Kerry Washington’s Secret Private Life — & More You Might’ve Missed This Week

Long week? Looking to take a load off by reading in-depth stories about prostitution criminalization, bias in hiring, and single moms on Mother’s Day? Have we got you covered! In our weekly edition of “Est. Of The Week,” we round up the best stories, tweets, and videos you may have missed, all worthy of heated discussion at your weekend dinner party.

Top Reads

Should Prostitution Be a Crime?
By Emily Bazelon for The New York Times Magazine

“The traditional feminist argument against decriminalization is that legitimizing prostitution will harm women by leading to more sexual inequality. The human rights argument for it is that it will make people’s lives better, and safer. In this fight over whose voices to listen to, who speaks for whom and when to use the power of criminal law, the sex-workers’ rights movement is a rebellion against punishment and shame. It demands respect for a group that has rarely received it, insisting that you can only really help people if you respect them.”

This #longread is worth reading all the way through. Bazelon tackles trafficking; the economic, racial, and sexual factions within the industry; and the complexities of international sex work as it relates to the law.

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If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired
By Stefanie K. Johnson, David R. Hekman and Elsa T. Chan for Harvard Business Review

“Why does being the only woman in a pool of finalists matter? For one thing, it highlights how different she is from the norm. And deviating from the norm can be risky for decision makers, as people tend to ostracize people who are different from the group. For women and minorities, having your differences made salient can also lead to inferences of incompetence. . . . Managers need to know that working to get one woman or minority considered for a position might be futile, because the odds are likely slim if they are the lone woman or non-white candidate. But if managers can change the status quo of the finalist pool by including two women, then the women have a fighting chance.”

Dry writing, but extremely important research around why having a token woman or minority in a hiring loop actually doesn’t achieve any diversity in hiring.

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Bus Driver’s Son Beats Billionaire’s Son in London Mayoral Race
By D.D. Guttenplan for The Nation

”For today, it is enough to say that in 21st-century Britain, the son of a bus driver has beaten the son of a billionaire. And that Londoners — facing a fear campaign depicting Muslims as un-British and Labour as untrustworthy, and a barrage of poisonous rhetoric seeking to pit Sikh against Hindu, Jew against Muslim, and native-born Britons against immigrants — have risen to the occasion and defied the hatemongers. Something for Americans to think about between now and November.”

London elected its first Muslim mayor at a time where there’s rising Islamophobia across Europe. As a former London resident myself, I am elated at the news. It would have seemed unthinkable 10 years ago, when I lived there.

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Facebook post on single parents by Sheryl Sandberg

“For many single parents, there is no safety net. Thirty-five percent of single mothers experience food insecurity, and many single mothers have more than one job — and that does not count the job of taking care of their children. A missed paycheck or an illness can present impossible choices. A single mother living in San Jose said that each month she has to choose between putting food on the table and paying her cell phone bill. When she does not pay her phone bill, she spends her night shift — her second job of the day — worried that her son did not make it home from school through their unsafe neighborhood because he is unable to call her.”

I’m not a fan of Sandberg’s “lean in” messaging, but this heartfelt post on her first Mother’s Day after tragically losing her husband last year, struck a chord. Much of her earlier narrative focused on rich (white) corporate types and it’s encouraging to see her admit the real challenges faced by single moms who are not Harvard-educated billionaires.

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How Kerry Washington Became A Publicity Magician
By Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed News

“White men and women have hundreds of years of seeing themselves, and their negotiation of domesticity, femininity, and partnership, played out in public view, whether in the popular press, the fan magazines, or onscreen. The sheer multiplicity of representations means that no one celebrity or star comes to bear the weight of proving his or her worth, or merit, or perfection. Black celebrities simply do not have that privilege: How they act out family is overdetermined with political and cultural significance.
Washington, Beyoncé, and the Smiths have chosen distinct routes to negotiating that reality. Yet criticisms of Beyonce’s control, or Washington’s near-absence, or even the Smiths’ willingness to let their children be weird in public neglect the care and consideration with which a black person of power must negotiate her space in the public eye, and the significant costs if she missteps. Each of these parents’ decisions — whether to give Jaden free reign on Twitter, or post an Instagram of Blue Ivy on a yacht — is saddled with infinitely more import than, say, Reese Witherspoon’s daughter’s pink hair.”

A fascinating look at how Kerry Washington is everywhere — magazine covers, red carpets, commercials — but her family life is nowhere to be seen. Petersen makes the case that this carefully-constructed, publicly consumable version of Washington is both pure genius and a necessary evil for female celebs of color.

Top Tweets & Multimedia

American Soccer’s Gender Wage Gap
By Hasan Minhaj for The Daily Show

A hilarious (and extremely infuriating) look at the gender wage gap between the constantly-winning U.S. female soccer team and the not-so-great U.S. male soccer team.

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Twitter status: @FullFrontalSamB

*mic drop*

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