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Who will replace Sanders? Another empowered woman no doubt.
The kindest thing you can say about Sarah Sanders is that she was completely useless. She didn't bother disguising her disdain for reporters. She didn't bother holding press briefings - the last one was over 90 days ago. And she didn't bother with the truth. She was an incompetent press secretary.
Here's the thing though: Sanders was never really hired to be a press secretary. Her real job, I'd venture, was to be a Very Visible Woman. Her real job was to be the female face of a deeply misogynistic administration; to play the role of the empowered working mother and make the Trump administration's crass patriarchy more palatable.
For a while Sanders was extremely effective at weaponizing her womanhood. When politically convenient, for example, she'd bring up the fact that she was the first mother to have the role of press secretary. "That says less about me than it does about this president," Sanders told reporters in 2017. She then went on to disingenuously claim that "empowering working moms is the heart of the president's agenda, particularly when it comes to things like tax reform".
There's no better example of how effective Sanders was at using her sex as a shield than the speed with which a number of high-profile female journalists jumped to Sanders' defense when Michelle Wolf made a joke about the press secretary at the 2018 White House correspondents' dinner.
"Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski tweeted at the time. (Wolf didn't make a joke about Sanders' looks; this was a willful misinterpretation.) The New York Times' Maggie Haberman similarly announced that it was admirable Sanders "sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television".
Sanders is far from the only woman to have played an important role in the Trump administration. While Trump may not have a feminist bone in his body, he's elevated a number of women into high-profile positions - a talking point frequently repeated by his acolytes. Women like Kellyanne Conway, Nikki Haley, Kirstjen Nielsen and (of course) Ivanka Trump, have been some of the most prominent faces of his administration. These footsoldiers of the patriarchy have helped to roll back women's rights and reinforce inequality while allowing the Trump administration to boast about "empowering women". You could call it white(woman)washing.
It's not clear who is going to replace Sanders yet. (And, let's face it, in many ways she is irreplaceable.) However, my bet is that Trump is strategically going to pick another woman. Indeed rumours are currently swirling that Stephanie Grisham, Melania's spokeswoman, is one of the leading candidates for the job. Whoever it is, good luck to them. Sanders has set a high bar for odiousness; hers will be a tough act to follow.
My Little Lesbian Pony
My Little Pony, a children's cartoon featuring little ponies, is marking Pride month with its first lesbian horse couple. They are called Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty, and they take care of a little pony called Scootaloo. Conservatives, predictably, are screaming "nay" and freaking out.
The murky ethics of monetizing #MeToo
Artist Andrea Bowers has got an installation at Art Basel, Open Secrets, that looks at all the sexual allegations that have come out during the #MeToo movement - it's priced at $300,000. The ethics of profiting from #MeToo are already questionable but there's more: Bowers used an abuse survivor's photo without their consent. After much justified outcry this week, the photo has now been removed.
Say Her Name: Layleen Polanco
Last Friday, Layleen Polanco, a 27-year-old transgender woman, was found dead in her cell at New York's Rikers Island jail. While her cause of death is currently being investigated, what we know so far is infuriating. Polanco had been locked up for two months on a misdemeanor charge because she couldn't afford $500 bail. She'd also been placed in solitary confinement despite reportedly having a medical condition that gave her seizures. "She went [to Riker's Island] because of a fight," a friend of Polanco's told the New York Times. "And her punishment was a death sentence."
Photoshop your way to equality
A bunch of Silicon Valley executives went to Italy to meet a designer who makes $1,000 sweatpants. While on their sweatpant sojourn, they took a group photo. A very normal thing to do! They then realized that a photo featuring 15 dudes was maybe not the best optics and photoshopped two women into it, before the picture was published in GQ. A very normal thing to do!
Women's World Cup news roundup
The Guardian's got a good piece on how Argentina's team, which was so underfunded it didn't play in 2015 or 2017, took on sexism to reach this year's World Cup. Meanwhile, Trump refused to say whether he thought the US women's team deserves equal pay. Megan Rapinoe won't sing the national anthem (good for her). And Marina Hyde has a fun piece on "the great under-reported story of this Women's World Cup: men".
Keanu Reeves's hands-off approach
The internet is obsessed with Reeves: the guy is everywhere at the moment. His hands, however, are not. Reeves, who has been dubbed a "respectful king" has mastered the art of the 'hover hand' when taking photos with women. Joe Biden: take note.