We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Anthony Weiner Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Sexting a 15-Year-Old
Repeat offender Anthony Weiner, former New York congressman, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for the exchange of sexual messages with a 15-year-old girl. After the first sexting scandal broke in 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress. Another scandal broke not even two years later and now, more than six years after the initial discoveries, Weiner has been sentenced. The New York Times reported, “Before the sentence was pronounced, Mr. Weiner, 53, did not so much ask for leniency as try to make a case that he had accepted full responsibility for his crime, and that he was a changed man. ‘I acted not only unlawfully but immorally, and if I had done the right thing, I would not be standing before you today,’ he said, crying as he addressed the judge.” Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, has filed for divorce and did not attend the sentencing. Weiner has been fined $10,000, due by November 6, and will be required to register as a sex offender. –Victoria Rabuse
Saudi Arabian Women Will Finally Get Behind The Wheel
Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that still legally banned women from driving, announced on Tuesday night that the law will soon change. King Salman officially ordered the change, which means that “women will no longer need permission from a legal guardian to get a license and won't need a guardian in the car when they drive,” according to the new Saudi ambassador to Washington DC, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. “If you live in Saudi Arabia, it's a huge battle that was won today,” said Manal al-Sharif, one of the women behind the Women2Drive campaign. The country still has a long way to go in the dismantling of sexist laws, but this is indeed a moment of celebration for all of us. As Gabriella Patti wrote for Verily, the women of Saudi Arabia, with the many setbacks they've faced, are a reminder of the precious freedoms we all tend to take for granted.—Sophie Caldecott
Want to Own Something Once Worn By Audrey Hepburn?
Audrey Hepburn fans had the unique opportunity to view a collection of the legendary actress’ personal belongings in London this week. The exhibition was hosted by Christie’s auction house, and opened last weekend, culminating in an auction on Wednesday when fans and collectors alike could bid for items that included an annotated Breakfast at Tiffany’s script and items from her wardrobe. An online sale will run until October 3. The collection, made up of over 500 items kept until now by Hepburn’s family, offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the life and wardrobe of the award-winning actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador. —SC
Government Leaders Reopen Debate on Sexual Assault
Last week Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reversed parts of an Obama-era policy regarding how sexual assault is managed on campus. One reversal involves the level of evidence required in a case. The policy did state that evidence against the accused could be categorized as "preponderance of the evidence" (in other words, as The New York Times reports, "it is more likely than not that the student conducted a sexual act without the partner’s consent"). DeVos changed it to be "clear and convincing evidence" (in other words, "it is highly probable the misconduct occurred"). In essence, the requirements for finding someone guilty have been made more stringent.
It's unknown when exactly this change will take full effect or whether schools will be required to adopt the change. On Monday, Marie Claire published a piece written by former Vice President Joe Biden in response to DeVos' changes. Biden wrote, "It is abundantly clear that we still live in a culture in which violence against women is allowed—even encouraged—to persist." His call to action included saying that anyone who sees something inappropriate and doesn't speak up is complicit in the act. "Starting with college campuses," he wrote, "we want to make it clear that everyone—from the dean to the swimming team—has a moral obligation to speak up against violence and to stop it from happening." –Megan Madden
The Book Community Shows Unprecedented Love For Women Authors
This year, the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” awards have all been offered to women writers, an unusual circumstance which has only happened twice in the award's history. The award is given to five young writers who The National Book Foundation believes will “leave an indelible mark on the literary landscape.” The recipients are chosen by previous recipients. Many are hailing this event as a breakthrough in recognition of women writers; in recent years lauded writers have been predominately white males, but this year five women have been awarded, and three of the honorees are women of color. Their works include the following: What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, Jillian, What We Lose, When Watched, and Chemistry. –Mary Margaret Olohan
Fast-Fashion Monarch H&M Is Moving Toward Sustainability
All new clothing—well, 80% new—is coming to mega fast-fashion retailer H&M. The new Close the Loop collection will feature six pieces made from 20% recycled clothing that H&M customers have been dropping off in stores since the Garment Collecting Initiative began in 2013. According to H&M Group, the merchandiser has collected over 40,000 tons of clothing since then and hopes to collect 25,000 tons per year by 2020. Refinery29 shared that H&M’s overall goal is that “all of the product H&M makes will be made of more sustainable or recycled materials than not.” The capsule collection will include denim skirts, jackets, and pants that are made from recycled cotton.
A message on the H&M sustainability website from CEO Karl-Johan Persson promises, “Our collaboration with brands, trade unions, NGOs, experts and scientists, business partners and civil society will continue—no matter if it’s about recycling innovations, new sustainable materials or the work to improve working conditions for the people making our clothes...." At Verily, we're big supporters of ethical fashion, and while H&M is no-doubt a major contributor to the problems of fast fashion, this small step forward is a good one. The new denim collection hits stores on October 5. –VR
Milestone for Women in the Marines
For the first time since 2012, a woman has graduated from the Marine’s rigorous Infantry Officer Course and will soon be taking her place as a platoon leader. According to The New York Times, this woman (who asked to remain anonymous) is the first of thirty-six women to actually complete infantry officer training since 2012. Her success is greeted by mixed feelings; a 2012 survey released last year by the Pentagon found that 76.5 % of Marines who had seen combat were against women joining the Marines. On the other hand, this was before the world had seen a woman meet the grueling Marine standards. Similarly, recent information shows that women in the Marines, such as Captain Teresa Fazio, have proved to be valuable assets in communicating with local women and gaining information which male troops are prevented from doing due to local custom. –MMO
Advertising Research Shows Women Are Portrayed as Young and Dumb
Studies are finding that very little has changed for gender stereotyping in the advertising world since 2006. Women in advertising are usually portrayed using monosyllables and with very simple sentences, contrary to their male counterparts. According to AdAge, “men are 89% more likely than women to be shown as smart”—and these statistics have gone up since last year, in which men were only 62% more likely to be shown as smart. Madeline Di Nonno, the CEO of The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, says "Essentially there's been no change from 2006 to 2017...women are getting younger, and they're getting dumber."–MMO
Prince Harry’s Third Invictus Games Opens in Canada
The world of celebrity gossip was all a flurry this week when Prince Harry was spotted holding hands with his girlfriend, Meghan Markle—their first public display of affection, apparently. But in slightly less-well-reported but definitely worthy news, the event that they attended together was the prince’s third Invictus Games which he opened in Canada last weekend. The Games have been organized by the prince, and give wounded army personnel the chance to compete in different sports, as well as raising funds to support their rehabilitation and recovery.—SC
Move to Decriminalize Abortion Up to the Point of Birth in the UK Gains Ground
Last week an influential body of medical practitioners in the UK voted in favor of supporting new legislation that seeks to remove criminal sanctions from abortion. The Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a professional medical association representing British medics working in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. The RCOG claims that the move to decriminalize abortion does not involve a change in “gestational limits for abortion”, but critics of the controversial policy argue that without any potential legal repercussions, freely accessible abortion up until birth for any reason would be the inevitable end result. The current abortion law in the UK allows the termination of a pregnancy up until 24 weeks in cases of healthy pregnancies, and later depending on genetic disorders and complications for the mother; it also requires that two doctors sign off on an abortion.—SC
Oh, And Those 3 Pregnancy Rumors Broke The Internet
For some time, speculation has circulated that Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye, were expecting their third child via a surrogate. On Thursday, Kim officially confirmed the surrogacy for the first time when she tweeted a clip from the upcoming Keeping Up With The Kardashians season premiere. To complicate matters, Kim's younger sister Khloe is also now said to be pregnant...and their half-sister Kylie Jenner is also pregnant. If you were watching the season two premiere of This Is Us on Tuesday night, you probably laughed (as I did) when Kevin joked about the Kardashian's saying, "They’re like gremlins, by next week there’ll be like a bazillion more of them." How did he know? –MM