In the explosion of #MeToo, much of our attention has been focused on recounting our stories of gender-based trauma and discrimination. But while airing these injustices can be cathartic—See: Uma Thurman burning pizza boxes in her Manhattan fireplace—it is only a small step on the road to collective healing and gender equality.
This was the message that Tarana Burke, the civil rights activist and sexual abuse survivor who coined the phrase that started Me Too movement, told Quartz ‘s Leah Fessler.
“I feel that one of the strongest pathways to healing is releasing your story, and then doing the work required to begin to heal,” she said. “This is not really a movement about trauma—it’s a movement about joy. It’s a movement about love and about respect, and it’s about finding the ways that we can cultivate those things in our lives so that we can use them to combat the trauma we’ve experienced.”
This acknowledgement of the challenges we face, paired with a fierce focus on the path to success, is a thread that runs through the interviews that Leah conducted with 50 wildly accomplished and wise women for a new Quartz at Work series entitled “How We’ll Win.”
In this first installment of the year-long feature, each woman answers questions about how she maintains motivation, cultivates connections, and practices self-care. Every interview is studded with gems for people of any gender who are striving not only for personal and professional success, but also for societal improvement. I encourage you to sift through them for yourself—and think about how you might answer these questions.
Here are a handful of favorites I’ve uncovered so far:
“I wish people would stop telling me… to choose one focus, as I think intersectionality and interconnection are where many answers are found. The universe does not ring a bell between subjects like we do in our schools.” — Megan Smith, former US Chief Technology Officer for president Barack Obama
“I think of colleagues as people. We don’t just work together: We’re working toward the same goal. And my mission isn’t just to only talk about work. I like to spend time with my colleagues outside of work and get to know them. I like having their back at work and in life.” — Lena Waithe, creator of The Chi
“A rap song—I still don’t know who wrote it, and I really wish I did—I heard one day said, ‘I came for the cake, not the crumbs.’ That has motivated me in a big way. I didn’t come here for just a little bit of it. I didn’t come here to get your scraps. I didn’t come here to get your pity or your charity. I came here to go toe-to-toe with you, head-to-head with you, and to take it all.” — Arlan Smith, CEO of Backstage Capital
“I think the idea of the ‘self-made’ person sounds sexier, but I am truly always excited when I find people whose sensibilities strike a chord with my own, or whose philosophy or ethos is one I strive to emulate. There is nothing like shared success, and a solid foundation of support transcends any rejection you might experience along the way.” — Aparna Nancherla, comedian
Everyone should own… a heating pad. Go back to the womb with one simple tool!” — Lena Dunham, creator of Girls and Lenny Letter
The winter olympics are officially underway! This is exciting for many reasons, not least of which is the apparel. I am very much feeling the 1980s-in-Snowmass vibe of Team USA’s Ralph Lauren fringed gloves, color-blocked parkas, and intarsia snowflake sweaters for the opening ceremony. (If you’re feeling it too and have $600 to spend on snowpants, this pair is haunting me.)
Figure-skating fashion. This week Marc Bain leapt into the archives of the International Olympic Committee library, and explored the history of competitive figure skaters’ clothing, tracing important developments such as “flesh mesh”—the skin-toned stretchy inserts that allow for strapless and cutout looks.
If you, like me, distinctly remember the 1994 women’s Olympic figure skating not just for the drama between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, but also for Oksana Baiul’s bubblegum feather-trimmed mini dress (and matching scrunchy), then Marc’s piece is for you—from Bob Paul’s 1958 bellhop getup to Surya Bonaly’s minimalist, metallic 1994 bodysuit, and myriad tiny skirts in between. All flesh mesh aside, figure skating costumes can affect a skater’s scores (which some fans lament)—so fashion here is no mere frivolity, it’s part of the competition.
And of course, there’s more than fashion to look forward to. Will Russian frontrunner Evgenia Medvedeva, recovering from a broken foot, prevail in the wake of a failed double axel in October she dubbed “a moral weakness”? Will US favorite Nathan Chen land five—five!—of his mind-boggling quadruple jumps in a single routine? Will the new rule that music can have lyrics overshadow or enhance the routines? What else will we learn about Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju Sik, the pair from North Korea, who skated to a Beatles tune to qualify? Figure skating events started last night, and there’s much more to follow tomorrow, starting at 8pm ET, live on NBC Olympics.
May you land all your jumps, clad in fabulous costumes. Have a great weekend!
John Mahoney in Moonstruck. The actor John Mahoney, best known for playing the father of Frasier Crane in the popular Cheers spinoff, died this week at the age of 77. The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson fondly remembered the first time she saw Mahoney, in the wonderful movie Moonstruck. To be honest, I had forgotten he appeared in the film—years since I’ve seen it, I can barely recall Nicolas Cage beyond Cher in all her glory—but Larson makes a case for re-watching it for Mahoney. “There’s much to swoon over in ‘Moonstruck,'” Larson writes. “Nicolas Cage, Cher, the outbursts, the passion, the moon, the bakery, the brownstones, the Met, ‘Oh, Ma, I love him awful’—but the chief John Mahoney scene is as indelible as all the rest of it.” Her beautiful retelling of that scene is worth a read—but also, the film is really worth re-watching.