This week we have no question who wears the pants in America— It's Lady Gaga and all the incredible women who encouraged others to speak out, speak their truth, and to vote, vote, vote. On the one-year anniversary of #MeToo going viral, we celebrated the 19 million stories that have been told since and the much overdue reckoning we're in. Thanks to these women, we're looking ahead and we're more hopeful than ever.
Here are the five best stories about women this week:
"A Star is Born" actress Lady Gaga made headlines for sharing an emotional experience with assault, and in her power suit, she declared that she was taking her power back.
"As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants," she said at a speech at the annual Elle Women in Hollywood celebration on Oct. 15.
— Born This Way (@BTWFoundation) October 17, 2018
Tarana Burke set out to make other survivors of sexual assault seen and heard more than two decades ago. On the one year anniversary of #MeToo going viral, Burke shared how she felt when she woke up to the trending hashtag and the worry that decades of work had been erased.
"The reality of me being lost in this narrative—and the possibility of that—is a reality. But for me, the decision was: Am I going to be in conflict in this moment? Or am I going to be who I said I was, which is somebody who was in service of survivors?" Tarana Burke tells MAKERS in an exclusive interview. "And that wasn't hard."
However, a group of black women familiar with Burke's work made sure that her work in this movement would not be erased. After a video of the "me too." speech Burke made in 2014 went viral, Milano immediately tweeted an apology and reached out to Burke asking "how she could amplify my work," Burke recalls.
"MeToo is a tiny part of a large movement that's been happening for decades," Burke tells MAKERS. "What good does it do for me to make sure that my work isn't erased to only erase other people? What's the point of that? Then that means I'm out here alone, and this work can't be done alone."
Alyssa Milano also reflected on the #MeToo anniversary on Oct. 15, one year after her tweet sparked 19 million more. In a video posted Monday the actress and activist reveals what spurred her to ask fellow survivors of sexual assault to bravely come forward: her daughter Elizabella.
"One night, when I was lying in bed with you, I looked down at you and your sweet beautiful face. And I got really scared," Milano tearfully recounts in the video. "I got scared for you. And I sent out a tweet asking women to stand in solidarity and a lot of people replied."
One year ago I recorded this for my daughter, explaining why I shared my story of sexual assault. I never expected to release it publicly. Now, I feel it's too important not to share. #MeToo
I love you so. I will fight so you don't have to.
Love, mama pic.twitter.com/TYk5XXFksY
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2018
Since then, the declaration "me too" has become the universal battle cry for women and men who have been sexually assaulted and the movement has gone global. "Our collective pain became our collective power," Milano writes.
Knock, knock. Who's there? It's Dolores Huerta and she's registering you to vote.
The legendary @DoloresHuerta going door to door at 88 years young, registering voters, and making sure people get out to the polls on Nov. 6th!#SomosMashttps://t.co/vj1QUGZuHv
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) October 12, 2018
At 88 years old legendary activist Dolores Huerta proves that "si, se puede" make a change no matter your age. The co-founder of United Farm Workers was spotted in Texas knocking on doors to register voters for the midterm elections and surprise locals in Austin.
My kids about to see Dolores Huerta. So happy for them. Wish I was there... 88 yrs old hero and still kicking. Emelina (middle) did a whole project on her a couple yrs back. Proud dad / husband. pic.twitter.com/dikUrWkDaz
— antoine aubeneau (@aubeneau) October 11, 2018
Jody Singer, NASA
For the first time in history, a woman is leading the iconic Marshall Space Flight Center at NASA. Alabama native Jody Singer is leading the organization after years of being the only woman in the room.
"When I first came into NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, many of the times I was the only woman in the room. But I will tell you, I've always felt respected, and given the opportunity, and had a lot of folks that invested in me and made a difference," Singer said in an interview with WAAY 31.
The flight center is known for building the rockets which powered the Apollo missions. While Neil Armstrong made one leap for men, women scientists like Katherine Johnson made one giant leap for all humankind, computing the path to the moon. Now Singer, continuing Johnson's NASA legacy, has her eyes set beyond the moon and onto Mars and she is hoping to pave the way for other women.
— Buzz Huntsville (@BuzzHuntsville) October 15, 2018
"That's one of the things that's important to me as I go forward, is giving others the opportunity too, to make dreams come true."
Here's our favorite feminist meme of the week: All hail the newest queen of Sweden.