In this week’s Wednesday 5: Michelle Obama’s right to anger; a “Lady in Red” becomes the symbol of Turkey’s unrest; Carol Jenkins weighs in on the “lean in” debate; Paola Antonelli loves design; and Oprah Winfrey goes to Harvard. 



Michelle Obama’s Right to Anger?

obama new yorker cover 150708Back in April, our Emily Bernard wrote about the controversy surrounding Michelle Obama’s appearance at the Oscar awards. We might have spoken too soon about that event being at the height of her negative backlash. Michelle Obama is back in the critic’s ring after she recently confronted a heckler at a private fundraiser and threatened to leave if the person did not stop interrupting her speech. Her words were: “Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.”

In response, the folks at The Negress blog took both a political and a compassionate look at Michelle’s Obama’s reaction. The immediate response from many in the media and the public was that the First Lady was “angry”—with comments that centered on reassigning her back into the “angry black woman” box. (Remember the New Yorker cover that framed her as an angry black militant?) And here’s their compassionate perspective, which many of us can relate to: “We never assumed that Michelle Obama may have also felt vulnerable, uncomfortable, or sad the night she was heckled. Our unwillingness to assess anything but anger to her experience absolves her ability to feel anything else.”

Read more on “Michelle Obama and Her Right to Anger,” at The Negress.



How a ‘Lady in Red’ Became the Symbol of Turkey’s Unrest


Only a few weeks ago, Ceyda Sungur was an academic in Istanbul. Now, because of a photo by Osman Orsal, a photographer for Reuters, she has quickly become the “Lady in Red”—the face of Turkey’s unrest. The image is a startling one. Amar Toor of The Verge writes:

With her stance relaxed and face downturn, Sungur, through Orsal’s lens, is the epitome of passive resistance. As onlookers cover their faces and turn away, Sungur keeps her shoulders nearly squared to the officer, whose gas mask and crouched stance seem almost comically disproportionate to his target. With a barricade of shields framing the action with ominous uniformity, she stands alone and absorbs the spray.

But the image also is a poignant symbol of the cost of war on women. Zainab Salbi, author of The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope, reminds us:

Women survivors of war are not the single image portrayed on the television screen, but the glue that holds families and countries together. Perhaps by understanding women, and the other side of war . . . we will have more humility in our discussions of wars . . . perhaps it is time to listen to women’s side of history.


Carol Jenkins on Having It All

carol_jenkins_newEmmy-winning former television journalist and founding president of The Women’s Media Center Carol Jenkins has a fresh take on the “lean in” debate, having just emerged “from a months-long journey through diapers and burping and kissing babies, courtesy of [her] daughter’s new twins.” Jenkins has been relishing her duties as grandmother while also thinking of and comparing the challenges she faced as a single mother of three at the height of her journalistic career. She believes there is a “twist to the advice given to working women: you can have it all, but probably not all at the same time . . . . While women are working their hardest, corporations and agencies need to mentor them by putting polices into place  to ensure equal pay–just for starters. And then  policies like paid  leave that allow parents to actually raise our country’s children.”

Read more on “Having It All–The (Very) Long View” at



Women in Art: Paola Antonelli, Curator of  Architecture and Design, MoMA

When you watch Paola Antonelli’s infectious TED talk on why video games can be considered brilliant design, you can’t help but be moved by her passion for art.  Take a look at how Antonelli celebrates design’s presence in every part of life.



Oprah Winfrey Goes to Harvard

For this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you Oprah Winfrey’s speech as she received an honorary degree from Harvard and served as its commencement speaker for the class of 2013. And while Oprah’s story is very familiar to most of the world, she shared some nuggets of her story that we found not-so-known—and inspirational.

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