We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
London Is Attacked
This Wednesday, an apparent terror attack shook London. Khalid Masood drove an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside Parliament. At least four people, including the assailant, were killed, and at least forty were injured in the attack. The victims were individuals from more than ten different countries. Masood was a 52-year-old British-born man who Prime Minister Theresa May says “had been investigated years ago but was not part of the current intelligence picture.” ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, declaring that Masood was a “soldier” who “carried out the operation in response to appeals” to fight Western powers militarily involved in the Middle East. That being said, police are still investigating whether Masood was acting alone or was part of a broader network. The method of attack was reminiscent of the Berlin and Nice attacks in 2016. There have been widespread gestures of solidarity after the London attack, including statements from the leaders of France, Germany, and the United States. —Maddy Kearns
Kate Middleton Admits Motherhood Is ‘Overwhelming’
Speaking at a charity event on Thursday, the Duchess of Cambridge continued her advocacy for mental health through the charity Heads Together, which she helped found. This time, though, the mother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte opened up about how parenting can affect mental health. Acknowledging that she has privileges and help most mothers could only dream of, the duchess said, "For many mothers, myself included, this [the challenges of motherhood] can at times lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance. Sadly, for some mothers, this experience can be made so much harder due to challenges with our very mental health.”
If ever there were a time when women everywhere could actually relate to a royal, this humble admission might have been it. Citing a statistic that two in ten women will suffer from mental health conditions such as postpartum associated with pregnancy, the duchess said, "Our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need." Coming from a woman as seemingly flawless as Kate Middleton, the public acknowledgment that "nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother" is the royal moment we never knew we needed. —Megan Madden
Sixty-First UN Commission on the Status of Women Adjourns
According to UN Women, the Commission on the Status of Women is “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.” This year the CSW took place March 13–24 and was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In attendance were representative from Member States, UN entities, as well as ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations from across the globe. As expected, these groups incorporated a wide range of perspectives and cultures. This year the theme was “women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” Every country had its own set of challenges to present. And as well as economic issues, a host of problems were addressed, including violence against women, negative stereotyping, and access to education. To see what these ladies have been up to, check out the CSW’s official Twitter page. —MK
Beauty and the Box Office
The highly anticipated live action version of Beauty and the Beast finally hit theaters this past weekend, and the box office numbers are a beast all their own. After being in theaters only five days, ticket sales had already surpassed $400 million worldwide. According to Nomura-Instinet analyst Anthony DiClemente, after hitting more than $170 million in domestic sales over the weekend, the hit movie could gross up to $1.54 billion when all is said and done. This could mean lots of great things for Disney, including the success of more future live action adaptations of classic favorites.
Though the film is ruling the box office, it has received mixed reviews from critics. For many, the film fell a little short, especially compared to its Oscar-nominated 1991 predecessor. Still, many of the actors, such as Kevin Kline as Maurice, delivered outstanding performances. The CGI Beast portrayed some pretty impressive and realistic visuals. Plus, there are plenty of positive values highlighted in the film, as we mentioned at Verily this week. —Katie Faley
Nordic Nations Named Happiest in 2017
Although Disneyland claims the tag “The Happiest Place on Earth,” you need to travel to the Scandinavian Peninsula to visit the happiest nations on earth. Norway was named the happiest country in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report 2017, released on Monday, March 20, aka World Happiness Day.
The country known for its fjords, folklore, and skiing earned a 7.537 out of a total 8.000 score to nudge reigning champ Denmark into second place. Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland round out the top five. And the score difference between No. 1 Norway and No. 5 Finland is a nominal 0.068—a “not statistically significant” variance. All five nations ranked high on six key variables: GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity.
The UN uses happiness as a “proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy.” The head of the UN Development Program recently said, “Paying more attention to happiness should be part of our efforts to achieve both human and sustainable development.” Seems like another reason we could take a hint from the Nordic nations by adopting our own form of hygge in our daily lives. —Maura Daheney
Link Between Plastic Surgery and Cancer Calls for More Attention
Since 2001 the FDA and ASPS have been tracking the relationship between breast implants and a rare form of cancer and came to the conclusion on Tuesday that there is a direct link between the two. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Brian A. Pryor commented on the situation, calling it “significant” and “further indication of the need for ongoing patient education.” The FDA said it has nine reports of deaths from breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is an uncommon form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pryor noted that the number of cases reported to the FDA with links to the form of cancer were between 220 and 300. In comparison to the ten million breast implants that have taken place in the world, the number is relatively low; however it is important to educate patients on the possibility and linkage during their consideration period. —Maleah Black
Target’s New Swimwear Ads Include No Photoshopping of Women’s Bodies
We’re always pleased to see a brand that isn’t afraid to celebrate real women with real bodies. In their Spring 2017 Swim Campaign, Target featured pictures of four women modeling their latest swimsuits without any tampering from Photoshop—yes, stretch marks and all. "It was important to us to use photography that represented their true beauty, without filters," Target spokesperson Jessica Carlson said in a statement.
"Target is committed to empowering women to feel confident in what they wear by offering a variety of style choices,” Carlson went on to say. “We loved working with these women because they embody confidence and inspire [others] to embrace and be proud of who they are, regardless of their size or shape." This campaign follows other brands who are moving in the direction of celebrating all women of different ethnicities and body types; American Eagle’s Aerie campaigns of recent years and Naja’s nude underwear line come to mind. We hope that other brands will join the movement to celebrate women’s natural beauty, until it becomes the rule as opposed to the exception. —Mary Brodeur
Study Shows Black Women Face Significantly High Rates of PTSD
When Nortasha Stingley lost forty pounds in a matter of weeks following the shooting death of her 19-year-old daughter, her sister finally got her to see a doctor. The diagnosis: post-traumatic stress disorder. What was once known as shell shock when referring to soldiers returning from war is now being diagnosed in a third of black women in disadvantaged neighborhoods. “PTSD is a potentially debilitating anxiety disorder that may develop after exposure to a shocking, scary, or dangerous event,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. According to a recent Northwestern Medicine study, 29 percent of the seventy-two African-American participants in the study suffered from PTSD, while an additional seven percent exhibited a large number of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Researchers evaluated participants from the Oakland neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. The participants in the study, which was published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in December, described their past traumatic experiences, such as witnessing a son being shot ten times, domestic violence, and a father being killed at home.
The overwhelming results prompted the researchers to encourage the need for more mental health services and screenings in poor neighborhoods. According to the study, the witnessing of violent crimes is much more likely in poor neighborhoods. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a clinical psychologist and one of the authors of the study, concluded the study saying, “People are struggling severely, and I think that sometimes the negative implications of mental illness are really underestimated.” —KF
‘Big Bend’ Manhattan Skyscraper Design Unveiled
The infamous New York City skyline might be looking at a new building addition that will quite literally turn traditional architecture on its head. Design studio Oiio has just released plans for what may be the world’s most spectacular skyscraper. The studio has drawn up designs for The Big Bend, a building that stretches up, hits an apex, and then curves back down, resembling an upside-down “U” shape. In an effort to overcome New York City’s zoning laws, the design studio came up with the unique design, in a sense finding a literal loophole within the construction regulations. If built, the skyscraper would hold the title of the longest building in the world at 4,000 feet. The team touched on the fact that because of advances in technology, elevator history may be changed forever. The building would feature elevators that travel in curves, horizontally and continuous loops. The building would straddle Billionaires’ Row on 57th street. —Maleah Black
Brother of Carrie Fisher Opens Up About Final Days with Debbie Reynolds
This week Todd Fisher revealed in an interview for Entertainment Weekly that after his sister Carrie Fisher died, his mom, Debbie Reynolds, changed her mind about how she’d like to be treated after death. A day before her own death, she said, “I want to be with Carrie,” and revised her memorial wishes to be buried in a monument with her daughter. After that conversation, Todd said, “We bought this great tomb over at Forest Lawn (cemetery). She changed her mind that night.” Talk about the life-and-death-changing effects of being present in the moment. —Mary Rose Somarriba