President Obama is calling out toxic masculinity. We're here for it.

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2.22.2019

This Week In Women: Confronting Gender Limitations Across The Globe

From the Absher app to Former President Obama’s toxic masculinity call-out, this week is all about addressing issues that are affecting social structures and gender dynamics across the globe. We’re also discussing and anticipating the appointment of Virginie Viard as she takes the helm of the iconic CHANEL fashion house. Get ready, it’s time for This Week in Women!

Tech Giants Pressured to Remove Saudi App that Allows Men to Track Their Wives

Absher, available on Apple and Google, is a free mobile app developed by the Saudi Arabian government that is positioned as a productivity tool to “perform in minutes, a lot of work that would take longer time.” Users get alerts when issues require their approval, such as updating banking information, passport registration, and more. The app has over 11 million users, and it has recently come under fire, because it allows the government’s repressive laws around male guardianship to be applied to women’s ability to travel, gain employment and other activities; however, some argue that while the app is “awful,” it still allows a certain amount of travel freedom that was previously a major obstacle.

Apple and Google have both addressed the controversial Absher app by expressing that it will be looked into for any policy violations. This week NPR asked Apple CEO, Tim Cook, about the app and Amnesty International joined the conversation on The Washington Post.  Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) also published an open letter calling for its removal from platforms. “It is hardly news that the Saudi monarchy seeks to restrict and repress Saudi women, but American companies should not enable or facilitate the Saudi government’s patriarchy,” wrote Wyden. “By permitting the app in your respective stores, your companies are making it easier for Saudi men to control their family members from the convenience of their smartphones and restrict their movement. This flies in the face of the type of society you both claim to support and defend.”

President Obama Addresses Toxic Masculinity

In addition to his “44” Rag & Bone jacket that sent the internet into a frenzy, Obama made waves the day before at a conference for his My Brother’s Keep initiative. In a candid conversation with Steph Curry about the roles that racism, “violence and pain,” and ideas perpetuated through hip-hop and rap music catalyze toxic masculinity, Obama said, “Ironically, that shows the vulnerability you feel. If you were very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking… you seem stressed that you gotta be acting that way.”

Obama and Curry emphasized the need for “safe spaces” and “resources” for young men and women of color to help address many of the pressures and barriers they face on a regular basis, as well as a need for support systems where they can express their feelings.

Virginie Viard is the First Woman Since Coco Chanel to Lead the Eponymous Label

Since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the world is feeling a collective sigh of sadness for the loss of the label’s visionary designer, who has been at the helm since 1983. His protogé and friend, Lyon, France-native Virginie Viard will take his place to reign as Creative Director of the international fashion house.

Viard is the first woman to lead Chanel since the label’s founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. She has worked closely with Lagerfeld since 1987, and is “entrusted” with carrying on his and Chanel’s vision. “Virginie Viard, Director of CHANEL’s Fashion Creation Studio and Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on,” the label wrote in an Instagram post.

Featured image via of ABC News

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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