We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Ali Wong Gets Real at NYFW Opening Ceremony
At the New York Fashion Week opening Ceremony this week, comedian Ali Wong got real about how she balances work and life. Notably, saying that she doesn't. First, she pointed out that men never get asked that question because we know they don’t really balance work and life; they stereotypically don’t do much to help with home or kids altogether. A man changes one diaper, she said, and he gets applauded. A woman does, well, let me quote Wong directly: “When my baby girl was first born, I would do skin-on-skin contact to bond with her . . . she’d sh*t on my chest,” she said. “Where’s my trophy at?”
Another piece of insight to balance things, Wong says, is that she hires a nanny—a nanny she and her husband have to work hard to afford. I have to say, I appreciate Wong for her candidness and humor. It’s true that for many working moms, it’s impossible to balance everything without some help. But then again, perfect balance might not exist in real life anyway. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Kanye Facepalm Moment # . . . I’m Losing Count
Speaking of Fashion Week, last week we were saddened to see objectification of women on display, but not in the way you think. At Kanye West’s latest attempt at creativity, numerous models were cast for a lawn presentation wearing nude spandex outfits, intended as the backdrop for the outdoor runway show. The only problem was it was 90 degrees, in direct sunlight, and they were standing there for hours as the show was delayed. A number of models proceeded to suffer from heat exhaustion. Stella Bugbee of The Cut criticially live-tweeted during the event, citing a model who fainted. Numerous others collapsed or had to sit down in front of the observing crowd, all without any assistance from the Yeezy team, she noted. As Verily style editor Lilly Bozzone wrote this past week, the Yeezy SS17 show “seemed to truly forget that these women, professionally rep'ed or not, are human beings. . . . These models were mere props to his brand image.” A moment of fashion gone too far indeed. —MRS
Cosmo’s Leader Is Tapped Out
In interesting women’s media news this week, Joanna Coles, former editor of Cosmopolitan, announced she left the young women’s publication to take on a new position at Hearst. “I love Cosmo, but I gave it everything I had,” Coles told the New York Times. “I just didn’t have another sex position in me.”
Coles is now assuming position as first chief content officer for Hearst, where, as the NYT reports, she “will work closely with Hearst editors and oversee the company’s magazines in the United States and internationally [and] identify new business opportunities and partnerships.” Congratulations to Coles. I, too, would get tired if I had to field pitches about sex positions all day. —MRS
Moana Disney Character Strays from Past Unrealistic Body Types
We already shared why we're excited about the new Disney Princess, Moana, who will be hitting cinema screens near you on November 23 this year, but now we have even more reason to love her. According to BuzzFeed, not only is she the first Polynesian Disney princess, but she was also consciously given a different body type than past princesses. "That was a deliberate attempt, partly inspired by wanting her to be different... we wanted her to be an action hero, capable of action," director John Musker told BuzzFeed at a Moana press event. Her chances of living up to the beloved Frozen princesses, Elsa and Anna, are looking good! —Sophie Caldecott
White House Women Develop an Awesome Way to Help Each Other
Female staffers at the White House have adopted a proactive method of making sure they get heard in meetings typically dominated by men, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. They're calling the strategy "amplification," and it goes like this: When a woman makes a key point, another woman at the table repeats it back to the group, giving credit to the first woman who said it. This helps to ensure that women's ideas get heard and acknowledged in a workplace environment that is still predominantly male and prevents other colleagues from claiming the credit (consciously or unconsciously) for ideas that someone else put forward. Personally, I think this sounds like a great exercise in making sure everyone in the room is being heard and acknowledged, whatever your gender and whatever the ratio of men to women in your workplace environment. —SC
Cats Take Over London Subway
Tired of being bombarded with advertising on your morning commute? So was a group in London, who crowd-funded the money to replace every single advert in one lucky tube station with pictures of cats. The redecoration of Clapham Common station cost £23,000, and was arranged by the Citizens Advertising Takeover Service (or CATS for short, obvs). “Instead of asking you to buy something, we’re asking you to think about what’s really valuable in your life. It might not be cats, but it’s probably something you can’t find in the shops," said one of the organizers. They're already planning their next takeover, and are inviting people to submit ideas for themes. —SC
Girls’ Life, Get a Life
On September 1, mom Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll posted to Facebook a side-by-side image of Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life magazines (the publishers are unrelated) showing the type of sexism young women encounter in media today. Keats-Jaskoll writes, "Your cover has a lovely young lady with a full face of makeup and you invite your readers to 'steal her secrets.’ The BOYS' LIFE cover has in bold letters: EXPLORE YOUR FUTURE surrounded by all kinds of awesome gear for different professions—doctor, explorer, pilot, chemist, engineer, etc. subheading—HERE'S HOW TO BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE."
This week, Women You Should Know reported that the Girls’ Life cover finally got the Photoshopping it deserves. Graphic designer Katherine Young got to work, swapping out the cover girl for high school sophomore Olivia Hallisey, the 2015 Google Science Fair Grand Prize winner, and Photoshopping in new empowering headlines. Instead of "My First Kiss," it reads "My First Miss: Miss the Big Shot and Still Win." Rather than "Best. Year. Ever." it reads "Best. You. Ever." We found Young's edits refreshing and inspiring.
Young tells WYSK, “We can do better. I hope this cover inspires us all to do better every day and be more conscious of the imagery our children are bombarded with. I hope this sparks conversation with both girls and boys. They all need to know that girls are more than a pretty face.” For a publication against overdoing Photoshop, this is one editing job we can definitely stand behind. —Krizia Liquido
The Loser Letters in D.C. Showcases World-Class Women’s Talent
A world premiere production of the Loser Letters, a modern, creative take on a millennial’s existential crisis, opens this month in Washington, D.C. Written by the widely published essayist Mary Eberstadt, the Loser Letters tells a story of a young woman grappling between faith and atheism, à la C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. The production is women-led and has an exciting cast and crew, including Olympic (Beijing) silver medal–winning gymnast Chellsie Memmel, who is now reinventing herself for stage; Madeleine Murphy, a recent graduate from William and Mary, who's playing the main character; and Irina Tsikurishvili, the choreographer, who is a fourteen-time Helen Hayes Award winner. Suffice it to say I’m looking forward to making a trip to D.C. to see this at the end of the month. The production has a short run from September 29 through October 9, so get your tickets now. —MRS
Good News of the Week
A 16-year-old girl in Sherman Oaks, California, created an app to help kids find a place to sit in their school cafeterias. As the LA Daily News reports, Natalie Hampton had sat alone during lunch her entire seventh grade year, and (in addition to changing schools, thank God) she took this personal experience as motivation to help other students who face similar toxic environments in middle and high school. Hampton’s app called “Sit With Us” launched September 9, and it already has kids in her school using it. Hampton told NPR’s All Things Considered, “It’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know. And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.” Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. I applaud Hampton for her ingenuity and charity to students who, like anyone else, need and deserve a welcome place to sit. —MRS