This Week in Women: Good Riddance, O'Reilly!
We are ready to recap a triumphant (and, perhaps, chill) week for women as Bill O’Reilly was sent packing, marathoner Katherine Switzer revisited the site of her heroic efforts, and Maureen Chiquet topped Amazon’s Best Seller list. It’s time to revel in our victories, with This Week in Women!
About Damn Time: O’Reilly Kicked to The Curb
After decades of swirling controversy, the erstwhile host of right-wing media outlet Fox News was ousted this week after a planned vacation for the Easter holiday. The vacation became permanent after Fox News “thoroughly reviewed” the details surrounding the latest sexual harassment developments. Many felt the need to protest against O’Reilly, holding rallies outside of Fox and flooding social media.
“The problem with sexual harassment isn’t just because people behave badly,” said Brandeis social policy, law, and women’s studies professor Anita Hill in a USA Today interview. “The problem is our inability to develop productive responses to it, and that exists because of our culture that accepts it, because that culture then gets built into how we approach solutions to it… It gets built into the choices we make about who can be believed.”
Hill became a zeitgeist upon testifying in front of an all-male panel of Congress against her then-boss Clarence Thomas, inspiring countless women to come forward with their own stories. “We have a whole host of people accepting that as just something men do as opposed to understanding it as predatory behavior that is not only immoral but is also illegal. We had some social forces coming together but we had a cultural excuse that overlaid [Trump’s] statement or his explanation.”
Twitter didn’t hold back after news of the firing broke:
— Andy Marlette (@AndyMarlette) April 20, 2017
Fox firing Bill O'Reilly is huge and hopefully sends an effective signal to all guys, however powerful, who harass & maul women
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) April 19, 2017
Congratulations to Bill O'Reilly on taking this important first step toward the presidency of the United States.
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) April 19, 2017
Maureen Chiquet’s Honest Look at Leadership in New Book
Former Chanel CEO Maureen Chiquet’s book, Beyond the Label: Women, Leadership, and Success on Our Own Terms, hit stands this week and was an instantaneous Amazon Best Seller. “This book is for those of you who are tired of trying to squeeze into constrained categories, who long for a life without limits on who you are or who you will become,” she wrote.
After being excused from the eponymous fashion house in early 2016 after a 15-year long career as Global CEO, and with her personal life falling apart after separating from her husband Antoine, it was time for some changes, according to Chiquet.
“I spent so long in my career operating in a masculine frame, pushing so hard to be as good as the guy next to me,” the author and speaker said in an interview with The New York Times. “We are trained in one direction, and your job becomes such a big part of your life, it spills over into your private life.”
“A lot of what women have been presented as a model is about perfection,” she added. “But then at home it all falls apart. It’s not easy. You have to make compromises. I can’t tell you the amount of time I spent crying on an airplane or alone in a hotel room. But you need to say: This happens. It’s O.K.”
First Woman to Run Boston Marathon Does it Again
Katherine Switzer—the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon—was welcomed back with open arms this past Monday at the hallowed race. In 1967, Switzer defiantly registered for the all-male race under the alias “KV Switzer,” and became a poster child for women’s rights after completing the marathon. Who can forget the meme status photos of her first endeavor as she evaded race official Jock Semple’s attempts to block her from finishing?
In the years since first running the Boston Marathon, Switzer went on to become a leader in women’s athletic opportunities—beginning her own club and race series in Canada, and pushing the International Olympic Committee to include a women’s marathon.
Switzer’s glorious return to the 2017 Boston Marathon, 50 years later at the age of 70, was quite different than her first appearance. Crowds ecstatically cheered her on as she ran with her original bib number, 261, completing the grueling distance in just under 25 minutes from her original time, in 4:44:31.
“My message to young girls is that you can do much more than you ever can imagine,” Switzer said in a statement to NBC. “The only way you can imagine it is to do it. To take the first step. And if you take the first step, you can then take three steps. And then you can take 10. And someday maybe you can run a marathon. And if you can run a marathon, you can do anything.”
Lead graphic by Jordan Levinson
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.