1. GOT Star Defends Show's Honor.
Even if you’re not an avid watcher, and probably even if you don’t own a TV, you’ve definitely heard earfuls about Game of Thrones. Is it sexist? Is it empowering? Based on your Zodiac sign and your Starbucks order, are you a Stark or a Lannister? The questions just keep coming; this week, however, we may have gotten an answer. Emilia Clarke, the lead actress who brings to life Daenerys Targaryen (referred to by some as Khaleesi *wags finger*), has gone public with a statement defending GOT as a non-sexist show. She claims that the material for female characters, considered unsavory by some, actually serves to showcase the breadth and complexity of womankind, and, much of the time, female resilience. Whatever your opinion on the topic, we can agree that it’s nice to see leading actresses like Clarke discussing themes of such importance. Like, Game of Thrones? More like Dame of Thrones, amirite ladies?
2. 11 Year-Old Entrepreneur Signs With Whole Foods.
Let’s just say Mikaila Ulmer is definitely gonna be Line Leader at recess this week; and you would be, too, if you were an 11-year-old Shark Tank contestant who just signed a deal with Whole Foods to sell your own locally-sourced flaxseed honey lemonade product nationwide. Ya know, just your basic pre-teen stuff. Nothing to see here, folks. Even cooler: when the pint-sized superstar entrepreneur signed this deal with the health food supplier, she made sure to emphasize the positive environmental impact of her lemonade, BeeSweet--especially the importance of protecting bees, which are facing extinction. This little queen of Austin, Texas is even donating some of her profits to bee (bumble and honey alike!) conservation efforts, and remains busy as a you-know-what traveling the country to raise awareness about the plight of the honeybee. Ugh. Could we bee any prouder??
3. Syrian Swimmer in Running for Olympic Refugee Team 2016.
Meanwhile, I got out of bed and brushed my teeth today so maybe there’s room for two heroes here. Anyway, back to the story. 17-year-old Yusra Mardini--a Syrian native, competitive swimmer, and recent war refugee--literally pushed a boat to shore in Greece for hours on end with the help of a few other passengers, and saved the lives of roughly 20 other refugees fleeing years of gruesome regime violence. As if that weren’t enough badassery for one story, Mardini is also in the running to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the newly created refugee team, or the ROA. Mardini fled Damascus last year with her sister en route to Beirut, Lebanon and then to Izmir, Turkey, before boarding a dinghy headed to the Greek island of Lesbos. She now lives in Germany and continues to train in the hopes of becoming one of the world’s first refugee olympians. Just keep swimming, Yusra! Also, read s’more of my thoughts about the Syrian Revolution here.
4. Indiana and Florida Restrict Reproductive Justice.
Though it isn’t raking in many front-page headlines, U.S. reproductive justice policy and activism suffered some serious setbacks this week. First, multiple Republican-majority state legislatures voted in favor of increased regulations for abortion clinics and women’s healthcare facilities like Planned Parenthoods. In Indiana, a law was passed that bans abortions if sought because the fetus has been diagnosed with a disability or a defect, and also bars sex-selective and race-selective abortions. While measures like these are sold as “inclusive,” the true purpose behind them is no different than other anti-abortion measures: they are meant to take power away from the woman in question. It would be another thing entirely if these same politicians were pouring taxpayer money, time, and political resources into protecting disabled children who have actually been born, but alas. Aaaaand in Florida, we see more of the same, except with an emphasis on bleeding clinics dry of funding by requiring doctors to have hospital-admitting privileges (a requirement that is totally unnecessary and unrelated to most actual abortion procedures, which are minimally-invasive and take, like, five to ten minutes in total). Also, fake-tan-man-child-president said this. Basically, if your uterus was a’crampin a little harder this week, you have our full permission to blame U.S. policymakers.
5. Women-Only Rideshare to Hit the Streets.
Because every woman is a princess (not in the damsel-in-distress kinda way, but in the damsel-deserving-of-respect kinda way), it’s only fitting for her to be delivered from place to place in a chariot; safe, comfortable, treated to a playlist exclusively of Beyonce’s greatest hits, etc. At least that’s what the two co-founders of Chariot, the world’s first women-only ride-share company, were thinking. Launching nationwide April 19th, Chariot was actually borne out of a rather slippery incident: during a regular 17-hour shift, one of the co-founders, a former Boston Uber driver, was relentlessly harassed by an inebriated passenger--which got him wondering how women, subject to heightened harassment (duh), even manage to do their jobs every day in addition to dealing with safety threats. That’s when he and his wife had the idea to set up a ride-share safe-space to make the roads a little safer for women passengers and drivers. Plus, the company donates some profits to local Boston women-oriented charities. Chariot charities? Charioties? ...Sry, had to.