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They Caught One of the Men Behind the Celebrity Photo Hack and Other Notes from the Week


We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

They Just Caught One of the Men Behind the Celebrity Nude Photo Hack of 2014

Remember that infamous celebrity nude photo hack a few years ago? Well, one of the men responsible was just caught; he's a 36 year-old man from Pennsylvania and is pleading guilty "to one count of felony computer hacking and another for unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for his role in the hack," The Cut reports. Apparently he hacked into more than 100 iCloud and Gmail accounts to access the photos. The charge reportedly carries a maximum of five years in prison, but prosecutors are recommending a sentence of merely 18 months. As Jennifer Lawrence, one of the most famous victims of the hack, told Vanity Fair back in 2014, "It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.” Is it just me or does 18 months seem like a shockingly short sentence? —Sophie Caldecott

Ariana Grande on SNL Hits Pop Star Impressions Out of the Park

Pop starlet Ariana Grande worked double time last Saturday night as both host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live. The versatile singer showed off a remarkable hidden talent for impressions during a sketch in which she played an intern at the notoriously lame music streaming service Tidal. The catch was that these were musical impressions of some of music's most distinctive and acclaimed female voices, from the easily reproduced Britney Spears, culminating to Shakira and Rihanna, and exploding with the impressively spot-on impressions of divas Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. In another skit Grande also revealed an uncanny Jennifer Lawrence impression. Altogether quite an entertaining evening. Just goes to show you never know what hidden talents people possess. —Hannah Allen

March Madness Is Here

As anyone working at an office building has likely noticed, March Madness is upon us. If you haven’t put in your picks for the bracket yet, it’s too late, as the college basketball road to the championships are already in their first rounds of games. You can follow your favorite teams at the NCAA website or Facebook, which has created custom filters for users to showcase their favorite teams on their profile pictures. Or if college sports aren’t your thing, you can watch something else good on TV. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Women Facing Horrific Conditions in Sudan

A grim new report from the United Nations Human Rights Office shows a pattern of systemic violence against civilians on both sides of the ongoing civil war raging in South Sudan—even in UN-managed refugee camps. As is often the case, women are the recipients of the worst kinds of crimes taking place—being targeted by soldiers who use sexual violence as a tool of oppression and, perhaps more horrifically, as a form of paying combatants. Fighters allied with the government of South Sudan have been allowed to rape women and girls as young as five years old and enlist them as slaves in lieu of salaries, the report says. The women are defenseless, tired, and considered a spoil of war. Justin Lynch's chilling interview with one of these incredible survivors still currently residing in one of the refugee camps should be essential reading. What’s very clear is that the United Nations needs to charge the heads of the government and opposition respectively with war crimes and that these women need to be restored to safety. —HA

In Other International News

This week Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the actions of ISIS officially constitute genocide. “My purpose of appearing before you today is to assert that in my judgment, [ISIS] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. [ISIS] is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by its actions. In what is says, what it believes, and what it does. [ISIS] is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.” This announcement doesn’t necessitate action on the part of the U.S. government, but it is expected to add pressure to the Obama Administration to consider further military action. Regardless what action is taken, it’s good to see something called what it is. —MRS

Mother Teresa to Become a Saint

We already knew this, but now it’s going to be official. Pope Francis announced this week that Mother Teresa will officially be named a saint on September 4 of this year. Here’s to one of the most amazing, driven, and humble women of a generation. —MRS

Real Women Read Trump’s Most Sexist Statements on Camera

It's no secret that Donald Trump has said a lot of incredibly offensive things about—well, pretty much everyone who's not him or one of his supporters. A video that went viral earlier this week highlighted the horrible things he has said publicly about women over the years, and it's not pretty. There's nothing like a fun compilation video of all those hair-raising soundbites to really bring the point home. Human’s of New York’s Brandon Stanton put it best in his open letter to Trump that went viral via his Facebook page earlier this week: "Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself." —SC

​Victoria’s Secret Model Erin Heatherton Reveals Past Body Image Struggles

This past week, 27-year-old Victoria's Secret model Erin Heatherton shared on Instagram her candid thoughts about struggling with her body image and doubts she feels in the modeling industry. "I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me," she says. "I am not perfect." While women are often their own worst critics, it's pretty wild to think that someone in her position could even relate, let alone be in the same self-doubt-propelled boat. That she’s a model figure and still felt body image insecurities, though, is a testament to how destructive and insatiable media standards of beauty can be. Heatherton’s post still managed to pass along an inspiring takeaway for readers: "Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power...I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself," she says. "I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the f--- is the point." Great question, indeed! Kudos to Heatherton on her journey toward being her truest version of herself, something we can certainly all aspire to in our individual journeys. —HA

Obama Speaks to the Pressures Girls Experience Today

In an interview early this week alongside Misty Copeland, President Barack Obama shared words of wisdom on what societal pressures girls experience today simply for being female: “The enormous pressure that young women are placed under, in terms of looking a certain way, being cute in a certain way, wearing the right clothes… the pressure has been historically harder on African American women…” but it’s part and parcel of the way we “socialize and press women to constantly doubt themselves.” But it’s not all bad news, he says. “I do think the culture’s changing for the younger generation a little bit more… what both white, Latino, Black children are seeing as representations of beauty is much broader than when I was a kid. You didn’t just see that much representation. And that’s healthy and that’s encouraging. But it’s still a challenge.” From his experience raising his two girls, Obama added, “sometimes girls can be be just as tough on each other about how they’re supposed to look.” The insightful thoughts shared in the interview reminded me of the striking piece a while back, “Five Things Every Daughter Should Be Taught.” Because, like any father, Obama’s role and influence as a present father to his kids is arguably greater than any other role he could ever play. Yes, even for the president of the United States. —MRS

#WomenNotObjects Does It Again

Just a few months after the launch of the #WomenNotObjects campaign, the organization just released a video this week encouraging men and women alike to end objectifying women as sexual objects in the media. The video, “#IStandUp Against the Harm Caused By Objectification of Women in Advertising,” identifies key areas in which women are targeted by these negative messages, including the “thigh gap” phenomenon and the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, wherein girls across social media used a suction cup method to try to mimic the big lips of teen reality star. What’s awesome about #WomenNotObjects is not only pointing out these harmful messages in advertising, but also offering assistance for advertising agencies so they can jump on board with their worthwhile ideals. Some of these guidelines are referred to as “filters,” and include questions like “Has this woman been retouched beyond human achievability?” And “What if this woman was your mother? Daughter?” As Baleigh Scott notes in Verily this week, “It is truly refreshing to see an organization, one with roots in marketing at that, acknowledge something the media is far too content to ignore—that the hypersexualization of women in advertising has tangible negative consequences. Just like other forms of communication, advertisements do not exist in a vacuum. They affect us. They affect how we see others, as well as ourselves...Several years ago, Verily became the first women's magazine committed to not using Photoshop on women's bodies and to offer an alternative to the hypersexualized content everywhere else in media. It's great to see #WomenNotObjects furthering that cause.” Amen to that. —Diana Stancy

Top Chef Cohost Padma Lakshmi Speaks on Body Image

Former model and current host of Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi, published her memoir last week called Love, Loss, and What We Ate, chronicling her experiences as an immigrant, her parents’ divorce, and her transition into the modeling industry. Despite her successful modeling career, Lakshmi was conflicted about her profession. “A lot of young girls look at those magazines, and they think that’s how they need to be. . . . So I suffered a lot of guilt and mixed feelings about how I had made my living,” Lakshmi confesses. “It’s not an accident that 95 percent of people who suffer from anorexia are women.” This openness about her profession is refreshing. As Anna Quinlan put it this week, “This is a woman who, in telling her story as she does in this memoir, reminds countless other women that they’re not alone in their struggles. We love to see this kind of transparency from stars who aren’t afraid to use their influence to shine a light on complicated but valuable topics.” —DS