We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Vice Presidential Candidates Spar
This past Tuesday Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia took the stage for the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. The moderator, Elaine Quijano, seemed to lose the reigns on the conversation right out of the gate. Kaine’s constant interruptions made the debate less question–answer oriented and more comparable to a verbal ping-pong match.
Commentators and analysts agree that despite the lack of structure in the debate, it was easy to see that Pence came out on top. Each nominee used the spotlight to emphasize the ineptitude of the opposing party’s candidate. Kaine highlighted Trump’s degrading comments about women and Mexicans and called out his reluctance to release his tax returns. Rather than spend time on the defensive side, Pence chose to point out that America is in an arguably worse condition now—in regards to the economy, terrorism, and societal division—than it was before Clinton’s time in administration. The night demonstrated once again that politics is making its way closer and closer to becoming a contact sport. —Maleah Black
Kim Kardashian Is Robbed in Paris
Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint and left tied up and gagged in her Paris hotel room after a Fashion Week reception this past Monday. The jewelry stolen by the robbers, who locked her in the bathroom, was valued at nearly $9 million dollars. Husband Kanye West immediately left the stage in the middle of his Queens, NY, concert when he heard about the robbery, but the response from the public was less than sympathetic.
When the news broke, numerous people on social media responded with jokes and conspiracy theories—some blaming Kardashian West for the robbery and others claiming the whole incident was a hoax. At moments like these, it’s worth reminding ourselves that wealth and fame does not decrease one’s value as a human being. —Deanna Rosa
New Study Shows Hormonal Contraception Is Linked to Depression
A study recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association is warning women about the link between the use of hormonal birth control and depression. The study, published last week, was conducted over the course of fourteen years by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. The research followed and studied one million women and adolescents in Denmark ranging in age from 15 to 34 who had no previous diagnosis of depression or use of antidepressants. The women were grouped into two categories: users and nonusers of hormonal birth control. The results of the study concluded that using hormonal contraceptives “was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and a first diagnosis of depression.” It’s not just the Pill, either. The study found that there was a link to depression with the use of other forms of birth control, including the patch, vaginal rings, and intrauterine devices, as well. Verily lifestyle editor Krizia Liquido explained, “Compared to nonusers, women using combination birth control pills containing estrogen and progestin were up to 25 percent more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant.” The risk went up to 40 percent for progestin-only pills.
Until now, research on the connection between contraception and depression has been mixed. However, this study is finally providing the evidence to support a clear link. The results are so alarming that the news was covered in almost every major outlet. In a society that prescribes the Pill to millions of women, it is a bit of a wake-up call to the harmful side effects of contraceptives that some like to overlook, including doctors who overprescribe the Pill. The good news is women who choose to forgo birth control are not at a loss when it comes to family planning. Fertility Awareness Based Methods, or FABMs, are natural, hormone-free, and side-effect-free options that women are turning to. As Dr. Marguerite Duane, family physician and executive director of Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, describes FABMs, they’re “the only true methods of family planning because couples can use them to both avoid and achieve pregnancy.” We’ll see what whether this study leads women to reconsider other options. —Katie Faley
Luke’s Diner Existed in Real Life for a Morning (and It Was Glorious)
Gilmore Girls fans up and down the country were treated to a real-life Stars Hollow experience when a series of coffee shops were temporarily transformed into Luke's Diner on Wednesday. Netflix coordinated the event to celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of the show's first episode—and also presumably to drum up even more excitement for the upcoming reboot, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, to be released the day after Thanksgiving. The first two hundred visitors at each location got free coffee, and with pop-ups occurring in cities across all fifty states, that's a lot of very happy (and highly caffeinated) fans. And for the lucky fans of Beverly Hills, the excitement was taken to a whole new level when Scott Patterson himself, who plays Luke Danes, served coffee along with the other baristas. Netflix, the anticipation is killing us—bring on November 25 already! —Sophie Caldecott
Public Reacts to Ivanka Trump’s Words on Motherhood in New Campaign Ad
This week presidential candidate Donald Trump released a campaign ad showcasing his daughter Ivanka speaking on the issue of paid maternity leave. In her first sentence, Ivanka says, “The most important job any woman can have is being a mother.” The universal statement displeased some women such as Laura June of New York magazine’s The Cut. “Saying that women’s most important job in life is motherhood suggests that women without children are lacking not just children but a true calling in life,” June wrote.
While I can appreciate June’s caution against viewing non-moms as less than, I don’t think Ivanka’s words necessarily say as much. We all probably know a mom who says that motherhood is the most important thing that happened to her, and celebrity moms say as much (to much outrage) all the time. I don’t think one woman’s valuable experience has to discount another’s simply for being different. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Lady Gaga to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show
This week officials announced the Super Bowl halftime show goes to . . . Lady Gaga! The singer, whose new album Joanne comes out October 21, is no doubt going to have a lot of good new material from which to choose in addition to her past hits. She released the single “Perfect Illusion” last month and shared a new country-inspired tune, “Million Reasons,” this week in Nashville. As I’ve been really appreciating Lady Gaga’s change of tune over the past few years, away from theatrics and toward a more authentic vibe, I for one am excited to see her on this sports–cultural main stage.
Shortly after Gaga’s news, in a deal outlets are billing as if it’s a competitive jab at Gaga, Taylor Swift this week signed a multiyear contract with AT&T to perform at a pre–Super Bowl evening in the same arena. C’mon people, can’t we all cheer together that it’s great we have two amazing female performers on the same stage in a 24-hour period? —MRS
Demi Lovato Says She’s Looking Forward to Break from Spotlight
In other T. Swift news: After making some critical comments about Swift’s squad being all of a certain tall and thin physique, singer Demi Lovato immediately faced a barrage of social media outcry from Swifties. Putting the content of the drama aside, I found Lovato’s comment afterward to be telling: "So excited for 2017. Taking a break from music and the spotlight . . . I am not meant for this business and the media." Selena Gomez similarly announced last month that she’s taking a break to focus on her health. Given the realities of burnout, not to mention the pressures many women in entertainment face, I can’t help but applaud these ladies’ choices to scale back. —MRS
Gabrielle Union Joins the Makeup-Free Movement
Following Alicia Keys’ lead, actress Gabrielle Union posted several makeup-free selfies on social media this past week. Union imitated Keys on Snapchat Tuesday, proclaiming: “No makeup, headwrap, hey Alicia Keys I see you!” On Instagram, the 42-year old was found celebrating her second wedding anniversary with hubby Dwyane Wade yet again without makeup. Tamron Hall and Gwyneth Paltrow are some of the other celebrities also jumping on the barefaced bandwagon.
This latest trend of going without makeup isn’t being campaigned in your face; rather, it is a refreshing movement of women who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. For Keys and company, going au naturel is about starting a conversation about what defines beauty. Whether or not it’s “just your face,” Union’s postings inspire woman of all ages not to fear embracing their natural self. Choosing to go without makeup doesn’t make you any less beautiful, nor does putting on makeup make you any more beautiful. What’s important about the #MakeupFree movement is that women are seeing other recognized figures as there are—uncovered and unashamed. Keys said it best: “It’s about how you feel, it’s about who you are, it’s about just being who you are and not letting anybody tell you who you should be.” While we have nothing against makeup and its wearers, those are some words we can definitely get behind. —Mary Brodeur
Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple’s Latest Novel, Is Released
Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple’s latest novel, was released this week, and we could not be more excited. The author of the wildly popular and witty novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette? charms again with a day-long tale featuring fresh characters and a familiar place. Eleanor Flood, Today’s main character, starts the day vowing to go about her activities with more conscious purpose and motivation. As it has a way of doing, life gets in the way for Eleanor. Throughout the day things go awry, which creates the perfect literary escape for Semple’s readers to find solidarity. The novel is already getting rave reviews, which comes as no surprise given Semple’s veteran status having written for such television comedies as Mad About You and Arrested Development. Today Will Be Different is another Maria Semple book that does not disappoint. Just try not to laugh hysterically and catch yourself saying, “Same, girl.” This novel should definitely find a top spot on your reading list this fall. —KF