We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Prominent Women Still Fighting for Fair Wages on Equal Pay Day
Many women’s favorite non-holiday came this year on April 12: Equal Pay Day, the date that signifies how late into the year women must work to earn the same profit men did in the previous year. Patricia Arquette, who appealed for pay equality last year in her Oscar acceptance speech for her role in Boyhood, met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for pay equality. She believes many American leaders don’t care about wage discrimination since little has been done to help increase women’s pay. She declares her stance may lose her future work, but she continues to push for fair pay. “This is an American problem, and this is an American disgrace,” Arquette said.
U.S. soccer star Carli Lloyd, two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2015 World Cup winner who recently filed a wage-discrimination complaint with four of her teammates against the U.S. Soccer Foundation, penned an op-ed in the New York Times this week highlighting why she’s fighting for fairness.
To solve the pay wage problem, Mary Ellen Carter, an associate professor of accounting with the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, suggests putting more women in higher executive positions. “The (wage) gap in gender-diverse firms is lower than at companies with all-male boards,” Carter wrote for CNN. Whatever the solution is, don’t be surprised to see more prominent women speaking up about the issue and striving to make a change. —Sarah Reynolds
Yay for Real Superheroines
An inspiring theme emerged in the acceptance speeches at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday: giving credit to powerful women. Charlize Theron won the first televised award of the night, for Best Female Performance in Mad Max: Fury Road, giving a shoutout to her home country of South Africa before dedicating the award to her daughter and "all of the Furiosas out there." Said Theron to the young women of Earth: "You are the true warriors." Later in the evening Chris Pratt won Best Action Performance for Jurassic World and thanked a surfeit of action stars from the stage: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Dolph Lundgren, Ralph Macchio. But he saved his best comments for wife, Anna Faris, whom he mentioned as the pinnacle of all the action heroes that he recognized during his speech. "Our son was destined to be tough," Pratt said. "But thanks to you, he will be smart, too." Perhaps it’s time for a new adage: Behind every moving film performance is an inspirational woman. —Anna Quinlan
Melissa McCarthy, Box Office Powerhouse
Melissa McCarthy is having a great week! The power of funny women prevailed over testosterone-filled superheroes this past weekend, with her new movie The Boss topping Batman v. Superman in box office take. McCarthy stars as a former business CEO recently out of jail for insider trading who makes it her mission to help a struggling Brownie troop. The comedian’s particular brand of humor tends to get mixed reviews from critics, and The Boss is no exception, but audiences seem to disagree. Also starring Kristen Bell, the movie was directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone.
In other Melissa McCarthy news, fans of Gilmore Girls rejoiced when it was finally confirmed that the star is coming back to Stars Hollow for at least part of the Netflix revival of the hit TV show. McCarthy is beloved by many (including myself) as Sookie St. James, the klutzy chef with a heart of gold who is Lorelei Gilmore’s (Lauren Graham) best friend. It had previously been reported that McCarthy would not be able to participate in the reboot due to her busy schedule, but thankfully it seems to have worked out. —Monica Weigel
Kelly Clarkson Welcomes Baby Remington
This week in celebrity births, singer Kelly Clarkson and husband Brandon Blackstock welcomed a baby boy. After announcing on social media that the baby is named Remington Alexander, Clarkson added, “We couldn’t be happier or more in love!” Always lovely to see beautiful happy families growing. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Zooey Deschanel Speaks to the Reality of the Post-Baby Body
In the May issue of Redbook released this week, actress and new mom Zooey Deschanel comments on some of the pressures that women—and particularly celebrity women—face after giving birth. "To expect someone to look like her pre-baby self immediately is odd," she says. "Because you just grew a human and then birthed that human—there's a lot that needs to go back to where it was. All your organs move around, for chrissakes!" Real truth, right there. Not only is it often impossible, but it’s also unhealthy to think we can snap back to pre-baby shape. —MRS
In More Gilmore Girls News . . .
Gilmore Girls fans were given a rare treat this week when Netflix released the first sneak peek of the new four-part miniseries that is currently being filmed. The seven production stills show Babette and Miss Patty holding auditions for Stars Hollow: The Musical (yes, please!), a classic town hall meeting complete with outraged faces (some things never change), Luke and Lorelai holding hands, and what looks like Rory teaching a class on Jane Eyre.
As if that (and the Melissa McCarthy news) weren't enough GG-related excitement for one week, Netflix also announced that the release date for the new series would be sometime later this year (production wraps on May 10). Cue the happy dances! —Sophie Caldecott
Latest Match.com Ads Fall Flat
Match.com marketers are in hot water over a series of advertisements in the United Kingdom that imply that physical traits like red hair, freckles, or different-colored eyes are “imperfections.” The initial campaign, #LoveYourImperfections, had been mostly met with amusement by the public, with ads calling out innocuous personality quirks instead of looks. That sort of tongue-in-cheek tactic seems innocent enough; I still remember my best friend’s mother telling me to find someone who found my crazy charming, and that advice has stuck with me my entire dating life. Everyone has quirks and personality “imperfections” that make them unique and completely lovable. But implying that inherent physical traits such as skin coloration are less than perfect crosses a line.
Match.com, however, seems to be standing by its campaign, releasing a statement saying, “Our adverts reveal common perceived imperfections and quirks of Brits—these include freckles, which some people who have them may see as an imperfection. We think freckles are beautiful, and our posters are designed to encourage everyone who has them to be proud. We’re sorry if anyone has been offended by our latest ad—that was not our intention—but we’re really encouraged to see so many people standing up for what makes them unique.” —MW
Female Police Officers in Mexico Apparently Have to Pass ‘Hotness Test’
Mexican police officers went on strike last week in Querétaro City—one of their major grievances? That male commanders in the force have submitted female officers to humiliating attractiveness tests during the application process for a special women-only unit. Two women have filed complaints with the state's human rights commission, and the strikers are calling for the resignation of the chief of police, Rolando Eugenio Hidalgo Eddy. Apparently Hidalgo Eddy has a history of creating these women-only units, encouraging them to wear high heels and lots of lipstick, according to The Guardian. "The Querétaro police deny that there is a women-only unit in the works and wouldn't comment on the allegations of sexual harassment," New York Magazine reports, but an open investigation is currently underway. —SC
What Do Fashion and Coding Have in Common?
Fashion model and icon Karlie Kloss has a hidden talent: coding. In order to share her passion for coding with other young women, she has established a scholarship program called “Koding with Klossy” for girls ages 13 to 18 to attend a two-week coding course from the Flatiron School. Kloss’ initial love for coding developed after she attended one of these courses at the school.
Verily’s Anna Quinlan writes this week that perhaps Kloss “realizes that intrinsic in the process of learning to create something from nothing is a much-needed affirmation of capability and bravery. Or perhaps she just loves to code, and she wants to share her passion with the world.” Either way, Kloss is spreading her joy, and it’s beautiful to see. —Diana Stancy
Is Sex Work Empowering or Degrading?
Last week, New York Magazine published a cover story asking readers, “Is Prostitution Just Another Job?” As a current college student, I can attest to the fact that there is a serious movement to “normalize” the industry, as Meghan Murphy identifies this week. Murphy points out, terms like “sex workers” have now erupted as a means to “sanitize” the reputation of the industry. Murphy identifies that very few women globally wish to remain in the prostitution industry—89 percent of prostitutes surveyed in nine countries say they want to leave. Additionally, the long-term, and harmful ramifications of prostitution also have a deep, lasting, and negative impact on the women who were affected.
Murphy writes, “So, sure, there are women in prostitution who are ‘fine,’ and you'll find plenty women online who will tell you as much. But there are countless women in prostitution who are decidedly not fine—the ones whose pimps don’t let them speak to New York Magazine journalists.” There are many other women’s voices who aren’t being heard, but it leads us to the same conclusion: Sex work says more about men’s wants than about women’s empowerment. —DS
Enough with Holding Average Bodies to Unrealistic Ideals
Last week, Glamour magazine published an issue featuring women sizes 12 and up, as part of a “Chic at Any Size” special edition. Although Amy Schumer wears between a size 6 to 8, she was included in the edition, which caused her to call out Glamour on social media. Schumer asked in her post what kind of message this sent to young girls who think someone sizes 6 to 8 is “plus size.” Friend and fellow actress Jennifer Lawrence also breached the topic in a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar. While Lawrence is known for being “normal,” she works out every day, so she feels she isn’t “normal” in that respect.
Baleigh Scott commented on the situation, saying, “I am not a physician, so I won’t pretend to know how much women ought to weigh (I am quite certain, however, that the answer is different for every woman), but the fact that we think of 5’9” and slender Lawrence as ‘normal,’ and not Schumer, seems to indicate that we have a pretty poor understanding of what ‘normal,’ to the extent that it exists, is. And if that's the case, we've got some work to do because ignoring reality is not doing real women any favors. I'm happy women like Schumer and Lawrence are highlighting the distortions in our understanding of what women look like. Here's hoping the media takes note.” —DS
The Girl’s Got Grit
A 9-year-old Pennsylvania girl isn't waiting until she grows up to decide what she wants to be. She's making moves now and not apologizing for it. Reporter Hilde Lysiak publishes a monthly newspaper with a circulation of two hundred, usually covering "street-level" news that she gathers from neighbors, the local police station, and other neighborhood sources. Last week, however, she was alerted to a homicide in her area, and after getting confirmation, of course, published the news to her website. The news was later picked up by major outlets, which in turn created a news story about the work of the young journalist who broke the story. Critics took to her Facebook page to scoff at her credentials and criticize the fact that a girl of her age would cover such a gruesome topic. Undeterred, Lysiak posted a response video in which she stated, “I know some of you just want me to sit down and be quiet because I’m 9. If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news.” And then, leaning into the camera: “There. Is that cute enough for you?” Yes it is, Hilde. Yes it is. —AQ