In this week’s Wednesday 5 roundup of the web, we gave a thumbs-up to Vogue’s August Age Issue, enjoyed reading the comeback story of former CBS anchor René Syler, returned to On the Issues magazine for our daily dose of news on women in the Olympics, were moved by the poignant poetry—yes poetry—of Marilyn Monroe, and rooted for 5 exceptional women entrepreneurs and the life lessons they shared. –Ed.
Vogue’s Age Issue On Newsstands
It’s August. That means Vogue magazine’s annual Age Issue is on the stands, featuring “wonder women from 28 to 89 years old, whose fearless approach to life is empowering and uplifting.” In her “Letter from the Editor,” Anna Wintour shares the catalyst for the idea of an Age Issue. Essentially, she was confronted with the question “Why was Vogue so frightened by age?” Wintour took note of the criticism and changed course, producing a homage to age each year since 1993. This year’s Age Issue features six extraordinary women, including Katie Ford, former CEO of Ford Models; Kati Marton, widow of diplomat Richard Holbrooke; and Mary Soames, the only surviving daughter of Winston Churchill. As distinctive as each of these women is, you’ll note that they prove that they are women of reinvention.
René Syler, former co-anchor of CBS’s The Early Show, Talks Reinvention
Speaking of reinvention, René Syler, the former co-anchor of CBS’s The Early Show, can (and should) write a book on it. She shared with the Huffington Post that after losing her dream job in 2006, choosing to have a preventive mastectomy, contracting asthmatic bronchitis, having all her hair fall out, stepping out on her own and authoring Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book Of Parenting and starting its adjoining blog/business, she’s finally at a place of peace. Embracing life as it comes along is what Rene is resting in now. She shares:
“I lost my job, I lost my breasts, I lost my hair. But now I look back and I think in losing all those things I really found myself and who I’m supposed to be. The best way to describe it would be the me that people see on the outside finally matches the me on the inside.”
More Groundbreaking Women in the 2o12 Olympics
Since London has deemed the 2012 Olympics the Year of the Woman (see First Ladies of the Olympics on why this is a historic year for women’s global participation in the games), we find ourselves turning to Meg Ryan Heery at On the Issues for a thorough and witty wrap up of all the groundbreaking women racking up medals, world records, headlines, and social-media gaffes—which are not reserved to presidents or presidential nominees. Heery is not just about stats and who won which medal. She focuses a clever feminist lens on how these accomplishments impact or influence our long-term thinking on women in sports:
“You’d think we were watching unicorns. Oh my gosh! There’s a unicorn! And it just set another Olympic record! Or, even more disturbing, A unicorn? How cute. So anyway, how about those bears? They’re looking very good.
But we are not watching unicorns. Formidable women athletes exist at all levels of play everywhere.
Yet the disconnect remains between what society imagines women should do and what women actually do, and it’s important to dismantle the thinking that allows it to persist.”
Marilyn Monroe, the Poignant Poet?
Yes. It’s true. A new book, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters, reveals a Marilyn Monroe who was “a complex, sensitive being who peered deeply into her own psyche and thought intensely about the world and other people.” Writing on Monroe’s previously unpublished poems, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings shares that the actress was fond of writing poetry, scribbling verses in notebooks and on loose-leaf paper. (See the website for photos). Each year it seems a new book, film, or some kind of previously unknown finding comes out about Marilyn Monroe. Clearly she remains in our culture’s psyche. So how does this new book feed our understanding of the actress? Popova offers that perhaps it’s a step in reclaiming her image:
“[Marilyn Monroe] took great pains to be photographed reading or holding a book — insistence born not out vain affectation but of a genuine love of literature. Her personal library contained four hundred books, including classics like Dostoyevsky and Milton, and modern staples like Hemingway and Kerouac. While she wasn’t shooting, she was taking literature and history night classes at UCLA. And yet, the public image of a breezy, bubbly blonde endures as a caricature of Monroe’s character, standing in stark contrast with whatever deep-seated demons led her to take her own life.”
Lessons From Exceptional Women Entrepreneurs
The media and tech industries are still abuzz about the hiring of pregnant Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo. While we wade through the controversy about and advocacy for her hiring and what it means for women, we found venture capitalist Alan Hall’s praise for exceptional women entrepreneurs at Forbes—well, exceptional. Most of these women are relatively under-the-radar and are not headline-makers, but the lessons they share about life and leadership, according to Hall, are newsworthy:
“What I admire most about these tremendous executives is their empathy for employees, vendors and customers. They seem to have a profound ability to understand and feel what’s in the hearts and minds of people. As such, they tend to be superb communicators and advisors. In addition, I value their integrity, industry, insight, kind hearts, conviction and superb people skills. They are deep thinkers. They are visionary.”