The Waves

The “BezChez” Edition

The Waves on Esquire’s viral cover story, the Bezos-Sanchez affair, and the influencer industry.

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On this week’s episode of The Waves, Hanna, June, and Noreen discuss Esquire’s controversial cover story, which attempted to re-create Susan Orlean’s “The American Man at Age Ten”—this time by profiling a 17-year-old Trump supporter. Is there a more responsible (and interesting) way of exploring white masculinity in 2019? And how does the redux stack up against Orlean’s iconic original? Then, the political elements of the Bezos affair feel new and interesting, but the women involved are being boxed in by the same tired tropes as ever. The hosts unpack the media’s treatment of both the Amazon boss and his “extramarital boo,” and June tells the story of her own brush with the Bezoses. Finally, the influencer industry allows women to work—and in some cases thrive—on their own terms, but demands that they commodify their identities and experiences in exchange. Why does it appeal to so many, and is it empowering, exploitative, or somewhere in between?


In Slate Plus: Is it sexist that Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 prospects are taken more seriously than Stacey Abrams’?

Other items discussed on the show:

• “The Life of an American Boy at 17,” by Jennifer Percy in Esquire

• “The American Man at Age Ten,” by Susan Orlean in Esquire

• “Why Your Ideological Echo Chamber Isn’t Just Bad For You,” by Jay Fielden in Esquire

• The Cut’s How to Raise a Boy series

• “The Real Causes—and Costs—of “Traditional Masculinity,” by Noreen Malone, Hanna Rosin, and June Thomas in Slate

• “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker,” by Jeff Bezos in Medium

• “The Ongoing Saga of Jeff Bezos’s Sexts, Explained,” by Anna North in Vox

• “What Sets Jeff Bezos’ Peacocking Apart From Paul Manafort’s?” by Noreen Malone, Hanna Rosin, and June Thomas in Slate


• “How the Tabloids Turned Jennifer Aniston Into Sad Jen,” by Willa Paskin in Slate

• “Michael Sanchez, Suspected Bezos Leaker, Supplies His Own Theory About the Affair, the Enquirer, Some Below-the-Belt Selfies, and ‘a Legendary Romance,’ ” by Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair


• “I Went to Influencer Caroline Calloway’s $165 Creativity Seminar so You Don’t Have To,” by Madison Malone Kircher in New York magazine


• “Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic,” by Marisa Meltzer in the Cut

• “Will Surviving R. Kelly Change Minds?” by Christina Cauterucci, Marcia Chatelain, and Kristen Meinzer

• “Rising Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content,” by Taylor Lorenz in the Atlantic

• “Women Have Long Ruled Instagram—but the Boys Are Catching Up,” by Madeline Buxton in Refinery29

The Truman Show

Ingrid Goes West


• June: One Day at a Time

• Hanna: Normal People

• Noreen: Leila Slimani’s Adèle

This podcast was produced by Danielle Hewitt. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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