In this week’s Wednesday 5: the world’s oldest yoga teacher is a 94-year-old woman; can black women ‘Lean In’ like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg?; the women among TIME‘s “100 most influential people”; women are not the only ones to blame for being women’s worst critics; and a hilarious clip of when TV anchors get a case of the giggles.
The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher Is a 94-Year-Old Woman
She’s currently 94 years old; started teaching yoga 45 years ago; has been named by Guinness World Records as the World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher; has more than 400 students at the Westchester Institute of Yoga in Westchester, New York (which she founded in 1982); and is an avid ballroom dancer. Her name is Tao Porchon-Lynch and she is redefining our vision of nonagenarians.
Can Black Women ‘Lean In’ Like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg?
According to Tamara Winfrey Harris in her article “Leaning In While Black,” Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, neglects to consider the implications of race in her analysis of women’s place in the workplace, although Sandberg does acknowledge “the privilege her class, education and executive position afford her.” Sandberg’s neglect of the intersections of race with class and gender is particularly transparent in her advice that women find partners who are supportive of their careers. Harris posits that for many black women, marriage itself isn’t an option, much less marriage to a partner supportive of a career:
Thanks to concerns about low marriage rates among African Americans, professional black women are bombarded with warnings about careerism and success. A burgeoning genre of advice books instructs straight black women to, in effect, “lean back” in order to attract men. . . . Black women, especially highly successful ones, are expected to sacrifice achievement for the alleged greater good of traditional marriage. And they are encouraged to think more about being chosen than choosing—making themselves attractive to men by conforming to an outdated template of femininity rather than, as Sandberg suggests, selecting a supportive mate interested in a 50/50 partnership.
Read more at In These Times.
RELATED: “Sheryl Sandberg Is Leaning In for Real,” Women’s Voices for Change
Women of TIME’s ’100 Most Influential People”
You’ve probably already seen the list of TIME magazine’s annual account of the 100 most influential people in the world, from artists and leaders to pioneers, titans, and icons. Getting the nod are some of the usual celebrity suspects. While we are still grappling with the lack of women in executive leadership positions, and an even greater void for women of color, we were greatly encouraged to see several global women of color making the list. These women make up a measurable percentage of TIME’s elite 100, many of whom are not household names. We encourage you to explore who these women are.
- Valerie Jarrett, 56, Obama’s Adviser
- Shonda Rhimes, 43, Television Producer
- Kamala Harris, 48, Attorney General, California
- Joyce Banda, 63, President of Malawi
- Li Na, 31, Tennis Champion
- Michelle Obama, 49, First Lady of the United States
- Deborah Persaud, Virologist
- Vrinda Grover, 49, Lawyer
- Roya Mahboob, 25, Technology Entrepreneur
- Mary Nichols, 68, Environmentalist
- Susanna Martinez, 53, First Latina Governor of New Mexico
- Aung San Suu Kyi, 67, Activist; Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, 34, Actress
- Beyoncé, 31, Singer
- Malala Yousafzai, 15, Activist (She got the cover!)
Let’s Not Blame Only Women for Being Their Worst Critics
The general consensus about the new Dove “Real Beauty Sketches,” ad has been, as our Chris Lombardi pointed out, that women are overly critical of themselves, their bodies, their characters, their representations. Imran Siddiquee, the Social Media and Communications Director at MissRepresentation.org, finds this consensus troubling. He takes a look at the ad’s premise from a perspective that investigates the media’s role in constructions of beauty:
The whole entire world is critical of the way women look. Whether you are a supermodel, a teenager or even Secretary of State, if you’re a female, there are people all around you ready to tell you how bad your body looks. Secondly, the idea that women are valuable only for their beauty permeates nearly every facet of modern society, from the billboards we walk past to the social media we use daily. And this idea that women should be reduced to their appearance originated almost entirely in the minds and actions of men. And it is still largely perpetuated today by men–who run over 90% of our media.
If women are their worst critics, argues Siddiquee, then it’s because we live in a culture that encourages and nurtures this kind of self-critique; in fact, entire industries (beauty, film, clothing) depend on women’s vying for perfection. “To say women are their own ‘worst critics’ when it comes to beauty puts the blame on women for a beauty-obsessed, body-shaming, and misogynistic world,” says Siddiquee.
Read more at “Women Are Not Their Own Worst Beauty Critics,” MissRepresentation.org
When TV Anchors Get a Case of the Giggles
Remember when Anderson Cooper got a case of the giggles live on CNN? Well, for this week’s dose of “just plain funny,” we’re happy to see two television anchors literally laugh at how ridiculous reality television is getting. At the 0:57 mark, Fox29′s anchors from Good Day Philly, Sheinelle Jones and Mike Jerrick, lose it after interviewing Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte about the premise of his new reality show, which turns out to be much about nothing. It’s our gift of the giggles to you this week. Enjoy! Laughter is good for the soul.