We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Stretch Marks: “They Make Me Happy”
Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett’s identity has certainly been stretched quite a bit since she first came to reality star fame as one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on The Girls Next Door as a sporty 18-year-old. She has since met and married former NFL player Hank Baskett and authored two books. She learned of Baskett’s alleged infidelities, and the couple subsequently aired their dirty laundry and worked toward reconciliation on another reality show, Marriage Boot Camp. And somewhere in the midst of all that, she gave birth to two kids, which has stretched her body as much as it’s stretched her identity, according to her own Instagram account.
The proud mom posted a bare-bellied photo revealing stretch marks and a little more flesh than we've seen in her bikini photos. “Look what my 2 babies did,” she captioned the photo. “They make me happy.”
Wilkinson-Baskett has long been vocal about embracing her body and encouraging other women to do the same, saying that “there is no such thing as perfection.” And now that she is raising a daughter, she “[doesn’t] want her to feel like she has to be a certain way to impress society.”
Wilkson-Baskett’s warm, public embrace of her post-baby body seems to be her version of putting her money where her mouth is, and it’s a wager that we fully support. We salute all of the mothers who have stretched their identities and their bodies to proudly bring their children into the world. We think you look great. May your babies stretch you, and may they make you happy. —Anna Quinlan
“Old Corps” Group Photo Stirs Controversy
A group of 16 black female graduates from the United States Military Academy West Point caused controversy after posing for a picture on the steps of West Point's oldest barracks with their fists raised. The photo recreates an “Old Corps” style, which is a historical portrait. Similar photos exist with members of the academy in full uniform including the traditional saber; the main difference is that in the past they were all male, and all white.
This photo sparked controversy as they have been accused of aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement—which is a big deal, as the Army does not allow West Point students to align with political movements. However, the women have said that aligning with Black Lives Matter was not their intention, but rather used the gesture as a symbol of strength and pride. Mary Tobin, a graduate of West Point and a mentor to some of the women in the photo spoke to the New York Times about the intention. “For them it’s not a sign of allegiance to a movement, it’s a sign that means unity and pride and sisterhood. That fist to them meant you and your sisters did what only a few people, male or female, have ever done in this country.”—Gabriella Patti
Meghan Trainor Takes Down Altered Video
Singer Meghan Trainor, who has long had positive messaging for body image in her music and interviews, was surprised to see her latest music video included Photoshopped imagery of her body. Dancing in formation with other ladies, Trainor’s waist looked like it had easily lost a couple ribs. The performer was saddened at first to see it thinking that fans had altered photos from the video; before she realized her own video editors had done it without her permission.
In a bold move, she then took the video down and announced it would be re-released once her original body shape was restored. This is not unlike last week when Rumer Willis’ jaw was Photoshopped in Vanity Fair’s photo shoot; due to its suggesting that her body shape was somehow inferior, she called the aggressive photo-altering a form of bullying. To the media staff entrenched in a Photoshop-happy industry, Trainor sent a clear message that we hope resonates: if you keep altering women’s bodies, prepare to be repeatedly embarrassed and called out for it. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Ronan Farrow Speaks Up
In response to The Hollywood Reporter's cover interview with 80-year-old Woody Allen, the filmmaker's son Ronan Farrow called out the media—and some celebrities by name—for brushing over allegations of Allen's sexual abuse to others. "I believe my sister," Farrow writes of sister Dylan Farrow's claims that she was abused by Allen as a child. The allegations first came to light in 1992 when actress Mia Farrow filed police charges during a bitter custody battle with Allen. These allegations resurfaced in 2014 when Dylan wrote a widely read New York Times blog post accusing her father of abuse. Allen, meanwhile, received double the space and "prime position in the print edition" to respond, Ronan Farrow noted.
His point is that the media routinely ignores or discredits stories of abuse for the sake of access to powerful figures such as Allen. Farrow boldly calls The Hollywood Reporter out for not even raising the subject in the aforementioned cover interview.
"That kind of silence isn't just wrong," Farrow writes. "It's dangerous. It sends a message to victims that it's not worth the anguish of coming forward." On that point, Farrow is absolutely right. —Hannah Allen
Femojis Are Coming
Google wants to add 13 emojis to represent women in professional roles. This is good news considering that so far brides, princesses, painting fingernails, getting a haircut and going dancing in a red dress constitute the full scope of female representation in the world of Emoji.
Amid a growing demand for less depiction of predetermined rolls assigned by the patriarchy the feminine products company Always published a video of girls’ talking about how emojis don’t represent them. FLOTUS Michelle Obama responded to the video via Twitter saying she'd like to see an emoji of a girl studying.
The way we communicate is changing, yes, but how telling is it that with all the incredible technology we're saturated with every day our options for expression are so archaically limited—brides and princesses? No one is an actual princess, and you're only a bride for one day. The proposed emojis include women in business and health care roles, at factories and on farms, among other things. I for one am hoping these show up with my next device upgrade! —HA
A World-Famous Tennis Coach Has Working-Mom Problems
Andy Murray, acclaimed tennis player, recently announced that he is ending his partnership with his coach of two years, Amelie Mauresmo. Mauresmo was the first female to coach a male tennis player, and Murray publicly announced at the time that he supported including more women in sports and giving them more opportunities. There is no ambiguity concerning why the partnership is ending. Mauresmo had a baby just last year and took six months off from coaching. Additionally, Murray said he needed a coach who could could train with him 25 weeks out of the year.
As Anna Quinlan shares this week in Verily: “There are no fingers to point in this situation, no blame to be cast and no injustice to be made right. This is just the messy, complicated reality of what it means to be a working mom.” Once children enter the picture, many professional women find themselves juggling twice as many balls to achieve their goals. Sometimes we have to make compromises as a result. Seeing Mauresmo’s story on a world stage this week only brings greater light to that reality. —DS
Selena Crumples “Marry Bieber” Sign at Concert
In celebrity drama news, Selena Gomez crumpled up a “Marry Justin” sign at one of her concerts this week. While many outlets have been calling it a diva moment—or could be seen as Gabriella Patti described this week for Verily, as a woman sick of having her life and accomplishments overshadowed by her past relationship. In which case, crumple away, Selena! Ain’t nobody got time for that. —MRS
Beauty on Wheels
Jillian Mercado, a young model with spastic muscular dystrophy, has an impressive list of accomplishments. Not only did she study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and intern for magazines like Allure, she is now one of the faces of Beyoncé’s merchandise line. A video profile this past week featured Mercado and thankfully, this indicates a step in the right direction for the fashion industry to diversify who is represented and to expand the definition of beauty. A similar example is Madeline Stuart, who is a model with Down syndrome.
Monica Weigel commented this week in Verily, “Every young woman deserves a world where she can look around and see herself reflected in a role model.” I couldn’t agree more. —MRS
Cameron Diaz Loves and Hates Marriage
Actress Cameron Diaz appeared recently on The Ellen DeGeneres show and talked about her new book, aging, and life as a married woman. Although Diaz never imagined marriage was for her and was rather outspoken about her desire to remain single, that changed after she met musician and producer, Benji Madden. According to Diaz, marriage has taught her many valuable lessons, despite the fact some of those lessons came at a high price. In Diaz’s own words, “I just learned so much about myself. I didn’t know these things. I wouldn’t have ever known them if I didn’t meet my husband, and he helped me.” She also noted some of the hardships by saying, “Well, I learned all of these things about myself that I wished I never learned about myself. And I wouldn’t have known it if I didn’t get married! It’s a double-edged sword.” Verily’s Krizia Liquido, for one, totally relates. —DS
Keys Kills it at SNL
Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson hosted Saturday Night Live this week, alongside performing musician Alicia Keys. And while the episode did include a humorous mother’s day skit or two, the highlight was most definitely Keys’ performances. In her first set Keys performed her recent single “In Common,” and in her second she performed “Hallelujah,” a song that can’t be found anywhere else and I can’t seem to find on iTunes. For a raw and powerful battle hymn of the weary soul, watch Keys sing Hallelujah here. —MRS