In this week’s Wednesday 5: The NPR special series “The Changing Lives of Women” examines issues that speak to the broad interests of women; Monica Lewinsky is ‘rebranding’; Sarah Thebarge, a 27-year-old breast cancer survivor, pays tribute to her wrinkles; a beautiful documentary captures Marie Wilcox and her effort to keep her Native American language alive; and a new book on Coco Chanel examines the designer’s engagement with European History.



NPR: The Changing Lives of Women


If you haven’t become a fan already, then you must explore NPR’s special series The Changing Lives of Women. It’s a fascinating anthology that explores the rapidly evolving lives of the global woman with an examination of issues that go way beyond the polarizing and headline-grabbing question of “to lean-in or not to lean-in.” Instead, the series’ headlines include goodies that speak to the broad interests of women:

See the full line-up of stories here.



The Rebranding of Monica Lewinsky

Image via Twitter.

Image via Twitter.

Earlier this spring, our Caryl Avery wrote skeptically about Monica Lewinsky’s decision to break her silence to Vanity Fair and speak about her role in the scandal with then-President Bill Clinton. In the Vanity Affair article, entitled “Shame and Survival,” Lewinsky remarked:

“The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck . . .”

The choice of the word “brand” was an interesting one at the time, and perhaps foreshadowed what was in the works—The Rebranding of Monica Lewinsky. Speaking of scandal, we imagine there’s been a team of Olivia Pope-style handlers crafting the unveiling of this new and reinvented Lewinsky. This week, Lewinsky officially joined Twitter. She launched the account just as she was about to speak at the Forbes Under 30 Summit. According to Megan Specia at Mashable, Lewinsky used her speech at the event to frame herself as “patient zero . . . the first person to have their reputation destroyed by the internet.” In the speech, which was her first in 13 years, she also wove in the dangers of cyber bullying. According to one attendee’s tweet, Lewinsky added “Online we’ve got a compassion deficit, an empathy crisis.” Undoubtedly, these are strong and salient messages, which earned her a standing ovation from the room. Hers is also an interesting study in how women, at the heart of scandals—sex scandals, to be exact—can attempt to rebrand and reinvent. This will be a fascinating journey to watch . . .



What Surviving Breast Cancer Taught a 27-Year-Old About Wrinkles

Huff PoIn this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the story of breast cancer survivor (at the age of 27), Sarah Thebarge. The anti-wrinkle dermatological consumer industry is a highly profitable one. Wrinkles, all the commercials tell us, are what we should be obsessed with each time we look in the mirror. So, it was this poignant article on The Huffington Post about Thebarge’s battle with cancer that warmed our hearts as it offered a sobering and life-affirming perspective on wrinkles. After sharing several anecdotes about being advised to invest hundreds of dollars to combat her wrinkles, Thebarge offered up this beauty:

I’m not willing to spend thousands of dollars on skin products or cosmetic surgery to disguise the signs of aging from my face—mostly because the subtle lines that have appeared, and will continue to appear over time, are actually a gift to me.

We should be no more ashamed of our age than a tree should be embarrassed by its many rings. Instead of removing the lines, what if we celebrated them? What if we honored them?

I don’t know how much time I have. But, if God is gracious, I hope I live long enough to get old. I hope I have so much joy in my life that laugh lines grace my eyes and smile lines etch my face.

Read the full article here.



One Woman’s Journey to Save Her Language

Marie Wilcox is an incredible woman the world should know. This short documentary by Go Project Films tells the story of  Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language, and the dictionary she created in an effort to keep her language alive.



Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History

51gs7IVMbSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A new book on Coco Chanel, MADEMOISELLE: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Rhonda K. Garelick, frames her contributions way beyond the fashion industry. In her review for The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman writes of the author’s innovative approach to unpacking the full breadth of Chanel’s body of work:

“Garelick, a professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, provides an answer of sorts in the form of her thesis: that “Chanel absorbed and filtered elements of European history that she discovered through her social and erotic encounters” and “transformed these filaments of history into her designs.” “Whether we know it or not,” Garelick argues, “we are all now wearing Chanel’s distillation of European history.”




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  • Roz Warren October 22, 2014 at 10:47 am

    WVFC, you’re my favorite internet curator. THANKS!