“While You Were Out” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the watercooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to if it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
The first full-length trailer for the movie Suffragette premiered on the Huffington Post this week, starring an immensely talented trio of women: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep. From the looks of it, the movie will be a hot Oscar contender when it’s released in late October of this year. In a very un-Hollywood move, the movie is written and directed by women (Abi Morgan of Iron Lady penned the script, and Sarah Gavron of Brick Lane directed), ensuring that a distinctly female story is told through the lens of female artists. Amazing!
Suffragette promises to be a powerful reminder of the courage and conviction of the women who, not that far in the past, refused to be told that their opinions didn’t matter and won the right to vote. There’s still a long way to go in the fight for equality for women, and it is important to acknowledge those whose sacrifices made it possible to get this far. I have almost impossibly high hopes for this film, but even just watching the trailer makes me pause a moment in the insanity of everyday life and take stock of all I have to be grateful for and how much I owe the women who made that possible. Think I’m being hyperbolic in my praise? Watch the trailer, and then get back to me:
Sheryl Sandberg Speaks on How Motherhood Shaped Her Grief
This past Wednesday, in a heartbreakingly wise and honest account of the process of grief following the recent sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and author of Lean In) shared a status update to mark thirty days since her husband died. Sandberg wrote, “A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: ‘Let me not die while I am still alive.’ I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.”
She also wrote movingly about the experience of being a mother in mourning, saying, “I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain.” She has been discovering the consolation of motherhood, too: “As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug.” I can’t imagine how hard it must be to mourn your husband’s death while trying to comfort your children for the loss of their father. This memorial note a month after his death was a powerful read. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Sandbergs after their great loss. —Sophie Caldecott
Jennifer Lawrence Shares Pic From Mockingjay, Part 2
Jennifer Lawrence whetted the appetite of Hunger Games fans on Wednesday by posting a photo from Mockingjay, Part 2 on her Facebook page. The final movie installment of the popular dystopian franchise isn’t due in theaters until late November of this year, but Lawrence’s post seems to hint that there may be something in the near future for fans to get excited about, captioning her photo “6.9.15.” Could it be that a new teaser trailer will be released that day? More marketing posters? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Although I remain unconvinced that the Hunger Games powers-that-be needed to follow the now-established tradition of splitting the last book of a popular series into two movies instead of one (Harry Potter started the trend, perhaps justifiably, and Twilight quickly jumped on board), I am excited to follow the movies through to the end. #UNITE #teampeeta —MW
Women’s World Cup
The Women’s World Cup starts next week, and odds are showing that the U.S. team has a good chance at advancing in the international soccer competition this year. Forbes reports, “It remains unclear just how well the U.S. will match up with its international competitors, but fivethirtyeight.com’s forecasting model predicts that the team has a 28 percent chance of claiming its third world title in 2015,” with Germany close behind. The U.S. soccer team faces off against its first opponent in the competition, Australia, on June 8. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Welcome to the Jungle
Primates of Park Avenue, an “anthropological memoir of motherhood in Manhattan,” was released Wednesday. In it, author Wednesday Martin, an anthropology Ph.D. turned stay-at-home mom in New York City, chronicles the fascinating (and at times shocking) manners and mores of the ultra-wealthy housewives on New York City’s Upper East Side. It’s a place where having multiple children is a sign of status, husbands give wives financial “bonuses” contingent upon their performance as homemakers and socialites, and Hermès Birkin handbags are the ultimate show of dominance. The book has already raised eyebrows in New York and abroad. Does it illustrate how appallingly set-in-stone traditional gender roles are among the elite or reveal how important stay-at-home mothers can be to their children’s lives? Does the book champion marriage or show how fragile female friendship can be when social competition is added to the mix? Is it an ultimate illustration of inequality, or does it show that family is a societal bedrock, no matter where we are? There’s only one way to find out . . . —Christine Emba
Speaking Up for Mental Health
“Skyscraper” singer Demi Lovato has teamed up with five mental health organizations to form Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health, a campaign to bring greater awareness to mental health illnesses, especially among young adults and teens. The 22-year-old, who suffers from bipolar disorder, encourages those who are diagnosed with a mental health illness to be open about their struggles so that they may find greater support from their friends, families, and communities. Lovato, who has been open about her own experience, has shared how receiving the proper treatment has helped her to “live well” and achieve her dreams despite her diagnosis. “There’s a lack of compassion for people who have mental illnesses, and there’s a lot of judgment,” she told the Huffington Post. She hopes that speaking up will end the stigma, apathy, and misunderstanding associated with mental health issues. —Blanca Therese Morales
Taco Bell to Serve Alcohol
A new Taco Bell unlike any other Taco Bell is opening in Chicago this summer. This store will have a new look that includes an emphasis on showcasing local artists in an attempt to give the fast-food chain a more “neighborhood feel.” And the store will also offer beer and wine. Although there are no current plans to bring alcohol to other Taco Bell locations in the States, ABC News reports that the move seems to mark efforts of the restaurant to “shed its fast-food image” and appeal more to millennials. —SC
In Related News?
A report this week revealed that three in ten Americans have had a drinking problem at some point in their lives. “The problem of alcohol abuse is bigger than people thought,” George Koob, director of the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told U.S. News and World Report. “Alcohol disorders cost the United States $224 billion a year. . . . Seventy percent of Americans drink, and most don’t have a problem, but there is a significant group that do have a problem.” Making matters worse, less than 20 percent with a drinking problem get help, despite the wide range of treatments now available. “Treatments range from Alcoholics Anonymous to behavioral therapy and medications [that] have been out there for a long time. Unfortunately, they (Naltrexone and Acamprosate) are not prescribed that much,” Koob said. The reasons people avoid treatment are many—including the stigma that comes with having a drinking problem and the cultural belief that alcohol disorders are a matter of choice. Let’s turn this around. —MRS
Caitlyn Jenner’s Unveiling in Vanity Fair
By now you’ve probably heard about the June Vanity Fair cover featuring Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner, which reveals the olympic athlete, father of the Kardashian tribe, and reality TV star’s new identity as a transgender woman. The Vanity Fair feature comes in the wake of the interview with Diane Sawyer earlier this year, in which Jenner first publicly shared the experience of living life feeling like a “female soul” in a male body.
While many have welcomed the publicity for the transgender community, saying it increases awareness for a very vulnerable group of people that struggles with high poverty and suicide rates (according to the LA Times, 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide), Jenner has plenty of critics as well, and some of the most vocal are not from the expected sources. Many among the transgender community feel that Jenner’s wealth and privilege belie the experience of so many struggling transgender people. And then there is the feminist point that equating womanhood with a hypersexualized photo shoot seems the exact reverse of what we’ve been fighting for, i.e. to not be treated as objects. The whole debate brings to mind last year’s fascinating “What Is a Woman?” New Yorker article that explored radical feminism’s issue with transgenderism’s claim that being a woman is a choice. —SC
Paris Says Goodbye to Its “Locks of Love”
When my husband and I secured a little padlock with our initials on it to a bridge in Paris and threw the key into the Seine a few years ago, we may have been slightly self-conscious about the cheesiness of the act, but we didn’t think that we might be helping to endanger a bridge in the city we love so much. Parisian authorities have recently started cutting off the bridge railings loaded down with lovers’ padlocks in an effort to stop sections of the bridge from crumbling under their weight. The Pont des Arts carries more than 700,000 locks that apparently have a combined weight roughly equivalent to that of about twenty elephants, according to CNN. The cofounder of the advocacy group No Love Locks recently said, “With the tourist industry still promoting the trend and romanticizing it, it’s going to be an uphill battle . . . Paris will probably need to institute a ban, like Rome did, to finally get a handle on the problem.” Consider that lesson learned by this pair of tourists, at least. —SC
TSA Measures Apparently Ineffective; TSA Head “Reassigned”
This week, the Department of Homeland Security revealed to the public that its airport-screening program TSA, while frequently considered thorough to the point of invasive, is woefully unsuccessful at catching real threats, reports the Washington Post. Federal undercover investigators were able to pass through airport checkpoints while carrying illegal weapons or simulated bombs 95 percent of the time. As a result, TSA’s head Melvin Carraway has been removed from his position and reassigned to a different job. According to a statement DHS made to ABC News, we should expect new, more effective procedures at our checkpoints. One can only wonder what this means for air travelers right now . . . —MRS
In More Positive Security News . . .
Officials in Boston foiled a terror threat this week, Reuters reports. Police officers shot and killed 26-year-old Usaamah Abdullah Rahim after he allegedly confronted them with a large knife. According to Boston intelligence on Rahim’s conversations, they suspect he was allegedly attempting to behead the police officers. —MRS
“I Gave Up a Six-Figure Income for My Husband”
We all know that marriage requires huge sacrifices from both partners to work, but what about when a woman gives up a six-figure salary so that her husband’s career can flourish? That’s hard. So hard, in fact, that this woman’s argument that she deserves a “wife bonus” because she helped her husband achieve the things that earned him his bonus makes sense to me. I’ve read many times before that women are, statistically speaking, more likely to sacrifice their career ambitions for their husbands than men are for their wives, and perhaps it is true that in order for someone in the marriage to “have it all,” the other person has to make a heftier sacrifice. This is OK, as long as that sacrifice can be offered freely, and the woman doesn’t feel like she automatically has to be the one who makes it. Marriage should be a partnership where you both do your best to act as a team and help the other person to become his or her best self. You can’t put a price on motherhood, for sure, and being a stay-at-home mom enriches lives in so many hard-to-quantify ways. But when someone has made such a big sacrifice to enable and support her partner’s work, it seems only fair to publicly recognize the reality of the part she has played in earning that bonus. —SC