Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sally Yates says she warned the White House about Flynn, not a single female senator is working on the latest version of the health care bill, and Dove’s new bottles spark some very entertaining tweets. Enjoy your Tuesday.
• A real beauty bust. Dove is one of the originators of femveritising—the practice of harnessing feminism or “girl power” in advertising. And there are certainly aspects of some its iconic “Real Beauty” campaign that resonate. After all, the beauty industry has historically spent a lot of time making women feel bad about themselves, so it’s refreshing to see any message of positivity and self-love.
But Dove took a wrong turn yesterday when it released its latest body wash bottles, which come in a variety of shapes to… well, I’ll let the company explain: “From curvaceous to slender, tall to petite, and whatever your skin colour, shoe size or hair type, beauty comes in a million different shapes and sizes. Our six exclusive bottle designs represent this diversity: just like women, we wanted to show that our iconic bottle can come in all shapes and sizes, too,” said Dove in a statement.
Not surprisingly, Twitter users had some fun with the new bottles. While the campaign isn’t a misfire on the scale of Pepsi’s recent “protest” commercial, it still feels silly at best, condescending at worst. I don’t know about you, but I have never felt oppressed by the shape of my toiletry bottles—and I do not appreciate a company that so oversimplifies the complicated issue of how our society views women’s bodies.
It’s a good reminder: Companies that use feminist themes in their ads may well buy into some of the messaging they use and can even help spread important ideas. But at the end of the day, they create those campaigns for one reason—to sell you their stuff.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Yates goes on the record. Testifying before Congress yesterday afternoon, former attorney general Sally Yates filled in several details about the chain of events that led to the firing of President Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn. Yates says she knew that Flynn had misled the administration about his conversations with the Russian ambassador because she’d seen government intercepts of their talks—and that she told the White House counsel that having lied about those discussions made Flynn susceptible to Russian blackmail. She said she expected the White House to act quickly when she shared the information, yet Flynn was not fired until two weeks later.
• Mansplaining health care? A number of female lawmakers—including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA)—have publicly objected to the fact that there are 13 men and zero women working on the Senate’s version of the health care reform bill.
• Reaching for the Sky. Wendy Walsh, one of the women who accused Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, met with British regulator Ofcom yesterday. The former regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor is apparently lobbying for the U.K. to block Rupert Murdoch and Fox News parent 21st Century Fox from taking full control of Britain’s pay-TV group Sky.
• A Clinton subtweet. Hillary Clinton fired off a tweet about the French election that did more than just congratulate Emmanuel Macron—it also took a swipe at the media. She called his win a “defeat to those interfering w/democracy,” adding: “(But the media says I can’t talk about that)” The aside is a reference to publications that slammed her for saying that the Russian hack was partly to blame for her loss of the 2016 presidential election.
• First femme. The BBC has an interesting mini-profile of Brigitte Macron, the new first lady of France.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Uber has hired leading AI researcher and University of Toronto associate professor Raquel Urtasun to head up its self-driving efforts in Canada. Longtime Microsoft exec Julie Larson-Green, has stepped down from her position as leader of the Office Experience Organization as she recovers from spinal cord surgery, but says she will remain with the company in a different capacity. Jennifer Manry, Capital One VP of Enterprise Tech, has joined the advisory board of Women Who Code.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Bottom-up diversity. In many ways, TJX Cos.—parent company of off-price retailers T.J. Maxx and Marshalls—is a beacon of corporate diversity. More than three-quarters of employees are women, people of color make up more than half the workforce, and it is considered a top employer for gay and disabled employees. Yet all of the company’s top executives are white men.
• Investing in women. The Business Development Bank of Canada and seed-stage investor MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund are launching StandUp Ventures. The new fund will invest in Canadian startups in health, IT and clean-tech that have at least one female founder.
• Ladies of the Lions. Women will account for nearly half of judges at next month’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—essentially the Oscars of the ad industry. That’s a significant increase over previous years: Until 2015, only one in five judges were women.
• Meet Macel. Meet Christine Macel, chief curator of the Pompidou Center in Paris and curator of this year’s Venice Biennale, described by the New York Times as “probably the most important woman whom you’ve never heard of in the European art world.”
New York Times
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ON MY RADAR
Dolly Parton issues final checks to those displaced by smoky mountain wildfire
Tiffany Trump will attend Georgetown Law School in the fall
Emma Watson takes first major gender-neutral movie award
Sarah Jessica Parker will open her second SJP boutique in Las Vegas this summer
The Hollywood Reporter