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Emma Watson Takes Part in the Green Carpet Challenge 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.

On the Green Carpet

Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson made a splash on the red carpet at the annual MET Gala, not just for how her unique pants-dress combination looked but also how it was made. The theme of this year’s fashion extravaganza was Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology, and while many attendees went for the futuristic, metal encrusted look, Watson partnered with designer Calvin Klein and environmental activist Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age Ltd, to highlight how technology can be used to create a more sustainable fashion industry. According to Eco Age, "the body of the look is crafted from three different fabrics all woven from yarns made from recycled plastic bottles, the zippers are made from recycled materials and the inner bustier has been created using organic cotton.”

Watson intends to continue to incorporate the outfit into future looks, writing on her Facebook page that “it is my intention to repurpose elements of the gown for future use. The trousers can be worn on their own, as can the bustier, the train can be used for a future red carpet look… I’m looking forward to experimenting with this. Truly beautiful things should be worn again and again and again.”

Calvin Klein and Eco Age Ltd. also incorporated elements of sustainable fabric into the gowns worn by Lupita Nyong’o and Margot Robbie as part of the Green Carpet Challenge. —Monica Weigel

It’s Tony Time!

Hamilton made Broadway history by garnering 16 Tony nominations, topping previous record holders The Producers and Billy Elliot, which each got 15 nods in previous years. Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has already won a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, so the Tony’s will be an opportunity for him to add even more accolades to his already shining star. Castmates Leslie Odom, Jr., Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Phillipa Soo, and Renee Elise Goldsberry also received acting nominations (with Odom up against Miranda for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical).

Other notable nominations were Lupita Nyong’o for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her role in Eclipsed; the fact that all four authors of the nominees for Best Play made their Broadway debut this season; and the nomination of five shows for Best Musical instead of the customary four. With the exception of Nyong’o, big Hollywood names were largely snubbed, with Jennifer Hudson (The Color Purple), Keira Knightly (Therese Raquin), and Michelle Williams (Blackbird) going without recognition. —MW

Zika Virus May Get Its Vaccine

The Zika virus, a mosquito vector-borne disease related to Dengue fever, yellow fever, and West Nile, continues to be a serious concern for pregnant women around the world. While the direct effects on the infected person are historically mild, the virus has been linked to serious birth defects like microcephaly for babies born to mothers infected with Zika. Advisories have been issued discouraging pregnant women from traveling to locations with a high incidence of the disease, and cases have been reported across the United States. As experts in climatology and epidemiology join forces to prepare for a surge in cases over the next twelve months, research questions about the dynamics and effects of the virus persist. Experts cannot predict what percentage of women will give birth to babies with Zika-related defects or what the other subtle, long-term effects may be present. Teams of scientists are working to develop diagnostic tools and vaccines for at risk populations.

Although developing a vaccine is a twelve-month endeavor, the journal Science suggested that the vaccine trials could begin as soon as 2017. While this is good news, it may not be adequate to contain the effects of the virus as scientists are unsure how quickly the new disease will be transmitted. Anthony Fauci, head of the NIAID, said it was “very likely” that warm weather will usher in Zika outbreaks in the mainland U.S. As a fast-acting alternative to a vaccine, some scientists have suggested deploying gene drives, which would edit the genetic code of mosquitoes, theoretically wiping out the entire population of insects. Regardless of the method used, stopping Zika requires urgent collaboration between researchers, government and public health officials. —Rachel Wilkerson

Elon Musk’s 68-Year-Old Mother Is a Stunning Model

Often, if my mom and I encounter a high-performing individual in the news, my mom’s first comment is: “I wonder what their mom is like?” It’s a fair question. Elon Musk has captivated tech and culture circles alike: blazing a trail for green cars with Tesla, boosting the internet economy with PayPal, launching rockets into space with SpaceX, and (fun fact) marrying actress Talulah Riley, who plays Mary Bennet in the new version of Pride and Prejudice. But what’s his mom like? Elon’s mother, Maye Musk, spoke to Vanity Fair recently about what it’s like to raise a family of high-performing engineers. Both of her sons talk about how she taught them to see a project through to the end whether it was obtaining a black belt in karate or how she fostered their initiative from a young age, allowing them to sell chocolate eggs door to door. Maye is notable for her dedication to her family as a single, working mother and for fostering the scientific imaginations of her children.

Maye’s role as a mother in shaping the work ethics of her sons cannot be underestimated, but she it certainly an outstanding woman in her own right. With two science degrees, Maye worked as a nutritionist with a side modeling gig to support her family. She speaks on wellness, writes nutrition books, teaches public health and nutrition at a private school alongside a modeling career. On the glamorous side of things, Maye recently appeared in a Beyoncé video, graced Revlon ads and a glossy array of magazine covers, and last week accompanied her son to the Met Gala. As a nutritionist and IMG's newest model at 68, Maye brings a sense of balance and inclusion at a time when people “want to see age and size because that is who their friends are.” I’m excited to see what this elegant, multifaceted woman continues to accomplish as the spotlight turns toward her. —RW

Chloë Grace Isn’t Afraid to State Her Opinion

In Glamour’s June cover story released this week, actress Chloë Grace Moretz tells why she felt compelled to speak out about the widely publicized Twitter feud between herself and reality maven Kim Kardashian West.

The drama kicked off in early March when Kardashian West posted a nude selfie on Twitter, which was criticized by stars including Moretz, Bette Midler, and others. Moretz initially tweeted in March that "I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than our bodies." She later added, "There's a huge difference in respecting the platform that you're given as a celebrity and 'slut shaming,' something I never have done and would never do." Kardashian replied in a classic mean-girls remark, saying: “Let's all welcome @ChloeGMoretz to Twitter, since no one knows who she is."

Moretz used her Glamour interview as an opportunity to stand up for herself: "That picture wasn't linked to body confidence," Moretz said. "It wasn't a #BodyConfidence or #LoveWhoYouAre. It was done in a slightly voyeuristic light, which I felt was a little inappropriate for young women to see." As for her thoughts on Kardashian’s remark, "It was aggressive, and also it was incorrect," she continues. "I don't have 45 million followers or a TV show that follows my life. But people know who I am. I pride myself on having opinions, and I don't express them in snarky ways toward people." Way to go Moretz, for not only avoiding a cat fight, but also not shrinking your opinions in the face of others’ attempting to silence you with demeaning remarks. You go! —Hannah Allen

Misty Copeland Gets Her Own Barbie

Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, now has a Barbie doll designed after her, as a part of the Barbie Sheroes line. "I grew up playing with Barbie until the age of 13. It’s really such an honor, and it says so much about where the world is going and the evolution of people. We’re celebrating powerful women and a healthy body image. It’s amazing to have a Barbie that is a black ballerina, and she has muscles and is strong. It’s just really cool," Copeland told the LA Times. Ava DuVernay, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, Kristin Chenoweth, Trisha Yearwood and Zendaya also have had Barbie dolls created in their likeness produced by Mattel. Here’s to toy companies continuing in the new and awesome direction of showing women in all our wide-ranging diverse beauty! —HA

House Committee Votes to Include Women in the Military Draft

Last week, an amendment was added to a defense bill that would require women to register for the draft. The House Armed Service Committee approved the change and this new language will be included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The full House will consider the bill next month.

Some people are thrilled that this change is being discussed and believe that it has not happened soon enough. It’s being heralded as the next step for gender equality in the military—a battle that has been ongoing for the last several decades. In 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that the military would not allow females to take part in the draft. Rep. Jackie Speier (D- California) told The Hill that she supports this change to the draft bill: "If we want equality in this country, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, then we should support a universal conscription," Speier said.

However, opposition for the bill actually came from the author of the newly proposed bill, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California). Hunter stated that he had set up the bill to fail, in order to prove hypocrisy in the fight for equality. Furthermore, he opposes the Defense Department’s decision to open up combat roles for women. Hunter used graphic war images to try and prove that women are unfit for combat.

Another option not discussed: get rid of the draft entirely. The United States has not had a military draft since 1973 in the Vietnam War, and it’s been shown that the all-volunteer military force is working and the draft is not needed. Perhaps the attention being brought to gender equality in the military will facilitate a future discussion about the existence of the draft. —Gabriella Patti

President Obama Hosts Final White House Correspondents’ Dinner

President Obama spoke at his final White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday Night. In a star-studded room including both journalists and celebrities, the president reflected on his past eight years in the White House, throwing out zingers as he went, featuring subjects such as presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and even making fun of himself.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner began in 1921 as a way for the president to share laughs with the press corp. President Obama has used it as a way to express his political frustrations in a comical way. “Eight years ago, I said it was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific.”

However, probably the most compelling part of the speech came near the end. The president thanked the press for the role they play in facilitating democracy in the United States. He discussed the challenges of informing and reporting in a business that sometimes emphasizes the reporting of conflict and controversy and speed sometimes trumps depth. He thanked journalists for pushing back. “The good news is there are so many of you that are pushing against those trends. And as a citizen of this great democracy, I am grateful for that,” Obama said. Whether you like President Obama’s policies or not, his message about speaking truth loudly and with depth should resonate with us all. —GP

Meternity, Schmeternity

Last week, Meghann Foye published a book called Meternity, which essentially promotes the idea that all women should take time off for maternity leave. The kicker? Actually having a child is unnecessary, according to Foye.

Not surprisingly, women from all walks in life are speaking out about this absurd proposal, including Verily contributor Regina Bethencourt. Bethencourt has been on maternity leave this past year and shares exactly why her time caring for her newborn is anything but “me-time.” As Bethencourt points out, some of Foye’s arguments aren’t just blissfully ignorant, they’re harmful. Demonstrating a lack of understanding about the challenges of real motherhood, they risk furthering the skewed thinking that maternity leave is just an optional perk as opposed to a necessary recovery time for working moms. —Diana Stancy

The Compassion Collective Does It Mother’s-Day Style

The same supergroup of authors who launched the Compassion Collective earlier this year to raise funds for European refugees is kicking off another flash fundraiser, and this time they're aiming to take back Mother's Day. The group nods back to the founder of the holiday, Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, activist and poet who was the founder of the original Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. "Tired of war, tired of tribalism being valued above the lives of the vulnerable, her pain became her mission. She called out for revolution." The revolution that the Compassion Project hopes to spark with their latest fundraiser is aimed at mothering the motherless by sheltering, feeding, and clothing homeless youth in major cities across the U.S. If you'd like to honor the original notion behind Mother's Day and contribute to the revolutionary notion that "there is no such thing as other people's children," you can donate to the Compassion Collective here. —Anna Quinlan