We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
When Doves Cry
Sources revealed Thursday that the singer, songwriter, and all-around iconic performer Prince has died at age 57. The Minneapolis-born singer had been hospitalized the week before with flu-like symptoms, but exact details about his death are still coming out. Just last month, Prince revealed that he was writing a memoir. We couldn't be sadder to hear about the loss of this man who influenced so many musicians and continues to have ripple effects in pop culture. Rest in peace, Prince. And thank you for your music that was truly inspired. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Harriet Tubman Is Replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill
On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Additionally, images of leaders from the women’s right to vote movement will be added to the back of the $10 bill. Alexander Hamilton will remain on the front of the bill. This marks a major landmark in black history as well as in U.S. women’s history. Tubman was born a slave and later escaped in 1849. She was a freedom fighter during the American Civil War and advocated for enslaved black people.
This change to the $20 bill also has significance within Tubman’s life story. Her first biographer, Sarah Hopkins, told a story linking Tubman to the twenty. Tubman’s parents were enslaved in Maryland, and Tubman needed funds to rescue them. Tubman stormed into the New York office of abolitionist Oliver Johnson because the Lord had told her to ask him for twenty dollars. When she was refused, she said, “I’m gwine sit here till I git it.”
There has already been an outcry to keep Tubman off the twenty and even protests against women being on U.S. currency at all. Critics such as Feminista Jones at the Washington Post have said that Tubman's face on the twenty will draw attention away from the inequalities that women face today in the political and economic sphere. From where I’m sitting, putting Tubman on the twenty is a significant step for women in the United States, especially for women of color. Inequalities do still exist; until women are fully recognized for their importance and contribution to society, inequalities will remain. But putting Tubman’s face on the twenty seems like a step in the right direction. —Gabriella Patti
Welcome, Baby Luna!
Power couple and proud new parents Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcomed their first child last Thursday, and Luna Simone Stephens, nicknamed Lulu, made her Instagram debut early this week. Teigen's snap shows off a sweet love fest among the supermodel, her baby girl, and their adorable pup. Teigen and Legend have been very open in the media about their struggles to start a family, but the wait was obviously worth it, and Legend's follow-up picture of his baby girl at one week old made it clear that little Luna is just as photogenic as her parents. Congratulations to the new parents! —Monica Weigel
Cat and Knitting Lover Is #Winning Jeopardy, the Internet
A recent Jeopardy contestant won the hearts of viewers and the Internet by doing nothing but being exactly herself. Margaret Miles, a librarian in North Carolina, was already in the lead when host Alex Trebek commented on her calm demeanor and obvious wealth of knowledge. When Miles was asked what she did for fun, she responded quickly, honestly, and charmingly—“What do I do for fun? Knit? And pet cats. I’m hopelessly stereotypical.” I wanted to give her a hug. Miles then proceeded to wipe the floor with her competition, walking away with more than $40,000 in winnings. Answer: A sweet, brainiac cat lady who loves to knit. Question: Who is my new best friend? —MW
Also, This Ad
If you haven't watched it already, take two minutes now to watch this ad that went viral this week. It will make you feel so understood if you struggle to get out the door in the morning. —MRS
Long Live the Queen! (and Chubby Little Princes!)
The British royal family is featured in a series of newly released photos, some of which will be turned into stamps commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s ninetieth birthday. In one photo, the reigning monarch is flanked by all of her immediate successors—her son, Prince Charles, her grandson, Prince William, and her adorable great-grandson Prince George, who is standing on a stack of blocks grinning ear to ear. If the knee socks and blond curls weren’t enough to win our hearts, George’s rosy cheeks seem to grow chubbier by the minute. I think it is safe to say the world’s fascination with the pint-size prince is not abating anytime soon. —MW
That Music Fest That Happened This Week
It's that time of year again, much to working stiffs’ chagrin everywhere; I'm talking of course about Coachella. It's the time of year where our social media news feeds are filled with tidbits, celebrity sighting photos, and fashion how-tos about the California-based music festival that's largely become a slummin' it cosplay convention for the trust fund kids of Los Angeles. Here are the more notable moments from this year's Coachella.
The highly anticipated reunion of Guns N' Roses took place. Twenty-three years after Axl Rose and Slash took the stage together, the group performed a two-hour 25-song set, which the press is eating up. Songstress Lana del Ray since sparked rumors after an Instagram selfie posted from the concert wearing a T-shirt that says, “Guns N' Roses Lana del Ray Tours 2016.” No word on the validity of that tour or if Lana was making a plea to the band.
Ice Cube created a historic moment when his legendary rap group N.W.A. joined him onstage during his Saturday set. Dr. Dre was missing from the action, but MC Ren and DJ Yella made cameos for a performance of the rap collective's classic track "F*** tha Police." Snoop Dogg, Common, and even Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. also made appearances in what was a legitimately epic set.
Kesha also made a triumphant return to the stage on Saturday with DJ Zedd. Though she did not speak to the audience during her brief appearance, the singer received an understandably warm welcome from the crowd. So there you have the most notable happenings of this year’s Coachella. Aren’t you glad you didn’t waste those vacation days? —Hannah Allen
Taylor Swift’s Words to Her 19-Year-Old Self: “You Will Be a National Lightning Rod for Slut Shamin’
Vogue’s “73 Questions” series recently featured pop star Taylor Swift as she casually walks around her home chatting with the interviewer. Questions include what inspires her songwriting, something she cannot do (a cartwheel or a handstand), and a movie that made her cry (The Martian). However, tucked in this interview was a compelling and thoughtful response to the question of what she would say to her 19-year-old self: “Hey, you’re going to date like a normal twentysomething should be allowed to, but you’re going to be a national lightning rod for slut shaming.”
Swift has been a source of national speculation for dating a number of men and writing songs about her experiences. Fame seems to have robbed her of the ability to privately learn what qualities she wants in a partner by dating more than one man. As Verily’s Monica Gabriel has noted before, dating casually does not necessarily deserve the bad rap that it has gathered. Casual, intentional dating can allow us to figure out who we are and what we’re looking for, without the pressure of taking relationships to the next level.
I appreciate Swift’s retrospective wisdom. By recognizing the unfortunate speculation she has been subjected to, she seems to acknowledge that she knows how she should be treated. It is easy to forget that celebrities have normal human emotions and desires. Consider us rooting for you, Taylor. —GP
Amy, the Comedy Queen, Strikes Again
Amy Schumer is at it again with a good dose of transparency, this time with a video previously created that has been resurfacing on social media. The video, called “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” features Schumer surrounded by a boy band, who humorously and ridiculously sing lyrics pointing out how absurd our culture’s obsession with makeup has gotten. Thanks, Amy, for keeping it real. —Diana Stancy
Fighting the Good Fight, Finishing the Race
Running is one of those exercises that can unite us and allow us to see endless possibilities on the pavement before us. This seemingly simple act was used as an act of proud, female power last week in Iran. During the country’s first ever marathon, two women ran the race despite a ban on female participation. The two women, identified as Mahsa and Elham, ran illegally. This act of defiance is a repeat of women’s history; Anna Quinlan reminds us that the first female runner to finish the Boston Marathon did the same illegally so only 49 years ago—Kathrine Switzer got into the race by registering with her initials, and it was not until five years later that women were officially allowed to register.
Women in Iran are still awaiting equal treatment; currently under Iranian law, a woman is treated as half of a man. However, I Run Iran race founder Sebastian Straten hopes that this marathon can “show how sports can unite,” specifically uniting genders. Running has a sense of invincibility and freedom attached to it. Mahsa and Elham may have inspired the next generation of female runners, and they can certainly serve as great exemplars for all women. So way to go, Mahsa and Elham, thanks for reminding us how we can change the world, one step at a time. —GP
New Car Service Driven by Women, for Women
This month, an alternative car service called Chariots for Women (possibly soon to be changed to SafeHer) is being launched in Boston. The service is an alternative to Uber, Lyft, and other taxi services in that it was created exclusively for women passengers and drivers. Cofounders Michael Pelletz, a former Uber driver, and Kelly Pelletz, created the business in response to reported female safety issues while using Uber. The idea is to empower women to feel safe to travel at any time of the day, from any place. The car service is open to mothers with young children including boys under the age of 13.
While there has been some outcry that it’s discriminatory toward men, this service is attuned to women’s desires both as employees and as passengers who want peace of mind to travel at night—basically things that men often do not have to consider. Recently released data suggests that more than six thousand Uber customers have reported sexual assault and more than five thousand have reported rape, and the safety of taxi drivers in general is a perennial issue. Hence Chariots for Women’s focus on protecting both passengers and drivers alike. Increased safety measures will be taken, including background checks and requiring both the driver and passenger to say a unique password before the ride begins. Personally, we cannot wait to try out this new ride-share service. —GP
Oh, Vicky’s . . .
Victoria’s Secret, notorious for its sexual ads, is changing things up a bit. While previously padded bras, like the Bombshell, were featured in stores and ads, now an ad featuring a non-padded bra has erupted. According to VS, “No padding is sexy now!” The models sporting these bras are showing minimal cleavage and apparently, that’s the latest sexy trend. While there is nothing inherently wrong about this new style, it’s somewhat amusing given the VS track record for creating padded bras for any occasion. What we can take away from this ad is a wake-up call on how beauty trends come and go.
As Baleigh Scott noted in Verily this week, “It is worth recognizing the impermanence of our culture’s standards of ‘sexy,’ and the consequent futility of relentlessly pursuing it. . . . Rather than struggling to keep up with an ideal that is destined to change, our time may be better spent learning to love ourselves as we are—cleavage or not.” Amen to that! —DS
Olivia Wilde is Pregnant with Second Child, Viewed as Old?
Olivia Wilde announced this week that she is expecting her second child. Consider us thrilled. Wilde also recently was in headlines for her age, after revealing that she was turned down for the role of Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend in The Wolf of Wall Street. Wilde is only 32. This reflects a larger theme in our culture after women have children, according to Verily writer Anna Jordan.
While things certainly change with age, a life with more birthdays under our belts don’t need to be viewed as a negative. Jordan writes from personal experience that she relates: “Inasmuch as I feel the weight of my years (and my babies), I don't feel restricted by my age. The years behind me have made me stronger, better than I was, and, like Wilde, able to step into roles that are more fulfilling than I could have imagined.” Yes to women embracing the journey of womanhood, fully and unapologetically lived. —DS
So Much More Than Just Good TV
For those of you who are fans of Fixer Upper, good news: The second season has made its way to Netflix. Countlelss women are enjoying this show, and for good reason. As Jessica Ferraro notes this week for Verily, there are so many great reasons to watch this show. From Joanna’s care and service to others, to the relationship between Joanna and Chip, the show certainly seems to evoke positive vibes among its viewers. Ferraro can’t help but evoke the meme that says, “In a world filled with Kims and Kanyes, be a Chip and Joanna.” You still have some time to catch up on season one before this next season arrives. —DS
Get Thee to Zootopia
If you haven’t seen any good offerings at the theaters these days, here are five reasons to consider Zootopia despite it seeming like a kids' film. For one, the movie has a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes; it also has a powerful message, celebrates individual uniqueness, and keeps things humorous while addressing serious topics. So even for the animation-averse, don’t judge a film by its medium; this movie may leave you pleasantly surprised. —DS