TIME celebrity

Emma Watson Laughs In The Face of Turkish Politician’s Sexism

2014 Tribeca Film Festival - "Boulevard"
-Actress Emma Watson attends the premiere of "Boulevard" during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 20, 2014 in New York City. Steve Mack--FilmMagic

The Harry Potter actress and newly named Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women laughs in the face of sexism

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc sparked outrage earlier this week when he addressed a crowd celebrating the end of Ramadan and then launched into a lament about the erosion of traditional values. The politician noted that “A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public.”

Public backlash was swift, and it seems Arinc has even annoyed Hermione with his comments. On Thursday, Emma Watson joined the online protest — where women have been defiantly tweeting and posting photos of themselves laughing — by sharing a photo of herself doubled over. And on the street, no less!

The Harry Potter star and newly named Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women is just one of thousands of women who have been protesting the politician’s remarks and even included the hashtage #direnkahkaha, which translates to “resist laughter.” Enough people have joined in on the backlash against Arinc’s remarks that both the hashtags ‎#direnkahkaha and #direnkadin (“resist woman”) have become trending topics on Twitter.

So far, more than 16,000 people have retweeted Watson’s photo.

TIME movies

Here Comes the Manic Pixie Hot Mess

Anna Kendrick in Happy Christmas
Anna Kendrick in 'Happy Christmas' Magnolia Pictures

Move aside, dream girls--female characters' problems are no longer charming accoutrements. And that's a good thing

Even the creator of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl wants her to go away. The movie archetype, as first defined by Nathan Rabin in a 2007 A.V. Club piece about the film Elizabethtown, “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Though the MPDG has had a long reign as one of moviedom’s favorite female types, alongside the “Damsel in Distress” and the “Strong Female Character,” Rabin made news this month by apologizing, in Salon, for ever inventing the phrase in the first place. The concept, he wrote, had been diluted as it became more popular, becoming a cliché about any slightly quirky woman and losing its critical power.

But, with apologies to Rabin, who also decries the permutations of Manic Pixie Something or Other that have proliferated in his creation’s wake, there’s perhaps another reason for the term to go away: the Dream Girl’s place in the zeitgeist has been taken over by the Hot Mess.

Exhibit A: Anna Kendrick’s starring role in Happy Christmas, the new Joe Swanberg movie arriving in theaters Aug. 1. (It’s also available on VOD.) Kendrick plays Jenny, a young woman who moves in with her brother and sister-in-law and their baby after a bad breakup; though her life is pretty much falling apart — she sleeps in the basement, is an unreliable babysitter and gets so wasted that she’s essentially another child in the house — having her there isn’t all bad for her hosts. She’s got that young, unhinged energy that they seem to have lost.

So, at least at first, Jenny has the hallmarks of someone who might be lumped under the MPDG umbrella by those overusing the term. She’s pretty; she’s quirky; she shows up suddenly and helps people out.

Except that’s not the only thing she does. For one thing, though “pixie” types — Natalie Portman in Garden State for example — can have their own problems, their movies aren’t really about their problems. Their problems are, rather, charming accoutrements. In Happy Christmas, however, Jenny’s problems are solid. They’re actually dangerous, to herself and others — this is way beyond Cute Clumsy Girl territory — and they’re things you might actually worry about if you had a screw-up sister. She may be sweet, but her sweetness isn’t enough to make her a good house guest. Still, she’s not a traditional Damsel in Distress. Though she does need help, she doesn’t need to be rescued, at least not by another person. As Rabin points out in his Salon essay, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope “is a fundamentally sexist one”: the MPDG exists only in relation to the (male) lead. As soon as the character becomes the lead herself, as soon as her problems really matter, she’s out. Furthermore, the person who’s really helped by Jenny in Happy Christmas is her sister-in-law, not her love interest; even her use as a foil for another character is sisterly, not sexist.

And who else appears in Happy Christmas? Lena Dunham. Though Dunham’s character — a friend of Jenny’s — is actually pretty put together, the actress and writer can get a lot of credit for making young women with messy lives a subject of pop-culture fascination. That messiness is the focus of Girls, a show that exposes the ways in which even the most “with-it” person is inevitably hiding a crack underneath her veneer. The women on Girls don’t float down to use their quirkiness to help dudes out, because they need all their energy to help themselves. (If anything, the guys on the show, Adam especially, are the ones who use their weirdness in mystical, healing ways.)

So messiness is having a moment. In April, Katy Steinmetz explained for TIME how “hot mess,” A phrase now associated with Amy Schumer and her Comedy Central show, has come to denote someone who is “in obvious disarray” and yet remains attractive, a meaning that’s been in use for only about 10 years. Inside Amy Schumer and Girls are very different shows, but both have made it clear that audiences are eager for a type of female character who’s neither magical nor in need of rescuing nor heroically strong. (Schumer’s persona, however, isn’t exactly “manic pixie” anything — she remains attractive despite her disorder, but her attractiveness isn’t usually of the indie-twee-offbeat variety, which is what differentiates the protagonists of Happy Christmas and Girls from your garden-variety hot mess.)

Even New Girl, despite the fact that its star Zooey Deschanel is often held up as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl exemplar, fits the bill: protagonist Jess drops into the lives of four men and adds a touch of fun, but she’s got problems and back story of her own, as well as the focus of the show’s creators. Just as Deschanel has made sure that her real-life detractors know that the bit of pixie in her personality doesn’t mean they can’t take her seriously, New Girl is best when Jess is messing things up and capable of getting herself together, all at once. That balancing act is true of all the best examples of the trope: the woman in question often has an Anthropologie-inflected, Brooklyn-in-quotes appeal that lots of real-life women strive for, she’s struggling to figure things out, she wouldn’t say no to a hand but in the end she’ll probably figure it out on her own.

There are hints that the type is sticking around. Happy Christmas was preceded by the prime example that was Obvious Child, and this fall’s Laggies — which stars Keira Knightley as a woman struggling so much with growing up that she tries to pass herself off as a teenager — looks to continue the trend. And it’s notable that even shows like New Girl, which don’t strive for the grittiness of Swanberg’s films, are giving their female leads such imperfections. Because “messy,” of course, can also be shorthand for “real.” So, if the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s creator wants the world to stop using that formula, here’s another way to sum up the archetype in question: human.

TIME Money

If Women Had Their Own Currency, Here’s What It Would Be Worth

Photo Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

Don't spend your $0.77 all at once

After a little girl asked President Obama why there aren’t any women on U.S. currency, he said Wednesday that adding some female faces to our cash sounded like a “pretty good idea.” Almost immediately, all of our fantasies came alive on the web. What would, let’s say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg look like on a $20 bill? Where would we spend our Beyoncé $10 bill first? Will our grandmas give us a Susan B. Anthony $5 bill on our birthdays and tell us not to spend it all at once?

But then we remembered: because of the wage gap, a dollar for a woman is not the same as a dollar for a man. Although the true extent of the gender pay gap is widely disputed even among feminists, President Obama said in the 2014 State of the Union that women make only 77¢ for every dollar a man makes.

So here’s what U.S. currency would really look like, with women’s faces and women’s wages:

A Harriet Tubman $20 would only be worth $15.40.

Photo Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

A Sandra Day O’Connor $10 would only be worth $7.70.

Photo Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

A Rosa Parks $5 would only be worth $3.85.

Photo Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

A Gloria Steinem $1 would only be worth $0.77.

Photo Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

That just shrunk your 401(k).

TIME politics

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Male Justices Have ‘Blind Spot’ About Women

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the taping of "The Kalb Report" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. on April 17, 2014.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the taping of "The Kalb Report" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. on April 17, 2014. Alex Wong—Getty Images

Notorious R.B.G strikes again

In the wake of the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows religious employers to deny birth control coverage to female employees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the male justices in the majority have a “blind spot” about women’s issues.

“Do you believe that the five male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision?” Katie Couric asked Ginsburg in a Yahoo interview.

“I would have to say no,” Ginsburg replied.

“But justices continue to think and change. They have wives. They have daughters,” she continued. “By the way, I think daughters can change the perception of their fathers. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow.”

But will Ginsburg still be on the court tomorrow? Some liberals are urging Ginsburg, 81, to retire so President Obama can fill her seat with another Democrat.

“All I can say is that I am still here and likely to remain for a while,” she said.

So it looks like Notorious R.B.G is here to stay, and now she finally knows about her nickname. Couric asked her about the Tumblr a female fan created that compares Ginsburg to the rapper Notorious B.I.G.

“She has created a wonderful thing with Notorious R.B.G.,” Ginsburg said. “I will admit I had to be told by my law clerks, what’s this Notorious. And they — they explained that to me.”

TIME Culture

Outer Space Is the Best Place to Be For Young Actresses

Zoe Saldana corners lucrative sci-fi roles in an tough industry for women

+ READ ARTICLE

Look over Zoe Saldana’s IMDB page and a pattern begins to emerge: the actress stars in Star Trek, Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy—all science-fiction franchises, the latter two of which paint her a different skin color (blue and green, respectively). No other actor can lay claim to roles in so many simultaneous big-budget sci-fi flicks, so why is Saldana playing an alien (or space traveler) over and over again? In some ways the answer is obvious: her movies have grossed over $5 billion.

But there’s another reason Saldana says she carved out the niché for herself: things are just better for women in space.

Hollywood’s woman problem is well-documented: researchers at San Diego State University found that women made up just 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters and 30% of all speaking characters in movies last year.

And it’s even harder for women of color to make themselves bankable movie stars. (Zaldana’s mother was Puerto Rican and her father was from the Dominican Republic.) Only six of the top 500 box office films of all-time feature a protagonist who is a woman of color, according to the Representation Project. What’s worse: none of those films were in the top 200 grossing films of all-time, and the top five movies starring women of color are all animated—Pocahontas, Mulan, Spirited Away, Lilo & Stitch and The Princess and the Frog.

But sci-fi has historically been a particularly ripe area for marginalized groups, including women and minorities. The original Star Trek broke social ground by taking on issues of race and gender through the guise of alien diplomacy, and perhaps the most iconic kick-ass woman in movie history—Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley—was the protagonist in the Alien movies.

Saldana has her own explanation for gravitating toward science fiction: “You know why? Because the people we discriminate against in sci-fi movies are the aliens. We make them the villains,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have to make somebody bad.”

“Eighty percent of what’s out there is told through the point of view of a male,” she continued. “I can sit down with so many filmmakers for so many projects and play so many actors’ girlfriends or wives. But in sci-fi, I can play Gamora.” For the uninitiated, Gamora is the alien criminal-turned-assassin from Guardians with superhuman strength.

Saldana’s not a one-trick pony: her resume also includes Rosemary in the NBC TV series remake of Rosemary’s Baby, a ballerina in Center Stage (she trained as a dancer growing up) and Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina. But sci-fi is her bread and butter, and it doesn’t look like she’ll be leaving behind the bright colored body paint anytime soon: she’s booked to star in the third Star Trek film, a second Guardians movie and three more Avatar sequels.

Science fiction does seem to be an increasingly ripe genre for women. Just look at such that category of movies from the past year: The Hunger Games, Divergent and Lucy all gave top billing to women. (You could arguably include Gravity on that list.) Star Trek Into Darkness, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer and Guardians of the Galaxy also featured robust female parts. Even Gwyneth Paltrow got to kick butt at the end of Iron Man 3.

And those fantasy movies starring women have been a huge success at the box office. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire grossed over $424.6 million, Gravity $274 million and last weekend, Lucy exceeded box office analysts’ expectations by about $10 million, grossing $43.8 million so far. It’s no fluke: studies have shown that movies with strong female roles make more money.

So if an actress is going to get typecast, it might as well be as a sci-fi hero. It’s a lucrative business.

MONEY women

VOTE: Who Should Be the First Woman On a Modern Dollar Bill?

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iStock

Eleanor Roosevelt? Harriet Tubman? Beyoncé? Cast your vote in the poll below.

Is it time to put a woman on our paper currency? President Obama went on record today saying it’s a “pretty good idea.” During a speech in Kansas City, Obama said he received a letter from a young girl asking why there aren’t any women on American paper money. (Dollar coins with Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea are still in circulation, but they are no longer being minted, and Martha Washington appeared on a paper note in the 19th century.)

Well, if Congress is taking suggestions… who do you think should get the honor? Take our poll:

 

Here are nominations from our readers — some silly, and some serious. (Some answers were lightly edited for length and clarity.)

Sojourner Truth

Loretta Lynn

“Loretta Lynn is Appalachian royalty – the last area of the continent that is truly American with its own unique culture that hasn’t been watered down and corrupted by political correctness, big city immorality, and liberalism. Loretta wrote and sang songs from the heart and did a lot to bring women’s rights to areas of the country that otherwise would not have gotten on board. Make this southern, West Virginian white boy proud. Ayn Rand, although a semi-good author, ain’t even American.”
– James

Rosa Parks

“She set the wheels of justice in motion.”
– Jebediah

A close call

Sarah Palin

“One would be hard pressed to find a better representative of a modern American: ignorant, short sighted, narrow-minded, with an unabashed persistent goal of increasing personal wealth.”
– David

Janet Yellen

“The first female Chair at the Fed, quite possibly one of the most powerful people on the planet.”
– Daniel

Susan B. Anthony

“They gave her that stupid dollar coin that never took off! They need to make it up to her! If a woman is willing to get thrown to the ground, arrested, and abused when fighting for women’s rights, she deserves to be on a bill.”
– Michelle

Hattie Caraway

“The first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.”
– Adena

Sandra Day O’Connor

“The first woman on the Supreme Court. She did a lot more for this nation than at least half, if not more, of the people on your list.”
– David

Oprah

Katharine Hepburn

“She was the greatest actress in U.S. history. She won four Academy Awards, and she always fight for civil rights.”
– Victor

Lady Gaga

“Lady Gaga is the Queen, and if you don’t put her on the dollar bill, it might as well be blank.”
– Derek

Marie Curie

Minnie Mouse

“She has brought more tourism and money into the United States than any other female figure! Much more than any politician!”
– Maria

C.J. Walker

“Her story is the epitome of the American Dream. Born of poor sharecroppers in Louisiana, she became the first self-made millionaire woman – a huge feat for any woman of that time, but for a black woman of that time in the South, it is an amazing story.”
– Michelle

Jane Scott

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

“Jackie helped create what is now the JFK Library, and she helped save Grand Central Terminal. During her time in the White House she completely restored it and did a TV special on all her hard work, for which she won an Emmy. And Jackie raised two amazing children, Caroline, who is now ambassador to Japan, and the late John F. Kennedy Jr.”
– Kaitlyn

Dolly Madison

“She risked her life to save important items from the White House when the British invaded Washington and burned the White House. She was a beloved figure in Washington, D.C.”
– Margaret

Madeleine Albright

Betsy Ross

“She created our flag, the symbol of our freedom.”
– Lynn

It’s a tie

 

Have another nomination? Tweet us at @Money with #WOMENonMONEY to tell us who you support, or tell us in the form below, and we might publish your response:

 

TIME equality

What Our Culture of Overwork Is Doing to Mothers

Zia Soleil—Getty Images

Just as women were catching up to men in the workplace, the rules changed again

A slew of new research suggests that equality between the sexes, the rise of which seemed to stop in the ’90s like a three-day old helium balloon, is back in the ascendant. But it also suggests women aren’t paid as much as men because of the longer hours that are now required of employees to get ahead.

In one of several papers released for an online symposium on gender balance by the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF), researchers analyzed data from the General Social Survey, which monitors attitudes in the U.S. toward various social trends. They found that after a negative turn in the late 1990s and early 2000s, attitudes toward working mothers had become more positive in recent years. In 2012 fewer people believed that working mothers were less ideal than stay-at-home mothers, had a lower chance of bonding with their children and that their preschool kids suffered for their absence.

In one of the biggest changes, only a third of the people surveyed in 2012 (down from 42% in 2000) think that the best type of family set-up is the so-called traditional one: where the father is the breadwinner and the mother is the one who turns it into little sandwiches with the crusts cut off then cleans it all up afterward.

But according to researchers at Indiana University Bloomington (IU), changes in heart about working mothers are only a subsection of the path leading to equal pay. In a little-noticed study published in April’s issue of the American Sociological Review, the authors pointed to the culture of “overwork” as one of the drivers of lower pay for women. “One reason for the stall in gender equity during the 1990s was a change in typical work weeks and remuneration patterns,” wrote Youngjoo Cha, assistant professor of sociology at IU in a companion brief for the CCF symposium. “This period saw a significant rise in ‘overwork,’ the practice of consistently working 50 hours or more a week, along with a dramatic increase in the financial incentives for working long hours.”

Cha’s research suggests that, along with the higher rewards offered, higher expectations for productivity have been placed on salaried workers. Because mothers, who tend to be the primary parents, feel pressure to be at home and with their children, they sometimes cannot find the extra 10 to 15 hours in their week to keep up with these expectations, nor can they reap the rewards. ‘These trends may have encouraged some couples to revert to a more traditional division of labor, by increasing the likelihood of wives’ quitting their jobs and prioritizing husbands’ careers,” writes Cha.

Moreover the “overwork” trend creates a bit of a vicious cycle, in which those who cannot keep up with the pace, but do not wish to, or cannot afford to leave full-time employment get seen as lazy or less productive. Sociologist Joan Williams refers to the new “ideal worker norm,” in which employees are expected to be available around the clock on any day of the week, whether by email or phone or in person. “Those who do not work long hours, or those who take time off from work for family responsibilities,” says Cha, “are viewed as uncommitted, not serious about their careers, and lacking in loyalty to the organization.” So they tend to get left high and dry when promotion and bonus time comes around.

“As of 2007, 17% of men, but only 7% of women were working 50 or more hours a week,” writes Cha in the report. The “overpay” that the mostly men are receiving for their “overwork” could account for as much as 10% of the pay gap since 2007.

The upshot is, that while attitudes toward mothers who work outside the home may have softened, there seems to be a keep-up or shut-up system in place at the office. This doesn’t just affect women of course, but, as even successful women can tell you, the social penalties for being an too-busy-to-parent father are much lower than those for the too-busy-to-be-parent mother.

It wasn’t all grim news on the gender front though. The gap between the views of liberals and conservatives on the role of mothers has been narrowing, for one. “In fact, during the ‘restart’ of the gender revolution in the 2000s the greatest increase in the extent of egalitarian views has occurred among conservatives,” writes David Cotter, professor and chair of sociology at Union College in New York, one of the authors of the study on attitudes toward working moms.

And from the home office, a happy bulletin. That whole when-housework-is shared-there’s-no-nooky story that made waves recently? That’s based on old data, according to another paper. When looking at data from 2006 “couples who shared domestic labor had sex at least as often, and were at least as satisfied with the frequency and quality of their sex, as couples where the woman did the bulk of the housework,” wrote Sharon Sassler, a professor in policy analysis and management at Cornell University. “It’s good news for couples, not bad, that men have more than doubled the amount of housework they do since the 1960s.”

TIME Congress

House Republicans Unveil Women’s Legislation in Push for Female Voters

Speaker Boehner And House GOP Leadership Address The Media After Their Weekly Conference
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers listens during a briefing at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington on March 5, 2014 Alex Wong—Getty Images

The party that was once against identity politics is learning to court the female vote

House Republicans on Wednesday will introduce a package of legislation aimed at helping “all Americans — particularly women — succeed at home and at work,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office told TIME exclusively. McMorris Rodgers has been spearheading the House effort to draft and introduce the measures for months. For a party that has loathed identity politics, the moment is an acknowledgment of how powerful female voters have become.

“As a wife, mom, and member of Congress, I am proud to promote legislative solutions that celebrate the extraordinarily positive role women play in all sectors of our economy,” McMorris Rodgers, the No. 4 House Republican and the highest-ranking woman in GOP leadership, tells TIME. “Simply put: these bills will make life better for millions of Americans.”

Democrats have focused almost their entire 2014 agenda around issues that affect female voters, from pay equity to increasing the minimum wage, which impacts women disproportionately. They are hoping that by turning out single women, a reliably Democratic group but one that doesn’t often turn out for midterm elections, they can keep the Senate from flipping.

Republicans are seeking to check that move by appealing to women themselves, and McMorris Rodgers’ pitch on Wednesday is part of that effort. The move, part of a coordinated GOP effort to woo women this year, is striking. Republicans have long eschewed identity politics and, aside from George W. Bush’s courtship of soccer and security moms, have never made such a push as seen this year to court an individual voting bloc.

The package consists of several bills the House has already passed that increase job training, incentivize flexible work schedules, tax breaks for children and families, and strengthens charter schools. Most of the bills have been DOA in the Senate in an election year, though in a less polarized time they might have drawn some support. Democrats have introduced several similar workplace flexibility bills. The package also includes some new legislation to prevent retaliation when women ask about equal pay, a bill that restores cuts to home Medicare health care services and Child Care and Development Block Grant legislation, a bipartisan bill that has already passed the Senate and would become law if passed by the House.

With more and more women working, flexibility for both parents has become an increasingly popular issue on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Three-fourths of women are in the workforce today, women manage over 80% of household income, and more than 60% of women with children under 6 are working, according to Labor Department statistics. “We absolutely believe that women should absolutely get equal pay for equal work,” McMorris Rodgers says. “If there’s discrimination taking place then laws need to be strengthened. Equal pay was passed in 1963, civil rights in 1964, it’s been the law of the land but we are looking at strengthening those laws … The workforce has changed. Our laws should too.” Democrats have brought up legislation allowing women an indefinite amount of time to sue for loss of equal pay, but Republicans have shot down those bills as too onerous on employers, preferring a route that strengthens penalties as a deterrence.

Democrats have a 10-point advantage with women voters, according to a July Pew Research Center poll. While, conversely, Republicans have a 12-point edge with male voters, men turn out proportionately 10% less than female voters. All of which is to say, the female vote is much more powerful. The only time Republicans have won the female vote since 1984 — by less than 2 percentage points in 2010 — they took back the House and nearly flipped the Senate. Democrats, who hold a two-point lead in generic poll matchups, say the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and right-wing calls to impeach President Obama have helped bolster their case this year with women. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House, says 60% of donations reaped by their $2.1 million anti-impeachment fundraising haul have come from women.

Senate Republicans Kelly Ayotte and Deb Fischer have introduced their own flexible work legislation—Fischer also introduced a package of equal pay, paid leave and microfinance bills—and the Republican National Committee recently held a women’s summit to bolster candidate recruitment and training. The RNC also launched “14 in 14” a program, which recruits young women to volunteer at least 30 minutes of their time every week for the 14 weeks leading up to the midterm elections. They will recruit other volunteers, potential candidates, identify female voters, work phone banks and help get people to the polls on election day.

All of these GOP efforts are also pushback on Democratic assertions that Republicans are waging a “war on women,” trying to limit not only abortion rights, but access to contraception — a narrative the Hobby Lobby decision, which ruled that a private company’s owners could refuse to pay as part of employee health insurance certain kinds of contraception in the face of their Christian beliefs — plays into. The GOP made a coordinated effort over the past two years to train their candidates and members to speak more delicately about issues of rape and abortion after inopportune comments offending women by two GOP Senate candidates arguably cost the party control of the Senate in 2012.

At the same time, Republicans have countered with an emphasis on economic issues. An RNC poll out last month found that women voters care more about the economy and jobs than social issues. “Democrats have long tried to reduce women to single-issue voters, and Republican have consistently called them out for failing to respect the fact that women vote on a wide range of issues,” the RNC’s Sharon Day wrote in an op-ed on Real Clear Politics on June 24. “By relying on cynical political attacks like the ‘war on women’ that lack substance, Democrats have failed to provide women with solutions to our top concerns.”

McMorris Rodgers’ efforts dovetail with the broader GOP push to turn the conversation away from hot-button topics to areas where Republicans are stronger, and frankly more comfortable discussing, like the economy. But given the House’s crowded schedule, looking to pass a bill overhauling the Veterans Affairs Department, an $11 billion patch on transport ion infrastructure funding and dealing with the influx of child refugees, the legislation is unlikely to pass before they break on Friday for a five-week summer recess. “After 2010, women on the Democratic side looked at that and said, we’ve got to do something, and they came up with the ‘war on women,’” McMorris Rodgers tells TIME. “And unfortunately a couple of our guys weeks before the election in 2012 made some really outrageous comments that are not reflective of the entire Republican Party and yet were very damaging. So we have some work to do to build the trust and to make sure that people recognize that the policies that we’re promoting for men and women will empower them and make a better life for them.”

TIME relationships

Sigh: Men Think Women Who Listen to Them Are Sexier

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Listening woman Image Source RF/Wonwoo Lee—Getty Images/Image Source

A new study shows that men think women who are aware of their feelings are attractive, but it didn't necessarily work the other way around

Dusty Springfield was right all those years ago when she said the best way to a man’s heart was to “show him that you care.” A new study shows that men are more sexually attracted to “responsive” women who tend to their needs, but the same can’t be said about what attracts women to men.

The study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that after just meeting, men were more likely to be sexually attracted to a woman who was “responsive,” which meant “aware of what I’m thinking and feeling” or “listening to me.” Men perceived responsive women as more feminine, and therefore more sexually attractive.

Dr. Gurit Birnbaum, one of the authors of the study, said that “responsiveness” could also indicate which women would be viewed as long-term partners vs. short term hookups. “A responsive partner may be perceived as a warm and caring and therefore a desirable long-term partner,” she said in an email.

Unsurprisingly, the female attitude towards male “responsiveness” was more complicated. On the one hand, some women saw responsiveness as an indication that the man would be a desirable mate, while others suspiciously viewed it as a ploy to manipulate them into sex. Still others thought that “responsiveness” was un-masculine, and therefore not sexy.

So there might be actually some science behind the whole “nice guys finish last” thing.

What a bummer.

TIME feminism

I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…

Bob Aylott—Getty Images

While the world should certainly have respect for feminism, I’d like to see feminism have a little more respect for chaos and ambiguity.

The worst part about writing everything you’re about to read has been the ever-present thought, Please God, do not let Women Against Feminism think that I am even remotely on their side. I will never, ever, be “against feminism” — whatever that means. But I’d like to have a chat about it, a moment to engage in a little womansplaining.

My issues with an ascendant strain of feminism — wherein attacks and likes and tweets and retweets are substitutes for thought, and actually reading what someone wrote — did not begin with The Fault in Our Stars, but it’s a good place to start. Back in June, Slate published a piece about adults reading books meant for kids, making the case that we should read more sophisticated, age-appropriate material. Three days later, Medium published a response entitled “Why Criticizing Young Adult Fiction is Sexist.” If irritation were fatal, I’d have perished where I sat.

But my patience with regard to other purportedly feminist issues had been tried in smaller ways.

Like last year, when Sheryl Sandberg declared that the word bossy needed to be reclaimed. #BanBossy, the moms on my Facebook feed chorused, bragging about how they were going to teach their daughters that being bossy was actually great. Now, there is a reasonable conversation to be had about how women’s assertiveness is not valued, but #BanBossy was not my idea of a conversation. It was a cheap commodification of something more complicated.

#BanBossy was just one of the feminist flavors on Facebook that I tasted and immediately wanted to spit out. There is also the persistent complaint about airbrushing in magazines, as if fashion magazines have ever promised to be a woman’s friend, as if someone were forcing us to buy them. I’m not a fan of airbrushing any more than I am a fan of violent pornography, but I refuse to be surprised or upset that it’s at the heart of the beauty industry, and I don’t look to Anna Wintour for my sense of self-worth. When Jezebel offered $10,000 for the unretouched photos of Lena Dunham’s photos in Vogue, I cried to the heavens, “Wake me up when it’s over.” My celestial alarm clock remains unrung.

The University of California, Santa Barbara, shooting was a rallying point for many feminists, but even as I watched Elliot Rodger on YouTube saying horribly misogynist things, I couldn’t get behind the idea that he’d done what he did because of an endemic hatred of women. My mind, skidding over the insanity, found traction on the issues of guns and deteriorating mental illness. But according to my social-media feeds, I had gone to the wrong place. “If you don’t think this is about misogyny there is something wrong with you,” proclaimed one status. After a Wall Street Journal opinion piece drew a psychological connection between the shooting and the entertainment industry, blame shifted haphazardly from the shooter to Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen.

The theme continued last month when Benjamin Wallace profiled Terry Richardson for New York magazine. (I know Wallace but have not seen him in more than 10 years). Whatever I think of Richardson, Wallace had written clearly and thoroughly about a complicated subject. His reporting had also uncovered new allegations. The headline —“Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator?” — seemed a reasonable way to suggest culpability without getting sued.

So I was surprised by the attacks on him. Guardian writer and feminist journalist Jessica Valenti tweeted, “Maybe Terry Richardson will lay off coercing girls now that he got such a huge BJ from NYMAG.” Jezebel reported that Wallace withheld portions of an interview with a source so he could “placate the powerful.” Really? Or was it possible that reporting and writing about a convoluted situation involving lots of people didn’t lead to simple conclusions? Of course a discussion about that wouldn’t be as exciting or as tidy as accusations of a hidden agenda.

In some ways, the tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant. Fifteen hundred women are murdered each year by their male partners, 1 in 5 female students in the U.S. has been sexually assaulted during her college tenure, and women who write about such issues are stalked and threatened. Never mind the discrepancies in the workplace or household. We need feminism. Still, the pain that we experience as women — even physical — does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some godlike understanding of everyone’s motivations. Believe me, I have walked out of at least one Judd Apatow movie because I didn’t enjoy his female characters, but I do not believe the man belongs anywhere near a conversation about mass murder.

A few months ago, I read Nassim Nicholas Talib’s The Black Swan. One passage in particular sticks with me: “Categorizing is necessary for humans, but it becomes pathological when the category is seen as definitive, preventing people from considering the fuzziness of boundaries, let alone revising their categories…” I think about what’s going on in Nigeria right now. Hundreds of girls have been kidnapped; less reported is that fact that their male counterparts have been murdered. #bringbackourgirls is effectively telling the majority of Americans the story of Nigeria — not because it is an accurate or complete story but because feminism helps us categorize and make sense out of what is actually chaos.

I have always called myself a feminist and have no plans to quit. But while I think that the world should certainly have respect for feminism, I’d like to see feminism have a little more respect for chaos and ambiguity. Right now we are in a loop of “This is good.” “This is bad.” “This person is sexist.” The Internet and its outrage machine are to blame for some of this lashing out. So is the human desire to lay blame, shouting “It is you who did this! You who thinks adults shouldn’t read teen books! You who make movies where not-so-hot guys get hot girls! You who wrote an article about a bad person and didn’t say he was as bad as I think he is!”

I think back to the Facebook comment about the Santa Barbara shooting: “If you don’t think this is about misogyny there is something wrong with you.” I suppose the thing that is wrong with me is that while I can’t escape the urge to categorize, I am aware of its potential to become pathological.

Miller writes for NewYorker.com and The Hairpin, among other outlets, and has published two novels, Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl.

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