The shocking loss this week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both contemporaries, has been utterly devastating, leaving many of us reeling. Spade of course, felt so much like one of us; she could easily have been a Woolfer. Feminist, funny, fierce, talented, glamorous, real… and struggling.
Many of us know the deep pain of mental illness. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, and specifically unique to women are the added challenges of hormonal-related mood fluctuations at pretty much every life stage: PMS, postpartum, and the particular malaise that can descend during menopause. If you or someone you love is in crisis, a great resource is the Crisis Text Line founded by Woolfer Nancy Lublin. Listen to her Ted Talk here.
It’s not lost on me that the irony of our Facebook group’s name—What Would Virginia Woolf Do?—which plays on a dark joke, doesn’t seem quite so funny right at the moment. I hold on to the idea that it’s ever a poignant reminder: we exist, this community, to celebrate and acknowledge our strengths and our losses, together. Life is easy for no one, and we’re made stronger through the act of telling our stories and and sharing our experiences.
What We’re Talking About
Happy Pride Month!
POLITICS: In one bright spot this week, 26 yo, black, openly queer, Linguistics Ph.D. and rapper, Mariah Parker took the oath of office as an Athens-Clarke county commissioner in Georgia, using a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X instead of the Bible. On the Today Show, the former Pres flubs his response to #MeToo, and we say Time’s Up, Bill. Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton on growing up in the White House, and the importance of female role models.
POWER: According to the latest research, grandmothers were crucial to our species’ survival and may hold the key to human evolution. The very impressive Mellody Hobson to become the next Starbucks vice chair. And at 71, Diane von Furstenberg is ready for her third act.
BODIES: 11 middle-aged women strip down to reclaim ‘sexy’ on their own terms. Corporate-led body positivity is a scam. The Miss America contest may have ended the bathing suit competition, but we are still living inside the beauty pageant. Zadie Smith weighs in on the great age debate and learns to embrace the inevitability of getting older.
HEALTH: Good news: women with breast cancer may not need chemo. Bad news: prices keep rising for drugs treating painful sex in women.
INSPIRATION: Atul Gawande’s commencement speech at UCLA Medical School on curiosity and what equality really means.
PSA: The midlife tuneup.
Want to read more? Follow our WWVWD Flipboard curated by super mod Tulani Bridgewater-Kowalski.
WTF Do I Do?
This week our WWVWD Mods consider the rift between a woman and her fiancé caused by the teenaged sex between their respective children. (Apparently, “Step-Brother” romance novels is a thing; who knew?!) Is it time to cancel the wedding? And a woman seeks advice on how to handle “hot crotch”—and no, not the good kind. Check out what the Mod Squad has to say here.
Woolfer Wisdom: Swimwear
It’s bathing suit season, again. For many of us, this raises an existential question: should we just say f*ck it and reveal our cellulite and signs of age? We say, resoundingly, yes. If we’ve learned anything, it’s this: confidence and being comfortable in one’s own skin is sexy as hell, wrinkles and rolls be damned. But a flattering bathing suit certainly doesn’t hurt. You can view our collection of favorite Woolfer-tested swimwear here.
Voices from WWVWD:
Unapologetically an older woman. I will be 57 in a few weeks. I have flaws and gravity is not my friend. Every mark, scar, ripple, roll and sign of aging is a part of whom I’ve become. I will not hide myself in a mumu amidst a throng of 20 and 30 somethings. I have earned the freedom to be my own kind of beautiful with the strength, grace and dignity that only a woman of a certain age can possess. I plan to rock these years like there’s no tomorrow.
-T.A. Ha Milton
Woolfer of the Week
What Do You Do for Work? I am the Co-Founder of Fit & Fly Girl, a company which hosts fitness, wellness, and cultural retreats for women in locations around the world.
What’s the Biggest Risk You’ve Ever Taken? I have taken two equally big and scary risks: (1) moving across the country to start a new life in my 30s following my divorce; and (2) leaving my law practice to follow my passion and start a company.
What are you Most Proud Of? Starting a company that allows women to connect with, learn from, and empower each other. I felt like I did more good for people in the first week-long retreat I hosted than I had the entire 17 years I practiced law.
What Are You Most Ashamed Of? Spending much of my teenage and adult life afraid to be alone and suffering the consequences of “needing” a man—and not choosing men wisely.
What Do you Regret Most? Wasting several years of my 30s while in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man with narcissistic personality disorder. (This clearly goes along with my answer to “what are you most ashamed of.”)
If You Had a Warning Label, What Would It Be? “Must feed regularly”
Xanax or weed? CBD oil! It calms my anxiety.
June 28 @7pm
Brooklyn, New York: Clothing Swap. Buy your ticket here and feel free to drop off bags of stuff beforehand. Everyone is welcome—swapping not required!
Austin, Texas: Woolfer Retreat. Only two spots left for this getaway weekend at the (women-owned) Kimber Modern, and will involve activities like daily yoga classes, a whiskey tasting by a local female-owned distillery, biking, and live music. Buy your ticket here. And stay tuned for details about a party with local Texan Woolfers on Saturday night!
This video from made us actually LOL. Swimsuit Season So Hard…Sing it sisters!
A national collective of women, Woolf PAC supports progressive non-profits — large and small — at risk in our current political environment. Members contribute $25/month for four grant rounds. Last quarter, Woolf PAC donated almost $8500 to gun-control non-profits. This quarter, the issue is criminal justice reform. Nominations for potential donees are open until July 1st. For more information and to join Woolf PAC, click here.