Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.
Keeping up with the Conways
A leftist TikTok teen has been trolling Donald Trump supporters and encouraging people to leave one-star reviews on all of the president’s hotels and golf courses. Nothing terribly surprising about that, right? Except this particular TikToker is called Claudia Conway and she’s the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s most loyal advisors.
Claudia, 15, found herself in the spotlight this week after New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz tweeted about her anti-Trump content. She has since given a number of interviews, describing herself as “100% leftist and liberal” and telling Insider that she had “respectfully declined” her mother’s request to delete her viral videos.
Claudia’s very public rebellion is not exactly unprecedented: George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband, has made a name for himself by tweeting snarky comments about Trump. The relationship between George and Kellyanne has long been a subject of fascinated speculation. Is the vocal political disagreement completely genuine? Are they a heart-warming example of the power of love to conquer all (even, you know, fascism)? Or is it all a carefully curated act? Are the pair angling for a book deal or reality TV show?
Some of the Conways’ inner circle have assured sceptics that it is absolutely not the latter. “Those who think this is a 14-dimensional chess game are mistaken,” says Rick Wilson, a Republican who, along with George Conway, is one of the founders of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. According to Wilson both George and Kelly are dogged in their views towards Trump but have stayed together regardless. “Who knows the secrets of the human heart?”
I have no idea what goes on in Kellyanne’s heart, but the woman certainly has a head for strategy. It’s worth remembering that she is entirely self-made, built her own polling company from scratch, and is the first woman in US history to have led a successful presidential campaign.
Kellyanne has spent her entire life looking at polls and trends; she may have no moral compass but she’s adept at figuring out which way the wind is blowing. I would not be surprised if she is quietly sanctioning the Trump critics in her family and hedging her bets in case he doesn’t win another term. She works, after all, for a reality TV star; she knows how to manufacture drama.
And this is the woman, let us remember, who talks about “alternative facts” and invented the “Bowling Green Massacre.” If she can conjure up a massacre, one imagines she can spin family conflict to her advantage. Claudia may think she’s rebelling against mum now but may eventually come to realize that, as usually happens, her mother had the upper hand all along. Don’t be surprised if Keeping Up With the Conways comes to a TV screen near you soon.
The ‘rough sex’ defence has been banned
The British government has put an end to the so-called ‘rough sex gone wrong defence’; killers were essentially allowed to get away with murder (and face a lesser charge of manslaughter) by saying their victim (invariably a woman) had consented to sexual gratification. So, you know, it was her fault she died. The new law comes after a campaign by We Can’t Consent To This; the campaign group notes that the defence used to be pretty rare, but “there was a tenfold increase in rough sex claims between 1996 and 2016 in the UK.” Choking and violence during sex has become dangerously normalized, largely thanks to pornography.
Duffy criticizes Netflix for glamourizing rape
365 Days (touted as the Polish 50 Shades of Grey), a film about a woman who is kidnapped and given a year to fall in love with her captor, has become a mega-hit on Netflix. The singer Duffy has spoken out about the film, accusing of it eroticizing and glamourizing “the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape”. Earlier this year Duffy revealed that she had been raped, drugged and held captive for several days – an ordeal that led to her retreating from the public eye for several years.
Brussels to name public square after Brontë sisters
It’s part of a wider attempt to name more public spaces after women.
Mary Trump’s tell-all book cleared for publication
The president’s brother, Robert Trump, has been doing his best to block publication of the book but courts have now given it the all-clear.
In the Covid-19 economy, you’re allowed only a kid or a job
“We are being crushed by an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential,” Deb Perelman writes in the New York Times. It’s a great piece and is deservedly going viral. However, it’s worth noting that childcare in America was broken long before the coronavirus came around: it just took well-off people being affected for it to be a fashionable topic of conversation.
Child-interrupted TV broadcasts ‘show reality for working parents’
Kids have been crashing the news recently.
Plot twist: Dan Brown’s wife may have come up with The Da Vinci Code
Brown’s ex-wife has filed a lawsuit claiming she inspired much of his work and alleging the writer had a secret double life.
Ghislaine Maxwell charged over role in Epstein sexual abuse
The British socialite, who has been hiding for months, was finally arrested on Thursday and charged with enticement, conspiracy and perjury. Maxwell is alleged to have played a critical role in grooming minors for Epstein and was his confidant. One imagines a number of powerful men, including Prince Andrew, are now feeling very nervous indeed.
Supreme court strikes down Louisiana abortion law
On Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberal judges to rule that that Louisiana couldn’t impose a law that would have made getting an abortion in the state nearly impossible. While this is great news, it’s worth noting that the ruling doesn’t mean Roberts has suddenly become a liberal. As Moira Donegan explains, his objections were about procedure, not principle: “Roberts often finds himself begrudgingly on the right side of history because the conservative legal thinking that he would prefer to side with is often sloppily and stupidly executed.”
The week in pet-riarchy
It is generally thought that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years. That’s rubbish according to a new study that posits human age = 16 ln(dog_age) + 31. (Don’t ask me what that means). Going to have to break the news to my pup that he’s a lot older than we thought and really ought to be tidying up after himself already.