Graduation from any level of education is significant, but this year, there is added meaning to the ceremonies.
According to the Associated Press, 2018 marks a milestone in U.S. college graduation exercises, as “the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their spring commencement speakers” for the first time in at least two decades. The impetus behind the change? AP reports that industry experts are crediting the swing toward female speaks to the #MeToo movement that has reignited the flame of female empowerment in the United States and around the world.
And the increase in female commencement speakers this year is significant; AP reports that this year, “women account for nearly 60 percent of the speakers at the 25 schools that have the largest endowments and traditionally carry the clout to draw big names to the lectern.” In previous years, however, AP says women accounted for a mere quarter of the speakers at those same schools over the past 19 years.
While AP says that while some universities said the #MeToo movement didn’t specifically shape their decisions, companies hired to find commencement speakers said that they’ve seen a major increase in requests for women that correlated with the timing of the the #MeToo movement’s inception and takeoff.
“There’s been a much bigger push to bring in white females, black females — anyone other than a white male,” said Richard Schelp, owner of Executive Speakers Bureau.
So just who are some of the women speaking at graduations this year? For starters, Sheryl Sandberg will do the honors of delivering a commencement address at MIT, according to AP, while Dartmouth will host Mindy Kaling. Not to mention Amal Clooney will descend upon Vanderbilt, while AP says Hillary Clinton will return to her alma mater and speak at Yale’s commencement.
One dystopian show is getting a set of lead actors that may seem a bit utopian to some.
According to Glamour, the fourth season of the hit British series Black Mirror is hitting Netflix with an all-female set of lead actors. With Glamour reporting that only 18 of the top 50 television shows in the U.K. have female leads, the move comes as a bit of a plot twist, going against the grain of TV in not only the U.K., but in all of television.
While the decision to cast females in lead roles is something to celebrate, it wasn’t actually a conscious decision. Glamour says co-executive producer Annabel Jones told The Hollywood Reporter that having all-female protagonists just happened, as Jones and fellow co-exective producer Charlie Booker “don’t tend to think about the stories that way.”
But, she praises the result nonetheless.
“But it’s great — great! — that they’re all strong female protagonists,” she said. “I think what’s lovely about the show is that it’s not a strident statement. It’s more: Why not? We don’t even think about it from a gender perspective and I hope that’s progress. It’s more that we explore the best story and the best way to tell it.”
When some online tend to spew hate and put other down, leave it to Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty fans to empower each other and provide the positivity that the internet so needs.
According to PopSugar, after a fellow Fenty fan commented on an Instagram photo of the brand’s Stunna Lip Paint saying that she can only dream of wearing a bright red lip color because she’d been told that red “doesn’t suit” her because her “lips are too big,” other ‘grammers jumped in to save the day.
“Your lips are perfect, whoever told you that is dead wrong! you should get it!” one user wrote, PopSugar reports, while another told her to “Own what you have. Don’t worry about anything else…You can wear whatever you want, dont listen to anyone who says otherwise.”
Commenters weren’t the only ones to offer words of empowerment to the Fenty fan. Even the Fenty Beauty account chimed in, says PopSugar, first commenting to the fan that “This red is for EVERYONE” and then posting a screenshot of the words of encouragement and writing, “The #FENTYBEAUTY sisterhood is real!!”
Amen to that!
Let’s face it: we could all use a little inspiration every now and then. And thanks to Jay-Z, we sure got a dose.
According to HuffPost, the famed rapper took a moment at his concert at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio to serve up some inspiration to a young fan attending his 4:44 Tour. Stopping his own show, Jay-Z offered that nothing can — or should — keep the unidentified 9-year-old girl from being anything she wants:
“At this very moment, America is way more sexist than they are racist,” he said. “But you, young lady, you got the potential to be the next president of the United States. You believe that.”
Apparently this isn’t the first time Jay-Z has used his show to share a message of empowerment; HuffPost says he also said during his Nashville show that even though there’s “a lot going on in the world right now,” he knows that “love will always trump hate.”
Preach it, Jay.
Female leaders are models, both literally and figuratively — and in this all-new campaign by Reformation, these women are actually the models of the brand’s latest styles.
According to Glamour, Reformation decided to ditch traditional fashion models for their holiday campaign and instead opt for “women who are leaders in a variety of male-dominated fields to front its campaign, bringing a new meaning to power-dressing.”
Fashionista reports that one — Kirsten — is the founder of an e-commerce venture capital firm, while another — Kate — is a branch chief of operations for engineering at a space agency, among others in different industries, sharing in a release that they strategically chose women in fields that are “notorious for under-representing the ladies.”
Reformation founder Yael Aflalo explained to Glamour the company’s decision to cast the women in this way:
“We’ve always admired like-minded women who get sh*t done and make a big impact in whatever field they’re in…So we wanted to celebrate a group of ladies who share that passion for leadership and change.”
Sharing that the campaign aims to bring a new meaning to the term “power dressing,” Aflalo told Glamour that it’s all about wearing pieces that make you feel confident.
“We do think clothes have the power to make you feel a bit more confident,” Aflalo said. “Power dressing is not as much about what you’re wearing, like a business suit vs a backless dress, but more about how it makes you feel.”
Shop the collection here.
Cate Blanchett does not need an official award to be considered an icon, but it certainly is warranted — especially when she gives such an inspiring acceptance speech.
According to PopSugar, the actor recently earned the Style Icon award at the InStyle Awards and in her speech, she took a moment to acknowledge the many strong, bold women in her presence. Offering that true style icons are those who are “utterly themselves without apology,” PopSugar reports that Blanchett said icons know who they are and seamlessly integrate that into their style.
“Women who know how they look, it’s not all of who they are but just an extension of that,” she said, “and it’s about women who feel free to wear what they want when they want and how they want to wear it.”
But Blanchett didn’t stop here. She also touched on another very important point:
“Women like looking sexy, but it doesn’t mean we want to f-ck you.”
Cara Delevingne’s partnership with Puma is about much more than modeling stylish sportswear.
According to Fashionista, the model teamed up with the athleticwear brand to launch a series of mini documentaries called #DoYouStories. Taking place in Uganda, Canada and the United States, Fashionista reports that the series features “the stories of women refugees, spoken-word poets, martial arts teachers and more.”
The four-episode series begins with a trip to Uganda with the UN’s “Girl Up” foundation to meet with refugees in South Sudan, while Fashionista says the remaining episodes have Delevingne participating in literacy programs, meeting anti-bullying activists and “taking martial arts lessons from a hijab-wearing doctor through an organization called Martial Smarts.”
Want to learn more about Delevingne’s project and the fearless women she’s met with? Click here.