clients and colleagues.

As we noted when Kim made it official, the fact that women are marrying later, often after they’ve spent years establishing a career, can make the change to a new name more complicated—and risky. If you’re considering going by a different handle in the workplace, here are eight steps to ease the transition without hurting your prospects.

1. Hedge your bets. Think about how costly it would be to cut off your connection to the body of work or marketing that’s tied to your maiden name. If that worries you, opt for a more moderate approach. “The easy out is to keep your maiden name at work and in professional contexts, but use your spouse’s last name socially,” says Danielle Tate, founder of MissNowMrs.com, a site that helps women change their legal name.

Another compromise is to use both surnames, either by making your maiden name your middle name, using both last names, or creating a hyphenated last name. Kim took this approach initially. Shortly after exchanging vows with Kayne, she changed the name on her social media accounts to Kim Kardashian West. And just as Kim has done, you can use both surnames for a brief transition period to help people get used to your new identity before dropping your maiden name.

2. Get help from your company. If you plan on making a complete switch, reach out for advice. “You don’t have to figure it out all on your own. You’re not the only who has gotten married or changed your name,” says Michelle Friedman, a career coach who specializes in women’s career advancement.

A good first move is to check in with your HR department, which may have policies in place outlining exactly what changes you need to make to your beneficiary designations, insurance benefits, company email and directory listing, and tax and Social Security forms. Aside from offering help with name-change paperwork, HR may be able to offer advice about managing contacts, as well as insights into how others in your industry have handled the change successfully (ask co-workers too).

3. Don’t make it a surprise. Give co-workers and clients ample notice about your name change to avoid confusion, especially if contact info such as your email address will be updated. Sandra Green, a U.K.-based executive coach, recommends reaching out a week to ten days before the wedding.

One easy way: Put a small note in your email signature in advance, says Julie Cohen, a Philadelphia career and personal coach. It’s an unobtrusive reminder and a good way to get people familiar with the change.

Not everyone in your email contact list needs to know. Run through your list of clients and sort them into groups based on the closeness of your working relationship. Some you’ll just need to include in a quick email blast, while others you should talk to directly.

“Obviously you don’t want to get on the phone with everyone, but in certain important client relationships this may be good to do,” says Friedman.

4. Stay on top of the technology. After you’ve made the switch, set up forwarding on your previous email account, or write an automatic reply that includes your new contact info. This way you don’t miss any important messages, and people have a longer grace period to update their contact info and adjust to your new name.

5. Go back in history. Give former employers and references a heads-up about this change as well. This way if you’re applying for a new job, your background check will go smoothly, and you won’t run the risk of having people mistakenly deny that you worked for their company.

6. Use this as an excuse to network. Send an email to everyone in your work circle. “Whenever someone changes jobs or retires, they send these emails about good news,” says Cohen. “Do the same with this.”

This also gives you a perfect excuse to remind your network what you’re up to. “You always want to remain in contact,” says Friedman. “But sometimes it’s hard to think of a natural reason for reaching out. This gives you a celebratory excuse.”

You could even send this blast twice, says Green. First a few days before the wedding and again after you return from your honeymoon, when the change is in place.

7. Make yourself easy to find. Think about how people locate you and your business. Is it through search, a review website, social media, or all of them? Update all your bios.

When you add your new name on sites like LinkedIn, keep a vestige of your old name. That can help people find you during the transition period. “Include your maiden name on social,” says Cohen. “If people are finding you by search it will serve you best to keep connected to both names.”

If you had a more common name or are making the switch to a more popular surname, adds Tate, having both names online could even help you come up higher in search results.

8. Update your memberships. To further help your new name show up high in search results and build up credibility for your new moniker, Friedman recommends having any professional organizations, alumni associations, company or community boards, or other groups you belong to change your name on their membership roles.

If you hold a leadership position or are listed elsewhere on an association website, perhaps for winning an award, request that the name change appear throughout. Ask to have any older content that can easily be altered, such as a post listing you as a guest speaker at a conference, updated too.

 

TIME celebrity

That’s Mrs. Clooney To You: Amal Alamuddin Takes Her Husband’s Name

George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin Civil Wedding
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin sighting during their civil wedding at Canal Grande on September 29, 2014 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Robino Salvatore/GC Images) Robino Salvatore—GC Images

It's official

World, meet Mrs. Clooney.

Human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin has returned from her honeymoon with George Clooney with a new name. Amal Alamuddin is now listed as Amal Clooney on the website for her London-based firm, Doughty Street Chambers. The choice is not all that surprising: Though the former Ms. Alamuddin is a high-profile attorney in her own right, the Clooney name obviously holds a lot of clout. And she’s not in the minority–most wives still take their husbands’ name.

The couple was married in Venice on Sept. 27. Amal Clooney has since traveled to Greece where she is helping to negotiate the return of the Parthenon marbles stolen by British diplomats over 200 years ago, according to People. The issue is an important one for her new husband as well: while promoting Monuments Men, George Clooney said that the British Museum ought to return the 2,500-year-old sculptures.

While Mrs. Clooney traveled to Greece, Mr. Clooney made a surprise appearance at New York Comic-Con to promote his upcoming Disney sci-fi flick, Tomorrowland. “It is not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic Con,” the actor joked at the event.

TIME movies

See George Clooney as a Hermit in the First Trailer for Tomorrowland

Lost writer Damon Lindelof teams up with Disney for the sci-fi movie

Disney hasn’t gone into much detail yet about their upcoming sci-fi and fantasy film, Tomorrowland—named after the theme land featured in Disney’s five amusement parks. What we do know is this: Britt Robertson plays a teenager who finds a pin that brings her to some futuristic universe, and George Clooney plays a hermit and aspiring inventor who reveals some of Tomorrowland’s secrets.

The film brings together writer Damon Lindeloff (Lost, Prometheus) and director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol). It is set to hit theaters on May 22, 2015.

TIME relationships

5 Reasons George Clooney’s Marriage Will Survive

George Clooney Amal Alamuddin wedding photos
People Magazine

The suave star and his new wife are the model modern couple

Celebrities, as anyone who has ever passed a magazine stand at the checkout knows, are always on the verge of divorcing. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie veer toward the off-ramp to splitsville at least once a month, or whenever tabloids aren’t selling so well. The Beyonce and Jay-Z rumor mill churns so hard, it could crush diamonds. Now that George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin have been wed long enough to have their wedding pictures sold for charity, we should expect to see rumors of the demise of their marriage any day now.

But be warned, ye Cassandras, Clooney and Alamuddin have gone about getting married in the way that sociologists say leads to a lower likelihood of divorce.

Here’s why, with help from economist and Brookings Institute egghead Isabel Sawhill’s new book Generation Unbound.

1) They’re Old.

Clooney is 53, Alamuddin 36. That’s higher than the average age people get married (for men it’s 29, and women it’s 27, although this is Clooney’s second marriage.) There’s a pretty strong correlation between the age at which you get married and the likelihood that your marriage survives, says Sawhill. “Later marriages are more durable than earlier ones,” she writes. “The most recent data suggest that it is best to wait until your mid-twenties, and better still your early thirties, if you want to reduce the risk of divorce.”

2) They’re Childless.

This may seem obvious, but in the U.S. it’s not. The average age at which women get married is now higher than the average age at which women have their first baby, notes Sawhill. Marriages that happen after children have a high rate of failure, especially if the children were unintended. Some studies show that in poorer families, who are often delaying marriage because they don’t feel they’re financially stable enough, a child is welcomed and “highly valued,” as Sawhill puts it. However, she notes “about four in ten [of these relationships] will have ended before the child is age 5.”

3) They’re Equally Educated.

Both Clooney and Alamuddin have similar interests and come from similar socio-economic backgrounds. Alamuddin’s mother was a journalist, Clooney’s dad was an anchorman. Alamuddin has way more formal education than Clooney, who never finished college, but seems to have picked up some useful skills. “The tendency of the well-educated to marry each other,” notes Sawhill is “what scientists call ‘assortative mating.”” Those relationships have proved to be the most stable.

4) They’re Wealthy.

Clearly Clooney’s wealth dwarfs Alamuddin’s, but she’s not without means. In any case, wealth — not crazy money, but a lack of need — tends to produce more stable families, or at least poverty produces unstable ones, especially if there are kids involved. This is such a big predictor of marital stability that sociologists are not quite sure if richer people have more stable marriage or whether more stable marriages produce better wealth.

5) They Decided.

Clooney, you may have noticed, dated a lot of women before marrying Alamuddin. He even lived with some of them. But the relationships never just slid into marriage because they had nowhere else to go. Alamuddin and Clooney had only been dating for about a year when they got married, and only about six months before they got engaged. This is in contrast to many families which are founded out of convenience or lack of choice. “The less privileged …are drifting into relationships they did not plan and frequently cannot maintain,” writes Sawhill. Those who carefully choose their spouses and delay starting a family until they have chosen one, tend to stay married.

Of course, these trends may fade to meaninglessness in the blinding glare of living in the public eye, which, if the reality shows are to be believed, is not very easy on newlyweds. Nevertheless, we’re sure nobody is hinting at a Clooney-Alamuddin rift yet. Or are they?

 

TIME Bizarre

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TIME 2016 Election

The Odds of George Clooney Running for President Just Doubled

Italy Clooney Wedding
George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin leave the city hall after their civil marriage ceremony in Venice, Italy, Luigi Costantini—AP

At least one British Bookie thinks marrying Amal Alamuddin may have been a shrewd political move

A Clooney/Pitt ticket in 2016, perhaps?

The likelihood that George Clooney will run for President of the United States doubled after he married prominent international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, according to the British bookmakers William Hill.

The company announced Wednesday that it cut the price of a bet that Clooney will run in half, from 200/1 to 100/1, after “hints made by family members” that the actor has political ambitions.

On Sunday Clooney married prominent international jurist Amal Alamuddin in a high profile Venice wedding.

“George Clooney is not just one of the most recognisable faces in the USA, but in the world, and if he did decide to run for President he ticks a lot of boxes,” William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said.

Hill still doesn’t think Clooney can win, putting those odds at 500 to one.

And who would beat him? Probably Hillary Clinton, who they place as the five to one favorite on winning the White House in 2016.

TIME Media

This Article Nails the Most Frustrating Thing About the Alamuddin-Clooney Wedding

ITALY-US-BRITAIN-PEOPLE-WEDDING-CLOONEY
US actor George Clooney and British lawyer Amal Alamuddin arrive on September 29, 2014 at the palazzo Ca Farsetti in Venice, for a civil ceremony to officialise their wedding. PIERRE TEYSSOT—AFP/Getty Images

George who?

While the Internet fawned over the nuptials of George Clooney to Amal Alamuddin this past weekend, one website had a fresh take on the story that, well, wins.

“Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor,” declared The Business Woman Media.

The rest of the story, which is fantastic, tells of Alamuddin’s many extraordinary accomplishments as a leading international human rights jurist, plus her personal elegance and excellent taste in shoes.

“Little is known of Amal’s earlier relationships (we assume she was climbing that corporate ladder and smashing glass ceilings),” writes Internet-winning blogger Amanda Rose, “but she’s tying the knot with an actor, whose name is George Clooney, we’re told.”

Standing ovation.

TIME celebrities

From Goofy Teen to Dashing Groom: George Clooney’s Life in Pictures

In honor of the sexiest man alive becoming the sexiest husband alive, here's a look back at Clooney's life, loves and long career

TIME movies

George Clooney Set To Direct Movie About Britain’s Phone-Hacking Scandal

Omega Le Jardin Secret Dinner Party
SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 16: (CHINA OUT) Actor George Clooney arrives for the red carpet of Omega Le Jardin Secret dinner party on May 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images) ChinaFotoPress—ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

We hope Hugh Grant plays himself

George Clooney is on board to direct a big screen adaptation about the tabloid phone-hacking scandal that engulfed Britain in controversy.

The Sony Pictures film will be adapted from the 2014 book Hack Attack by journalist Nick Davies. The book explores how staff at the British tabloid the News of the World — owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch — hacked into voice mails of politicians, celebrities, members of the royal family and crime victims looking for scoops. Davies was one of the journalists responsible for exposing the phone-hacking, which resulted in the shuttering of News of the World, the arrests of several top editors and an extensive government inquiry into Britain’s journalism practices. The film adaptation could potentially have a large pool of talent to tap into as Sienna Miller, Steve Coogan and Hugh Grant were just a few of the high-profile figures who gave testimony at the inquiry about their own experiences with the tabloids.

“This has all the elements – lying, corruption, blackmail – at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London,” Clooney said of the project in a statement released Wednesday. “And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.”

Clooney also has a personal connection to the film’s subject matter. The actor, who received an Oscar nod for filmmaking in 2005 for Good Night, and Good Luck, about radio and television journalist Edward R. Murrow, is also the son of an American broadcast journalist, Nick Clooney. What’s more, earlier this year he blasted British paper The Daily Mail for a false story about his fiancée Amal Alamuddin and accused it of fabricating stories.

We’re not expecting the British press to appear in the best light in the upcoming film.

[Deadline]

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