TIME beauty

Other Women Don’t Like Your Sexy Profile Picture

"Sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive"

You might want to think twice before making that bikini shot your profile picture—you could be inviting other women’s scorn. A study released Monday by Oregon State University found that young women judged peers with “sexy social media photos” to be less attractive, less likable and incompetent.

“There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive,” said psychology researcher Elizabeth Daniels.

Daniels and her team created a fake Facebook profile for 20-year-old “Amanda Johnson,” who likes Lady Gaga, The Notebook, and Twilight (don’t we all?). More than a hundred young women between the ages of 13 and 25 were randomly assigned to view Amanda’s profile with either a “non-sexy” picture (Amanda in jeans, a t-shirt and a scarf) or a “sexy” picture (Amanda in “a low-cut red dress with a slit up one leg to mid-thigh and a visible garter belt”). They were then asked to rate Amanda’s attractiveness, likability and competence on a scale from 1 to 7.

The results are depressing. “Sexy” Amanda scored lower in all fields. The largest disparity between the two profiles occurred in her supposed competence, meaning that the sexy picture particularly hindered other women’s perception of her abilities.

However, Daniels also pointed out the negative side effects of having a wholesome photo, such as missing out “on social rewards, including attention from boys and men.” (And that’s really a woman’s main motivator for everything, right?)

But, don’t worry, ladies: Daniels and her team have some keen suggestions on how to avoid others’ baseless assumptions. “Daniels’ advice for girls and young women is to select social media photos that showcase their identity rather than her appearance, such as one from a trip or one that highlights participation in a sport or hobby,” OSU writes.

An important lesson: When other people judge you (and your social media presence) unfairly, it’s up to you to change. Thanks, science.

TIME career

It Will Take 75 Years for Women to Achieve Equal Pay, Says Oxfam

Poverty, discrimination and unpaid labor are among the barriers facing women

Women still have a ways to go until they’re paid the same as men. According to a new report released today by Oxfam, the gender pay gap will likely close in 75 years, as long as it continues to melt away at its current rate.

The agency is encouraging G20 countries to asses their agendas on gender inequality when they summit in Australia later this year. Oxfam asks member countries to extend their commitment to tackling barriers to women’s social and economic participation set in the 2012 Los Cabos Declaration.

Long-standing gender discrimination and poverty prevent women from realizing their full economic potential, which can suppress a country’s economic growth. The report works to address the systematic issues present in member countries by incorporating gender equality measures in fiscal economic policy and social infrastructure and governance—one measure suggests redistributing taxes to compensate for wage gaps.

With the worlds largest economies, G20 members have a lot to gain from a gender-equitable economy. Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima explained the shortcomings. “Meanwhile, if women’s paid employment rates were the same as men’s, the USA’s GDP would increase by nine per cent, the Eurozone’s by 13 per cent and Japan’s by 16 per cent,” said Byanyima.

The 2014 Australian G20 Summit will be held in Brisbane this coming November.

TIME Television

Lizzy Caplan: Masters of Sex Wouldn’t Be the Same Made by a Man

Masters of Sex
Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson and Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters in Masters of Sex Michael Desmond—Showtime

The show's female creator is important — but not for the reason you might guess

With the second season of Masters of Sex premiering July 13, the women who make the show what it is — creator Michelle Ashford, along with executive producers Amy Lippman and Sarah Timberman — spoke to TIME about how the show addresses the mechanics and the pleasure of sex, all while avoiding voyeurism.

But that’s not where their feminine sides really show through. Star Lizzy Caplan says that there’s no way to say whether a sex scene written by a man versus one written by a woman is more gratuitous — but that there is one element of the show’s arc that wouldn’t be possible if the show weren’t created by women. And, ironically, it’s something that has very little to do with sex (though it does contain spoilers for last season):

Our show would look completely different if it were run by a man instead of Michelle supported by two other strong women. I think the first thing that would look a lot different would be the love triangle between Masters and his wife and Virginia. I think we still have a lot more story to tell there but one of the things that fascinated all the women — Caitlin Fitzgerald, who plays [Masters' wife] Libby, included — was the fact that Virginia and Libby really did cultivate this loving friendship with one another while all of this was going on. The care given to that — not making the Libby character super two-dimensional and the Virginia character this man-eater — I think that has a female touch written all over it. Also, especially in the second season, there’s a lot revolving around Virginia and Dr. DePaul, played by Julianne Nicholson. Again, the meticulous care given to that relationship is something that only a woman would understand. There is a deep emotional love connection in female friendships and I don’t even know if guys are aware that’s going on.

But that’s not to say that Caplan doesn’t think their depiction of on-screen sex isn’t woman-friendly: “I think they’ve managed to do that,” she says of the show’s racier scenes, “where it doesn’t feel like it’s being made for 14-year-old boys.”

MONEY Portfolios

For $50 You Can Push For More Female CEOs — But Is It a Good Investment?

Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo.
Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two new products let you invest in companies led by female executives. Whether this is a good idea depends on what you hope to achieve.

On Thursday, Barclays is launching a new index and exchange-traded note (WIL) that lets retail investors buy shares — at $50 a pop — of a basket of large U.S. companies led by women, including PepsiCoPEPSICO INC. PEP 0.8464% , IBMINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. IBM 0.1743% , and XeroxXEROX CORP. XRX 0.2954% . This should be exciting news for anyone disappointed by the lack of women in top corporate roles.

After all, female CEOs still make up less than 5% of Fortune 500 chiefs and less than 17% of board members — despite earning 44% of master’s degrees in business and management.

The new ETN is not the only tool of its kind: This past June, former Bank of America executive Sallie Krawcheck opened an index fund tracking global companies with female leadership — and online brokerage Motif Investing currently offers a custom portfolio of shares in women-led companies.

The big question is whether this type of socially-conscious investing is valuable — either to investors or to the goal of increasing female corporate leadership. Is it wise to let your conscience dictate how you manage your savings? And assuming you care about gender representation in the corporate world, is there any evidence that these investments will actually lead to more diversity?

Here’s what experts and research suggest:

Getting better-than-average returns shouldn’t be your motivation. Beyond the promise of effecting social change, the Barclays and Pax indexes are marketed with the suggestion that woman-led companies tend to do better than peers. It’s true that some evidence shows businesses can benefit from female leadership, with correlations between more women in top positions and higher returns on equity, lower volatility, and market-beating returns.

But correlation isn’t causation, and other research suggests that when businesses appoint female leadership, it may be a sign that crisis is brewing — the so-called “glass cliff.” Yet another study finds that limiting your investments to socially-responsible companies comes with costs.

Taken together, the pros and cons of conscience-based investing seem generally to cancel each other out. “Our research shows socially responsible investments do no better or worse than the broader stock market,” says Morningstar fund analyst Robert Goldsborough. “Over time the ups and downs tend to even out.”

As always, fees should be a consideration. Even if the underlying companies in a fund are good investments, high fees can eat away at your returns. Krawcheck’s Pax Ellevate Global Women’s fund charges 0.99% — far more than the 0.30% fee for the Vanguard Total World Stock Index (VTWSX). Investing only in U.S. companies, the new Barclays ETN is cheaper, with 0.45% in expenses, though the comparable Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO) charges only 0.05% — a difference that can add up over time:

image-29
Note: Projections based on current expenses and a $10,000 investment.

If supporting women is very important to you, you might consider investing in a broad, cheap index and using the money you saved on fees to invest directly in the best female-led companies — or you could simply donate to a non-profit supporting women’s causes.

If you still love this idea, that’s okay — just limit your exposure. There is an argument that supporting female leadership through investments could be more powerful than making a donation to a non-profit. The hope is that if enough investor cash flows to businesses led by women, “companies will take notice” and make more efforts to advance women in top positions, says Sue Meirs, Barclays COO for Equity and Funds Structured Markets Sales in the Americas. If investing in one of these indexes feels like the best way to support top-down gender diversity — and worth the cost — you could do worse than these industry-diversified offerings. “Investing as a social statement can be a fine thing,” says financial planner Sheryl Garrett, “though you don’t want to put all of your money toward a token investment.” Garrett suggests limiting your exposure to 10% of your overall portfolio.

TIME Books

Can Hermione From Harry Potter ‘Have It All’?

11/00/2001. Film "Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone"
Hermione Grainger (Emma Watson) WEINBERGER K./GAMMA—Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

An aside by Rita Skeeter gets at a pretty profound question

It’s commonly accepted that “having it all” — the catchall phrase for a person, usually a woman, having a fulfilling career and family life all at once — isn’t easy. Anne-Marie Slaughter famously thinks it’s possible, but not in today’s world. The CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi, says it’s just not possible. Kim Kardashian, apparently, believes it can be achieved if you work really hard — despite any evidence to the contrary.

But maybe it’s even harder than anyone thought — so much so that even magic doesn’t make it easy.

In her newly released update on the denizens of the Harry Potter universe, which arrived July 8 in the form of a Rita Skeeter gossip column posted to Rowling’s Potter hub Pottermore.com, author J.K. Rowling included this tidbit on the life of Hermione Weasley (née Granger):

After a meteoric rise to Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, she is now tipped to go even higher within the Ministry, and is also mother to son, Hugo, and daughter, Rose. Does Hermione Granger prove that a witch really can have it all? (No — look at her hair.)

This is unsurprising: Rowling has made clear in the past that the question of “having it all” is one with which she’s wrestled. Rowling has said in the past that Molly Weasley’s lack of a day job doesn’t make her “just a mother”; that there’s a level of equality possible in the wizarding world that’s rare in ours, since there’s no question that both sexes can be just as good at spells; and that Hermione — who Rowling says is an “exaggeration” of herself — shows how difficult it is to live up to external ideas of what’s expected of a woman. Those familiar with Rowling’s pre-Potter days will may also see a real-life parallel, as she’s described her status at that time as “full-time mother, part-time worker, secret novelist.” As Hermione and her creator—and even the actress who played her—have learned, fame and money can make working women busy in a different — but still imperfect — way.

But, in a way, the answer to the question of having it all is buried in that snippet about Hermione — and the answer is “yes.”

After all, Rita Skeeter, in whose voice Rowling has presented her latest story, isn’t exactly a reliable narrator. Rather, she’s invested in putting Hermione down, and her proof that Hermione can’t have it all is one that Rowling herself has already countered. Hermione’s hair is unruly, and we know that even witches are subjected to unrealistic standards of beauty (well, unrealistic for non-veela witches, at least), but we also know that there are magical ways to fit in. A little Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion could make Hermione’s hair lie flat, but in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione notes that it’s just too much of a bother to spend a lot of time every day worrying about her hair.

If Hermione’s hair doesn’t match Rita Skeeter’s standards, that’s her prerogative — and that sounds, in terms of having it all, pretty magical.

 

TIME Military

The Navy Is Getting Its First-Ever Female 4-Star Admiral

She also helped save Captain Phillips

American military history was made Tuesday when Michelle Howard became the first woman in the U.S. Navy to be promoted to a four-star admiral. Howard was also named Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said during a ceremony that Howard’s promotion to the Navy’s second-highest position is a “representation of how far we have come, and how far she has helped bring us.” But Mabus added that “there is no news here today,” because according to him, the best officer got the job.

The 54-year-old Howard was also the first black woman to command a ship and the first to become a three-star Naval officer.

Howard is best known for leading Task Force 151, which saved merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips when he was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009.

The newly appointed four-star admiral was humble at the ceremony. “I’m just very proud of our service,” Howard said.

TIME movies

Susan Sarandon Wore Prosthetic Cankles for Tammy, and They Were Liberating

Susan Sarandon in Tammy
Susan Sarandon in 'Tammy' Michael Tackett / Warner Bros.

Playing a grandmother has its advantages, the actress tells TIME

Susan Sarandon knows that it can be risky for an actress to mess with her appearance. “If you’re a woman and you gain weight for a part and you look really terrible, the business is more concerned about hiring you than when a guy does it,” she tells TIME. “I mean, people do sometimes have a lack of imagination and just think, ‘Oh wow, she’s really changed.’”

But when Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone asked her to play McCarthy’s grandmother, Pearl, in their new road-trip comedy, Tammy (out July 2), Sarandon’s concern wasn’t that it was dangerous to go gray as a grandmother — even if, in reality, McCarthy is less than 25 years younger than she is. Sarandon did the math and decided the role was age-appropriate: if Pearl had her daughter as a teen mom, and her daughter was a teen mom too, the character of Tammy could easily be 30 — “I mean, [McCarthy]’s not playing 40; she looks about 4,” Sarandon jokes — and Pearl could still be younger than Sarandon, who’s about to be a grandmother in real life.

Sarandon’s bigger concern was whether how exaggerated the grandma-ness would be. If Pearl were all about facial hair, little glasses and a funny voice, she says, she worried the extras would distract viewers from the personhood of the character. When it became clear that McCarthy and Falcone had in mind to keep the character realistic, despite the crazy situations she gets into, Sarandon signed on. And the Pearl costume ended up relatively minimal, relying heavily on three sets of prosthetic “cankles,” for different degrees of the swollen ankles that figure into the movie’s plot; minimized eyebrows and eyelashes; peppercorns in her shoes for when the character’s feet were supposed to be hurting; and a grandma-approved wardrobe.

“If you put on a pair of baggy, high-waisted, under-your-breasts, elasticized jeans, it does change your outlook,” Sarandon says. “But she could be 70, and I’m almost 68. Pearl has just led a very aging, hard life and doesn’t have the advantage of my makeup and hair people.”

It’s not news that aging in the real world and aging in Hollywood are different, though both can be tough. For Sarandon, playing the former wasn’t all bad, as it meant that she didn’t have to waste any energy worrying about her appearance while she did her job. “It’s very liberating, actually, to not ever be looking at what you look like,” she says. “You hope that whenever you’re working your makeup and hair people are catching things and you don’t have to pay attention, but certainly I’m aware. I can’t help after all these years to be aware, if you’re being badly lit from above or if the camera is at your knee, but in this instance that helped everything.”

In the real world and in movies alike, Sarandon thinks it’s important to show people who are old enough to be grandparents doing more than sitting around at home. “You can’t suddenly just decide, Oh God, I’m old, because then you certainly are old. And age — I don’t want to say age is a number because that’s a really silly expression,” Sarandon says. “There are so many women who are my age and older who are so vital and engaged and creative and still working. That’s why all these young kids are having problems in the workplace, because people are not retiring.”

And that means showing those people who have a lack of imagination that playing a gray-haired grandmother doesn’t mean an actress is looking for “old lady” parts — and it certainly doesn’t mean wearing grandma pants forever. “I’m very aware,” Sarandon says, “that I’m glamming it up for the premiere.”

 

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 Culture

This Ad Completely Redefines the Phrase “Like a Girl”

Acting "like a girl" should not be an insult

After today, you’ll probably never use the phrase “like a girl” in a negative way—intentionally or not—again.

A new video seeks to redefine the phrase “like a girl,” as something strong and powerful. It’s part of the larger #LikeAGirl campaign by Always, the feminine hygiene brand owned by Procter & Gamble. Award-winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, who directed the 2012 documentary, Queen of Versailles, teamed up with Always to illustrate the brand’s mission to empower females and attack what Always calls a “the self-esteem crisis” among young girls.

In the video, a cast of men and women of all ages are asked to describe what they think the phrase “like a girl” means. The result is troubling. Waving hands and flipping hair, the participants pretend to run “like a girl” and throw “like a girl.” Everyone—except, notably, the young girls—demonstrate that “just like a girl” is often perceived as an insult. Yet the young girls act out athletic and deliberate motions. The others soon realize their mistake.

Branded female empowerment campaigns are nothing new: Consider Dove’s “Real Beauty” ads, which use simple props to show how “real” women feel about themselves. And Pantene has done similar work, with a focus on dismantling gender stereotypes in the workplace. All of these ads have gone viral—an advertiser’s dream.

The #LikeAGirl video could follow a similar path. Either way, it’s worth taking a minute to watch the video to see what these young girls have to say. After all, as one woman points out in the video, “I am a girl and that is not something that I should be ashamed of.”

TIME career

Matt Lauer Asked Mary Barra If She Can Be a Good Mom and Run GM

GM CEO Mary Barra Testifies At House Hearing On Ignition Switch Recall
General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson--Getty Images) Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Just months after Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was disappointed in Barra "woman to woman."

In an exclusive TODAY show interview with Mary Barra, Matt Lauer asked the General Motors CEO if it was possible for her to run a major automaker and be a good mom at the same time.

Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview:

LAUER: You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom.

BARRA: Correct. (smiling.)

LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?

BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team, we’re on the right path…I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I’m pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this.

Lauer also asked her about the speculation that despite her 30 years of experience at the company, she may have gotten the job because of the desire to have a maternal figure guide the company through a rocky time.

LAUER: I want to tread lightly here. You’ve heard this, you heard it in Congress. You got this job because you’re hugely qualified, 30 years in this company a variety of different jobs. But some people are speculating that you also got this job because as a woman and as a mom because people within General Motors knew this company was in for a very tough time and as a woman and a mom you could present a softer image and softer face for this company as it goes through this horrible episode. Does it make sense or does it make you bristle?

BARRA: Well it’s absolutely not true. I believe I was selected for this job based on my qualifications. We dealt with this issue — when the senior leadership of this company knew about this issue, we dealt with this issue.

This interrogation comes just a few months after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told Barra during her Senate questioning that “woman to woman, I’m disappointed.”

How’s this for a question: Can Matt Lauer be a good dad and host the Today Show? Let’s discuss.

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