We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Dictionary Changes Usage of the Term Femininity
In interesting etymological news this week, a tweet from a writer led the lexiconographer at Merriam-Webster’s dictionary to change the way the word femininity is used in a sentence on its website. After receiving a submission of poetry for a zine she's putting together, which included a note pointing out the M-W’s sentence usage of femininity, Ali Segal couldn’t help but bring attention to it from her Twitter platform. “She managed to become CEO without sacrificing her femininity," the dictionary's sentence read. The Merriam-Webster account replied on Twitter and removed the sentence. Considering the definition of femininity is "the quality or nature of the female sex,” it makes sense to remove that sentence because being a CEO doesn't make women who hold that position any less female in quality or nature. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Keira Knightley Has Bone to Pick With Parental Leave Policies
Keira Knightley, successful British actress and mother of a 19-month-old, recently said she thinks that “paternity leave should be the same as maternity leave.” Talking to Harper's Bazaar in their December "Women of the Year" issue, she said, "When you're thinking about an employer looking at a man and a woman, and they're looking at the woman thinking, 'Well, at some point you could take nine months or however long off, and the guy doesn't have to." Don't tell me that doesn't come into it. You need to be a family unit, not just have the guy there for two weeks and then go back to work and the mother left desperately trying to figure it out. I think it's archaic that there aren't better options." The lady has a point. —Sophie Caldecott
Beauty and the Beast Full Trailer is Released
The trailer for the March 2017 release of live-action Beauty and the Beast was released on Monday in quite an impressive way. According to Disney, the preview was viewed 127.6 million times within a day of being uploaded—which sets the record for most trailer views across all digital platforms. The live-action movie features Emma Watson (as Belle), Dan Stevens (as the Beast), and Kevin Kline (as Maurice), who are among other star-studded cast and crew members not seen (or heard) in the full-length film.
What’s amazing about the 2016 trailer is that it’s hauntingly similar to the original animated film trailer from 1991. Twenty-five years later, Disney was able to recreate the same magic from the original, with all the vivacity and charm that comes with Beauty and the Beast. From the nostalgic opening of classic musical themes, the two-minute clip has us even more excited to see what they’ll do for the full-length film. —Mary Brodeur
Actress Brings Light to her Struggle With Anorexia
In a transparent and vulnerable interview with ATTN last week, Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario opened up about her struggle with anorexia and the importance of early detection and treatment for mental health conditions. Alongside Bellisario’s personal experience, the video shared some disheartening statistics about mental health in America. One in five Americans suffers from a mental illness, and 57 percent adults with a mental health condition do not receive treatment.
“With anorexia, a lot of it is about presenting a front of ‘everything is ok’ as you’re slowly killing yourself,” Bellisario explained in the video. “Gone were the days where I was just a happy, carefree kid who was running around. And suddenly I felt this inability to interact with people and to nourish myself.”
Bellisario, who began self-harming as a junior in high school, was spared from years of suffering when her friends staged an intervention that changed her life. “If I had just been sort of shunned to the side as not having real problems, I don’t know that I would be living today,” she said. Bellisario’s openness is a cogent reminder that mental health should never be brushed to the side as a non-issue; eating disorders should be handled with the same care and urgency as any other illness, even if they’re much harder to detect at the outset. —Deanna Rosa
Study Shows Male and Female Brains Process Trauma Differently
A new study out of the Standford University School of Medicine has found that the brains of adolescent boys and girls process trauma differently. The study found that the insula, a brain structure responsible for detecting cues from the body and processes emotions and empathy, reacted differently in girls than it did in boys after a traumatic experience. The study’s senior author, Victor Carrion, MD, suggested, “The difference we saw between the brains of boys and girls who have experienced psychological trauma is important because it may help explain differences in trauma symptoms between sexes.” The research conducted MRI scans on 59 participants between the ages of 9 and 17, both having experienced one or more traumatic events or having experienced no traumatic events. The researchers found that the insula in girls who experience PTSD gets smaller significantly quicker than it did for girls without trauma. The insula grows smaller as child and teens grow up, so girls who experience trauma matured much more rapidly than girls without trauma. Boys who have gone through a traumatic event, on the other hand, retain a larger insula.
Megan Klabunde, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, noted, “Our findings suggest it is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment.” This isn’t the first time we have seen men and women react differently to mental health issues. Research has revealed that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, and that men and women exhibit different symptoms of depression. In October Julia Hogan, LPC, wrote about the many reasons why women should approach treatment for mental health differently than men. We are different sexes, after all. —Katie Faley
Kelly Clarkson Says Motherhood Makes Her Feel More Confident
Music isn’t the only thing empowering Kelly Clarkson. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Kelly Clarkson opens up about how being a mom has changed her: “Becoming a mother has made me next-level confident. I’ve never felt more empowered.” She explains just how fortunate she feels to be able go on a date with her husband every night and to have four beautiful kids. Despite a busy lifestyle with her music career and the recent release of her children’s book, River Rose and the Magical Lullaby, Clarkson indicates she finds her strength in her first and foremost job, being a good mom.
When posed with the question of considering abandoning her career as a singer, she confesses it isn’t an easy question to answer, but she continues to work to make her family proud. “It’s important for my girls, especially, to see me as a woman accomplishing all these things while nailing it as a mom. I always come back to that.” —MB
New Mom Chrissy Teigen Drops the Mic on Dropping Baby Weight
By now we all know that model and media personality Chrissy Teigen is not content to follow the playbook. Some of her past social media controversies have been questionable. But her pregnancy this past year was the subject of so many unusual dialogues that it's hard to keep track. She was refreshingly candid about her struggle to get pregnant as well as less-than-glamorous aspects of her postpartum experience. But her latest burst of honesty is perhaps the most comforting of all.
In an appearance this week on the Today Show, 30-year-old Teigen addressed the Hollywood standard of losing baby weight. “Anyone in the public eye, we have all the help we could ever need to be able to shed everything,” she said. “So I think people get this jaded sensation that everybody’s losing it so quickly, but we just happen to be the ones who are out there. We have nutritionists, we have dietitians, we have trainers, we have our own schedules, we have nannies. We have people who make it possible for us to get back into shape. But nobody should feel like that's normal, or like that's realistic.” Finally, a woman who isn't playing it cool on camera to the detriment of moms everywhere. —Megan Madden
First Somali-American to Partake in Miss Minnesota Pageant
This week we learned Halima Aden will be the first Somali-American to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Aden moved to the United States when she was 6 years old from a Kenyan refugee camp. Her family settled in Minnesota, which is home to one of the country’s largest Somali communities. According to the Huffington Post, growing up Aden saw very few positive representations of Muslim women like herself. At just age 19, she took it upon herself to be that role model to other young girls. Halima made sure that her involvement in the pageant would not compromise any of her beliefs or culture. “I’m going in as me, my authentic self. I’m not going to dress down or change myself,” she said. She contacted pageant officials and was assured she could wear a burkini instead of a bikini.
“Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful,” Aden said. “And that’s not true.” —KF
Pictures of Adorable Down Syndrome Boy Go Viral
Upworthy highlighted a striking video this week featuring a unique face of adorableness. A Georgia mom shared pictures of her son Asher, who has Down syndrome, online after a casting director refused them saying they didn’t need pictures of children with special needs. After her online photos went viral, she was contacted by a representative for OshKosh B’Gosh, who welcomed Asher to participate in their holiday photo shoot. Just look at this little boy’s smile, and you’ll understand why—he loves the camera, and the world is soon to love him. Three cheers for sharing the many diverse faces of adorableness in the media, and remembering that boys and girls like Asher are just as human, valuable, and worthy of celebrating as everyone else. —MRS