Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand and products are no stranger to controversy—remember the “vagina steaming” hoopla from a few years back?—so all the press surrounding one of her new candles isn’t a surprise. There’s really nothing to make a fuss over; the candle is just called “Smells Like My Vagina.” But, of course, some people are up in arms about it. Scan Twitter, and you’ll find messages from users dissing the candle or calling it “weird.” But Paltrow has a message for her detractors, as well as those who think Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s song “WAP” is vulgar.
People who take issue with Paltrow’s candle probably have a problem with Cardi’s song, which is an abbreviation for “wet ass pussy.” It all seems to stem from the discomfort a large subset of the population has with women owning their body and sexuality.
“It’s all part of the crumbling patriarchy,” Paltrow tells Elle in a new interview. “And I think that we’re all changing it by releasing, like, a punk rock, feminist candle and Cardi B is changing it by her incredible lyrical prowess. You have to push, you have to go too far. You have to have a ‘WAP’ song or a ‘Smells Like My Vagina’ candle. So people are like, ‘What is this?’ And they freak out. And then the center moves a little bit more this way. It’s a process that happens over time. But women, especially my generation, and my mother’s generation, we were raised to feel so uncomfortable with ourselves and it’s bullshit. It’s not cool. We have to be integrated and love ourselves, love every part and integrate all of the parts of ourselves. So I think it’s a good part of the process.”
Cardi B has a similar message for people who knock “WAP.” “The people that the song bothers are usually conservatives or really religious people, but my thing is I grew up listening to this type of music,” she said on the Australian radio show The Kyle and Jackie O Show. “Other people might think it’s strange and vulgar, but to me it’s almost like really normal, you know what I’m saying?”
She continued, “You wanna know something? It’s what people wanna hear. If people didn’t wanna hear it, if they were so afraid to hear it, it wouldn’t be doing as good.”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Now, where is the Gwyneth Paltrow–Cardi B collab the world needs?
On September 17, Gigi posted four selfies from back when she was around 27 weeks pregnant. “Time flew,” she wrote in the caption—which seems like something one might say if they’d reached the finish line of a major milestone. Maybe.
This fueled speculation that was already brewing after Hadid’s father, Mohamed, shared a since deleted poem to his (future?) grandchild called “Grandpa Heart” on September 16.
“Hello little grandchild, it is me, my heart as happy as can be,” he wrote in the poem, per People. “I wish for you the sun & moon, I wish for you a happy time. Know that grandpa’s always here, I’ll do anything, anything for you, my dear. When I heard you were on the way, I smiled and wiped a tear away. I cried the tear because I knew my heart would always belong to you.”
In the caption he also shared a heartfelt message for his supermodel daughter. “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, in peace, my love, Gigi,” Mohamed reportedly wrote in Arabic. “In the name of God The merciful I want to say l love you and so proud of you. @gigihadid.”
People of color are making strides in standing up for themselves and refusing to be excluded. If you want to wear a flowy dress and go on a picnic, it is your absolute right to do so without the weight of political underpinnings.
Has the trend self-soothed or empowered you?
It is both to me really. The ability to commune with nature, relax by reading a book, or just feel the sun on my skin are therapeutic to me. But there is also the reality that I am very fortunate to have the time to be able to do so when there are many that do not, is something that makes me all the more grateful.
Amy’s Cottagecore picks:
The Ellie Nap Dress
Hill House Home
The Athena Nap Dress
Hill House Home
Raphael Pale Blue Floral Maxi Dress
House of CB
DIY Cheese & Cured Meat Board
Lady & Larder
Have you ever felt that the Cottagecore trend excluded Black women or WOC?
I was an avid Little House on the Prairie watcher when I was growing up, I loved any and all iterations of Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. I truly never saw myself at all in Cottagecore until I saw the iconic Paula of Hill House Vintage. I immediately thought this is the warm and peaceful aesthetic that I’ve always craved seeing Black women in. We operate within this idea that Black women or WOC can’t be whimsical, or kitschy or playful and we absolutely can.
Do you find that Cottagecore willfully glosses over the roots of its nostalgia?
There is a peace in the aesthetic, especially for someone like me who lives a very city lifestyle in general, where this open-air escape and warm sunlight feels like comfort in these times of real stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. I’m not blind to the roots of it, but like all movements and subcultures, there is a subversion here that still makes it relevant. As always and as ever Black folks contain multitudes!
The outdoors have historically excluded Black people—is Cottagecore another way Black women are smashing stereotypes?
Black women continue to smash stereotypes across all genres! It’s a total joy seeing us out on beautiful picnics, slowing down with good food, and taking our time. For me, it feels like putting ourselves first in spaces that have often wanted nothing to do with us.
Have you participated in Cottagecore? If so, how?
In more ways than I thought, really! I’ve been loving the hyperfeminine dresses, big billowy sleeves, straw hats, picnic baskets, and flowers—but in general, the getting outdoors and enjoying nature, especially during this lockdown period is something I never would’ve taken the time to explore before. My aesthetic is similar in a lot of ways. In general, I’ve never felt like a very “sexy” person, so that would never have worked for my fashion sense anyway. Cute, sweet, and kitschy is much more my vibe.
During a visit to Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery earlier this week, the pair went full Great British Bake Off on some of the shop’s famous bagels. Elias Cohen—whose father, Amnon, opened the shop in 1974—ultimately ruled that the Duchess of Cambridge had the better dough ball-rolling technique.
According to People, Prince William was…not surprised. “We’ll go with that,” he reportedly said. “The usual story.”
The duchess, on the other hand, was not so sure. “Just wait until you see the aftermath,” she reportedly replied. “I had beginner’s luck. They are getting worse!”
Unfortunately, there’s been no official word on who took home the grand prize after all was said and done, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did share their experience on Instagram on September 16.
“A visit to one of London’s most iconic bagel shops to see behind the scenes,” the official Kensington Royal account wrote underneath the video. “@beigel_bake was forced to reduce their opening hours during the pandemic but is back to 24hrs and continuing to support their local community. 🥯”
The bagel shop wasn’t the only stop on their outing this Tuesday, September 15. Prince William and Kate Middleton ventured to multiple London staples to learn more about how local businesses are coping amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite Prince William’s implication that his wife’s win was a usual occurrence, he had much better luck during a visit to Wales last month. While playing games at an arcade, the duke ended up scoring a ton of tickets during a ball-throwing game, which the couple played together. Unfortunately, when the duchess attempted to grab a teddy from a claw machine—throwing up a thumbs up when she thought she had it in the bag—the bear slipped at the last minute.
I guess the old saying is true: You win some, you lose some…
Lady Gaga released the music video for her new single “911” on Friday, September 18, and it’s classic Gaga: bizarre, abstract, filled with head-turning fashion and makeup looks, and a surprise twist you won’t see coming.
The clip starts with Gaga lying down in a desert, seemingly alone. Her face is covered with some type of red cloth, and a broken bicycle is next to her. She’s then led by a man on a horse to a village, where she weaves around a group of elaborately dressed people. One man is repeatedly banging his head against a pillow. Not much of it makes sense.
But then we get to the twist. I don’t want to give it away for you, so go ahead and watch, below:
At the climax of the video, we see that all of this was a dream of sorts. Gaga is resuscitated by a medic, and she finds herself back in the real world, bleeding on the ground. She was in a car accident outside an Armenian film festival, and all the characters in that “dream” played a part in said accident.
“I didn’t have pain pills,” Gaga says to the medics, crying uncontrollably. “I don’t want to die.”
Both of those quotes carry weight in the context of “911,” a track about Gaga’s relationship with antipsychotic medication.
“[The song] is about an antipsychotic that I take,” she told Apple Music in a May interview. “And it’s because I can’t always control things that my brain does. I know that. And I have to take medication to stop the process that occurs.”
As for Gaga’s quote about not wanting to die, she opened up in a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning about previously having suicidal thoughts.
“Did you think about suicide?” journalist Lee Cowan asks her in the interview, which airs in full this Sunday (September 20) at 9 a.m. ET on CBS. She responds, “Oh yeah, every day,” Gaga says.
“This short film is very personal to me, my experience with mental health and the way reality and dreams can interconnect to form heroes within us and all around us,” Lady Gaga wrote about the video on Instagram. “I’d like to thank my director/filmmaker Tarsem for sharing a 25-year-old idea he had with me because my life story spoke so much to him. I’d like to thank Haus of Gaga for being strong for me when I wasn’t, and the crew for making this short film safely during this pandemic without anyone getting sick.”
She continued, “It’s been years since I felt so alive in my creativity to make together what we did with ‘911.’ Thank you @Bloodpop for taking a leap of faith with me to produce a record that hides in nothing but the truth. Finally, thank you, little monsters. I’m awake now, I can see you, I can feel you, thank you for believing in me when I was very afraid. Something that was once my real life everyday is now a film, a true story that is now the past and not the present. It’s the poetry of pain.”\
Watching horror films during an already scary year is not for the faint of heart. But Kiersey Clemons prefers to think of it a little differently. “I can take all my paranoia or anxious thoughts and project them into whatever I’m watching or playing,” she says of the genre. “It distracts me from the horrors of real life.”
Considering that Clemons is currently starring in Antebellum (out September 18), an intense psychological thriller, and will next voice and executive produce the serialized horror podcast, Ghost Tape, you’d think she was always drawn to frightening material. That’s not the case. “It’s weird, because I used to be the kid that didn’t like scary movies,” she says with a laugh. ”I would be like, ‘Oh no, this is going to happen to me!’ Now, I like horror.”
Even so, Clemons needs a break, which is where The Bachelor, Love Island UK, and Married at First Sight come in. “Don’t get it twisted,” she says. “I also watch all of those shows. You need a release!”
Especially when filming a horror movie. While working on Antebellum in New Orleans last year, Clemons found time for some levity. “There’s so much rich culture [in New Orleans], from the food to vintage shopping,” she says. “It’s really easy to let it all go when you’re in a location like that.”
So with that in mind, we asked Clemons to fill us in on her favorite finds, from the weighted blanket that keeps her calm to the skin care products she swears by. Time for another round of Your Fave’s Faves!
The weighted blanket I’m obsessed with:
I got a weighted blanket when I got to New Orleans because I missed cuddling with my dogs. The one I initially got had beads in it, like one you get a Bed, Bath and Beyond, but my favorite one is from Sheltered Co, which is handmade in L.A. and from recycled material. They are beautiful, and I have two of them now, one that’s a king size blanket, and one that’s a little lighter for travel.
Pink Salt Weighted Blanket
My go-to luggage:
Speaking of travel, I can’t wait to go back to Australia, New York, and also visit family in Florida. I love visiting new places and buying things from all over, so I’ll take an extra suitcase with me. I love Away luggage, and I always check my bags so I can take as much as I want with me. My friends have Away, too, because they last forever. But I’ve got my eye on their large silver aluminum one because it’s so nice.
The Large: Aluminum Edition
The perfect comfort food recipe for the fall:
My mom, Allison, has this amazing chicken and dumpling recipe. My girlfriend makes it for me when I’m sick, and it’s so good. The actual dumplings you can make out of Pillsbury biscuits. You roll it out and cut it into pieces. It’s delicious.
My go-to boots for cooler weather:
I’m a classic Dr. Martens person. I like an Australian brand as well called Blundstone. When I was in New Orleans, I also came back with, like, three pairs of cowboy boots. I’ve been waiting to wear them with vintage dresses because they are so cute paired together.
Dr. Martens 1460 Pascal Boot
Blundstone 1460 Pascal Boot
The only pants I will ever wear:
I can only wear pants from Everlane, because otherwise I always get a gap in my waist since my butt is so big. Everlane’s fit me perfectly! I literally have every type of pants from them. Whenever I put them on, it feels like the first time I’m putting them on, and I tell my girlfriend, “Babe, look at me, don’t I look so good?!”
The Put-Together Pleat Pant
The Straight Leg Crop
The hair product that helps my hair grow faster:
I just bought Chebe hair butter. I watch a lot of YouTube hair tutorials, because after I shaved my head, I was like, “How do I get my hair to grow faster?” And this hair butter is the reason why my hair grows so fast. I also love Tracee Ellis Ross’s hair line, Pattern. And now that my hair is growing out, I love oversize jumbo silk hair ties that you can find on Etsy or Amazon.
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Queen Tut Skin Resurfacer & Liquid Barrier Repair
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Goddess of Skin
My fail-proof makeup routine:
My favorite foundation is the RNS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up Foundation. It’s really the best thing since, like, bread. And whatever I put on my lips I’ll put on my cheeks. I like Burt’s Bees tinted lip balms because they have really pretty colors and are super moisturizing. A lot of times I’ll get a container and mix all of my balms together to make different shades of pink and red. You can literally trick anyone to think that you got sleep and you’re not sad and we’re not in a pandemic.
Rms Beauty “Un” Cover-Up Cream Foundation
Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Tinted Lip Balm
The two books I read over and over again:
I really love to read and listen to audio books. In a time like this, I recommend a book from an American Buddhist nun named Pema Chödrön called Comfortable With Uncertainty. I read it over and over again because it makes me really calm. The idea is to lean into whatever is happening, because even if what’s happening is awful, life is always happening simultaneously. We try to put things in boxes and compartmentalize and when you do that, you work against yourself, and that’s kind of the theme of the book. It’s a really nice reminder. And then another one is the classic book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s an easy read, but when you’re done, you’re like, “I needed that.” It helps reset your mind.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion
The TV shows I’m really into:
I just finished I May Destroy You on HBO, which destroyed me. I also finished the fourth season of Search Party on TBS and HBO Max. I love Alia [Shawkat] and have been obsessed with the show since it came out. And I just started Lovecraft Country, also on HBO. I love dark shows with interesting female protagonists.
The best gift my friend just got me:
I recently had the flu and my best friend, Bryant, lives in New York, and he sent me these two beautiful green vintage wine glasses because he knew I would love them. I thought it was the nicest and most specific gift. It is from Jack Juliar and it’s one-of-a-kind, antique jewelry.
Kiersey Clemons can currently be seen in Antebellum, available On Demand.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram at@JessicaRadloff14.
Ratched on Netflix is beautiful to look at. That is its greatest strength. The most recent project from Ryan Murphy is pure cotton candy for the eyes: stunning monochromatic costumes, lavish sets, wide shots of the California coast where you can practically taste the salty air. I finished all eight episodes of the first season visually stuffed and satisfied. But also confused.
Any amount of aesthetic artistry Ratched gives its viewers is overshadowed by a head-scratching plot. Billed as an origin story for Nurse Mildred Ratched—the terrifying antagonist first seen in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and again in its 1975 Oscar-winning adaptation—the series leaves you with more questions about its central character (the divine Sarah Paulson) than answers. People who’ve seen Cuckoo’s Nest know Ratched as cold, callous, and no-nonsense—and this series, in theory, should explain why. It doesn’t.
We spend eight episodes learning about a woman who survived abusive foster homes to become a relatively empathetic war nurse. She then schemes her way into joining the nursing staff of a psychiatric hospital, but only to save her brother (Finn Wittrock), a serial killer. While there, she’s exposed to experimental torture-porn treatments from the hospital’s lead doctor (Jon Jon Briones), which she’s inherently aware are horrible but feigns approval of to gain his favor.
She’s also grappling with her sexuality, particularly when a female character, Gwendolyn (Cynthia Nixon), enters the picture. At first, Mildred rebukes Gwendolyn’s advances, her own internalized homophobia at play. But in time she finds herself—and love—with Gwendolyn. They end up on a beach together in Mexico. It’s nice!
But when, I kept asking myself, do the events happen that turn Mildred into the hardened, hollow person we see in Cuckoo’s Nest? What turns her into a true monster?
To be fair, Ratched was greenlit for another 10 episodes, so maybe this is just the first half of her origin story. Still, the character is written as a woman capable of empathy, love, and understanding. The only time Mildred shows shades of the witch she turns into is at the beginning of the series, when she makes cutting remarks to a gas station attendant and stares down a fellow nurse (Judy Davis) over a peach. She only softens from there—minus one scene where she brutally stabs a man’s eye with an ice pick. So, yes, there are shades of the Ratched we see in the source material present here, but, for me, there was no real “a-ha!” moment. Nothing that made me see, clearly, how she transforms from human to horror.
Ratched also features violence that hinges on scares made even more stomach-churning by the show’s exceptional cinematography. If the good shots were stunning enough to take my breath away, you can imagine how detailed the gory scenes are. They’re downright repulsive, which is obviously the point, so if you have a weak stomach, proceed with caution. (The hydrotherapy scenes? I’m still shaking.)
“Women in particular tend to be more quickly labeled as ‘difficult’ or having other psychosomatic issues, and often are not given a full proper pain evaluation,” says Leia Rispoli, M.D., a pain management specialist and associate physician at Remedy Pain Solutions. It’s especially bad among women diagnosed with mental health issues like depression or anxiety, she says, who doctors may “sometimes subconsciously assume to be embellishing or fixating on pain symptoms.”
Meanwhile women are often being told to “not complain too much” or “tough things out,” Dr. Rispoli says. Among Black women and other women of color, that stigma is even stronger—a multi-layered issue that spans beyond healthcare, and is partly a result of the Superwoman schema that Black women face compounded by statistically being ignored more often.
Taking women’s pain seriously
In the years since my diagnosis, I’ve learned a lot more about various chronic pain conditions, including my own. I’ve met countless folks online, especially on Twitter, who openly talk about their physical issues and how it makes them feel. I began to find some solidarity in the experiences—and more importantly, finally started to cut myself some slack. My pain is not a character flaw, it does not make me any less of a fully capable human than my mountain climbing Colorado neighbors.
Treating chronic pain starts with talking about it with a provider who will listen. Those who have never known constant, consistent pain that comes with the realization that it will likely accompany you forever, don’t always know how to respond to people like me with empathy. “I’ve noticed that women typically feel more comfortable discussing pain symptoms and being vulnerable with female healthcare providers,” says Dr. Rispoli, “which in chronic pain, there are very few of us.”
Some women turn to holistic practices. Hilda Gonzalez, doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and holistic healthcare provider at Saffron and Sage in San Diego, California, says women often come to her when they feel they’ve been failed by other providers. “Holistic practitioners are also usually focused on the root cause of what is going on rather than just symptoms,” she says.
Those of us with chronic pain shouldn’t have to suffer in silence. “Women should be open with their providers and not be scared or ashamed of sharing any fears of negative experiences they’ve had with other providers in the past,” says Dr. Rispoli. She recommends asking your primary care physician for a referral to a doctor with specific credentials in pain management. “Having experience treating this type of pain is very, very important,” she says.
While living with chronic pain can be difficult, it does force you to slow down, which isn’t always a bad thing. I may not be posting any photos at the top of a 14,000 ft mountain peak (at least, not one I didn’t get to by car), but that’s okay. My son is learning an important lesson in accepting people’s differences, and in being compassionate toward anyone in pain or who is struggling. I’m learning to stop looking too longingly at what others achieve, and focus on all that I’m accomplishing. And best of all, we’re still making plenty of memories making art, reading books, and even on the occasional walk in the woods.
Priscilla Blossom is a freelance journalist and content writer specializing in health, parenting, arts and culture, and queer and Latinx identity. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Gardian, Oprah, Parents, and Salon, among others. She is also part of Dotdash’s Anti-Bias Review Board, and spends her free time practicing yoga and adventuring with her young son.
The discomfort of being in a body dominates PEN15. “But we can’t, can we? Yes, we can.” That’s how Konkle describes the conversations between her and Erskine as they go from sharing “secrets that we were ashamed of” to scripting scenes containing masturbation, periods, and free-floating human hair. “Okay, let’s show the blood that we have to see all the time,” they agree tentatively, and soon, their 13-year-old selves’ greatest fear is set to be reenacted, filmed, and released on a streaming service.
These are their 30-something-year-old fears, too. Both Konkle and Erskine say that they are embarrassed most of the time when they first start thinking about putting taboos on TV, but they do it with each other’s encouragement. “For years you’re taught that your period, your vagina, masturbation, your sexuality, your body are shameful and disgusting and not cool,” Erskine says. “Having a female best friend and support essentially saying, ‘No, I think this is good’…that’s how, I think, we push through the fear and shame.”
In the second season of the show, the girls attend a pool party where their seduction plans are thwarted by a mom with a “no wet suits in the house” policy. They make a third best friend, and attend a sleepover in a scene that I’m pretty sure was just paid for and planted by my therapist to get me to confront middle school trauma. They join the wrestling team, telling themselves that girls are bitches and boys are no-nonsense straight shooters who would never, for example, gather in a locker room and talk about girls as body parts instead of people.
Even a home school veteran would relate to this. The scenes in PEN15 are not just a sendup of suburban-aughts eighth grade but a sendup of all social interaction. Middle school and high school never really end; the participants just get taller and are responsible for paying more bills. The racism Maya faces from popular girls isn’t different from the racism adults experience on social media, on job interviews, everywhere. The trauma we see Anna experience as her parents separate will stay with her even after cargo pants and polo shirts go out of fashion. The middle school habit of putting other people down as a way to pull yourself up never goes away.
Even the name of the show, PEN15, is both a time capsule of early millennial culture and a symbol of the way our bodies can reward or betray. “PEN15” refers to a prank: You ask someone, “Do you want to join the pen fifteen club?,” they say “Yes,” and then you write “PEN15” on their arm, which actually looks like the word “penis.” Get it? They wanted so badly to be a part of an exclusive club that they allowed themselves to be branded; now, they’re a walking joke. It’s a pretty specific reference but a timeless phenomenon: wanting to be included continues to be one of life’s sickest pranks.
Konkle says she’s surprised people find PEN15 so funny. In the years they spent conceiving and pitching the show, they agreed to be “brutally honest”—but neither Konkle nor Erskine thought of themselves as comedians before making it. They’re more interested in what’s true. “We find that humor comes from pain, always, it always comes from painful truths,” Erskine says. So much of enjoying mainstream comedy is listening to jokes about dicks—how big they are, how hard they are, what woman might be tricked into writing the word penis on her body. This show has plenty of dick jokes. But this time, the girls are holding the pen.
PEN15 season is streaming on Hulu now.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her onTwitter.
Brace yourselves, TikTok fans and users, the popular video-sharing platform, is once again in jeopardy here in the United States.
A new report from Reuters cites three government officials who say that President Donald Trump and the Department of Commerce will issue an order on Friday, September 18, which will “bar people in the United States from downloading Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok.”
According to Reuters, this means the Commerce Department order will “‘deplatform’ the two apps in the United States and bar Apple Inc’s app store, Alphabet Inc’s Google Play and others from offering the apps on any platform.”
The outlet reports that there still is a chance that the order will be rescinded. That’s because of the possibility that ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, may still reach an agreement to sell off its US operations.
In case you’ve been too busy falling down a rabbit hole of TikTok videos and not following this story, here’s the gist: Back in August, President Trump said, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States. I have that authority….” He said he might invoke the Emergency Economic Powers Act to ban the app because of national security concerns—TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and some have expressed concern about data being available to the Chinese government.
That ban did not in fact come to fruition, but the drama continues. Microsoft was reportedly in talks to buy the US arm of TikTok but that fell through. However, Reuters notes Oracle Group and others are still talking to ByteDance about creating “a new company, TikTok Global, that aims to address U.S. concerns about the security of its users’ data.”
“We have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Reuters in a statement.
Basically, if you don’t already have TikTok downloaded, you might want to do that ASAP and keep an eye on this ever-evolving social media situation.