In this week’s Wednesday 5, we’re reading of Frank Rich’s soulful journey as he tries to find the lessons in Nora Ephron’s passing; having some fun watching the “Kick-Ass” women of this year’s TV season; wondering if social-media platforms are better off as boys’ and girls’ clubs; celebrating a record number of women nominated for political office; and eagerly awaiting the fall season so we can dig into Diane von Furstenberg’s “playful nod to Surrealism.”

Nora Ephron’s Secret

Photo by John Dalton, Flickr

We will be mourning and missing the indomitable Nora Ephron for a long time. Her memorial “was as close to a state funeral as New York’s cultural world can muster,” writes Frank Rich in New York Magazine. What we learn in Rich’s beautiful tribute to Nora is that although she had planned her memorial tribute in advance, (“Nora’s own [memorial] was as laced with funny and touching moments as any of her pre-posthumous productions. She had even cast some of the same actors”), she kept the fact that she was dying a secret from the friends and family closest to her. And they in turn were “pissed off” at being “ambushed,” in Meryl Streep’s words, with her death.

Frank Rich goes looking for the lessons of Nora’s surprising death: “What was she telling us by making her final chapter a secret? What, if anything, was she telling us about ourselves?” He offers many of his own conjectures and rejects many of the clichés we often hear about death. And, instead, embraces the simple beauty of not knowing: “She had chosen, as is her right and ­everyone’s, to leave part of her unknowable.”

Read Diane Vacca’s tribute Nora Ephron: Exit, Laughing

VIDEO: TV’s Year of Kick-Ass Women

As we anticipate the new fall seasons of our favorite shows and favorite TV women, let’s honor the current year of “Kick-Ass Women,” says Michelle Rafferty of Flavorwire. They put together a fun video mash-up of “the year of women kicking ass, in their jobs, on the battlefield, and (at the risk of sounding cheesy) in being true to themselves” and “the year of intelligent, empowered, and awesomely flawed female characters.” Look for our favorite 40-plus-year-olds—like Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close, and Gina Torres—shaking things up!

Women Are From Pinterest, Men Are From Google+?

Geez. Even our social-media platforms are now categorized as boys’ or girls’ clubs.  If you’re on any of these social-media sites—Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter— chances are there’s a huge gender divide in your network. Fiona Menzies writes in Forbes that women dominate Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, while men are the majority of users on Google+ and LinkedIn.

The statistics translate into the notion that “women much prefer to engage in predominantly female circles . . . perhaps, unsurprisingly, social media mirrors real life.” We’re wondering if the next big social-media platform will aim for a more gender-neutral network? Or will we be happy with our boys’ and girls’ online clubs?


More Women Running for Political Office

We’ve been hearing, thanks to the madness of the current election cycle, that this is the year of the “war on women.” And there’s lots of convincing evidence that it is in fact a battlefield. But we like to focus on the positives. This week, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry looked at the dearth of women in politics and found some encouraging news. Although women make up only 17 percent of Congress, this year a record number of 154 women have been nominated for Congressional office. Harris-Perry, along with her guest, Virginia City Councilwoman Ella Ward, discuss the shifts for the better and the gendered and gender-neutral challenges as women increasingly seek political office.


Rendezvous with Diane von Furstenberg

As we gear up for the fall fashion season and another New York Fashion Week (more to come from Women’s Voices), Laurie Brookins of Boston Common magazine gives us a glimpse into Diane von Furstenberg’s upcoming line “Rendezvous”:

It’s a chic juxtaposition featuring such pieces as voluminous, cleanly cut coats mixed with close-to-the-body dresses featuring luxurious details—paillettes crafted to resemble pieces of a jigsaw puzzle splashed across a pink sheath, or a bold black-and-white graphic that upon closer inspection is formed by a pattern of interlocking hands—a playful nod to Surrealism.

Wow! Yes, nothing like the art of fashion to help us escape the “war on women.”  “We wanted something very seductive, the feeling of a woman going on a seductive trip,” says Diane of the collection. “There is a wonderful sense of the unknown and of expectation.” Diane von Furstenberg understands that at some point, women want/need/deserve a little escape. Image via Blossom

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