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More states are moving to protect natural hairstyles at work, a study finds 1 in 16 U.S. women are forced into first-time sex, and Instagram changes its policies on weight-loss products.
Today’s featured news
Other highlights from the night included an acceptance speech from Michelle Williams, who won lead actress in a limited series or movie for “Fosse/Verdon.” In her acceptance speech, Williams spoke about women — and especially women of color — gaining equal pay. “I see this as an acknowledgement of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them and respected enough that they’ll be heard,” she said. Ahead of the show, some pointed out that no women of color were nominated in the lead actress in a comedy series category.
Here are more key takeaways from the night.
Over 30,000 people signed a petition last week in an effort to get Oxford University Press (OUP) to change its definition of “woman,” which offers synonyms for the word that include “bitch, besom, piece, bit, mare, baggage, wench, petticoat, frail, bird, bint, biddy, filly.” OUP publishes the Oxford English Dictionary, and although those synonyms do not appear in the dictionary, they are featured in other reference books and the online dictionary Lexico.
Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster added the nonbinary pronoun “they” to its dictionary on Tuesday. “They” may be used to refer to “a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary,” Merriam-Webster said. The pronoun is used by many nonbinary individuals who do not identify exclusive as male or female.
A new report surveying over 13,000 U.S. women ages 18 to 44 between 2011 and 2017 found that 6.5 percent of women were forced into having sex during their first experience with intercourse. That translates to 3.35 million women nationwide that were forced into first-time sex. The average age at which women were forced into first-time sex was 15.6, compared with 17.4 for women who reported a voluntary first sexual experience. Women of color and women in poverty also reported higher rates of forced first-time sex.
The study’s authors wrote that women whose first experience with sex was rape reported higher rates of unwanted first pregnancy, abortion and health problems.
Black hair has long been politicized and stigmatized in the workplace: Instituting grooming policies that may prohibit certain styles, but more commonly call for “professional” or not “extreme” looks, can disproportionately lead to bias against black employees or students. As part of the latest natural hair movement, some black women are pushing back against the practice of heat or chemical straightening and instead adopting locs, braids and soft curls. Several states, including New Jersey, Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, have caught on: They recently proposed legislation to explicitly ban race-based hair discrimination, joining California and New York, which were the first to sign legislation into law earlier this year.
What’s happening on the campaign trail
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is leading a respected poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers. The poll, released Saturday by the Des Moines Register with CNN and Mediacom, had Warren in the lead with 22 percent. Former vice president Joe Biden, who led the poll in June, fell by 3 percentage points to a close 20 percent, putting the two in a statistical tie. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a distant third at 11 percent.
As she rises in the polls, Warren, who spoke at one of her largest rallies to date last week in New York City, has become a target for other candidates. As The Washington Post reports, senior campaign staff of four rival campaigns say that they want to increase voter scrutiny of Warren, an effort largely led by Biden, who has raised questions about her “candor.”
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
1. On Friday, climate strikes drew millions of young protesters worldwide. Last week, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg testified in front of Congress, urging lawmakers to “listen to the scientists.” World leaders are gathered in New York for the United Nations climate summit, which begins today.
2. After a court struck down a ban in Colorado prohibiting women from going topless in public, the practice was effectively legalized in six states: Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma.
4. Ahead of the Sept. 24 release of his memoir, Jonathan Van Ness of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” revealed that he is HIV-positive and has a history with addiction. In an interview with the New York Times, Van Ness said, “It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly. These are issues that need to be talked about.”
5. On Thursday, Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne was named league MVP for the second time in her career, becoming the first player in WNBA history to win the title with two teams. (She won her first MVP award with the Chicago Sky in 2015.)
A quotable moment
Actress Jameela Jamil, known for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil on NBC’s “The Good Place,” has long been an outspoken advocate for body positivity. In the past, she launched a petition urging celebrities to stop promoting diet products and has met with Instagram about the issue. Last week, Jamil applauded an announcement that Instagram will ban users younger than 18 from seeing advertisements for weight-loss products or cosmetic surgery. The updated policy is an attempt to “reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” the company said in a news release.
Speaking to Elle UK, Jamil — who also created I Weigh, an Instagram account aimed at celebrating people’s attributes beyond their physical features — said: “The issue is at its peak because, in my day, you’d have to search for ages to find this toxic information, but now it finds you because of algorithms.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
I discovered this podcast through an ad, and I’m so glad I did. It combines beautiful first-person storytelling with mindfulness prompts. I’ve never heard anything like it. Each storyteller recounts a story about a moment that changed their lives. There are only eight episodes so far, so start listening now.
—Rachel Orr, By The Way design editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week