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While You Were Out: Beyoncé’s ‘Big’ News, Serena Williams’ Landmark Win, Women at Apple, and More


“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.

Carolina Herrera’s Advice to Fashion Icons

In more than thirty years of work, the fashion designer Carolina Herrera has dressed famous figures ranging from Renée Zellweger to Michelle Obama. But in an interview given to the Washington Post this week, the veteran designer had some choice words for stars such as Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez, whose see-through styles seem to have taken over the red carpet.

“They’re supposed to be fashion icons, and they’re not wearing anything,” Herrera told interviewer Robin Givhan. “It’s an obsession now.” She went on to say that while some designers think that it’s modern to be naked or almost naked, “in life, there should be a little mystery.”

We mentioned last month that we had found the proliferation of sheer dresses at the Met Gala a bit confusing. Glad to see we weren’t the only ones who noticed! —Christine Emba

Zoe Saldana’s Husband Takes Her Last Name

In a decidedly unconventional and awesome expression of love and devotion, Zoe Saldana’s husband has taken her surname as his own. In a long Facebook post, the Guardians of the Galaxy star asked that we cast aside ideas of male-driven legacy and think about what really matters—which is what is right for each woman and her family. Saldana was careful not to insinuate that we should all follow in her husband’s footsteps but rather reinforced the idea that couples should do whatever is right for them. Sounds like the kind of honest relationship we can get behind. —Hannah Allen White

Apple Decides It’s for Women, Too!

Earlier this week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, an annual convention that Apple holds to showcase its new software and technology, one announcement caused quite a stir. It turns out that in iOS 9, the new operating system available for iPhones this fall, the Apple-provided HealthKit app will finally have period and fertility tracking tools built in—making it that much easier for women to manage their reproductive health.

It’s not totally surprising that Apple was able to overlook such a key feature the first few times around—only 30 percent of the company’s total employees are female, and the number drops to 20 percent for those in engineering positions. Critics have called the earlier lapse a “perfect example of how not having the right balance internally can actually impact innovations and technology developments.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been open about his plans to increase diversity at the company, and this conference did see more women presenting onstage than there had been in the past five years combined, as well as an expansion of the company’s scholarship program to include more organizations that support women in tech. These are good steps forward—we’re excited to see what happens next. —CE

Homer and Marge Are Breaking Up

After thirty-five years of marriage (well, OK, twenty-six seasons of marriage on TV), the famous Simpsons pair is apparently “legally separating.” In an interview with Variety about the upcoming season of The Simpsons, executive producer Al Jean revealed that Homer’s newly discovered narcolepsy has taken its toll on the marriage. While he didn’t say whether the separation would be permanent, the news left me thinking, “No! Why?!” Homer and Marge go through so much together, even coming close to infidelity at times before realizing the tragedy of what they would lose if they gave up on each other. One of my favorite things about the show is the realistic and unromanticized, yet often very sweet, portrayal of their marriage. I hope all of that isn’t about to come to an end. The day that Homer and Marge permanently separate is later than The Simpsons should end, in my book. —Sophie Caldecott

Double Standards for Women Strike Again

Gwyneth Paltrow is sick of being compared to other female actresses with lifestyle brands, she recently told Time, saying that “there’s something slightly misogynistic about it.” People often group together her lifestyle website, Goop, with Blake Lively’s Preserve, Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, and Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James.

“This is a very interesting question,” Paltrow said when asked about Blake Lively’s website. “I wonder if George Clooney [who has invested in spirits] would be asked about Puff Daddy’s ancillary liquor line. I’m fascinated how the media in particular are so confounded by entrepreneurial women doing something outside of their box.” Looks like another case of double standards for female leaders. —SC

The Little Prince (and Princess)

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released the first official photo portraits of Prince George with the newborn Princess Charlotte via the official Kensington Palace Twitter account on Saturday. Whether you can’t get enough of the royals and their new baby or are sick to death of hearing about them, it’s difficult to deny the “aw” factor of that look of brotherly love and fascination on Prince George’s face as he holds his baby sister. We are fans of the way the family is handling the public attention, as Mary Rose Somarriba wrote in her recent piece, “Why I’m Glad Kate Middleton Isn’t Hiding Her Post-Baby Body.” —SC

‘Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans’

The New York Times published an op–ed by the literary and cultural critic Lee Siegel with the title, “Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans.” It caused quite a stir. Siegel said he decided to not pay back the money he had borrowed to finance his education because it would have meant giving up his vocation as a writer and “wasting my life in a job that had nothing to do with my particular usefulness to society.” He counseled others on how to best follow his example: “Get as many credit cards as you can before your credit is ruined. Find a stable housing situation. . . . Live with or marry someone with good credit.”

There’s plenty that’s wrong with the skyrocketing cost of college and the way the government finances student debt, but the solution isn’t to blow off your loans. First off, this is terrible financial advice and is downright misleading on the consequences of defaulting on a loan. More importantly, it’s just the wrong thing to do, and, contra Siegel, character isn’t a luxury good only rich people can afford. No one likes struggling to pay off loans, and plenty of people have to make tough choices about where to attend college and what sort of career to pursue based on financial constraints. (Siegel chose to get an undergrad degree and a master’s in philosophy from Columbia.) That’s not some sort of cosmic injustice—it’s just life as a responsible adult. Society probably would have been just fine if Lee Siegel had gotten a day job that could pay his bills. —Katherine Connell

Raven-Symoné Named New Cohost of The View

On Wednesday an on-air announcement named former Disney star Raven-Symoné the newest cohost on ABC institution The View.

According to executive producer Bill Wolff in a press release, “She brings a fresh perspective on the hot topics of the day, and she’s a lively, welcome addition to our conversations and interviews.” Barbara Walters also signed off on this choice; in the same release she calls Raven-Symoné “happy, amusing, and well-informed” and says she “has already brought a unique perspective to the program that has resonated with our audience.”

After a rather tumultuous year of hosts coming and going, Raven-Symoné joins Whoopi Goldberg, Nicolle Wallace, and Rosie Perez as current regular hosts. —HAW

Serena Williams Wins the French Open, Racking Up Twenty Major Victories

The French Open came to a close last weekend, as the last lights fell on Roland-Garros in the men’s and women’s final matches. Serena Williams claimed a landmark twentieth career major, beating Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 (2) 6-2. The 33-year-old looked stronger than ever and is closing in on Steffi Graf’s record of twenty-two for most majors. Some tennis fans are even wondering if she can win all four majors this year, which hasn’t happened since 1988 (Graf also holds that record). Despite suffering from the flu during the tournament, Williams outlasted Safarova, who made her grand slam final debut. This should make for an exciting Wimbledon season as we watch to see if Williams can continue to dream of a grand slam. —Mary Grace Magano

Boston Expands Its Goat-Powered Landscaping Program

This one was too cute to pass up:

In a pilot program last year, the city of Boston deployed four goats to help clean up two acres of urban wild overrun with poison ivy, buckthorn, and other invasive species. The Hyde Park landscaping assistants ate the plants and got rid of harmful oils and seeds while also producing natural fertilizer. Officials said that the goats were a fast, clean, and quiet way of clearing the area for green space without using herbicides or machinery. And they did such a good job that the Parks and Recreation Department plans to bring them back this summer, along with eight of their colleagues!

If you’re interested in testing them out yourself, we found out that you can now rent personal landscaping goats on Apparently, a pro will help you determine whether “unleashing some friendly goats on your property” is the right way to go and will check on them to make sure they aren’t attempting any “fancy tricks.” —CE

New Footage of Amelia Earhart Discovered

The world’s fascination with the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928 continues. A recent discovery of a reel of film could be the last surviving footage of Amelia Earhart. The rare film, which has lain forgotten on a shelf for years, supposedly shows the pioneering pilot showing off her aircraft to onlookers before she set off on her second attempt to fly all the way around the world, the flight during which she mysteriously disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. —SC

And the Big Beyoncé Announcement Is . . .

Good Morning America promised an exclusive interview with Queen of the Universe Beyoncé on Monday, who teased that she had big news to share with fans. Let’s just say that, come Monday, the BeyHive was not impressed.

The big news turned out to be an “announcement” about Bey’s not-so-new vegan diet. Beyoncé’s eating habits have been known since as early as 2013, and in February, she announced a partnership with nutritionist and physiologist Marco Borges. Together they’re touting a diet plan, which Bey gave a plug for on GMA by talking about how she’s not naturally thin.

In the end, fans were annoyed that they’d gotten up early for what was essentially a sales pitch. Thanks to the magic of social media, they let their feelings be known—with emojis of burgers, drumsticks, and donuts and stills of Bey and Nicki Minaj feeding each other In-N-Out. Looks like even the Queen can tick off her loyal subjects. —HAW

Nobel Laureate Thinks Women Shouldn’t Work in Labs with Men

At the World Conference of Science Journalists, which took place in Seoul, South Korea, this week, Nobel laureate Tim Hunt made some new enemies. The winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine is reported to have said, “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. . . . Three things happen when they are in the lab . . . You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.” He also said that he was in favor of single-sex labs. Oh, and he said all this to a luncheon of—get this—women scientists and journalists. Facepalm.

Because it was, you know, a conference of journalists, the comment was immediately quoted on Twitter and the backlash swift. While I want to give Mr. Hunt the benefit of the doubt that he was making a (very stupidly sexist) joke, also . . . come on. Separate labs? Because you are unable to see a woman as anything other than a potential romantic partner? And, really, a crying joke? Not funny.

It seems that Hunt got the memo that being sexist isn’t really OK anymore—The Guardian reported Thursday that he has resigned from his position at University College London. —Kara Eschbach