Despite a belief that women don’t support each other, Tara&Co is bringing on three female leaders in the tech industry to serve on the lifestyle startup’s advisory council. Hearsay Systems CEO Clara Shih, Google GM of small and medium business ads Kim Spalding and Etsy COO Linda Kozlowski are all coming on board to advise Tara&Co.
“There’s a common meme that women don’t support each other and that’s why they don’t rise,” Tara&Co CEO Julia Lam told TechCrunch. “I don’t think that’s true.”
As an example, Lam noted the recent launch of Female Founder Office Hours, led by Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee and other prominent female VCs in tech.
“When you have women at the top, it trickles down,” Lam said.
With Shih, Spalding and Kozlowski on board, Lam hopes to further Tara&Co’s mission of building beautiful yet functional products for the professional woman.
“For any startup to be successful, you need the best team — both staff internally and advisors and mentors to help guide you along the way to help you focus and iterate on your product, and future business strategies,” Lam said. “People who have seen the problem before, and can point you in the right direction so when you see a challenge, you can more easily navigate it.”
Tara&Co’s goal is to “fuse fashion and function,” Lam said. All of the products are designed to be aesthetically appealing yet have lots of hidden and convertible functionality.
“The women we design for need to look good, but also seek practical accessories as they navigate their busy schedules and often switch from work to play.”
Tara&Co was totally bootstrapped through the research and development process. In June, the company completed a crowdfunding campaign that resulted in more than $110,000 in funding. Already, the company is generating revenue, mostly from its Tracy 2-in-1 bag, which is named after former Pinterest engineer and Project Include co-founder Tracy Chou.
Im a fan of the acclaimed young writer known as the Slumflower. But her sexual creed of exploitation appals me, says Guardian columnist Zoe Williams
A couple of years ago, the feminist society of Deptford Green secondary school convened a conference. It was there that I met Chidera Eggerue: aka the Slumflower, author of What a Time to be Alone, hashtagger of the #saggyboobsmatter movement. She was a remarkable woman. I dont want to call her a remarkable young woman, even though she was 23 at the time: young is such a modifier and she would have been remarkable at any age.
Her broad message was one of body positivity: if you love yourself and your shape, nobody can shame you. She built what I thought was a brisk, convincing and quite dispiriting picture of the various problems her generation faces: late capitalist consumerism combined with intense pressure to conform physically you must be this shape, to fit into this item, to look this good on Instagram while the new misogyny of the alt-right built an army of enforcers, angry men happy to roam the internet looking for any woman who might look happy with herself, to tell her about the state of her upper arms. And perhaps some men took that corrosive body-pedantry into their relationships and made women feel rubbish about themselves in real life, but the Slumflowers message love yourself, and that is your suit of armour was much more important and universal than relationship advice, and spoke powerfully to girls who were ages away from their first shitty boyfriend, as well as enlighteningly to women who were ages from being able to remember him.
Eggerue did a TED talk and guest-edited the Today programme. She has a quarter of a million Instagram followers, and is plainly a force for inspiration. But fast-forward to now, the message has changed. Like a mash-up of Naomi Wolf and early-era Beyonc, she has taken a female self-sufficiency narrative and spliced it with a coquettish 1950s individualism, to create something appalling, in my view a creed of exploitation. Initially I thought someone had hacked her Twitter feed: If he says he loves you, and you are still paying your own bills, you settled for a roommate. It got uglier: Men shouldnt open their useless mouths to invite me anywhere if they are not arranging my (luxe) travel and covering my Michelin star meal, plus some money (1k) in a brown envelope to thank me for donating my time to them that I could have spent at home relaxing.
A new voice of feminism, in short, had turned into something I found anti-feminist, anti-humanist, anti-intimacy, anti-everything I care about. The idea that you can address the objectification of women by abasing men you want to measure us by the pound? Make sure you can afford to is a race to the bottom. It goes against every element of the feminism I understand, in which women aspire not to be kept by men, but to have agency and self-determination and the ability to keep themselves. Women dont present their sexuality as a commodity that only the rich man deserves, because they have sexual destinies of their own, which cannot be bought or sold, can only be realised or thwarted. Above all, my feminism doesnt even exist without the presumption that all human beings are infinitely precious, infinitely vulnerable, that none of us could withstand the harshness of this worldview, in which we all use each other furiously until everybodys spent.
On Twitter, an army of people despaired that this self-created persona of self-love had spilt over into destructive narcissism, and others disagreed with them, and it was all getting quite blocky and heated, so I did what any sensible person does when an intra-feminist battle blows up, which was to get the hell out of there.The taxonomies of a persons feminism are specific to ones age, race and class, which doesnt just mean some of us havent read Hannah Arendt and some havent read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; it means all our red lines, all our red rags, are different. The idea that it would ever be a feminist act to commodify your own sexuality is more than just illogical to me, it is traitorous. If each of us has a different route into feminism, a different intellectual lineage, then we all have different feminist priorities. But for some reason, variety hasnt encouraged pluralism, and what we see instead is a battle over orthodoxies that is humourless by definition.
With humour gone, were short on tolerance of hyperbole, and indulgence of youth. Young people take extreme positions. I remember going on a panel to argue that contraception was the most important medical development there ever was, even though one of the other categories was evidence-based medicine. But contraception wouldnt exist without an evidence base, my oppugner said mildly, and I replied, Screw you! Screw the patriarchy.
Mirthlessness brings a peculiar tone-deafness, so that we cant, intergenerationally, tell when someone else is joking, sincere, ironic or deadly serious. The Slumflower might be kidding; or she might be painting an elaborate hall of mirrors about the kind of person who thinks a woman might be thinking things like that about a man. In the aftermath of International Womens Day, I merely point out that its not all celebration and vagina-hats and consensus. It is hard work keeping a movement together: if youre not riven with self-doubt, frustration, confusion, rage, empathy, bafflement and the weight of your own ignorance most of the time, youre probably not doing it right.
With the recent emergence of holidays for literally everything, I’ll admit I assumed “Women’s Day” was another #internet #trend invented by cis-men at Google. To my surprise, International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, was started in the early 1900s by labor rights activists who actively spoke on how social categories such as race, gender, class, and nationality impact each other. With this understanding, I started to think about how I, as a non-binary person, could find merit in celebrating something like International Woman’s Day. And, I realized by shifting the focus from white ladies in pussy hats to trans women, women of color, women of different abilities, and all other marginalized beings, I can celebrate International Women’s Day pretty easily. I’ve decided that for me, International Women’s Day is less about “women” and more about intersectionalitythe way in which different forms of oppression coincide, collide, and of course, intersect.
As an assigned female at birth (AFAB) non-binary person, when it comes to gender liberation, “women-centered” anything is like an obligatory family party that I don’t really to be at, but nonetheless, here I am. I celebrate womanhood because most days, the world is going to call me a woman anyway. I have to face idiot men yelling at me out of moving vehicles, getting comments about my cellulite on social media, and fear walking alone at night like women do. I have to spend my own money and time on menstrual care and birth control, like women do. I endure the wage-gap, imposter syndrome in the workplace, and constantly have to listen to not-women talk over me — like women do. And I don’t even get the relief of belting Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” or reveling in my at the end of the day. My relationship with my womanhood is lots of gendered stick with no genderless carrot. And when it comes down to it, I find power in choosing it for myself before it gets shoved down my throat.
I will never be shaped by gender, specifically ‘womanhood,’ in some manner.
“Womanhood” has become a container for the sexism I have to deal with, the gender dysmorphia that keeps me up at night, and the intersection between how I see myself and the box the world tries to put me in. No matter how many fancy coffee shops boast genderless bathrooms, or how many cis men I can convince to openly cry (ideally to licensed therapists who are getting fairly compensated for their time), I will never be shaped by gender, specifically “womanhood,” in some manner. Even if I woke up tomorrow and gender was over, I would still need to recover from my previous 24 years of being seen as a woman. International Women’s Day, then, is a time to be gentle with myself and to acknowledge what I go through, while still checking my own privileges. It’s a day less about what it feels like to “be a woman” and more about what it feels like to be as a woman, regardless of how feel or identify.
I observe International Women’s Day because I feel entitled to it. I feel like anyone who isn’t a rich, white, cis, straight man is entitled to it, with a special focus on those who identify as women or femmes, those who were assigned female at birth, and those who endure sexism (in whatever form) in their lives. And as always, a super special focus on trans women of color. Gender is vast. It is confusing. And it is unsettling. But it is also mutable and it is subjective. In the context of something like International Women’s Day, “women” can mean whatever you want it to. So, I choose to see International Women’s Day as chance to reflect on one’s role in dismantling systems of oppression that affect and to acknowledge the problematic tendencies that exist in even “progressive” spaces or movements. (Looking at you, vegan boy with an Angel Olson tattoo who fights animal cruelty but frequently manipulates younger women.) It’s a time to reflect on the way you see yourself, and the way you inevitably get affected by other people’s perceptions of you.
For myself, I have plans. I’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day by using my carbonator to make my own seltzer, reading by Phoebe Robinson in bed, and Venmo requesting all the cis men in my life for compensation for my time — because if they’re going to continue to profit from their identities, the least they can do is intersect my bank account.
Time to cue up a hot flash joke. Two studies out of UCLA have shown that menopause, and its partner in crime the insomnia that comes with it can make women age faster.
The dual findings, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Biological Psychiatry, suggest that early menopause and insomnia could increase women’s risk for aging-related diseases and earlier death.
The studies hope to answer the age-old question of “Does menopause cause you to age or is the fact you are aging the cause of menopause?” Steve Horvath, professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and a senior author on both studies says this: “It’s like the chicken or the egg: which came first? Our study is the first to demonstrate that menopause makes you age faster.”
Horvath and his team of researchers tracked methylation, a chemical biomarker linked to aging and analyzed DNA samples from more than 3,100 women. The researchers found that menopause speeds up cellular aging by an average of 6 percent. Said Horvath in a press release: “That doesn’t sound like much but it adds up over a woman’s lifespan.”
Take, for example, a woman who enters early menopause at age 42. Eight years later, he said, her body would be a full year older biologically compared to a 50-year-old woman who entered menopause naturally at age 50.
The younger a woman is when she enters menopause, the faster her blood ages, noted the release. It’s significant because a person’s blood may mirror what’s happening in other parts of the body, and this could have implications for death and disease risk, said the study’s author.
And if that wasn’t enough to mess up your day, here’s what the insomnia study found: Not getting enough sleep does more than just affect how you function the next day; it also can influence the rate at which your biological clock ticks. “In the women we studied, those reporting symptoms such as restless sleep, waking repeatedly at night, having difficulty falling asleep, and waking too early in the morning tended to be older biologically than women of similar chronological age who reported no symptoms,” said the study’s author.
“We can’t conclude definitively from our study that the insomnia leads to the increased epigenetic age, but these are powerful findings,” said the study, which recommended carrying out additional research to determine a cause-and-affect relationship between biological age and sleep disorders.
Way too often, dating advice can stray into an icky area. And by icky, I mean letting men sound off at random on the things they don’t like about women, so women can go ahead and make sure they never do any of those things. While I understand the impulse—some of my own articles are along similar lines—I thought it would be nice to take a break from deep dives into the male psyche and talk shit analyze men’s behavior instead. Here are some of the weirdest first date offenses committed by straight men, as told by my hilarious friends. It’s basically a transcript of your next brunch if everyone’s recent dates were exclusively terrible. So…your next brunch. Enjoy!
The “Friend Zone” Guy
“Once on a first date, a guy demanded to know about 20 minutes in whether or not I was attracted to him because he had been friend zoned too many times and needed to make sure it wasn’t going to happen again. And then I turned very red and said I wasn’t sure what to say, and then he later implied he was good at oral sex.” – Phoebe, Journalist
Outstanding. IMO, he could have said any one of these three things and gotten the same point across. Let’s break it down.
“Are you attracted to me? = “Often, women are not attracted to me.”
“I’ve been friend zoned too many times” = “Often, women are not attracted to me.”
“I’m good at oral sex.” = “Often, women are not attracted to me enough to want to have sex with me, so I try to convince them that I have other skills to make up for it. Also, I’m not very good at oral sex.”
And yet he went with all three. I guess men were never really known for their subtlety. Moving on!
The Guy Who Is Probably A Murderer
“There was this crazy German dude who asked to put noise canceling headphones and a blindfold on me before we hooked up. But again, not clear why because he took them off before we actually hooked up. He just made me sit in silence and dark for like 2 minutes beforehand.” – Whitney, Editor
Let’s dissect this a tiny bit. I’m very, very concerned about what he was doing for two minutes after blocking out her senses. TBH, my first thought was that he needed to take a massive dump but like, shouldn’t he have equipped her with nose clips then too? Other theories are that he needed to complete a quick drug deal, hustle another girl out of his room before she saw, or take pictures of her to add to his collection of polaroids of fully clothed women wearing headphones and blindfolds. All of which, ew. I’m going to disable all of my friends’ dating apps. It’s too scary out there.
The Awkward Guy
“The last date I went on, we got coffee, except he didn’t get coffee. He got a slice of banana bread and ate half and then slowly broke the rest down into crumbs with his fingers while we were talking.” – Jane, Hostess
“One introduced me to his parents.” – Victoria, Video Game Producer
Say what you will, but I think both offenses are equal level dealbreakers.
The Condescending Guy
“There was a guy who told me he was seeing other girls but he liked me the most because I was “pretty easy to talk to” and “know a little about music.” – Emily, Consultant
Like friend zone guy, you definitely, definitely know this guy. You probably worshipped him in high school, dated him in college, and reject him once a week now. This is the guy who confuses “opinions I have” with “good taste,” and constantly vocalizes whether or not things meet his standard. And by things, I mean women, which works out because that’s how he thinks of them.
The Wild Card
“[He] told me he voted for Ted Cruz.” – Lucinda, Grad Student
TBH I’m stuck on what would be worse: having your date tell you that they voted for Ted Cruz, or going on multiple dates with a guy who voted for Ted Cruz without ever knowing.
There you have it! The weirdest first date stories I got with a mass text, and they are…honestly, pretty awful. Let’s all take this as a reminder to brush up on our fake emergency calls and “bad sushi” lies. Like you’ve ever regretted a night in.
I never would have thought to blog a commercial about breast pumps, or that something like that could be funny. But today is your lucky day, breast pump industry! “If Men Breastfed” by Naya Health is pretty entertaining and plays a lot with stereotypes (that mostly are totally true). Good thing I am a man – and doesn’t have to breastfeed!
“#IfMenBreastfed would we still be dealing with outdated breast pumps, closets that double as lactation rooms, and a work culture that treats pumping as an inconvenience?”