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Elizabeth Warren, Chief Funding, Saudi Arabia: Broadsheet October 16

October 16, 2018, 10:51 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Elizabeth Warren shares her Native American ancestry results, a new private network aims to push women from the VP level to the very top, and we reconsider our relationships with power. I’ll be at Fairygodboss’s Galvanize event this morning, so if you’re there, please come say hi! Have a terrific Tuesday.


 Portraits of power. The latest issue of New York magazine is right on brand for The Broadsheet: It's dedicated to "Powerful Women Talk[ing] About Power."

In an opening essay, writer Hanna Rosin weighs our ideas of power—and powerlessness—as they pertain to women, concluding that we are "chronically ambivalent" about owning such a loaded concept. And while some of you feel no such hesitancy (I know because you've told me!), I can relate to Rosin's admission that the signs of her growing career power have sometimes fit her like "a tight itchy shirt."

But while she marshals a number of convincing—and utterly depressing—examples and studies of how women came to have this uneasy relationship with power, it's Rosin's ideas about how we might remake that dynamic that caught my attention. She writes:

"In her lectures on women and power, Mary Beard proposes an elegant grammatical solution: Change power from a noun into a verb. Instead of a trait, or a possession, turn power into an act: Someone doesn’t 'have' power; they 'do' power. The advantage is to turn power into a baton that passes from hand to hand, a temporary action that comes and goes and doesn’t have to define you. The aim is to break our addiction to mystical qualities like 'genius,' which we still associate almost entirely with men. The hope is that women can move past their ambivalence one act at a time; do a power on the senator in the elevator and call it what it is, revel in it. Try it, ladybosses. Go through your day and chronicle all your small acts of power."

I, for one, am going to give it a shot.

The NY Mag issue itself is filled with interviews in which fascinating women talk about their own relationships with power. The publication will be rolling out new pieces of the package all week, but you can already read conversations with Anita Hill, Sam Bee, Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Lena Waithe, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and many more. The Cut


23 and Warren. President Trump has called Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas"—and the problematic nickname prompted Elizabeth Warren to complete and release her own genealogical research. Warren, who has claimed Native American ancestry, found that she likely has some American Indian heritage—although it's rather distant. Releasing her ancestry information is an interesting and unprecedented move for a presidential contender.  Boston Globe

 Executive in Chief. An exclusive perfect for Broadsheet readers: a startup called Chief raised $3 million to launch a private network for women executives at the VP level and above. The network, for now based in New York, aims to keep women on track to the top instead of seeing them drop off before breaking the final glass ceiling. Chief has selected its founding class of members, but you can join the waitlist.  Fortune

 Period purchase. And an acquisition exclusive: the period product startup Flex, which makes the lesser-known product of disposable menstrual discs, acquired the Kickstarter company Keela Cup, which makes a menstrual cup that has a tampon-like string to make it easier to use. Flex also announced that it's raised $3.5 million this year. Fortune

Passing storm. A federal court judge in Los Angeles yesterday handed a victory to Donald Trump in the libel lawsuit filed by porn star Stormy Daniels, who's claimed to have had an affair with the president. Daniels sued over a Trump tweet that called her "a total con job," but the judge said the president was using "‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the U.S." In other words, the tweet wasn't meant literally.  Bloomberg

Movers and Shakers: Former Maine health commissioner and Republican candidate for governor Mary Mayhew has been tapped by the Trump administration to lead Medicaid.


Saudi ties. Business leaders are wrestling with their extensive ties to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the government's suspected involvement in the disappearance and likely death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Laurene Powell Jobs has a particularly nuanced connection to the Saudi kingdom: Michael Klein, a managing partner at Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective, is a "power broker" for Saudi Arabia and its U.S. investments.  NBC News

Behind CZI. Priscilla Chan, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative leader and wife of Mark Zuckerberg, shares some insight into what CZI is doing with its billions of dollars for charitable causes in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow. CNN

Running Wilde. Did you know that actress Olivia Wilde's mom is running for Congress? Democrat Leslie Cockburn held a rally in Charlottesville as part of her run for Virginia's 5th Congressional district—a rural, red-leaning area she's hoping to flip blue. Cockburn is a former 60 Minutes producer. Washington Post

Ellison's abuse. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison has faced allegations of domestic and emotional abuse from Karen Monahan, a former partner. But the congressman and Democratic nominee for Minnesota's attorney general position hasn't stepped down from either post. The allegations are complex, and Ellison has fallen behind in the state AG race.  The Root

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Instagram has a massive harassment problem  The Atlantic

Holy spirits: The power and legacy of America's female spiritualists  Shondaland

Midwives on the march: Saving a natural birth stronghold at Mount Sinai  The New Yorker

Solange, the polymathic cultural force  New York Times


When you’re over 40 on TV, you’ve got nothing to lose. No one can penetrate you with criticism of how you dress or look, because you’ve heard it all a bajillion times.
Samantha Bee on not caring what people think