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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We’re looking forward to Anna Wintour’s big night (a.k.a the Met Ball), our notions of “electability” need a rethink, and women are taking the fall for male greed—or are they? Have a productive Monday.
• Unpacking electability. If I could pick one word to eliminate from the English language for the next year and a half, it would be “electability.” It’s not the actual definition that bothers me—everyone wants to support a candidate who has a real shot at getting the votes. It’s the implications the word has taken on, particularly in the context of female candidates. Too often, it’s deployed as shorthand: “Don’t spend your time or energy considering this woman—we all know only a man can win.” Invoking the word has become the way to dismiss a female candidate without ever digging all the way down to the real question: not can a woman win, but can this woman win?
No wonder the women running for the Democratic nomination dance around the term in this New York Times piece—including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand who cuts herself off halfway through voicing it. Instead, the story looks at the specific evidence that three of those candidates, Gillibrand, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, have put forward that they can—and have—won over conservative and working class voters and triumphed over formidable rivals.
The story also notes the way female candidates find themselves tasked with answering for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss in a way their male counterparts do not. Yet the same people who read that race as a sign that a woman cannot win the presidency don’t seem to see the Pink Wave that swept through the midterms as having any larger electoral significance.
I recommend taking a moment to read the full story—though I can’t stop myself from spoiling the final paragraph:
“Ms. Warren, Ms. Gillibrand, Ms. Harris and Ms. Klobuchar can all claim an interesting distinction: They have never lost an election in their political careers. All of the most prominent male Democratic candidates, including Mr. Biden, Mr. Buttigieg, Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, have lost at least one.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Greed is good—for men. This op-ed contrasts the current cohort of women facing jail time for white collar crimes—scammer Anna Sorokin, actress Lori Loughlin, and Bridgegate participant Bridget Anne Kelly—with the enormous number of men who’ve walked for arguably greater crimes, asking: “Are women taking the cosmic fall for male greed?”
New York Times
• A Christian and a challenger. Rachel Held Evans, a best-selling Christian author who WaPo describes as “unafraid to wade into fierce theological battles over issues such as the role of women, science, LGBT issues and politics,” died Saturday in Nashville. She was 37. Misogyny in the church was one of her many targets; she spent a year literally following the Bible’s instruction for women for her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, which made a case for putting more women in religious leadership roles and making marriage more egalitarian.
The Washington Post
• Going country. While you may know Nashville as Music City, the town has another claim to fame: its award-winning female chefs. Women like Margot McCormick, Deb Paquette, and Maneet Chauhan have helped transform Nashville’s food scene into one of the country’s best. Check out a rundown of their restaurants here.
• Camping out. It’s Met Ball time again! Do you look forward to the annual Anna Wintour-hosted evening of outfit insanity (as I do)? Or are you clueless as to why anyone would think it’s a big deal? Either way, you’ll learn something from NYT fashion savant Vanessa Friedman’s breakdown of the evening—and this year’s theme: “Camp: Notes on Fashion.”
New York Times
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Fintech finding. A new KPMG study of 91 financial tech companies in the U.K. finds that the firms with at least one female founder had, on average, more than double the rate of return than those founded by men.
• No scrubs? Three cheers for Jessica Anderson, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital who set a world record as the fastest woman to complete a marathon while dressed in professional nursing garb. Now, three boos for Guinness World Records, which is apparently refusing to acknowledge the accomplishment because Anderson was wearing scrubs with trousers, rather than “a blue or white dress, a pinafore apron and a traditional nurse’s cap.”
• Grrrl power. Were (or are?) you a riot grrrl? Regardless, I bet you’ll enjoy this look back at some of the classics of the ’90s feminist scene.
New York Times