Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
The Ally McBeal and Alicia Florrick of newsletters has a case file *this thick* with art babies, nepo babies, nepo spouses, and stoic prime ministers.
What would make the perfect women’s magazine? Juicy yarns, hot goss, big ideas, deeply personal examinations of women’s lives—and none of the advertiser obligations. Welcome to the Spread, where every week two editors read, listen, and watch it all, and deliver only the best to your inbox.
Citizens of Spreadtopia,
Like you, we’re still nursing a hardy hangover from Friday night’s raucous, take-our-tops-off-and-wave-’em-around celebration of the victory of good over evil. As our heads pound, our hearts are full. A win for E. Jean is a win for us all.
There’s been so much punditry about this major development—the first time Trump has actually been hit where it hurts, in a big way—but so far we have found ourselves most moved by Jessica Bennett’s op-ed in the New York Times. We clinked glasses of breakfast wine when Bennett wrote what more people should know about E: that not only was she an adored advice columnist, she was also an honest-to-god swashbuckling magazine journalist with a long and enviable career. But our cheers reached eardrum-shattering levels when she landed on what may be the real, lasting impact of these two trials: “the value of a woman, long past middle age, who dared to claim she indeed still had value. Just how radical was it for Ms. Carroll, 80, to demand that she was worth something?”
While we’re here, there’s one more thing about E. Jean that we’d like to shout from the rooftops: This woman is a hype woman. If you’ve seen an interview with her since the big news dropped—or anytime, ever—you’ve heard her crediting her team, her friends, her people. And as close readers have probably noticed, E. Jean is among the Spread’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders in the comments. Deep in her bones, she lives to boost others. Which is why, on top of the 83.3 million other reasons we’re elated for this moment, we can’t wait to see what she does with that money. It’s a very safe bet that it will somehow serve and boost other women. And purchase nary a golden toilet.
This intro is adjourned!
Rachel & Maggie
P.S. Even in a rising tide of media layoffs, a new raft of lady-pubs are fearlessly branching out! From perimenopause blog Jumble & Flow comes the Midst, a “new media and lifestyle brand empowering women in midlife.” Mmkay! From the women-led newsroom the 19th: the 19th News Network, “a collective of national, regional and local publishers seeking to advance racial and gender equity in politics and policy journalism.” And from the Cut, a new women's sports vertical. Can’t say we’re blown away by its title, Keep It Moving, which as sports slogans go feels like a pretty low bar, even for your Spreaditors. Still, mo’ women’s media, mo’ betta.
64,565. 64,565. 64,565.
That number’s been pinballing around my brain since last week’s bombshell report on the estimated number of pregnancies caused by rape so far in anti-choice states since they started passing abortion bans. I don’t know which part is hardest to process: Is it the sheer number of sexual assaults that occur, period? Is it the compounded brutality of being raped, denied options, and forced into childbirth and, presumably, parenthood? Or could it be the Handmaid’s Tale-esque dystopian horror of women being viewed as mere vessels? Speaking of, in the Guardian, Carter Sherman captures the fear and confusion—and the real unanswered legal questions—looming in the wake of Ohio police charging Brittany Watts with “abuse of a corpse” for miscarrying the fetus into her toilet at home1. In an increasingly rare moment of sanity, earlier this month a grand jury decided not to indict Watts. Still: What are the one in four American women who suffer miscarriages “supposed” to do when we lose a baby at home? And could we be prosecuted for doing it wrong? Most of the women I know have been through at least one pregnancy loss. Yet I don’t know the answer to these questions…does anyone?—Maggie
Read “‘I didn’t know what I was supposed to do’” here.
Art show girl.
Lately, I’ve been experiencing an identity crisis: Is GQ still a magazine for me? Or are we growing apart? Asked and answered! The Anna Weyant profile by Carrie Battan in the new Barry Keoghan-covered issue is exactly what I want out of those guys. For Spreaders who don’t pay attention to the contemporary art “space,” who skip rip-roaring New Yorker profiles by Patrick Radden Keefe, and/or who miss the occasional Daily Mail post: Anna Weyant is the Dolce & Gabbana-clad 28-year-old It-girl painter hottie whose moody Dutch masterpiece-y paintings have sold for as high as $1.6 million at auction and who looks like Elizabeth Berkley circa Showgirls (if only Nomi were shorter). She’s an art-world darling2 who liberally applies St. Tropez self-tanner. As I was recently told during an enraging meeting at one of my kids’ schools: Sit with the cognitive dissonance. Oh and I should note that her live-in boyfriend is…78-year-old art-world kingpin Larry Gagosian, whose galleries also happen to represent her!! Delicious, right? Since the article came out five days ago, there have been reports that Gagoyant have broken up. What does this mean for us? Well, it means this piece could be the last time we get to visit her at his 20,000-square-foot Amagansett estate, where she keeps a studio (or did?), and which we know from the PRK profile has enough seating for a 50-person dinner party3. Move over Julianne Moore! Cool your slice, Lila Shapiro! I think this one officially earns my own personal and highly sought-after May-December award this season.—Rachel
Read it here.
“Pleasure is the measure.”
Maybe you caught TED-talkin’, podcastin’, Substackin’ sexpert, PhD—who, we recently discovered, lives a hop, skip, and a jump from Maggie in western Mass 👋—in her fancy jammies hawking her new book on better long-term sexual relationships, Come Together, in the New York Times? (Last week, she posted rather adorably about why she chose that outfit and, to our surprise, it had nothing to do with Hugh Hefner.) Good news, husbands: We preordered her book back in summer; it’s finally out today.
Read “She Wrote a Best Seller on Women’s Sex Lives. Then Her Own Fell Apart,” here.
Order Come Together at the Spread’s Bookshop.org shop here because what is a Spread bookshop for, if not for a book of this nature?
After the bone-deep weariness that Priscilla left me with, did I need another paean to Sofia Coppola?
I thought not. And yet, Rachel Syme finds fresh terrain in doing the work that, somehow, no other portraitist we’ve read has: putting the ultimate “girl-woman” within the context of her own girlhood, getting access to her parents and childhood memories, and going deeper into baby Coppola than any other story we’ve read4. Because, New Yorker. The woman has been strangely Hollywood-iconic since actual Day One: The video Francis Ford Coppola shot of his daughter’s birth was included in a feminist art installation designed by her mom. Literally every character in her backstory is some famous person’s son/daughter/babysitter; I mean, the sheer connectedness of every moment of her life! But the quote that I keep coming back to in my head is not about that. It’s from critic Angelica Jade Bastién, of New York and Vulture, who tells Syme, “What Coppola does best is also her greatest weakness: she creates fables about modern white femininity…Art is political whether the artist wants it to be or not. Coppola is someone studying whiteness, but who doesn’t perhaps understand her own whiteness very well. It is because of that contradiction that her work doesn’t get deeper.” It’s a theory that gets closer than any other so far as to why, despite my love for her attention to detail, her amazing aesthetic, and even her unparalleled ability to capture girlhood, I find myself still hungry after feasting on Coppola’s work these days.—Maggie
Read it here.
Cecile Richards’s big fight.
What does formidable look like in the face of mortality? In a profile by Irin Carmon, Cecile Richards reveals she has incurable brain cancer. Median survival rate: 15 months. The diagnosis feels tragic for all the obvious reasons—not only is Richards a hero to a whole generation of women but at 66, she also just became a grandmother. But with abortion rights in such a terrifyingly tenuous state, it is destabilizing and devastating to see the woman who shepherded us, unflinchingly, through a dozen years of the fight for reproductive rights as the head of Planned Parenthood thus diminished. Carmon tenderly shows Richards almost reflexively fighting the disease—fighting, after all, is kind of her thing—but more subtly, wrestling with the fact that she knows this is a battle she can’t win. It’s a compelling portrait of the ultimate activist-insider—a woman who until now always struck me as too impermeable to make a really good profile subject—as well as a useful snapshot of the past two decades of what Richards calls the “war effort” for abortion rights.—Rachel
Read it here.
Is the partying prime minister actually having any fun?
Elle’s got a profile of Sanna Marin, the former prime minister of Finland who in 2019 took office at age 34, making her the world’s youngest and, perhaps more famously, the world’s partying-est premier. Throughout her run as PM, Marin made more international headlines for doing stuff thirtysomethings do (going out dancing with friends) than she did for leading efforts like joining NATO. It’s sexist, it’s unfair. And yet…now “retired” and visiting UCLA for a talk, Marin was all business during her interview with Kayla Webley Adler. We couldn’t help but feel a little let down. We weren’t expecting a night out at Bird Streets Club, but maybe some hot over-the-knee boots and a good laugh?
Read it here.
“Two of New Jersey’s three statewide positions would be husband and wife — that’s something never before seen in American politics.”
When do you know that this Trump-addled country we live in is $%&#’d? When the post-Menendez rat’s nest of New Jersey politics feels quaint! Refreshing! Maybe even darling! New York’s Simon van Zuylen-Wood goes deep on this year’s senate race, starring First Lady Tammy Murphy. In an unprecedented move, Tammy’s running for Menendez’s senate seat—while her husband, Phil, is governor. All the relationships and positions and favors and donations and endorsements are hard to keep track of—because there are so many. Because she is married to the governor!!!
Read it here.
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Sofia Coppola, born Spreaditor? “While on the set of [her dad’s] One from the Heart, she created her own publication, The Dingbat News, to distribute among the cast and crew. She collected photography and decorated her walls with pictures from foreign magazines. ‘I was the only girl in Napa Valley with a subscription to French Vogue,’ she said.”