Miss Iceland Told to Lose Weight and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

World Series: Two Teams Who’ve Been Waiting a While

This week the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs faced each other in the first two games of the World Series. With Cleveland winning the first on Tuesday, and Chicago winning the second on Wednesday, it’s hard to say who has the advantage as the series continues. The Cubs have been waiting 108 years for a World Series victory, while the Tribe has been waiting sixty-nine years—also nothing to sneeze at. Although after Cleveland won the NBA championships this year, some say Cleveland has had enough to celebrate. But I say, what I may not be enjoying in football, I am sure enjoying in this last week of baseball. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Miss Iceland 2015 Says She Quit Pageant After Being Told to Lose Weight

Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, the winner of Miss Iceland 2015, dropped out of a Las Vegas beauty pageant this past week. Her reason for doing so is unsettling; the owner of Miss Grand International told her that she was too fat and wouldn’t win unless she went on a diet first. According to one source, he insisted that she should “stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch, and drink water every evening until the contest.” To make matters worse, he claimed to tell her this out of concern—the message went on to tell her that “he likes you and wants you to do well.”

Jónsdóttir’s response? She quit. In her goodbye letter she posted on Instagram, she wrote: “If anyone tells me that I’m too fat or whatever, they just don’t deserve me. And that’s why I left. Miss Grand International doesn’t deserve my face, body, personality, or heart.” Jónsdóttir acknowledged that her shoulders are broader than most of the other girls, but she prided herself on her uniqueness because of her experience on the Icelandic national athletics team. “Of course, I don’t take these comments to heart,” she went on to say, “. . . Personally, I think I’m fine as I am.”

So many other celebrities are taking a stand against the body-shaming culture. Arna Ýr is just one of so many women who are making their message public that it’s not OK to openly ridicule anyone because of their weight, appearance, or features. It’s a good thing Arna Ýr had enough self-possession to walk away and show other women they don't have to take comments like that. —Mary Brodeur

Taylor Swift in Headlines for Reporting Alleged Sexual Assault

Taylor Swift celebrated a major career milestone this week. Monday marked a decade since the pop singer released her first, self-titled country album at age 16. Her decade-long musical career has been laced with some pretty considerable awards, including winning a Grammy for Album of the Year twice, making her the only female to date to do so. Swift’s anniversary is being overshadowed, however, with the report that she was sexually harassed at a fan meet-and-greet in June 2013. Swift joins countless women who have become victims of unwanted sexual advances. Verily reported earlier this week that the accounts of Swift’s deposition surfaced over the weekend. David Mueller, a Colorado-based DJ, allegedly groped her during a photo op. Now, Swift and Mueller are embroiled in suits against each other. The judge granted Swift’s request to seal the photo evidence, but the transcripts of the deposition are open to the public.

According to the transcript and reported by E! News, the singer explained, “Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek and no matter how much I scooted over it was still there." Swift said, “I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before,” which are feelings many women understand who have been victims of unwanted sexual advances. Many of us know somebody who has been affected by sexual harassment, or we ourselves have been victims. This is yet another reminder that we must fight back. —Katie Faley

Model Ashley Graham Calls for Larger Variety of Sizes in High-End Fashion

Speaking to Racked this week, Ashley Graham, a model known for showcasing plus-size clothing for such brands as Lane Bryant, said she’d like to see more high-end fashion lines carrying clothing in her size: “Slowly but surely there are really big designers that are coming out of the woodwork and making clothes for curvy girls—Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung. There are a few that are finally pairing up with the right people.” But for bigger names such as Michael Kors, Donna Karan, and others, Graham would like to wear their clothing if only they had her size. “What I really want to see . . . is for designers to make their high-end lines go up in extended sizes because I wanna buy it!” she exclaimed. We’re with you, Ashley! —MRS

Miley Cyrus Confirms Engagement to Liam Hemsworth

This week confirmed what many suspected to be true for a while now: Miley Cyrus and actor Liam Hemsworth are engaged to be married. The couple revealed over the summer that they were back together, and not long after, a big diamond appeared on her hand. But it wasn’t until this week that Cyrus put words to the rumors. Speaking on the Ellen Show, Cyrus admitted that the engagement ring is not quite her “aesthetic,” but she wears it because "he loves me.” Apparently even a girl with as eccentric and untraditional taste as Cyrus has room for a little classic romance. —MRS

Women in Iceland Leave Work at 2:38 P.M. Why?

At 2:38 p.m. on Monday, thousands of women in Iceland left work early in protest of gender wage gaps. According to data from the European Union, women in Iceland make approximately 18 percent less than men, and according to those participating in this week’s walkout, that means their work day should be 18 percent shorter—ending at 2:38 p.m.

This year’s protest was not entirely unprecedented, however, as the first “Women’s Day Off” organized by labor unions and women’s rights advocates was held on October 24, 1975, and boasted participation of 90 percent of Iceland’s female population, according to a BBC report. Many of those women were domestic workers and stay-at-home moms, whose absence forced the male population into panic. Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Iceland’s first female president, also participated in that first protest and credited the movement for her success in the 1980 election.

This year’s strike, which was the fourth of its kind in Icelandic history, marked only slight diminishment of the gender pay gap in Iceland since 2005. In 2005, women walked out of their jobs at 2:08 p.m., and in 2008, they walked out at 2:25 p.m.—arguing that, after those times, they were essentially working for free as compared to men.

In a statement to Icelandic news source RÚV, Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, affirmed that gender discrimination in the workplace has been illegal in Iceland for sixty years, but the data argues otherwise. If wage gap closure continues at the same sluggish rate evidenced by the three latest protests, it is projected to take more than fifty years for pay to be equal in Iceland.

In response to these calculations, Arnbjörnsson stated, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gender pay gap or any other pay gap. It’s just unacceptable to say we’ll correct this in fifty years. That’s a lifetime.” —Deanna Rosa

The First Gilmore Girls Trailer Was Just Released, and It Will Give You All the Feels

Netflix has been teasing us with details about the new Gilmore Girls miniseries for months now, and on Tuesday it finally released the first full-length trailer for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Needless to say, it’s glorious. In classic Gilmore Girls style, it looks like everything and nothing has changed. Same old comedic Stars Hollow town meetings, the girls pleading with Luke to give them more junk food, Michel’s sarcastic commentary on life at the Dragonfly Inn. But what is Kirk doing at Friday night dinner, and why do Lorelai and Rory both seem rather uncertain about their futures?

A few of my personal favorite highlights from the trailer include Emily Gilmore Marie Kondo–ing her house (Lorelai: “He’s taking the dining room chairs!” Emily: “They don’t bring me joy.”), appearances from all three of Rory’s past love interests, and a random pig running wild through the streets of Stars Hollow.

Come November 25 we’ll be reaching for the tissues for very legitimate reasons, too; following actor Edward Herrmann’s death in 2014 after the original series ended, we see the Gilmore family coming to terms with Richard Gilmore’s death. There isn’t an emoji for all the different conflicting emotions we’re experiencing right now. —Sophie Caldecott

Vanessa Hudgens’ Photo with Box Braids Sparks Debate on Cultural Appropriation and Personal Style

Social media was in an uproar when former teen Disney star Vanessa Hudgens revealed her new “box braids” on Snapchat Sunday. Accusations of cultural appropriation were not a new occurrence for the actress, whose bohemian music festival style has incorporated elements of other cultures in the past, including Indian bindis and saris, Native American feather headdresses, tribal body paint, and dream catchers in her hair. While some of Hudgens’ followers were quick to pull the race card, others simply chalked it up to creative expression inspired by other cultures.

Discussions on cultural appropriation are a regular occurrence in today’s world of fashion, with questions and debates routinely arising around where to draw the line between inspiration and inappropriate incorporation in artistic expression. Recently, Marc Jacobs faced similar accusations following the reveal of his spring 2017 collection, which featured dreadlocks on models such as Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, who are not African-American. But Jacobs and his team addressed the backlash, saying that style inspiration comes from everywhere.

Whether the intention is to provoke or inspire, many prominent voices in fashion agree that borrowing elements of another culture is not intended as a disrespectful misappropriation but rather a complimentary imitation. Guido Palau, Redken Global creative director and the hairstylist who worked with Jacobs on the hairdos for his new collection, explained it best in an interview with The Cut: “I take inspiration from every culture. Style comes from clashing things. It’s always been there—if you’re creative, if you make food, music, and fashion, whatever, you’re inspired by everything. It’s not homogeneous. Different cultures mix all the time. You see it on the street. People don’t dress head to toe in just one way.”

Respect for different cultures is very important. It’s one thing to put on a mask and pretend you’re something or someone you’re not. It’s another to express your personal style freely with inspiration from and admiration for the world around you. In our valuing the former, we should be careful not to stifle the latter. —DR