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Cardi B Proved She’s Rap’s Latest General At The BET Hip Hop Awards

Cardi B came to wage war.

At the 2018 BET Hip Hop Awards on Tuesday night (October 16), the Bronx rapper tore through an inspirational performance of Invasion of Privacy opener “Get Up 10.” Surrounded by backup dancers clad in camo, Cardi rapped, “Real bitch, only thing fake is the boobs / Get money, go hard, you’re mothafuckin’ right,” in an early highlight of the performance. As she hit the middle of the bar, her small army moved in unison with a striking confidence. Hip-hop’s reigning general had arrived.

However, the awards show hit its peak during “Backin’ It Up.” Cardi’s frequent co-writer Pardison Fontaine came out to deliver his surging hit, but it was the mid-show twerk that is guaranteed to go viral.

In an October interview with Genius, Pardison described how the collaboration came together.

“I remember just hearing the beat from J-Louis, and they was playing me some of his beats, and I was like, ‘Nah. I need that one immediately,’ so I just got to recording,” explained Fontaine. “Before I knew it, I had a little concept. I’m like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be something hard,’ so I shot it over to Cardi. She was messing with it, and she was even pregnant at the time, you know what I’m saying? And she still knocked out the verse. Like, you really gon’ body me on my own record?”

Watch Cardi’s full performance in the video above.

When Winner-Take-All Battles Backfire at Work

When Winner-Take-All Battles Backfire at Work
Photo: Rob Shepperson

If career planning at your office is starting to resemble an episode of “Survivor,” you’re not alone.

More employers are sparking internal competitions by posting job openings online and encouraging interested employees to apply. The internal horse races that ensue open up new career opportunities for many, but also risk leaving angry, dispirited runners-up in their wake.

“It’s a really great thing” if these rivalries give employees fairer, faster access to new opportunities, says Minneapolis executive coach Kevin Cashman. “But they create a bit of a monster” if employers fail to provide career-planning help and support for those who lose out, says Mr. Cashman, global head of Korn Ferry’s CEO development practice.

It’s possible to emerge a winner from one of these bake-offs even if you don’t get the job. But it requires some careful career planning and social skill.

Pitting insiders against each other can give rise to destructive tension. Kristen J. Zavo and several hundred other consultants in her division at a previous employer vied annually for a handful of openings for new director positions. Politicking among candidates seeking to align themselves with the most powerful internal allies led to backbiting and undermined co-workers’ trust in each other, Ms. Zavo says.

The rivalry intensified the pressure consultants already felt to work 80-hour weeks. And those who lost out were left seething over the outcome, she says. She resigned after the stress began harming her health. Ms. Zavo is a Cincinnati career coach and author of “Job Joy,” a book about finding meaning and satisfaction in work.

The takeaway for her: Employees shouldn’t join such battles without first figuring out what they’ll do if they don’t get the job. They also should size up each opportunity based on how well it fits into their own long-term career and personal plans.

Employers tapped current employees to fill 21% of all 2017 job openings, up from 11% the previous year, according to a survey of more than 700 employers by SilkRoad, a Chicago-based talent-management technology company.

Kristen J. Zavo, a Cincinnati career coach and author, says intense competition for promotions on a previous job sparked tension and overwork.
Kristen J. Zavo, a Cincinnati career coach and author, says intense competition for promotions on a previous job sparked tension and overwork. Photo: Jess Summers/SAY YES TO JESS

Posting jobs internally attracts a larger pool of highly qualified applicants for hiring managers to choose from, compared with allowing managers to handpick candidates on their own, according to a 2017 study of 8,107 internal hires at a large health-insurance company.

It found that employees who win the job are 17% more likely to stay with the company for at least two additional years, and 28% more likely to be promoted within three years, compared with managers’ handpicked candidates. JR Keller, an assistant professor of human resources studies at Cornell University, conducted the study.

Many employers also hope internal postings will attract a more diverse applicant pool and help address concerns over racial, ethnic or gender bias.

But internal postings risk driving losers out the door. Also-rans in Dr. Keller’s study were 2½ times more likely than the average employee to quit the company in the ensuing six to 12 months, according to unpublished follow-up research.

As employers replace old career ladders and predictable promotion schedules with more flexible internal postings, career-planning responsibility is falling to employees. And many of them aren’t ready. “People just don’t know how to build careers within organizations,” Dr. Keller says. Without some career-planning help, “the only way to figure out what your opportunities are is to actually apply,” he says.

Bake-Off Best Practices

Seven tips on how to behave when competing with co-workers for a promotion:

  • Avoid allowing a rivalry to damage your relationships with co-workers.
  • Acknowledge your rivals’ applications in a friendly way and wish them well.
  • Avoid efforts to undermine or sabotage other candidates.
  • Don’t let applying for internal openings substitute for making your own long-term career plans.
  • Plan in advance what you will do if you lose.
  • If you win, don’t flaunt it. Respect others’ feelings and celebrate away from the office.
  • Be gracious if you lose. Congratulate the winner and talk about what you gained from the process.

Without thoughtful oversight, internal competitions can devolve into a Darwinian struggle. Heather Taylor was dismayed when a new employer pitted her against a co-worker in a head-to-head battle for an editing job several years ago. The hiring manager didn’t reveal until after Ms. Taylor accepted the job that she’d hired another new editor at the same time.

Neither the manager nor the other editor ever openly acknowledged the horse race, but the company was so small that there clearly wasn’t room for more than one person in an editor role. From their first day, “we were sizing each other up. I think we knew from the start that only one of us would make it out alive,” says Ms. Taylor, of Calabasas, Calif.

Ms. Taylor did her best, but soon felt herself losing traction. Her boss began excluding her from meetings and huddling with her rival. “I felt like I was in limbo,” Ms. Taylor says. She left the company after only a few weeks, when her boss chose her rival over her. Although she rebounded quickly, losing that battle was so discouraging that she briefly considered changing careers.

“It really shakes your confidence in your ability and makes you second-guess everything you’re doing,” says Ms. Taylor, who is currently communications coordinator for MyCorporation, a provider of business document-filing services.

Internal bake-offs can work well if the losers get something out of the competition. Runners-up in Dr. Keller’s study were far more likely to stay with the company if hiring managers took the time to interview them, show interest in their candidacy and encourage them, Dr. Keller says.

CEO coach John Mattone says some employers offer all contenders for top jobs executive coaching, skills assessments and interviewing experience. “Even if they aren’t the winner, they still benefit greatly,” says Mr. Mattone, an author and speaker based in Orlando, Fla.

The most profitable companies teach employees to manage their own careers, according to a recent study of 1,220 employers by Bersin by Deloitte. Some 76% of more profitable companies emphasized promoting from within. They also set up training programs encouraging employees to sell themselves internally, network with colleagues outside their teams and explore potential paths to advancement.

Candidates shouldn’t allow an internal horse race to undermine their relationships with colleagues. They have to continue working with them. Also, decision makers tend to see candidates who appear likable and friendly as more competent, says Jack Nasher, author of “Convinced!” a forthcoming book about proving competence. That means showing respect for colleagues at all levels. If you find yourself shoulder to shoulder with a rival at happy hour, say you’ve heard they applied for the job and buy them a round.

If you lose, “don’t focus on losing. Talk about the future with optimism,” Dr. Nasher says. Frame the outcome in a positive way that emphasizes the upside, such as what you learned or new relationships you gained. And make your last comment to decision makers a positive one. That’s the one they’re most likely to remember.

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at sue.shellenbarger@wsj.com

More From Work & Family

Ariana Grande Just Announced She’s Taking a Break From Social Media

Ariana Grande has announced she’s taking a step back from social media.

In a Instagram Stories slide, the Sweetener singer said she’s temporarily quitting social media to avoid seeing negative news bites. Whether she’s referring to stories about her reported breakup with Pete Davidson is unclear. “Okay, today was very special and I’m so grateful I was able to be there,” the singer wrote on her Instagram Story, per People, in reference to her participation in NBC’s A Very Wicked Halloween. “Time to say bye bye again to the Internet for just a lil bit. It’s hard not to bump news and stuff that I’m not trying to see right now. It’s very sad and we’re all trying very hard to keep going. Love you. And thank you for being here always.”

Earlier in the day, Grande posted another Instagram Story—her first since the reported breakup—that spoke to some anxiety issues she was experiencing. “Can’t believe I almost let my anxiety ruin this for me today!” she wrote, again, referring to the Wicked special. “Not today Satan! Not tomorrow or the next day either, not no more… [gonna] sing my heart out and be a big walking vessel of love. Bye.”

PHOTO: Instagram

Neither Grande nor Davidson has directly addressed the end of their whirlwind engagement, which culminated in a swanky New York City apartment, pet pig, and $100,000 diamond engagement ring. TMZ claims their relationship ended “with both parties acknowledging that it simply was not the right time for their relationship to take off,” while People reported, “It was way too much too soon…it’s not shocking to anyone.” Here’s hoping both of them get some well-deserved privacy.

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Every Single Outfit Meghan Markle Has Worn on Her Royal Tour of Australia

Meghan Markle is expecting a baby, but she’s also celebrating another royal first: She and Prince Harry have embarked on a royal tour of the Commonwealth halfway across the globe. From October 16th through the 31st, the couple will visit Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand, with an education- and serviced-based itinerary centered around environmental conservation, youth leadership, and rehabilitation for servicemen and women. And, as we know from previous royal tours, that means there are a lot of photo opps.

With several days of appearances and events lined up, we’re gearing up for two straight weeks of Duke and Duchess of Sussex moments—from PDA to, yes, fashion. And from the moment she touched down in Sydney, Markle has delivered. (Not that we expected anything less from a woman who can wear tuxedo dresses and fast-fashion blouses with equal finesse.) Early outfits have included looks by Karen Gee and Brandon Maxwell, which has only raised the anticipation for the rest of her travel wardrobe. So we’re gathering them all in one place: Check out every single ensemble Markle has worn on her 2018 royal tour so far, with plenty of updates coming throughout the next two weeks.

We bring you the trends. You make them your own. Sign up for our daily newsletter to find the best fashion for YOU.

This Is Big: The New Oversize Silhouette

Oversize styles appeared at Balenciaga’s Paris fashion show in March, several months after the #MeToo movement took off globally.
Oversize styles appeared at Balenciaga’s Paris fashion show in March, several months after the #MeToo movement took off globally. Photo: Catwalking/Getty Images

The fashion industry wants women to make room for roomy clothes.

Roomy and even oversize garments appeared in Fall 2018 collections in stores now, from several houses including Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. The trend continued on runways in the past month, among the Spring 2019 offerings from Matthew Adams Dolan, Loewe, Valentino and others.

The change in silhouette continues a gradual shift from the body-hugging, skin-baring styles that women squeezed into over the past decade. It also comes amid the #MeToo era, raising questions of whether the industry is responding to the movement to end sexual harassment and assault.

It wouldn’t be the first time fashion echoed the zeitgeist. In 1926, economist George Taylor’s Hemline Index suggested that hemlines fall when the economy sags and then rise when it strengthens and shoppers are feeling flush. Similarly, some business executives have posited that a prevalence of high heels signals favorable economic conditions.

However, the fashion world’s calendar makes it unlikely that #MeToo exerted a significant creative influence on clothes now in stores. Designers typically work on collections months or even a year before they are presented to the public. Clothes being sold now appeared on runways in February. That was a few months after the #MeToo movement was galvanized by allegations of sexual assault and harassment by Harvey Weinstein and other high-profile figures. Designers did have time to register the movement as they worked on their Spring 2019 collections. Those clothes were shown on runways in September and early October and hit stores early next year.

Matthew Adams Dolan, who is based in New York, featured oversize looks in his Spring 2019 show. He called the silhouette a response to several things: the #MeToo movement, gender fluidity and discussions of women’s empowerment. The designer, whose oversize looks have been made popular by Rihanna, said, “It’s about the idea of being comfortable and not pleasing someone else, wearing something that makes you feel good and also sexy at the same time.”

Marjorie Jolles, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Roosevelt University in Chicago, studies the aesthetics and ethics of female power. “Calling [the oversize trend] a direct translation of this political moment is probably too strong,” she said. “But it is impossible, even if designers don’t have a political bone in their body, not to bring with you a sense of the moment when designing.”

Dr. Jolles sees how consumers can read different messages in the oversize trend. “There is something about the volume that is so indifferent to the body,” she said. “The mood of these is ‘cover up’ and many layers between you and the world. The mood here is not thinking about men.”

She cited the principles of a blog called Man Repeller, which “seizes on a female consciousness that says ‘we’re deliberately owning that [these looks] may really be outside of that male gaze and aesthetic universe and we’re totally cool with that.’ That’s the kind of confidence,” oversize looks suggest. But someone else, she cautioned, might perceive fear and not confidence in such looks.

The mood of these is “cover up” and many layers between you and the world. The mood here is not thinking about men.

—Marjorie Jolles

Coach’s runway show during New York Fashion Week in September included oversize hoodies and varsity vests as well as long prairie skirts and voluminous, floor-sweeping tiered dresses. “It’s about ease and attitude,” said Stuart Vevers, executive creative director of Coach. “The movement and proportions give character and swagger.”

Patricia Mears, deputy director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sees antecedents in the 1980s. Back then, there were power suits and blazers with broad, mannish shoulders as “you saw women moving up the corporate ladder,” Dr. Mears said. From avant-garde Japanese designers prominent in that era, there were boxy and billowy cuts that obfuscated the body. “It was a woman wanting to look a little more serious and covered up, a woman looking very serious but her body not on view,” Dr. Mears said. “It’s empowering. It’s women saying you cannot pinpoint me in a traditional way.” This was part of a gender-fluidity theme in fashion during the ’80s, she said, and its current iteration can be seen today among young people.

Trend-forecaster WGSN said skinny jeans and leggings seem to have run their course, while a roomier silhouette is on the rise. Two years ago “we started seeing wider silhouettes in denim and in trousers” at brands including Vetements and Y/Project, said Sidney Morgan-Petro, senior retail editor. “It’s consumer fatigue and probably designer fatigue,” Ms. Morgan-Petro said. “That skinny silhouette has been around for 10 years now. It’s just time for a change.”

She pointed to signs of more modest dressing, amid shifting ideas of what is sexy. “Low-rise jeans and [body-conscious] dresses, all those things at the moment feel really passé,” she said. “The new sexy is more rooted in comfort clothes you feel confident moving in.”

Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor in chief, expressed a similar view. In a video recap of Milan Fashion Week posted on Vogue.com last month, Ms. Wintour said “the idea of anything that’s overly sexy, or overly clinging or overly look-at-me has simply gone out the window.”

But designers have to walk a fine line between not appearing to victim-blame by proposing more modest looks and not appearing to objectify women. During Paris Fashion Week some critics tsk-tsked when designer Hedi Slimane showed models in short dresses for his debut at Celine. He clapped back in a statement displayed on TV in France, asking “Does this mean women are no longer free to wear miniskirts if they wish?” Mr. Slimane went on to describe the young women in his show as liberated and “free to dress as they see fit.”

Write to Ray A. Smith at ray.smith@wsj.com

The Sims Is The Newest Game To Enter Augmented Reality

Electronic Arts has been awfully quiet when it comes to The Sims in recent times, other than releasing some expansion packs here and there. Well, it turns out that the next big entry in the series is an augmented reality update for a game that can be played through mobile devices.

The news comes courtesy of an announcement trailer that was posted on the Firemonkeys YouTube page. The trailer is pretty short, but it showcases the game being played on a smartphone where a house is stationed on a real life seat. It’s very similar to other AR games like Pokemon Go, only instead of seeing Pokemon on the ground, you’re looking at Sims and their homes positioned on real life furniture. We see that you can actually build houses and extensions in the game that appear as if they appear in the real world, and there are even moments where you can see your characters dancing and going about their day as if they were actually real.

Firemonkeys is handling the development instead of Maxis Studios, which might shock a few gamers. That’s a slight change of pace from what you might have been expecting, but, typically, when mobile games are made they are often handed over to secondary studios. In this case, the game was given to Firemonkeys, which is known for making Real Racing and Need For Speed: No Limits. The studio is also no stranger to The Sims, as Firemonkeys was responsible for making the The Sims Freeplay in the first place, which originally launched way back in 2011. The latest update adds the augmented option to the game.

Now, there are a few cool moments from the trailer that seem like it could really help make the game stand out. For instance, we see that it appears as if the pets can be interacted with in real-time thanks to the ARKit 2 technology. What’s more is that the game also features cooperative play for multiple players. So, once you build your house and customize your characters, you can then take them outside of your own game and share the content with other players.

I’m not entirely sure how well the co-op mode works in AR, but there are thousands of items that come from The Sims franchise to mess with and customize your characters.

You’ll be able to make use of the augmented reality tech for only certain devices, specifically the iPhone 6S or later, the iPad Pro, and 2017 iPad or later. There’s no mention of support for Android devices.

Usually videos like this have announcement dates attached to them, but in this particular case the game is actually already available, along with the augmented reality update. You can grab The Sims FreePlay from the iTunes App Store with the AR update right now.

Nicole Maines Is the Superhero Television Needs Right Now

Transgender actress and activist Nicole Maines made history over the summer when The CW announced she’d be playing a superhero in the upcoming season of Supergirl.

The casting makes Maines the first-ever transgender superhero, which is a groundbreaking feat, but she’s been moving the dial forward for years now. In 2013, the 21-year-old first rose to prominence as the plaintiff in Maine’s Supreme Court case Doe v. Clenchy, concerning transgender bathroom rights, after Maines’ parents sued her school for denying her the right to use the women’s restroom. The court ruled in her favor—changing the law forever.

Now, Maines is about to change the scope of television. On Supergirl, she plays Nia Nal, a new reporter at CatCo whom Kara (Melissa Benoist) takes under her wing. We chatted with the actress shortly before Supergirl premiered about her historic casting and what viewers can expect from Nia Nal. Read on, below.

How does it feel to be playing the first transgender superhero on television?

There are a lot of emotions. I’m so happy. I’m so excited, honored. It’s a lot of responsibility because it hasn’t been done before. I don’t want to screw it up, but this character is amazing. I think people are going to love the purity of this character. She’s so pure; I want to protect her. Had I had a trans superhero growing up, it would have been so monumentally inspirational for me. I’m just really, really honored that I get to bring this character to life.

How did you find out you got the role?

My agents called me. I had had a super long night the night before [working on a movie], so I was sleeping. Running on minimal sleep. They called me and said, “Hey, they want to offer you this part.” It was a combination of disbelief and being half asleep, but I was just, like, “Oh wow!” They had to tell me, like, three times. And I went back to sleep. [Laughs.] It didn’t sink in for a couple of days. It’s still unreal.

Has there been a moment since then where it has sunk in that this is happening?

One of the first days I was filming, it sunk in. Like, “I am here. I am here in CatCo. Oh my gosh, this is happening.” It was the same thing with Comic-Con. Going into Comic-Con through the back door, into the green room. Everyone was there. I was like, “How did I get here?”

What are the biggest differences between your character, Nia Nal, and the DC Comics version of her, Nura Nal?

So Nura Nal is from the comics. The 31st century is when Nura Nal is active. Nia Nal is in present day. She’s a new reporter at CatCo. She is bubbly. She is super bright, caring, and has very similar energy to what Kara had in season one: that very wide-eyed, hopeful kind of energy. And then she takes on this kind of mentor relationship with Kara, where Kara has moved into this position mentoring Nia as a young reporter.

How much does Nia’s trans identity play into the narrative? Are there storylines devoted to trans issues?

What I really appreciate about Nia is her storyline is not exclusively a trans storyline. She has issues outside of her being trans. Of course, it’s also important with the concept of intersectionality [to know] she’s looking at everything through a trans lens. She can’t separate that part of her identity. It’s part of who she is. Everything she encounters this season is put through the lens of her being a reporter, being a woman, being a trans woman. She looks at them through all of these filters. So being trans isn’t necessarily singled out. This season, it’s really heating up tensions between humans and aliens, and Nia’s perspective as a trans woman is really important to how she deals with that.

American Alien

PHOTO: The CW

What problems are you still seeing in the industry with representation, and what is the next step?

One of the problems I’m seeing in the industry right now is, of course, not having trans actors play trans characters, but we are seeing more and more people taking steps to cast along those lines. That’s important because it validates any trans audiences watching. It validates the character and their gender and their experience. It really brings authenticity to it, which is very important, especially in today’s climate. Another issue is we are seeing characters who are token. We see the token trans character, and it falls on them to represent the entire community as the individual, and so their storylines are often centered around their gender identity. They don’t see a lot of character growth outside their trans-ness. That’s very limiting from a writing perspective. It’s very limiting from an acting perspective. There’s not a lot of places the character can go when they’re funneled into just being the trans character. That’s what so amazing about Nia.

What do you hope Hollywood looks like in 10 years?

In 10 years, I’m hopeful it will be a given that trans actors play trans people. That it’s expected. It’s just as if you were going to have a character of color; it’s expected you’d have a person of color play that character, even though today we still see issues of whitewashing in the media. We experience the same thing with gender identity. We want to see trans actors play trans characters. I hope in the next 10 years it just becomes more of an expectation that, yes, this character will obviously have to be played by a trans actor. I’m also hoping in the next 10 years that we’re going to see more LGTBQ characters, more queer representation in the media, so that less responsibility falls on individual characters to represent their entire community. That’s kind of impossible. You’re looking at one person and saying, “OK, that’s trans people.”

What do you hope trans people watching Supergirl take away from your character?

That we as trans people can really do anything we put our minds to. We are limitless. If a trans woman can be a superhero, that’s ‘gotta be peak for anybody. When you see yourself as a superhero, that’s ‘gotta be where the goal posts are. If I’m seeing me as a superhero, I really can do whatever I want. I can be whoever I want.

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People Are Calling Jennifer Garner ‘Unlikeable’ in Camping—but That’s Missing the Point

On Sunday HBO premiered its latest series, Camping, a comedy-drama cocreated by Girls showrunners Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. Starring Jennifer Garner as an uptight, Instagram-obsessed micromanager named Kathryn opposite comics like Juliette Lewis (as the free-spirited Jandice) and Bridget Everett (as the hilariously aloof campground manager Harry), the show is about a meticulously planned camping trip gone awry.

But despite Dunham and Konner’s previous success with Girls, Camping has been met with flak from critics and the Twitter-verse alike. And the criticism is directed at one character in particular: Garner’s Kathryn. One harsh review of the show called the female lead “an excruciating character,” who is “controlling, demanding, and self-centered.”

“Garner plays an absolute shrew,” a Twitter user wrote. Another asked, “Am I supposed to hate Jennifer Garner’s character? ‘Cause if so yeah I hate her so far.”

The short answer to that question: No, you’re not supposed to hate Kathryn. You don’t have to understand her or justify any of her undeniably irritating habits, but you’re not supposed to hate her. And honestly, why do you?

This collective hatred of Kathryn that’s been clouding Twitter dialogue over the last few days says a lot more about our society than Dunham and Konner’s writing. Sure, Kathryn’s irritating and condescending. But isn’t she basically Ross Geller with fewer friends, a “dysfunctional pelvic floor,” and a robust social media presence?

Maybe the hatred stems from the fact that this is a far cry from Garner’s typically typecast “girl-next-door” roles. In Camping she’s not playing the fun-loving Jenna Rink audiences are used to. Instead she’s a 40-something wife and mother who’s fond of order, Groupon discounts, and being right. She’s controlling, obsessive-compulsive, and complicated, as noteworthy characters often are. Kathryn isn’t looking for your approval; she’s looking for your attention—the same attention audiences afforded the equally irritating Don Draper or Walter White.

It’s hard to imagine television would be what it is today with an even-tempered Tony Soprano, a selfless Frank Gallagher, or an amenable George Costanza. None of these characters were particularly “likeable” by any account, and seemed to inhabit a number (if not all) of the same qualities as Kathryn. And yet critics have found the female version of these characters insufferable because our society doesn’t have a problem with “unlikeable” characters. It has a problem with “unlikeable” women.

PHOTO: HBO

And as Garner’s costar Brett Gelman pointed out, what does the word unlikeable even mean? “I’m so sick of this word unlikable. I’m so sick of reading it in reviews. I think it’s lazy,” Brett Gelman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Look, you don’t like the show, you don’t like the characters, that’s one thing, but what does ‘unlikeable’ even mean? That people have flaws and we’re supposed to be putting characters on the screen and on the stage that are perfect people? That’s boring. Then you don’t have drama. If they don’t think that they’re redeemable, I personally disagree. When they say, ‘unlikeable,’ I’m like, ‘You’re half-watching it.'”

“You have Kathryn leading this show, where if she was a man, I think people would think that that character was hilarious,” Gelman added. “Nobody wants to see a woman onscreen who is a wreck. That is pure, unadulterated systemic misogyny.”

Imagine if we were to question Larry David’s likeability in Curb Your Enthusiasm? Or Frank Underwood’s in House of Cards? We don’t, because it doesn’t matter. Would I want to have a beer with Kathryn? No. Would I want to go camping with her? Hell no. But you’d also never find me on a camping trip with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

Don’t get me wrong: Camping isn’t a perfect show. The complaints that the story gives little insight or growth are well founded. But in an era where women are met with contempt when they challenge the patriarchy or oppose authority, the language we use to characterize their representation on screen matters.

So here’s to “unlikeable” female leads. I’d like to see more of them.

Jennifer Lance is an assistant editor at Glamour.

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People Are Calling Jennifer Garner ‘Unlikable’ in Camping—But That’s Missing the Point

On Sunday, HBO premiered its latest series, Camping, a comedy-drama co-created by Girls showrunners Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. Starring Jennifer Garner as an uptight, Instagram-obsessed micromanager named Kathryn opposite comics like Juliette Lewis (as the free-spirited Jandice) and Bridget Everett (as the hilariously aloof campground manager Harry), the show is about a meticulously-planned camping trip gone awry.

But despite Dunham and Konner’s previous success with Girls, Camping has been met with flack from critics and the Twitterverse alike. And the criticism is directed at one character in particular: Garner’s Kathryn. One harsh review of the show called the female lead “an excruciating character,” who is “controlling, demanding, and self-centered.”

“Garner plays an absolute shrew,” a Twitter user wrote. Another asked, “Am I supposed to hate Jennifer Garner’s character? ‘Cause if so yeah I hate her so far.”

The short answer to that question: No, you’re not supposed to hate Kathryn. You don’t have to understand her or justify any of her undeniably irritating habits, but you’re not supposed to hate her. And honestly, why do you?

This collective hatred of Kathryn that’s been clouding Twitter dialogue over the last few days says a lot more about our society than Dunham and Konner’s writing. Sure, Kathryn’s irritating and condescending. But isn’t she basically Ross Geller with fewer friends, a “dysfunctional pelvic floor,” and a robust social media presence?

Maybe the hatred stems from the fact that this is a far cry from Garner’s typically typecast “girl-next-door” roles. In Camping, she’s not playing the fun-loving Jenna Rink audiences are used to. Instead, she’s a 40-something wife and mother who’s fond of order, Groupon discounts, and being right. She’s controlling, obsessive-compulsive, and complicated, as noteworthy characters often are. Kathryn isn’t looking for your approval; she’s looking for your attention—the same attention audiences afforded the equally irritating Don Draper or Walter White.

It’s hard to imagine television would be what it is today with an even-tempered Tony Soprano, a selfless Frank Gallagher, or an amenable George Costanza. None of these characters were particularly “likable” by any account, and seemed to inhabit a number (if not all) of the same qualities as Kathryn. And yet, critics have found the female version of these characters insufferable because our society doesn’t have a problem with “unlikable” characters. It has a problem with “unlikable” women.

PHOTO: HBO

And as Garner’s costar Brett Gelman pointed out, what does the word “unlikable” even mean? “I’m so sick of this word ‘unlikable.’ I’m so sick of reading it in reviews. I think it’s lazy,” Brett Gelman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Look, you don’t like the show, you don’t like the characters, that’s one thing, but what does ‘unlikable’ even mean? That people have flaws and we’re supposed to be putting characters on the screen and on the stage that are perfect people? That’s boring. Then you don’t have drama. If they don’t think that they’re redeemable, I personally disagree. When they say, ‘unlikable,’ I’m like, ‘You’re half-watching it.'”

“You have Kathryn leading this show, where if she was a man, I think people would think that that character was hilarious,” he added. “Nobody wants to see a woman onscreen who is a wreck. That is pure, unadulterated systemic misogyny.”

Imagine if we were to question Larry David’s likability in Curb Your Enthusiasm? Or Frank Underwood’s in House of Cards? We don’t, because it doesn’t matter. Would I want to have a beer with Kathryn? No. Would I want to go camping with her? Hell no. But you’d also never find me on a camping trip with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

Don’t get me wrong: Camping isn’t a perfect show. The complaints that the story gives little insight or growth are well founded. But in an era where women are met with contempt when they challenge the patriarchy or oppose authority, the language we use to characterize their representation on screen matters.

So here’s to “unlikable” female leads. I’d like to see more of them.

Jennifer Lance is an assistant editor at Glamour.

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Words I live by: you can’t be perfect at everything from day one. That philosophy and my consciousness of the world was instilled early on by my grandmother, who hitchhiked across the globe and met my grandfather in India in the late forties—a crazy thing for a young white woman to do at the time. I was lucky that I grew up feeling like I didn’t need to follow certain life rules or a specific timeline. It’s what made me decide to take a gap semester in Africa when I was 17. My family didn’t have much money, but I convinced them and my college scholarship committee to let me use some of the funds to do volunteer work in Ghana. That trip changed my life.

It’s where I saw firsthand how important the sustainable development of wild plants is in ensuring that our planet is still here a thousand years from now. Right now we’re cutting them down and destroying their biodiversity at a rate faster than we can study them. Uganda is the place I discovered Nilotica, a rich, soothing skin butter native to rural areas there and in South Sudan that’s hand-­harvested from trees that take 20 years to mature. Nilotica butter is so pure you can literally eat it. And if you look at the skin of the local women who collect the nuts, all smooth and spot-free despite working 12-hour days in the sun, you know it’s legit. I was like, Why can’t I buy this instead of the stuff that costs $200 and does nothing for the planet or my face? So I got to work.

After finishing college and building a tech nonprofit that provides work for low-income communities around the world, I launched a sustainable beauty brand called LXMI two years ago. My goals: that it feature natural, plant-based ingredients; multipurpose formulations that tackle a variety of skin issues so we can consume less stuff altogether; and eco-packaging (currently, we at LMXI use glass and recyclable materials but are working toward fully biodegradable packaging for upcoming collections).

Along the way, I’ve learned that the future of beauty isn’t about a one-size-fits-all routine or a “go big or go home” green ethos. It’s about growing and tweaking and trying to make smarter choices moving forward. And not feeling bad about any of it. Because shame doesn’t motivate change; progress does.

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