The Academy’s New Class is 39% Female and 30% POC

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

Priyanka Chopra, Donald Glover, Naomie Harris, and John Cho (The Hollywood Reporter)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced its new class of members. The 2017 class numbers 744, which is a new record. This breaks the 2016 number of invitees at 683, which had previously held the record.

This new class might also hold the distinction of being the most diverse (so far). Of the 744 members, 39% are women and 30% are people of color (POC).

Here’s how the new class will influence the gender makeup of the Academy:

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Overall Female Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable women invited include “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, comedian Amy Poehler, and French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.

POC comprise 39% of this year’s class. Here’s what that looks like with respect to the Academy’s full voting body:

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

People of Color in Overall Membership (Variety/AMPAS)

Notable POC invitees include Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key of “Key & Peele,” Indian actor Salman Khan, and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung.

Of course, there’s a lot of intersectionality happening for women of color (WOC). Prominent WOC in this year’s Academy class include Priyanka Chopra, Sanaa Lathan, and Nazanin Boniadi.

The Academy’s new class is part of an effort to increase the numbers of women and POC members by 2020.

Hopefully the new influx of fresh faces and perspectives will allow more diverse and inclusive narratives to come to the forefront, and prevent another #OscarsSoWhite fiasco.

 

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Burkini Sales Rise by 200% After French Ban

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Burkini designer Aheda Zanetti (Saudi Gazette)

Earlier this summer, coastal French towns courted controversy when their respective mayors decided to ban burkinis on beaches. The burkini consists of a long-sleeved top with long pants and a head covering, and was developed for women who follow Islamic modesty standards so that they could go swimming while still covered. The term “burkini” comes from a portmanteau of the words “burqa” and “bikini.”

Despite the ban, burkini creator Aheda Zanetti says that online sales of now-famous swimwear have risen over 200%+ recently. (Now, we don’t know what her sales had been previously, or what the year-over-year change has proved to be, so unfortunately we have incomplete information.)

Zanetti says that her customers are not homogeneously Muslim. She reports that about 40% of her customers are from other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Mormonism, that adhere to modest dress standards.

The burkini ban stems from a stringent French view on separating religion from the state. The French government has banned religious symbols from government buildings since 2004. A ban specifically on burqas was passed in 2011.

Right now, about 30 French towns have instituted the ban, though the town of Villeneuve-Loubet has since overturned it.

 

France Outlaws Paying for Sex

French prostitutes (The Independent UK)

French prostitutes (The Independent UK)

Earlier this month, France made a major move: The country has now made paying for sex illegal.

If someone is caught paying for sex, they’ll be fined up to $1.7K for a first offense, and up to $4.2K+ for a second time. The offender may also be required to attend classes on sex workers’ conditions.

France isn’t the only country to pass a measure of this kind, or even the first: The country follows in the footsteps of the U.K., Sweden, Iceland, and Norway.

Advocates of the new ban claim that this will help sex workers get out of the trade. But sex workers are opposing this new measure, reasoning that it will expose them to more violence.

It’s estimated that France has between 20K to 40K sex workers. (Naturally, it’s difficult to get an accurate count.)

Thursday Trends: Young Women and #GrannyHair

Rihanna (Her Interest)

Rihanna (Her Interest)

Kylie Jenner did it. So did Rihanna and Kelly Osbourne. Of course, Lady Gaga, trendsetter that she is, rocked it back in 2010.

Grey hair.

Once upon a time, it was unseemly for women to go out sporting anything other than a full mane of brown, black, red or blonde hair. Grey was seen as unnatural and, at the same time, a little too natural. It was shoved to the side, to the back of the mind, ignoring the tell-tale side of aging.

Right now, women are embracing the color whole-heartedly, and running towards the grey instead of away from it. A recent BuzzFeed post shows how young women are riding the trend, especially seen on Instgram with the hashtag #GrannyHair.

But why now? Why is this grey hair’s big moment?

We seem to be in the midst of a “revering our elders” moment. (Real talk, though: that needs to happen every day. Call your grandparents, people!) The fashion world has been pioneering this lately. French fashion house Céline tapped 80-year-old essayist Joan Didion to be their latest model, and Saint Laurent is using 71-year-old Joni Mitchell. The major beauty players are doing the same, with 64-year-old Jessica Lange for Marc Jacobs and 69-year-old Helen Mirren for L’Oreal Paris. In this year’s Milan Fashion Week, trends skewed towards something your grandmother might don for a social event.

This makes total sense in terms of how current demographics are shifting. The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, are turning officially “old” at a rapid clip. As of 2011, they numbered 77M+ and are “the largest generation in American history.” Baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and won’t stop until the end of 2029.

Here’s how CNN puts this demographic’s strength in numbers in terms of future projected growth:

The 65+ population segment is projected to double to 71.5 million by 2030 and grow to 86.7 million by 2050.

With this projected growth will come a lot of societal changes (I’ve always said that this isn’t a generation that’ll age quietly). We’re beginning to see initial impacts with how we view that generation and the ones before. For example, It used to be that you couldn’t be seen as a sexual being after a certain age, that you were out of the running in the race to make babies. And while that second part might be true, the first has been proven false by many women over “a certain age.” Case in point: see every instance where a late-night talk show host jokes about Helen Mirren. They’re always saying she’s hot (and she is!). Society has long seen older men with grey hair as sexy, and is now (finally!) coming around to the idea that older women are hot too.

Young women coloring their hair grey even has a historical precedent. In her book “Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love” author Betsy Prioleau mentions that young women in the French court used to powder their hair grey to emulate their elders. (If you’ve seen Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” the director subtly includes this detail, noticeable in some shots.)

Overall, this trend really points to a shift in how we’re seeing aging. People seem to be more open to the fact that life doesn’t stop after a certain age. And young women are celebrating their elders with their grey hair, natural or not.

French Naturist Pioneer Christiane Lecocq Has Died

Christiane Lecocq (Noticia Al Dia)

Christiane Lecocq (Noticia Al Dia)

Renowned French naturist Christiane Lecocq passed away this past Christmas Eve at age 103.

Lecocq became a naturist when she was 22 in 1933, when she joined a sports club in Lille and discovered that it was a nude sports club. She then became dedicated to the movement’s health and social benefits.

Lecocq is credited as being a leader in the naturist movement. She and her husband founded the first naturist vacation spot in France, and the first naturist magazine “Life in the Sun.”

In 1950, Lecocq and her husband Albert founded the French Naturist Federation (FFN). Three years later, they founded the International Naturist Federation, of which 38 countries are members.

One stat suggests that there are 14M+ naturists worldwide. FFN president Armand Jamier claims that France is a top destination for naturists, with 3.5M participants, 1.5M of whom are French.