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While You Were Out: VMA Controversy, Hackers Attack Adultery Website, Katy Perry’s Forbes Cover, 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.

Hillary Clinton on the Pressures That Professional Women Have to Look Good

In a question-and-answer session on Facebook recently, Hillary Clinton was asked how she manages to cope with the pressure to look good as a woman on the campaign trail and focus on the day’s “real work.” It’s a question that impacts professional women everywhere, and Clinton’s answer was a nod to the level of scrutiny that women are exposed to every day: “It’s a daily challenge. I do the best I can—and as you may have noticed, some days are better than others!” The Democratic candidate has been subject to so many comments focusing on her appearance that comedian Cecily Strong recently came to her defense, asking the media not to talk about it during campaign season. Sophie Caldecott

Down the Rabbit Hole is a NYT Bestseller

Remember that book we mentioned a few weeks ago by Holly Madison describing her time in the Playboy Mansion as “hell” and “a prison”? It’s now a New York Times bestseller. I knew it would be interesting, but I was surprised to find what a page-turner it is. Brava, Holly, for sharing your story and telling it so well. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Ashley Madison Affair Site Hacked . . . Uh Oh

Ashley Madison (no relation to Holly) has been in the news this week as well. Ashley Madison is the name of the dating website that markets itself to married people, encouraging them to have affairs. The idea is that you sign up secretly on the site and enjoy an adulterous fling, and no one will know, thanks to the site’s security. Well, that is, until this week, when said security was compromised. The cyber attack was by a group of hackers called The Impact Team. Some 37 million users had their information stolen and posted online. While the site is working to fix the problem, it may be time for the cheaters to come clean. —MRS

Alternative Press Music Awards Took Place

This week the Alternative Press Music Awards took place. Among the winners was Hayley Williams of the band Paramore, who won for best vocalist. I can’t help but be happy to hear that, considering she sings good lyrics, too! —MRS

Speaking of Music Awards . . .

The MTV Video Music Award nominations are in. Taylor Swift will be competing with Beyoncé for best female music video again at the awards next month, and hopefully this time Kanye will be able to resist the urge to tell the world why he thinks Beyoncé should win everything. Other nominees leading the pack include Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson, and Kendrick Lamar. Miley Cyrus, who performed at the 2013 MTV Awards with that infamous foam finger, will be hosting the evening’s events. She announced the news by posting a picture of herself with placards saying: “MTV won’t let me perform . . . So I'm hosting this year’s VMAs.” The awards will be held August 30 in Los Angeles. —SC

. . . and Then Everyone Started Arguing About Them on Twitter

In the meantime, some unpleasantness has been escalating on Twitter. Since the nominations were announced Tuesday, a tweet from Nicki Minaj suggested that she was excluded from the nominations because of the industry’s discrimination toward non-white women. Apparently Taylor Swift read Minaj’s tweet—“If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year”—as being aimed at her. Swift’s response—“I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot . . .”—provoked angry accusations of being “faux-feminist” for brushing over the important point about racial discrimination that Minaj raised. Then Katy Perry (not surprisingly) entered the debate, implying that Swift’s tweet was hypocritical given that her “Bad Blood” video is all about women fighting each other. Swift has since apologized to Minaj. Personally, I’m sick of the witch hunt for fake feminists. —SC

Taylor’s New Fashion Line Faux Pas

In more Taylor news, Swift announced this week that she will be launching a fashion line. It will be available in August and sold exclusively online through China’s second-largest e-commerce site, Before you get too excited though, it looks unlikely that the line will be available in the States, at least for now. The collection of “dresses, sweatshirts, and other tops” will coincide with the arrival of Swift’s tour in Shanghai in the fall. Did someone overlook the awkward fact that merchandise sold with the initials “T. S.” and the date 1989 could have potential political ramifications? As in, they could be interpreted as referring to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, when hundreds of students were killed protesting for democracy. Taylor may be winning at pretty much everything these days, but even she might struggle with the Chinese government on this one. —SC

Clueless Turns 20

This week marked the twentieth anniversary of the film Clueless, a modern take on the story of the Jane Austen book Emma. Some stars from the film commemorated the 1995 film on Twitter, with perhaps the most apt one being, “I feel a [little] old today.” For our younger readers who missed the cult classic, there have been several pop culture references of late to the film, not least of which was Iggy Azalea’s tribute to Alicia Silverstone’s character in her music video for “Fancy.” MRS

This Couple Gave Birth to a Ten-Pound Baby in the Car and Caught It All on Camera

In a video that went viral this week, a Houston couple reminded the world that the human body is indeed an incredible thing when they shared a video of the woman’s surprise delivery during the last few minutes of their drive to Bay Area Birth Center. The four-minute video, shot from the driver’s seat with a GoPro, takes place well into the woman’s labor and intensifies dramatically after the first minute. The husband repeatedly asks if he should pull the car over and is told in no uncertain terms to keep driving. The mark of a solid labor coach is remaining calm, and this guy is steady as a rock. Sure enough, the baby came out at a whopping ten pounds with healthy cries. Whoa! —Hannah Allen White

Postpartum Mom Documents Changes

This week a woman’s photo diary featuring her baby and postpartum belly went viral. Turns out that Julie Bhosale is a New Zealand mom and nutritionist who never expected her blog post to reach a global audience. Now that it has, she told the Huffington Post, “I really hope that mums who read this truly know how beautiful, incredible, and amazing they are—for all they have gone through, are going through, and the sacrifices made every single day. . . . I hope to empower mums to take time to recover and to nourish from the inside out—with both good food and love.” Amen, sister! —MRS

Just Say No to Hypersexualized Cover Shoots

This week the world reacted to the latest cover of GQ magazine featuring Amy Schumer—much of which wasn’t positive. For one, Star Wars and Disney did not approve of the Star Wars characters being depicted in inappropriate ways. But worse, the cover did what it often does to talented women on magazine covers—turn them into sex objects. As Gail Dines put it at the Feminist Current this week, “What is the best way to silence a female comedian? . . . Stick a phallic symbol in her mouth.” Which is a shame because Schumer is awesome at calling out important issues for women. Here’s hoping that the next time a magazine tries to hypersexualize a powerful woman on a cover, she has it in her to say no. —MRS

. . . and Let’s Have More Covers Like This

Katy Perry appears on Forbes latest cover this week, looking confident and empowered as ever. The singer is being spotlighted among the nation’s highest-earning pop stars, having earned $135 million on her latest tour. When she learned that in the past wealthy women have shied away from being on the cover of Forbes for fear of appearing less than humble, Perry said she hopes that “this cover can be an inspiration to women out there that it’s OK to be proud of hard-earned success and that there is no shame in being a boss.” Hear, hear. —MRS

Second Video Surfaces in Planned Parenthood Case

This week a second video surfaced showing a Planned Parenthood director casually discussing the sale of fetal body parts from aborted remains. Coming after last week’s news of a video showing a different Planned Parenthood executive describe how abortions could be performed in a different way on women to ensure greater chance of acquiring whole fetal parts, this video similarly shows the organization’s employee describing how a woman’s abortion procedure could be adjusted to maximize the greatest quantity of usable baby parts. While last week the organization denied that it was partaking in the felony of human parts trafficking, this time, the focus on profit is palpable, as the Planned Parenthood worker exclaims at the end, “I want a Lamborghini!” Yikes. —MRS

More Journalists Disappear in Middle East

At least three men disappeared in Syria this week, adding to the list of foreign journalists whose lives are risked on the job. While the whereabouts of these Spanish journalists are unknown, it is feared that they may have been captured by the ISIS terrorist group. The group is known for kidnapping journalists before freeing some for ransom but beheading others, such as James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff. —MRS

In Lighter News . . .

The Colorado Cherry Company of Lyons, Colorado, had an unexpected customer last week. A ravenous bear broke in through a window and devoured twenty-four pies and several bags of ingredients. According to the bakery owner’s daughter Mikaela Lehnert, “He went for the apple and the cherry and left behind the strawberry rhubarb, so he was a picky little guy.” Lehnert and her mother arrived the next day to find their store in shambles. There is a silver lining, however. “If anything, it’s boosted [our business] because it put our pies and product out there,” Lehnert says. —HAW