We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Adele Doesn’t Know if She’ll Tour Again
“Hello” may soon turn into goodbye. If you didn’t make it to any of Adele’s shows on her world tour that is coming to an end, you may have missed your opportunity to see her in concert altogether. At a rain-soaked outdoor concert in Auckland, New Zealand, the singer told the drenched audience that “touring isn’t something I’m good at.” She continued, “Applause makes me feel a bit vulnerable. I don’t know if I will ever tour again. The only reason I’ve toured is you. I’m not sure if touring is my bag.” Adele will head back to her home turf in London for her last four shows before she officially wraps up her world tour. The 28-year-old star has been on the road for fifteen months and calls touring her greatest accomplishment in her career. Tour or no tour, let’s hope she won’t stop making music! —Katie Faley
World’s Oldest and Most Experienced Spacewoman Sets a New Record
The 57-year-old American astronaut Peggy Whitson already broke records for the most time spent by a woman in space, and Whitson was the first female commander of the International Space Station. Her time in space exceeds five hundred days! On Thursday, though, Whitson set another record, as she left the International Space Station and became the woman who has performed the most spacewalks. The previous record had been held by Sunita Williams. With eight completed spacewalks under her belt, there is no stopping Whitson as she gears up for her ninth walk April 6. —Maddy Kearns
No Boarding for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Yoga Pants
Last Sunday, it was live-tweeted that two female passengers were abruptly halted from boarding their United Airlines flight because they opted to wear the most popular pair of female travel pants of recent years: yoga pants. The internet was not happy, roaring: “How dare you tell women what to wear?!” What exactly happened, one might ask? Well, according to United, because these girls were flying on an employee and family discount, they had to adhere to a dress code, which states that travelers must be “well-groomed, neat, clean, and in good taste.” Hence, they can be denied “if not properly attired.” However, said rule does not go on to describe what “properly attired” actually means, leaving discretion to the gate agent.
United has since clarified the rule and let it be known that “leggings are welcome.”
Still, this debacle illustrates how yoga pants, which have evolved and endured as a fashion staple (despite ourselves), routinely come up as a point of contention in the women’s fashion world—last year’s Washington Post piece calling the apparel “an assault on manners” comes to mind. But I cannot help but wonder, as such leggings were quite popular with men during the Renaissance period, if their legwear ever deterred their travel plans. —Maria Walley
Italy Considering Legislation to Give Women Paid Menstrual Leave
Italy’s parliament has discussed the possibility of introducing three paid days leave a month for women who suffer from menstrual pain. In order to qualify, a woman would have to show a medical certificate. Those who oppose the bill worry that it interferes with privacy and that it could actually cause discrimination, as employers will be less likely to hire women. Currently, Western attitudes toward menstrual leave vary from company to company. Nike is considered the only global company to have officially included menstrual leave in its code of conduct. Similarly, a United Kingdom–based firm, Coexist, introduced the policy in 2016. Elsewhere in the world is a different story. Menstrual leave began in Japan in 1947. Other countries that adhere to these policies include South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia. —MK
Fearless Girl Statue to Stay on Wall Street, for Now
A few weeks ago, we mentioned that a statue of a fearless girl was installed in Manhattan’s Financial District in a small park, in honor of International Women’s Day. Because of her overwhelming popularity, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced in a news conference this week that she would be staying around for longer than originally anticipated—until the next International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. State Street Global Advisors, the firm that sponsored the girl’s installation, was overwhelmed by the public’s reception to the statue. In a statement, the firm said it had hoped the statue would commemorate “the power of women in leadership and the potential of the next generation of women leaders.” The Fearless Girl is doing just that.
The mayor spoke of her impact at the time he announced she would be sticking around. “Sometimes, a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the ‘Fearless Girl’ is having that same effect. She is inspiring everyone at a moment when we need inspiration.” Petition efforts to make Fearless Girl’s home in New York permanent have been circulating and had garnered more than 28,000 signatures by the time the mayor announced her extended stay. “Fearless Girl is a powerful symbol to women young and old,” New York City public advocate Tish James tweeted. “Empowering women shouldn’t be temporary—she must be a permanent piece of NYC.” —Mary Brodeur
Jackpot! Study Finds Better Quality Sleep Feels Like Winning the Lottery
A study at the University of Warwick found that “improving your sleep quality is as beneficial to health and happiness as winning the lottery.” The four-year study measured sleep patterns in more than 30,000 people and found that quality of sleep is more important for improvements in overall health than quantity of sleep. The study concluded that improving quality of sleep—staying asleep longer and reducing sleep medications—“is an effective, simple, and cheap method of raising the health and well-being of society as a whole.” Mental, physical, and emotional states improved in those whose quality of sleep increased over the course of the study. “Conversely, it was found that a lack of sleep, bad quality sleep, and using more sleep medication can lead to worsened medical and emotional states.” A helpful reminder that a good night’s sleep is for the common good! –Lindsay Schlegel
Emma Thompson Points Out Our Culture Still Has a Thinness Problem
While we have made leaps and bounds in the fight against body shaming and are encouraging respect for people of all sizes in the media, there is still a long way to go. Actress Emma Thompson added her thoughts to the body diversity conversation with Swedish media outlet Skavlan this week. She talked about how anorexia is still so prevalent today; both kids and adults are suffering from the mental illness. She even noted that she nearly quit an acting job when her costar was asked to lose weight. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, it is the third-leading chronic disease among young people and has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. For Verily this week, Megan Madden comments on this news and on the role of obsessions over thinness in social media and the media at large. —Maleah Black
Mayim Bialik Says We Should Stop Calling Women ‘Girls’
The Big Bang Theory star and real-life neuroscientist Mayim Bialik contested in a new video she released on her Facebook page the importance of language, especially when it comes to speaking about women. Bialik urged viewers to stop calling grown women “girls.” In the video that has been viewed by more than a million people, the actress said, “When we use words to describe adult women that are typically used to describe children, it changes the way we view women—even unconsciously—so that we don’t equate them with grown men.” She starts the video with a story about how she was in a bar with two of her guy friends when one of them said to the other to look at that beautiful “girl” sitting at the bar. She said, “And I start looking around, wondering why they would let a child into the bar.” The men were not looking at a child but a grown woman. “We never call men boys because it’s demeaning and emasculating,” Bialik continued. “Language matters; words having meaning.” —KF
Joss Whedon Is Directing ‘Batgirl’
So things are getting exciting in the DC Comics universe. Not only has it been announced this week that Batgirl is getting her own standalone movie, but Variety also reports that Joss Whedon has been chosen to direct. Whedon, who has directed two of the Avengers films, is particularly deft in stories featuring female leads, considering his acclaimed TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, short-lived but much-loved Firefly (which may have a reboot in its future), and followup film Serenity (which tied up Firefly’s loose ends). Those less interested in the sci-fi and fantasy genres can’t help but praise Whedon’s direction of the 2012 modern-day rendition of Much Ado About Nothing. Suffice it to say this is one fan who will be lining up for Batgirl. —Mary Rose Somarriba
And for Those Needing to Catch Up on the Final Four This Weekend, Read On!
March Madness is coming to an end, with only three games left in the 2016-17 men’s college basketball season. If you’re a die-hard college basketball fan, you’re probably already in the know—and fully aware of the unexpected presence of South Carolina in the final four. But for those of you who found yourself invited to an upcoming game night party on Saturday with absolutely no idea who’s playing and how they got there—we’re about to give you a simple rundown.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have made it to the final four for the first time, attributing a lot of their season’s wins to their top-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency. Their 21-game winning streak ended with a loss to BYU late in the season, which may have served as a reality check to the team before the Big Dance. Gonzaga will face the South Carolina Gamecocks. Coming into the NCAA tournament with a 3-6 record in their past nine games, SC was looking at a bleak future. Things unexpectedly turned around when they started averaging 82 points per game against some of the most noteworthy defensive teams in the country. Sindarius Thornwell has been widely referred to as the star of the team, but they couldn’t have gotten this far without contributions all around. Gonzaga will face off with South Carolina this Saturday evening at 6:09 p.m. ET.
As for the other big match, the Oregon Ducks have hope despite a season-ending injury to their number one shot blocker; the defense struggled at first, especially against Arizona when they gave up 83 points. But their center, Jordan Bell, proved to be a team asset not to be reckoned with, averaging 13.2 points and 12.0 rebounds in the past five games. They’ll be facing off with the one-seed North Carolina Tar Heels, who have fought down to the wire in games against Arkansas and Kentucky during the season, surviving and pushing forward through each game. UNC’s sophomore shooting guard Kenny Williams suffered a knee injury in mid-February, taking him out of the season lineup. Theo Pinson, who is almost equal in skill—although not as effective in his three-point shots—replaced him. Oregon and North Carolina play at 8:49 p.m. ET this Saturday. —MB