We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Severe Flooding in Louisiana Leaves Many Stranded
This week significant rainfall in Louisiana led to severe flooding that has caused at least twelve deaths and damage to more than forty thousand homes. Sources say the flooding is the worst disaster the state has faced since Superstorm Sandy. But what’s heartening is that the relief effort response has also shown itself to be the greatest since Sandy. More than a thousand recruits from the Red Cross have descended to help, and more than eight thousand people are receiving emergency shelter. CNN has compiled a list of ways you can help. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Justin Bieber Deletes Instagram Account After Feud with Fans and Selena Gomez
This week one of the most famous and beloved ex-couples in American pop culture, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, experienced an online feud that ultimately resulted in Bieber closing his Instagram account. The whole thing can be chalked up to a somewhat petty celeb duel, but Gomez’s initial comment did carry some weight.
After receiving tons of comments from his more than 77 million followers decrying his new girlfriend (i.e., Beliebers who still wish he and Gomez would get back together), Bieber responded to his fans in a post threatening to make his Instagram account private if they didn’t stop the “hate.” Ex-girlfriend Gomez chimed in, saying, "If you can't handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol—it should be special between you two only.” While what followed was a back and forth of swipes between the two, for which Gomez admitted her contributions were “selfish and pointless,” Gomez’s initial insight about keeping the private private is one that many can learn from. —MRS
And the Latest Live-Action Disney Remake Is . . .
Well, it looks like Disney really took note of The Jungle Book’s box office success. As if you weren’t already excited enough to see Emma Watson play Belle next March, get ready to revisit your biggest childhood hair crush (or was that just me?) in a live-action version of The Little Mermaid that’s slated to be in the works. Hamilton songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda will be collaborating with the legendary Alan Menken on the project, Deadline reported on Tuesday. This remake will apparently be “orchestrated as a mix of pre-existing songs from the 1989 Disney animated classic movie,” songs which won Menken two Oscars back after the movie’s original release. On a side note, imagine being the guy who wrote “Under the Sea,” “A Whole New World,” and “Colors of the Wind.” What a hit machine! —Sophie Caldecott
You’re a Real Peach, Gold’s Gym
By now you’ll know that here at Verily we’re all about celebrating women’s unique beauty, empowering everyone to embrace their natural, healthy body shape. Well, the other day we had a powerful reminder that yes, the whole world still needs to hear this message when Gold’s Gym posted a photo of a pear alongside the text, “This is no shape for a girl,” in a new ad campaign. It was so ridiculous that I had to laugh, but as a pear-shaped woman who occasionally feels pangs of insecurity (who doesn’t?), it also made me kind of mad. The major gym franchise faced an onslaught of backlash (as one might imagine) and did issue a rather weak apology. Still, you can add this to the long list of ad campaigns that are damaging to women’s body image. —SC
New Nike Ad Highlights a Unique Woman . . .
A Nike ad that shows a religious sister competing in the Ironman has gone viral this week and won the hearts of viewers everywhere. Some Catholics found that the initial images of the sister in a habit were staged; she in fact had left the Catholic church many years ago to be a part of a different religious community and doesn’t wear a habit. She may be less of an official nun, but nun-the-less she appears to be a remarkable woman, and the short (while scripted) video is nothing short of inspiring. —MRS
Feminism and Femininity Are Not Mutually Exclusive
Actress Kiernan Shipka (of Mad Men fame) recently penned an essay in Teen Vogue, in which she said she's recently come to terms with her personal feminine style, despite some thinking it's not in touch with a current social movement. Wearing uniquely feminine clothes, like dresses and florals, is no less empowering than embracing more gender-neutral styles, she said. This Emma Watson lookalike may only be 16, but she reminds women of all ages that being a strong woman can look many different ways. As Verily style editor Lilly Bozzone wrote, “Whether donning a waist-cinching dress or a loose pair of slacks, modern feminism is all about the woman who embraces and celebrates her innately beautiful femininity.” —Madeline Fry
Kim K Is No Feminist
Every female celeb inevitably faces the question, “Are you a feminist?” Kim Kardashian West has always shied away from the label in past interviews, and in a recent post on her blog, she repeated that she doesn’t like to be narrowly defined. “But why do we have to put labels on things?” she asked. “I'm a human being, and I have thoughts, feelings, and opinions about a lot of different things.” Vanity Fair was quick to jump on West for being a woman who “denies the word as a label for herself but accepts many of its tenets.” However, West joins the ranks of other strong female celebrities, like Carrie Underwood, Demi Moore, Salma Hayek, and Shailene Woodley, who have said they’re all for equality, but they don’t like the f-word. —MF
Forthcoming Film Shows Early Women in STEM Overcoming Barriers
They say behind every great man is a great woman, but sometimes the stories of these women go untold. When Octavia Spencer first saw the script for Hidden Figures, she thought the story of the black female mathematicians behind John Glenn’s orbit around earth was too good to be true. But the story, based on the upcoming book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, is factual, and the movie looks like an Oscar contender if we ever saw one. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and singer Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures tells the little-known story of the women who pushed past sexism and racism to turn the space race into a sprint. “Yes, they let women do some things at NASA,” says Henson’s character in the trailer, “and it’s not because we wear skirts, it’s because we wear glasses.” —MF
Chinese Swimmer Gets Real About Having Her Period
Twenty-year-old Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui won a bronze medal this week, but she made headlines for a much more relatable reason. After her team missed getting a medal in the 4x100m medley relay, Fu crouched over in pain while her teammates were interviewed. When the interviewer turned to her, he asked if she had a stomachache. Fu responded, “Actually, my period started last night, so I'm feeling pretty weak and really tired.” Talking about your period is still taboo in many parts on the world, including China. Social media users around the world thanked Fu for her honesty about her menstrual struggles and comforted her because she felt she had let her team down by swimming poorly. It’s great to see an athlete be so honest about something almost all women have to deal with, and we appreciate the courage it took for her to compete through her discomfort! —Emily Mae Schmid
What’s Going on with Ryan Lochte?
Ryan Lochte: Olympic champion and . . . criminal? That is the question on everyone’s mind with the story that Lochte and three Team USA teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio earlier this week. The American men first claimed that while riding in a taxi home from a club early Sunday morning, they were pulled over by men posing as police officers and robbed at gunpoint of their wallets (but not their phones or credentials). Brazilian police took witness statements and everything seemed like an unfortunate incident that would soon be forgotten. That is, until reports emerged that Lochte and his teammates may have fabricated the story, and a Brazilian judge ordered them to remain in the country. However, Lochte had already returned to the U.S. What began as a small change to their original story (that the incident occurred while they were stopped at a gas station) soon turned into every indication that three American swimmers made the entire incident up. Late Wednesday night, a surveillance video that shows Lochte and his teammates getting in an altercation at a gas station was released. No armed assault appears on the video.
Although Lochte made it home to the U.S., the other three swimmers, Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger, and Gunnar Bentz, remain in Brazil and are unable to leave. Tensions are high as the police work to figure out what really happened and investigate why the Americans would make this up. Meanwhile, the Internet is having a field day with the baffling story. —EMS
Meanwhile, USA Continues to Be Killing it at the Olympics
Check out Verily's favorite highlights from the week here. —MRS
Good News of the Week
Giving birth is difficult, but we imagine it’s a lot harder thousands of miles in the air. One woman went into labor while stuck on an international flight from Dubai to the Philippines, but her baby girl was born healthy with the help of flight attendants who made a makeshift bath out of a cabinet shelf and mineral water. The story came from one passenger’s viral Facebook post detailing the event, which she said made her appreciate her own mom more. Missy Berberabe Umandal, who also snagged a photo of the mother cradling her newborn, said she overheard the baby’s name as Haven. Umandal says regulations mean the baby girl will have India as a birthplace but a Philippine passport. She won’t have to worry too much about travel between the two countries: Cebu Pacific Air gave her free flights for life. —MF