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Janelle Monáe’s Successful Fundraising for Flint 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.

The Much-Talked-About Oscars

Miss the Oscars on Sunday? No worries, Verily’s got you covered. From Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar win and Lady Gaga’s performance raising awareness about sexual assault to Brie Larson’s inspiring words, we have all the important highlights. Not to mention a list of all our favorite dresses, worn by stars including Gaga, Sofia Vergara, and Mindy Kaling. Check out them out here! —Diana Stancy

In Other Oscars News . . .

While the Academy has been coming under fire for its notorious lack of diversity, as the #OscarsSoWhite campaign pointed out, here's something else to add to the list: When a reporter asked actor Tom Hardy why he was looking so anxious as he waited outside the ladies bathroom at the ceremony last Sunday, he replied that he was waiting for his wife (who had their child in October) to finish pumping. "She has to do it every hour," he said. It's kind of shocking that an event synonymous with excess and luxury (their gift bags were reportedly worth over $220,000 each) couldn't find a more sanitary place than the toilets for breast-feeding mothers to pump. It's also not the first time it's been raised as an issue: Adele told The Guardian back in 2013 that she was "running to the toilets [at the ceremony] to pump and dump. Which loads of people were doing…All these Hollywood superstars, lined up and breast-feeding in the ladies." Might be time for a change. —Sophie Caldecott

Brie Larson Keeps Being Amazing

After her big Oscar win, Brie Larson spoke in a post-win interview about sexism she faced in Hollywood. “There were many times that I would go into auditions and casting directors would say: ‘It’s really great, really love what you’re doing, but we’d love for you to come back in a jean miniskirt and high heels,’” Larson lamented. “Those were always moments of a real fork in the road, because there’s no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and heels other than the fact that you want to create some fantasy, and you want to have this moment that you can reject. I personally always rejected that moment. They were asking me to be sexy, but a jean miniskirt and heels does not make me feel sexy. It makes me feel uncomfortable.” But as Baleigh Scott noted in Verily this week, those were moments that, as she rejected them, helped her grow in confidence to the person she is today. Talk about a reminder to not worry about not putting others’ “fantasy” versions of ourselves above our real selves. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Erin Andrews Testifies in Court Case Against Stalker

This week, sportscaster and Dancing with the Stars cohost Erin Andrews has testified in court against a stalker who in 2008 recorded her undressing in her private hotel room and put it on the Internet. The man named Michael David Barrett got her room number from a Marriott hotel in Nashville, was granted from the hotel the room next to hers, and inserted some kind of recording device into the peephole of her hotel room door. Andrews did nothing wrong and never authorized such imagery to be put online, and yet for the past eight years she has been the one paying.

This week for Verily, Baleigh Scott noted that this reveals a disturbing cultural trend: “That Andrews' nudity is still being used against her as a means of questioning her virtue and dismissing her insights professionally says a lot about the way that we use sexuality to sideline and shame women into silence.” Andrews testified that the experience of finding out her naked body was viewable online is a traumatic experience that gets replayed every day as people mock her for it. It’s sad we even have to say this, but clearly we must: “if a woman has been violated, as Andrews has, all it reveals is that there's horrible, exploitative people out there willing to hurt others who don't deserve it. It says nothing about Andrews as a woman, sportscaster, or human being…. I hope one day we'll start holding perpetrators responsible for their crimes and not the victims—not only in the courtroom but in the court of public opinion.” Amen to that. —MRS

Chris Christie: Is This What a Face of Regret Looks Like?

We don't talk too much about politics here, but this story would be criminal to exclude. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is known for being a notoriously verbose man with brash outspoken opinions, was remarkably silent at presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s press conference this Tuesday. After recently endorsing Trump, Christie was apparently tasked with introducing Trump at the post-Super Tuesday event, which he did, as Stephen Colbert put it, looking “like the best man at a wedding he never believed in.” After the introduction he proceeded to stand behind Trump with a troubled expression that was silent but spoke volumes. As Alexandra Petri put it in her Washington Post humor column: “I have never seen someone scream so loudly without using his mouth before. It would have been remarkable if it had not been so terrifying.” Several hilarious viral vines later, the country has been asking, what does the silent screaming in those gubernatorial eyes mean? 

And in other news, on Super Tuesday Hillary Clinton won 7 states while Bernie Sanders won 4 states in the Democratic primary, and Ted Cruz won 3 and Marco Rubio won 1 in the Republican primary. While Trump won 7 states, it appeared he expected his wins to be greater and has a little steam to let off. So, let’s all say a prayer for Chris Christie tonight. —Hannah Allen

Janelle Monáe Raises Funds for Flint

It’s always amazing to see people use their celebrity and talents for the greater good. Singer Janelle Monáe joined Blackout for Human Rights, an organization that addresses human rights’ violations for their event #JusticeForFlint, this past Sunday. The benefit concert raised money for residents in Flint, Michigan, affected by the recent toxic water crisis. Also in attendance were Hannibal Buress and Ava DuVernay, who skipped out on the Oscars to support the cause. As of March 1, the fundraiser was attended by about 2,000 people and raised nearly $156,000. Four thousand people sent in donations online as well. Hats off to Monáe and all who supported the cause. —HA

The New Ghostbusters Trailer Is Awesome

There has been much anticipation for the new Ghostbusters film coming out this summer—both from female fans who are psyched to see the franchise get an all-female casts of comedians, and from other fans who are afraid this might be a step down from the heights of the original comedy classic. But given that this new film has been given the seal of approval by Bill Murray, himself, and contains some of the funniest women in the industry—Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones (whose SNL skits honestly make me laugh more than anything I’ve seen in the past couple years)—I think there’s nothing to fear here. But for those who are still doubtful, give the new trailer a watch; it should soothe your fears before you see in in theaters. —MRS

Zosia Mamet Talks About Her Mother’s Influence on Body Image

In a recent column for Glamour magazine, Girls actress Zosia Mamet shared that growing up around her mother’s body insecurity had a lasting effect on her. Her mother, who had been a dancer, was always conscious about her appearance and constantly tried new diets. That rubbed off on Mamet and led her to develop an eating disorder. As Verily’s Anna Quinlan noted, this issue raises attention to whether body issues are inherited or not and the responsibility we all have to not put down our own bodies, as a service to those young and impressionable minds around us. She writes, “Just as Mamet experienced with her mother, how I talk about my body around my kids is how they will learn to think about girls’ bodies. So I speak carefully and with great respect. And while I help them write their scripts, I rewrite my own.” A beautiful reflection. —DS

Adele Visits Gravely Ill Young Fan

Legendary pop star Adele visited a terminally ill 12-year-old fan suffering from cerebral palsy, blindness, and epilepsy on Tuesday while she was in Belfast for a concert. Tracy Gibney, Rebecca’s mother, explained that the little girl has loved Adele's music for years, and gets upset whenever it is turned off. After experiencing my own father's nightmarish struggle through the end of a terminal illness, I know just how much of a relief much-loved music and entertainment can be through a difficult time; the generous actions of celebrities like Adele provide a wonderful distraction from pain, and brighten an otherwise terrible situation. Our hearts go out to the Gibney family during this difficult time. —SC

Lego Releases Stay-at-Home Dad Figure

Lego is releasing a new line called "Lego City" that will include new figures such as a child in a wheel chair with a guide dog, a woman dressed in business casual, and a stay at home dad pushing a pram. Despite the fact that Lego's president, Soren Torp Laursen, says the move was to reflect the changing world around them as they see it rather than a deliberate attempt to promote greater diversity or politically correct ideals, it's a pretty significant move for future generations of kids. As Hello Giggles reports, "a 2012 Pew Research Center analysis shows that 2 million American men identify as stay-at-home fathers," yet the label still holds a stigma for men. "Most men say they stay at home because they’re sick or unable to find work, while 73 percent of stay-at-home moms choose to be so because their priority is to take care of their children." —SC

The Cleveland Clinic Performed the USA’s First Uterus Transplant

Last Wednesday surgeons from the Cleveland Clinic performed the nation's first successful uterus transplant on a 26-year-old patient. The surgery took 9 hours, using a transplanted uterus from a deceased organ donor. The Cleveland Clinic research team will continue to screen requests for further transplants from women with Uterine Factor Infertility, an irreversible condition that reportedly affects 3 to 5 percent of women worldwide, and will be hosting a press conference about the breakthrough this coming Monday. —SC

Airbnb is Making Changes to Hiring Practices and Helping Women

According to a new survey, as many as 60 percent of women in the Silicon Valley encounter harassment in the work force. Despite this discouraging number, Airbnb has announced that they are doubling the number of women on one of their data science teams. This is a result of examining the number of women who applied and the number of women hired as a result. Essentially, the interview process has been revamped in order to provide better opportunities for women that are more fair and promote equality. As Rachel Wilkerson wrote for Verily this week, “Airbnb’s dedication to data transparency by releasing their statistics is an admirable and helpful step toward fostering accountability in Silicon Valley. In other words, their company is setting the standard for fair, equitable hiring practices with the garden variety values of honesty and courtesy. Airbnb is now looking to expand their diversity efforts to consider questions of race as well. I look forward to their findings as they advance their efforts in creating hospitable work environments for all employees.” —DS

More Emojis for the Ladies

Oh, and did you hear about the latest Always brand campaign calling for a greater variety of female emojis? As Anna Quinlan shared the scoop on the campaign this week, it’s sort of funny, but it also has a point. —MRS