"Becoming" A Memoir by Michelle Obama Already Sold 10+ Million Copies, Pants vs. Skirts in Charter Schools, and More Feminist News

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“Becoming” A Memoir By Michelle Obama

In less than five months, Michelle Obama has sold more than 10 million units of her biography, “Becoming.” It is a publishing industry phenomenon for many reasons, not the least of which that it is on track to become the bestselling memoir of all time. The former First Lady of the United States recently surprised a Tacoma, Washington based book club with an appearance. “A lot of what she shared with us was cutting ourselves slack as women,” Lestaundra Alfred, founder of the “Balanced Black Girl” book club told the Tacoma Daily Index. “We can be very hard on ourselves and very hard on each other and something she touched on at multiple points was to go easy on ourselves, be compassionate with one another because we’re all just doing the best we can.”

Some memoirs by First Ladies actually outsell those of their husbands. Gillian Brockwell of the Washington Post, however, notes that former First Lady Julia Grant couldn’t find a publisher for her memoirs in the 19th century. We have come a long way.

Pants vs. Skirts in Charter Schools

A Judge in North Carolina ruled that three girls in a charter school cannot be compelled to wear skirts. Guardians of the three girls sued, saying that the Charter Day School, a “traditional values school,”  cannot enforce a skirts-only rule as part of its dress code. The suit argues that the traditional values policies are a violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection requirements. The case began when one girl started a petition to wear pants two years ago. "Personally, I hate wearing skirts," wrote student Keely Burks in 2016. “The skirts requirement causes the girls to suffer a burden the boys do not, simply because they are female,” wrote Judge Malcolm J. Howard last week.

Joe Biden Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

Former Nevada state assemblywoman Lucy Flores has accused Democratic 2020 front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden of sexually unwanted touching. The Nevada politician appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning to describe in detail the incident, which happened at a campaign event in 2014. “Very unexpectedly and out of nowhere I feel Joe Biden put his hands on my shoulders, get up very close to me from behind, lean in, smell my hair and then plant a slow kiss on the top of my head,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “That, in and of itself, might not sound like it’s a very serious thing. That… might sound like it was innocent and well intentioned. But in the context of it, as a person who had absolutely no relationship with him afterwards, as a candidate who was preparing my case as to why I should be elected the second in command of that state, to have the vice president of the United States do that to me so unexpectedly and just kind of out of nowhere, it was just shocking.” A detailed account in her words was published in New York magazine.

As you can imagine, the Biden campaign, which is launching soon, is in disarray. Biden has issued a sort of non-apology apology, acknowledging, “expressions of affection” over his years campaigning for political office and on behalf of allies, but sharply adding “not once—never—did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

National Equal Pay Day

Tuesday, April 2nd is National Equal Pay Day. The holiday began by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 as a public awareness day highlighting the gap in the pay between genders. In Florida, for example, a woman makes 85 cents for every dollar a man in a similar position makes. “In 2017, female employees made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men,” Scholley Bubenik of Forbes writes. “This difference constitutes a twenty percent gap in wages between male and female employees.” According to a new American Association of University Women (AAUW) survey, three quarters of those polled believe that when it comes to pay negotiations, men and women are treated differently. The National Partnership for Women and Families has released an infographic chart, just in time for National Equal Pay Day, that allows you to click on any state to see the actual gender gap.

Exhibition: Votes For Women: A Portrait of Persistence

A new exhibition, "Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence," celebrates women’s suffrage in the United States from the early 1830s, when it became intertwined with abolitionism, to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1920. The exhibition includes 124 objects spaced over six rooms. “Through portraiture, biography, and material culture, the exhibition examines the contributions of the radical women in antislavery societies; women activists of the late nineteenth century; the “New Woman” of the turn of the century; and the militant suffragists of the 1910s," notes the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition, at The Smithsonian in Washington DC, runs until January 5, 2020.

Cover image via The Lily