We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Super Bowl Madness!
This week the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in a comeback win and the first overtime in Super Bowl history. There were also commercials and a halftime show, about which we compiled some highlights.
Taylor Swift’s Pre–Super Bowl Show Was More Exclusive Than We Thought
The lucky nine thousand people who attended Taylor Swift’s pre–Super Bowl concert may very likely be the only ones to see her perform this year. "As far as I know, I'm only doing one show in 2017, and as far as I know, this is that show,” Swift told the crowd. “You are attending 100 percent of my tour dates."
While this might have been her only show of the year, the ninety-minute Super Saturday Night show at Club Nomadic wasn’t lacking by any standard. Swift reminisced with her early country-pop hit “You Belong with Me” and sang other songs from her past two Grammy-winning albums 1989 and Red. The crowd was also treated with acoustic performances of songs she’s written for other artists, such as “Better Man” (Little Big Town) and “This Is What You Came For,” the song she infamously wrote for her ex Calvin Harris under a pseudonym. All the while, Swift rocked a Versace dress and fresh bangs. While this may be T. Swift’s first and last concert of the year, we’re anxiously waiting to see if that means there’s new music on the horizon. —Mary Brodeur
Story of Flight Attendant Saving Teen Trafficking Victim Goes Viral
The nonprofit Airline Ambassadors organized a training session in the Houston area in anticipation of a higher risk of trafficking over the Super Bowl weekend. This comes after a flight attendant helped rescue a potential victim of human trafficking at the 2011 game. The story was re-released this past week to support the efforts of Airline Ambassadors in their attempt to raise awareness. Sheila Frederick, 49, who has worked as a flight attendant for ten years, said she noticed something was wrong onboard the Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco, when she saw a suspicious man traveling with a teenage girl. She asked herself, “Why is he well-dressed and she is looking all disheveled and out of sorts?” Frederick said that the girl "looked like she had been through pure hell." The teenager was able to communicate with Frederick via notes left in the airplane’s bathroom. When the teenager left a note saying, “I need help,” Frederick alerted the pilots, who contacted the police. The police met the aircraft in San Francisco, the man was arrested, and the girl received help.
Since 2009, American flight staff are taught to look out for indications of human trafficking and report them immediately. In 2016, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was reported to have arrested two thousand human traffickers and identified a further four hundred victims. —Maddy Kearns
Lady Gaga Responds to Body Shaming
Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl LI halftime performance on Sunday was an athletic endeavor in itself. The singer jumped from the roof of the arena to the field and danced rigorous choreography to some of her most famous hits. Still, some viewers thought it was an opportune time to deliver an onslaught of trolling of her looks and fitness. After a couple days of her fans coming to her defense on social media, Lady Gaga responded on Wednesday. “I heard my body is a topic of conversation,” the 30-year-old singer posted on Instagram. “I'm proud of my body, and you should be proud of yours, too. No matter who you are or what you do.”
Prior to the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga spoke of the rigorous training she went through to prepare for her performance. “I’m singing the show while I’m doing it,” she told Michael Strahan in a pre-game interview on Good Morning America. “Because the show is full-on cardio . . . it’s cardio while singing.” According to CNN and Nielsen Music, her music following rose by about 1,000 percent after performing at the Super Bowl halftime. Gaga also announced her world tour to begin in August of this year. “I could give you a million reasons why you don't need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed,” she concluded in her Instagram post. “Be you, and be relentlessly you. That's the stuff of champions.” We couldn’t agree more with that. —MB
Amal Clooney, 39, Is Expecting Twins
In recent weeks, speculation has swirled that America's former forever-bachelor George Clooney and his wife, 39-year-old lawyer and activist Amal, were expecting twins. While In Touch spread the baby news as fact on January 18, it wasn't until this week that the media far and wide confirmed it. If you're thinking how crazy it is that the 55-year-old actor has chosen late-in-life fatherhood, you might be on to something. Even more surprising is that In Touch reported that George never wanted kids but that Amal had changed his mind. As psychologists Josh Klapow and Lisa Bahar told Verily, this can be a tough and risky thing for women to hear. If you're a woman who wants children and you find yourself moving toward marriage with a man who doesn't, you shouldn't think the relationship or marriage will change his mind. Read more about the Clooneys’ news and how women everywhere should take note of their situation here. —Megan Madden
Former Captive Amanda Berry Speaks Out on Behalf of Missing People
This week author and advocate Amanda Berry started an initiative to help people avoid prolonging the fate she experienced as a missing person locked in a Cleveland home for ten years. Working with Cleveland Fox 8, Berry will contribute to a thirty-second daily news segment dedicated to bringing more attention to missing people in the area. According to Berry, this is for the public as well as for missing people; when she was captive, she says, hearing on the news that people were still looking for her gave her hope that one day led to her escape. “I hope we get [the faces of] missing people out there and get people looking at them a second time, a third time, and looking at their name,” Berry told PEOPLE. “It’s kind of the small things that makes a big difference.” Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —MRS
New Study Shows Long Work Hours Erode Women’s Health
A new study out of Australia found that long work hours could be detrimental to women’s health. According to the study, there is a distinct tipping point before the amount of work hours starts to negatively impact mental and physical health. The study used six different waves of data to estimate work-hour mental health thresholds in men and women. The researchers found that the health tipping point for women was about thirty-eight hours a week, while for men that number was about 43.5 hours.
Dr. Huong Dinh, the lead researcher in the study, writes that this gender gap could be attributed to the amount of non-paid work women do outside of their workweeks, such as care-giving and housekeeping. Researchers also attribute the negative impact on health to the lack of time women have to take care of themselves while working long hours. "Long work hours erode [people's] mental and physical health, because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly. Given the extra demands placed on women, it's impossible for women to work [the] long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health." —Katie Faley
Experts Say Flexible Hours Help Control the Workplace Gender Gap
In other gender-related work news, the new job search company “Werk” is paving the way toward a work environment no longer affected by the gender wage gap. According to a New York Times article, research has shown that the gender gap can be attributed to the inflexible hours women face in the workplace. Having to deal with responsibilities of motherhood and their job, a rigid work schedule often leads to women taking on fewer hours. The option to have flexible hours is generally reserved for top-level employees, where companies would rather renegotiate scheduling than lose them. While Werk is currently just a limited experiment, it opens up the possibility of finding jobs that operate under flexible schedules—making work-life more compatible with the equally as important responsibilities at home. —Maleah Black
‘Nashville’ Puts Spotlight on Objectification
In a well-written episode that tackled how the entertainment industry often pressures women to appear in sexualized ways and call it empowering, Nashville showed a leading character expressing her natural hesitation to play a role that just didn’t feel right to her. After the director tries to get Scarlett to act and look more sexual than she feels comfortable with, she pushes back. When the character Gunnar encourages her to “push the envelope” and “feel more free,” Scarlett retorts, “If you’re so concerned about my freedom, why would you push me to be someone I’m not? I’m OK with who I am.” Suffice it to say we found this to be a noteworthy moment in recognizing the value of women’s inhibitions on primetime television. —MRS
Scarlett Johansson Says ‘Sexism Is Real’
Marie Claire’s new profile of Scarlett Johansson brings up some pertinent women’s issues. In the upcoming issue, Johansson discusses her struggle for equality in Hollywood. She said, “Just because I'm the top-grossing actress of all time does not mean I'm the highest-paid. I've had to fight for everything that I have. It's such a fickle and political industry.”
Johansson also spoke of her confidence in speaking her mind, "Some people felt I should talk about my personal struggle in order to shed a spotlight on the greater issue. Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but I assumed it was obvious that women in all positions struggle for equality. It's always an uphill battle and fight," the actress explains. "My experience with my close female friends and family is that the struggle is real for everybody." Johansson is well known for her upfront attitude toward political and personal issues. In the past she has talked about using breast pumps with her daughter Rose and how her expectations of motherhood differed after birth. —MK
Boston Marathon Survivor to Wed Fireman Who Saved Her
On April 15, 2013, long-distance runner Roseann Sdoia’s life changed in an instant. Hurt in the Boston Marathon bombing, Sdoia found herself hospitalized with an amputated leg. Her mother stayed by Sdoia’s side at Massachusetts General Hospital, demonstrating just how powerful a mother’s intuition can be. Playing matchmaker at the most unexpected time, she discreetly tried to set her daughter up with Mike Materia, the firefighter who helped save her life. The two strangers struck up a friendship that turned into a relationship, and the couple is engaged and set to wed next fall. Sometimes mother does indeed know best! —Maleah Black
Valentine’s Day Is Next Week!
What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate, consider these Galentine’s Day ideas to enjoy with girlfriends. Or contribute to the #50dollarsnot50shades movement, which puts money in the hands of domestic violence survivors who need it. We at Verily wish love to you and yours this V Day! —MRS