Saudi Women Drivers, U.S. Softball, Bill Clinton Whiffs on #MeToo: Broadsheet for June 5
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Women are driving in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. softball team is just too good, and Bill Clinton still can’t answer the tough questions. Have a terrific Tuesday.
• Bill too. You’d think Bill Clinton would have a good comeback by now.
The former president seemed downright blindsided yesterday when an NBC anchor asked him how, in light of the #MeToo movement, his affair with Monica Lewinsky had tainted his presidential legacy and whether he owed the one-time White House intern an apology.
Clinton assumed a defensive stance: “This was litigated 20 years ago…” he said, and, no he doesn’t owe Lewinsky a personal apology. “I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry.”
There’s lots to unpack here. Lewinsky herself has written how the #MeToo lens has helped her see “the implications of the power differentials… between a president and a White House intern” in a new light. But what was perhaps most telling about the Clinton interview was how surprised Clinton was to field the questions at all, and how unprepared he seemed in answering them.
As Rebecca Traister writes for The Cut, the appearance underscored how women like those surrounding Clinton—Hillary, Monica, Chelsea—are repeatedly forced to make sense of the actions of misbehaving men, while the perpetrators themselves rarely have to.
Women are perpetually asked to be the cops, the police, the bosses of their bosses, the judges of their judges; the ones held responsible for patrolling and controlling and meting out punishment against—or graciously forgiving—men who trespass. And god help us if we get it wrong.
Despite Clinton’s wholly inadequate responses, it’s encouraging that the #MeToo movement (and Clinton’s new book that he—naturally!—was on-air promoting) is forcing men to finally answer some of these questions themselves.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Driving change? Saudi Arabia handed out its first drivers’ licenses to women yesterday—earlier than expected. It’s a big step toward rolling back the kingdom’s oppression of women, but it followed the arrest of some vocal opponents of the driving ban and underscores an area where there’s been little progress: reforming the male guardianship laws. The Cut
• Healthy competition. The U.S. softball team is too good at the game. The sport was voted back into the Olympics for the Tokyo 2020 Games, but it’s not guaranteed to stay long term if competition isn’t healthy. That’s why the U.S.—a three-time gold medalist on the Olympic diamond—is taking the dramatic step of helping its opponents get better. Wall Street Journal
• Well-heeled. Tamara Mellon’s eponymous shoe brand has raised $24 million in Series B funding, with existing investor New Enterprise Associates and new investor Quadrille Capital getting in on the round. The co-founder of the Jimmy Choo brand started her direct-to-consumer luxury footwear company in 2016; so far it’s raised a total of $37 million in capital. L.A. Business Journal
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami, in the role since 2006, is leaving the children’s TV network in another executive shake-up at parent Viacom. Sarah Levy, COO of Viacom Media Networks, will serve as interim head of Nickelodeon. Lisa Osofsky, a former U.S. federal prosecutor who’s also worked at the FBI and Goldman Sachs, will be the new director of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office. Thrive Global has hired Yardley Ip Pohl as its chief product officer. Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson will become vice chair of the Starbucks board when Howard Schultz steps down later this month.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Price ain’t right. Pharmaceutical companies have been able to raise the prices of drugs to treat conditions that make sex painful for women because the topic—women’s sex lives and their vaginas—is still largely taboo. Perhaps this story itself will be a turning point. New York Times
• Foul language. Buoyed by their historic win on abortion rights, women in Ireland are eyeing a new target: language in the constitution that refers to a woman’s place as in the home. There are no direct legal implications of the clause in contemporary Ireland, but the wording is considered by some as undermining women. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has vowed to put the issue to a referendum and the vote could happen as early as October. Guardian
• Lots at steak. At Kate Williams’ Lady of the House restaurant in Detroit, every steak is made from about a half-pound of carrots rolled into cinnamon bun-form. “[T]ake a bite, and it’s smooth but firm all the way though—no mush, no crunch,” writes NYT‘s Pete Wells. Williams isn’t just taking a chance on passing veggies off as meat; in opening her restaurant in Detroit, she bet that vacant-lot farms and food up-starts can help rebuild the Motor City. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
The criminal justice system in this Georgia town is led solely by black women Essence
How a ‘concrete floor’ could get more women into power BBC
This airline CEO said only a man can do his job Fortune
The hidden women of architecture and design New Yorker