We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
President Obama Delivers a Poignant Farewell With Thanks To His Wife
This week President Obama delivered his farewell address to Americans in Chicago. Asked why Chicago instead of the Oval Office, Obama said because it’s where “it all began,” referring to his campaign which started while senator of Illinois. In the address, Obama went through the developments of his administration over the past eight years, a survey of what he finds to be the biggest threats to American democracy, and a call for Americans to try to put themselves in the skin of others to understand where they’re coming from. Perhaps most powerful though was the moment he offered words of gratitude to his wife Michelle, causing the room to rise to applause and the commander-in-chief to publicly tear up. Try to watch this clip without grabbing a tissue yourself. —Mary Rose Somarriba
A Lively Golden Globes Happened On Sunday
This past Sunday, the Golden Globes took place in Hollywood, and the world spent the rest of the week coming down from it. Highlights from the night include La La Land’s record-breaking wins, Ryan Gosling’s tribute to Eva Mendes, Viola Davis’ amazing introduction of Meryl Streep’s lifetime achievement award, annnnd Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech. The actress took the televised moment to criticize Donald Trump from his immigration stance to his mocking of a disabled reporter, and called for more empathy in the public square. She also managed to diss football-watching in the process. We’ve got all the video clips you may have missed here at Verily, as well as our favorite dresses.—MRS
Not Everyone in the Entertainment World Is Scoffing at Football
Lady Gaga’s preparing for her much anticipated Super Bowl Halftime Show, and the world is watching. Sporting a football-shaped purse this week, the singer appears to be promoting her NFL moment in her fashion choices. Especially after the different tune in Gaga’s latest album Joanne, I, for one, am excited to see this artist’s performance in the middle of football’s biggest night. —MRS
L’Oreal Ad Campaign Seeks to Reveal, Not Cover Up, The Stories That Make Us Beautiful
During the Golden Globes, L’Oreal introduced some of the first ads associated with its new "Your Skin, Your Story" campaign for its True Match makeup line. This campaign has won praise not only for promoting diverse images of beauty but also for calling attention to the inherent worth of every person. As makeup and skincare has come to represent our culture’s quest for physical perfection—elusive as the ideal may be in reality—this campaign is the latest in the growing trend of defying that standard. "L'Oréal Paris is a brand fueled by a mission to empower everyone to own and embrace their individual beauty and intrinsic worth," said Tim Coolican, Deputy General Manager, L'Oréal Paris USA, in a press release. In one “story,” the stunning Sabina Karlsson, a plus-size model from Sweden, praises True Match for not covering her freckles. Spokeswoman and actress Blake Lively also participated in the ad campaign, appearing in a video wearing a flowing black dress, showcasing her very pregnant belly, and looking very comfortable in her skin.
Despite the numerous women who participated in the ad campaign, much of the public attention has been drawn to the participation of a male and a transgendered person among those whose stories are included. While there is much cultural and political debate surrounding the subject of gender identity, I think it’s unfortunate if it overshadows the positive point of beauty being more about a person’s inherent worth, independent of physical features.
Like Dove's “Real Beauty” campaign before it, perhaps "Your Skin, Your Story" will have implications for campaigns to come. In a world saturated with airbrushed ideals, this message reminds us that a person’s story can be as captivating, if not more, as her physical beauty—and, arguably, more worthy of the media platform. —Mary Claire Lagroue
Speaking of Makeup...Legendary Bobbi Brown Steps Down With An Important Message
Bobbi Brown makeup has been among the top tier of the beauty industry since 1991 when it launched in New York. Bobbi revolutionized the way women adorned their faces as she embraced a natural look that was easy to create at home. In a letter she wrote for Refinery29 this week, Bobbi talks about what inspired her to start the company, owned by Esteé Lauder since 1995, that she is now parting ways with to pursue other ventures. “I realized I was happier and more confident when I didn’t compare myself to the models I was lucky enough to work with—among them, Cindy, Naomi, Christie, Linda, and Helena,” she writes. “I didn’t look like them and the rest of us shouldn’t feel bad because we don’t look like them either.” Instead she says, her goal which is now her legacy was to, “preach the importance of being the best, most authentic version of yourself.” As makeup trends continue to air on the side of conformist extremes, it’s refreshing to hear a cosmetic legend say that natural really is better. Bobbie wrote, it’s “disheartening to see trends like contouring, which make young women feel like they need to be something other than who they are.” Here’s to embracing, even if with a swipe of lipstick or swish of subtle blush, what is inherently unique to ourselves. —Megan Madden
Pope Says Mothers Can Breast-Feed in Sistine Chapel
In a group baptismal service in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, Pope Francis invited women to breast-feed their babies, according to the Washington Post. The Virgin Mary nursed Jesus, he said, so you should feel comfortable to do the same. While Pope Francis led 28 infants through baptism, many began to cry, as babies do, so the church leader took that a sign that the babies were hungry. “You mothers, go ahead and breast-feed, without fear,” he said. This was not unprecedented for him; two years ago during a similar service he said the same thing. In a time when strides are being made to help women feel more secure engaging in the natural act, yet social stigma about it still rages on, many feminists see the Pope as a welcome defender. Public breast-feeding is a struggle women have faced forever, as they feel torn between social acceptability and caring for their children. The Pope seems poised to cooly but ardently continue his quest of normalizing this necessary maternal act. —MM
Gloria Steinem Joins NYC Gender Pay Equity Campaign
This week The Cut reported that Gloria Steinem became an official surrogate for pay equality, by lending her support to legislation that would ban salary histories as part of the hiring process. While there are disputes over wether to look at women's earnings on average—which say that women earn 80 cents for every dollar men earn—versus adjusting for job qualifications—which places the gap closer to 5 cents—both cases show that men consistently outearn women. While many factors contribute to the gap continuing, one major catalyst is the practice of requiring salary histories during the vetting of a job candidate. Many employers have traditionally required prospective hires to disclose record of their past salaries, which of course informs what the company would likely offer them. It’s easy to see how this practice allows lower wages to persist especially if a woman starts out underpaid.
In the U.S. the smallest averaged pay gap is to be found in New York, where women earn 89 percent of their male counterpart’s salaries. In August legislation was proposed in New York City that would make it illegal for employers to request salary histories. In November the ban was signed into law in the municipal sector by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The private sector, however, remains unchallenged so far. If the bill is passed to include the private sector, 3.8 million workers in New York City will be protected from having to reveal their salaries, according to The Cut. Steinem told The Cut, “Work should be paid according to its worth, not to any past bias against the worker.” Here’s to pay equal pay for equal work in Manhattan and beyond. —MM
Natalie Portman Reveals She Was Paid 3x Less Than Co-Star
According to an interview in which Natalie Portman revealed she was paid three times less what co-star Ashton Kutcher was paid in the 2011 rom-com No Strings Attached. “I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been,” the actress told Marie Claire UK. "I don't think women and men are more or less capable, we just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities. We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem." —MRS
Kate Middleton Says Motherhood is Hard
In good news of the week, “Parenting is tough,” the dutchess made headlines for saying. She brought attention to the challenges of motherhood while visiting a center for children and families and listening to women’s stories. There’s something refreshing about hearing women get real about the challenges mothers face; it makes us all better equipped to help them. —MRS