The Most Feminist Moments of 2014

(Photo Credit: YouTube)

From Malala, Beyoncé and Mo’ne Davis to Emma Watson and Taylor Swift, click through for 39 feminist moments from 2014 that made us say YAY.


Kanye’s take:

“I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.”


Can’t Tell Me Nothing

(Gif Credit: Gawker)

Last Thursday was American Thanksgiving. Tradition dictates that each Thanksgiving the president pardon a turkey, and this year was no different. For a teenager (OK for anyone, really) it’s a ho-hum ceremony: the president says a few words and that’s that. I imagine Sasha and Malia, Obama’s 16- and 13-year-old daughters, had more interesting ways to spend their day off school then attending a purely ceremonial press conference, but they showed up anyway. GOP congressional staffer (update: now former GOP congressional staffer–she has resigned, and today is her last day) Elizabeth Lauten took to Facebook to write this of what she perceived to be the teens’ appearances/attitudes at the event:

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you.”

She continued to ask the girls to “dress like [they] deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.” Naturally, people were unimpressed. Lauten shortly followed up with this response:

“Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”

It’s public scrutiny that in Canada, Harper’s kids (did you know he had two kids?) arguably aren’t under….or at least, aren’t under to the same degree. While the U.S. has formal roles for the spouse of the president (First Lady) and family (First Family), in Canada, the spouse of the prime minister is simply….the spouse of the prime minister.

Kanye’s take: Like a fine wine, the perfect outfit cannot be produced in an instant.

“So I’m into this monochromatic thing. I’m always happy when I have a monochromatic outfit that isn’t black, and that usually takes like seven years’ worth of shopping to get right. You’ll have like these green pants you got in Japan and this one shirt that you got on tour in Seattle in a thrift store, and this one jacket.”

Below: A decidedly more interesting event: President Barack Obama, daughters Malia, left, Sasha, and Astronaut Janet Kavandi at the Kennedy Space Center in 2011.

President Barack Obama Visit to Kennedy Space Center (201104290020HQ)

(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)


ICYMI: End of November Edition

Jian Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault, and one count of overcoming resistance (choking). He was released on $100,000 bail into his mother’s custody. His lawyer, noted criminal deference lawyer, Marie Henein, told the court her client would plead “not guilty.” Ghomeshi’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 8. [Macleans]

Flare magazine received significant public backlash for an article published on their website called “Decoding Jian Ghomeshi’s Courthouse Style.” They have since issued a sort-of apology, and then a full apology. [CTV News]

“Imma let you finish, but…”

Kanye West at MTV VMA

(Photo credit: Photo Giddy

Hold up, Kanye.

It’s been a big year (years, really) for female autobiographies.  This week, Amy Poehler’s much awaited Yes, Please! hit shelves. Urban Outfitters has a great round-up of excerpts from the (very, very funny) book if you’re on the fence about purchasing. Also out this year was Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s #GirlBoss, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices. I haven’t managed to put down Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl since I began reading it in 2012, so let me know what other autobiographies I’ve likely missed.

Taylor Swift’s new album is about to go platinum. This is a big deal. Not one album (excluding the soundtrack from Frozen, naturally) has reached platinum status this year. To emphasis the immense popularity of Swift’s fifth studio album (and first attempt at a full pop album), 1989 is also on track to beat the first week record sales currently held by a little album you might remember from 2002, called Oops!…I Did it Again. Also this week, the Queen of the Charts decided to pull all of her music from streaming service Spotify, prompting the company to write her an open letter begging (seriously, begging) her to take them back.

We love Taylor Swift, and our more than 40 million users love her even more – nearly 16 million of them have played her songs in the last 30 days, and she’s on over 19 million playlists. We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.

PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.

Swift has been a very vocal proponent of paying musicians their true value, penning an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on the subject last year. Something tells me reconciliation between the singer and the brand isn’t in the cards. How does that song go again? “We are never, ever, ever….”

When someone asks if you have any leftover Halloween candy: No, I’ve already eaten it all. But I do have this really good video on female empowerment from last year! Important? Yes. Year-end performance reviews are upon us. Have you spent the whole year leaning in a la Sandberg, but are still getting passed over for promotions? In her 2013 TEDx talk, Susan Colantuono claims that women have been missing out a key 33% of the career advice trifecta. Watch and learn here.

Kanye’s take:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 7.59.35 PM

ICYMI: End of October Edition

Increasingly, companies (American companies) are covering the cost of egg freezing for women. Work more now, babies later: Will this be “the great equalizer?” [Time]

Like Sheryl Sandberg and dozens others before her, Ivanka Trump has picked up the women-at-work empowerment torch and started a website.  [Fortune]

Chris Noth, once “Mr. Big” on Sex and The City, has said some confusing things about Carrie Bradshaw:

“One of the things I tell people is that he never tried to pretend he was anything other than what he was. It was [Carrie] who tried to pretend he was something he wasn’t. He was always honest about himself — he never cheated on her. The relationship just didn’t work, and he went on to get married while she went on to … how many boyfriends did she have? She was such a whore! [laughs] There’s a misconception that Carrie was a victim of him, and that’s not the case — she was a strong, smart woman.”

[The Atlantic]

A group of Harvard law professors have publicly spoken out against the school’s new sexual misconduct policy which they find to be “inconsistent with many of the most basic principles we teach.” [The Star]


What Would Yeezus Wear? A Special Halloween-themed Post

In getting with the Halloween spirit–and yes, fine, just my general love of Kanye–I was beyond overjoyed to come across What Would Yeezus Wear, a blog run by @kathleenelee and @katieyuko. The girls like to switch it up: One day Kathleen is Kim, and the next she’s Kanye. The girls even make cameos as too-cool-for-preschool baby North West. They’ve replicated Kimye’s outfits, facial expressions, and background scenery incredibly well, and while doing little to alter their own physical appearances for the photos. May we use this moment as a reminder that a timely, pop culture Halloween costume can be very impressive without being deeply offensive.

(Photo credit: @__kives) 


This Was Always Bound 2 Be Complicated

Q the Outrage: Earlier this afternoon, Navigator, a firm well-known for its work in crisis management, and rock-it promotions, a PR agency that has worked with Ghomeshi for more than 15 years, both released statements that they will no longer be representing the former CBC radio host. With public opinion sharply turning against Ghomeshi–the once 110,000-odd “likes” on his tell-all Facebook post have been plummeting at a rate of 350 per hour, or 9,000 per day (you can watch the analytics in real time here)–it seems he’ll be hard pressed to find a Toronto-based PR team that will risk taking him as a client. And perhaps for good reason: Eight women have now come forward with claims of abuse by Ghomeshi, taking place over the last decade. Neither rock-it or Navigator has indicated specific reasons for dropping their client.

Screw Up at Work? It Probably Wasn’t as Bad as This

Kanye West 18

(Photo by: Rodrigo Ferrari,

Preface: Remember this? “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” – Kanye West going off-script during a live fundraiser for the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (He has since apologized. Kind of.)

Today, the Pulitzer prize-winning nonprofit ProPublica released a damning report of the American Red Cross’ actions–or apparently, lack thereof–during 2012’s Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac. The investigation, led by a team of reporters from ProPublica and NPR, claims the Red Cross “botched key elements of its mission.” Indiscretions that they claim occurred include wasting thousands of meals because they couldn’t find hungry people to give them to and failure to provide proper cots for the handicapped, leaving them to sleep in their wheelchairs for days. Internal Red Cross documents obtained by the reporters state that the organization failed to use its assets appropriately, and “divert[ed] assets for public relations purposes.”  The same internal report found the distribution of relief supplies to be “politically driven.” One Red Cross truck driver admits to being told to drive around “just to be seen.” Naturally, Red Cross officials told ProPublica that they “deny the group had made decisions based on public relations.”

“While it’s impossible to meet every need in the first chaotic hours and days of a disaster, we are proud that we were able to provide millions of people with hot meals, shelter, relief supplies and financial support during the 2012 hurricanes,” the charity wrote in a statement to ProPublica and NPR.

The Red Cross says it has cultivated a “culture of openness” that welcomes frank self-evaluation and says it has improved its ability to handle urban disasters. One reform, the Red Cross says, moved nearly one-third of its “disaster positions” out of national headquarters and into the field, closer to the victims.”

The situations aren’t identical, to be sure. (Different storms, different presidents and different cities, just to begin.) But the problems and frustrations Kanye was trying to articulate–targeted at the bureaucratic, political, economic issues so wrapped up in doling out aid–are all reflected here. You better bet he is somewhere screaming: “I told you so.”
UPDATE: Want to know more? The reporters will be doing an AMA on Reddit this Fri. Oct. 31.