This Actress Says ‘the Female Body Is the Most Amazing Machine’—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily team’s quick takes on the happenings of this week.

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The Oscars Are This Weekend!

Whether you watch it from start to finish or simply tune in for the red carpet looks, we all have a reason to get excited for the Oscars this year. Jimmy Kimmel is sure to entertain as the host of the 89th Academy Awards, airing this Sunday, February 26, at 7 p.m. ET. Not sure which films have been nominated for the Best Picture Award? Check out our piece this week for a rundown on the nominations this year, including Hacksaw Ridge and La La Land, and the major themes woven into the story lines. And if you’re a movie buff who can’t wait to see which film gets the award, check out past Oscar-winning films you can stream right now in the meantime. —Maleah Black

Mental Health Program Uses Texts to Help Body Image

This week eating disorder expert Lori Osachy, MSS, LCSW, launched a mental health program called text2Bwell that uses texting technology to combat body image problems. After signing up for an eight-week course, users will receive messages containing tips and actions they can take, materials they can read, and one-on-one interaction with support from Osachy. Signing up is free during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 26 to March 4). Considering that eating disorders are the most fatal mental health issues in the country, any effort to combat them is a worthy one. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Big Little Lies Premiered on HBO, and It’s Almost as Good as the Book

Big Little Lies made its HBO debut this past weekend, and it is almost as good as the book that kept us all entertained in the summer of 2014. Adapted from Liane Moriarty’s bestseller, the humor and real-life situations it dealt with, such as sexual assault, co-parenting, and gossip, among others, caught the attention of award-winning actresses and producers Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who both star in the series as well. Witherspoon and Kidman both run production companies that promote the creation of women-centered films. Along with veteran TV writer David E. Kelley and director Jean-Marc Vallée, the miniseries boasts of big-name actors and actresses, including Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, Alexander Skarsgård, James Tupper, and Adam Scott. For Verily this week, Monica Weigel McCarthy shared why she’s watching. —Katie Faley

‘The Female Body Is the Most Amazing Machine’

“Once you have kids, you realize what the human body is made to do,” actress Alyssa Milano told People magazine in an interview released this week. “You realize that sometimes women’s bodies retain fat, and usually that’s biologically to create breast milk. You realize all the changes your body goes through hormonally.” For Milano, pregnancy and childbirth provided “an awakening” that “the female body is the most amazing machine imaginable.” When it comes to staying fit, the actress says she avoids diets; “I think that when you call things a diet you’re setting yourself up to fail. Because to me that means there’s an end to it, and with health and fitness, you have to maintain your entire life. For me, it’s all about feeling healthy and strong, and fitting into my clothes, and keeping up with my kids,” the actress said. Worthy goals indeed! —MRS

Emma Watson Launched an Ethical Fashion Instagram Account

Emma Watson may be on a press tour for the new movie Beauty and the Beast, but it seems that she always has time for activism. This week marked the launch of her new Instagram account, as she now adds sustainable fashion to her list of causes.

Watson has been a long-time supporter of sustainable fashion, but her new Instagram account takes this a step further. On the account, Watson posts photos of herself wearing various eco-friendly designer outfits. Each photo includes a caption explaining how each piece was made. So far the modeled outfits have included a Louis Vuitton dress made out of recycled plastic bottles and an organic silk faille sash by Oscar de la Renta. With six photos and counting, the account already has 318,000 followers. —Maddy Kearns

Judge Rules that Using a Dating Site Doesn’t Equal Sexual Consent

In the United Kingdom this week a judge ruled that just because a woman signs up to participate in a dating website “does not mean they consent to sex regardless.” This came as news to 27-year-old Scott Lazenby, whom Judge Andrew Woolman found guilty of sexually assaulting dates he had found on the dating site Plenty of Fish. At least two women who testified against the perpetrator said psychological distress has continued since the incidents, and Lazenby received a sentence of seven years in prison. —MRS

Women Go Topless in Stand Against Sexism

This week there were women’s uprisings in Brazil and other South American countries where women went topless in protest against machismo and sexism. What was interesting to me though, was that in the New York Times article covering the event, writer Jordana Timerman sees a connection between the objectification of women and aggression against women. Timerman noted, “There is a connection between a culture of violence against women and a breast-obsessed society that is scandalized when women’s breasts escape the control of the screen, Photoshop manipulation or artfully exaggerated cleavage...Such fraught symbolism attached to real bodies has proved to be dangerously combustible.” I’m not as sure that baring our breasts helps counter that problem, but the real issues of violence that these women are reacting to is certainly worth discussing. —MRS