By Mia Abrahams
Senate Health Bill Vote Postponed
Via The Hill
It has *not* been an easy week to be Mitch McConnell. As we guessed last TWIF, he is having a tough time passing his Senate bill to repeal Obamacare. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (a nonpartisan federal agency that provides budget and economic info to Congress) predicted that the bill would leave 22 million Americans uninsured. This information didn’t help the number of Republican senators who were on the fence, get off the fence. In response, Republican leaders have pushed back the vote until after the July 4th holidays, when senators will go home to face their constituents, many of whom rely on Medicaid (and you thought *you* were dreading going home for the holidays). Will this be the end of the bill in which the word “women” literally never appears once? It’s not looking good for McConnell (but maybe looking great for the millions of Americans who would lose their insurance if the bill passes).
This Week In Badass Nearly-Mamas
Alysia Montaño, 30, US Olympic track and field athlete, last week competed in the USATF Outdoor Championships while five months pregnant! Her inspiration? Gal Gadot, who filmed half of Team THINX’s summer flick-pick Wonder Woman while five months pregnant. “I represent so many different people,” Montaño said, “I represent women. I represent black women. I represent pregnant women. Not everybody has the same platform that I do. I think it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m a voice and advocate for them.” We already know, and celebrated, that GOAT Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam while two months pregnant, so you know I was *living* for her Vanity Fair cover. The article, ostensibly about the love story between Williams and her partner, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, is really a deep dive into the work that goes into being the world’s greatest tennis player… with a super-cute engagement story thrown in for good measure.
The First Gay, Female Prime Minister of Serbia
Ana Brnabić, 41, has been appointed prime minister of Serbia, a country where homophobia is rife. She was appointed by the sitting president, Aleksandar Vučić (in Serbia, the president is voted for by the public, and the prime minister is appointed — the president has more power). In Western countries, where it would be big news if a gay or lesbian person (or, like, a woman) became a head of state, Goran Miletić, a civil rights activist and Belgrade Pride organizer, said, “It is even more important for a country where 65% believe that homosexuality is an illness and 78% think that homosexuality should not be expressed outside homes.” Serbia faces a challenging few years, as the country prepares to join the EU, and President Vučić battles accusations of corruption and media control. The hope for those like Boban Stojanović, a political scientist at the University of Belgrade, is that Brnabić’s appointment draws attention to civil and human rights issues in Serbia, and does not mask it.
Rage Against the (Conservative) Machine
Like all good ideas, the seeds of thrash metal band Voice of Baceprot were planted one day while bored in class. While rifling through their music teacher’s collection of heavy metal hits, 16-year old Muslim high-schoolers Firdda Kurnia, Eusi Siti Aisyah, and Widi Rahmawati fell in love with the power of metal. VoB was born. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, and while many of the around 200 million Muslims are moderate, the girls are facing some backlash in their hometown of conservative West Java. Despite the haters, the girls are gaining fans in Indonesia and around the world, and have recently appeared on national TV.
Determined to rock out while busting down stereotypes that surround Muslim women, all while maintaining their religious beliefs (which included playing a recent gig during the Ramadan fast), lead vocalist and guitarist Kurnia told The Guardian, “We can play metal and protect our morals. Of course Islam and metal can match. Why not?” And their message to the women of Indonesia? “Don’t be afraid of being different. Don’t be afraid to shout your independence.” Girls to the front!!!
Ugandan Activist Thrown in Jail for Calling the President “A Pair of Buttocks”
Ugandan activist and academic Stella Nyanzi is a fierce critic of her country’s 72-year-old leader’s treatment of the poor schoolgirls. After President Yoweri Museveni announced he was breaking his election commitment to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls (even though 30% of Ugandan girls miss school because of their periods), Nyanzi founded Pads4girlsUG. The organization raises money to provide menstrual products to Ugandan girls who can’t afford them. After an April fundraiser, Nyanzi took to Facebook to protest Museveni’s actions, calling him “a pair of buttocks” and his wife, the education minister, “empty-brained.”
She was arrested and held in maximum security prison. Her arrest caused widespread condemnation from human rights groups, and although she has now been released, she still faces charges, is still barred from traveling out of the country, and is in constant fear for her safety. Undeterred, Nyanzi recently took to Facebook to announce she won’t be backing down anytime soon.
- Beauty pageants aren’t the first place we usually look for taboo-smashing talk, but we were thrilled to hear that medical student and newly crowned Miss India 2017, Manushi Chhillar, has set her sights on winning Miss World *and* raising awareness around menstruation in her home country of India.
- The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (yes, that thing your parents made you watch on a family trip to London) was led by a woman for the first time in history.
- Lorde, Rihanna, and Katy Perry have taken back the top of the Billboard singles and album charts after they had gone more than half of the year without a woman leading either one. There haven’t been less women at the top of the singles chart in 45 years, not since 1972 when girl power was absent for 13 weeks. (Also, my pick for Song of Summer is hands down Wild Thoughts)
- Uhhhh heart emoji eyes overload. Michelle Obama honored Chance the Rapper with the BET Humanitarian Award for Chance’s commitment to education in their hometown of Chicago.