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Who is Lauren Goodger? The Only Way Is Essex star and ex-girlfriend of convict Joey Morrisson

by jkavanagh @ The Sun

LAUREN Goodger is famous for being one of The Only Way Is Essex’s original cast members and for having a chaotic love life. She hit headlines once again with her latest split after confirming she has called it quits with convict Joey Morrision – here is what we know about the reality babe… Who is Lauren […]

Spelman College to Admit Transgender Female Students

Spelman College to Admit Transgender Female Students

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Spelman College has announced that they will admit transgender women students starting next year. The women’s college said in a letter that they will admit those who consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth. Spelman will have a committee to...

Dove ripped apart for latest #RealBeauty campaign featuring curvy bottles

Dove ripped apart for latest #RealBeauty campaign featuring curvy bottles


AOL.com

'You're a straight up b---- if you buy the skinny Dove bottle.'

FIFA 18 web app: How to make thousands of coins using the FIFA 18 Web App before the game launches

by tmusa2 @ The Sun

The FIFA 18 web app has finally launched – so there’s never been a better time to get a head start for FIFA 18. The app allows users to collect daily gifts and build squads early, which could give you a real edge before the game launches on Friday. Here, we go through everything you […]

A U.K. Store Will Stop Labeling Its Kids Clothes as “Boys” and “Girls.” But It’s Not About the Kids.

A U.K. Store Will Stop Labeling Its Kids Clothes as “Boys” and “Girls.” But It’s Not About the Kids.

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

The venerable British department store chain John Lewis announced last weekend that it would remove “boys” and “girls” labels from its brand of children’s clothing. Instead, the store will label its clothes, including dresses and skirts, as “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls.” “We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear,” the brand’s head of children’s wear told reporters. The store also plans to stop marking separate sections for girls’ and boys’ clothes.

Reactions to the move were as divided as children’s clothing labels used to be. Outlets such as Teen Vogue and New Scientist approved, and the activist group Let Clothes Be Clothes hailed it as “fantastic news” that could influence larger and lower-cost brands. But the backlash has been notable, with one member of Parliament calling it “the onward march of the P.C. brigade.” When a private school in East Sussex announced later in the week that it was changing its uniform policy so that all students will wear pants, it seemed to confirm a larger shift. “SCHOOL BANS SKIRTS,” one tabloid blared in a front-page headline. Self-described “genderneutralphobe” Piers Morgan kvetched online about both stories.

John Lewis will almost certainly not be the last to toss gender-specific labels into the dustbin. Retailers that silo clothing and toys into separate areas for boys and girls are increasingly targets of woke ire on social media. “Everyone thinks that girls should just be pretty and boys should be adventurous,” an adorable 8-year-old lamented last year in front of a T-shirt display at a different British department store. Sometimes, viral complaints get results: When the mother of a science-loving 9-year-old girl complained to Lands’ End that its NASA crew T-shirts appeared only in the boys’ section, the brand developed a line of science-themed T-shirts for girls. Meanwhile, Handsome in Pink, Jill and Jack, Free to Be Kids, and many other aspirants on Kickstarter have framed stereotype-defiance as the core of their small brands.

This week’s pearl-clutchers—ladies only, please!—may be reassured to learn that going fully gender-neutral is harder than it looks. In the United States, Target announced a gender-neutral children’s line produced by the digital game company Toca Boca this summer and reaped a wave of positive publicity. “Target’s New Gender-Neutral Kids’ Collection Is Way Too Cute,” one parenting blog gushed. Toca Boca said its displays would be located between the girls’ and boys’ sections, but when a blogger visited a few stores over the summer, she found the line’s dresses in the girls’ section and graphic tees in the boys’ area. When I perused the Toca Boca brand on Target’s website this week, every single item of clothing was labeled for “girls” or “boys.” Only accessories like backpacks and bedding remained un-gendered.

Both the you-go-girl cheerleading and the aghast tut-tutting over unisex clothing for prepubescent children can feel overwrought. After all, parents can buy whatever clothes they want for their kids. My daughter wears dinosaur- and insect-patterned shirts I found in boys’ sections and pink sneakers and florals categorized for girls. There’s no electric fence that zaps you if you try to buy a sparkly shirt for your son and no law that will force British parents to dress their boys in John Lewis skirts. Far fewer people seem to be fretting over girls in dinosaur tees than boys in dresses.

The outsize reaction to John Lewis’ announcement this week is a reflection of the ambient gender anxiety of the moment. It’s grownups collecting all their hopes and uncertainties about toys and bathrooms and marriage and sex and shrinking them to fit onto the labels inside child-size pairs of pink pants. The war over children’s clothing isn’t about what any one child wears out in the world. It’s about the kind of world that greets that child, no matter what he or she is wearing.

Kimberly Brown of Manifest Yourself Serves “Goal Digger” Realness

by Renae @ In Her Shoes

In a world where instant success is sold over social media, reminders that it takes initiative, drive and persistence to actually achieve one's dreams is imperative. Meet Kimberly Brown, the digital maven behind Manifest Yourself, who's serving up "goal-digger" realness on the daily while providing tools as well as resources to help others get where they want to go. We had the chance to chat with her before she hosts The Empowerment Social, a networking event that'll be held in Harlem on July 15, and gathered a few gems ourselves. Keep reading to be inspired!

It Is Not Sexist for a Headline to Describe an Unfamous Woman as “[Name of Famous Man]’s Wife”

It Is Not Sexist for a Headline to Describe an Unfamous Woman as “[Name of Famous Man]’s Wife”

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Kate Miller is an “actor, dancer, singer, occasional poet, and newly minted conceptual artist,” according to a profile that ran in W magazine last year. She also goes by “RosePetalPistol.” Her “art happening” is currently on view by appointment only somewhere in Greenwich Village. She has somewhere in the realm of 8,000 followers on Instagram. And she happens to be married to former Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller, who in certain déclassé circles is significantly more famous than she is.

Now Miller has written an indignant essay for Refinery29 about media coverage of her work and her marriage to T.J.. Specifically, she has a bone to pick with a headline last week in the New York Post’s Page Six: “T.J. Miller’s wife is making a name for herself in New York.” (In theory this headline could have been meant ironically, though the fact that the Post ended up changing it seems to suggest otherwise.) It was a funny because it left her nameless even as it claimed she was making her name, and naturally the Internet took notice.

In her essay, Miller (Kate, that is) takes umbrage at how she is often defined publicly in relation to her husband, reduced to nothing more than a wife:

We’ve both gained success in large part because of kindness to others, and working to see the humanity in all. And yet by not saying anything, I'm assenting to the idea that a wife, especially a celebrity wife, doesn’t deserve politeness or respect. Too often accomplished women are defined singularly by their marriages, to the point where they are literally written off and their successes and descriptions diminished.

The headline of the essay is “Please Stop Calling Me ‘TJ Miller’s Wife,’” which, I hate to point out, does not actually include the phrase “Kate Miller.” Nevertheless, the practice of objecting to headlines for referring to a woman as so-and-so’s wife has become something of a sport in the last few years. When the Chicago Tribune identified an Olympic trap shooter only as the “wife of a Bears’ lineman” in a tweet and headline last summer, the paper had to issue a hasty apology. (The athlete was Corey Cogdell-Unrein.) When Amal Alamuddin, a human-rights attorney, married George Clooney, critics clutched their pearls over headlines that failed to name her. One site submitted a cheeky revision: “Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor.” When the Huffington Post wrote a piece praising the go-girl spoof, they, too, dropped Alamuddin along the way: “This Headline About George Clooney’s Wedding Is Just Incredible.”

The only problem is that it’s not at all clear that this phenomenon is about erasing women, but rather the stickier problem of erasing boring non-famous people. Sometimes foregrounding the bold-faced half of a couple is simply the most expeditious way to smuggle marginally interesting news about an otherwise random human into the cultural attention span. Historically, this is not even a phenomenon that has been limited to the wives of famous men. Witness what happened to artist Marco Perego when he decided to take his wife’s last name after marriage: “Zoe Saldana’s Husband Just Did Something Kickass That So Few Men Ever Do.” Being a creative person married to a much more famous creative person must be legitimately emotionally taxing. That said, to pin the frustrations of such strain on America’s headline writers is hardly fair. A headline’s job is to summarize a story’s content, but also to entice idle readers to want to know more. It’s a bit much to ask it to bring about a feminist utopia, too.

German Federal Election results 2017 – has Angela Merkel and the CDU won again?

by jawford @ The Sun

GERMANY went to the polls on September 24 in a Federal Election that, if the exit polls are correct, has seen Angela Merkel re-elected for the fourth successive term. Meanwhile, exit polls also suggest that right-win nationalists have also made a historical breakthrough – here’s everything you need to know. EPA What were the German […]

X Factor’s Sharon Osbourne hits out at cheating Ozzy as she compares him to OAP’s dead womanising husband

by lfranklin @ The Sun

SHARON Osbourne made it very clear during tonight’s X Factor that she is still angry at her cheating husband Ozzy Osbourne, when she compared him to a dead womaniser. The judging panel were faced with hilarious OAP duo, Just Us, featuring Londoner Carol, 70, and Italian Annamaria, 67. When asked about her personal life, Annamaria […]

Why Asking Job Applicants for Their Salary Histories Is Such a Cruel Corporate Move

Why Asking Job Applicants for Their Salary Histories Is Such a Cruel Corporate Move

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to prohibit employers from asking job applicants for their salary histories, a move several progressive cities and states have made in recent years in an effort to narrow the gender wage gap. Mayor Ed Lee signed the legislation into law on Wednesday, but it won’t take effect until 2018.

The legislation will also prevent an applicant’s current or previous employers from releasing her salary information without her consent. Advocates say that the salary-history question keeps women and people of color in a cycle of low pay, where one boss who pays white men more than their peers—or one bout of poor negotiation—can diminish a worker’s earnings for the rest of her career.

Mark Farrell, the supervisor who proposed the legislation, told Fortune that the idea appealed to him as a way to make “an immediate impact” on wage inequality by changing the behavior of the supervisors who make salary decisions. Other equal-pay legislation, like the Equal Pay Act of 1963, has proven easier for companies to wiggle around by keeping employees’ salaries confidential and arguing that almost any conceivable reason but gender justifies pay gaps between male and female employees. Farrell has noted that the national gender wage gap has only narrowed by a half cent each year since that act was passed, and if it continued at that rate, women and men won’t make the same salaries until 2059.

That’s a grossly misleading calculation, of course: Women’s work in the ‘60s was largely confined to domestic and service-industry positions, and women’s advancement into positions of leadership in every industry in the past couple of decades has contributed to as much of the wage gap’s closure as the general decline in wage discrimination. But Farrell’s point about the potential immediate benefits of the law is a good one. In the best-case scenario, prohibiting salary-history questions would stop unequal pay before it starts, or at least give employees a way out of underpayment with each new job.

Opponents of such laws, which currently exist in Philadelphia, New York, California, and Massachusetts, say that employers will still be able to introduce discrimination or unconscious bias into salary decisions by assuming that women and people of color are getting paid less at their current jobs and giving them lower starting offers anyway. Advocates argue that applicants can still voluntarily offer their previous salaries if they think it will help them in a negotiation. In an editorial published earlier this year, Bloomberg called a ban on salary-history questions a “gag rule” that hasn’t yet been proven to work as intended.

It’s true that these laws aren’t proven vanquishers of gender and race wage gaps, and there’s a simple reason why: They’re brand new. The first salary-history question ban took effect in California in January; Philadelphia’s was supposed to take effect in May, but it’s on hold while the city’s Chamber of Commerce challenges it in court for allegedly infringing on businesses’ rights to free speech. There is no data on these laws yet because they’ve barely begun to exist. Policymakers and advocates will need at least a few years of data to analyze before making a judgment on the impacts of this kind of legislation.

Still, there is a wealth of research on the gender wage gap, the psychology of negotiations, the trajectories of women’s careers, and the difference in starting salaries offered to men and women for the same jobs at the same companies. The thrust of that research points to a simple conclusion: Tying an employee’s pay to her previous salary will forever exacerbate a gender wage gap that exists even in the first jobs women and men take after college, even when controlling for major, occupation, location, and hours worked. The more cities and states that pass these laws, the better and more diverse data experts will have to help them quantify the impact of this worthy experiment a few years down the line.

7 Questions Every Investor will Ask About Your Go-to-Market Strategy

7 Questions Every Investor will Ask About Your Go-to-Market Strategy

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

Many people assume a Go To Market strategy is really just a list of tactics -- trade shows, email, social media, influencers, etc.

Atlanta Teacher Suspended After Assigning Kodak Black Lyric Homework

Atlanta Teacher Suspended After Assigning Kodak Black Lyric Homework

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

A 6th grade teacher in Atlanta has been suspended after asking students to change the lyrics from a Kodak Black song to sound more positive. The teacher at Georgia’s Bethune Middle School asked the students to change A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s “Drowning” for a school assignment. The...

Ivanka Did Not Stop Her Father’s Transphobic Policy, But Look, She is Beautiful

Ivanka Did Not Stop Her Father’s Transphobic Policy, But Look, She is Beautiful

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

On Wednesday morning, when Donald Trump tweeted his intention to bar all transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, one major question bubbled up on the social feeds of LGBTQ Americans: Where’s Ivanka?

Last we heard, she was wishing us a happy Pride month and boasting that she was “proud to support … celebrate and honor” her LGBTQ “friends” and other queer people “who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” That’s a lovely sentiment to share in the party month of parades, glitter, and Babadook harnesses. But Ivanka Trump’s professed support never actually led to concrete gains.

Instead, she has stood by in public silence as queer and transgender people grappled with her father’s personal, unjustified attack on thousands of U.S. servicemembers we’re usually told we should hold in utmost reverence. She issued not even a perfunctory tweet of recognition that the administration she serves has made millions of Americans feel unworthy, less safe, and expendable today. The LGBTQ people who, in Ivanka’s words, “have made immense contributions to our society and economy”? According to Trump, they are a “disruption” to the military, which should not be “burdened” with their health-care needs. The only thing Ivanka has done today is appear on the Hill’s annual “50 Most Beautiful” list of political operatives, journalists, and advocates. And so her LGBTQ “friends” have been left hanging by their one tenuous, beautiful connection to the White House.

That’s the tough thing about allyship, from a wannabe ally’s perspective: It means nothing without vocal advocacy and meaningful action. Even if she has hounded her dad on other LGBTQ issues in private, as some have claimed, her decision to stay publicly mum on this subject is a damaging one.

This wouldn’t matter so much if Ivanka hadn’t been trying like hell to sell herself as an instrument of moderate restraint in Trump’s administration since the very beginning of his term. Trump says she is “always pushing me to do the right thing,” and in every possible interview, Ivanka portrays herself as a sane “proactive voice” amid the more radical right-wingers. Anonymous sources from within (or dispatched by) the White House have been very kind to Ivanka, crediting her and husband Jared Kushner with convincing Trump to be a bit less cruel to women, LGBTQ people, and the poor and marginalized populations that are suffering most from the effects of climate change. That hasn’t happened, an obvious fact to anyone who’s been paying attention to the administration’s actions that have condemned women, trans children, and the planet to certain indignity or physical harm.

The Daily Beast quotes one “senior White House official” as saying on Wednesday that Ivanka and Kushner decided their “political capital” should “be spent elsewhere” than on maintaining the military’s current open, inclusive policy on transgender servicemembers. The rest of us are still waiting to see the returns on whatever meager quantity political capital they’ve allegedly spent on some unnamed, unknowable issue.

Even besides her Pride tweet about supporting all those hardworking LGBTQ Americans, too many of Ivanka’s social media posts look like surface-level attempts to appease marginalized demographics she is simultaneously helping to persecute. She recently posed for Instagram photos with high-schoolers in town for the international FIRST Robotics Competition. Several were Muslim girls wearing headscarves; others wore West African dashikis. In the photos, Ivanka looks so pleased and proud to meet young women from around the world. Yet she has been noticeably silent on her administration’s Muslim travel ban, inflammation of Islamophobia around the country, and decision to hold $8.8 billion in global health aid hostage in the interest of advancing anti-abortion policies, potentially cutting off vital family planning and HIV-prevention resources for people in grave need. A photo op with Afghan students whose visas Trump withheld until the last possible moment constitutes an insult to their families, friends, and neighbors who are suffering under his policies. So far, Ivanka’s allyship with queer people has consisted of self-congratulatory posts and unverified claims to political action no one can see.  

Who is Chris Harris? Top Gear presenter, YouTube star and racing driver – all you need to know

by tpearce @ The Sun

MATT Le Blanc has been given two new sidekicks as he takes the wheel for the new Top Gear series. So who is Chris Harris? What did he do before Top Gear, is he really a racing driver and how has he ALREADY fallen out with two car manufacturers? Who is Chris Harris? Chris is a […]

Did 13 of Last Year’s Marketing Industry Predictions Come True? Let’s Find Out

Did 13 of Last Year’s Marketing Industry Predictions Come True? Let’s Find Out

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

Happy New Year. For aud lang syne and all that.

We are well beyond that beautiful limbo of the holiday season, an inevitable opportunity for us as individuals to pause and look back on the previous 12 months.

Maybe there’s a tinge of regret (they are teachable moments), glimmers of brilliance, and hopefully buckets of pride in what we’ve achieved.

In the marketing industry, like all others being changed by technology, this time of year that falls at the end of calendar Q4 and beginning of Q1 is when we make predictions.

Collective groan.

Don’t get me wrong, I love prediction pieces! They have kind of become an industry norm – something every blog and publication tends to run. Many are super helpful expert-POV that help us make sense of the change.

Running a quick Google search will reveal hundreds of articles.

Most often, these predictions are a hugely optimistic look at the months ahead, and a really compelling benchmark - like a time capsule - as to where we are collectively the very moment the calendar year (human construct of time, human construct of time, human construct of time) comes to an end.

In the hype race, customers are left behind.

Now, if you’re situated comfortably within the marketing corner office of a marketing tech vendor (or more likely in a funky open office setting, you know, with the plebians) your predictions likely centralize around whatever it is that you’re selling.

Widget vendor? 2017 is undoubtedly the year of the widget.

If you’re in the media, you’re likely writing or being assigned stories that fall into the greater narrative of the tech industry. (Writing about “AI in marketing” this year? Yeah, you.)

We all know the dangers of hype.

Too often, executives who are making predictions try too hard to… well… sound like they can predict the future. Yes, we should all seek to be thought leaders, on the bleeding edge of our industry, ahead of the game, yadda yadda yadda. But what’s happened in many fields, especially marketing, is a bit of a race that’s getting out of control.

Vendors rush ahead to be innovative (or sound innovative). Our customers can barely keep up. Fast-forward 12 months and it’s time for another set of high-level, pie in the sky predictions that very few practitioners are ready to take advantage of.

Where is the customer in the maturity and adoption of these tactics? Who are you writing for?

They’re still trying to implement 2013’s predictions. Some are stuck in 2009. It’s not their fault, it’s the pace of change that is far more difficult to implement than the time it takes to write a thinkpiece on the future of their industries.

We are really not helping anyone with hundreds of pieces about what’s to come in the year ahead that are grounded in truth only realized by early-adopters, or worse, grounded in fiction.

So, I thought it would be fun to do a brief sanity-check of last year’s predictions. See how right our fortune teller industry luminaries really are.

Note: this is done in jest. I don’t mean to call anyone out, in fact I came across quite a few folks that I know and love and have left all names off my piece.

Let’s get into it: 13 Marketing Industry Predictions from 2016 – Did They Come True?

1.    Digital Marketing will Cease as Marketers Shift to Marketing in a Digital World - Forbes

Forget digital, we’re so digital we’re not even digital anymore.

2.    The Era of Cognitive Commerce has Begun – Forbes

Spoken like a guy who works for a cognitive business technology company, oh wait, he does (IBM).

3.    Real-Time Marketing Analytics will Unite Online and Offline Behavior for Richer Lead Scoring and Nurturing in 2016 – Forbes

I know the predictor behind this one, and he’s a smart cookie. This one is getting closer to the truth, as it hopes phone activities from sales will be included in lead scoring. Also, he works at a company selling insights around phone activity. Moving on.

4.    The arrival of Virtual Reality, combined with a major explosion of streaming and the death of old world distribution models will unleash a new age of what we used to call “TV” – Forbes, and this article too

Oooh a new age. I think ages, by definition, take a few years to shake out, so why don’t we check back on this one in a couple of decades.

5.    Being Human Will Return to Marketing / Getting Back to Basics Will Trump the Sexy, Shiny, New Marketing Vehicle – Forbes

Now these guys are speaking my language. Are these predictions? Or is this a cop out? The jury is out…

6.    The Maturation of Addressable Communications will Advance Across Channels – Forbes

I will take bread with this buzzword soup, yes, thank you. Mmm, delicious.

7.    Intent-based Marketing Has Become a Reality – Forbes

Hello my friend! This predictor is also a very smart marketer who I love and respect. Three guesses what his firm sells.

8.    By the end of 2016, CMOs will no longer present slideware to show their impact on revenue in board meetings– Forbes

Down with PPT!! Right after I finish editing next week's board slides.

9.    In the same Forbes article, there’s one about the importance of data-driven marketing, from a marketing data vendor.

10. Another about sales and marketing alignment from a sales enablement technology vendor. And on it goes.

11. In content marketing, this article predicts live streaming will skyrocket in popularity (I do see a lot more of it from brands. I can’t yet find data on its usage but suppose this is closer to reality.)

12. It also speaks to the rise of personal authority over brand authority – something I harp on with my own clients. I’m behind this one.

13. This one predicts “brand/product/marketing/sales and CS teams will reorganize around innovation and customer experience”—again, let’s check back on that one in a few years. I love the spirit of this, but this one will take a while to shake out. Re-orgs take time…

Looking back, thinking ahead.

Look, while this article is done in the name of fun, I do hope it tempers next year’s slew of prediction pieces back to a pace that both positions your company as an innovative leader in your space, while addressing the real problems faced by your customers.

Otherwise, practitioners are sitting on the train, reading your piece on their phones, thinking “wow. My peers are so much farther along than me.” The truth is, most are not. It’s an illusion.

Speak to where customers are today, while painting a bright future for what they could have tomorrow. This will have more impact than lofty predictions.

In marketing, we can’t afford to be so full of BS about the future of our space. It’s become a joke.

Founders, you don’t need to always fake the illusion that you are somehow light years ahead of the market. No, investors don’t want to hear it. They know the companies that build billion-dollar industries are solving an addressable market problem, at the moment of need, with an eye to what’s to come.  

Next time you write a prediction for the year ahead, do a quick gut check.

Now... where’s the champagne? I’m still celebrating.

Article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Brave diver who lost leg in horror shark attack returns to the ocean – just seven months after the shocking savaging

by jlockett @ The Sun

A BRAVE dad who lost a leg in a terrifying shark attack has returned to the ocean – just months after the horrific savaging. Glenn Dickson nearly died after being mauled by the three-and-a-half metre bull shark while spearfishing of the coast of North Queensland, Australia in February. Now just seven months on, the 25-year-old father of […]

The CBS Board Member’s Email to Kathy Griffin Sure Is Full of Some Outrageously Bad Advice

The CBS Board Member’s Email to Kathy Griffin Sure Is Full of Some Outrageously Bad Advice

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Kathy Griffin posed for a photo with a model of Trump's decapitated head three months ago—in Trump presidency time, that’s about seven years—but it might as well have happened yesterday. A new New York magazine piece on Griffin finds her struggling to get work, still fielding new death threats, and distancing herself from friends like Anderson Cooper who she says didn’t check in with her for months, even as she was being dragged in both the left- and right-wing press.

Griffin has also been subjected to unsolicited advice from other industry professionals purporting to want to save her career. According to Yashar Ali, who wrote the New York piece and is something of a friend to Griffin, Billy “lol Trump is funny man” Bush told Griffin to keep her head down and meditate until people moved on to something else. And Arnold Kopelson, a CBS Corporation board member and Oscar-winning producer, sent Griffin a wonderful email suggesting that she humble herself before the president, who has been “known to be compassionate.”

That line was probably Griffin’s first indication that Kopelson’s suggestion was some nonsense. Trump has about as much experience with compassion as Steve Bannon has with unconscious bias training. Would the man who defamed a mother who lost her son in an American war accept an apology from a loud-mouthed left-wing comedian? Trump doesn’t have a gracious sweat gland on his body: He sees apologies not as opportunities for forgiveness, but as weak points waiting to be pummeled over and over again.

Kopelson, who was not Griffin’s boss, addressed her like an employee on the verge of ruining his business or a child who’d brought shame to his family. “You have one chance left if you send the following letter (NOT AN EMAIL) to the President,” he advised in his email, as if he had some special knowledge of Trump’s capacity for forgiveness. “DON’T CHANGE A WORD OF IT.”

What followed was a hilarious feat of groveling and self-humiliation. “Please, I beg you to not stop reading,” the letter begins. It continues: “Now with my world crumbling around me, I am listening for the first time about the great things you have done and are doing.  How stupid I was to follow the lies from the ‘Left.’ It took my terrible mistake to finally see the false news. … How warped and misguided I was. My stupidity is overwhelming. I do not deserve what I am asking of you.”

For Griffin, an outspoken progressive and dedicated follower of politics, sending this letter would have meant peeing all over her most cherished values for the slim possibility of getting on the good side of a man she believes to be a cruel demagogue. Sure, her photo was a tasteless bit of shock comedy that looked more like a shallow publicity grab gone awry than any kind of pointed political commentary. But she was quick to apologize, and unlike other comedians who’ve earned widespread public ire (see: Michael Richards and the N-word) her target was a politician, not a marginalized or oppressed population. Comedians are not known for debasing themselves at the feet of the powerful after an (admittedly bad) joke lands the wrong way, especially if the target of the bad joke is a public, privileged figure. The suggestion that Griffin besmirch her own political comrades, affirm Trump’s routine incitement of violence against the media, and praise some imaginary set of good deeds he’s done is unbelievably cynical. It assumes that Griffin would gladly sell her soul for the chance to maybe make more money.  

Kopelson’s insistence on his proposed plan of action for Griffin also speaks to a rash, if well-meaning, overconfidence. “IF YOU DON’T DO EXACTLY WHAT I’VE WRITTEN, YOUR CAREER IS OVER,” he kindly advised in his note. He told her in all caps not to “CHANGE A WORD” of his disgusting note of self-flagellation, but the note itself is riddled with typos (“Thank you sir for hearing meh plea”) and grammatical errors. If you’re going to claim to hold the one true key to a person’s career survival, you’d best make sure not to confuse your “my” with your “meh.”

Griffin told Ali that Kopelson is just another one of those “men who control the checkbooks” in Hollywood, who are quick to trade in any semblance of liberal values for the security of their business interests. She and Ali make all kinds of good arguments in her defense that should seem obvious: The Trump family’s personal attack on a second-tier entertainer was unprecedented and wrong; Trump himself has championed those who’ve advocated for the actual assassination of his political opponents; Trump is doing far worse concrete damage than Griffin, and she’s not the president, so why should she be forced to kiss his ring to get back in the industry’s good graces?

It all points to one very unflattering truth about the entertainment industry. No surprise here: Despite the supes empowering storylines, nice platitudes about equality, and resistance-baiting tweets, money, not any notion of right and wrong, is the guiding light. Griffin says she’s gotten lots of sympathetic messages of support from fellow industry folks; none agreed to speak with Ali for his story. Surely none of them think Griffin was truly threatening an attack on Trump, and most probably feel that her subsequent career tailspin was undeserved, but none were willing to associate themselves with someone who’d angered a president every moral person believes is a stain on humanity. Trump can bully his critics for their bad jokes all he wants, but his overblown attacks only gain power when everyone else agrees to play by his messed-up rules.

A Textbook Now Features Brock Turner’s Crime As the Literal Definition of “Rape.” There’s One Key Problem With That.

A Textbook Now Features Brock Turner’s Crime As the Literal Definition of “Rape.” There’s One Key Problem With That.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Brock Turner earned national fame last summer not for his sexual assault of a passed-out woman behind a dumpster, but for his punishment: six months in county jail, of which he only served three. The internet’s consensus, after reading the victim’s viral statement on BuzzFeed, was that it was far too short a stint for a crime that carried a possible sentence of 14 years in prison.

But, though he left jail just over a year ago, Turner’s consequences are far from over. HuffPost reported on Wednesday that the former Stanford swimmer’s mugshot appears next to a section titled “Rape” in the second edition of Introduction to Criminal Justice: Systems, Diversity, and Change, a book used in college-level criminal justice courses. It sounds like a snarky insult come to life: “Your photo should be in the encyclopedia under ‘rapist!’ ” The crime Turner’s father famously characterized as “20 minutes of action” is now immortalized as the literal textbook definition of rape.

This should please those who chastised media outlets that didn’t out-and-out label Turner a “rapist” in coverage of his sentencing. But there was a good reason for careful language in his case: Turner wasn’t convicted of rape. He was convicted of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated person, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. In California, a charge of rape requires forcible sexual intercourse, which Turner did not commit.

Putting Turner’s photo next to the heading “Rape,” then, is more than a little misleading in an introductory textbook that should help students differentiate between crimes that are similar but not identical. The description under the heading also identifies the photo as “rapist Brock Turner”—an inaccurate characterization of Turner’s crimes. Under the FBI definition of rape proffered in the book, the crime does include penetration with a foreign object. But under the penal code of California, where Turner was charged, his crime was not rape, and he is not a “rapist.” It wasn’t the particulars of his assault that made him a newsworthy sexual assailant. It was the response to the crime, both from the judge in his case and from the general public.

But to its credit, the textbook does seem to want to present Turner as a case study through which to examine the subjectivity of the justice system. “Some are shocked at how short [Turner’s] sentence is,” the book reads. “Others who are more familiar with the way sexual violence has been handled in the criminal justice system are shocked that he was found guilty and served time at all. What do you think?”

With her heartwrenching statement, the victim in Turner’s case changed the way many people viewed sexual assault. She opened the door for difficult discussions about theories of fair sentencing, including the idea that a permanent spot on a sex offender registry is too harsh a punishment for Turner, or for anyone else—theories that students should absolutely dissect in criminal justice classrooms. If Turner hadn’t become one of most famous noncelebrity sexual assailants of all time, for better or worse, the textbook authors might have chosen another lesser-known figure to illustrate the topic or left the concept in the realm of theory. With the public discourse Turner’s victim began, at least the authors were able to use a familiar case to bring a vivid urgency to both a terrible crime and our inadequate system for punishing it.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku misses team bus home after Southampton win… because he was struggling to provide urine sample

by jhutchinson @ The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED’S team bus left St Mary’s without match-winner Romelu Lukaku on Saturday night. But it was a different bus Jose Mourinho’s team parked on the pitch to make sure Lukaku’s first-half strike secured another victory. The Belgian found it harder to provide a urine sample for drug-testers than score goals this season and had […]

Pablo Escobar's Family Is Suing Netflix For $1 Billion

by Kimberly B. Johnson @ Konbini United States

It came as a surprise earlier this year when news broke that global streaming giant Netflix was in debt to the tune of $20 billion. With longterm obligations made to produce more and more content, the company really doesn't have much wiggle room for fiscal inconveniences. Unfortunately, the family of late Colombian drug kingpin Pablo […]

The post Pablo Escobar's Family Is Suing Netflix For $1 Billion appeared first on Konbini United States.

Police fears for missing schoolgirl Rebecca Bowyer, 12, who vanished from Stoke bus station last night

by dcollins @ The Sun

FEARS are growing for a 12-year-old schoolgirl missing since last night. Rebecca Bowyer has not been seen since 5pm on Saturday at Hanley bus station in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. Local police made a desperate appeal for the youngster today. A spokesman said: “She is described as white, 5ft 5in tall, of medium build, with dark red […]

Centrist MPs hit back at Jeremy Corbyn saying his election result WASN’T good enough and Labour could have got a Blair-style landslide

by Natasha Clark @ The Sun

CENTRIST MPs have said that Jeremy Corbyn could have done better in the last election, and has more work to do to woo young people. Despite picking up 30 seats in June, moderate MPs who have opposed the Labour leader in the past vowed not to give up their fight to hand control of the […]

Chasing Unicorns: LuLaRoe’s Return Policy

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

Frustrated distributors react to LulaRoe's ever changing return policy.

The post Chasing Unicorns: LuLaRoe’s Return Policy appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Dove’s Ad Blunder Shows the Bar is Set Higher for Marketing to Women

Dove’s Ad Blunder Shows the Bar is Set Higher for Marketing to Women

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

Let me start with a question. Have you seen Dove’s most recent campaign?

 

Now, Dove is owned by the same parent company, Unilever who sells Axe, male-targeted grooming products with a looooooong history of ads like this:

 

 

Don't get me wrong - this ad is hilarious, just hypocritical coming from the same company promoting the "real beauty" narrative.

Yes, Unilever, tell us again how you lead the fight against unrealistic body standards in the media.

Dove (Unilever)’s body-shaped bottle campaign in the UK (in partnership with Ogilvy London) is yet another example of a company stumbling and crashing head-first as they attempt to traverse the space between women’s body-image in the media, and selling consumer goods.

While the notion that society needs equality between men and women has been around since the 1700s it just happens to be f***ing trendy right now.

I have written before about the exploitation of marketing to womenMore than once.

But the Daily Dot says it best:

“When is a movement not a movement? When it’s a marketing campaign in a movement’s clothing.”

Yeah.

Movements in marketing, done well, are powerful. I just presented on this very topic at Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience in Vegas. But they must strike a tone of authenticity. The most recent ridiculous body shape bottles from Dove miss the mark. I particularly enjoy Jeff Beer of Fast Company’s take on it:

“Dove itself conditioned us against this type of thing. It's too easy. Too shallow. The quality of its past work, means there is no room for half-stepping.

When you raise your audience's expectation, you're simply not allowed to sink back into common gimmickry.”

 

While the marketer in me empathizes with the intention of this latest campaign (I get it, it’s difficult to think of creative ideas to break through the noise,) I can’t help but cringe at the thought of a room full of my peers nodding in agreement at this stunt, saying “you know what - this is a GREAT idea!”

And it’s not just me – the body-shaped bottle nightmare has driven headlines and mockery online:

“I’ve yet to meet the woman honoured and celebrated by plastic bottles on supermarket shelves." – Ruth Mortimer in Marketing Week

“Dove, I have arms, please advise” – Rachel Handler on Twitter

“With this campaign, Dove has moved from celebrating the diversity of the human body to celebrating the diversity of its products’ packaging,” – Clayton Purdom in AV Club

“Have you ever been in the shower, picked up your smooth, perfect soap container and screamed ‘I CAN’T LIVE UP TO THESE STANDARDS!’”? – Aimee Lutkin in Jezebel

Hilarious.

 

Another buzzword nobody needs: Femvertising

Perhaps the worst thing to emerge from all of this is a term that nobody needs - “femvertising” or what Forbes defines as “harnessing feminism in advertising” something Dove has apparently created.

Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” back in 2004 in partnership with Ogilvy & Mather, Edelman Public Relations, and Harbinger Communications was… cute. And it was praised heavily for its message for women – love thyself (then go buy our stuff). The buzz around the campaign drove 30X the exposure than the paid-for media space.

But I have some qualms about this word, “femvertising.” Let’s recap:

·     Feminism = the idea that women should be treated equally to men

·     Advertising = paid announcement meant to sell product

·     Exploitation = taking advantage of someone to benefit from their work

So before we all celebrate the ridiculous concept of “femvertising!” let’s stop and consider the importance of actual feminism, the motivation behind these attempts-at-exploiting feminism, and the very real consequences.

Dove (and every single company for that matter) can do more to support women instead of these dopey, minimizing, lazy, exploitative bottles.

Within the tech space, an industry with devastatingly unequal gender parity set against a narrative of lawsuits, it’s encouraging to read stories like this one, a real SaaS company (client) with two female co-founders who have built a culture of gender equality. They don’t just talk a big game, they bring the concept of equality to life in real business decisions.

Passing the mic back to Ruth Mortimer:

"I like that a brand wants to celebrate women. But here’s a useful guide to doing so. Employ lots of them.

Demand your agencies and suppliers are diverse. Celebrate women for their actual achievements, not just their appearance. Align yourself with causes that benefit women. Continue to show diverse people with diverse figures in your advertising.”

 

If basic decency isn’t enough motivation for companies to support women, women are the ultimate economic accelerator.

Companies with a strong track record of gender diversity are 15% more likely to have higher earnings than their peers. In fact, among all Fortune 500 companies, the ones with the highest representation of women on their boards significantly outperform the others. Read more.

This backlash about Dove shows it’s time to set the bar higher.

 

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I’m going to take this moment to again share pioneering activist Jean Kilbourne’s incredible work to expose the power (and danger) of advertising, since the late 1960s. Take a few minutes to watch her videos. Just do it.

You know what, don’t get up, I’ll embed one right here if you’re skimming this post for the good stuff:

 

 

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Every week I send out new ideas, writings, and interesting links on marketing, business, and life. It’s free & curated by me. Get on the list.

Benefit Cosmetics will donate proceeds from brow wax sessions to charity

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

Courtesy of Benefit Cosmetics, the Bold is Beautiful Project will donate 100 percent of its proceeds from brow waxes to female empowerment charities. So, if you need to get ready for that last school dance of the year, this would be a good time to make that brow wax appointment. Charities, benefiting from the donations,

The post Benefit Cosmetics will donate proceeds from brow wax sessions to charity appeared first on Fashion Week.

After the Outrage

After the Outrage

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Margaret Sawyer spent part of last summer driving across the country, stopping at public pools along the way to let her small children cool down and burn energy. Without intending to, she also set off a public relations crisis for the Red Cross.

At a pool in Salida, Colorado, Sawyer was idly reading some safety posters while her kids splashed nearby. At the top of one poster, pictured above, a cheerful whale announced “Be Cool, Follow the Rules.” The illustration below showed a pool in which various “cool” people follow proper water-safety procedures while other “not cool” types engage in risky behavior. A “cool” blonde girl waits her turn by the diving board, for example, and a “cool” fair-skinned dad minds his small child. The vast majority of the “not cool” rule breakers, meanwhile, have brown skin: One boy runs through a puddle, another dives too close to a swimmer, and a little black girl pushes a white girl into the pool. “How can this be, that the white kids are the ones doing good and the black kids are doing bad, and no one noticed it?” Sawyer remembers thinking.

At first, she says, she assumed the poster was a decades-old relic. But then she saw the poster at a second pool in Salida and discovered it was part of a 2014 safety campaign. Sawyer snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. “We need to hold the Red Cross accountable for the publication of this poster,” she wrote. “Horrifying that children across the country are absorbing this message.” She also sent the photo to her brother, a consultant in Washington, D.C., who called it out on Twitter. Both posts took off; the “super-racist” poster, as John Sawyer dubbed it in his now-deleted tweet, received coverage from CNN, NBC News, and Time. “What the fuck, Red Cross?” Larry Wilmore asked on The Nightly Show. Within a week, the Red Cross had removed the poster from all locations and issued an apology: “We deeply apologize for any misunderstanding, as it was absolutely not our intent to offend anyone.”

The 136-year-old aid organization has had more than its share of five-alarm scandals in recent years. In 2014, NPR and ProPublica exposed how the Red Cross botched its responses to Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, diverting 15 emergency response vehicles to press conferences at the height of the post-Sandy crisis. The following year brought another devastating exposé from NPR and ProPublica, this one on how the group squandered $500 million in donations for the Haiti earthquake disaster. CEO Gail McGovern had been hired in 2008 to clean up an organization that was running a huge annual deficit; her short-lived predecessor had been asked to resign after it came out that he’d impregnated an employee. After all this, the poster dust-up was, relatively speaking, a minor embarrassment. The story quickly met the fate of most outrage-provoking stories: It disappeared.

Outside of public view, however, the Red Cross was scrambling furiously to contain the damage done by its racist poster. In the days after the group’s public apology, McGovern arranged a meeting that included Red Cross executives and Ebony Rosemond, the head of a Maryland-based nonprofit called Black Kids Swim. The Red Cross went on to review all course materials for its lifeguard training and swimming programs. It opened a formal partnership with the nonprofit Diversity in Aquatics to review its aquatics-related educational programs and materials, and participated in that organization’s annual convention. And in April, the Red Cross hosted its first national aquatics symposium—with a focus on “populations where water-related injuries and drowning deaths occur at high rates, and where proactive resources are not easily accessible.”

The Red Cross’ chief public affairs officer, Suzy DeFrancis, outlined those changes to me in a lengthy email sent in response to an interview request, which the organization declined. On paper, it certainly looks like the Red Cross has “worked very hard in the past year to elevate our internal conversation on diversity and inclusion through action,” as DeFrancis put it, in a textbook example of why journalists always prefer phone interviews to ones conducted via email. But has the organization made any meaningful progress in helping make the water a safe and welcoming place for black children?

Ebony Rosemond of Black Kids Swim is skeptical. With regard to the various symposia and partnerships, she said, “I don’t know what that really does. That’s people in meetings and spending money on a fancy event. I don’t know how that helps diversify the sport. I don’t know how that helps a kid not drown.”

The Red Cross told me that its Aquatics Centennial Campaign, which focuses on water safety in “at-risk” communities with high drowning rates, has helped 9,100 children and adults learn to swim since 2014. But Rosemond wants to know why the organization doesn’t keep track of how many black and Hispanic children they have taught to swim. “That’s just bad research design,” she said. “If you want to change the statistics, then you will focus your intervention on those statistics, but they don’t.” Although DeFrancis emphasized that the program focuses on locations with “diverse demographics,” the organization’s 20-page 2016 annual report promotes the campaign but does not mention race at all. It’s also worth noting that 11 of the Red Cross’s 12 corporate officers and executive leadership team members are white; the only person of color is the chief diversity officer, Floyd Pitts. (The Red Cross provided data suggesting that both its overall workforce and management are more racially diverse than the U.S. workforce.)

The poster fracas was more than just another one-off outrage of the day. It has roots in an entrenched history of white racism and paranoia that has prevented black families from getting access to safe swimming areas. In the segregated 1920s and 1930s, many towns provided large outdoor pools for white residents, and—if anything—a small indoor pool for blacks. Desegregation changed the landscape. In 1949, when a group of black citizens of St. Louis tried to swim at the Fairground Park pool, a mob of 200 white people chased them off with bats, knives, and bricks. Many Southern towns eventually filled their pools with cement, with whites preferring to avoid swimming rather than swim with black people; private clubs and backyard pools often replaced them.

Today, black children drown at 5.5 times the rate of white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, 64 percent of black children have no or low swimming ability compared to 40 percent of white children. Just more than 1 percent of the 330,000-plus members of USA Swimming, the organizing body for competitive swimming, are black. And negative stereotypes about black children and swimming still linger in places like the Red Cross poster.

When I asked Margaret Sawyer if she was satisfied with the Red Cross’ actions over the past year, she trod cautiously. She said she’s pleased the organization seems to be having more internal conversations about diversity in swimming than they used to. But she would like to see more tangible changes, too. In particular, she had hoped the organization would consider adding anti-bias training to its lifeguard curriculum; the Red Cross trains more than 300,000 lifeguards every year. “As a lifeguard you have a lot of power,” she said. “There’s a history of pools and public parks being unwelcoming to people of color, so part of your job as a lifeguard is to go out of your way to be welcoming.”

It’s relatively simple for an individual to figure out how to be welcoming. It’s a much more challenging task for an enormous organization, particularly when the public stops paying attention and the real work begins.

Swole Jeff Bezos Is Exactly the Meme the World Needed

Swole Jeff Bezos Is Exactly the Meme the World Needed

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Most people know that online firearm sales create big loopholes that allow customers to bypass background checks—but who knew e-commerce pioneer Jeff Bezos was hawking guns like these?! The Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner showed up to an Idaho conference in a skintight T-shirt last week, displaying a set of arms most reasonable observers would classify as assault weapons.

Bezos used to be a giant baby-faced, Kevin-Spacey-faced nerd who sold textbooks on a website and looked ecstatic merely to be alive. Now, he’s buying up bougie grocery stores and publishing a newspaper with a metal-ass tagline. He’s in the putting businesses out of business business, and he’s got the muscle and shaved head to prove it.

This extreme dome makeover has inspired Twitter people to make a meme of sorts.

Whoa there! Looks like someone matured over summer vacation! Bezos has either been been spending some overtime moving boxes in an Amazon warehouse (probably not true, because as any girlfriend who does CrossFit will tell you, biceps are vanity muscles that don’t serve much practical function) or beefing up to intimidate any Trump-loving thugs who wish death upon the Washington Post. Either way, he has the body of a swole J.K. Simmons and the face of a non-swole J.K. Simmons. It’s a good look!

Swole Jeff Bezos is nice to look at and fun to tweet about, but the true genius of Swole Jeff Bezos is its applicability as a descriptor in everyday life. When you take any aesthetically unremarkable, utilitarian thing and add conspicuous glamour or decorative flourishes, you have created a Swole Jeff Bezos. If you move into a cheap, functional apartment with drop ceilings and wall-to-wall beige carpeting, then add a disco ball and an Eames chair, you are living in a Swole Jeff Bezos. A 7-year-old Prius with a unicorn hood ornament and cow-hide seat covers is a Swole Jeff Bezos car. That “Life Is Good” cap whose graphic you covered with a Chanel logo patch? Swole Jeff Bezos on your head. And thanks to the groundbreaking reporting of BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel, I am able to crown the world’s purest Swole Jeff Bezos: Hot, Hairy Elon Musk.

Want Proof of the Outsized Value of Women in Public Office? Look to the Health Care Fight.

Want Proof of the Outsized Value of Women in Public Office? Look to the Health Care Fight.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Anyone currently hosting a dance party on the grave of the Senate’s disastrous health care bill can thank Republican women for the freshly-packed soil. After Republican men failed to come up with a health care proposal their own party could abide, a desperate Sen. Mitch McConnell tried on Tuesday to simply repeal Obamacare as a half-measure that might help the legislators save face. Three Republican women—Sens. Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lisa Murkowski—refused to go along, derailing the plan.

It was almost too perfect a conclusion (for now) to a health care debate, and I use the word debate loosely, typified by its exclusion of female legislators. The House’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace shenanigans were held hostage by a sizable caucus of white men whose group photo became one of the most powerful emetic objects in modern political history. When it passed, their Rose Garden celebration looked like a cookout at the world’s oldest, most boring fraternity. On the Senate side, 13 Republican men wrote their party’s bill in secret. They insisted they were not excluding women, and yet, none of the five Republican women in the Senate gained admission to the committee. Capito was invited to meet with the committee to discuss the needs of her opioid-afflicted state of West Virginia, but never became a member.

Any of the health care bills these Republicans proposed would have meant sweeping rollbacks of women’s health care that would have reverberated for generations. They all would have cut off Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid reimbursements for at least a year, which the Congressional Budget Office predicted would cause thousands of unwanted pregnancies and unplanned births due to a steep reduction in contraception access. They would have let insurers charge women out of pocket for birth control, price women out of health care if they had a “pre-existing condition” like a previous Cesarean section, and potentially drop maternity care coverage. All versions of the Republicans’ plan could have completely dismantled private insurance coverage for abortion, keeping the procedure out of reach for most Americans.

It’s likely that the three women who stopped Obamacare repeal in the Senate were swayed in part by their fellow party members’ disregard for women’s health care and the opinions of their female colleagues. Sens. Murkowski and Collins have both been vocal and steadfast supporters of Planned Parenthood and its continued federal funding through family-planning grants and Medicaid reimbursements. Murkowski has also expressed frustration with the secrecy with which Republican men carried out their legislative deliberations. Capito has identified as “pro-choice”; she has also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. But her reasoning for opposing Obamacare repeal—“I did not come to Washington to hurt people”—echoes the concerns of Collins and Murkowski, who recognized the advances Obamacare made in women’s health care and programs like Medicaid, which disproportionately help women.

Watching three women stand against their own party to help Americans keep their health care makes a great argument for the importance of efforts to get women into political office. Numerous studies have shown that female legislators are more likely than men to champion progress in areas frequently dubbed “women’s issues,” such as child care, reproductive rights, equal pay, and women’s health. Women are also more likely to introduce legislation on education, health, and housing, though their proposals on these issues are more likely to get squashed than equivalent proposals put forward by men. A 2016 study of two decades of congressional information found that Republican women are more likely than their male counterparts to get members of the opposing party on board with their legislation. This effect is particularly pronounced on legislation related to—you guessed it!—education and health care. The defection of three Republican women from their party line on this health care issue fits comfortably in that pattern.

One 2013 study found that the more women there are in a legislative body, the more those women talk about the specific needs of female constituents and raising concerns about so-called women’s issues. The study also indicated that, weirdly, having more women in a legislature also makes male legislators more likely to talk about women’s issues. And when a legislative body reaches a certain critical mass of women, everyone starts talking more about the needs of families, children, and low-income people, resulting in decisions that better benefit the poor.

It’s no coincidence, in other words, that Murkowski and Collins, the two Republican senators who most reliably support Planned Parenthood and oppose attacks on women’s health care, are women. It’s no surprise, either, that they’ve become role models for recent efforts by Trump-opposing, centrist Republican women to get more of their kind into office. Their views are much more closely aligned than those of their male peers with public opinion, which has overwhelmingly opposed every version of Trumpcare and supported public funding for Planned Parenthood. Because there are two of them—maybe three if Capito continues to succumb to the captivating thrill of screwing up the terrible plans of arrogant men—they are enough of a bloc to draw strength from one another and have an outsized influence on policy. If three women in the Senate can save health care, imagine what 50 could do.

New Dove VisibleCare ad sparks controversy

New Dove VisibleCare ad sparks controversy


New Black Woman

This is Dove's latest ad which can be found on its website here. The placement of the black woman on the left under the "Before" category, the Latina woman in the middle and the white woman on the ...

Dove Choose Beautiful

Dove Choose Beautiful


Dove US

How to feel beautiful? We think this is a question of choice. Find out how women all over the world are choosing beautiful - and join them here…

It Would Make Perfect Sense For Justin Bieber to Become the “Tom Cruise” of the Pentecostal Megachurch Hillsong

It Would Make Perfect Sense For Justin Bieber to Become the “Tom Cruise” of the Pentecostal Megachurch Hillsong

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Justin Bieber abruptly canceled the last 14 dates of his Purpose world tour this week, leaving fans asking “What Do You Mean?” (Sorry.) The pop star has been vague about his reasons for pulling out, but critics said his performances on the 16-month-old tour had often been worryingly listless. “You guys ever feel like sleeping all day?” he asked a stadium crowd in Brooklyn last year, lying flat on his back on the stage. “That’s me all the time.” His longtime manager, Scooter Braun, said this week that Bieber’s “soul and well-being” have to come first.

No one know exactly what that means, but the Australian press quickly produced a rumor that was too delicious to ignore: Bieber may be planning to start his own church. “The real reason he’s come off the road is because he wants to reconnect with his faith and maybe even planning to start his own church,” entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins said on the Australian television show Today Extra. “That’s the word from an inside source.”

TMZ soon chimed in with a report the singer had “rededicated his life to Christ,” according to several people associated with the Australia-based Pentecostal church Hillsong. There have been several stories on Bieber’s growing closeness with Hillsong leaders, particularly New York–based pastor Carl Lentz, whom the site depicts as a svengali-like figure who also influenced Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving’s decision to leave the team. Lentz and Bieber have spent almost every day of the last month together, TMZ reported on Thursday, with Bieber seeing the pastor as a father figure. A different story this week quoted a source saying Bieber is “becoming the Tom Cruise of that church.”

Needless to say, we wouldn’t want to give too much credence to the vagaries of “inside sources” weighing in on celebrities lives. Wilkins’s sourcing is sketchy, to put it kindly. But anonymous sourcing aside, there is plenty of real evidence that Bieber is becoming increasingly dedicated to his faith, whatever you make of its authenticity. The singer attended a Hillsong conference in Sydney earlier this month, his third trip to Australia in two years for church-related events. Even his megastar mishaps revolve around churchgoing these days: On Wednesday night, he accidentally hit a paparazzo with his truck after leaving a church service in Beverly Hills. (Bieber stuck around and seems to have behaved like an all-around mensch in the aftermath.)

Hillsong has dozens of huge congregations all over the world, and celebrity fans including Kevin Durant, Vanessa Hudgens, and Bono. Its leaders are known for being not just cool compared to typical pastors, but genuinely sexy and fashionable. Last year, the church’s touring “worship band,” Hillsong United, was the subject of its own stylish feature-length concert film. It’s no mystery why Bieber would be drawn to the Hillsong aesthetic. Underneath the tattoos and hipster glasses, Hillsong promotes a fairly traditional evangelical theology similar to the one Bieber has long espoused.

He’s no Christmas-and-Easter dilettante who just drops by services for the Instagram opportunities. According to Taffy Akner’s touching 2015 profile of the church in GQ, Bieber has been involved with Hillsong for at least seven years now, and it seems to have brought him genuine comfort in times of bewilderment, exhaustion, and jackassery. (The piece, worth reading in full, opens with the line “What if I told you I had a Justin Bieber story that would break your heart?” and does not disappoint.) Akner also suggests that Bieber’s connection to the church is as personal as it is spiritual. A few years ago, Bieber moved in with Lentz and his family for about six weeks during a rough patch, and he’s been photographed leaving a nightclub with another Hillsong leader. A few days before he canceled his tour this week, he gave a goofy interview in which he rested his head on Lentz’s shoulder. “I just want to love people more,” he said. “I just want to love Carl more.”

The Women’s March Is Taking on the NRA and Police Brutality, Because Every Issue Is a Women’s Issue

The Women’s March Is Taking on the NRA and Police Brutality, Because Every Issue Is a Women’s Issue

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

In the nearly six months since the Women’s March on Washington, organizers have tried to maintain momentum among the millions who attended one of the hundreds of demonstrations around the country. Some attendees were experienced activists or career advocates; many others were first-time demonstrators pushed to action by the previously unfathomable occasion of Donald Trump’s election. With a robust social media presence and a wide network of volunteers, march leaders have kept up with the rotating scandals in the White House and the health care bombs in Congress. They’ve organized a general strike, helped women register to vote, and told followers when and how to lobby their representatives.

On Friday, organizers are holding their highest-profile action since January’s event. They’ve raised nearly $100,000 to support an 18-mile march from the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, to the Department of Justice building just a few blocks from the White House. Marchers will make the walk on Friday then gather for a rally and vigil at DOJ headquarters on Saturday morning.

Organizers decided to focus such a major effort on the NRA after the pro-gun group released a video this spring that cast anti-Trump protesters as violent maniacs who “smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding, until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.” The video starred right-wing radio host Dana Loesch, whose sneering way of saying the phrase “racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia” is Italian chef–kiss remarkable.

The scaremongering ad, along with the acquittal of the police officer who killed licensed concealed-carrier Philando Castile, prompted Tamika Mallory, one of the original organizers of the Women’s March, to write an open letter to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. In it, Mallory demanded that the NRA remove the Loesch video, which called on gun owners to “fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” a phrase many believed was a veiled call to attack anti-Trump demonstrators. “Before the Second Amendment was the First Amendment,” Mallory wrote. “The advertisement released by the NRA is a direct attack on people of color, progressives and anyone who exercises their First Amendment right to protest. … You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence.” Mallory also asked LaPierre to release a statement supporting Castile’s right to own his gun and condemning the officer who killed him, an issue on which the NRA has been conspicuously quiet. In response, the NRA released a video telling Mallory “not a chance.”

So the Women’s March organized its 18-mile walk, making gun violence and police murders of people of color two of the first big targets of its postmarch activism. The Women’s March has made “we are not safe” the catchphrase of this particular action, recognizing the common refrains of activists involved in both the Movement for Black Lives and gun-control efforts. It’s also refreshing to see such deep commitment from organizers and volunteers to advocating on matters of justice that aren’t normally shunted into the “women’s issues” tent, such as equal pay and abortion access. (The Women’s March has spoken on these issues too, especially in its International Women’s Day strike, but they’ve been just a couple of points on the map of its actions.) One of the things that made the original march such a giant success was its wide-reaching, super-progressive platform that took an intersectional big-tent approach to women’s activism. Women lead full, diverse lives, the platform recognized, so every issue—immigration, labor rights, climate justice—is a women’s issue.

This approach owes a lot to decadeslong efforts by women of color to expand reproductive rights to a reproductive justice framework concerned not just with the right to decide whether to have children, but also with access to quality care and the ability to give children safe, healthy upbringings. Weaker gun laws also disproportionately harm women. State by state, research has shown, more guns mean more killing of women. More than half of U.S. mass shooters start out as domestic abusers, but loopholes in every state let domestic abusers keep their guns or even buy new ones.

In the days after January’s march, critics wondered whether organizers could translate the overwhelming turnout into real social change. David Brooks, the sandwich sensei who moonlights as a political commentator, opined that “these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump.” Friday’s march will not shut down the NRA or remove Trump from office. But with its NRA-to-DOJ action, the Women’s March has successfully united survivors of gun violence, anti–police brutality activists, members of activist groups founded after the Pulse massacre, and major gun-control advocates. Castile’s mother, too, sent a statement to be read at the NRA rally. This coming together of organizations in different but intersecting spheres of advocacy is an impressive feat of solidarity that has almost certainly gotten some newer activists out of their comfortable issue zones. Sometimes, the biggest and best effects of a protest are on the participants, not the targets.

Horse racing tips: Kempton, Leicester and Hamilton – Steve Mullen’s betting preview for Monday, September 25

by hfuller @ The Sun

HAMILTON 1.40 GREEN HOWARD gets the nod in what looks a tough race to crack. He wasn’t beaten far in very testing conditions here last time and will prefer this sounder surface. He had earlier gone close off this mark at Ripon and has no problem with the distance. 2.10 RASTACAP was pretty impressive when […]

Great Marketing Can Transform the Aftermarket Service Industry; Here's Why

Great Marketing Can Transform the Aftermarket Service Industry; Here's Why

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

I believe great marketing can transform aftermarket service products.

This past week in Chicago, I had the chance to speak at The Service Council’s Smarter Services Symposium (whose eponym pays no respect to anyone with a lisp), a gathering of executives responsible for service products - aftermarket purchases - such as service warranties, contracts, parts, and more. 

My discussion focused on addressing one of the biggest challenges facing service executives - service marketing.

The emerging role of aftermarket services.

This service function is facing a period of immense change (what department isn’t?) 

The days of field service, parts operations, call centers etc. as a cost center which is solely the result of a product sale are nearing their end. Today, there’s a growing idea that there should be revenue driven from a service business. 

This department no doubt faces a perception problem - something we can empathize with in marketing - one that limits it to a “cost center” vs “profit driver.” 

The reality is, this function can drive tremendous strategic value within the organizations it serves. (TSC found this year that 92% of Champion organizations consider service to be a competitive differentiator compared to 42% of the entire community.) 

Sure, NPS will increase and CSAT scores will improve, but I’m talking about cold, hard cash. 

Training, installation, and consulting offer another method by which to exceed customer expectations and differentiate the organization. With many companies now looking for an advantage in competitive markets, aftermarket services can offer an edge - one that is sustainable, high-margin, and low-risk. 

One McKinsey analysis across 30 industries showed that average earnings-before-interest-and-taxes (EBIT) margin for aftermarket services was 25 percent, compared to 10 percent for new equipment.

Summarized succinctly in One HBR article

“Being on par with your rivals in performance, price, and quality gets you into the game; after-sales services can win you the game.” 

 

A massive opportunity to shift perception.

Historically, these after-sales services have been seen as a burden, not an opportunity.

I recently spoke to the fabulous Claudine Bianchi, CMO of ClickSoftware, who markets to service executives. She described this perception challenge, saying, "many executives still don’t look at customer satisfaction in terms of the valuation it can have on a company."

In the aforementioned HBR article, its authors revealed many “perceive after-sales services to be a necessary evil… like taxes.” 

Ouch. 

This problem of reputation is due in part to the legacy of services businesses. Seen as a reactive team, many demonstrate their success on the basis of solving a customer's problem - historically measuring (if at all) impact in terms of customer satisfaction. 

That’s a really limiting way of demonstrating value, when the true potential of this team lies in a term well-adopted by marketers - Customer Lifetime Value. In this case, Service Executives should focus on the aftermarket lifetime value of their customers. 

For some industries (gas turbines, helicopters, data storage) the aftermarket lifetime value of a customer can be 40-75% of the initial sales price of the product. In others, it can be 5x more. See more in this detailed benchmarking study by McKinsey.

Talk about leaving money on the table. 

A fundamental switch from reactive to proactive.

To achieve these kinds of growth potentials, Service Executives need to switch from their reactive nature to a proactive culture. 

This was the crux of my recommendations at TSC's event, and I leveraged their own data to make this point.

  • 58% of champions frequently educate customers on products/services compared to 17% of the entire community. 
  • 91% of champions consider it a priority to increase the coverage of their installed based, compared to only 50% of the community. 

Proactive Services Marketing is an enormous opportunity for services teams to dramatically improve their perception by unlocking the value of their aftermarket services.

ServiceMax (another vendor in this space) found that proactive selling can increase revenues by up to 160% within a year.

 

Does the future of aftermarket services depend on marketing?

Maybe.

I think the way to look at it is that we are in this together. 

Marketing is increasingly responsible for the customer experience, of which post-sale is certainly part. We are seeking differentiation in competitive markets, and are held accountable for more and more revenue. The insights gleaned from the front lines of field service technicians can be a gold mine for improving our customer understanding and intelligence. A feedback loop between our teams can help us to tailor products and messaging accordingly.

Marketing needs the aftermarket services function. 

Services, on the flip side, should consider marketing to be an important ally in the business. We can drive growth with engagement marketing that earns trust and compels buyers to take part in services programs. We can leverage your incredible amount of data coming from IoT and connected devices to better segment and personalize our efforts. We can help build the foundation for a cohesive customer experience by helping to integrate service data with sales and marketing systems so that each touchpoint is… the magic word... consistent. We can help to segment customers by their role in the buying committee, or by their specific need based on their usage or product history. 

Marketing can maximize the potential of services, and in turn, drive more impact in our organizations. This is truly a win win. 

And, while we can be your best ally, we can be your worst enemy. “The best service intentions can be derailed by poor sales and marketing activities.” (TSC).

Now is the time to invest in proactive service marketing.

In an informal poll of the room this week in Chicago, 50% of the audience had a dedicated team of service marketers on staff. The other half, did not. 

One attendee from an electronics company followed up with me after the show, sharing that he was the very first product marketing manager for their services department in the organization’s history. That’s 84 years without one.

The need for marketing services is here - and while many organizations aren’t there quite yet, those that win are waking up to this reality. 

Champion organizations are 2X as likely as others to have dedicated service marketers in place to support commercial business growth - TSC.

---

Thank you to Sumair Datta and Aly Pinder for inviting me to this year's event, and to Claudine Bianchi of ClickSoftware for her insights.

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Every week I send out new ideas, writings, and interesting links on marketing, business, and life. It’s free & curated by me. Get on the list.

Dove Is Trolling The Trump Administration With Its Latest Ad

Dove Is Trolling The Trump Administration With Its Latest Ad


MSN

The internet has been having a field day since Kellyanne Conway referred to Donald Trump's inaccurate inauguration numbers as "alternative facts." 

Can Someone Please Invent a Better Way to Remove Pubic Hair at Home?

Can Someone Please Invent a Better Way to Remove Pubic Hair at Home?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Here’s a free idea for any bored engineers or energetic youths looking for a disruptable industry that hasn’t yet been disrupted: Make us a pubic hair removal device that doesn’t injure our genitals.

More than a quarter of U.S. pubic-hair groomers in a new nationally representative survey published in JAMA Dermatology said they’ve sustained at least one injury while beautifying their bathing-suit area, a truly reprehensible rate for a country whose every airport bathroom contains a machine that can completely dry a set of hands in eight seconds or less. Of those who reported injuries, 2.5 percent said the damage was severe enough to warrant surgical intervention, such as stitches or abscess drainage. Abscess drainage! From pubic grooming! We’re preparing to send human beings on a multi-year trip to friggin’ Mars, but we must still suffer drainable abscesses when we try to manage the shape and density of our bushes?

Please, ambitious innovators, innovate this. Three percent of all genitourinary injuries in U.S. emergency rooms are pubic grooming–related, researchers say. There must be a better way to do what we’re doing to our nether regions, because we’re clearly not doing it very well. Our genital wounds include cuts (61 percent of injuries), burns (23 percent), and rashes (12 percent). More than two-thirds of male pubic hair removal injuries occur on the scrotum, according to survey data. Does a cut, burned, rash-y scrotum sound like a scrotum that reflects the progress Western medicine has made in the past century?

No—that scrotum is the product of a stagnant industry led by disposable-razor barons and depilatory-cream tycoons too complacent to give us an easier way to whatever-scape. The user experience of all standard modes of pubic hair removal could use an overhaul, especially considering that more than three-quarters of Americans use some kind of removal device. Can’t we get an upgrade?

I don’t know exactly what a better device would look like—I’m not an inventor, Dyson employee, infomercial star, or start-up person. You are. Get those brain juices flowing and make a zillion dollars selling your magical pubic hair helper on QVC or Goop. The scrota of America can’t reach their full potential without you.

Why It’s So Disingenuous for Republicans to Call the Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill a Public Safety Measure

Why It’s So Disingenuous for Republicans to Call the Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill a Public Safety Measure

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Since last week, Republicans in the Texas state Senate have been sprinting through a marathon-length list of Gov. Greg Abbott’s legislative priorities, suspending rules and cutting short deliberations to rush a handful of right-leaning bills to the House during a 30-day special session. Democrats say GOP leaders are suppressing the democratic process by depriving legislators and citizens of time to read the bills and advocate for or against them.

One such bill is a regulation on transgender people using single-gender public bathrooms that don’t match the sex on their birth certificates or state-issued IDs. The Texas Senate passed a similar bill earlier this year, but its momentum petered out in the House. Polls have found that only about one-third of Texans support the so-called bathroom bill, and more than half oppose it. Still, for more than a year, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made keeping trans people out of bathrooms one of his pet issues. The Senate passed the bill after midnight on Wednesday morning, sending it to the House, where it will likely stall again, as Republican Speaker Joe Straus opposes it.

So do plenty of other people who know a thing or two about public safety, which Republicans have held up as the ostensible goal of the bathroom regulation. While the Texas Senate debated the bill, the police chiefs of Houston, San Antonio, and Austin held a joint press conference at the state Capitol to publicly oppose the proposed legislation. “It may be great political theater, but it is bad on public safety,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. Other representatives from the police forces of Corpus Christi, El Paso, and elsewhere said the legislation would take time away from investigating violent crimes and put it into enforcing nearly unenforceable rules, endangering community safety. Chief William McManus of San Antonio, a city that passed an ordinance in 2013 protecting trans people’s rights to use whatever bathrooms match their gender identities, said he had members of his department search the succeeding years’ records for any evidence of assaults in public bathrooms by men pretending to be trans women. They found nothing. “I am a believer that if you propose a bill to address a criminal justice concern, it is important to determine if there is an actual problem you are trying to solve,” McManus said.

This is an important point that exposes the hate and discrimination that underlies transgender bathroom restrictions. Republican legislators don’t want to protect their constituents who aren’t trans—they want to keep trans people out of the public sphere altogether. There is no way to station a police officer or security guard as an ID-checking bouncer at every public restroom that would be affected by the legislation. The proposed bill wouldn’t even penalize trans people who used bathrooms that didn’t match their IDs. Instead, it would nullify laws like San Antonio’s that prohibit bathroom discrimination and impose financial penalties on schools and government entities that don’t police bathroom use based on birth certificates.

In other words, there is no good way to enforce this kind of law, and there is no public interest in passing it. It’s not a public safety measure. It is a message to trans people that they are undeserving of basic dignity and comfortable participation in public life. It is a go-ahead to cis people to harass anyone in a restroom who doesn’t look like their idea of a gender-normative woman or man. And it is tantamount to emotional abuse for trans kids, who would arguably be most affected by the legislation because they spend all day in schools, which are among the primary targets of the bill. When the police chiefs of some of the state’s biggest cities are begging legislators to give their transphobia a rest, it’s well past time for the governor and lieutenant governor to rethink their priorities.

Dove's Latest Commercial Is Their Most Bullshit Yet

Dove's Latest Commercial Is Their Most Bullshit Yet


Jezebel

Dove has moved their marketing strategy away from merely using "Real Women" as models and towards manipulating "Real Women" as part of totally unscientific experiments that prove nothing. The latest iteration of this project is Dove Patches, a patch for your arm full of a magic substance that makes you feel more beautiful.

Can Mindy Kaling Thwart the Media’s Sick Obsession with the Contents of Celebrity Uteri?

Can Mindy Kaling Thwart the Media’s Sick Obsession with the Contents of Celebrity Uteri?

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Mindy Kaling is pregnant! The respectful response to this morsel of information is: “Congratulations, actress and author who has already given me much joy and owes me nothing.” The less respectful but more realistic response is, “Ooh, who’s the father?” And herein lies a quandary for self-respecting gossip consumers and producers: Kaling isn’t telling.

In theory, this seems like a potentially satisfying way to thwart the media’s sick obsession with the contents of famous uteri. A source told People that Kaling isn’t even sharing with her close friends who the father is, and also that she is not currently dating anyone. When E! News broke the story of her pregnancy earlier this week, it quoted an “insider” who simply called it “an unexpected surprise.” There’s the ambiguous fact that Kaling has said in the past, “I think I’ve decided that unlike everything else in my life, I’m going to be fast and loose about kids.” We just don’t know, in other words, and it’s perfectly possible that we will never will. How, then, will the media handle this dangling mystery? Is there a chance celebrity news outlets might treat Kaling’s decision to withhold paternity info as the privacy-protecting measure she surely intends it to be, rather than a thrilling whodunit to be collectively solved? Of course not. As it happens, we have a prime recent example of the way this dynamic plays out in the press: the pregnancy of January Jones.

Jones, best known for playing Betty Draper in Mad Men, gave birth to a son named Xander in 2011. Almost immediately after the pregnancy became public, the gossip press began speculating openly about the identity of the child’s father, which Jones had notably not offered. Suspects included Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Piven, director Matthew Vaughn, and chef Bobby Flay, with whom she was rumored to have had an affair while he was married to actress Stephanie March. “The mystery of who fathered January Jones’ unborn child seems like a case tough enough for Maury Povich,” the New York Daily News trumpeted. Quoting from an interview in which Jones joked that she wished she had “something weird to tell” about her healthy, happy pregnancy, the paper concluded: “How about we start with the name of the father first?”

The Daily News was far from alone in treating the identity of Xander’s father as an exhilarating communal cliffhanger. ABC News produced a slideshow titled “Top 5 Prime Suspects for January Jones’ Baby Daddy.” The Los Angeles Times’ gossip blog called her “classy” under a headline touting “7 baby-daddy conspiracy theories” regarding her “virgin birth.” Fox News: “Ashton Kutcher, January Jones Mum on Rumors He Is Father of Her Infant Child.” TMZ published a scan of the child’s birth certificate, with the space for his father a blank, or as the website put it, “a big, fat BLANK SPOT.”

Jones has resolutely maintained her silence on the question as the years have passed, which only makes the press’s half-decade of tireless prying even more dispiriting. In 2013, she gave a circumspect interview to a fashion publication. ”It’s just not something the public needs to know,” she said. “I don’t divulge my sexual preferences. There are parts of your life—no matter what your job—that should remain private.” US Weekly turned that into the headline “January Jones Talks About Xander’s Father, Her Sexual Preference.”

None of this is surprising, of course, but it still feels like a bleak harbinger for Kaling’s next nine months. The news of her pregnancy is more than just a ray of sunshine in a dark time; it is also a chance for a media do-over. The actress is, presumably, only a few months pregnant. Gossip purveyors and enjoyers have almost a year of pregnancy news to come, followed by a birth announcement, and then years of childhood. Sure, Google already auto-completes “Mindy Kaling” with “husband,” “father,” “baby father,” and “baby daddy.” But we could choose not to speculate wildly about affairs and flings! We could acknowledge that real life doesn’t often resemble the rom-com sitcoms that Kaling herself is so adept at producing. At least until the first slideshows of baby pictures mashed-up with photos of B.J. Novak.

5 hand creams to surprise your mom on Mother’s Day!

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

Whether your mom tirelessly washes the dishes or she works with her hands a lot on her latest pottery hobby, there’s no doubt she needs to keep her hands immaculate. As any mom would tell you, there’s not enough hours in the day. And there sure isn’t time to pamper herself, but this Mother’s Day,

The post 5 hand creams to surprise your mom on Mother’s Day! appeared first on Fashion Week.

What Makes a Face “Punchable”?

What Makes a Face “Punchable”?

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

There’s a certain class of public figure whose face routinely gets described as “punchable.” He’s usually male; though arguably society shouldn’t be encouraging the punching of anyone (with possible exception for Nazis), good etiquette would seem to indicate that women are considered the less punchable sex. The guy with the punchable face is usually white; it’s hard out there for white men lately, in case you hadn’t heard. He’s usually young, too: What’s more annoying the know-it-all grin of impetuous youth? In addition to the privilege that being young, white, and male already affords him, he of high punchability often has a look that somehow scans as extra-privileged, a mouth seemingly born with a silver spoon in it.

Martin Shkreli, Scott Disick, Ryan Lochte, Miles Teller, Justin Bieber, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr.: All these men fit the aforementioned criteria and have been described by at least one, and often many, press outlets as being in possession of punchable visages.

The most recent addition to these ranks is Ansel Elgort, 23, who broke out as the goofy-gangly-cute (post-adorkable?) male lead in the teen cancer schmaltzfest The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago. Several biographical details have always have always carried a faint whiff of punchability. First off, there is his moonlighting as an EDM DJ; his DJ alter-ego is, I’m sorry to say, Ansolo, but it is no better when he releases music under his own name—the cover art for his single “Thief” is an awful sight to behold, a tableau of unironic douchiness. Backgroundwise, he’s an upper-crust New Yorker: He went to the Fame high school, and his father is a fashion photographer. These facts, combined with his capacity to give crazy quote, all added up to a certain impression. In 2015, Pajiba cited Elgort’s mug as punchable; the site did it again just days ago, this time upgrading to “uber-punchable.” The Ringer joined the fray too, writing that Elgort “has flown past Shia LaBeouf and Miles Teller for the top spot on my list of Inscrutably Talented Actors with Highly Punchable Faces and Swag-less Swag.” So what exactly makes a face punchable? What could Elgort, Bieber, and Eric Trump possibly have in common?

The beauty of the punchable designation is that it sounds almost like an impartial fact. In Ansel’s case: Eye color? Brown. Height? 6 foot 4. (Ugh.) And face? Punchable. Last year, ThinkProgress endeavored to find out if there was a scientific explanation for what made Shkreli’s face so punchable. One psychologist interviewed for the piece posited that calling Shkreli’s face “punchable” is satisfying because it frames it as an objective truth: “When you say Martin’s face needs a fist, it seems as if the feature is out there, in Martin, and it’s objective,” the psychologist said; that “motivational” quality transfers the emotion from you to Shrkeli. It’s not that he makes you angry enough to want to punch him but that he simply needs to be punched, by anyone, as soon as humanly possible.

Shkreli seemed to reach his most punchable state when he was testifying before Congress in 2016, captured on camera looking exceedingly pleased with himself. Punching him wouldn’t have accomplished much—Shkreli would still be the guy who became a public villain for raising drug prices to exorbitant levels—but it would at least temporarily wipe that look off his face. LaBeouf’s punchability numbers have spiked around his arrests for public shenanigans and attempts to parlay his acting career into a series of “performance art” stunts—you may recall that last year it got so bad that a New York City man got punched on the street for the crime of simply resembling LeBeouf. Justin Bieber has similarly fallen victim to brushes with the law that seem to emphasize his youth and privilege. Ryan Lochte went from loveable goon to international disgrace somewhere around the time his lies about getting held up at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics started to blow up in his (punchable) face. For Miles Teller, the early promise of a critically acclaimed performance in an awards-season darling was undercut by a disastrous magazine profile and a colossal box-office flop. And obviously the Trump sons are beady-eyed paragons of smugness.

There is a relationship, then, between punchability and self-knowledge. Misbehaving so badly when they have the advantages that they do is what tends to raise the public’s hackles. Can they all be so blithely unaware of the tiredness of the “bad boy” trope, or the many overgrown babies who have already trod this ground? And yet they continue to smirk.

With the release, and success, of Baby Driver, the tide on Elgort, at least, may be turning. As New York magazine’s the Cut put it in a recent headline, “Baby Driver Will Make You Forget That You Hate Ansel Elgort.” Surely a film can’t, without the aid of computer-generated imagery or special effects, alter the bone structure of a well-known actor such that your fist is less attracted to his face. Yet if you enjoyed Baby Driver—and with a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating at the moment, it seems like a lot of critics did—the movie certainly helps recontextualize him.

In the film, it’s clear that some of the other characters find Baby’s face punchable. Baby wouldn’t keep so many spare pairs of sunglasses on him if people like Jamie Foxx’s Bats weren’t always yanking them off him in exasperation. Where he previously came off as annoying because it seemed like he found himself just so charming all the time, now he’s taking a chance on playing a character who’s cool, it’s true, but a little less obviously flattering to his self-image. Above all, in shrewdly choosing to play a punchable character, he’s demonstrating that most unpunchable trait: self-awareness.

Coach Outlets

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

September 2017: After some of the claims were dismissed in August, plaintiffs filed an Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint making similar allegations. October 2016: A Consolidated Class Action Complaint making the same allegations was filed. August 2016: This action was consolidated to be heard with three other similar lawsuits. For more information about the other

The post Coach Outlets appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Dove Ad Features Transgender Mom: ‘No One Right Way’

Dove Ad Features Transgender Mom: ‘No One Right Way’


NewsBusters

Just like entertainment media, advertisements have the power to both shape and reflect the culture. While capitalizing on social trends, brand experts are pushing to mainstream controversial themes – and Dove soap is the latest to participate with a transgender star. Earlier this month, Dove released an ad with a transgender “mother” as part of its new #RealMoms campaign celebrating motherhood.

What Does It Mean If Sperm Count Among Western Men Has Shrunk By Half Since the ’70s?

What Does It Mean If Sperm Count Among Western Men Has Shrunk By Half Since the ’70s?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Men in Western nations produce about half as many sperm per milliliter of ejaculate as their peers did in the ‘70s, according to a new research review published in Human Reproductive Update. Between 1973 and 2011, researchers found, the sperm concentration of Western ejaculate fell more than 52 percent, while the total number of sperm per semen sample fell by almost 60 percent.

“If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future,” co-author and epidemiologist Hagai Levine told the BBC. Those chemicals include phthalates, which recently had their 15 minutes of fame for being present in nearly all tested brands of macaroni and cheese mixes. Phthalates get into foods by way of plastics in packaging and processing equipment, and evidence strongly suggests that they disrupt testosterone production, leading to reduced sperm counts.

Previous studies of sperm count in men over time have been called into question over concerns such as known fertility problems among participants and changing sperm-measurement techniques, which may have overestimated sperm count in earlier studies. For this new study, researchers analyzed data from 185 studies that used the same sperm-count testing procedure on nearly 43,000 men, none of whom were selected for existing infertility issues or other conditions. After correcting for age and length of time since last ejaculation, the authors noted a decline in sperm concentration among Western men from 99 million sperm per milliliter in 1973 to 47.1 million sperm per milliliter in 2011. Researchers found a limited number of studies of non-Western men, but those that did exist did not indicate a similar decline sperm concentration.

The good news is that 47.1 million sperm per milliliter is still pretty healthy. A person’s sperm count is considered “low” when he has fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen, and plenty of men with low sperm counts are still able to conceive children. Future studies should examine whether there has been a corresponding increase in men clocking in below the 15 million sperm threshold in addition to a general decrease in average sperm concentration. More good news: There are research-based behavioral changes men can make to combat sperm-count decline, such as quitting smoking, eating healthy meals, and avoiding food and drink that have touched pesticides or materials containing BPA.

The bad news, according to Levine, is that the new study’s results may foretell “the extinction of the human species” if we don’t figure out what’s causing the lack of sperm and take action. Well then! I guess it’s less gruesome to imagine the human species dying out gradually because of a lack of sperm, since for the past several years we’ve been imagining the extinction of humanity via, to name a few, climate changeantibiotic resistance, and Ebola.

Poll: U.S. Consumers Back New Laws, Class-Action Suits After Equifax Hack

by Anna Gronewold @ Morning Consult

After Equifax Inc. disclosed on Sept. 7 that it had suffered a massive data breach that exposed up to 143 million U.S. consumers' data, a majority of adults surveyed in a Morning Consult poll say they would be likely to join a class-action lawsuit against the credit reporting company if they find that their data had been compromised. Many also support additional legislation and rules to protect against further hacks.

The post Poll: U.S. Consumers Back New Laws, Class-Action Suits After Equifax Hack appeared first on Morning Consult.

Lechal: The Haptic Smart Shoes That Lead The Way

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

Great ideas are all around you, and more often than not, your best designs will be born out of necessity. A drive to provide a solution to a problem that exists in your society. For Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharm, they wanted to create smart shoes that would be an improvement on walking and navigation…

The post Lechal: The Haptic Smart Shoes That Lead The Way appeared first on The Designers Studio.

Woman asks if she’s the only one not to wash her hands after going to the loo… and other mums are disgusted

by jnewton @ The Sun

WASHING your hands after a visit to the loo is second nature for almost everyone. But one mum has admitted that she doesn’t always turn on the taps after using the toilet. And other women are disgusted and can’t say they can’t believe that she would be so unhygienic. The mum had taken to Mumsnet […]

Bella Hadid shows off serious underboob in daring crop top as she steps out in Milan

by Olivia Waring @ The Sun

BELLA Hadid gives snappers an eye-popping glimpse of underboob as she heads out in a very daring red crop top The braless socialite-turned-supermodel, 20, grinned as she strolled past the cameras happily showing off her taught stomach and section of boob after stepping off yet another catwalk in Milan. Whipping her brown hair back, the […]

The Victoria’s Secret Museum is now opened in New York City

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

Victoria’s Secret has opened a museum at its flagship store in New York City. Located on Fifth Avenue, the Victoria’s Secret Museum houses the costume lingerie worn by the models at its annual show. So far, the exhibition is just home to recent Victoria’s Secret shows, like the one in Paris’ Grand Palais. The 2016 show saw Bella

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GOP Ties Democrats to ‘Socialism’ Over Single-Payer Health Care Bill

by Eli Yokley @ Morning Consult

When Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday pitched the health care bill he crafted with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the South Carolina Republican presented it as a choice between a GOP measure that would provide block grants to states to administer their own programs or legislation backed by Democrats that he said would amount to "socialism."

The post GOP Ties Democrats to ‘Socialism’ Over Single-Payer Health Care Bill appeared first on Morning Consult.

Dove Ads | Digital Marketing & Social Media Campaigns

Dove Ads | Digital Marketing & Social Media Campaigns


Digital Agency Network

Featuring creative Dove ads, inspiring Dove digital marketing campaigns, social media marketing campaigns, Dove commercials and hot news.

Goop Could Face Consequences for Making Deceptive Health Claims About Its Weird Products

Goop Could Face Consequences for Making Deceptive Health Claims About Its Weird Products

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

After years of hawking mysterious health supplements and making dubious claims about the brain-boosting powers of butter in coffee, Gwyneth Paltrow’s bougie health site is finally seeing its chickens come home to roost. Those chickens lay $66 jade eggs marketed as vaginal “detox” devices that, once inserted into the human body, can “intensify feminine energy” and prevent uterine prolapse.

At least, that’s what Goop says. The site, along with its affiliated newsletter and live events, is the target of a new complaint Truth in Advertising Inc. filed with California health regulators, calling attention to several dozen products Goop sells or promotes using unsubstantiated claims about curing, treating, or preventing illness. “The company does not possess the competent and reliable scientific evidence required by law to make such claims,” the advocacy group said in a blog post about the filing. Truth in Advertising warned Goop in a letter earlier this month that if it didn’t take down or modify its “deceptive” claims within a week, the organization would contact district attorneys on the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force. The group followed through on that promise on Tuesday.

It’s not surprising that it’s taken such a long time for Goop to come under potential regulatory fire for its bizarre health advice. To someone outside of Los Angeles who isn’t drunk on Moon Juice—one of the many Goop-endorsed products that sound like period euphemisms—the site’s use of mystical potions and magic crystals to supposedly keep away real-world microbes can sound too ridiculous to take seriously. Sure, walking barefoot to absorb negatively-charged electrons from the ground may not cure anyone’s insomnia, as the site once suggested, but it probably wouldn’t do gullible readers any harm, either. Then again, that’s exactly what consumer protection agencies are for—to prevent companies from disabusing customers of their dollars with uncorroborated statements about dildos that can heal infections or seaweed products that can protect against radiation drifting overseas from a nuclear reactor meltdown.

Some of the practices Goop and Paltrow endorse can do real bodily harm, too. Consider her recommendation to treat a bout of influenza with a shvitz in the sauna, which could lead to dangerous dehydration. Gynecologist Jen Gunter has helpfully noted that jade is porous, making it a very bad, potentially bacteria-nurturing material for long-term intravaginal use. In response, Goop published a blog post–long subtweet of Gunter, comparing her skepticism of the benefits of reverse egg-laying with the skepticism of ye olde doctors who didn’t believe smoking caused lung cancer. And the skin-care products that have been infused with chanting and prayers? Those could be tomorrow’s penicillin, I guess.

Even benign yet ineffective substances could prove dangerous if they’re advertised as potential health cures. People who fear the side effects and costs of Western medical treatments (or who’ve been convinced by Goop that prescribed medicines contain “toxins” or Dementors’ breath or something) may forgo necessary therapies in favor of, I don’t know, ringing a $700 bell every time they take a poop. Goop has said that wearing stickers “pre-programmed to an ideal frequency” can help ease anxiety. Unless the stickers are tuned to the “frequency” of a walkie-talkie carried by a therapist, they probably can’t. That won’t stop some people trying to cure what might be a serious mental illness with elementary school art supplies. The gospel of Goop is as seductive as it is fake, and the company will need more than a standard crystal chant to ward off the energy imbalance a regulatory crackdown could bring.

Dove's 'real beauty sketches' ad deserves some praise | Heather Long

Dove's 'real beauty sketches' ad deserves some praise | Heather Long


the Guardian

Heather Long: Dove's latest campaign to get women to be more confident about their looks makes a powerful point, even if it's only skin deep

Masters Of Ink: Tap Into The Magic Of Tattooing With Tati Compton's Hand Poked Designs

by Jen Ripper @ Konbini United States

Masters of Ink is a Konbini original introducing you to a whole spectrum of tattoo artists from all over the world. Custom designers specializing in every style from modern dotwork to traditional Americana tattoos – tune in for something new every week! In many cultures, women have been responsible for the handing over of magical traditions to future generations through hand poke tattoos. […]

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Texas Is Poised to Ban All Insurance Coverage for Abortions, Forcing Women to Buy “Rape Insurance”

Texas Is Poised to Ban All Insurance Coverage for Abortions, Forcing Women to Buy “Rape Insurance”

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The Texas Legislature is in the home stretch of a special session Gov. Greg Abbott called last month to push through a slew of his legislative priorities, including restrictions on where transgender people can use the bathroom. That bill is losing steam in the less conservative House, but another bill restricting abortion access is headed to the desk of the governor, who has indicated that he’ll sign it into law.

The bill would prohibit all insurance companies from covering abortion care in their standard plans, requiring women to pay extra premiums for coverage if they think they may need abortions at some point in the next year. The ban would apply not only to insurance plans on the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, but also to any plans sponsored by employers or purchased on the private market. A plan would only be allowed to cover an abortion in the case of a pregnant woman’s life-threatening health emergency and not those performed in cases of rape, incest, or extreme fetal abnormalities.

This weekend, the GOP-led Texas Senate approved the bill after it passed the House. (Similar bills were raised and debated during the regular legislative session, which closed in May, but none passed.) Right-wing legislators and advocates in Texas say they are currently forced against their will to help fund abortions simply by taking part in a health insurance system that covers them. Rep. John Smithee, who sponsored the bill in the House, said in floor debate that the bill promotes “economic freedom” for people who oppose abortion rights.

Half the states in the country prevent insurance policies purchased on ACA health exchanges from covering abortion procedures. Ten of those also restrict insurance coverage for abortion in all private insurance plans. Only two of those 10—Utah and Indiana—make exceptions for abortions sought in cases of rape and incest. That’s why Democratic Texas legislators say this bill would necessitate “rape insurance”—no one expects to have an unplanned pregnancy, and no one can predict the likelihood that she’ll be raped in a given year. It is a demeaning form of gender discrimination to ask women to lay down extra money just in case they get pregnant through sexual assault.

According to a national 2014 survey of abortion patients, 53 percent paid for the procedure or pill out of pocket, and another 24 percent paid for their abortion care with Medicaid. (Federal Medicaid dollars cannot go toward abortions in most circumstances, but a handful of states use their own health funding to cover abortion care for women on Medicaid.) Just 15 percent of abortion patients used private insurance to pay for their abortion care, while 61 percent of women with private insurance said they paid out of pocket, due to either high deductibles or a lack of coverage. Without insurance coverage, an abortion can cost between $300 for an early medication abortion in some places and a few thousand dollars for a surgical one later in pregnancy. The later, more expensive ones are often those performed under the most heart-wrenching circumstances, due to fetal anomalies undetectable in early pregnancy or a woman’s inability to access earlier health care because of her age, remote location, financial resources, or immigration status.

By restricting abortion care to those who can either afford an additional monthly health care expense or a hefty one-time payment out of the blue, Texas is ensuring that low- and middle-income women with health insurance will find it significantly more difficult to access a constitutionally protected medical procedure. To satisfy the whims of anti-choice advocates, the Texas Legislature has used one population’s personal beliefs to justify what amounts to a sexual-activity tax on Texas women.

Olivia Wilde serves as chief brand activist for True Botanicals

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

As a celebrity with a platform, Olivia Wilde has chosen to advocate for True Botanicals, the natural skincare brand that’s a far cry from the mass brands she has represented. True Botanicals tapped the actress as its first celebrity endorsement for good reason. “She’s the spark,” Christina Mace-Turner said. “We’re part of a growing number

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Wall Street Journal Declares Hot New Teen Trend for Parents to Worry About: Short Shorts

Wall Street Journal Declares Hot New Teen Trend for Parents to Worry About: Short Shorts

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The eagle-eyed style-spotters at the Wall Street Journal have done young people a solid by identifying “summer’s hottest teen fashion trend” in a Wednesday afternoon post. That trend, according to this dispatch from the cutting edge of fashion-industry gossip, is short shorts.

If your definition of trend is “item that has been around since legs immemorial,” then yes, short shorts are a trend. This kind of evergreen piece would be as believable with a publish date in 1997 as in 2017.

But still, as reliable as the Band-Aids that find their way into every public pool, every summer brings with it a new crop of parents worrying about teens exposing too much leg skin while they put Burt’s Bees on their eyelids and chug hand sanitizer. This year, the Journal claims, dads are telling their daughters to wear more clothes; moms are “plunging into back-of-store racks” for more covered-up cuts; and parents of all genders are sending stern-worded letters to stores that don’t stock capri pants. It’s worse than ever out there—for parents, for shorts, for modesty itself.

So, what are we talking here? Thongs, bootpants, assless chaps? No, just shorts, but ones with inseams a quarter-inch shorter than usual. Those inseams measure 2.25 inches long, where stores with “more modest styles,” according to the Journal, offer shorts with 2.5- to 3-inch inseams, though those are still considered “short-shorts.” Imagine what inappropriate fantasies that extra quarter to three-quarters of an inch of skin could inspire.

Scandalized parents will be relieved to know that teen shorts have been short for decades, while teen sex rates dropped, then leveled off over the past 10-or-so years. Check out these 3-inch inseam Delia’s shorts from 1996, or these 1990s Tommy Hilfiger juniors shorts with a 2-inch inseam. The teens who wore those shorts are probably running your favorite companies and maybe even writing your favorite Slate articles these days, parents. All that extra skin exposure and resulting vitamin D absorption did wonders for our brain development.

People Are Wondering Why Kim Kardashian Looks Browner on Interview Magazine Cover as “America’s New First Lady”

People Are Wondering Why Kim Kardashian Looks Browner on Interview Magazine Cover as “America’s New First Lady”

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

When most people think of elegant first lady’s, the first ones usually that come to mind are Michelle Obama and Jackie Onassis. But according to Interview magazine, Kim Kardashian is “America’s New First Lady”. Interview Magazine 📸 Steven Klein pic.twitter.com/6Um3JgOm8Q — Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian)...

Ivanka Just Helped Make It Harder for “Women Who Work” to Expose Wage Discrimination

Ivanka Just Helped Make It Harder for “Women Who Work” to Expose Wage Discrimination

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The Trump administration sent a memo on Tuesday announcing its plan to halt a planned Obama-era rule meant to advance equal pay. Starting in the spring of 2018, businesses with 100 or more employees would have had to add salary information to their existing federal reporting on the race and gender demographics of their workforces. Neomi Rao, who runs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to stop the rule from going into effect, claiming that it would be “enormously burdensome” to companies.

Rao also wrote in her memo to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic that the rule may violate the Paperwork Reduction Act, a federal law meant to reduce unnecessary mandatory paperwork. The Office of Management and Budget “is concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues,” Rao wrote.

The Department of Labor has been collecting demographic data from employers for half a century to assess possible cases of hiring discrimination. Currently, companies with 100 or more workers report their race and gender stats in 10 job groups. The rule the Trump administration has stayed would have required that they also report those stats across 12 “pay bands.” The Obama administration introduced the rule in January 2016, on the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. At the time, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and the then-chair of the EEOC applauded the new rule as a way to beef up the federal government’s enforcement of existing equal-pay laws. When she unveiled the rule, Yang said the data would help the EEOC analyze pay disparities in different industries, launch “larger, more complex investigations” into wage discrimination, and make stronger cases when people report their employers for unequal pay.

Tuesday’s news wasn’t a complete surprise, because Trump thinks wage discrimination isn’t a real issue. Four days ago, he issued a memo declaring Aug. 26, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, “Women’s Equality Day,” as previous presidents have done. “My Administration is committed to fostering an economy where all women can succeed and thrive,” he wrote, praising efforts to help women entrepreneurs and establish universal paid family leave. But he’s previously said that “you’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job,” and “when you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very—because people do different jobs,” implying that the gender and race wage gaps are attributable to poor performance and self-selection into different careers. He’s also repealed rules that forced federal contractors to be transparent about their wages and stay away from forced-arbitration clauses that make it easier for companies to cover up cases of sexual harassment.

But while Trump’s new blow to equal pay is right in line with the values he espouses, it’s a telling change of tune for Ivanka, who has made equal pay a core part of her campaign to seem like a reasonable, trustworthy, pro-woman foil to her father. One might have expected her to anonymous-source her way out of this debate, leaking that she tried to get Trump to reconsider his plans to declaw the EEOC’s anti-discrimination investigations. Instead, she said she agrees with her dad’s decision. “While I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.” Her statement is transparently dumb: There is no way to make an honest case for the position that more data and transparency will not help the EEOC identify possible cases of wage discrimination or prosecute those flagged by employees. If Ivanka wants to close the gender wage gap, letting companies keep their wages secret is a bad way to start.

Ultimately, the Trump calculus here was simple. Businesses know they’ll be more likely to get on the hook for unequal pay if they have to report their pay structures disaggregated by demographics, so that's likely why they don’t want to do it. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lipnic once said of the rule that the “benefits of this are not worth the costs” to businesses. Businesses already have the information they’d need to report, since they already report demographic data—all it would take to organize it by pay would be a bit of futzing with a spreadsheet the first year. It’s not the cost of reporting that’s so unacceptable to businesses that they’ve gotten the Chamber of Commerce to lobby against the rule. It’s the cost of being sued for discrimination. In the power struggle between the victims of that discrimination and the mostly white men who exploit them for profit, Ivanka has publicly chosen her side.

Renae Bluitt Presents “She Did That.” – The Documentary

by Renae @ In Her Shoes

Soooo, I've been keeping a little secret from you. For the past year & some change I've been dreaming up, conceptualizing, and EXECUTIVE PRODUCING my very first documentary titled "She Did That." which is ALL about - you guessed it - Black women building legacies! As we all know, In Her Shoes has been my personal love letter to women entrepreneurs since 2009. After my 2015 #ihsbeautiesbrains photo exhibition, I knew I had to take this storytelling to the next level. That said, I took 2 years off from producing the annual In Her Shoes event to focus on THIS. Whewwww! It's been quite a journey & I've been wanting to share this news with you, but sometimes you have to just be quiet and DO THE WORK without distractions. That said, I'm SUPER GEEKED to unveil more. I'll be sharing a sneak peek this weekend at ESSENCE Fest and hope you can join us if you're in town! Sending SO much gratitude to Luvvie, Lisa Price, Tonya Rapley, Melissa Butler and all of the other dynamic women involved for taking time out to speak their TRUTHS for this film. HUGE thanks to our brand partners ESSENCE and General Motors for investing in this project and fueling the passionate pursuits of a woman like me with big hair & even bigger dreams.

In the Age of “Revenge Porn” and Celebrity Nude Hacks, Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape Looks a Lot Different

In the Age of “Revenge Porn” and Celebrity Nude Hacks, Paris Hilton’s Sex Tape Looks a Lot Different

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

In a Marie Claire profile published on Monday, Paris Hilton reflects on how her life might have played out differently if she hadn’t dated Rick Salomon. The professional poker player reportedly made millions of dollars off the couple’s famous 1 Night in Paris sex tape, which Hilton says she didn’t intend for the public to see. She claims she never saw a cent from that tape, but in the years after its release, the tape became widely credited in entertainment-industry media for accelerating her rise to fame.

Hilton tells writer Irin Carmon, whose piece is well worth a read, that she “really looked up to Princess Diana, all these elegant, amazing women,” but Salomon released the tape of the two of them having sex, tarnishing what might have been a more innocent reputation. “Because of that tape, I will always be judged and thought of as whatever they say about me because of a private moment between my boyfriend and me,” Hilton says. “I wish I had never met him. That is actually the one regret in my life.”

Even if you remember the buzz about that sex tape just before The Simple Life aired, Carmon offers, “you probably don't remember that she says she never consented to the tape's being public; that she was only 18 and her then-boyfriend, Rick Salomon, was 33; or that she sued the company distributing it for invasion of privacy.” Carmon is right: At the time, in 2004, there was little public outrage over Hilton’s alleged nonconsent, at least not at the volume we’ve come to expect after celebrities have their naked images aired against their will these days. “Spare us the outrage at how you feel sooooo betrayed, how you have no idea how this could have fallen into the wrong hands,” a Salon writer begged celebrities in 2010. “This whole pretext of ‘I didn’t really make and distribute my own little porno here’ so you can give the public something that appears furtive and dirty and secret while still showing off how weird you look in night vision? Enough. And if you are actually dumb enough to make a sex tape and think it won’t get leaked, you are too dumb to ever have sex again.”

In her 2015 Slate history of the celebrity sex tape, Amanda Hess pointed out that what seemed sexy and exciting in the era of Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson’s VHS video seemed like a potential violation by 2013, when Kim Kardashian explained to Oprah what devastation the release of her own sex tape wreaked on her self-image. Men hacked into the private photo libraries of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson, and other celebrities in multiple separate attacks, then shared nude images with the entire internet. Lawrence made a point of calling it “not a scandal…a sex crime,” arguing that her status as a sex symbol did not make her an acceptable target for abuse. Detractors told her she should have never taken the photos if she didn’t want them to get leaked, but Lawrence’s statements were the ones that stuck. By speaking openly about the real psychic injury the hackers caused, Lawrence and other victims of the hackings made themselves more human to people watching from the sidelines who might have previously seen them as spectacles willing to be exploited for fame. The “sex tape leaked by an ex” of yesterday is the “revenge porn” of today.

As Carmon notes in her profile of Hilton, Hilton did say in 2004 that she never intended the private 2001 sex tape to be distributed and sold; she even sued the distributor on that point and settled out of court. In that sense, there’s nothing new in her remarks to Marie Claire. The only thing that’s changed is the public’s tolerance for celebrity sexual humiliation—and the belief that such humiliation is possible, even for a superstar trying to promote a television show.

Trump’s New EPA Nominee Writes “Science-Bible Stories” In His Free Time, and That’s Fine

Trump’s New EPA Nominee Writes “Science-Bible Stories” In His Free Time, and That’s Fine

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

President Trump nominated Michael Dourson last week to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical and pesticides office. Dourson is a toxicologist at the University of Cincinnati and founded a nonprofit consulting company called Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment in 1995. Before that, he spent 15 years working for the EPA. But his appointment is raising eyebrows not just because of his professional qualifications—more on those later—but because of his hobby: self-publishing books he describes as “science-Bible stories.”

As BuzzFeed News reports, Dourson is the author of a series titled “Evidence of Faith,” in which he explores the science surrounding key events described in the Bible. Messiah’s Star focuses on the astronomical events around the time of the birth of Jesus. (He theorizes that Jesus was born on June 17, 2 BC. Sorry, Christmas!) The Beginning: Let there be light, focuses on the creation of the universe. And The Linen Cloths…Jesus left behind, published in February, focuses on the Shroud of Turin, a relic purported to be Jesus’s burial cloths. The books are almost trippy in tone, melding historical and scientific evidence with narrative interpretations of how, say, the three magi would have experienced the events around Jesus’ birth.

BuzzFeed warns that Dourson’s books suggest he “may read the Bible literally.” Few conservative Christians self-identify as literalists; it’s a term that is handier as a shorthand pejorative than a meaningful descriptor. More to the point, Dourson’s books are attempts not to discredit scientific explanations for natural phenomena, but to reconcile Biblical and scientific accounts. In The Beginning, for example, he interprets the six-day creation story in Genesis as a story spanning hundreds of millions of years—hardly a Creationist-approved approach. Dourson places angels on the scene: “The angels saw unmistakable evidence of the big bang,” he writes:

[Michael] and the other angels had the privilege to experience time as God did, and they noted that it took approximately 300 million or so years for the matter from this first explosion, primarily hydrogen, to coalesce by way of gravity into large masses. And then a surprising thing occurred.
These masses self-ignited into glowing, burning objects: the first stars. The light of the second “day” had begun! “Wow!” exclaimed Gabriel, Satan, Michael, and the other angels.

It’s not exactly sophisticated, literarily speaking. Or theologically. Or scientifically. But it also doesn’t sound like the work of a fundamentalist trying to wave away science. It’s the work of a devout scientist trying to blend two belief systems. And it’s worth pointing out that it’s not unusual at all for a scientist to be religious, though admittedly few of them spend their free time spinning tales of a prelapsarian Satan witnessing the Big Bang. The work of sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund suggests that American scientists are not radically out of step with the general public when it comes to religious beliefs and practices: 18 percent of scientists attend weekly religious services, for example, compared with 20 percent of the general population. About the same percentage pray several times a day. And 17 percent of scientists identify as evangelical Protestants—that’s about 2 million people.

So it’s not Dourson’s hobbies nor his faith that should prompt questions about his fitness for the job. Rather, it’s his resume itself. A 2014 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News found that Dourson’s firm had inappropriately close connections to chemical manufacturers and other industry players, for example. Some critics are concerned about his approach to risk assessment. And the Environmental Defense Fund accused Dourson this week of a “history of failing to appropriately address his conflicts of interest.” BuzzFeed also interviewed another toxicologist who has worked with Dourson and is concerned that the nominee tends to believe the EPA overestimates risk.

As it happens, Dourson’s self-published books lend some insight into his thinking on chemical risk. In the last chapter of The Linen Cloths, Dourson peeks in on a thinly fictionalized “older medical scientist” returning home after a day at work studying chemical toxicity at a university. (This character definitely feels like a thinly veiled Dourson—even his description of his wife mirrors how Dourson has described his own wife.) The scientist had published a study on a particular flame-retardant that was toxic at high levels, he writes, but actual exposures from consumer products were relatively low and therefore harmless. (The dose makes the poison, as toxicologists say.)

Actual exposures from consumer products were much lower than this, he thought, and would not cause any harm, even in sensitive people, like his four-year-old grandson, Finn, who had just spied him from across the room and who was even then making a beeline to run into his arms. Besides, he thought as he raised up Finn for a swooping hug, I will take the flame retarding benefits of these chemicals any day because destruction of lives and property by fire was a daily occurrence throughout his country.

The question of how the EPA’s next chemical and pesticides authority approaches issues of risk, toxicity, industry standards, and consumer safety is the right conversation to have. The fact that he writes stories about the Shroud of Turin on the side is not. As Jesus himself said, in a passage quoted by Dourson: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

The mysterious disappearance of a nursing student who vanished after crashing her car… and has never been seen since

by jnewton @ The Sun

SHE WAS the nursing student who vanished 13 years ago after crashing her car on a snowy road and has never been seen since. And the mysterious disappearance of Maura Murray is set to be examined in a new documentary on US TV. Maura was 21 and studying at the University of Massachusetts when she […]

This Nonprofit Is Trying to Give Immigrant Kids a Creative Outlet for Anxiety About Deportation

This Nonprofit Is Trying to Give Immigrant Kids a Creative Outlet for Anxiety About Deportation

by Micah Hauser @ Slate Articles

Inside a narrow storefront wedged between the butcheries, cheese shops, and street vendors of Philadelphia’s historic Italian Market, Cybil Sanzetenea plunged a serrated kitchen knife into a dense, Styrofoam ball. “These are the heads,” she said, shoving what looked like an oversized tongue depressor into the newly formed slot. “And these are the bodies.”

For the past six weeks, Sanzetenea has led a puppet-making workshop at El Futuro, an outpost of the nonprofit Mighty Writers, in which a dozen elementary schoolers wrote monologues about their own immigration experiences and built puppet alter-egos to perform them. The idea was hatched in the run-up to the 2016 election, as Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric intensified and the organizers of Mighty Writers detected a growing sense of nervousness and fear among the young students they work with, many of who come from families with undocumented parents.

“I was so surprised to hear how genuinely scared these kids were on a daily basis of coming home to find that their parents or family members had been taken,” Sanzetenea said. “They had such elaborate plans that had been so clearly discussed about what to do in those scenarios. Every single time they opened the door there were strategic measures.” Tim Whitaker, who founded Mighty Writers in 2009, explained that they wanted to find a way to relieve the students’ anxiety. “These kids walk around with a cloud over their head about possible deportation,” he said. Many of the children understand with surprising clarity the precariousness of their situation. They know they have access to a certain level of safety from which their parents are excluded. And yet, there are few opportunities, especially outside the home, to commiserate, express frustration, or even joke with other kids who face similar challenges. From an early age, most are taught that being undocumented, or having an undocumented family member, is a secret to keep closely guarded. Simply to have a creative venue to talk about it –in ways unexpectedly humorous and serious, in turn–can spell big relief.

The programming at El Futuro is geared mainly toward the neighborhood’s large Mexican community—like a trading floor, the space has multiple clocks on the wall, one set to the time in Philadelphia, the other, Mexico City. For the first workshop, conceived by Mexican artist Nora Litz and held early in the summer, each student made a comic book to convey some aspect of how it felt to be an immigrant in the United States. Despite the broad instructions, almost every one dealt with Trump, the wall, or some form of family separation. In one, stick figures lurch through space, desperately reaching toward each other. In another, a wall labeled “America” looms in the foreground, as horrified children gather around a living room window, peeking out. Another depicts an enraged Trump yelling “GET IN THE WALL!!!”, while two characters in the next frame, described as “Donald Trump’s friends,” laugh as an image of Earth floats above them, surrounded by question marks.

For the puppet-making workshop, Sanzetenea and her co-teacher Isabel Díaz Alanís explicitly instructed the kids to focus less on politics and more on the quotidian aspects of the immigrant experience, from having to translate for your parents to carrying a lunchbox full of food that looks different from your peers’. They hoped to counteract the tendency, increasingly prevalent, to view immigration as a sob story, something shameful, and emphasize instead the hard work and bravery that comes along with straddling two cultural worlds. It was meant to be a respite. But in the end, the reality of our political moment was inescapable. The final puppet show was this past Tuesday, days after the white supremacist march in Charlottesville.

Standing in front of a cardboard stage, painted aquamarine and adorned with neon pom-poms, Díaz Alanís began: “The events that have unfolded since white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday remind us once again of an obligation that might feel burdensome: speaking up. Speaking up to say I am here, my story is relevant, and I will be heard.” It was a heavy opening. The kids sat attentively, wiggling their puppets, while a few parents held up their cellphones, poised to record.

One by one, the performers approached the stage, animating their puppets as they narrated their stories.

“I am Indonesian, because my parents are Indonesian. I know this because they eat Indonesian food.”
“As the child of Russian immigrants, some people make unfair judgments about my life.”
“I like to watch TV in English and in Spanish.”

Charlottesville was not mentioned again. But its violence hovered in the wings. In this context, these light-hearted monologues, which chronicled the joys and challenges of life in an immigrant family, felt almost like tiny radical acts. They were comprised of small, silly embarrassments involving a culturally confused parent or needling friend, the kinds of things any child, immigrant or not, would recognize. As Sanzetenea performed last-minute glue gun surgery on the cardboard set, a young Indonesian boy named Hilmy was readying his puppet, which had a blue body, a red belt, and a white star on his chest. “Like Captain America,” he explained. Then he zoomed off toward the stage.

'Murder On The Orient Express' Gets Star-Studded New Trailer

by Pauline Mallet @ Konbini United States

Agatha Christie's classic novel Murder on the Orient Express is getting ready to make a big return to cinema with a new adaptation led by Kenneth Branagh. This is the second time the detective story has been shown on the big screen after a 1974 version starring the era's biggest actors, including Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall […]

The post 'Murder On The Orient Express' Gets Star-Studded New Trailer appeared first on Konbini United States.

Anti-Abortion Activists Are Using Down Syndrome Parents to Argue Against Women’s Rights

Anti-Abortion Activists Are Using Down Syndrome Parents to Argue Against Women’s Rights

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Last Monday, CBS News ran a report on Down syndrome in Iceland. There, since screening tests for pregnant women became available in the early aughts, nearly 100 percent of women who found out their fetuses probably had the chromosomal abnormality terminated their pregnancies. Only one or two babies are born with Down syndrome each year, usually to women who got an inaccurate test or were one of the 15 percent or so who opt not to be screened. The U.S. rate of Down syndrome births is three to six times higher.

Social attitudes toward abortion and toward the disability itself certainly play a role in differing rates of Down-related terminations. The CBS News segment quoted one medical counselor—an employee at the Reykjavik hospital where 7 in 10 Icelandic children are born—who said that these parents have “ended a possible life that may have had a huge complication...preventing suffering for the child and for the family,” a characterization most disability-rights advocates would dispute. In one sense, abortions sought after a positive Down screening could be part of a self-perpetuating cycle: If Icelanders meet few to no people with Down syndrome in their lives, they may be less confident about raising a child with a condition that’s unknown to them, leading to more Down-related abortions and fewer people with Down syndrome for future parents to meet. Advocates contend that a society that encourages women to terminate fetuses with Down syndrome is one that ascribes less value to a child with Down syndrome, which leads to discrimination against people living with the condition.

In the U.S., anti-abortion leaders are hijacking this rhetoric of the disability rights movement to argue against women’s rights to choose their own future for their families and bodies. On Tuesday, the Ohio Senate had a second hearing for a bill that would charge doctors with fourth-degree felonies if they performed abortions on women who sought the procedure because their fetuses had a high probability of Down syndrome. Physicians would have to fill out “abortion reports” after each procedure, certifying that they had no idea whether or not the patient wanted to terminate her pregnancy due to a Down screening. Supporters of the bill have likened Down-related abortions to “eugenics,” saying women who choose abortion after a positive Down screening are engaging in discrimination.

Laws that try to prohibit women from accessing a constitutionally protected medical procedure because of their reasons for wanting to access it are notoriously difficult to enforce. Several states have passed sex-selective abortion bans, which are based on a racist myth that Asian-Americans are aborting their female fetuses at unconscionable rates, but there’s no good way to elicit proof of why a woman is seeking an abortion. That should be a clear sign that the reasons shouldn’t matter: For abortion-rights advocates, there’s no acceptable reason to deny a woman the right to bodily autonomy; for abortion-rights opponents, if abortion truly is murder, as they claim, there should be no acceptable reason to allow it. It’s the same for politicians who boast of their anti-abortion bona fides, then allow for exceptions in cases of rape and incest. If their arguments were consistent, they’d allow for no such concessions—but they know most Americans support such exemptions, so they sacrifice intellectual and moral purity for the popular vote.

Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, laid out her argument against Down-related abortions in a Washington Post opinion piece on Thursday. In it, she claims a medical student told her that his professor taught that doctors have a “responsibility” to encourage abortion after a parent’s prenatal Down diagnosis. She cites surveys that have shown that people with Down syndrome generally report high life satisfaction, and that their families report high levels of “personal fulfillment.” “Not only are people with Down syndrome happy, but they also bring a great deal of happiness to their friends and family members,” Mancini writes. “Indeed, the survey found that 88 percent of siblings of children with Down syndrome feel that they are better people for having had their brothers and sisters.”

Reducing the life purpose of a person with Down syndrome to a learning opportunity for her siblings is just as damaging as assuming that people living with Down are “suffering,” as the Icelandic doctor put it. There is no inherent moral good in increasing the number of people with a given genetic condition, just as there is no inherent moral good in eliminating that condition from the population. Doctors should never press women one way or another on abortion—a fact as applicable to Down-screening counseling as the dozens of state laws that force physicians to tell their patients flat-out lies to discourage them from terminating their pregnancies. The sponsors of the Ohio bill had parents of kids with Down syndrome testify at Tuesday’s hearing, as if the existence of their happy, healthy children justified the curtailing of women’s constitutional rights.

A study of studies conducted between 1995 and 2011 found that between 50 and 85 percent of people who receive a positive prenatal Down screening terminate their pregnancies. For the most part, in other words, the happy lives Mancini describes in her piece are the lives of people who chose to carry their pregnancies to term, especially if Down-related abortions are as pushed upon women as she claims. These are not people who, faced with unwanted pregnancies, are forced to carry them to term against their will. Studies have shown that women denied abortions that they want are more likely to be in poverty, more likely to stay with abusive intimate partners, and more likely to have neutral or negative future outlooks than women who get the abortions they seek. Women turned away from abortion care are also less likely to have “aspirational one-year plans,” an important indicator of hope and confidence, than those who were successfully able to terminate their unwanted pregnancies.

Bills like Ohio’s would introduce a veil of suspicion into the doctor’s office, making medical providers second-guess their patients’ motives instead of giving them non-judgmental care. Women’s rights and disability rights are not mutually exclusive movements; they intersect and inform one another in important ways. Anti-abortion activists are stoking fear in advocates of the latter in hopes that they’ll join an assault on the former.

Rihanna Announces Fenty Beauty Launch Date, But Some Latinas Aren’t Happy

Rihanna Announces Fenty Beauty Launch Date, But Some Latinas Aren’t Happy

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Rihanna’s new make-up line Fenty Beauty will debut tomorrow, and is being heralded for its diversity, when it comes to the 40 shades it’s offering. This is @FentyBeauty. Head to a @sephora , #sephorainJCP or @harveynichols store to get an exclusive behind-the scenes look! A...

How old is Kylie Jenner, is she pregnant and who was the Kardashians star boyfriend before Travis Scott?

by sroberts @ The Sun

IT’S no secret that the Kardashian-Jenner clan have made a fortune over the years. Now 20 years old,  Kylie Jenner has proven to be one of the most successful stars in the family – here’s what we know about her… Is Kylie Jenner pregnant? Kylie has “told friends that she’s pregnant”, according to US media outlet […]

Lara Trump’s Debut as an Anchor Is Part Fox News, Part Amateur Vlogger, 100 Percent Trump

Lara Trump’s Debut as an Anchor Is Part Fox News, Part Amateur Vlogger, 100 Percent Trump

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

So far America has met enough dishonest, dead-eyed Trump family members to populate an entire white-collar cellblock. (That doesn’t include you, Tiffany. Hope you’re well <3) Yet somehow, there’s always one more waiting in the wings for her turn in the spotlight.  

This week, it’s Lara. The wife of Eric Trump has a new gig as a propagandist for a promotional broadcast on Donald Trump’s Facebook page. Like the rest of the media industry, the Trump family is pivoting to video! On Sunday, Lara appeared in a clip that’s since gotten 2 million views. In it, she basically reads aloud a few Trump press releases, congratulating her dad-in-law on his benevolence and leadership.

This video is something of an official debut for Lara, who hasn’t yet taken a visible role in the administration, and it is instantly clear how perfect she is for her current station. Her streaky highlights, exposed décolletage, and glossy lips say “Fox News anchor.” Her glazed-over stare, motionless eyebrows, and deep fake tan say “Trump family.” And her awkward mid-sentence breaths say “amateur vlogger,” the media comfort zone for those ride-or-die Trump supporters who spend the majority of their days watching Alex Jones and prepper videos.

“I bet you haven’t heard about all the accomplishments the president’s had this week,” Lara starts out, “because there’s so much fake news out there!” Okay, so her script-writers could use a little help—it sounds like she’s saying that the president’s “accomplishments” are fake and get lost in the never-ending churn of stories that are equally fake? But we know what she meant! She continues with a list of nice things Trump did last week, such as encouraging police departments to brutalize suspects and donating part of his salary to the Department of Education, whose budget he proposed cutting by $9.2 billion. Everything, including mentions of MS-13 and Rep. Steve Scalise’s injuries from a recent shooting, is delivered with a dry, hollow smile, the Trump family’s native mode of communication.

Lara Trump’s inaugural broadcast is painful to watch, and not just because the “accomplishments” she lists are far less impressive than the Trump administration would have viewers believe. The editing looks like it was done on the automatic iMovie setting meant for vacation slideshows, with a fade-out and fade-in between every clip. When it fades out, Lara is still speaking. When it fades in, she’s sitting there, waiting for her director’s go-ahead with an uncomfortable smile like a jack-o-lantern whose candle has been extinguished. You can smell how badly she wants to be a real-life TV personality: She has all the self-seriousness and corny transition lines (“Next up: jobs, jobs, jobs!”) of a pretend anchor on Teen Kids News. “I’m Lara Trump and that is the real news,” she signs off. It’s heartbreaking.

The video implies that the Lara show could be a recurring feature on Trump’s Facebook page, and if it is, she will probably improve. She seems bright enough, and her husband, Eric, was the only person in the Trump orbit with enough wits about him to catch on to a prankster impersonating random White House–adjacent people over email. As long as Trumpsters are MAGAing all over the president’s Facebook feed, Lara’s future in state media will be bright. Next up: a copy of Final Cut for her producer.

Dove's #RealMoms ad shines a light on transgender motherhood

Dove's #RealMoms ad shines a light on transgender motherhood


The Daily Dot

It's a perspective rarely addressed in advertising.

Dove's latest ad campaign #ChooseBeautiful takes over social media ~ Fashion Week

Dove's latest ad campaign #ChooseBeautiful takes over social media ~ Fashion Week


Fashion Week

Dove is at the forefront of embracing natural beauty campaigns and is continuing their messaging with their latest viral effort, “Choose Beautiful.” The hashtag #ChooseBeautiful has been trending on Twitter and is already generating global buzz.CTV News reported that the video which was released in support of the campaign shows women in five different cities

Manchester City keeper Ederson reveals Liverpool winger Sadio Mane sent him a text following the incident that left Brazilian needing eight stitches in his face

by jhutchinson @ The Sun

EDERSON MORAES revealed he has made his peace with Liverpool forward Sadio Mane. The Manchester City keeper needed eight stitches after he was booted in the face by the Kop ace two weeks ago. EXCLUSIVE OFFER: BET £5 GET A FREE £10 BET Mane received a red card while Ederson was stretchered off after the […]

Abortion Access in Missouri Is Getting Easier, Thanks to Planned Parenthood and Satanists

Abortion Access in Missouri Is Getting Easier, Thanks to Planned Parenthood and Satanists

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Abortion access in Missouri is booming. Until this month, the state had only one abortion provider—a Planned Parenthood health center in St. Louis. On Monday, the organization announced that its clinic in Kansas City is now offering medication abortion. Its Columbia outpost will soon offer surgical abortions, too, and two others will likely follow.

For the past several years, Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics in Missouri have been targeted by restrictions that forced abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and retrofit their facilities to meet surgical center standards. Those laws eventually became common goals of anti-abortion legislators around the country, but Missouri was ahead of the curve: In 1986, it was the first state to enact mandatory hospital admitting privileges. After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling that overturned similar restrictions in Texas, Planned Parenthood and two other reproductive rights groups took Missouri to federal court, arguing that it had four clinics in the state that could provide abortions—in addition to existing contraceptive care and health services—if the regulations were lifted.

A federal judge sided with Planned Parenthood in April and blocked officials from continuing to enforce the two anti-abortion provisions in Missouri. Now four clinics are working to get licensed for abortion care in the state: In addition to the Kansas City location, which stopped offering abortions five years ago, and the Columbia one—which stopped in the fall of 2015 when University of Missouri administrators voted to revoke its hospital admitting privileges—Planned Parenthood intends to offer abortion care at its Joplin and Springfield centers after their state inspections.

This rapid turnaround makes the state an illustration of the best-case scenario when courts reverse abortion restrictions. Other states aren’t so lucky. Often, such restrictions cause abortion providers to close completely, especially if the clinics aren’t affiliated with larger national organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which can provide some measure of stability as regulations shift. And when a clinic shuts down, there’s no guarantee that it’ll reopen once the restrictions that caused its closure fall away. A year after the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, only two of the nearly two-dozen abortion providers that shuttered due to the two provisions axed by the court had resumed abortion services.

Missouri’s recent stroke of good fortune in the reproductive rights realm may have to do with intervention from the fiery underworld. On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state’s abortion restrictions violate worshippers’ rights to free religious practice. The organization is challenging two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at unscientific anti-abortion propaganda and another that forces them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and a second appointments for their abortions. Satanic Temple members argue that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and “consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree” during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.

The Satanic challenge to the laws began in 2015, when a pregnant Satanist from rural Missouri identified as “Mary” tried to use a religious waiver to exempt herself from the state’s many requirements designed to prevent women from going forward with abortions. Mary said she had the $800 she needed to get the abortion, but to get to the clinic in St. Louis for two separate appointments, she needed to save up for gas money, a hotel, and child care. As a Satanist, Mary said, she believes her body is “inviolable”—thus, a mandatory waiting period with no medical justification that hampers her bodily autonomy inflicts a “substantial burden” on her “sincerely held religious beliefs,” as does the law that requires she be informed that “abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” The temple filed both state and federal lawsuits challenging the restrictions; a judge tossed out the federal case in 2016 because Mary was no longer pregnant.

Missouri argues that just because the laws align with the tenets of certain religions doesn’t mean the state is advocating on behalf of those religions. But don’t tell that to the Missouri state legislator who slaughtered a chicken on camera in June to make some kind of statement against legal abortion. “God gave us man dominion over life. He allows us to raise animals properly and care for them and then process them for food so we can sustain life. And that’s what I’m doing here with this chicken,” Rep. Mike Moon said before ripping out the animal’s heart. Three cheers for Missouri, the upside-down land where Christians perform the gruesome animal sacrifices and Satanists bring the religious freedom lawsuits.

Amazon Just Sent a Ton of People a Weird Email About Their (Nonexistent) Baby Registries

Amazon Just Sent a Ton of People a Weird Email About Their (Nonexistent) Baby Registries

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

If you have an Amazon account, you might be freaking out right now. You just got an email congratulating you on a gift from your baby registry that recently shipped, but you don’t remember notifying Amazon of your pregnancy, choosing items for a registry, or conceiving a child in the first place. What does Amazon know that you don’t?!

Don’t worry—you’re not secretly pregnant. (Unless you are, in which case: Mazel tov!) It looks like Amazon accidentally sent the same email to a lot of people, regardless of the occupancy status of their uterus.

We’ve confirmed that both men and women got the email, so it’s not a sexist “Amazon sent a thing to all women because women love babies” thing. (One Slate colleague who got the email does in fact have his own baby registry, as he and his wife recently had a baby, so he assumed an actual gift was heading his way.) But a little unscientific polling of my friends and colleagues has revealed that the recipients are mostly women. What gives?

I didn’t immediately think anything was off about this email because I purchased something off my friends’ Amazon baby registry earlier this week, and assumed this email meant it had shipped or something. It wasn’t until I saw Maria Konnikova’s tweet that I realized what had happened, and that I wasn’t the only one. What I’m saying is, I think Amazon accidentally sent possibly millions of people an email that was just meant for me. Sorry!

More unscientific polling of my people reveals a significant but not exclusive correlation between getting the email and having purchased items off friends’ baby registries. And the link in the email goes to the general Amazon page used to set up baby registries. So here’s another theory: Amazon looked at users’ previous purchases, tagged those who’d bought baby things, figured that those users are in the time of life when and social circles where people are starting to have babies, and guessed that they might want to set up a registry sometime soon, too. Or maybe a baby just crawled across the Amazon master keyboard. It’s anyone’s guess!

Update, Sept. 20, 2017: Amazon has issued the following statement on its weird baby email: “We are notifying affected customers. A technical glitch caused us to inadvertently send a gift alert e-mail earlier today. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.” Cool.

Innovation Fridays: Auto-lacing Nike HyperAdapt 1.0

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

  Ah, the movies. A wonderful place that gives you ideas of technology you never knew you needed until they paraded the concept across the screen. Iron man’s computing system and personal assistant, J.A.R.V.I.S., the phone implant in Total Recall or basically any tech we saw in The Jetsons. Nike went further than just wishing,…

The post Innovation Fridays: Auto-lacing Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 appeared first on The Designers Studio.

Everton transfer news: Toffees boss Ronald Koeman failed with £66.4m bid to sign Diego Costa from Chelsea in final days of the summer transfer window

by gstonehouse @ The Sun

EVERTON made a stunning club-record attempt to sign Diego Costa from Chelsea, according to reports in Spain. The Toffees were desperate to bring in a frontman during the summer transfer window and were heavily linked with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud. And Marca claim that they tabled an offer of £66.4million for the Spanish international, only for […]

Where Is the White House H.R. Department In This Whole Mess?

Where Is the White House H.R. Department In This Whole Mess?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

There are a few things you could say about White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s reliance on penis-related imagery to insult his colleagues. One is that his puns could use a little work. (Pubis would have been a way more creative replacement for Priebus than Penis. Penis is pretty good, though.) Another is WOW does it feel good to be able to laugh at some Trump administration screw-up, because this one doesn’t substantively destroy people’s lives! The third thing you could say is this: In any other workplace, under any other boss, Scaramucci would probably be in the middle of a damning, possibly career-disrupting human resources investigation by now.

According to Slate’s HR head, Heidi Grothaus, claiming that Steve Bannon tries to “suck” his own “cock,” as Scaramucci did in a statement to a New Yorker reporter on Wednesday, is a clear-cut case of spreading lies or rumors about someone’s personal sex life. Because Scaramucci is in a position of authority—he reports directly to the president—this is a textbook example of sexual harassment.

From a legal standpoint, it’s easier to prove sexual harassment if the victim is a member of a protected class. Since Bannon is not suffering discrimination based on, say, sex, race, religion, or disability, he would have a far more difficult case. But Scaramucci’s actions toward Bannon may be severe enough to override that consideration. The communications director of the president of the United States told a national news media outlet that a co-worker attempts to perform fellatio on himself, a vivid, demeaning, widely publicized remark that could very well interfere with Bannon’s ability to do his job effectively. If he spoke up and raised a fuss about it, the president would probably fire him or reduce his already-diminished influence even further, though that would technically be illegal. Enduring Scaramucci’s rumors about his sexual behavior sure seems to be a condition of Bannon’s employment at the White House.

Because let’s be real: A man who deploys the word cock at least three times in a single one-sided rant to a reporter is not going to cool it with the penis talk anytime soon. Penis imagery is Scaramucci’s poetic crutch, a way to sprinkle some colorful man-dust on any otherwise boring sentiment. It’s a jarring form of macho intimidation surely based in deep insecurity, meant both to establish power and to give Scaramucci an inch or two of an advantage in the dick-measuring contest that is taking place in every White House conference room as you read these very words.

Usually, employees trying to prove a case of hostile work environment have to show evidence that it’s a pervasive problem occurring over a period of time. Daily Beast sources say that Scaramucci has been calling Priebus “Penis” for some time now, but that was before he joined the White House staff. If he continues with that moniker, that would almost certainly constitute a hostile work environment for Priebus. If the White House were any other employer, Scaramucci’s behavior would likely mean legal trouble for leadership, too. “The employer becomes liable for the harassment if they know about it, which we know they do, because [New Yorker reporter Ryan] Lizza’s interview was widely shared, and [Scaramucci] acknowledged it on Twitter,” Grothaus told me. “So everybody knows that this is happening, and they didn’t do anything to reasonably prevent it, and they didn’t seem to do anything promptly to correct it.” This could make the White House liable for creating a hostile work environment among its employees.

Needless to say, Americans shouldn’t let some boner-headed notion of an HR investigation get them too excited. In general it is hard to imagine that there is even a shred of HR oversight in this particular White House. But the White House does have an HR department of sorts—the Office of Administration, which manages administrative business within the Executive Office of the President and should handle human resources problems like this one. (Marcia Lee Kelly, director of the Office of Administration, has not responded to a request for comment.) According to Axios, Trump allegedly “loved” Scaramucci’s remarks.

So impressed is the president with Scaramucci’s command of the art of genital metaphor that he seems to be okay with employing a communications director who doesn’t even understand the proper use of the term cock-block. In his New Yorker tirade, Scaramucci used the colorful phrase to mean general obstruction, not the very specific deterrence of sexual success it implies. By adding cock to block, he brought a penis into a matter that had no connection to penises whatsoever. In the world Mooch shares with Trump, there is no block without a cock, no annoying hanger-on with a last name that starts with “P” without a “Penis.” Their circle of allies is shrinking by the day, and it is positively overflowing with dicks.

There’s one other major barrier to holding Scaramucci and the White House accountable for enabling public sexual degradation in the workplace: Someone has to complain. Bannon and Priebus, the direct targets of Scaramucci’s sexual harassment, don’t have to be the ones to report a hostile work environment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—any employees who can prove that Scaramucci’s behavior has made their workplace an abusive or sexually intimidating place, and that their endurance is a condition of their employment, can make a claim. Who in the Trump White House would do such a thing? The chances of a person who willingly joined the offices of a man whose most famous one-liner includes the words “grab” and “pussy” deciding that another one-liner involving the words “suck” and “cock” was one step too far are teensier than Bannon’s torso would have to be for him to successfully commit the alleged act. No one’s going to tattle on Scaramucci when the big boss is the crudest offender of them all.

Man, 18, arrested over ‘abduction’ of missing girl, 15, found after being spotted on train CCTV with mystery companion

by elake @ The Sun

AN 18-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of abduction this evening after a missing teen was found safe and well in Leeds. Margaret Moloney, who was feared kidnapped after she was pictured riding a train with a stranger, finally made contact with her family over the phone in the afternoon. It has not yet been […]

Dove's New Bottles Have a Message, and Some Hate It

Dove's New Bottles Have a Message, and Some Hate It


Newser

They're designed to mimic the shape of women

Horse racing tips: Kempton, Leicester and Hamilton – Templegate’s top betting preview for Monday, September 25

by hfuller @ The Sun

  LIGHT up the bookies with LIGHTNING CHARLIE (4.35 Kempton, nap). Amanda Perrett’s improving handicapper has been competing at a higher level than this on turf and will do better returned to the all-weather. Jim Crowley is back in the saddle and he has a great record on him. Sportsfile WILLYTHECONQUEROR (3.40 Leicester, nb) has tumbled […]

Luke Campbell reveals his father died two weeks before Jorge Linares fight… but hid it so opponent didn’t find ‘weakness’

by jhutchinson @ The Sun

LUKE CAMPBELL revealed his dad’s death left him sobbing every day for two weeks before his WBA lightweight title defeat to Jorge Linares. But Campbell says he kept his heartache under wraps because he did not want Venezuelan Linares, 32, to see “weakness”.   The 2012 Olympic gold medallist lost to a split decision in […]

Federal Prisons Are Now Required to Supply Tampons & Pads to Inmates For Free

Federal Prisons Are Now Required to Supply Tampons & Pads to Inmates For Free

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Federal prisons are now required to provide female inmates with a range of feminine hygiene products free of charge, according to the Bureau of Prisons. “Wardens have the responsibility to ensure female hygiene products such as tampons or pads are made available for free in...

Labour’s traditional working class voters are turning to the Conservatives and ‘will help Theresa May win back a majority’, report claims

by Sun Internet 2 @ The Sun

LABOUR’s traditional working class voters are turning Blue and hold the key to Theresa May remaining in power, a bombshell report claims. A think tank said the Tories and Labour were neck and neck among manual workers at 39 per cent in the Election. The Tories led 47 per cent to 35 per cent among […]

Emmanuel Macron Spent 26,000 Euros on Makeup in Three Months, Enraging the French

Emmanuel Macron Spent 26,000 Euros on Makeup in Three Months, Enraging the French

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

French president and noted hunk Emmanuel Macron came under fire on Thursday after Le Point magazine reported that he’d spent 26,000 euros, or nearly $31,000, on makeup in his first three months in office. His makeup artist, a woman named in reports as Natacha M., has billed the executive branch once for 10,000 euros and again for 16,000 euros since Macron’s inauguration.

Macron’s constituents were not pleased to learn how much taxpayers are laying down to make the president’s already rather comely face more presentable to the public. “26000 € Macron’s makeup budget, just for complexion?” one Twitter user exclaimed. “Imagine if he had to do his eyes, mouth, blush & contour.” Another accused Macron of buying perlimpinpin powder, the French version of snake oil, implying that he isn’t getting his money’s worth.

The president’s office was forced to respond to the revelation, explaining that it had “called in a contractor as a matter of urgency,” forcing the president to pay more than usual. Macron will spend a “significantly reduced” sum in the future, his spokesperson promised.

Every part of this is hilarious: the outrage over how much it costs to make the president pretty; the knowledge that it could cost around $123,000 just to make a man look like he’s not wearing any makeup to begin with; the fact that the Élysée Palace had to come out in defense of its beauty-routine spending. It’s especially funny in light of the fact that Macron’s approval ratings are hovering in the mid-30s right now, in part because of his dramatic budget cuts that caused the head of the French armed forces to resign. If Macron’s even complexion weren’t worth 26,000 euros a quarter, the French government might have been able to pay the salary of another civil servant or two.

Macron’s isn’t the most expensive presidential face France has ever seen. François Hollande reportedly paid 30,000 euros a quarter for his makeup, and Nicolas Sarkozy paid 24,000 euros a quarter for his. In a world that made sense, the hotter presidents would have to spend less on makeup than the less-hot ones. This is definitely not the case in France, but elsewhere in the world, justice (insofar as justice means “sexy people pay less money”) may be served. The hairdresser of Justin Trudeau, one of the most luscious heads of hair in global politics today, only charges $40 a cut.

Chicago Teenager Found Dead in Hotel Freezer

Chicago Teenager Found Dead in Hotel Freezer

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Police are investigating the death of a Chicago teen after she was found dead in a walk-in freezer in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont early Sunday morning. 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins left her home on Friday the Near West Side to attend a party on...

Taylor Swift’s Sexual Assault Testimony Was Sharp, Gutsy, and Satisfying

Taylor Swift’s Sexual Assault Testimony Was Sharp, Gutsy, and Satisfying

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Taylor Swift took the stand on Thursday in a Denver federal courthouse to describe the moment in 2013 when she says she was “violated” by a then–country radio DJ in a way she “had never experienced before.” David Mueller, who was 51 to Swift’s 23 at the time, “grabbed my ass underneath my skirt,” Swift said in her testimony. He “stayed latched on to my bare ass cheek as I moved away from him, visibly uncomfortable.”

Mueller claims he never touched Swift’s butt, explaining at various points that he only touched her “rib cage” and that a colleague was probably the one who groped her. They were posing for a photo, he said, and their body language was awkward but not inappropriate. On the witness stand, Swift did not suffer that argument, insisting that the grope was intentional and could not have been an accident. “It was horrifying, shocking,” she said, according to a BuzzFeed report. “He had a handful of my ass. I know it was him. I thought what he did was despicable.”

On Wednesday, Swift’s mother, Andrea, testified that the family hadn’t gone to the police after the alleged assault because they didn’t want to cause a public uproar. “I did not want this event to define her life,” she said. “I did not want every interview from this point on to have to talk about it.” Instead, they contacted Mueller’s employer—he was backstage at Swift’s concert on a work assignment when the alleged incident took place—who fired him two days later. Two years after that, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million, alleging that she cost him his job for an assault that never happened. She countersued for $1, determined to prove that she wouldn’t back down from what she says is the truth.

When Swift and her team told Mueller’s radio bosses about the alleged assault, they enclosed a photo that appeared to show Mueller with his hand behind Swift’s butt. In court this week, both parties attempted to use that photo, a sealed document that leaked last year, to prove their respective points. Swift’s side says it shows that she’s edging toward Mueller’s girlfriend and away from him, and that his hand is clearly far below her ribcage. Mueller’s attorney Gabe McFarland asked Swift why the photo shows the front of her skirt in place, not lifted up, if Mueller was reaching underneath to grab her butt. “Because my ass is located in the back of my body,” Swift replied. She offered a similar response when asked whether she saw the grope taking place. When McFarland pointed out that the photo shows Swift closer to Mueller’s girlfriend than Mueller himself, Swift answered, “Yes, she did not have her hand on my ass.”

Swift has said several times that she wouldn’t settle with Mueller or let his claims stand because she wants to be a visible example of strength to other women considering their options after a demoralizing sexual violation. Full of rightful exasperation, her testimony on Thursday was a galvanizing example of a so-called victim testimony in which the victim refused to be victimized. Swift was confident in her version of the story, unintimidated by a cross examination that implied she was a liar and unmistakably incensed when McFarland tried to cast doubt on her behavior during the evening in question. Wasn’t Swift critical of her bodyguard, who didn’t prevent such an obvious assault? “I’m critical of your client sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my ass,” she told the attorney. But, McFarland said, Swift could have taken a break in the middle of her meet-and-greet if she was so distraught. “And your client could have taken a normal photo with me,” Swift countered, explaining that a pop star has a responsibility to her fans.

For young fans of Swift’s, hearing a beloved artist speak candidly about the emotional damage of sexual assault and stand up to a courtroom of men trying to prove her wrong could be a formative moment for their developing ideas of gender, sex, and accountability. Swift certainly has advantages most women who endure similar violations will never have: the money and time to mount a strong case against her alleged assailant, the jury-endearing privileges of white skin and a beautiful face, and millions of supporters rallying publicly behind her. And since he’s suing her for money and she’s already one of the biggest superstars in the world, detractors can’t argue, as they so often do in sexual-assault cases, that she’s making up a story for money or fame.

But Swift also faces some of the same obstacles other assault survivors endure if they bring their perpetrators to court. She must relive a distressing moment over and over again to dozens of observers, recounting in detail how her body was allegedly touched without her consent, while lawyers on the other side try their hardest to make her look unreliable, petty, and fake. When McFarland asked her how she felt when Mueller got the boot from his job at the Denver radio station, Swift said she had no response. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,” she said. Later, she continued: “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.” Women who allege sexual assault are scolded all the time for ruining men’s lives, even if those men are proven guilty. Swift’s sharp testimony is a very visible condemnation of that common turn in cases like these. That’s an important message for women who may find themselves in Swift’s position someday, and maybe even more so for the men who’ll be called on to support or rebuff them.

Women Are Taking the Economic Hit From America’s Child Care Deserts

Women Are Taking the Economic Hit From America’s Child Care Deserts

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

In a speech on tax reform in Missouri this week, Donald Trump praised daughter Ivanka for her efforts to get Congress on board with a set of proposed tax credits for child care. “It’s one of her real big beliefs,” Trump said, calling for legislation that helps “parents afford child care and the cost of raising a family.”

The Trump plan, which would give families with child care expenses a few hundred dollars off their income tax bill each spring, would do far more for wealthy families able to pay for child care out of pocket than those struggling to afford the bills that come every week or month. But even families that don’t blink at the exorbitant cost of child care in the U.S. can find themselves in a tough spot when it comes time to choose a provider. About half of Americans live in what the Center for American Progress calls “child care deserts”: neighborhoods with at least 50 children under 5 and either no licensed child care options at all or more than three children for every available child care slot.

According to a new CAP report that analyzed almost 150,000 child care providers in 22 states, 58 percent of rural census tracts, 55 percent of urban tracts, and 44 percent of suburban tracts are child care deserts. Of the states CAP studied, California and New York have the highest proportion of residents living in child care deserts—62 and 61 percent, respectively—while Iowa, with 24 percent of its population in child care deserts, has the lowest. The data includes child care centers, family-based child care providers, Head Start centers, and preschools in each of the 22 states, which account for about two-thirds of the U.S. population.

Those who live in neighborhoods with a dearth of child care providers are disproportionately low-income, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Rural areas with mean incomes below the national average have the highest rate of child care deserts (63 percent), followed by low-income urban areas, high-income rural areas, and high-income urban areas, all of which count more than half their share of census tracts as child care deserts.

The report offers a troubling picture of the child care crisis in America, matching numbers to the anecdotes about the nightmare of finding quality, affordable child care that arise in any circle of parents. It also raises important questions for future scholars to consider—namely, how do families in child care deserts make life with young children work? For most, the answer probably lies in stay-at-home parenting, private nannies or nanny-shares, or some patchwork of part-time work and help from extended family. Sometimes, the few child-care slots available in such child care deserts go to those with money to buy their way in. In a piece on a 2016 poll that found two-thirds of parents saying they had limited “realistic” choices for child care, NPR’s Jessica Deahl reported that one family spent more than $1,000 on wait-list fees at booked-up child care centers, many of which never contacted the parents again after taking their money.

When paired with the extraordinary cost of child care in the U.S., which is higher than the average in-state college tuition and costs more than rent in many towns, the proliferation of child care deserts incentivizes parents to leave the workforce for full-time parenting. For several interrelated reasons—social conditioning, the wage gap, the probability that a baby’s first primary caretaker becomes its permanent one, gender norms that shunt men into higher-paying fields and gender discrimination that privileges them for promotions—in families with two working parents of different genders, the woman will usually be the one to quit her job. In the short term, this seems like it makes sense, and for some families, it’s necessary: A 2014 Pew study found that 34 percent of stay-at-home mothers are living in poverty, compared with 12 percent of working mothers. Nearly half of stay-at-home mothers have a high-school diploma or less, limiting their potential career path. Since the end of the recession, child care costs have grown at nearly twice the inflation rate, making it impossible for many lower-income parents to afford.

But a parent leaving the workforce can have compounding financial drawbacks that stick around long after the kids are out of day care and into school. Studies have shown that a woman’s earnings fall 10 percent for every two years she’s out of a job, a consequence that follows her for the rest of her working life. Unaffordable and unavailable child care preserves structures of income inequality by incentivizing cash-strapped women to stay home, then punishing them when they do.

Trump has proposed loosening regulations on day cares to encourage entrepreneurial-minded people to open more child care centers and relieve the shortage. That is a preposterous solution based on an inaccurate characterization of the industry: Child care facilities are already underregulated in some places, such as Alabama, where day cares are using religious loopholes to evade child-endangerment charges for putting kids in dangerous, undersupervised settings. Save for a few extreme examples like Washington, D.C.’s absurd requirement that child care workers have college degrees, child care regulations aren’t bits of bureaucratic nonsense that hamper business earnings for no good reason—for children, they’re a matter of life or death. The problem of child care deserts could be better tackled through subsidies that allow child care workers to earn a living wage without pricing out parents, making it a more desirable career path. That strategy comes with a bonus: If subsidies helped more people comfortably afford child care, they might choose to stay at work and use it.

Republican Congressman Would Totes Duel With These GOP Lady Senators if They Weren’t Ladies

Republican Congressman Would Totes Duel With These GOP Lady Senators if They Weren’t Ladies

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

A congressman from Texas has caught a belated case of Hamilton fever, suggesting that female opponents of the Senate GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare have narrowly avoided an “Aaron Burr–style” showdown with him.

In an interview with a conservative Corpus Christi AM radio station, Rep. Blake Farenthold blamed “some female senators from the Northeast” for standing in the way of a move just 13 percent of Americans support. The four-term congressman said that if those senators were not women but “a guy from south Texas,” he might “ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr–style.” For readers not following along in their history books, that means a duel in which two political opponents spin around really quickly and try to shoot each other, leading to one participant’s tragic death, the other’s political downfall, and the centuries-later creation of a hit Broadway musical only fancy people get to see.

Farenthold is right that three Republican women in the Senate recently blocked a vote on Obamacare repeal, protecting health care access for tens of millions of Americans. But he is mistaken about their geographical provenance. Only one, Sen. Susan Collins, is from the Northeast—Maine, as it were. The other two hail from West Virginia (Shelley Moore Capito) and Alaska (Lisa Murkowski), the latter of which happens to be the westernmost state in the union. To be fair to Farenthold, it is also the northernmost. And if the International Date Line were straight instead of squiggly, Alaska’s Near Islands and Rat Islands would cross it, making them very, very far east of Farenthold.

The fact that a sitting congressman just came a nosehair’s breadth from threatening to murder three women in his party with a gun should be disturbing. Unfortunately, have you seen Rep. Blake Farenthold? The guy who goes around in public wearing duck-printed footie pajamas? He hasn’t exactly made front-page news for the kind of agility and cunning that might help him in an Aaron Burr­–style shootout. His headlines read more like “Former Staffer Lawsuit Accuses Congressman of Hitting on Her, Generally Being a Total Creep,” a 2014 ditty published after an ex-employee of Farenthold’s congressional office sued him for flirting when he was drunk, suggesting that they might have a sexual relationship, telling staff that a lobbyist had asked him for a threesome, and admitting that he had “wet dreams” about the staffer.

Farenthold also made news last October in the wake of the leaked Access Hollywood tape that showed Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, when the consummate gentleman said on television that he’d “consider” continuing to endorse Trump even if a hypothetical video showed the then-candidate saying, literally, “I really like to rape women.” In simpler terms: To Farenthold, m’ladies Collins, Murkowski, and Capito are too womanly to be subject to Farenthold’s punishment (death) for having the wrong opinions, but other women who might be raped by the president can go ahead and fend for themselves, because it would be better to have an admitted rapist in the White House than Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

It’s very convenient that Farenthold has identified his enemies as “some female senators,” since he believes a man’s moral code precludes dueling with women. That way, he never has to actually duel anyone! With the caveat that we do not condone political violence, Slate would like to suggest that Farenthold take up his Senate beef with Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who has said he would vote against Obamacare repeal. If Farenthold is as manly and murderous as he would have the public believe, he will take his anti–health care rage out on someone he’ll allow to return fire.

One dead and six wounded after gunman opens fire on OAP worshippers in Nashville church

by dcollins @ The Sun

ONE woman is dead and at least six people are wounded after a gunman opened fire on worshippers outside a Tennessee church this morning. The attacker was among those injured during the bloodbath, police in Nashville said. The female victim was gunned down in the church’s car park while the church’s pastor was shot in […]

Chloe Ferry looks worse for wear as she slumps against a wall after wild night out

by Olivia Waring @ The Sun

GEORDIE Shore star Chloe Ferry slumps against a wall and bashes her head after hours of boozing in her native Newcastle in these shocking snaps. The reality TV favourite, 22, struggled to stay upright as she emerged from a club in the early hours, and had to get a pal to help her walk after […]

Herbalife And Its Distributors Face RICO Complaint

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

Lawsuit against Herbalife claims attending events is a losing strategy.

The post Herbalife And Its Distributors Face RICO Complaint appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Christina Brown of LoveBrownSugar Shines Bright in New Dove Ad Campaign

Christina Brown of LoveBrownSugar Shines Bright in New Dove Ad Campaign


In Her Shoes

On January 10, 2017, Dove celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the iconic Beauty Bar and the evolution of the beauty standard. Digital media maven Christina Brown of LoveBrownSugar has partnered with Dove to celebrate the legacy of the Dove Beauty Bar in an...

One Writer Wants to Replace MILFs With WHIPs: “Women Who Are Hot, Intelligent, and in Their Prime”

One Writer Wants to Replace MILFs With WHIPs: “Women Who Are Hot, Intelligent, and in Their Prime”

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The cool thing right now is to totally reject all labels because you don’t want to box yourself in, or because human identity exists on an infinite number of intersecting spectrums, and so on and so forth. Bibi Lynch, a writer who recently wrote a piece about dating men in their 20s as a 51-year-old, doesn’t care. If people are going to insist on calling her a cougar or a MILF, she’s going to re-label herself as a WHIP.

That stands for Women who are Hot, Intelligent, and in their Prime. It’s not the best acronym—those unaccounted-for, uncapitalized filler words are gnawing at my insides, though I get that WWAHIAITP does not pack the same punch—but it’s certainly more flattering than one that equates maturity with motherhood. On This Morning, a British daytime talk show, Lynch explained that cougar sounds “very predatory, and a bit sly, and a bit creepy,” making it something few women would want to be, and “with cougar, the men are prey,” making it kind of an insult to them, too. Dating a cougar might sound hot, but being a raccoon or small rodent does not.

Instead, Lynch posits, those men should be called “really bloody lucky.” But it would be a lot cuter if they were known as COOLWHIPs (Chaps who Ogle, Osculate, and Love WHIPs) or REDDIWHIPs (Real Easygoing Dudes who Date Intoxicating WHIPs) or WHIPPETs (WHIP’s Partner and Enduring Teammate).

The only part of this new acronym I’d quibble with is the part about middle-aged or older women being in their prime. Everyone’s got a different prime! Some cool girls peak in high school and love looking back on the good ol’ days; others would rather battle a live cougar on its own mountainous turf than revisit their teen years. Some women in their 50s have “poreless, firm-jawed men” who are “clever, successful, creative, and absurdly hot” slipping into their DMs, as Lynch says she does; others are probably very glad they don’t.

But the only thing better than no labels is a ton of labels, so if there is going to be WHIPs, there should also be WADDLERs (Women who Ably Dismantle Dioramas of Little Elves and Rabbits), WEGMANs (Women who only Empty their Garbage once a Month so their kitchen Area smells Nasty), and WHOOPS (Women who are Healthy, Open, Out there, but also demonically Possessed, Sorry).

These women should be able to choose from a wide variety of men likewise labeled for easy identification. They will shun MENSTRUATEs (Men who Exploit Nepotism, Spill Tanqueray on Restaurant employees, don’t Understand Anything, and Take Eons to do their hair) and MEGABABEs (Men who Employ Gaslighting And Badgering to Alienate their Beautiful, Elegant romantic partners) and run straight into the arms of MORDORs (Men who are Out of Reasons to Delay Ordering Refills for the water purifier) and MUPPETs (Men who Undulate their Pelvises Politely Every Time they hit the clerb).

Those who still refuse to be labeled can stick with a nice, nongendered PEEN: People who are Energetic, Empathetic, and Not here for your objectifying acronyms.

Dove Uses Its Own "Alternative Facts" in This Hilarious New Ad That Mocks Trump

Dove Uses Its Own "Alternative Facts" in This Hilarious New Ad That Mocks Trump


POPSUGAR Beauty

There's no denying that Donald Trump's first few weeks in office have been action-packed, to say the least. Though some powerhouse companies like Google and

Sanaa Lathan Shaves Her Head For Netflix Movie

Sanaa Lathan Shaves Her Head For Netflix Movie

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Sanaa Lathan is currently filming the Netflix movie, Nappily Ever After, and has gone through many hair changes for the film. Earlier this summer she debuted a blond look: Do blondes really have more fun? Hmmm.. Let's see.The first of MANY hair changes for #Violet,...

Louise Linton’s Latest Instagram Post Makes a Powerful Case for Just How Much She Sucks

Louise Linton’s Latest Instagram Post Makes a Powerful Case for Just How Much She Sucks

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Therapists will tell you not to get too discouraged when flipping through Instagram, where everyone’s seemingly fabulous lives play out in streams of infinity pools and brunch plates that obey the rule of thirds. Those plastered-on smiles aren’t real, therapists will say—they mask the yawning void of despair that exists within us all, urging us to curate a better-looking version of our lives for the benefit and envy of others.

No moment in recent history has so perfectly captured this comforting truth than the massive muck-up committed by Louise Linton, wife of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The 36-year-old posted a Monday night Instagram photo of herself stepping off a military plane onto the runway like she was someone who mattered, dressed in all white like she had all the Tide pens in the world. “Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside,” she wrote, as if #people were a useful hashtag and Kentucky were a desirable daytrip location. Then Linton tagged her #rolandmouret pants, #hermesscarf, and #tomford “sunnies,” as if any being in the universe gave a crap about the provenance of the treasury secretary’s wife’s Kentucky pants.

Manicured and serene as she looked in the photo, Linton exposed her inner gremlin in the comments, where a 45-year-old woman named Jenni Miller wrote, “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable.” SPLURBJJJ. That noise was Miller’s remark hitting Linton’s exposed class-anxiety nerve dead on! Like the man she was in Kentucky to serve, Linton responded to general political criticism with personal insults based on a truly perverted understanding of the U.S. government. “Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country?” Linton wrote. “I’m pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day ‘trip’ than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours.” After getting guff for the comment, Linton made her account private and deleted the post, temporarily hiding her shame.

The logic in Linton’s argument could outwobble her pair of #valentinorockstudheels. Does being rich exempt hedge-fund managers like Mnuchin from criticism? Should regular people feel forever indebted to the wealthy just because they pay taxes, as is required by law? Do people whose families own literal castles, as Linton’s does, have more of a right to waste government funds than the rest of us? Maybe, maybe not—but as a public figure, Linton should have a better response to mean online comments than “lol ur poor.” If you can’t take the heat, get out of the devil’s White House!

“You’re adorably out of touch,” Linton continued in her comment to Miller, after stalking the private citizen’s Instagram account. “Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you’re mad but deep down you’re really nice and so am I. Sending me passive aggressive Instagram comments isn’t going to make life feel better.” Linton could have been writing this to herself in a therapy-mandated diary. Instagram sniping doesn’t dull the horror of human life on this planet. Only money does.

Why Dove's latest ad is divisive, discriminatory and down-right dangerous for mums - Independent.ie

Why Dove's latest ad is divisive, discriminatory and down-right dangerous for mums - Independent.ie


Independent.ie

Whatever choice you make as a parent, we support you.

Homophobia Allegations From the Daughter of Bulleit Bourbon’s Founder Are Rocking the Beverage Industry

Homophobia Allegations From the Daughter of Bulleit Bourbon’s Founder Are Rocking the Beverage Industry

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

In January 2017, Hollis Bulleit announced that she was leaving her job at Diageo, one of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage producers, and owner of Bulleit Bourbon. The daughter of Bulleit Bourbon founder Tom Bulleit, Hollis is well-known in the beverage industry for her longtime service to her family’s company, her elaborate headwear—she recently sold a collection of six of her homemade fascinators to help pay her “legal fees”—and her winning demeanor. Many were surprised by her departure from the brand she’d repped for more than a quarter-century, but few knew why they’d parted ways.

Over the past few days, Hollis has published several lengthy Facebook posts explaining what went down, from her perspective. According to her, the Bulleit family refused to accept her queer identity when she came out 10 years ago, and they rejected her decade-long partnership with a woman named Cher. While the spouses and partners of her siblings were included in family photos and press for the company, Hollis writes, she and Cher were excluded from major events and slowly edged out of the picture. Hollis, who has been publicly out for many years, says she was informed in December that she no longer had a job with Diageo; Diageo claims it offered her a multi-year renewed contract but was unable to agree with Hollis on the terms.

She helped break ground on the company’s new distillery in 2014, but says Cher didn’t get an invite. Neither was asked to attend the grand opening in March, Hollis alleges. “In 2008, I was asked to come home for Christmas; yet Cher was not invited,” Hollis wrote on July 31. “The only holiday that we attended was Thanksgiving in 2016, and then we were promptly uninvited via text from the following core family Christmas.”

Her allegations illuminate the complex responsibilities a corporation that owns a family business faces. In these cases, family troubles are de facto workplace troubles, and family homophobia could amount to employee discrimination based on sexual orientation. “Because family was business and intertwined with a global corporation, I find it odd that I did not benefit from the departments and safeguards that are put into place to either intervene or provide mediation or educational diversity training as would be the expected protocol for employees in this type of situation,” Hollis wrote in one of her posts. For several years, the Human Rights Campaign has given Diageo North America a perfect score on its Corporate Equality Index, a measure of companies’ support for LGBTQ employees and issues.

Hollis declined to answer any questions, but told me that she and Diageo “have come to a 24 hour halt” and any press “could mess up legal proceedings.” A Diageo spokesperson had this to say in an emailed statement:

In advance of Hollis’ contract expiring in 2016, we offered her a multi-year extension. Despite it being an increase versus her previous arrangement, we were unfortunately not able to reach agreement with her on this new contract. Any implication that she was fired, or that failure to agree to terms on this contract was due to her LGBT identity, is simply false. We are very proud of our long track record of work, through many of our brands, to support the LGBT community. We are also appreciative of Hollis’s past efforts on behalf of the brand and the industry.

But as Hollis’ claims and Diageo’s clash in the press, the story of Bulleit family infighting has been rocking the beverage industry. “All that is evil, impersonal and dirty about the business is laid bare right here. It’s a rotten affair Bulleit and it’s gonna hurt your brand,” wrote the owner of a Louisville, Kentucky whiskey bar of one of Hollis’ Facebook posts. A representative of a Santa Cruz bar has said the establishment will no longer buy Bulleit “in solidarity with those individuals whom have been rejected by their families for living their authentic lives,” and will use the proceeds from sales of its remaining Bulleit stock to “benefit the LGBTQIA community of Santa Cruz.” Seattle Cocktail Culture, a bar-finding app, posted that Hollis “has been an incredible advocate for American whiskey & her family’s brand,” so the proprietor is “done with Bulleit; that might not help Hollis but I won't be apart of this gross mistreatment.”

“She was the reason the craft bartending community embraced the brand,” Seattle bartender Elizabeth Dingivan posted on Tuesday, “and given the attempts to erase her legacy and co-opt her work, we are prepared to move on from Bulleit as a brand altogether.”

Now, Hollis worries that she won’t be able to find new work in alcohol brand promotion at age 43 without recommendations from her former employer. And she writes that she was surprised to learn that she can’t trademark her own name and start a new whiskey company under that moniker because Diageo would legally be able to challenge the brand’s name for being too close to Bulleit Bourbon.

Among some in the beverage industry, though, Hollis’ name still means something, even if it has no more connection to the brand she helped build. New Orleans bar owner T. Cole Newton writes that he took the occasion of an annual gathering of bartenders “to respectfully tell Tom Bulleit publicly and in person how much harder it is to support his brand without someone like his daughter Hollis involved.” Diageo and Bulleit Bourbon may have to come up with a better explanation for Hollis’ dissatisfaction if they want to keep the business of such proprietors. For those bartenders and business owners, loyalty to the brand means loyalty to the woman who helped get them hooked.

The Honest Company’s Cleaning Products

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

August 2017: A federal judge granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement. A final fairness hearing is scheduled for December 15, 2017. For more information, go to https://www.slssettlement.com/. June 2017: Plaintiffs moved for preliminary approval of a settlement of this consolidated action. According to the proposed settlement terms, class members may receive a refund or

The post The Honest Company’s Cleaning Products appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Do you think you are beautiful: Dove's 'Choose Beautiful' campaign - The Designers Studio

Do you think you are beautiful: Dove's 'Choose Beautiful' campaign - The Designers Studio


The Designers Studio

Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty debuted in Canada in 2004...the hugely successful Dove campaign for Real Beauty turned eleven years old. Not only has the campaign been useful in encouraging diversity in beauty, it has also been one of most successful advertising campaigns of the decade...

Laverne Cox Stars in Beyoncé’s New Ivy Park Campaign

Laverne Cox Stars in Beyoncé’s New Ivy Park Campaign

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

In August, Laverne Cox announced that she was working with Beyonce´on a new project, and now we know exactly what she had up her sleeves. On Wednesday, the newest Ivy Park campaign launched, and Cox was front and center. On Instagram, she shared a photo...

Why New Accounts of R. Kelly’s Sexual Manipulation of Young Women Could Finally Bring Him Down

Why New Accounts of R. Kelly’s Sexual Manipulation of Young Women Could Finally Bring Him Down

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

R. Kelly has led a charmed career. Through a trial on child pornography charges, repeated allegations of sexual manipulation, and multiple lawsuits from teenage girls claiming he raped and abused them, the singer has remained a bankable superstar. He collaborated with Lady Gaga in 2014 and toured on a new album to roaring arenas as recently as last summer.

A new report from music critic Jim DeRogatis, who first broke the story of Kelly’s alleged pattern of abuse in the late ‘90s, may at last chip away at the singer’s enduring reputation among his fans. At BuzzFeed, DeRogatis relays the strikingly similar stories of two sets of parents who say they saw their teenage girls courted, subjugated, and essentially brainwashed into sexual arrangements with Kelly. Three of Kelly’s former lovers and employees confirm that Kelly puts up several women in two of his properties in the Chicago and Atlanta areas, where they are forced to cut off all connection with family, friends, and the outside world. Two sources call the setup, in which Kelly financially supports the young women in exchange for total control of their movements and appearance, a “cult.”

The parents who spoke to DeRogatis say Kelly wooed their respective daughters, who were 19 and 17 at the time, with promises of a leg up in the music industry. He invited them backstage at his shows, listened to their demos, and convinced their parents that he could help realize their dreams. Soon, the parents say, their daughters moved into Kelly’s (multiple) homes and stopped returning parental phone calls. According to named sources who used to live or work with Kelly, the women who occupy Kelly’s properties must obey his orders on their diets, bathing habits, and daily schedules. They are not allowed to laugh at other men’s jokes or look at other men in the room, the sources say, and they cannot contact family members or leave the house without permission. All their sex acts with Kelly, for which they’ve been coached by older girlfriends of his, are allegedly recorded. When the women disobey, sources told DeRogatis, Kelly doles out physical punishment. They must ask him before doing so much as using the toilet. But when two parents filed a missing-person report for their daughter and asked police to check up on her after they hadn’t heard from her in a while, they were told that their daughter was fine and simply asked to be left alone. Though her parents say she’s being held against her will in a “cult,” the young woman is above the legal age of consent and has every right to enter a nonmonogamous relationship in which her every move is prescribed by a man 30 years her senior.

Many readers will absorb DeRogatis’ report with shock and disgust, but many of the conditions he describes, like Kelly requiring that the women call him “Daddy” and inform him of their daily underwear color, would not be out of place in an account of a consenting dominant-submissive relationship. Others, like Kelly’s isolation of the women from their families and friends, are clear tactics of emotional abuse. And his pattern of luring teenage girls into his orbit with promises of stardom, only to groom them into devoted concubines, is obviously immoral.

Even if the women living together at Kelly’s behest decided to leave, though, they would have a hard time making a case against him. By all accounts from DeRogatis’ sources, including police reports, Kelly’s lovers have not been kidnapped or falsely imprisoned. And unlike previous survivors of his manipulation and sexual intimidation, none are underage. The seeming legality of Kelly’s coercive arrangement may give committed fans and money-hungry entertainment corporations yet another reason to blow off the incessant accusations of his misconduct. Some may hear about this new report and think, “Who am I to judge another man’s sex life?” or, worse, “Sounds like he’s living the dream!” There will always be an acceptable justification available to someone dead set on buying Kelly’s records or hiring him to help make an R&B hit.

But DeRogatis’ piece could still be the death knell to the 50-year-old singer’s reputation. In the fall of 2014, amid resurgent public interest in longstanding sexual-assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Josh Levin wondered in Slate what it would take to bring Kelly down, too. A named victim coming forward with her story could do the trick, he suggested, since the general public has given far more credence to sexual-assault survivors in the past few years. A dozen or more of Kelly’s previous alleged victims have settled out of court for cash and nondisclosure agreements, preventing them from talking about their lawsuits. In his article, DeRogatis names two former lovers of Kelly’s who offer details of his obsessive control over several women’s lives. Their decision to use their real names could give them some credibility among Kelly stans who still believe members of a highly sophisticated conspiracy manufactured a tape depicting child rape to try to bring him down.

The BuzzFeed piece also offers a narrative proxy for Kelly fans who are skeptical of his alleged victims. The devastated mothers of two of Kelly’s current girlfriends say they were R. Kelly fans—“a lyrical genius,” one says—and trusted him to guide their starstruck teens through the music industry. One mother says she was “led to believe there was no truth” to the sexual-abuse allegations against Kelly, since he was acquitted of the child pornography charge in 2008. “Now I got all of these people asking about why my daughter is there, telling me, ‘All of that, the charges against Kelly, was true,’” she tells DeRogatis. “Well, how come you didn’t tell me that before?” The other mother says she wasn’t concerned about Kelly’s 1994 marriage to then-15-year-old Aaliyah because she grew up listening to one of the more creepily-titled songs the two artists created together, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” and liked it.

All the tools the public needs to snuff out Kelly’s career are here: a demonstrated pattern of preying on teen girls, an easily available online chronicle of the allegations against Kelly, on-the-record sources with firsthand knowledge of his abuse and sexual manipulation. But a fire with a healthy supply of oxygen will continue to burn. As long as celebrities and music-industry executives keep working with Kelly—in other words, choosing moneymaking over the safety, dignity, and wellbeing of young women—fans will have plausible deniability of Kelly’s alleged deeds. If you can’t trust a man who sang holiday tunes against a backdrop of twinkle lights on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show just seven months ago, that means you can’t trust Jimmy Fallon. For people invested in the art and image of Kelly, it may be easier to call dozens of unfamous women liars than to face one man’s unfortunate truth.

Ex-Strictly Come Dancing pro dancers James and Ola Jordan say Debbie McGee was ‘absolutely unbelievable’ — and should have been top of the leader board

by modonnell @ The Sun

EX-Strictly pro dancers James and Ola Jordan give their judgment on the weekend’s action: JAMES said: “Debbie was absolutely unbelievable. “She was a little bit out of control at times but she was by far the best performance of the night and should have been top of the leader board. “I believe Aston is going […]

Bachelor in Paradise’s Cast-Wide Convo About Consent Was a Ridiculously Transparent Bid to Rehab Its Brand

Bachelor in Paradise’s Cast-Wide Convo About Consent Was a Ridiculously Transparent Bid to Rehab Its Brand

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

This season of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise caused controversy before it had even begun. Two months before this week’s premiere, producers suspended taping within the first week of production in Mexico amid allegations of sexual misconduct within the cast. DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios had hooked up after a day of drinking, and she alleged that she was too drunk to really remember (or consent to) the encounter. Contestants who gave anonymous accounts to media outlets said they were angry at producers who saw the encounter take place and did nothing to stop it; one producer even sued the production company for allegedly letting an assault occur.

But an internal Warner Bros. investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by any cast members, so the remaining contestants returned to carry on with the season as planned. On Tuesday, the second night of the two-day premiere, they showed up on the beach like they were returning to the scene of a tragic shipwreck, uttering breathless musings like “I don’t think anyone expected to be back here” and “I hope this is a fresh reset on love.” Before they got to work finding love, host Chris Harrison sat the cast members down to have a heart-to-heart about alcohol, racism, consent, and restoring the reputation of the Bachelor franchise.

No reasonable person would expect a reality-show host to be an adequate guidance counselor—Harrison is far better qualified to coax romantic platitudes out of fame-hungry meatheads than to lead a reflection session on sexual propriety. He had to fill that position anyway, no matter how uncomfortably the “very special episode” shoes fit, because the sexual assault allegations had called the very premise of Bachelor in Paradise into question. Unlike the regular Bachelor and Bachelorette, this more gender-balanced iteration keeps a steady supply of fresh bodies coming in as others are eliminated, encouraging contestants to partner-swap and explore new options. With an equally steady stream of alcohol flowing and the pressure to do enough interesting stuff to get airtime and stick around for the next episode, it’s almost surprising that there hasn’t been a public accusation of sexual misconduct on Bachelor in Paradise before.

The main objective of the sit-down chat about the assault, then, was to convince viewers that nothing untoward happened during taping, that the media blew the whole incident out of proportion, that Jackson was a victim of racist stereotyping, and, crucially, that the events depicted on the show are spontaneous reflections of the true selves of the cast. Luckily, Harrison is well-practiced in feeding lines to willing participants. Did the cast trust the conclusion of the WB investigation? Did they think race played a role in the unfair treatment of Jackson in the press? Yes, they all nodded. “Taylor, have you ever had a drink on any of the Bachelor shows?” Harrison asked the one sober contestant, Taylor Nolan, in a back-and-forth on how involved producers are in the show. “I’ve never had a drink on the show,” she replied. Harrison pressed on: “Have you ever been asked to have a drink?” “Nope,” Nolan answered. Those answers may be true, but they’d be a lot more convincing if Harrison didn’t sound like he was direct-examining a witness for the defense.

Drunken hookups happen all the time on the show, but this is the first time both a producer and a cast member have made allegations of a sexual assault against a contestant. That suggests that something out of the ordinary went on: Maybe Olympios looked really out of it during the sexual activity, or was drunk enough to raise questions of consent among viewers, even if investigators saw no reason for concern. Either way, the producers of Bachelor in Paradise recognized that the show looked bad for allowing it to happen in press accounts of the alleged encounter. So they took a page out of the president’s book and started casting doubt on the press. “Journalism is dead, and long gone on every level,” Harrison told Variety in a promotional interview for the show. “What really astounded me was the level of incompetence—things that were said and printed by quote-unquote reputable media, and reputable print, and even TV.” He accused news outlets of printing things that weren’t true; during the cast chit-chat that aired this week, cast members said members of the media shamed Olympios for having sex and calling Jackson a sexual predator when he hadn’t been charged with a crime. “I think there was a lot in the media regarding the producers, as if they’re not our friends, and that they’re just using us to make us do things, like we’re gonna just do whatever they say,” one contestant said. “And maybe you can explain what really does happen,” Harrison urged. Another guy explained that the producers aren’t doing the  “puppetmaster thing,” that all the friendships on the show are totally real. “You guys aren’t mindless robots?” Harrison asked with a laugh. It couldn’t have been a better plug for reality TV if they’d planned it.

For all the purported neutrality of the discussion, Olympios’ reputation came away with the bulk of the damage, while Jackson’s got a fair bit of rehabilitation. Nolan noted that the cast members shouldn’t expect to “be babysat by production,” that “the things we say, how much we drink, who we kiss, we’re responsible for all of it.” “Just like the real world,” a contestant named Derek said, shaking his head with a smirk. “If we order a drink, we order that drink. We request that drink.” The implication there is that neither DeMario nor producers should be held responsible for any overintoxication that led to a less-than-consensual sexual encounter—that any alleged harm Olympios suffered was her own fault. Harrison drove the point home: “In Corinne’s statement she referred to herself as a victim. Why do you think she did that?” The cast accused Olympios of trying to “save face” after being promiscuous, then hiding behind a vague “lawyer statement.” No one—not even Harrison, who was supposed to be leading an adult conversation on slut-shaming and consent—challenged that notion.

The most insulting part of the whole ordeal involved race, another complex topic a reality show about finding true love in two weeks is ill-equipped to confront. After Diggy Moreland, a black contestant, said he worried for DeMario’s future job prospects, a white woman, Raven Gates, chimed in with her experience as a Southerner. “We have a stigma where seeing a white woman with a black man is wrong, and that night, what happened wasn’t wrong,” Gates said. “And so I was super empathetic with DeMario, because … not only is consent important, but it’s also to get rid of the stigma that interracial couples can’t be, or blaming African-American men for crimes they didn’t commit.” Yes, there is a long history in the U.S. of black men losing their freedom and, in some cases, their lives because of white women’s false accusations of sexual assault. But invoking it in a case where there’s still a lot of unknowns trivializes a vitally important issue and may lead some viewers to question the truth of that history. Since there’s been no trial or verdict, it’s wrong to say Jackson committed a crime. It’s equally wrong to say Olympios lied, or that she did so to get Jackson in trouble.

By the end, what should have been a quick acknowledgement of the alleged misconduct and a run-through of best practices for sexual consent had turned into a self-exonerating press release for the Bachelor franchise and a thoroughly imbalanced trial of the woman who drew attention to the show’s potential ethical weak spots in the first place. Despite his leading questions, Harrison was unable to cover up one of those spots, leaving viewers with some unanswered questions. The WB investigation found “no evidence of misconduct by cast on the set,” he said at the start, choosing his words carefully. That’s the cast—what about the production team? How are the people who make the show and ultimately shape the experience of the contestants going to move forward? Harrison seemed to show concern for the safety of the contestants, but never contested any of them when they blamed Olympios for drinking too much or accused her of ruining Jackson’s life. Bachelor in Paradise could have made a genuine statement about the importance of consent without taking the side of either Jackson or Olympios. Instead, it used its platform to try and repair its reputation by making a case against the woman who threatened it. What a lesson for its national audience to learn.

We spot a summer staple that will give you Jane Birkin vibes

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

From the Dolce & Gabbana runway to the style bloggers carrying this bag, this summer staple will be a throwback to those Jane Birkin days. While I’m not keen on spending $2,000 on a basket purse, like this Dolce Bag, I scored a cute one from Marshall’s over the weekend that I just had to

The post We spot a summer staple that will give you Jane Birkin vibes appeared first on Fashion Week.

HESEY DESIGNS: Nigerian Brand that Made Shoes For Richard Branson

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

It’s difficult to follow your dream. It’s a tragedy not to. ~Ralph Martson N10,000. That’s all the start-up capital Eseoghene Odiete (aka Ese) had to launch her fashion brand, Hesey Designs, in 2013. Don’t let the zeros fool you though. At that time, it converted to approximately $60. Ese was a new Mass Communication graduate…

The post HESEY DESIGNS: Nigerian Brand that Made Shoes For Richard Branson appeared first on The Designers Studio.

The majority of women say they find men with these more attractive… so do YOU have one?

by jnewton @ The Sun

THEY say that women are looking for men who are tall, dark and handsome. But new research has shown that ladies also find another attribute attractive in men – and its all to do with body art. The research, by dating app Type, showed that 64 per cent of women said that they would prefer […]

Two-year-old girl’s heartbreaking last words to ‘gentle giant’ dad as he lay dying of cancer just eight weeks after diagnosis

by Jacob Dirnhuber @ The Sun

A GRIEVING mum has revealed how her two-year-old daughter whispered “Daddy I love you” to her dying father as he slipped into a coma – just eight weeks after he was first diagnosed with cancer. Brave Emily Alexander was woken at midnight to say goodbye to stricken dad Lou after medics warned that he had […]

Dove has created the 'perfect British mum' - but can you spot what's wrong with her?

Dove has created the 'perfect British mum' - but can you spot what's wrong with her?


The Sun

DOVE’S latest ad campaign involved placing Britain’s “perfect mum” across a massive billboard in London. It’s got mums across the nation fuming thanks to its “en…

North Carolina Political Leaders Say They’re Helpless to Remove Confederate Statues. They’re Wrong.

North Carolina Political Leaders Say They’re Helpless to Remove Confederate Statues. They’re Wrong.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

On Monday evening, 22-year-old Taqiyah Thompson climbed a ladder in front of a North Carolina courthouse and looped a length of webbing around the torso of a likeness of a Confederate soldier. Once she came down, protesters pulled the rope, easily toppling the statue from its base. Its head gave way and flattened into its neck as soon as it hit the ground, a poetic coda to a rich symbolic victory.

Thompson’s action came two days after hundreds of white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of monuments to Confederate generals. In response to violence against counterprotesters that ended in one death and 19 people injured, the president applauded the racist mobs for having a permit and called some of them “very fine people.” Monuments lionizing leaders of the Confederate States of America, Donald Trump intimated, are as valid as those erected to honor George Washington.

Durham County law enforcement defended those monuments yesterday, when officers arrested 22-year-old Thompson after she gave a late-afternoon press conference. Thompson faces two felony charges—inciting and participating in a riot with property damage over $1,500—and two misdemeanors. On Wednesday, the Durham County Sheriff’s Office arrested Dante Strobino, Ngoc Loan Tran and Peter Gilbert, and hit them with the same charges.

Thompson defended their actions in her address at the Tuesday press conference. “Everyone who was there, the people did the right thing,” she said. “The people will continue to keep making the right choices until every Confederate statue is gone, until white supremacy is gone. That statue is where it belongs. It needs to be in the garbage.” Tran called for immunity for the protesters, condemning a statement made by Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, who said that demonstrators should have waited for government entities to remove the statue—a route toward which Cooper has taken some small steps—instead of pulling it down.

But any state-sanctioned action against Confederate monuments will be a long time coming, if it comes at all. Just two summers ago, the North Carolina legislature, with then–Gov. Pat McCrory’s vocal support, passed a law specifically designed to protect statues and plaques that fetishize the militia that fought to preserve slavery. The law prevents any local governments from taking action to move or remove public “objects of remembrance” without an act approved by the heavily Republican, veto-immune General Assembly. Cooper has called for the repeal of this law, expressed support for continued removal of Confederate statues, and directed a state agency to figure out how much it would cost to move the monuments on state property to museums or historical sites. Without the legislature’s backing, these well-meaning nods to decency mean next to nothing.

That doesn’t mean Cooper or town officials are powerless in the face of this law, as they have suggested they are. For a town to face consequences for removing a Confederate monument, someone would have to sue it. That someone would most likely be Josh Stein, North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general. With enough pressure from the public and the support of the governor, who wrote in a Tuesday Medium post that “we cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery,” Stein could choose to let a principled municipal government tear down its monuments to the Confederacy with no repercussions. If leaders of liberal cities like Durham really wanted to take a stand against white supremacy, they could destroy their Confederate statues and dare the state to take them to court over it. They could appeal the verdict as high as the courts would let them, because if landing a blow against the trappings of white supremacy isn’t worth a court fight, what is?

At Tuesday’s press conference, the leaders of the Durham protest challenged their representatives in state and local government to put their ropes and wrecking balls where their mouths are. “We are tired of waiting on politicians who could have voted to remove the white supremacist statues years ago, but they failed to act. So we acted,” Thompson said. Tran expressed doubt that any official action would ever come: “We know that the only thing that's going to take down these Confederate monuments, as we saw in Durham last night, is organized people's power.” Government officials are rarely willing to engage in civil disobedience, even for the most righteous causes. Where they have failed time and again to reject unjust laws and symbols of oppression, civil rights activists have stepped in.

In today’s civil rights movement, black women are some of the boldest and most visible leaders. A video from Monday evening’s protest shows Thompson standing atop a monument dedicated “to the boys who wore the gray” in a war against black humanity, waving her arms as a crowd cheered. Her movements echoed the actions of Bree Newsome, who scaled a flagpole outside the South Carolina Capitol building in 2015 to take down its Confederate flag. This week, Newsome has been speaking with and tweeting in support of Thompson, responding with unwarranted patience to Twitter users who invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s name in defense of the cops who arrested the Durham protesters. “Pulling down monument 2 racism while harming no one is nonviolent direct action,” she informed one person who claimed the demonstrator “tarnishes” the cause. “Does Boston Tea Party tarnish the American Revolution?” Neither tea nor statues can feel, bleed, or lose their livelihoods and voting rights after a felony conviction. Nonviolent protesters on the right side of history can.

School Supply Lists Have Gotten Ridiculously Long and Expensive. Here’s Why.

School Supply Lists Have Gotten Ridiculously Long and Expensive. Here’s Why.

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

If you’re not a parent, you may remember shopping for school supplies as an enjoyably quaint activity: a quick trip to the store to pick out a new Trapper Keeper, and some shiny folders, along with a few boxes of crayons, pencils, and a bright pink eraser.

When I asked parents on Facebook to share their children’s lists, my inbox started filling up immediately with exasperated responses. One mother who has two kids in public school outside Dallas said she spent $180 fulfilling their “ridiculous” lists this year. Her third-grader’s extensive list includes six plastic pocket folders with brads (specifically: red, blue, yellow, orange, green, and purple), Fiskars-brand scissors (sharp point), a four-pack of Expo markers, and 48 No. 2 pencils. As the lists have become cumbersome to fulfill, PTAs and online services have stepped in to bundle supplies for a fee. (Many parents who contributed to this story asked that their names not be used to avoid upsetting their children’s teachers and school administrators.)

Today, many parents describe it differently. School-supply lists are now often shockingly long, requesting dozens of specific and sometimes expensive items. They include particular brands: Prang watercolors, Ticonderoga pencils, Elmer’s glue sticks. “Pens” are no longer good enough; only “Black Papermate Flair Porous-Point Medium-Point Pens” will do. And the definition of “school supplies” has expanded to include items like tissues, sanitizing wipes, locker shelves, and plastic baggies. The requests are the stuff of parody in parenting magazines and laments on private Facebook pages. Comedian Dana Blizzard’s response to the belly-aching was passed around widely on Facebook this week. “I’ve been noticing lately, when people are doing their back to school shopping, everybody’s complaining,” she tells the camera, tossing microwaves and jugs of glue into her cart as she wheels through Target. “My thing is: Listen. It’s the end of August. I will give you anything to take my kids.”

The lists vary widely between classrooms and schools, even within the same city. One single working mother whose daughter is starting kindergarten on the Upper East Side of Manhattan estimates that fulfilling the detailed 38-item list will cost her $300. The list includes foaming hand-soap (Babyganics or Method brand), four rolls of Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels, and Staples white shipping labels (2”-by-4”). “I think it’s absurd,” the mother told me. No working parent “has this kind of money or leisure time to surf Amazon Prime for this crap.” Meanwhile, the father of a second-grader in Park Slope, Brooklyn, got a note asking for just $20 to cover four simple items that the teacher will purchase for the students. “Over the years I have felt that school supply lists have become expensive and specific,” the teacher wrote to parents. “It is my hope that by eliminating the expense of exhaustive supply lists, budgets might be freed up for your family and field trip admission over the course of the school year.”

The short explanation for supply inflation is that as education budgets shrink so, too, do schools’ stores of basic items. Teachers routinely spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on classroom supplies, especially in poor areas. Jane Steffler, who recently retired as a kindergarten teacher outside Chicago, had free access to a well-stocked supply room when she taught at a wealthy district in the 1970s. At the low-income district she worked for in the late 1980s, supplies were kept in a locked closet but could still be freely requested. Later, the supply room closed for good, and teachers were given a small fixed budget for their classrooms—forced to spend their own money or make requests for parents if they ran out of supplies during the school year. “We really tried to not ask more of the parents than we thought we needed,” she said. “I don’t know a teacher who hasn’t paid for everything in their room.” Another teacher told me she usually spends about $500 a year on stocking her classroom. Some teachers now set up Amazon wish-lists or otherwise let parents know how they can contribute beyond basic supplies.

Long lists aren’t strictly a public school phenomenon, but that seems to be where the most public parental umbrage is focused. One teacher told me that at his wealthy private school, spare lockers were stuffed to the brim with leftover supplies, and yet some classroom’s annual lists cost parents $150 to fulfill. Complaints were rare. At the low-income public school at which he taught before that, teachers worked hard to keep supply lists sparse, but they had to account for the fact that only about half of the students would arrive in September with all the requested items. When he wanted to make sure that every child in the classroom had access to certain items, he simply bought them himself.

Paltry budgets explain why many lists are so long—though I admit it’s hard for me to peruse the Upper East Side kindergarten’s list and wonder if kids really need six different Crayola marker packs to succeed. (In case you’re curious: thin “classic,” thin “bold,” thick “classic,” thick “bold,” thick “tropical,” and “multicultural.”) But why do teachers request such specific brands and sizes? In many cases, they pool all the supplies together in order to help families who can’t afford to contribute supplies. It is not uncommon in low-income districts for some children to show up with no supplies from home. And quality really does vary widely, teachers told me: Cheap pencils snap frequently and sharpen unevenly; no-name watercolors are more like useless plastic pods than paint. Most teachers do factor in the cost for parents when making their lists. “One year some parents got together and made a large push for all eco-friendly supplies,” described one teacher, who declined the request due to cost. “While their hearts were in the right place, they were very out of touch with the population of the families at the school since roughly 60 percent fall below the poverty line."

The cost of all these pens, pencils, and Fiskars Blunt-Tip Safety Scissors is obvious. Less obvious is who is paying the price. When I asked parents on Facebook for feedback on their children’s lists, I got more than 40 responses. Two were from men replying in their capacity as teachers, and two of them were from fathers with information about their children’s supply lists. The rest were from mothers. Many of the women sent along homemade spreadsheets and described detailed plans to visit multiple stores to save money; they keep track of local sales, and devise systems for consolidating leftover supplies at the end of the school year and preparing them for next year’s requests. Meanwhile, women make up about three-quarters of public school teachers—the ones spending hundreds of dollars of their own salaries to stock their classrooms. As education budgets shrivel so dramatically that Kleenex have become luxury items, it’s women who are spending the time and money to keep schools running.

Laura Ingraham Has Deep Ties to an Anti-Feminist Group That Pooh-Poohs Claims of Sexual Harassment

Laura Ingraham Has Deep Ties to an Anti-Feminist Group That Pooh-Poohs Claims of Sexual Harassment

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Seven current and former employees of LifeZette, the news website founded by right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham, have accused the site’s CEO and co-founder of using their workplace as his private sexual water cooler. According to sources interviewed by Daily Beast reporters, Peter Anthony made repeated sexual remarks about his female colleagues both behind their backs and when they were close enough to hear him.

Anthony allegedly loved “talking about other women’s boobs, butts” and how he wanted to have sex with women in the office, a former IT employee said. Another former worker said Anthony wondered aloud “Is it just me or are [female co-worker’s] tits getting bigger?” and said another colleague looked like “a bitch” who would be “sexier” if she smiled. Others said Anthony would talk to a senior editor in the office, loudly enough so that others could hear, about the body parts of young women in the office.

These allegations shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Ingraham’s career. Two decades before she supported a serial sexual harasser for president, she cut her teeth at the Independent Women’s Forum, a nonprofit that grew out of a committee formed to support Clarence Thomas when Anita Hill testified that the then–Supreme Court nominee had subjected her to persistent sexual harassment. The group sought to discredit Hill, arguing that she was making it all up. Since then, the IWF has taken a vocal anti-feminist stance on almost every social and fiscal issue—and Ingraham, as a member and one-time spokeswoman, has amplified the group’s message.

The IWF worldview holds that women who allege harassment, sexual assault, sex discrimination, and domestic violence are often exaggerating and making themselves into victims when they should be taking responsibility for their own roles in the harm that’s come to them. University efforts to combat campus rape are causing boys to die by suicide, IWF worries. Efforts to prevent wage discrimination are unfair to men who are just plain better than women at their jobs. Sexual harassment training is “harmful” because it leads to “people assuming the worst of each other and forcing everyone to walk on eggshells lest they offend someone else,” the IWF contended in 2016, arguing that women encourage a double standard—they love sexual advances from hot guys, but cry harassment when the advances come from less desirable men. The IWF has called National Pay Inequity Awareness Day a “hoax…designed to brainwash girls and young women into believing they are victims.” The IWF’s Elizabeth Larson has written extensively on the supposedly trumped-up nature of sexual harassment charges, claiming that women now think “a wink or a leer can be money in the bank” and, inspired by Anita Hill, find it more profitable to litigate than to work.”

Ingraham herself was vocally opposed to the Violence Against Women Act, a bill she called “pork” with a “tear-jerker” of a title. In a 1996 op-ed, buoyed by her IWF membership, she encouraged then–presidential candidate Bob Dole to “point out what domestic abuse advocates often ignore: that women who are married are safer than women who are not. Seventy-two percent of domestic abuse fatalities occur at the hands of boyfriends, not husbands.” Women, in other words, could avoid domestic abuse if they’d only make honest men out of their partners.

It’s easy to imagine how someone who believes that the systemic ills women complain about are overblown, fake, or partially their fault could preside over a workplace that allows a committed harasser to thrive. The Daily Beast writes that some of its sources said Ingraham was probably too busy with her radio show and other career obligations to keep track of whether or not her company’s CEO was sexually harassing the women who worked there. (Anthony, for his part, refutes the allegations.) But Anthony is Ingraham’s “longtime friend and business partner,” the Daily Beast reports, and she trusted him enough to found a website with him. A person who talks incessantly about young female colleagues’ bodies, even to co-workers who want nothing to do with the conversation, does not start up out of the blue. If Ingraham is oblivious to the specific anecdotes described in the allegations published Thursday, she certainly isn’t ignorant of Anthony’s disposition.

The LifeZette work environment calls to mind another right-wing media outlet full of predatory men, and Ingraham may be on her way there. The host is reportedly in talks with Fox News— whose late abusive founder she mourned as her friend—about taking on a primetime slot. When it costs tens of millions of dollars to oust the sexual harassers from a company, it’s probably a lot cheaper to hire someone who won’t take issue with the status quo.

How a Blogger Exploded the Hot New Theory About Amelia Earhart With 30 Minutes of Online Searching

How a Blogger Exploded the Hot New Theory About Amelia Earhart With 30 Minutes of Online Searching

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared in a twin-engine plane 80 years ago this month. Since then, seemingly every piece of flotsam and jetsam in the South Pacific has been analyzed for connections to the fatal flight: bone fragments, sheets of aluminum, “ointment pots,” and scents perceptible only to dogs. In 2011, researchers announced they would harvest the aviator’s dried saliva from envelopes and use the DNA to test future bone discoveries. One of that project’s funders, meanwhile, was the grandson of the author of Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved, a book based on “long-lost radio messages from Earhart’s final flight.” In other words, Earhart speculation has been around long enough to become a multigenerational hobby.

This past Sunday, the History Channel aired a documentary that trumpets yet another new piece of evidence: a blurry black-and-white photograph that purportedly shows Earhart and Noonan milling around on a dock in the Marshall Islands. A retired U.S. Treasury agent named Les Kinney found the photograph in a “formerly top secret” file in the National Archives in 2012. Believers say the photograph proves the theory that Earhart and Noonan were not killed in a crash, but instead were captured by the Japanese, who controlled many islands in the area at the time of their flight. “When you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” said Shawn Henry, a former assistant director for the FBI who hosted the History Channel special.

Unfortunately, the History Channel’s analysis now seems to be crumbling under 30 minutes of internet research by one military history buff. Kota Yamano, a Tokyo-based blogger, found the same photograph printed in a Japanese-language travelogue published in 1935, almost two years before Earhart and Noonan disappeared. The caption underneath the photo says nothing about the identities of the people in the photograph, which apparently depicts a regular old harbor, rather than a harbor and two missing celebrities.

Yamano told the Guardian that he had never believed the theory that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese, so he decided to look for more information on his own. He did an online search of Japan’s national library for images of the Jaluit atoll between 1930 and 1940, and voila: The “lost” Earhart photo was the 10th search result. Clearly the History Channel learned nothing from Catfish: When confronted with a photo of a woman who seems too good to be true, always do a reverse image search.

Donald Trump ‘ignored warnings’ not to personally insult egomaniac Kim Jong-un during UN speech

by dcollins @ The Sun

DONALD Trump ignored repeated warnings not to personally insult Kim Jong-un when he spoke at the UN earlier this week, it is claimed. America’s top personality profilers concluded nuclear bomb-seeking Kim is an egomaniac who will respond badly to humiliation. Yet a Los Angeles Times source claims the US President ignored advice and went on […]

App to Pay Nearly $1 Million for Breaking ‘Pact’ with Consumers

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

Users will finally get their promised cash rewards under FTC settlement.

The post App to Pay Nearly $1 Million for Breaking ‘Pact’ with Consumers appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Many Still Love Dove Brand Despite Mixed Reaction to Body-Shaped Bottles - Morning Consult

Many Still Love Dove Brand Despite Mixed Reaction to Body-Shaped Bottles - Morning Consult


Morning Consult

Dove spent some time last week as the laughingstock of the internet, but the brand’s recent ad campaign won’t tarnish its shine as a beloved brand. When the Unilever brand unveiled the latest iteration of its “Real Beauty” campaign, which featured bottles intended to reflect the different shapes of women’s bodies, there was an immediate …

O’Reilly Automotive Stores Windshield Wiper Fluid

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

A false advertising class-action lawsuit was filed against O’Reilly Automotive Stores for allegedly misrepresenting that its windshield wiper fluid protects and functions in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit when, according to the complaint, the fluid freezes in such temperatures and, as a result, cannot be pumped through the windshield wiper system to clean

The post O’Reilly Automotive Stores Windshield Wiper Fluid appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash | Truth In Advertising

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash | Truth In Advertising


Truth In Advertising

Dove advertises its Deep Moisture Body Wash as being gentler on skin than competitors' body washes. But Dial challenged many of Dove's claims with NAD, whi

Who is Megan McKenna? The Only Way Is Essex star and singer who’s dating Pete Wicks

by lwindle @ The Sun

MEGAN McKenna is one of the leading ladies of The Only Way is Essex, which is returning to our screens. She is now back on the box with a new reality show There’s Something About Megan and a successful single, giving Taylor Swift a run for her money – here’s what we know about the Towie star… Who […]

Some of the U.S’s Creepiest Anti-Abortion Men Are Running for Office in Alabama

Some of the U.S’s Creepiest Anti-Abortion Men Are Running for Office in Alabama

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

When Alabamians go to the polls next fall, they may have more than one extreme anti-choice man to vote for. They are Sam McLure, a nutso adoption lawyer seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general, and fellow Republican Roy Moore, who is currently leading in the polls and wants to unseat Luther Strange, the Trump-backed U.S. Senator appointed to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat.

McLure, a Macklemore-looking dude with a dimpled chin, lists four main issues of concern on his campaign website. The first is “Prosecute Abortionists Who Profit from Killing Children.” The man does not mince words! Rewire has done some excellent reporting on McLure’s history as an anti-abortion activist: He claims to engage in regular “sidewalk counseling” outside abortion clinics, though the director of one of the spaces he claims to harass told Rewire that he’s a “brand new” addition to the crowds outside, just there “to get his name out there because nobody knows who he is.”

The Facebook Live video is McLure’s preferred messaging method. One from the beginning of August is titled “Babies are Murdered Here”; in it, McLure stands in front of pro-choice demonstrators holding a printed-out photo of a doctor who provides abortion care. “This woman…profits from deceiving parents into killing their children,” he says. Another video from September finds McLure pointing at abortion clinics, saying “I want to eradicate places like this.” McLure has posted links on his social media pages to one doctor’s personal information, including photos of what is allegedly her car and license plate, challenging anyone to give him one good reason why he shouldn’t prosecute her for murder. In a September 8 video, McLure says that although “it’s not nice” to dox abortion providers, “it’s not nice to kill babies” either. His repeated posts on abortion have prompted one Facebook commenter to wonder, “does he have any stances on other issues?”

McLure has argued in interviews and Facebook videos that, as attorney general, he could “eradicate legal abortion” by making life “hell on earth” for abortion providers and bringing homicide charges against them. He has proposed removing the abortion exception from the “fetal homicide” section of the Alabama penal code and establishing a state militia to defend any state official who might otherwise be jailed for disobeying federal court orders that protected abortion rights.

“A well-regulated militia is necessary for the protection of a free state,” McLure said at a summer gathering for the Alabama Constitution Party, according to Rewire. “Where is Alabama’s militia? If the governor or attorney general of our state defied the federal government and said ‘We’re going to protect babies from murder,’ and some federal law enforcement officer tried to drag our governor into a federal jail, who will protect our governor?” McLure reiterated that stance to Rewire, calling himself “a proponent of the idea that the states need to exert their sovereignty [and] ignore Roe v. Wade.”

Alabama’s got at least one other political candidate who advocates for ignoring federal laws establishing basic rights. Moore, who joined McLure in a 2012 attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that shot down Oklahoma’s proposed constitutional amendment on “personhood,” was twice kicked off the Alabama Supreme Court—once because he refused to abide the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of marriage equality.

On Thursday, in a debate against Sen. Luther Strange, Moore enumerated several evils that are plaguing America. “Abortion, sodomy, [and] sexual perversion” are hobbling the nation, Moore, said, in addition to a few other combinations of right-wing buzzwords, like “transgender troops in our bathrooms.” The militant wing of the anti-abortion movement loves this candidate’s commitment to the cause. Matt Trewhella, who once did jail time for blocking the driveway of a doctor who provided abortion care, is listed on Moore’s campaign website as a prominent endorser. In the ‘90s, Trewhella and several other activists signed a statement asserting that “lethal force” is “justifiable” to protect “the lives of unborn children”—in other words, that murdering an abortion provider is an ethical act. Between the company Moore keeps and his proven record of flouting federal law as a justice, it’s not hard to imagine the kind of absurd anti-woman (and, of course, anti-sodomy) shenanigans he’d get into in the Senate.

Dove blasts Trump administration in new ad

Dove blasts Trump administration in new ad


Business Insider

The ad features the hashtag "#AlternateFacts" and claims Dove's new antiperspirant is "a really good listener" and boosts your WiFi signal.

Why Dove's Latest "Real Beauty" Ad Doesn't Actually Empower Women

Why Dove's Latest "Real Beauty" Ad Doesn't Actually Empower Women


Greatist

Dove’s latest ad, a short video entitled “Selfie,” has been making waves all over the Internet. But is its message actually a positive one?

Critics Aren’t Taking Issue With the Content of Hillary Clinton’s New Book So Much as Its Right to Exist

Critics Aren’t Taking Issue With the Content of Hillary Clinton’s New Book So Much as Its Right to Exist

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

There is no one who loves talking about the 2016 election more than Donald Trump, who brings it up in public more than once a week on average. There is no one so keen to linger over the outcome of Election Day, to pick at old grudges, and dress down old opponents than Trump. No one, some prominent Democrats would have you believe, other than Hillary Clinton.

“I love Hillary,” Sen. Al Franken recently told Yahoo News. “I think she has a right to analyze what happened. But we do have to move on.” On the Late Show, Sen. Bernie Sanders reminded Clinton that she “ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country” and still couldn’t eke out a win. “She was upset about it and I understand that,” Sanders said. “But our job is not to go backward. ... I think it’s a little bit silly to keep talking about 2016.”

Given that 2016 saw an unprecedented electoral upset that resulted in the least-qualified president in U.S. history, nine months seems an awfully short grace period for acceptable discourse on the outcome. And Clinton isn’t just talking about the worst setback of her professional life—she’s selling it. What Happened, her highly anticipated 494-page postmortem on her last campaign, hits bookstores on Tuesday, ensuring that the conversation some Democrats don’t want to have will continue for at least as long as Clinton’s book tour.

Early reviews take issue with the book’s right to exist as much as the quality of its contents. “Was this book necessary?” asks Doyle McManus in the lede of his Los Angeles Times review, suggesting that Clinton should have shoved her manuscript into a desk drawer rather than offer it up for public consumption. Doug Schoen, a former Clinton ally, told the failed candidate in a Hill piece that it is “time to exit the stage” and stop doing harm to her political party by simply showing up. “Friends don’t let friends read Hillary Clinton’s new book,” wrote a critic at the Week who refused to even crack it open before making her judgment. “Whatever you want to read this book for, chances are, there’s something else that does it better.”

Conservative media outlets show particular glee in their reporting that Clinton’s book will ravage the Democratic Party and her own future in politics. The world is “sick of hearing from her,” writes Katherine Timpf at the National Review, calling it a feat of “self-indulgent dead-horse-beating” and the product of a “selfish urge to present as many excuses as you can to absolve yourself of any blame for your embarrassing defeat.” In the Washington Times, Ben Wolfgang argues that “the American people simply don’t want to hear from [Clinton],” quoting a poli-sci professor who believes Clinton should have “not written a book and been quiet for another eight months.”

That Washington Times piece calls What Happened a “blame book”—and certainly, most assessments of the tome are preoccupied with the question of blame. The juiciest excerpts so far are those that find Clinton casting shade on Sanders (he emboldened Trump’s attacks and promised every American a free pony), James Comey (he “shivved” her and “badly overstepped his bounds”), the New York Times (it dragged her over her emails but glossed over Trump–Russia connections during the campaign). But the bigger question with which critics are grappling is whether or not Clinton claims enough blame for her own unexpected loss. “Despite seemingly suggesting the fault is hers alone, Clinton also clearly believes that a lot of other people are responsible, too,” writes Bess Levin in her Vanity Fair roundup of “People Clinton Blames for Her Election Loss.” Another Washington Times piece reported that What Happened is “yet another campaign to blame everybody she can for her crushing loss.” Schoen wrote that “the only person [Clinton] does not seem to blame is herself.” Even the Associated Press claimed in a straight news piece about the book that Clinton “has a reputation for avoiding blame for her failures.” It seems that these critics, unsatisfied with Clinton’s concession speech, are holding out for a full-blown apology.

But Clinton could hardly have been more explicit about where the buck stopped in her campaign. “I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made,” she writes in one oft-quoted excerpt. “I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.” There it is: Clinton blaming herself for her loss. If that’s where her critics would have rather she stopped, What Happened would have been a PR statement, not a book.

It's true that the democracy-defying 2016 election merits more than a five-sentence mea culpa from the woman who lost. Clinton as a bad candidate is just one sliver of the rancid pie that caused America to vomit up President Trump. Even the election analyses most critical of Clinton don’t dare place all the blame on her Wall Street speeches, email-management missteps, or comments about putting coal companies out of business. The additional facts she offers as contributing factors to her loss—Sanders’ “attacks caused lasting damage”; sexism helped make her “a lightning rod for fury”—are measured and probably true. They’re nothing readers haven’t encountered before in the thousands of thinkpieces they devoured in the months after the election. Almost nobody thinks Hillary Clinton alone is responsible for the defeat that shocked the entire world.

When Clinton acknowledges that truth, as she does in What Happened, critics portray her as a petty shirker of accountability. Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman of California told Politico that Clinton is forcing the party to endure endless “media cycles about the blame game, and the excuses.” In a recent Morning Consult poll, 39 percent of 2,000 respondents said Hillary Clinton should cease all influence on the Democratic Party. Just 40 percent said it would be OK for her to write books. That the public was asked to weigh in on the seemliness of Clinton’s post-election plans is itself a marker of how personally the country takes her every move, as if she were not a politician but a despised national mascot.

What if, just like much of the rest of the electorate, she’s simply looking to make meaning out of an event that shattered her illusions about the country she calls home? The 2016 election was unlike any other: Nearly a year after the election, conversations with my friends and colleagues still occasionally end up in “what happened?” territory. Ordinary people are still piecing the 2016 narrative together. It’s no surprise that they might want to hear the loser’s perspective, even if members of her party don’t.

Heineken Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge: East Africa Edition

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

Something magical was a-brewing On September 8th, 2017. Heineken®’s first design initiative in East Africa announced the winners of the “Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge”. Out of 100 portfolios from Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian designers, Lulu Mutuli and Azra Walji came out on top. The two will first head to Amsterdam to work on their designs…

The post Heineken Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge: East Africa Edition appeared first on The Designers Studio.

Jurors In Taylor Swift’s Sexual Assault Case Had to Admit Whether They Were Fans of Her Music

Jurors In Taylor Swift’s Sexual Assault Case Had to Admit Whether They Were Fans of Her Music

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Taylor Swift is expected to testify in a case coming before a jury this week in Denver, Colorado, where she says a former country-music radio DJ groped her more than four years ago.

“He took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek, and no matter how much I scooted over, it was still there,” Swift claimed in a deposition. David Mueller, the then–morning show host, was backstage at Swift’s Denver concert with his girlfriend in 2013 when the alleged incident took place during a photo op. He was 51 at the time; she was 23. When a member of Swift’s security personnel approached Mueller with her allegation, he refuted the claim and was ushered out of the venue. Later, Swift and her team provided Mueller’s bosses with the photo they’d posed for, which appears to show Mueller with his hand on Swift’s butt. He was fired two days later.

It took Mueller two more years to sue Swift for allegedly getting him fired for something he still says he didn’t do. His 2015 lawsuit, in which he seeks $3 million in damages for losing his $150,000-a-year job, claims Swift should have called the police instead of his managers. He also claims a colleague is the one who assaulted Swift. She countersued for $1, maintaining that the assault was “completely intentional.” Swift says she doesn’t care about money, but it’s important to her to win a verdict in her favor to serve “as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts.”

Fans lined up outside the courthouse on Monday and Tuesday, gunning for some of the 32 courtroom seats and 75 overflow seats in a room with a closed-circuit screening of the proceedings. But Swifties are unlikely to make it onto the jury. Judge William Martinez had all prospective jurors fill out a mostly standard questionnaire to root out any biases or conflicts of interest, and the questions in 15-page document are likely to exclude the vast majority of the American population. It asks whether potential jurors have listened to Swift on the radio, seen any of her videos, read any articles about her, bought any of her albums, paid any money to listen to her music online, or listened to her songs through a free streaming service. The only way someone could not have heard a Swift song on the radio or seen a clip from one of her videos is if he was specifically trying to avoid her to maintain the possibility of appearing on a jury for a Swift-related court case someday. The questionnaire even asks whether prospective jurors have immediate family members who are fans of Swift’s. Does anyone not?

The best answers probably came from the open-ended questions. One of them—“Do you have any opinion of singer Taylor Swift?”—is a question I would like to ask any potential friends, lovers, and employees before committing to a full-on conversation. (The only incorrect answer is “No.”) One woman reportedly noted on her sheet that she thought Swift was “petty and dishonest,” perhaps because she followed the Kardashian-West receipts debacle of 2016 or believes in the Swift break-up squad conspiracy. Another possible juror is a man who said his wife runs “women’s empowerment workshops,” but that he could still make impartial judgements about the merits of the case. Mueller’s lawyer argued that a wife who is into empowerment stuff could bias a juror against a guy who allegedly groped a young woman under her skirt with his girlfriend standing two feet away. The judge kept that juror on Monday, and jury selection is set to wrap up on Tuesday.

Swift’s determination to see this case through, even though she stands nothing to gain from it, is admirable. By all accounts, she didn’t want Mueller’s alleged assault to blow up into a big public debate, but when he sued her, she didn’t negotiate a quiet settlement. She took him to court. Her attorney says Swift was shocked by Mueller’s assertion that “for some reason she might have some incentive to actually fabricate this story,” because there’s no logical reason why she would. She isn’t asking for money. She didn’t even drag Mueller in public until he filed his suit. Someone with Swift’s income could easily pay Mueller to make this all go away. Instead, she’s spending a week or three in Colorado, trying to convince a panel of people who’ve never heard her songs that an old man violated her in 2013.

Manchester City transfer news: Pep Guardiola tells Arsenal to forget about Raheem Sterling in the January transfer window

by gstonehouse @ The Sun

PEP GUARDIOLA has told Arsenal to forget about landing Raheem Sterling. The Gunners asked about the England forward ahead of last month’s transfer deadline. City said ‘no’ to Sterling, 22, moving to the Emirates in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez. There were reports last week that Arsene Wenger might test the water again in […]

Driver Versus Fierce Cute Dog

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

It's the classic tale of man versus tiny, tiny beast.

The post Driver Versus Fierce Cute Dog appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Statement Jeans Are Fun to Look At, But an Insult to Pantkind

Statement Jeans Are Fun to Look At, But an Insult to Pantkind

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

When clear-knee jeans hit the internet this spring, regular jeans knelt on their sorry opaque knees and wept. For generations, jeans had been the trusty, self-effacing backdrop upon which other showier garments could shine. Jeans let lighter blues join navy in its coveted spot on the lineup of neutrals. They were humble, and in their humility, they found strength.

Now, weird jeans with the capacity to achieve viral fame are everywhere. They are, Slate has learned, called “statement jeans”—like a statement necklace, but for pants. Some stores (ahem) will file anything with distressing or a little embroidery under the moniker. These jeans count as their ancestors those pants with rhinestone pocket designs that were popular in the late ‘90s. According to Glamour, there are some pairs of statement jeans with subtler embellishments that “aren’t crimes against humanity,” including ones with rhinestone flower patches, giant grommets, and floppy denim bows. (Guess there’s many definitions of what constitutes crimes against humanity.)

Those are not the real deal. The true statement jeans are the ones that defy not only the traditional structure of jeans, but the entire concept of pants. Take, for example, these pairs that have taken on capes and skirts where the normal pants parts should be.

Or these, with lace ruffles that draw the eye to a part of the body eyes were not meant to be drawn to.

Or these, which ruin a perfectly fine pair of cigarette pants with the look of the pleated, baggy shorts your dad might wear to wash the car.

The only “statement” these jeans, descendents of JNCOs, are making is “help, I think a Juggalo is in me.”

Anyone wearing these pants, which come with a flannel butt-flap in case you’re too poor to buy a flannel shirt but can afford a $560 pair of jeans, should be forced to travel back in time and suffer the withering side eye of one Kurt Cobain.

But the mother of all statement jeans is this pair, brought to my attention by a friend of a friend. This garment offers the look of wearing a pair of jeans on top of another pair of identical jeans, for absolutely no reason at all. It looks like it was trying to be maternity pants but forgot that the top part was supposed to be stretchy and comfortable.

It also appears to be a ripoff of a pair of jeans from Rihanna’s clothing line circa 2013. The only thing worse than a bad statement is one that’s plagiarized, right Melania?

M62 closed after huge blaze engulfs crane lorry as witnesses report several ‘explosions’

by gbirchall @ The Sun

A MASSIVE blaze has broken out on the M62 after a vehicled caught fire. Locals in the Rochdale and Milnrow areas of Greater Manchester took to Twitter claiming to have heard several large bangs. Four pumps were on the scene in an effort to get the flames under control. The Fire Brigade confirmed diesel had […]

Dove’s Latest Ad Campaign Reunites 300 Military Families.

Dove’s Latest Ad Campaign Reunites 300 Military Families.


Mindfully Musing

Dove, the company that first brought us to tears with its Real Beauty campaign, in which women were given a little insight into how they really see themselves, has done it once again. In their newe…

Macron Reportedly Gave His Wife’s Butt a Love Tap While Touring With the Trumps, and God Bless It

Macron Reportedly Gave His Wife’s Butt a Love Tap While Touring With the Trumps, and God Bless It

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The burdens of global statesmanship have apparently not dampened the irrepressible lust alive in the heart and hands of French president Emmanuel Macron, the world has learned. Macron and wife Brigitte joined Donald and Melania Trump on a Thursday tour of Les Invalides in Paris, where France’s youngest-ever leader took a gentle swipe at his beloved’s derrière.

“Both couples held hands down the steps,” wrote a particularly observant pool reporter on the scene. But later, “when POTUS and FLOTUS started walking again, your pooler saw Macron tap his wife on the rear end. She looked surprised and smiled.”

Ooh la la! A public display d’amour at Napoleon’s tomb—is that not the dream of every little French girl growing up baking baguettes in the countryside (or at least of every American who's dreamed of being a French girl baking baguettes in the countryside)? Macron’s no conspicuous looker on the level of fellow francophone Justin Trudeau, but he does give off a certain self-possessed charm, especially when he does silly things like pronounce “engineers” like “vaginas.” That, plus his marriage to a woman 24 years his senior (she was his high-school teacher!), plus the fact that he is not an admitted sexual abuser trying to dismantle democracy itself, has earned him the pseudo-sexual admiration of many stateside observers.

Thus, Macron’s butt tap functions as a bit of fan-service wish fulfillment. Even at a boring meeting with a wannabe despot from across the pond, the tap says, this French president cannot suppress his playful desire for his older lover, even at a very unerotic military hospital! What a guy. There are several exacting conditions a butt tap must meet to pass muster in a staid diplomatic setting. Macron’s hit all of them: He’s the young one, she’s his senior, they’re married, all signs point to them actually loving each other, and it sounds like he was doing it as a private gesture of affection, not to show off for the press or as a creepy demonstration of macho power. Macron’s audacity and Brigitte’s surprise make us feel like we were granted a little glimpse into the fresh jocularity of their decade-old marriage. Many props to the pooler who kept a close eye on the president’s hands (or his wife’s rear?) during the otherwise unremarkable outing.

There remains, of course, the possibility that Brigitte was embarrassed by the encounter, and that her smile was of the “I am forced to remain calm but we’re talking about this later in the limousine” variety. One might also interpret Macron’s tap as more of a statement of ownership, in the way a certain kind of cornhole-playing dude will smack his girlfriend’s butt and ask her to go fetch him a beer.

But because Bastille Day is upon us, we’re going to revel in the assumption that it was a lighthearted, loving gesture of liberté/égalité/booté, or perhaps an inside joke about how Brigitte would have to watch out for Trump’s clammy, wandering hands during the state visit. In fact, the only certain bad thing that will come of this is a giant blow to Trump’s ego, which will likely prompt him to one-up Macron by grabbing one of Melania “Don’t You Even Touch My GD Hand” Trump’s body parts in public. May the spirit of le petit caporal bring her strength.

MATSIDISO: Shoes for the Liberated, Made in South Africa

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

Cape Town based label, Matsidiso (pronounced Mat-see-dee-so), is one of the newest kids on the shoe block. Founder, Jinae Niles, launched the women’s shoe and accessories brand that fuses African influences with modern elements in May 2017. Despite not having technical training, Niles took a hands-on approach and learnt about design by working at a…

The post MATSIDISO: Shoes for the Liberated, Made in South Africa appeared first on The Designers Studio.

Dove Ad Features Dad Pretending to Be Mom

Dove Ad Features Dad Pretending to Be Mom


OneMillionMoms.com

Please use the information we have provided through our website to contact Dove (owned by Unilever) concerning the man impersonating a mom in their recent Baby Dove ad.

Uber offers to make changes in bid to keep London licence and seeks talks with Sadiq Khan

by Jacob Dirnhuber @ The Sun

UBER has offered to make changes in a bid to keep operating in London. The taxi-hailing app lost its licence on Friday but the firm’s boss in the capital has appealed to mayor Sadiq Khan to sit down for talks. Tom Elvidge said: “We want to know what we can do, but that needs a […]

WWE No Mercy 2017: UK start time, TV channel, live stream, and full card for Raw PPV

by jorr @ The Sun

NOT one, but two MASSIVE matches headline WWE No Mercy tonight. Brock Lesnar defends his Universal Title against the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns takes on John Cena. When does the No Mercy begin, and how can I watch it? No Mercy show starts tonight – or the early hours of Monday […]

All families eat potatoes in McCain’s latest ad

by Emily Rochotte @ Equally Wed – LGBTQ Weddings

McCain's latest ad shows that no matter what your family looks like, families of all shapes and sizes share the mealtime experience.

The post All families eat potatoes in McCain’s latest ad appeared first on Equally Wed - LGBTQ Weddings.

Is It Reasonable to Expect R. Kelly’s Former Musical Collaborators to Denounce Him?

Is It Reasonable to Expect R. Kelly’s Former Musical Collaborators to Denounce Him?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

R. Kelly’s alleged sexual misdeeds have been in the public record for decades. Half his lifetime ago, in 1994, he married his then-15-year-old protégée Aaliyah with a falsified legal document. At the turn of the millennium, thanks to the reporting of Jim DeRogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch at the Chicago Sun-Times, the world learned that Kelly had paid several settlements to the families of underage girls he’d allegedly raped. Soon after came the actual videotape of a man who looked like Kelly engaged in sexual activity with a girl whom witnesses identified as his then-14-year-old goddaughter. He was later acquitted of charges that he’d produced that piece of child pornography.

In the years that followed, Kelly had no trouble getting gigs. He made albums, toured arenas and stadia, and made fluffy appearances on late-night shows. After BuzzFeed published new allegations against the singer this week from parents and former lovers who say he sexually manipulates and essentially brainwashes teen girls with promises of music stardom, the site asked the publicists of 43 former Kelly collaborators if their clients would ever work with him again. After giving the stars’ representatives “at least 24 hours to respond,” very few had gotten back to the site. Those who did either said they had no comment or couldn’t reach their clients for comment.

As the Outline rightly pointed out in a post yesterday, it’s hard to draw any conclusions from this seemingly clever conceit. Celebrities rarely comment on anything, especially in a relatively short period of time on an extremely touchy issue that doesn’t directly concern them. They would have nothing to gain from staking out any definitive ground on R. Kelly, even if they fully intend to never work with him again. Some of the stars on BuzzFeed’s list hadn’t worked with Kelly in many years: Celine Dion made one song with him in 1998, for example, and Keri Hilson’s Kelly collaboration dropped in 2009.

Still, the vast majority of the artists on the list worked with Kelly after all-but-irrefutable evidence of his pattern of preying on young girls became public. They knew that dozens of people had accused him of child rape, and they worked with him anyway. Their participation in his career both elevated and sanitized his public profile, showing music fans that if Mary J. Blige, Nas, Chance the Rapper, and Pharrell (the Happy guy!) were cool with Kelly, we should probably be cool with him, too. Worse, every collaboration with Kelly helped funneled money into the bank account of a man who has allegedly continued his abuse for at least 26 years and shows no signs of stopping.

We should have raised a stink about artists who collaborate with Kelly a long time ago; some of us, including journalists like DeRogatis and Jamilah Lemieux, have. But news cycles cycle on, outrage dims, and momentum stalls. Each new allegation or reentry of an old one into public discourse offers music consumers another opportunity to ask artists why they participated in the music industry’s cover-up for Kelly and why they haven’t, as a booster of his career, condemned his actions. There is no statute of limitations on the crime of enriching an alleged child rapist. By coming out against him late in the game, these artists still have an opportunity to publicize his pattern of victimization and get their fans to support an industry boycott of his work.

Celebrities already use their public platforms for advocacy against sexual predators all the time. Lady Gaga, who’s spoken publicly about being sexually assaulted when she was 19 by a man 20 years her senior, made an earnest, graphic music video about sexual assault for her song “Til It Happens to You” in 2015, depicting survivors with messages like “BELIEVE ME” scrawled on their bodies. She invited 50 survivors of sexual assault onstage with her to perform the song at last year’s Oscars. Of her friend Kesha, who accused producer Dr. Luke of years of emotional and sexual abuse, Gaga has said, “I feel like she’s being very publicly shamed for something that happens in the music industry all the time, to women and men. I just want to stand by her side because I can’t watch another woman that went through what I’ve been through suffer.”

Yet Gaga made “Do What U Want” with Kelly in 2013, mimed fellatio with him onstage at the American Music Awards, then pulled the already-taped video for the song due to growing allegations against Kelly and director Terry Richardson. (Yes, Gaga made a video with two alleged sexual abusers for a song that advises the listener to “do what you want with my body.”) Gaga blamed her team and her tight schedule for a video she says she didn’t like and didn’t want to release, but other sources claimed that Gaga thought the highly sexual video wouldn’t play well after DeRogatis’ reporting on Kelly resurfaced in December 2013 and reports of Richardson’s alleged harassment came out in early 2014. Instead of addressing the allegations against Richardson and Kelly and taking an ethical stance, Gaga spun her scrapping of the video as a move of artistic self-editing.

In other industries, we expect major players to defend or end their personal and financial connections to bad actors almost as a matter of policy. Dozens of companies pulled their ads from Bill O’Reilly’s show after the New York Times revealed that Fox News had paid $13 million to settle five separate sexual harassment claims against him. Lately, when women come out with stories of discrimination and harassment in the tech industry, big names in the field are pressed to speak up, even if they’re not directly involved. (Venture capitalist Chris Sacca recently bragged about doing just that—tweeting support for Ellen Pao after she lost her discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins—in a post about his own role in Silicon Valley’s mistreatment of women.) But in the entertainment industry, with a few major exceptions like the singular case of Bill Cosby, celebrities are usually forgiven their connections to abusers, even as they help those abusers appear harmless and amass wealth.

The recent example of Kesha and Dr. Luke provides useful contrast to the nonreaction of music stars to Kelly’s documented history of sexually manipulating teen girls. Taylor Swift publicly donated $250,000 to Kesha for her legal battle against her alleged abuser, a well-known pop producer. Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson, both of whom had worked with Dr. Luke in the past, also came out with public statements to put themselves on Kesha’s side. Adele, the biggest recording artist on Sony, which owned the Dr. Luke’s Kesha-producing label, made a statement in support of Kesha while accepting a BRIT award last year. Sony happens to be R. Kelly’s label, too, but Adele isn’t saying a peep about him. His alleged victims are far more numerous than Dr. Luke’s, as far as the general public knows, but they aren’t famous and, crucially, it seems most of them aren’t white. In a Colorlines piece published this week, Lemieux writes that Kelly’s continued career success is indicative of “the idea that black men are more in need of protection than black women.” Research has shown, she continues, that “black girls are widely perceived as being older or more mature than they actually are, which helps to explain the number of people who don’t see teenage girls who have sexual relationships with men like Kelly as victims, even when they are legally unable to consent.” The women who’ve charged Kelly with rape, assault, and abuse have to watch their alleged assailant make millions off his music because his colleagues have kept mum and recorded with him in spite of his history.

Pushing for Kelly’s former collaborators to renounce him works in two ways: First, it pressures individual artists to stop enriching him and supporting his public profile. It also sends a clear message to unaffiliated observers that the swell of public opinion is falling against Kelly, and they’d be better off not booking him in their arena, hosting him on their talk shows, or inviting him to do a guest spot on a new track. True, it would be sad if DeRogatis’ most recent revelations in BuzzFeed (nearly the only allegations of abuse against Kelly that involve women above the age of consent) were the thing that finally convinced Kelly’s one-time associates to speak out against him. But you know what they say about apologizing for lining the pockets of alleged child rapists—better do it late than never. When some next set of accusations lands on Kelly, as it almost certainly will, Gaga the survivor’s advocate will be glad she did.

SAWA Shoes: The ‘No Charity’ Footwear by Mehdi Slimani

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

Founded in 2009, SAWA is a proudly ‘Made in Africa’ footwear brand based in Ethiopia. It’s also the first sneaker to be fully produced on the continent. TDS first highlighted this shoe brand by Algerian-born, France-based shoe designer, Mehdi Slimani, last year for its vibrant and upbeat designs. But as trend worthy as they appear,…

The post SAWA Shoes: The ‘No Charity’ Footwear by Mehdi Slimani appeared first on The Designers Studio.

Poll: New iPhones Less Popular Among U.S. Consumers Than iPhone 7

by Edward Graham @ Morning Consult

As Apple Inc. rolls out the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus today, the company's latest smartphone models could encounter a less enthusiastic audience compared to the previous year's release of the iPhone 7, according to a Morning Consult poll of U.S. adults.

The post Poll: New iPhones Less Popular Among U.S. Consumers Than iPhone 7 appeared first on Morning Consult.

Trump’s Evangelical Adviser Says God’s OK With “Taking Out” Kim Jong-Un

Trump’s Evangelical Adviser Says God’s OK With “Taking Out” Kim Jong-Un

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

What’s the only thing more frightening than an unstable man with the nuclear codes? A unstable man who is being told that God himself has given his blessing to push the big red button.

On Tuesday, President Trump said North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued to threaten the United States. Soon afterward, an evangelical adviser to the president released a statement saying that God has given Trump authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear,” Robert Jeffress, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Dallas, said in a statement given to the Christian Broadcasting Network. “God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary—including war—to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.”

Jeffress, who was one of Trump’s earliest and loudest evangelical supporters during the 2016 campaign, later tweeted praise for the president’s reliability and predictability:

In a follow-up interview with the Washington Post, Jeffress elaborated that he was referring to Romans 13, which includes a passage on how Christians should relate to political authorities. The passage says that government authorities have been installed by God, and a ruler is the “servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.” In Jeffress’ interpretation, that gives leaders freedom “to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un.”

Christian media outlets regularly cover the plight of the estimated 300,000 Christians in North Korea, where citizens are required to worship the Kim family and other religious practices are banned. The latest issue of the conservative evangelical magazine World, for example, features a long reported story on efforts by Christian defectors to draw attention to human rights abuses in their home country. (On Wednesday, North Korea released a Canadian pastor who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 on charges of using religion to overthrow Kim’s government.)

It’s one thing to pay close attention to religious persecution in a totalitarian nation. It’s another thing to give a confident thumbs-up to nuclear war, especially since many Christian groups have long been on the forefront of the anti-nuclear movement. (Catholic groups have arguably been the most consistently outspoken.) But evangelist Billy Graham, an influential spiritual adviser to American presidents starting with Harry Truman, also called the end of the nuclear arms race his “No. 1 social concern” in the early 1980s and set off on a college speaking tour about the need for disarmament.

But times have changed, and now evangelicals such as Jeffress have the president’s ear. Before last year, Jeffress was best known nationally for his occasional pronouncements on topics like the satanic origins of Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam. Jeffress was a member of Trump’s evangelical advisory board during the campaign and appeared with Trump several times at rallies, reassuring attendees that the thrice-married casino mogul would be a “true friend” to evangelicals as president. He preached at a private ceremony for the Trump family before the inauguration, and he has been a frequent visitor to the White House since then. Last month, his church’s large choir performed an original song titled “Make America Great Again” at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington. Trump apparently loved it.

Jeffress’ statement about North Korea makes clear that he is not claiming to have received a new revelation from God that Trump should go after Kim. These days, that counts as reassuring news. Rather, the pastor is offering a controversial interpretation of a tricky piece of scripture he sees as applicable to the current moment. Still, in order to argue that God has granted political authorities the right to do evil to combat evil, he has to brush away significant other chunks of the New Testament. Romans 12—the chapter just before the one Jeffress cites—explicitly commands readers not to repay evil with evil. Jeffress brushed that off to the Post, saying the command applies only to Christian individuals, not governments. And what about Jesus’ sermon in which he sweepingly upends traditional hierarchies in order to elevate the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers? “A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ ” Jeffress told the Post. “I said absolutely not.”

Why Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” Is Such a Colossal Bummer

Why Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” Is Such a Colossal Bummer

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Whenever Taylor Swift drops a new single, her fans are quick to scour the lyrics for references to real-life beefs and beaus. Her work has been reliably, if loosely, autobiographical throughout her career, down to the secret messages she leaves with capitalized letters in her liner notes.

Well, viewing the much-hyped song Swift released late Thursday night, “Look What You Made Me Do,” through an autobiographical lens is a real bummer. The song elevates Swift’s pitiful spoken-word capabilities at the expense of her immense songwriting talent, forcing her to almost rap the chorus of a tune that describes a pathetic existence I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

It sounds like her grudges occupy so much of her psychic space that there’s hardly room for a personality, let alone anything resembling joy. “The world moves on, another day, another drama drama,” she sings. “But not for me, not for me—all I think about is karma.” While others forgive, forget, and move on to more fulfilling relationships, Swift is consumed by resentment, unable to see past those who’ve wronged her until they suffer. Instead of making a life on her own terms, she follows her nemeses around, obsessing over their slights long after they’ve forgotten them, while she waits for her revenge to chill.

Smart people have said that forgiveness offers a greater benefit to the forgiver than the forgivee, a lesson Swift would have us believe she has yet to learn. “I got a list of names, and yours is in red, underlined” she sings in “Look What You Made Me Do.” There’s another young woman with a list of names in our current pop-culture milieu, and she’s currently sabotaging her relationship with one of her few surviving family members over an affront that’s been gathering dust for several years. Arya Stark’s preoccupation with revenge makes for good, action-packed TV. In real life, the immediate gratification of vengeance soon evaporates to leave a gaping hole, a welcoming nest for a snake.

Like Stark, Swift’s self-isolation seemed empowered at first. They don’t need anybody but themselves, and their sharp tongues (or swords) are powerful weapons against those who cause them harm. But the line between self-preservation and self-destruction is thin. Swift makes it clear in “Look What You Made Me Do” that she’s crossed it. When she sings that “the world moves on” while she’s still waiting to get her payback, she’s saying that she stands apart from the world; it’s her against everyone, with no one on her side. “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me,” she sings proudly. It sounds dangerously close to “Nobody likes me / everybody hates me / guess I’ll go eat worms.”

The lyric video Swift dropped along with the song has a paranoid vibe, with messages scrawled on leafless trees, shifty eyes in rearview mirrors, and spray-painted threats inside dark tunnels. There are multiple mentions of Swift rising from the dead and killing old versions of herself, as if every time she’s hurt, she has to create a whole new person to contain the growing mass of fermenting rage that’s chomping away at her insides.

Speaking of which: The video illustrates the chorus of “Look What You Made Me Do” with an ouroboros. Traditionally, the snake eating its own tail is a symbol of regeneration, an infinite circle of life. Swift will always rise from the grave or bounce back from hardships, the image seems to say. But the snake is also nourishing itself on its own flesh. “Ooh, look what you made me do,” Swift sings as the animal annihilates itself. She has no agency, no ability to step away from the edge of the chasm her self-destructive impulses have led her to.

If this song isn’t written as an earnest description of her mental state—if, instead, it’s a send-up of the image the media has created for Swift, which, to be fair, is a real possibility—it’s a pretty lame one. “Blank Space” worked as a light-hearted tribute to Swift’s tabloid reputation as a man-eating cyclone of drama; “Look What You Made Me Do” is neither fun nor funny enough to make for a satisfying meta riff on her reputation. The narrator sounds more bitter than self-aware and, given Swift’s history of well-placed disses, the story sounds too close to the truth.

Blue and yellow Orlando wedding

by Emily Rochotte @ Equally Wed – LGBTQ Weddings

Nicole and Paulette's bright blue and yellow Orlando wedding attire made them stand out from the crowd, especially from their guests, who all wore white.

The post Blue and yellow Orlando wedding appeared first on Equally Wed - LGBTQ Weddings.

Turns Out Hollywood (And Trump) Have Already Made Up 111 African Countries

by Odunayo Eweniyi @ Konbini United States

This week at the United Nations General Assembly, while speaking to an audience of African leaders, US president Donald Trump pronounced Namibia twice as "Nambia." What's next? Pronouncing Uganda or Rwanda as Wakanda, the fictional country in Marvel Universe? Trump's snafu makes "Nambia" the 111th made-up African country that the outside world, and most notably Hollywood, have […]

The post Turns Out Hollywood (And Trump) Have Already Made Up 111 African Countries appeared first on Konbini United States.

More Single Mothers Are Going to College Than Ever. But Very Few Will Graduate.

More Single Mothers Are Going to College Than Ever. But Very Few Will Graduate.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

It seems like a no-brainer—if a single mother wants to improve her income and career prospects in the long term, she should enroll in college. More single mothers are going to college than ever before: In 2012, about one in five female undergraduates and 11 percent of all U.S. undergraduates—nearly 2.1 million students—were single mothers, more than twice the population that attended college in the 1999-2000 school year. According to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, this rate of growth more than doubled that of the general undergraduate population.

But while these statistics sound like good news all around, a closer look reveals some truths that aren't so rosy. An alarmingly large share of single mother students—30 percent—are enrolled in for-profit schools, making them more than three times as likely to attend for-profit institutions as female students who don’t have children.

These numbers are “tragic,” said Holden Thorp, provost at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author of the forthcoming book Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership Between America and Its Colleges and Universities. “These students have been victimized by a predatory system that’s an embarrassment to higher education in America,” he told me in a phone interview. “The data on the job prospects and earnings pretty much show that a for-profit degree doesn’t give you any advantage.” The average six-year graduation rate among for-profit colleges is 23 percent, compared to 59 percent at public institutions and 66 percent at private nonprofit schools. And because for-profit degrees usually cost far more than comparable degrees from community colleges and public universities, students who attend for-profit schools are more likely to have to take out loans to afford their education. They are also far more likely to default on those loans than those who attended nonprofit or public institutions, in part because the economic benefits conferred upon those with other college degrees don’t transfer to graduates from for-profit schools.

Single mothers are particularly susceptible to the sales tactics that draw students to for-profit colleges. Advertisements hawk flexible schedules and specific skills that seem directly applicable to the job market—skills that students could glean from far cheaper community-college programs that don’t advertise quite as aggressively. The disproportionate number of single mothers sucked in by the for-profit college industry contributes to the population’s extraordinarily low graduation rate: Just 28 percent of single mothers who started school between 2003 and 2009 got a degree or certificate within 6 years of their start dates. Married mothers graduated at a rate of 40 percent, and 57 percent of non-parent female students graduated in the same time period.

Thorp says going to college and not getting a degree is “the worst thing that can happen to a student in higher education.” Adults with some college education but no degree have about the same unemployment and earnings statistics as those with no college education at all, but they have the added disadvantage of having taken time out of the workforce and accumulated some debt. “If you don’t finish, you’re better off not going at all,” Thorp said. “Unfortunately, the way the system is set up, the students who need the most help are going to the schools that have the least money—and especially have the least money devoted to things like academic advising, the kinds of things that help students advance to their degree.”

Financial constraints and child-care responsibilities that necessitate flexible scheduling are two of many factors that might encourage a single mother to choose a school with fewer resources and a lower graduation rate. (Demographic factors also come into play: Single mothers are more likely to come from low-income families and those without a history of higher-educational attainment.) Those same factors contribute to the high college drop-out rate among single mothers. The IWPR report notes that 63 percent of single mothers in college live at or below the federal poverty line; in 2012, the average single student mother had $6,600 in unmet college tuition need, $2,000 more than that of the average married student mother. Nearly two-thirds of single mothers in college spend at least 30 hours a week on child care, 54 percent spend at least 20 hours a week on paid work, and 43 percent work at least 30 hours a week on top of child care and schoolwork. Previous research has shown an association between any amount of paid work and a decline in graduation rates among student parents, while non-parenting students can work up to 15 hours a week without having an effect on their likelihood of getting a degree. “This suggests that students have a finite number of hours that they can dedicate to paid and unpaid work outside of school, and for parents, that work allotment is consumed by unpaid dependent care responsibilities,” the report states.

There is no shortage of incentives for the government to invest in the degree attainment of single mothers. College graduates pay more in taxes, need fewer public benefits, contribute more to the economy, and raise higher-achieving kids, regardless of family demographics or income level. But the current system is only exacerbating the web of challenges that prevent single mothers from graduating from college. The Trump administration is getting ready to loosen rules that would have curbed abuses and fraud committed by for-profit colleges, and its proposed child-care plan falls far short of anything that would make a real difference in the lives of struggling parents. Without meaningful intervention on both of these fronts, single mothers’ prospects for greater economic stability through education will only get worse.

Dove Takes Real Beauty Campaign in Search of Self-Esteem Australia

Dove Takes Real Beauty Campaign in Search of Self-Esteem Australia


brandchannel:

Dove partners with Coles Australia to bring self-esteem workshops to girls, illustrating need with ad campaign showing girls' negative search queries

Runaway bride pictured for first time since she ‘ran away with £13k stag do kitty’ as she hides out at homeless shelter

by dcollins @ The Sun

THIS is first time a runaway bride who allegedly faked her groom’s stag do and fled with the £13,000 kitty has been spotted since her arrest. Rachel Doran was seen puffing on a fag outside homeless shelter with a hoodie shielding her face from prying eyes. The 29-year-old hadn’t been seen for a fortnight after her husband-to-be […]

Inside the Legislative Fight for the Rights of Incarcerated Women

Inside the Legislative Fight for the Rights of Incarcerated Women

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, was a law student, she clerked at the district attorney’s office in Alameda County, California. This was in the late ‘80s, in the middle of the crack epidemic, and Harris was tasked with processing cases from a major drug bust on a Friday afternoon. One arrestee was an “innocent bystander,” a woman with young children, Harris said in opening remarks at a Washington, D.C. conference on incarcerated women on Tuesday. The woman’s case probably wouldn’t go before a judge until that Monday, leaving her to sit in jail for the weekend. She might miss work or lose her job. If there was no one to care for her children, they might be seized by Child Protective Services.

Harris was able to find a judge to release the woman “with the swipe of a pen,” demonstrating for the future attorney general how easily a life can be derailed or disrupted—or not—in the banal, everyday workings of a system that currently holds more than 215,000 U.S. women in prisons and jails. “In the criminal justice system, individuals have so much discretion,” she said. “I, as a 20-something-year-old law student, could make a decision about someone’s liberty and life.”

As a U.S. senator, Harris is trying to do more. Last week, along with fellow Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Dick Durbin, Harris introduced the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, an ambitious bill that would enact much-needed reforms in the treatment of women in federal prisons. A few of the bill’s provisions cover issues of basic safety and dignity: It would ban the shackling of pregnant women, prevent officials from putting pregnant inmates in solitary confinement, and require prisons to provide free menstrual products to inmates, who currently may be given limited supplies or made to buy their own. Male guards would no longer be allowed to supervise female inmates in bathrooms except during emergencies, and inmates would no longer have to pay to call friends and family members.

Other parts of the bill target incarcerated mothers, who have a special set of needs. About 65 percent of women in U.S. prisons and jails have children under 18, and most are primary caretakers. According to Holly Harris, executive director of the Justice Action Network, the convener of Tuesday’s forum, one in four women who become incarcerated are pregnant or have a child under the age of 1. The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to take children’s locations into account when choosing a facility for an inmate who is a parent. Inmates who are pregnant or primary caretakers would also be eligible for a residential drug abuse program. The bill would also provide for more generous visitation hours, physical contact in visits, parenting classes, and a pilot program for overnight visits. About half of incarcerated mothers in the U.S. are more than 100 miles from their families, and the facilities where they’re held are often in remote locations, “not on the commuter line,” Sen. Harris noted in her remarks. Andrea James, the formerly incarcerated founder of an advocacy organization for incarcerated women and girls, says mothers in prison serve a “dual sentence,” because they spend their time locked up worried about their children’s well-being. “The lives of their children do not get better” with their mothers gone, James said at Tuesday’s conference. “It causes further harm.”

But if the Senate bill passes, it will only apply to the 12,700-or-so women in federal prison, leaving out the more than 200,000 women in state and local prisons and jails. Women make up the fastest-growing segment of incarcerated people in the U.S., and about half are in jails, where people are held before their trials, after violating the terms of their parole, or after being sentenced to less than a year in lock-up. Between 1970 and 2014, the country saw a 14-fold increase of the population of women in jails, mostly for low-level drug offenses, loitering, and other crimes associated with broken-windows policing. More than 8 in 10 women in jail have survived sexual violence; nearly as many have experienced domestic abuse. About one-third of women in jail are living with severe mental illnesses, more than twice the rate of men in jail.

These troubling statistics point to what Sen. Booker, D-NJ, dubbed “a survivor-of-sexual-trauma to prisoner pipeline.” In a rousing address at Tuesday’s conference, Booker called on attendees to “get folk woke” on mass incarceration, the “biggest cancer of our body politic, the biggest shame of our national society.” Without proper diagnosis and treatment of the mental repercussions of trauma, advocates say, women who’ve been sexual assaulted or abused may self-medicate with drugs, leading to arrests on charges for possession or addiction-adjacent crimes like burglary and prostitution. In jail or prison, they’re often re-traumatized by searches, shackling, and abuse at the hands of guards or other inmates. And once they’re out, with a criminal record, they’ll struggle to find work and face limits on what kinds of government assistance they can receive.

Policymakers of both parties are looking for ways to break that cycle. Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a conservative Republican, spoke to conference attendees on Tuesday about her efforts to reduce the state’s incarceration rate for women, which is more than twice the national average and higher than any other state’s. “For low-level, nonviolent offenses, there are alternatives that work better,” she said, to prevent crime and keep children out of foster care. Those alternatives include diversion programs that scrub felony charges from graduates’ records, reforms of policies that send released women back to jail for failure to pay fines, and more accessible substance-use treatment programs for pregnant women and mothers. On the federal level, Harris is working on a piece of legislation that would create competitive grants for states to devise pilot reforms of the cash bail system, which keeps people in jail for months or years before they’re ever convicted of a crime if they’re too poor to pay. In D.C., one of the few jurisdictions that don’t require arrestees to pay for pre-trial release, more than 90 percent of defendants are released without bail. Only 10 percent are arrested again before their trials, the vast majority for nonviolent offenses.

“We’ve been offered a false choice in criminal justice policy,” Harris said. “A choice that suggests one is either soft on crime or tough on crime, instead of asking are we smart on crime.”

Harris is optimistic that if the civil rights argument doesn’t resonate for fellow legislators, the fiscal one will. It cost about $32,000 a year to keep each U.S. inmate in federal prison locked up in 2015. In California, the annual cost per inmate is more than $75,000. One year of methadone treatment cost $4,700 in 2012. Studies have shown that the U.S. could save several billions of dollars by diverting drug offenders into treatment programs rather than prisons. “If we, like our friends in the private sector, are judging ourselves in government, unburdened by ideology, then this information forces us to … ask the question our friends in the private sector ask every day,” Harris said on Tuesday. “What is the ROI? What is the return on our investment? Because guys, as taxpayers, we are not getting a good return on our investment on this issue.”

France Is Trying to Decide Whether Being a First Lady Should Be a Real Job Or Not

France Is Trying to Decide Whether Being a First Lady Should Be a Real Job Or Not

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

French President Emmanuel Macron wants his wife to do more than sit next to him at fancy dinners and endure the leering compliments of fellow heads of state. Brigitte Macron would like a more formal position in government than one merely requiring her to smile at her husband when the photographers come out. The French public is seemingly not so sure.

A Change.org petition that started a few weeks ago has garnered nearly 300,000 signatures from people who don’t want the first lady to get an official public title and office, as the president has proposed. The author of the petition, Thierry Paul Valette, says Macron’s desire to install his unelected wife in an official role is hypocritical in light of his repeated calls to rid politics of corruption. The French legislature was in the process of banning nepotism in parliament at Macron’s encouragement, Valette writes, while the president planned to give Brigitte Macron a real title ("Première Dame,"), a new budget of public funds, and an expanded role in the affairs of the executive branch. CNN reports that the Macron administration “appears to have…abandoned” the plan as vocal opposition mounted.

Macron campaigned in part on a vision of ethical leadership, which some say conflicted with his first-lady proposal. The petition asks that the question giving the first lady’s position a budget and greater influence be put to a public referendum rather than left to Macron’s sole discretion. The public isn’t so hot on Macron at the moment: His approval ratings hover in the mid-30s just three months after his electoral victory, in part because of budget cuts that spurred the resignation of the head of the French armed forces. Detractors accuse Macron of displaying authoritarian and even monarchical behavior, ignoring advisors and avoiding journalists amid calls for greater transparency. During Macron’s campaign, one of his fellow candidates, François Fillon, was accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of Euros by paying his wife and two children for fictitious jobs over a period of multiple decades. Though Brigitte Macron reportedly would not have accepted a salary for the role she and her husband were trying to create, it looked too close to the intrafamily status-boosting of his one-time opponent.

The spouses of French presidents already get special security, hired assistants, and office space, but they don’t have any official status, significant staff, or defined role in the French constitution. French-Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani claims that giving Brigitte Macron a title and a go-ahead to do more work would not vastly increase the budget already devoted to the first lady’s needs. Instead, Ramdani believes, the opposition to Macron’s plans rests on the sexist notion that a political wife should know her place, far away from the big kids’ table. “The Brigitte Macron I interviewed during her husband’s electoral campaign was uninterested in making money, or having more flunkies around her,” Ramdani writes. “She was not in the slightest bit pushy or personally ambitious. On the contrary, the retired teacher wanted to be taken seriously as a well-educated and highly experienced public servant.” Opponents of a larger role for Brigitte Macron “want to reduce her to another upstart who should be locked away in a quiet salon while her man sorts out domestic and world affairs.”

It sounds like the first lady role into which Brigitte Macron would have ascended only differed from her current role with a couple of capital letters—she would be First Lady, not first lady. And the extent of her work would have been explicitly “public,” not “political”—more along the lines of a Michelle Obama or Laura Bush, with their speeches and agreeable causes, than a Hillary Clinton, who had a legislative agenda, or an Ivanka Trump, who stands in for the president at major diplomatic meet-ups and serves as a close adviser.

Part of the French public’s objection to an expanded first lady role was undoubtedly symbolic: What would it mean for a president’s family to acquire unearned status from his position? Part may have been confusion: Macron merely asked for a proposal that would lay out a more formal, defined job for his wife, and no one quite knew how her position would change or what she might gain. The U.S. is used to first ladies taking active roles in their husbands’ administrations; in fact, the seeming uninterestedness and deliberate ornamentalism of our current one is a shocking departure from what has become the norm. As journalists monitor the promotion of unqualified family members in our current White House, it may be hard to decipher the differences between an indifferent spouse and a woman who’s been told to keep quiet, or a robust first-ladyship and a wife reaping political benefits she didn’t earn. Debates over the role of a 21st-century president’s wife are worth having. France won’t get past the opening arguments if Brigitte Macron doesn’t get a chance to try something different.

2017 Emmy red carpet fashion provides wedding inspiration

by Emily Rochotte @ Equally Wed – LGBTQ Weddings

The 2017 Emmy red carpet was filled with major style inspiration, perfect for heading straight from walking the red carpet to walking down the aisle.

The post 2017 Emmy red carpet fashion provides wedding inspiration appeared first on Equally Wed - LGBTQ Weddings.

Harvard May End Frats, Sororities, and Final Clubs By Punishing Students Who Join Them

Harvard May End Frats, Sororities, and Final Clubs By Punishing Students Who Join Them

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

An official Harvard University committee has recommended that the administration prohibit all students from joining exclusive, traditionally single-gender social clubs like fraternities, sororities, and so-called “final clubs.” After a damning report found that Harvard final clubs enabled a culture of sexual violence, the school moved last spring to force all final clubs—centuries-old, usually all-male institutions—to admit women or risk having members barred from leadership positions and fellowship recommendations.

Now, writes a committee of students, staff, and faculty members, that’s not good enough. “Even if all of these organizations adopted gender-neutral membership in a timely fashion, there would remain a myriad of practices of these organizations that go against the educational mission and principles espoused by Harvard University,” reads the committee’s report, sent to university community members on Wednesday. Harvard has been trying to push these clubs to go all-gender since the mid-‘80s; in response, the clubs officially disaffiliated themselves from the school. The new recommendation is the strictest and furthest-reaching policy the school has ever presented on the issue. For now, the committee’s recommendation to phase out single-gender and exclusive groups (or phase in sanctions for joining them) is still just a suggestion. Committee members expect the final policy to be unveiled in the fall, probably modeled on prohibitions against sororities and fraternities instated at Williams College and Bowdoin College.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

According to the report, final clubs and Greek organizations dominate the school’s social scene, such that even students who want nothing to do with them find their social lives affected. The sense of belonging some students derive from these groups “comes at the expense of the exclusion of the vast majority of Harvard undergraduates,” the committee wrote. “Of course, that is the definition of selective-membership clubs: some belong, some don’t. However, it is the invidious manner in which such clubs form their memberships and generate their guest lists (in the case of those that host parties) that makes them incompatible with the goals and standards of Harvard University.” Since the organizations aren’t formally connected to the university, the school can’t outright ban them. Instead, the committee proposes to whittle away their memberships by sending students who join them to an administrative board that will mete out unspecified disciplinary measures. The policy would see the groups “phased out” over the next five years.

Some students and alumni have said that it isn’t fair to target all single-gender groups just because a number of them have become havens for binge-drinking, sexual assault, and hazing. When Harvard first introduced sanctions for participating in single-gender organizations last year, the president of Harpoon Brewery (and an alumni leader of one of Harvard’s final clubs) said letting women into the clubs would actually increase the potential for sexual assaults. The report says some clubs reacted to the 2016 sanctions “with an increased zest for exclusion and gender discrimination.” This time around, one student in the Hasty Pudding Theatricals troupe, which puts on an all-male show each year, told the New York Times that switching forbidden characteristics of clubs “from gender exclusivity to exclusivity at all” is violating students’ freedom to associate, and “particularly rich coming from one of the most exclusive universities that exists.”

But, in its report, the Harvard committee argues that discrimination based on “gender, race, class, and sexual orientation” is a feature, not a bug, of the types of groups it names. Remember, the school has been trying to get clubs to admit women for more than 30 years. “Time after time, the social organizations have demonstrated behavior inconsistent with an inclusive campus culture, a disregard for the personhood and safety of fellow students, and an unwillingness to change—even as new students join them over generations,” the report says. “The final clubs in particular were products of their time. Due to their resistance to change over the decades, they have lapsed into products behind their time.”

Though there are plenty of existing ills (sexual assault, outright discrimination) that the university wants to quash with this new policy, it sounds like committee members, who dubbed the policy a “preventative step,” are more concerned with shifting the general social culture of the school. Organizations built around racist, sexist, and classist ideas of belonging will never fully shake that association, especially when the groups’ vaunted identities are so closely tied to their histories and alumni networks. It is the right of Harvard administrators to shape the school’s social environment in whatever ways they believe will best serve the student community—if they don’t want student life dominated by literal old boys’ clubs in 2017, they should be able to advance policies against them.

That doesn’t mean current students will be happy about it—one dissenting member of the committee pointed to a survey that showed a majority of student respondents supporting the groups—but they’ll graduate in a few years before the policy even takes full effect. In the future, prospective students who very badly wish to join single-gender legacy clubs can simply apply elsewhere. In the best case scenario, a few rounds of matriculation down the road, Harvard students won’t be bemoaning the lack of frat parties and elaborate hazing rituals for a chosen few. They’ll be enjoying a more inclusive social scene dominated by clubs and common-interest organizations that don’t require passing some subjective, elitist litmus test for admittance.

But students aren’t the only population Harvard has to serve. For some alumni members of Harvard’s final clubs, the groups mean more than just memories—they’re a vital connection to the university in its present form. Through current members of the clubs, alumni stoke their college pride and keep up with what’s happening on campus. Some find great fulfillment in helping their younger fellow club members adjust to life after Harvard and advance their careers. That doesn’t make the school’s reasons for trying to end the clubs any less legitimate, but if Harvard administrators want to maintain their alumni connections (and attendant flow of financial support), they will need to recognize and appropriately address the real loss the end of these clubs will represent for some alumni. Then, they should move forward with a policy that works in the best interests of young people still on Harvard’s campus. To create “an inclusive, healthy, and safe environment for Harvard students,” the committee wrote in its report, “this committee believes we owe it to our future students to take action.”

Andy Murray’s Breezy, No-Nonsense Feminism: a History

Andy Murray’s Breezy, No-Nonsense Feminism: a History

by Grace Ballenger @ Slate Articles

Andy Murray is known for many things: his crosscourt slice backhand, his deft grass court play, his occasional on-court remonstrations of his friends and family. He’s also, uniquely in the world of high-level men’s tennis, an ardent and unapologetic feminist. Most recently, when a reporter declared that Sam Querrey—who beat Murray in the Wimbledon quarterfinals—was the first American tennis player to reach the semis of a major championship since 2009, Murray quickly and coolly corrected him: “male player.” (Serena Williams has won 14 grand slams since that year.) When other folks in the press room chuckled, Murray didn’t crack a smile.

This wasn’t a one-off remark from the No. 1 (male) player in the world. Murray, who was famously coached as a child by his mother Judy, regularly touts the achievements of his female counterparts, and he does so in a way that feels natural and automatic rather than performative. Here is a surely not-quite-comprehensive history of Murray’s off-the-cuff feminist remarks.

June 27, 2013: He said he’d be down to play Serena Williams.

Murray kicked up considerable media buzz by saying he would play a match against the world’s best woman. “I’ve never hit with her but she’s obviously an incredible player,” Murray said in the Telegraph. “And I think people would be ­interested to see the men play against the women to see how the styles match up.” This is the rare instance in which a male tennis player talked about a hypothetical match-up with a woman without stressing that he would totally kick her butt. Serena replied that she would be up for it, too, but alas they have yet to meet on the court.

Sept. 2, 2013: He said he watches women's tennis and that it’s no big deal.

In an interview with the New York Times, Murray explained that he enjoys keeping up with women’s matches, and that he particularly admires Polish drop shot artist Agnieszka Radwanska. “I mean, I just like tennis, so I follow it,” he said.

June 22, 2014: He defended his decision to hire a female coach.

Just before playing at Wimbledon, Murray was forced to defend his new coach Amélie Mauresmo against criticism from, among others, former British star Virginia Wade. “If it helps bring more female coaches into men’s sport—and women’s sport—that’s a good thing. Because there’s absolutely no reason why someone like Amélie can't help me,” he said.

Nov. 29, 2014: He defended his coach again.

After Tim Henman questioned whether Mauresmo was good for him, Murray flatly told reporters, “There’s no reason for her to be criticized for anything.”

Jan. 29, 2015: And again.

This time, he spoke up for Mauresumo after a match at the Australian Open: “I think so far this week we have shown that women can be very good coaches as well.”

June 4, 2015: He used the f-word.

In a big day for Murray’s evolution as a feminist, he declared himself one in a post for French publication L’Equipe. In the post, Murray addressed those near-continuous critiques of Mauresmo and credited his family background for his respect for women. “Have I become a feminist?” he asks himself. “Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.”

March 23, 2016: He gave his thoughts on equal pay.

“Women should have equal pay, 100 per cent … the whole [controversy] is pretty disappointing,” he said, per the Guardian.

Aug. 15, 2016: He gave credit where credit was due (to the Williams sisters).

When BBC host John Inverdale declared that Murray was the first person to win two Olympic gold medals in tennis, Murray was quick to correct him. “Well, to defend the singles title,” he said. “I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.”

July 12, 2017: He schooled another journalist.

Once again: “male player.”

Who made Pippa Middleton’s wedding gown?

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

When the world first recognized Pippa Middleton in that Alexander McQueen bridesmaid dress, it upstaged everyone else’s attire. Six years later, Kate Middleton’s sister walked down the aisle in a Giles Deacon design to wed James Matthews. Adorned with pearls and lace, the seemingly seamless dress with a high neckline gave Pippa a more demure look,

The post Who made Pippa Middleton’s wedding gown? appeared first on Fashion Week.

These Old Photos of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Are a Deeply Moving Portrait of Queer Love and Desire

These Old Photos of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Are a Deeply Moving Portrait of Queer Love and Desire

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

On Tuesday, one of the heroes of the modern gay rights movement died at the age of 88. Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory slayed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, quickly rose to fame in the years that followed, becoming a recognizable face at queer benefits and celebrations. Her platinum-blond bob and impeccable style made her a ready icon, emanating the kind of joy and defiant glamour on which gay communities have thrived for generations.

If you follow a critical mass of queers on social media, your feeds, like mine, have filled with posts memorializing Windsor in the day since her death. Many include old photos of Windsor with her late wife, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009 after living for years with multiple sclerosis, just two years after the couple married in Canada. Because their marriage wasn’t recognized in New York, where they lived, Spyer’s death stuck Windsor with an estate tax bill in excess of $600,000. A legal wife would have been exempt from the tax—a fact of inequality that the Supreme Court used to justify its overturning of DOMA.

Now, that marriage serves as a vital symbol of queer love flourishing in the inhospitable landscape of a homophobic society. Scrolling through the photos that document their more than four decades together is an affirming experience unmatched by most other posthumous tributes to famous political figures. In images of Windsor and Spyer loving on one another, queer people can see themselves.

Part of the magic here is that the couple’s photos span several decades, from times that didn’t produce many photos of queer couples. Windsor and Spyer got engaged in 1967, when cameras were a luxury and film processing took some effort. Plus, back then, many gay couples lived in secret; they didn’t document their relationships on paper at all. Any old photos we see today are usually pictures of family members, famous people, or historic events. Unless one’s parents or friends are gay and past middle age, it’s incredibly rare to see a collection of photos of a gay couple that date back to the ’60s and march right up to present day. The existence of these images is a reminder that queer love has persisted throughout history, that mid-century queer life meant not only gay-bashings and clandestine bars, but also transcendent connection.

Then there are the photos themselves, which testify to a profound, radiant love. Windsor has spoken eloquently about what it’s like to care for someone with a debilitating illness, recounting how they spun around dance floors on Spyer’s wheelchair and how insulting it was when people treated Windsor like her caretaker. “I was never her nurse—I’m her lover!” Windsor once told the New Yorker. “I was just doing things to make her comfortable—and that was with loving her and digging her.” She said they never abandoned their hot-as-hell sex life, even when the physicality of the act became complicated as Spyer’s condition worsened. In images of the couple from decades past, that desire is palpable: They frequently lean on one another, press their cheeks together, lock eyes like they’re about to kiss. The photo used to promote Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, a documentary about their relationship, is bracingly intimate, as if the viewer happened upon the couple in their own bedroom.

These pictures hit me straight in the gut, both because of what Windsor gave us and because, in her love with Spyer, I see my own lovers and friends. Some of the photos seem to capture ordinary moments, when a pal with a camera saw a happy couple and hit the shutter. At the beach, in the city, in cluttered rooms and front yards, Spyer and Windsor could be any pair of lesbians navigating everyday life. I recognize their body language, the way they fit together as a butch-femme pair; I can see why Spyer made Windsor’s heart quiver and why Windsor made Spyer’s turn to mush. Even their old-school clothes, important markers of gender presentation, resonate with gays of today: I know at least three dykes with the oversized frames Windsor sported in this poolside shot and several dapper queers who would kill for Spyer’s tailored trousers and loafers this fall. They are an undeniably beautiful couple. That helps.

Long after these photos were taken, after Spyer’s death and her Supreme Court win, Windsor got remarried to a woman more than 35 years her junior. (Respect.) She spent the last several years of her life with her arms wide open, showing up all over the damn place to embrace the queer community she’d long loved, which finally got to love her back, loud and in public. Windsor was honored in several Pride parades, sure, but she also walked in the dyke marches, the more radical, in-your-face celebrations, better known for exposed breasts and protest chants than rainbow lanyards and celebrities on floats. She was one of the best of us. More importantly, in both her world-changing activism and her passionate, everyday love, she was one of us.

Only one twin is a United States citizen, here’s how it’s possible

by Emily Rochotte @ Equally Wed – LGBTQ Weddings

Imagine having biological twins, and only one of them is a United States citizen. It sounds like the plot of a movie, but it’s real life for couple Andrew and Elad...

The post Only one twin is a United States citizen, here’s how it’s possible appeared first on Equally Wed - LGBTQ Weddings.

Oliberté: The World’s First Fair Trade Certified Footwear Made In Ethiopia

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

Tal Dehtiar is the man responsible for the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear brand. The Canadian, with an MBA from Hamilton’s McMaster University, had always wanted to create an internationally successful and socially conscious product made in Africa. He had already established the MBAs Without Borders in 2004; a non-profit that helped craftspeople in…

The post Oliberté: The World’s First Fair Trade Certified Footwear Made In Ethiopia appeared first on The Designers Studio.

TV star Danny Baker auditions new ‘dads’ for BBC sitcom Cradle to Grave in case Peter Kay pulls out

by Sun Internet 2 @ The Sun

IT won rave reviews from critics but it sounds like there’s a spanner in the works for BBC sitcom Cradle To Grave. Two years after the popular series penned by DANNY BAKER last aired, the anticipated second outing is no closer to hitting screens. And now Danny has revealed lead star PETER KAY has struggled […]

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5 Things Great Product Marketers Do

5 Things Great Product Marketers Do

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

Something not many people know about me is that I’ve got a twin sister.

She’s brilliant. If you are into the left-brain right-brain dichotomy of categorizing people, then she is the pragmatic left with a PhD in biochemistry and I the demiurgic right with a career in marketing communications and a propensity for trusting my intuition.

As everything in life, however, we both exhibit a holistic blend of both left brain logic, and right brain creativity.

In the industry of marketing, we are often quick to separate those in our profession into these two categories - data-driven and analytical marketers against creative, visual, and artistic. Whether you’re left, right, or center…  marketing is about empathy.  

I’ve written before about the need to tap into not only both sides of that three pound lump in our heads, but also another vital organ in our systems:

“The new truth is that marketing is a trifecta of art, heart and science.”

And while it’s true that many of our colleagues could be easily categorized into one or the other, the best marketers I’ve seen are a stellar mix of left brain, right brain and empathy. And perhaps nobody characterizes this blend more eloquently than a great product marketer.

5 Characteristics of Great Product Marketers

One of my very favorite people in this world is Hally Pinaud, a product marketer at Marketo. She’s the best at what she does, and we are all going to be very lucky to work for her someday… until then, her and I recently chatted about what great product marketers look like:

1. "They are great storytellers, but never tell a fairytale." 

Studies show that our brains (those three pound lumps I mentioned earlier) are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long. They are wired to understand and retain stories. When used right in marketing, with emotional drivers and authenticity, storytelling results in persuasion and action.

Great product marketers understand their product, of course, but more importantly they understand how it connects to the pain of the buyer. They should articulate that story better than most, putting it together in a powerful way that resonates with a customer's day-to-day life. They not only do it for themselves, they can scale it to the rest of their organization, leading me to our next trait:

2. They are great trainers

Not only can great product marketers tell good stories that tie product back to a problem, they can equip the organization to do the same. A hallmark of great product marketing is their collateral. Good collateral does a lot of the heavy lifting for somebody – but it's not enough by itself.

A PDF can't teach someone when, and how, to use it effectively. Research has found that up to 70% of B2B content goes unused (SiriusDecisions), partly due to its irrelevance, and partly due to a lack of training.

Product marketers must therefore be excellent trainers, able to put tools in front of people and teach them to look for the right clues to leverage them correctly. When in the sales cycle, or in the lifecycle of a customer, is this part of the story relevant? When in that lifecycle are you making this connection?

They must not only create content that moves people along a journey, demonstrating how the solution can solve for pain every step of the way, but articulate when and where to use that content in context. Excellent product marketers are able to evolve from simply equipping the team to true empowerment.

3. They understand the lifecycle – yes, including post-sales

Speaking of lifecycle, great product marketers have a keen understanding of the whole lifecycle of a customer, not just up to the point of acquisition, but also what comes after. They understand meeting with current customers, and knowing the process, can illuminate whether what you’re doing delivers the right level of impact to them.

While many product marketers are great with sales, see my next point, they often risk ignoring the post-sales team. In an age of buyer mistrust and strong competition, our post-sales team is critical to delivering the type of customer experience that creates advocates.

This team brings the product vision to reality, and forms the very foundation for word-of-mouth marketing. For product marketers to have true impact, they’ve got to foster clarity and collaboration with this often grey area of the customer lifecycle.

4. They respect and work with sales

This really should be point #1. One reason I’ve always respected, admired, and appreciated great product marketing is their position within the organization, connecting product development and management to the marketing team, and most importantly acting as a liaison to the front lines of the business, sales.

More than a liaison, great product marketers understand and respect the profession of sales. They forge powerful partnerships that transcend a near-universal narrative of “animosity” that predicates the sales and marketing relationship. They respect that intangible aspect of great sales that requires a high level of emotional intelligence (or EQ) – that je ne sais quoi that you can’t teach.

Product marketing gives sales the ammunition they need to have honest conversations with people, making sure they’re informed so they can channel that EQ in an authentic way. That means being a realist, giving them real-world examples of your competition – the good, bad, and the ugly. They have to speak authentically, and informed, about shortcomings in order to do what they do best.

Great product marketers challenge their colleagues across the organization to do their best work, and trust that they will.

 5. They work in the grey areas

“People are delighted and deals are won in the grey areas.”

This was one of my favorite quotes from Hally, who explained that a great PPT deck can’t get into the nitty gritty of a customer’s experience. Every buyer is different. The ultimate role of a great product marketer is to ensure their organization has empathy for these grey areas, and feel empowered to make decisions with authenticity and realism that allows them to operate in good times and bad.

At the end of the day, product marketing sits in a very strategic arm of the organization. Blame comes to them when things don’t go well, respect comes when they do. There's no mystery why the good ones are in high demand. As someone who comes from and gravitates to the wedge of the marketing pie chart that deals with comms, I find good product marketers to be inordinately invaluable.

I raise my glass (err… of coffee) this morning to each of you. Happy Monday.

Thank you to Hally for these insights - you can follow her on Twitter here.

 

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

8 Reasons to Believe Taylor Swift Was Inside the Box That Two Large Men Carried Out of Her Apartment

8 Reasons to Believe Taylor Swift Was Inside the Box That Two Large Men Carried Out of Her Apartment

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

On Monday, Splash News, an agency that specializes in celebrity news and photos, released a picture of some men on a New York City street loading a large case into a vehicle. What interest would a celebrity photo agency have in this sidewalk scene? According to a caption that went along with the photo, plenty: The men happened to be Taylor Swift’s security force, they were outside the pop star’s Tribeca apartment, and she was reportedly inside the case.

Per BuzzFeed, the mysterious caption read in full ([sic] to all spelling mistakes):

Taylor Swift has been reportedly being transported in a huge suitcase from her Tribecca apartment into her truck. A fleet of cars including two large cadillacs and three suv's arrive at Tailor Swift's apartment in Tribecca to move a large suitcase from apartment to truck. Almost a dozen of Taylor Swift security guards were present to move this package carefully as Taylor Swift remains to be unseen for a long time.

The agency soon retracted the caption. But Pandora’s box was opened, and the theory was out there: Taylor Swift! In a box! In the annals of memorable celebrity modes of transport, it would be hard to top Lady Gaga’s egg and Ariana Grande’s rumored preference for being carried like a baby, but if Swift was indeed inside that box, then the Trojan Horse would have nothing on her. And knowing Swift, despite the retraction, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. Let’s marshal the evidence.

Swift has been trying to keep a low profile lately.

Holing up in a box would be one creative way to avoid the paparazzi’s gaze. On that theme, she’s barely made any public appearances in recent months, and she hasn’t released a new album since 2014’s 1989 (though she did have a song on the 50 Shades Darker soundtrack). The star has spoken before about overexposure, and after last summer’s war with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian and the end of her relationship with Tom Hiddleston, disappearing for a while made a certain amount of sense for her career. But how far would she go to disappear? Would she, say, hide in a large suitcase?

Do not underestimate her will and determination.

This is a woman who has smashed record after record, who collects squad members like trophies, and who elaborately engineered a public image so glossy that it felt like a historic feat of self-mythologizing.

Swift is not too big to fit in a box.

She’s on the tall side at 5-foot-10, I’ll grant you. That’s a lot of height to squeeze into a box. But she has a small frame and appears to be in excellent shape—you’ve seen all those stylish gym clothes she wears around. If she does any Pilates or yoga at all, which she definitely does, she can swing this.

To test out this theory, a Slate staffer (associate art director Lisa Larson-Walker) who is similar in size to Swift curled into the fetal position and we measured her.

We then compared her measurements to the dimensions of some of the cases sold on high-quality protective case manufacturer Pelican’s site, and the numbers check out. Lisa is 17" wide, 19" high, give or take lid compression, and 33–35" long, depending how much her feet are sticking out.

The suitcase itself is huge.

Rather than the type of luggage you can fit in the overhead compartment on a plane, it’s a monster protective case. Here's one plausible example: It's 28.20" x 19.66" x 17.63", so a lithe, contorted pop star could ride in relative comfort.

The company, and surely companies like it, manufactures custom cases, too: This one could totally be lined with foam and outfitted with airholes to make the chart-topping artist traveling inside more comfortable.

The case has wheels but instead of being rolled, it is being carried by two men.

A pair of human shock absorbers.

Look at the orange tape in the picture: possible airhole location No. 1?

Or just a reminder of which side has to go down so they don’t flip over the pop star inside? Or just random orange tape? All plausible!

Wait, though—if Swift’s whole reason for getting in the box was to hide from the public, how did Splash News find out?

Perhaps it was actually a bid for attention and she was only pretending to hide, a nesting doll of PR stunts but in no way too advanced a move for Swift to pull. Again, look who we’re dealing with.

Who is Pete Wicks? The Only Way is Essex lad and Megan McKenna’s on-off boyfriend

by jkavanagh @ The Sun

PETE Wicks is regularly in the spotlight due to his on-off relationship with Megan McKenna. We take a look at his love, life and career so far… Who is Pete Wicks? Pete Wicks was born on 31 October 1988, he is 28 years old. He is from Harlow in Essex and is known for his […]

Rolling Stone’s Trudeau Profile Shows How a Writer Can Objectify a Hot Famous Person Without Seeming Gross

Rolling Stone’s Trudeau Profile Shows How a Writer Can Objectify a Hot Famous Person Without Seeming Gross

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Celebrity profiles too often boil down to the same question: What if this famous person were dating a magazine writer? Since that question is only 10 words long and a feature-length magazine story is usually at least 5,000 words, readers are then subjected to confusing, vaguely creepy lines like “She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance” (that’s Margot Robbie, according to Rich Cohen in Vanity Fair), and “She seemed to be made from champagne” (Scarlett Johansson, per Anthony Lane in the New Yorker).

It is actually a bit refreshing, then, to read a long, romantic magazine cover story about a famous man that focuses attentively on that man’s physical charms. The man in this case is Justin Trudeau, the publication is Rolling Stone, and the result is both melancholy and sweet, a feature-length love letter. The cover line asks: “Justin Trudeau: Why Can’t He Be Our President?” Blame the Constitution for that one. But the real question raised by the profile is: Why can’t we have a normal president?

Let’s start with the cover photo itself. Trudeau is obviously a handsome man, but he has a desperation to please that has always struck me as a bit thirsty. A man who is constantly kayaking up to strangers to talk about climate change does not do it for me, sexy-world-leader-wise. That try-hard eagerness often seems to seep through in photos. In Vogue last year, he awkwardly “rested” his face on his hand without appearing to put any pressure on it, while staring dreamily into the middle distance. The result was something like a highbrow Glamour Shot.

The Rolling Stone photo, by contrast, is veritably Obama-esque. Here is Trudeau at work, presumably in the Canadian version of the Oval Office. He has his sleeves rolled up just so, because you’ve caught him on a Tuesday afternoon between meetings. He gazes directly at the camera, his one brow cocked ever-so-slightly, suggesting he is in on the joke of his own sex-symbolism.

The profile itself, by writer Stephen Rodrick, frames Trudeau as the anti-Trump. He’s articulate, he’s likable, he’s happily married, he cares about refugees, and “his dark hair is a color found in nature.” Throughout, Rodrick nods subtly to romantic celebrity-profile tropes, and to Trudeau’s reputation as a heartthrob, without playing it for homoerotic yuks. “For Trudeau, listening is seducing,” he writes. “As we chat, he smiles and locks in with his blue eyes, but Trudeau, whose mother’s side is of Scottish descent, swats away all Trump-baiting questions with a look that says, ‘Not today, laddie.’” Elsewhere, he swoons over the prime minister’s regular-guy bona fides, somewhat miraculous considering he’s the son of a former prime minister. “Trudeau doesn’t play golf; he snowboards,” Rodrick writes. “There is a real person inside him.” The piece describes his socks on two separate occasions.

Canadians are already mocking the piece online for its gushing tone, and for some minor mistakes like a reference to the “Royal Canadian Mountain Police.” Yes, the profile includes the line “Trudeau has a tat of a raven and, sigh, the planet Earth.” Yes, it’s is a little over the top. Obviously it’s nowhere near the kind of panting objectification that magazine writers often practice on female sex symbols who happen not to also be world leaders. But as drooly magazine profiles go, at least this one feels relatively self-aware of its over-the-top-ness. And who could begrudge America a few harmless fantasies about the head of state next door?

Fox News Spent $50 Million on Harassment Claims in a Year, Proving That Enabling Sexual Harassers Is a Bad Business Move

Fox News Spent $50 Million on Harassment Claims in a Year, Proving That Enabling Sexual Harassers Is a Bad Business Move

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

It’s been an expensive year to be a company with a sexual-harassment problem. According to regulatory paperwork filed Monday, 21st Century Fox paid out about $50 million in the fiscal year that ended on June 30 to cover costs related to a slew of sexual-harassment and discrimination settlements at Fox News. The New York Times reports that $50 million is $5 million more than what the company said it had paid out as of the end of March, meaning that either the company’s calculations have changed since then or Fox News continued racking up settlement expenses through the end of spring.

The network’s costly tailspin began last July, when former host Gretchen Carlson filed a blistering suit alleging that she’d been subjected to repeated instances of sexual harassment at Fox News, including regular come-ons from then-chairman Roger Ailes. Carlson got a major chunk of the network’s FY2016 settlement costs—$20 million—after Ailes walked the plank onto a $40 million lifeboat. A few months later, the Times revealed that Fox News and former primetime star Bill O’Reilly had paid a cumulative $13 million since 2002 to settle harassment suits brought against him by fellow employees and network contributors. When he got ousted, O’Reilly got about $25 million from Fox News to help ease his pain.

The $50 million figure reported on Monday doesn’t include these payouts to Ailes and O’Reilly; nor does it include the millions of dollars spent before the summer of 2016 to settle with O’Reilly’s accusers. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission form, 21st Century Fox spent $224 million on “management and employee transitions and restructuring” at a group of businesses that includes Fox News, where management shake-ups and extra human-resources burdens have created the need for a significant hiring expenses and severance packages. Monday’s filing also notes that the harassment and discrimination allegations could cause a ripple effect of liabilities and hard-to-quantify losses. In a section titled “Risk Factors,” the form notes that “prospective investors should consider carefully,” among other possibilities, the chance that the misconduct allegations against Fox News could lead to future payouts, expensive litigation from related investigations, and diminished ratings due to the departures of several network personalities. Some of those consequences could materialize in the very near future: More than 20 current and former Fox News employees are currently enmeshed in racial- and gender-discrimination suits against the company, which recently declined to settle them all for a lump sum of $60 million.

If you’re a business leader looking at Fox News right now, you’re probably pretty pleased that you’re not responsible for digging the company out of its self-created trap. (If you are a Fox News executive, thanks for reading, and please accept my best wishes on your future endeavors.) Companies are known to quietly shell out cash to protect their employees from public scrutiny over sexual-harassment claims—and if that doesn’t work, they often give big-time stars-cum-harassers tidy sums to get them to resign. These corporate behaviors are not unique to Fox News. But, in part because the major players in the Fox News sexual-harassment scandals visited millions of Americans in their living rooms each night at the time the allegations arose, the network has become one of the most visible case studies of how much it can cost a business to enable the toxic behavior of its precious stars.

Personnel decisions made around sexual-harassment allegations are all about risks and rewards. Businesses don’t run on good feelings—toxic employees get fired because they pose a risk to a company’s bottom line, whether through litigation costs or reputational damage. For a decade and a half, Fox News executives had to weigh O’Reilly’s worth against the financial damage he caused: How much money does it cost to hush up O’Reilly’s accusers? How much prestige does he bring the Fox News brand? How much money do his advertisers bring in? How famous are his accusers? Would their complaints be enough to cause widespread public condemnation? At the same time, 21st Century Fox and its Murdoch family owners were asking similar questions about Ailes: How many more women will bring suits against him in the next few years? What will the average suit cost to settle? How many more potential harassers would he bring on board and cover for? When do the risks outweigh the benefits?

For the business leaders of Fox News, emboldening famous men to hit on, grab at, and demean women who worked for and with them was cheaper than creating a workplace free from sexual intimidation—until it wasn’t. In O’Reilly’s case, that balance shifted when advertisers, under pressure from consumers, began pulling out of his top-rated show. For Ailes, it shifted when an investigation and reporting hotline revealed an alleged pattern of abuse too entrenched, long-running, and public to squash. Because so many women made their allegations known to the world outside the network, Fox had to do its calculations out in the open. Everyone could read the lawsuits, learn about the payouts, and see companies tweeting their decisions to end their advertising relationships with O’Reilly. Now, thanks to the SEC form, we have a bit of a better idea of how much it’s cost so far.

That makes Fox News an exemplary cautionary tale of the expense that may befall a 21st-century business led by a man who molds his workplace in his own pitiful, lecherous self-image. And it’s not just Fox: Harassment and discrimination claims at Uber helped relieve the company of its CEO, Travis Kalanick, and the company he built is still struggling to overhaul its culture. Women are more likely to share their experiences of sexual harassment today than they’ve ever been, and observers in the general public are more likely to believe them. The dozens of millions of dollars Fox News has spent making amends for and covering up its sexual-harassment problem are not “material” to 21st Century Fox, its SEC form claims. Other business leaders making their own calculations may feel differently.

Adults spend THREE hours a week on the toilet — and that’s more than twice the time they spend exercising

by rbayne @ The Sun

ADULTS spend more than twice as much time on the toilet each week as exercising, a study found. They typically clock up three hours and nine minutes on the loo but 90 minutes exercising. Experts say poor diets are leaving people “clogged up” while others lose track of time playing on their mobiles as they […]

Fury from MPs as Labour refuse to allow debate on Brexit at party’s conference and Jeremy Corbyn writes the referendum out of history

by Alain Tolhurst @ The Sun

LABOUR has avoided a damaging row over Brexit after delegates voted not to debate their EU policy during party conference – while Jeremy Corbyn wrote the referendum out of history as he addressed activists. But MPs have hit out at the decision – calling it “wrong”, “utterly ridiculous” and saying it makes them a “laughing […]

Lena Waithe Makes Emmy History

Lena Waithe Makes Emmy History

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Lena Waithe has made Emmy history as the first African-American woman to win for comedy writing at the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Waithe won for co-writing the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” with series co-creator and star, Aziz Ansari. Waithe has also had a...

Surgeon ‘stabbed in the neck outside Manchester mosque as he arrived for evening prayers’

by dcollins @ The Sun

A TOP surgeon was tonight stabbed “in broad daylight” outside a Manchester mosque as he arrived for evening prayers. The victim, named locally as orthopaedic surgeon Dr Nasser Kurdy, was knifed outside Altrincham’s Islamic Centre at around 6pm. Dr Kurdy, aged in his 60s, was stabbed in the back of the neck by someone who […]

Finally, a New Policy We Know Trump Truly Believes in: Protections for Sexual Assaulters

Finally, a New Policy We Know Trump Truly Believes in: Protections for Sexual Assaulters

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Betsy DeVos gave credence to the fears of anti-rape activists on Thursday when she finally did the thing they’ve expected her to do since her confirmation. In a speech at George Mason University, the secretary of education announced her intention to roll back Obama-era guidance that forced universities that receive federal funding to take more aggressive action against campus sexual assault.

DeVos accused the federal government of using “intimidation and coercion” to make schools comply with stricter Department of Education directives that came down in 2011. The “Dear Colleague” letter, as it is commonly known, required universities to complete expedient investigations of accusations, lower the standard of evidence needed to hold an accused student responsible, prevent harassment of victims on campus, and stop making victims sign nondisclosure agreements. DeVos took issue with the new guidance’s more comprehensive definitions of assault and harassment. “If everything is harassment, then nothing is,” she said, claiming that students and teachers had been punished for Title IX offenses simply for “speaking their minds.”

The other telltale sign that the “Dear Colleague” guidance was not long for this world was the person sitting in the Oval Office. Donald Trump has given his rancid imprimatur to all manner of causes and policies about which he seems to know or care very little. He once identified as “pro-choice”; now he advances anti-abortion policies more punishing than those of his right-wing predecessors, even as he slips up on the anti-abortion talking points. While Trump was busy absorbing his twice-daily lathering of positive cable news chyrons, Steve Bannon, back when he was still oozing about the White House, could whisper a few epithets into the president’s ear and we'd all wake up the next morning to a nuclear clash of civilizations.

Sexual assault, on the other hand, is a cause near and dear to Trump, the rare political matter in which he actually has some experience. More than a dozen women have given public accounts of his various alleged sex crimes, giving him valuable insight into the plight of the accused. On this issue, his mind holds two mutually exclusive principles to be simultaneously true: that women are lying when they allege sexual assault, and that the actions they describe did occur but don’t warrant any accountability from the perpetrator. Groping is flirting, and barging in on naked beauty queens is a purchasable privilege of rich men. But also, the women who claim those things happened are liars out for fame and money, and plus, they’re too ugly to assault. Trump has convinced himself that he’s a victim of a witch hunt perpetrated by an inherently untrustworthy subclass—women—that’s trying to take down the good ol’ university boys, those original espousers of “locker room talk,” too.

The DeVos Department of Education echoes this paradigm through and through. When DeVos invited men’s rights groups to advise her on Title IX policy this summer, she included infamous trolls who claim that the “leading reason” for domestic abuse is “female initiation of partner violence” and dox women who accuse men of rape. Candice Jackson, who DeVos tapped to lead the department’s Office for Civil Rights, recently scoffed to the New York Times that a full 90 percent of campus sexual assault allegations “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’”

Imagine the college student who has endured a sexual assault and looks online for her avenues of recourse, only to find that the woman charged with addressing all federal claims of harassment and discrimination believes nearly every college student with the courage to file an official rape allegation is full of shit. The chilling effect the DeVos Department of Education will have on sexual assault reports will certainly please Trump. But his larger goal is to send a message to women that the government is not on their side. Nearly every policy shift Trump makes that rallies his base without any real legislative accomplishment—the transgender military ban, the decision to cease data collection on race- and gender- based wage disparities, the ending of DACA—serves the general purpose of demoralizing marginalized populations by letting them know the country stands with their oppressors.

To accomplish this goal, Trump must manage some pretty impressive feats of intellectual dissonance. Police officers should rough up the suspects they arrest, but universities should go easy on accused rapists. Honor killings by immigrant men are a threat to American women, but grants to prevent violence against women are bogus. Sifting through the president’s actions, it can be hard to find any kernel of conviction. At the root of his few true impulses is identity politics—namely, his identity as a white man and his desire to protect the same. There’s one other identity at play, and he shares it with the accused sexual assailants DeVos championed on Thursday. That makes her rollback of Title IX protections one of Trump’s most honest moves yet.

Cricket legend Shane Warne questioned by police for ‘hitting porn star Valerie Fox in the face’ at London nightclub 

by Alahna Kindred @ The Sun

CRICKET legend Shane Warne was quizzed by police investigating claims he beat up a porn star. The Aussie was interviewed under caution at a central London police station. He had been due to give expert analysis on Sky Sports’ coverage of England’s 50-over match against the West Indies. Instead, he put on a dark suit […]

Kate Middleton and Japan’s Princess Mako Showcase Two Different Gendered Models of Royal Succession

Kate Middleton and Japan’s Princess Mako Showcase Two Different Gendered Models of Royal Succession

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The imperial family of Japan is facing a looming succession crisis. Current law forbids female family members and their children from ascending to the throne, meaning only male children of male family members may become emperor someday.

But of the 19 people in the Japanese royal family, just five are men, including 83-year-old Emperor Akihito, who plans to abdicate his position next year. He’ll pass the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. Naruhito has no sons, so he’ll pass it to his younger brother Akishino. Akishino’s only son and Akihito’s only male grandchild, 10-year-old Hisahito, is next in line. If he doesn’t have any sons, there will be no one left to take his place.

The fast-approaching end of Akihito’s reign isn’t the only cause for concern among those invested in the future of Japanese monarchy. On Sunday morning, Princess Mako, Akihito’s oldest grandchild and Akishino’s oldest child, announced her engagement to a commoner. Japanese law dictates that male royals can marry outside the imperial family and retain their status, but women cannot. When 25-year-old Mako marries legal assistant Kei Komuro, her college boyfriend, she’ll finally get the right to vote but forfeit her allowance from the government, her title, and her last name.

A large majority of Japanese residents—86 percent, according to a May 2017 poll—believe that women should be eligible for the throne, and 59 percent think the children of female family members should also count in the line of succession. Sixty-one percent want princesses to be able to stay in the imperial family after their marriages to commoners, helping to expand the family tree as those couples grew their own branches of descendants. Now, Japanese legislators must decide which is more important: the continued existence of a dwindling imperial bloodline or its strict patrilineal heritage.

The country’s parliament is already in the midst of shaking up the imperial rules. Over the summer, legislators passed a popular bill allowing Akihito to abdicate the throne as per his wishes, an option that was previously forbidden to monarchs who had to serve for life. More conservative members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party worried that considering such a bill would force them to open debate on the female succession issue, which is governed by the same 1947 law. Abe shut down these nascent debates earlier this year, suggesting that some former “collateral” branches of the imperial family, which were cut off with that 1947 law, be let back in or have their sons adopted by current princes to expand the pool of potential heirs. The largest opposition party in Japan, the Democratic Party, is advocating for a legal shift that would let women already in the family to reign instead.

By some accounts, even Emperor Akihito supports such a change. Empresses are not unheard of in Japan: Though emperors used to have concubines to increase the likelihood of producing male heirs, eight women in the family have sat on the throne in the 125 recorded generations of the imperial family. They were largely considered stand-ins until patrilineal successors could take over. There are few good arguments beside tradition for the endurance of government-supported monarchs, and even fewer for the restriction of the throne to men. Mako could just as easily perform the duties of an empress, minimal as they are, as her grandfather, and imperial genes will persist in her future children as much as they will in her brother’s. There’s another word for a tradition that would rather reintegrate families who have been commoners for generations into the imperial line than treat women as equally valued members: sexism.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is about to see a recent measure for monarchical gender equality finally come into play. Kensington Palace announced early Monday morning that Kate Middleton is pregnant with her third child, adding another heir to Prince William’s growing lineup. In previous generations, a new baby boy would have taken the place of older sister Charlotte, baby No. 2, in the line of succession. But a law passed soon after Middleton joined the family in 2011 ensured that any daughter of a U.K. monarch would have an equal shot at ascending to the throne as a son would. Royal families are indefensible mooches on the government, but as long as they exist, a Charlotte or a Mako shouldn’t have to see her rightful place on the throne usurped by an annoying younger brother.

Oasis fans shocked to learn Liam Gallagher’s real name – and they aren’t sure it’s very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’

by Olivia Waring @ The Sun

OASIS fans who’ve always thought of frontman Liam Gallagher as just that – a Liam – have been left shocked by the revelation that his real name is something else. The Mancunian rocker, 45 – currently promoting the release of his solo album As You Were – has had his real full name outed online, […]

Why ladies didn't love Dove's latest gender-empowering ad stunt

Why ladies didn't love Dove's latest gender-empowering ad stunt


chicagotribune.com

After years of encouraging women to love their bodies, Dove set out to give its plastic bottles a makeover. The idea: "Just like women, we wanted to show that

“An Example of the System Gone Awry”

“An Example of the System Gone Awry”

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Current and former employees of the University of Rochester are charging the university with denying female students a safe learning environment by dismissing repeated sexual harassment allegations against a longtime professor, then retaliating against employees who objected. According to a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 30, T. Florian Jaeger, a professor in the department of brain and cognitive sciences, has made a habit of sleeping with graduate students, making inappropriate remarks about women in front of their colleagues, and pressuring underlings into compromising situations.

The complaint documents dozens of alleged instances of Jaeger’s misconduct over the past decade. But at this point, the employees who filed the EEOC complaint have exhausted UR’s options for filing misconduct allegations—the university’s internal investigation found that Jaeger did not violate any university policies—and believe the process is riddled with conflicts of interests that preclude a just conclusion. So the complainants aren’t asking for his termination or censure. Instead, they’re pushing for a complete overhaul of the system by which the university arbitrates sexual harassment claims.

The University of Rochester’s policy on student-faculty relationships is murky, as are many such policies; it’s a notoriously difficult area to legislate. Though there is much debate over the propriety of professor­–grad student sex, most university handbooks—including UR’s—include statements that submit consensual relationships with any “power differential” to stricter scrutiny than those between peers and explicitly forbid sexual relationships between professors and the students they directly teach or advise. The University of Maine’s handbook says that “faculty and staff members are strongly advised not to engage in relationships” with students. The University of Iowa warns: “There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions of power.” In UR’s case, the complainants claim that Jaeger was able to exploit gaping loopholes in university policy to get away with behavior that should have been unacceptable.

Richard Aslin, a complainant who held several leadership positions in his 33 years at UR, resigned in June over the university’s handling of the case. “I was dean for five years at Rochester in the ’90s, and saw in my role as dean some of the unprofessional behaviors of faculty members I had to adjudicate, but this one is the worst I’ve seen,” Aslin said. “That’s why I’m so dumbfounded that the university didn’t similarly judge this to be an extreme case.” One of the main EEOC complainants is Celeste Kidd, an assistant professor in UR’s brain and cognitive sciences department. In the days since Mother Jones published Kidd’s allegations and a summary of the EEOC complaint, students and alumni have written angry reviews on UR’s Facebook page and launched a petition to get the university to terminate Jaeger and re-evaluate its sexual harassment policies. On Wednesday, students planned to stage a sit-in in a classroom just before one of Jaeger’s scheduled classes, then protest at UR President and CEO Joel Seligman’s office. After the administration canceled Wednesday’s class and Jaeger stepped down from teaching the course altogether, the protest became a rally on the campus quad, where students called for a harsher university response and shared stories of sexual harassment and assault unrelated to Jaeger’s case.

Kidd first met Jaeger in early 2007, when he interviewed the then-undergraduate for a spot in the graduate program, and immediately witnessed what she believes to be inappropriate behavior. The EEOC complaint alleges that during that recruitment process, Kidd watched Jaeger kissing and “groping” a fellow graduate recruit at a conference; that she received Facebook messages from him that said he’d like to listen to her read him a manuscript while he’d “lie lazily on the couch” and she “paced around occasionally in front of the fire”; and that she learned from him that he attended naked hot tub parties with graduate students.

Once she came to Rochester, Kidd claims in the complaint, Jaeger insisted she rent a room from him because he didn’t like living alone and couldn’t afford it. His behavior allegedly got worse. Kidd says he made regular explicit comments to her, including describing the taste of one of his graduate students’ vaginas and making guesses about how Kidd’s ex-partner’s ethnicity corresponded to his penis size. At conferences, Jaeger allegedly had Kidd drive him to and from sexual trysts. When Kidd hosted a prospective graduate student at the university, Jaeger allegedly told Kidd he felt a “connection” with the student and asked Kidd to arrange for the two of them to meet alone; when she refused, Kidd says, he told her she had a “professional obligation” to go along because his research aligned closely with that of the recruit’s. Once, when Kidd was on a date, Jaeger allegedly showed up uninvited and told the date that Kidd needed to have sex because she was too “tightly wound.”

Kidd told me that she knew Jaeger’s behavior was harassment from her first interview with him but that she didn’t want to be labeled “a complainer” before she had proved her worth to the department. One previous adviser told her that she’d encounter sexual harassment no matter where she went, so Kidd made up her mind to try to live with it. When she became a professor, her attitude changed. “I knew how much productivity I lost that first year of grad school. I didn’t get as much done due to the mental anguish of trying to navigate these impossible situations that I couldn’t figure out how to escape on a daily basis,” she said. “As a mentor, you want to do everything you can to help your students be able to focus on this very difficult ask of learning these highly technical skills that are required to be successful in science. I couldn’t stand the idea of not trying to do something to protect them.”

Jaeger did not respond to Slate’s emails and calls requesting comment, but this week, he sent an email to students in the class that was canceled. “I am incredibly sorry for the emotional turmoil you must be experiencing, following the allegations raised against me in the EEOC complaint as well as news coverage,” he wrote. “Allegations of sexual discrimination, harassment, or misconduct are shocking, in particular given the long horrible history of violence and harassment against women. It is important that they are pursued rigorously.” Jaeger wrote that he is “glad that there is now generally so much support for people who speak up against discrimination,” even though many of the online comments “are personally painful for me to read (as most of these comments do not grant me ‘presumption of innocence’, to put it mildly).” In the email, he claimed that he’s been hearing from former students “expressing how positively they experienced the atmosphere in the lab (about half of those emails came from female lab members)” and promises that the 2016 investigation “presented an opportunity for me to educate myself further about how women are affected in academia, to reflect on how I acted in the past, and how I want to act in the future.”

In the complaint, other former graduate students and junior faculty members recount a number of disturbing acts that they say Jaeger committed as a member of the department’s senior faculty. They claim he once asked a group of graduate students and postdocs how to use a cock ring, invited some students (and not others) to drug-fueled “retreats” in the Adirondacks, had loud sex with a graduate student from another university in a house he insisted on sharing with UR graduate students at a summer institute, made lewd remarks about female students’ bodies in front of other faculty members, and demanded female students take meetings with him in his home instead of his office or a public place even after they expressed their discomfort. The complaint claims that Jaeger sent one former graduate student with whom he’d had a relationship unwanted photos of his penis after they had broken up. Several female students reported to faculty members that they shaped their educational experiences around Jaeger due to his pattern of behavior, avoiding lectures, conferences, and department gatherings where they knew he’d be present.

The first formal report against Jaeger came in 2013, when a then–graduate student named Keturah Bixby—one of the EEOC complainants—gave the department chairman, Greg DeAngelis, the names and contact information of several female students who had allegedly witnessed Jaeger’s inappropriate behavior. Three months later, after speaking with just two of the students, DeAngelis allegedly told Bixby that although Jaeger’s alleged behavior was “undesirable,” it didn’t violate any university policies. Previously, when Kidd had questioned Jaeger about the propriety of his sexual encounters with graduate students, he allegedly told her that senior members of the faculty and administration knew about and approved of his relationships. After Bixby’s report was dismissed, the complaint says, it seemed Jaeger had DeAngelis’ explicit blessing. (DeAngelis also did not respond to a request for comment.)

But other senior faculty members weren’t made aware of the allegations against Jaeger until much later. Early in 2016, Aslin, then the director of graduate studies in the brain and cognitive sciences department, was part of a faculty discussion about possibly hiring someone who’d had a relationship with a student or former student. One of his colleagues told him she’d be wary about hiring such a candidate because he might end up behaving like Jaeger. Aslin didn’t know what she was talking about. “I was appalled, frankly, that that kind of behavior had been going on for a number of years and no one had come forward to explicitly complain about it to senior faculty in the department,” Aslin said, noting that part of the reason the students kept quiet was Jaeger’s alleged claim that the department leadership already knew.

Aslin filed a formal complaint with the university soon after he heard the allegations against Jaeger. According to Aslin and the other EEOC complainants, the resulting investigation, which found no evidence that Jaeger had violated university policies, was unsatisfactory. It didn’t mention the fact that Jaeger had slept with an undergraduate who had worked with him for two years. The EEOC complaint claims the investigator “responded dismissively” to requests for her to interview the student, saying that since she had recently graduated when the relationship began, it didn’t count. (According to the complaint, Jaeger and the former undergraduate were still doing research together, and he was still providing her with references during their sexual relationship.)

When asked whether or not professors at UR are allowed to sleep with their graduate students, UR spokeswoman Sara Miller pointed me toward a segment in the faculty handbook on “intimate relationships.” The policy forbids faculty members from accepting any position of authority over students with whom they have a romantic history or current romantic relationship. It also prohibits faculty members from sleeping with undergraduates or anyone at the university over whom they hold “academic authority,” a term that includes “teaching, mentoring, supervising, and making professional recommendations,” according to the handbook.

In this case, the university’s investigation decided that the professor-student relationship was not inappropriate because it was consensual. Only two of Jaeger’s alleged sexual encounters with students made it into the report: One was a romantic relationship with the graduate student, identified in the complaint as “Molly Marshall,” who said he sent her unwanted sexts after their breakup. The other was a sexual relationship with the UR recruit Kidd allegedly saw him grope, who eventually matriculated at UR. The investigator decided the sexual relationship with the recruit didn’t count because Jaeger had not officially started his job at UR when she applied. But the complaint claims that the investigator omitted important information that Marshall offered up, including her allegation that she felt pressure to continue her relationship with Jaeger because she didn’t want to get on the bad side of someone with formidable power over the social scene in the department.

“The core allegations in this complaint were thoroughly investigated and could not be substantiated,” Miller said in a statement. “Dozens of individuals were interviewed in two separate investigations—one by an internal investigator and one conducted by an external investigator. We have confidence in the integrity of these investigations, neither of which found any violation of the law or of University policy.”

It’s very possible that Jaeger could have had a sexual relationship with a graduate student or postdoc and stayed on the good side of UR rules, if he completely detached himself from her academic endeavors. (Indeed, the complaint alleges that the investigator was preoccupied with this point, asking Marshall leading questions such as “He wasn’t your dissertation adviser?” and “He had no direct effect on your education?”) That doesn’t appear to be the case with Marshall, who claimed in the complaint that at least one professor had told her to seek academic help from Jaeger. In any case, the university’s harassment policy is clear, even if its policy for handling it isn’t: When members of a protected class (e.g., women) are subjected to pervasive, unwelcome sexual advances “or other verbal or physical acts/conduct of a sexual or sex-based nature” that interferes with their work or creates an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive” environment, that’s sexual harassment. The allegations outlined in the EEOC complaint, if true, surely constitute a pervasive pattern of sexual conduct, and multiple students—including the one with whom Jaeger had a consensual relationship—said the conduct caused them to alter their academic or professional lives to avoid Jaeger.

The university and the complainants seem to clash on two major points. The first is whether Jaeger should be disciplined for the two relationships the investigation addressed, both of which slipped through on technicalities. The second, larger disagreement is over the veracity of the allegations themselves. In the EEOC complaint, the complainants claim that the investigator dismissed Kidd’s testimony as “not credible” and opted not to interview several students who’d said they’d lost educational opportunities due to Jaeger’s alleged behavior. This past Sunday, Seligman sent a lengthy email to all students and employees, asking them to “consider these allegations for what they are: assertions that remain unproven despite two thorough investigations.” He also compared Jaeger’s case to a notorious fabrication of a brutal assault: “Allegations are not facts, and as we saw in Rolling Stone’s withdrawn story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, even established media outlets can get it wrong.”

Kidd says Jaeger’s alleged pattern of behavior is unacceptable, even if the individual actions in the investigation didn’t violate the letter of campus law. “It’s very, very obvious how motivated your students are to please you and not piss you off. It was immediately obvious to me the first time I interacted with my first graduate student how careful I needed to be, as a responsible mentor, to not abuse that,” she said. “You might imagine, theoretically, that somebody could be abusing their power without knowing it. When I became a professor, that became implausible to me.”

Several UR faculty members allege in the EEOC complaint that university leadership retaliated against them when they appealed the investigation’s verdict and continued to press for accountability. Two deans sent an email to the entire department scolding the unnamed complainants as “regrettable and unprofessional” purveyors of “gossip” that had “fractured the department.” The provost sent an email accusing them of spreading a “wealth of rumors and in some instances misinformation.”

If the allegations in the EEOC complaint are true, this case is a good example of how university processes for adjudicating harassment claims often fall short of basic standards of impartiality. Aslin’s primary concern with UR’s existing process is the Office of Counsel, which is responsible for arbitrating claims brought against faculty members in addition to protecting the university from legal challenges. This is a conflict of interest, Aslin says, akin to a resident reporting a neighbor to a police officer who has to both investigate the complaint and represent the neighbor in court.

Without effective systems for unbiased investigation, schools have an incentive to protect any professor from allegations of repeated misconduct, because acknowledging the validity of one complaint against one professor could open the university up to lawsuits from every other possible victim. That tension is now the primary focus of the UR faculty members’ complaint, Aslin says, and the reason why he and others are still moving forward with it when they no longer work at the school. “I don’t think it’s my job to decide what the punishment is for professor Jaeger. I think it’s the institution’s responsibility to do that,” Aslin said. “Our primary focus is using him as an example of the system going awry, and needing to clean up the system so it doesn’t happen in the future, ever again.”

David Haye vs Tony Bellew grudge rematch will be at the o2 on Sunday December 10

by wally Downes @ The Sun

DAVID HAYE’S heavyweight rematch with Tony Bellew will be held on SUNDAY December 10 at the O2. The London venue is fully booked for Saturday nights — leaving Sunday as  the only option for the Brit brawlers. The pair went head-to-head in March earlier this year where Haye suffered a shock defeat. The ex-world champ […]

States That Punish Pregnant Women for Drinking Are More Likely to Restrict Reproductive Rights

States That Punish Pregnant Women for Drinking Are More Likely to Restrict Reproductive Rights

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

In the early 1970s, the law didn’t care if pregnant women drank alcohol. Bars didn’t have to erect warning signs in their bathrooms. Doctors didn’t have to report women to Child Protective Services if they suspected alcohol use. State authorities didn’t commit women against their will to treatment programs if they drank in their third trimester.

By 2013, nearly every state in the U.S. had put laws on the books addressing alcohol and pregnancy. Some laws, like those allowing the prosecution of pregnant women for child abuse if they drank, were punitive. Others, like those providing education on alcohol risks and giving pregnant women and new mothers priority placement in substance-abuse treatment programs, were supportive. Many states have a mix of supportive and punitive policies, though punitive policies have become more common over time. According to a new report published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, states with a greater number of punitive pregnancy and alcohol laws are more likely to have greater restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.

The study comes from researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, San Jose State University, and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. Authors cite previous research that showed that between 1980 and 2003, after accounting for political and socioeconomic differences, a higher proportion of women serving in a state’s legislative body was the one predictor of whether a state would pass a supportive law on pregnancy and alcohol. After completing their analysis of reproductive-rights restrictions and alcohol-use laws, the authors concluded that neither a state’s number of punitive laws nor its number of supportive laws are associated with a greater efficacy of its alcohol policies as measured by policy experts’ estimates.

“Punitive alcohol and pregnancy policies are associated with policies that restrict women’s reproductive autonomy rather than general alcohol policy environments that effectively reduce harms due to alcohol use among the general population,” the authors write. “This finding suggests that a primary goal of pursuing such policies appears to be restricting women’s reproductive rights rather than improving public health.”

In recent years, more and more women’s health advocates have taken cues from hundreds of studies indicating that light drinking later in pregnancy is probably okay. Last year, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued new guidelines that prohibited bars and restaurants from refusing to serve alcohol to pregnant women. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that all women of reproductive age abstain from alcohol unless they’re on birth control, as if they were nothing but fetal incubators–in-training.

Of course, an occasional drink is not the same as alcohol abuse. But the new study in Alcohol and Alcoholism notes that the most common punitive U.S. pregnancy-alcohol policy requires or encourages medical practitioners to report a pregnant woman or new mother’s suspected alcohol use to Child Protective Services. Such laws exist in 21 states. They often don’t take effect until babies are born and tested, the report says, putting the emphasis on punishment rather than harm prevention or reduction. Babies would benefit from policies that make it easier for pregnant women to find subsidized spots in alcohol treatment programs. They don’t benefit from policies that leave them in state custody or put their mothers in jail. Research has shown that the threat of being jailed for illegal drug use keeps many pregnant women from seeking treatment for substance-abuse issues. If the same holds true for women who need treatment for alcohol addiction, punitive policies would pose an even greater threat to fetal and infant health.

Another report released this week, this one from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health, claims that states with the highest number of restrictions on abortion rights are more likely to have comparatively few policies that support women’s and children’s health. They also generally score worse on indicators like maternal mortality and child health. The authors included Medicaid expansion, required screening protocols for domestic abuse, prohibitions on shackling pregnant prisoners, mandatory sex education, and smoking bans in restaurants on their list of 24 policies that have been shown to improve the wellbeing of women and children. States with 12 or more supportive policies in place had a median of four abortion restrictions, researchers found, while states with 11 or fewer supportive policies had a median of 12 abortion restrictions on the books.

The results suggest that state legislatures that prioritize passage of abortion restrictions are not doing so out of an abundance of concern for women’s health, as anti-abortion advocates have recently argued in legislative debates and before the Supreme Court. It should be noted that legislators that support reproductive rights also usually support policies like paid family leave, increased Medicaid income limits, and increased family-planning funding, all of which the study names as policies that support women’s and children’s health. But the fact that these policies usually align with one of the two parties in the American political system doesn’t negate this analysis. Instead, it should be seen as another addition to the already gigantic pile of evidence that one party consistently conspires to force women into unwanted births, then makes it as hard as possible for them to raise healthy children.

Texas is one of the biggest and best-known offenders of the bunch, with an ever-increasing roster of abortion restrictions and a maternal mortality rate that almost doubled between 2010 and 2014 to become the highest rate in the developed world. Just this week, as they mull even more rollbacks of reproductive rights, members of the state’s House of Representatives passed four bills that would give financial incentives to managed care organizations with good track records on postpartum health and help a special task force established in 2013 continue to study maternal mortality. Hopefully, that task force will informlegislators that the start of the maternal-mortality spike coincided with a two-thirds cut to the state’s family-planning budget, closing more than 80 women’s health clinics in the state. But if history prevails, neither data nor pleas to legislators’ humanity won’t be enough to change their minds.

Why Is James Van Der Beek Friends With Marla Maples?

Why Is James Van Der Beek Friends With Marla Maples?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Unpacking unlikely friendships is one of the things the internet does best. Rivaling Bonedigger the lion and Milo the dachshund for the cutest and most unexpected camaraderie is James Van Der Beek and Marla Maples, whose platonic pairing was revealed on Instagram this weekend. We know him from a titular role in Dawson’s Creek that inspired our emo middle-school fantasies of making out in canoes. We know her from her brief marriage to our current president. How do they know each other?

The photo in question, a nice little group shot of Maples and the Van Der Beeks on a lawn, surprised several Maples fans, too. “Is that Dawson Leery?!” commented one user. Another asked if it was Van Der Beek’s doppelgänger. Nope! It’s really him! His wife, Kimberly, posted a slideshow of images from what looks like the same family barbecue with the four young Van Der Beek kids, Maples, Jimmy Demers (a singer best known for commercial jingles), and former Miss Australia Melissa Hannan. Maples, who is “always welcome in the Vanderfam <3 #friendsforlife,” according to Kimberly’s post, wrote in her caption that she is “grateful for friendships and precious angels in the world.” This was no random collision of C-list celebrities.

Until I saw Maples’ post, I knew little about James Van Der Beek beyond his Dawson days. Now, with the help of the internet, I know a lot. And it turns out that there are a lot of reasons why he and the former wife of the reality-television president should be friends. It might be weirder if they weren’t friends. Demers, a close companion of Maples’, hung out at this year’s Global Green USA pre-Oscar party. So did the Van Der Beeks! Maybe James splashed his cran-vodka on Demers’ suit coat, setting off a friendship that culminated in an August family fun day on the lawn. Also: Maples blogs about healthy “vegan, yet part-time carnivore” eating on her lifestyle site; Kimberly Van Der Beek has blogged about nutrition for People’s celebrity babies vertical. There’s only so many juice bars in L.A., right? Meet-cute in waiting! In 2011, the Van Der Beeks, Demers, and Maples all attended a party at Arianna Huffington’s L.A. home for the launch of a vegan book subtitled Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World. Perhaps they bonded over the crudites.

But the most likely Maples–Van Der Beek meeting place has to do with powers greater than any we can hope to contemplate in our earthly lives. All are devoted practitioners of Kabbalah, the religious tradition popular with celebrities who fancy themselves too hippie for Scientology. Maples has practiced Kabbalah for decades, and the Van Der Beek family, including the kiddos, have been photographed showing off the Kabbalah-affiliated red strings on their wrists. Reports say Maples has been a regular at the L.A. Kabbalah Centre, as has Van Der Beek. Maples reportedly traveled to Israel with Madonna on a trip organized by the Kabbalah Centre­ in 2004, and James Van Der Beek traveled with Madonna to Malawi on a Kabbalah-related trip in the mid-aughts. The Van Der Beeks met on a Kabbalah trip to Israel in 2009 and got married there the next year. How could these people not all be friends?!

And so, through the power of fancy parties, vegetables, and God herself, the actor who gave us this handy crying meme befriended the woman whose brief, disgusting marital union bequeathed the world the most sympathetic Trump child. I suppose we should thank Madonna, too, for making Jewish mysticism into a trend, thus bringing Marla Maples and James Van Der Beek into each other’s lives. Or, I don’t know, maybe they’re all related.

A U.S. Nonprofit Is Funding the Fight to Imprison Women for Abortions in El Salvador

A U.S. Nonprofit Is Funding the Fight to Imprison Women for Abortions in El Salvador

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

A U.S. anti-abortion nonprofit is funding the fight against legal abortion in El Salvador, funneling between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to an organization that supports the Central American country’s punishing laws. Reproductive-rights activists are currently rallying behind a bill that would allow for abortions in cases of rape, nonviable fetuses, and life-threatening health complications. Since 1998, abortions have been prohibited by law under all circumstances in the country—by most accounts, the world’s strictest abortion ban.

The Guardian reports that Human Life International, a Virginia-based Catholic nonprofit, has financially supported Sí a la Vida, one of the major Salvadoran organizations behind the total abortion ban, since 2000. Between 2000 and 2007, according to the Guardian’s reporting, Human Life International gave Sí a la Vida $47,360; between 2008 and 2014, Human Life International sent $615,432 to “Central American causes,” which likely included Sí a la Vida, as Human Life International has identified the organization as its “representative in El Salvador” and “affiliate” in the country.

Sí a la Vida is still one of the biggest forces behind the opposition to any changes to the country’s abortion laws. Under the current policy, women are routinely jailed for miscarriages, since there’s no way to tell the difference between a natural stillbirth and a medically induced termination. In 2013, the case of a pregnant Salvadoran 22-year-old with a young son, lupus, and kidney failure made international headlines when she couldn’t get an abortion, even though her anencephalic fetus was nonviable. She was eventually given a Cesarean section when she was in critical condition, and the baby, predictably, died soon after. When Salvadoran women are prosecuted for having a miscarriage or getting an illicit abortion, they can be put away for years. Recently, a 19-year-old survivor of rape was convicted of “aggravated homicide” and sentenced to 30 years in prison for a stillbirth.

Human Life International leaders bankroll the advocates who lobby in support of this sadistic policy, but in public, they deny supporting punishment for women who seek abortions. “The woman who aborts usually does not have the knowledge about pre-born life or what an abortion really is,” wrote Human Life International leader Adolfo J. Castañeda in a 2007 piece titled “Women Who Have Abortions Should Get Help, Compassion Not Prison.” “If she is severely penalized by the law, chances are that will make it more difficult for her to come forward to be healed and reconciled.” The Guardian quotes another Human Life International leader as writing that “desperate women being pushed into abortion” should not be imprisoned for their actions.

These patronizing arguments are common among anti-abortion activists, who know that moderate women are less likely to support prosecuting women for things they do to their own bodies. But when abortion is illegal, punishment of women is inevitable. Women in the U.S. are already jailed for home abortion attempts, and abortion is legal in many circumstances in this country. Donald Trump ran up against this weird anti-abortion movement contradiction during his campaign, when he said women should be punished for getting abortions if abortion were outlawed. Mainstream right-to-lifers tugged their collars and tiptoed away from that statement, gently correcting the candidate. Still, 39 percent of Trump voters polled in December said women should be punished for abortions, and some anti-abortion organizations are trying to get abortion outlawed as first-degree murder in certain states. The El Salvador model isn’t too far from what the U.S. could expect if, say Roe v. Wade were overturned, allowing states to ban abortions within their borders.

If that happened, groups like Human Life International, which also supported Uganda’s far-reaching criminalization of gay people, would be well prepared to argue for putting “desperate women” in prison for terminating their pregnancies. “Abortion always destroys a life. There is nothing life-saving about it,” Human Life International President Shenan J. Boquet said in 2013, supporting the continued withholding of abortion care for the 22-year-old Salvadoran with lupus and kidney disease. The penal code he envisions lets women die in pregnancy, but calls them killers if they care for their own health and get an abortion.

What I Learned By Looking at 734 Playboy Centerfolds in One Sitting

What I Learned By Looking at 734 Playboy Centerfolds in One Sitting

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

There’s no wrong way to read Playboy’s new coffee table book of naked ladies. You can breeze through the encyclopedic collection of centerfolds in chunks, stopping when a shiny lower lip or well-groomed clitoral hood catches your interest. You can use the index to find a favorite Playmate, if you’re the kind of person who has a favorite Playmate. You can turn to the year you were born or bat mitzvahed and see what the residents of dudeland were drooling over that month. You can flick the pages like a flipbook, watching faces and skin blur together like a demonic wormhole that really, really wants to have sex with you.

But if you’re going to drop up to $75 on an 8 1/2-pound volume of exposed flesh, I’d recommend taking an hour or so to leaf through the entire thing, page by page. Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, 1953–2016 offers exactly what it advertises: every single centerfold the magazine has published through February of last year. That is a remarkable number of bodies to trap in one volume. Taken together, they offer a kind of biological survey few humans will experience in their lifetimes. Even the world’s busiest doctors and most-overbooked porn stars don’t see 700-some-odd naked women in a single hour.

If you take this route, as I did on Thursday afternoon in a painstakingly sequestered corner of the Slate office, you will catalog approximately 1,400 nipples of various shades, textures, and surface areas. You will see several hundred labia and, if you have a set, think carefully about your own. You will despair at how the satin robe and garter belt industries have escaped any attempts at meaningful innovation in the past half-century. You will wonder why, in the 2010s, just as Earth was experiencing the hottest temperatures in recorded history, all women suddenly got visibly cold.

This volume is actually something of a reprint. The first edition was published a decade ago; the book that came out on Tuesday includes the most recent 10 years and a new short essay from Elizabeth Wurtzel on the centerfolds of the 2010s. Playboy is marketing it as a kind of chronology of the female body seen through the proverbial male gaze, a way to track how beauty ideals and sexual fantasies have evolved since Hugh Hefner printed the magazine’s first issue.

The most obvious signifier of the passage of time, and the thing every person has asked about when I’ve mentioned this book, is pubic hair. For the first two decades of centerfolds, there was none at all because it was obscured by strategically placed pillows, undergarments, or even roomy-cut khakis. Bits of hair didn’t start peeking out until around 1972, but by the mid-’70s, bushy vulvas were showing up in almost every photo. A decade later, hairstylists started to groom the puffs, though it wasn’t until the mid-’90s that what’s now known as a “landing strip” hit the runway. The relative newness of the thing about 84 percent of women now do to their genitals was a life-affirming revelation for this millennial, who suffered puberty in the aughts, or as Maureen Gibbon’s essay in The Complete Centerfolds dubs it, “the decade of the smoothie.” After enduring the entirely bare, child-like crotches of the 2010s, flip back to July 1977, where one magnificent image of pubic hair straight-up poking out of a butt crack will restore your internal calm.

The maturation of photo-retouching techniques, which begin in the 1980s and ramp up in the ’90s, delivers another major sea change in the book. Earlier photos exhibit a kind of Vaseline-on-the-lens radiance, with softer lighting than the high-def flashbulbs of later years. Before Photoshop made every limb a perfect cylinder with a computer-assisted color gradient, skin had actual texture, betraying goosebumps, peach fuzz, and tiny wrinkles where the legs meet the hips. In fashions, too, the Playboy timeline charts a shift from the natural-ish to the absurd. Peasant dresses and open argyle cardigans gave way to bathing suits fit for Borat and webs of spangled fabric that wouldn’t impede any sex act the average mind could invent. Mascara and rouge gave way to silicone, suntans, and gigantic, heavily-lined lips. The fantasy of the ’50s was that the women on these pages might actually succumb to the average schmuck’s pick-up lines at the sock hop or milkshake counter or wherever white folks performed their mating rituals in those days. The fantasy of the ’90s and ’00s was that these glistening, medicine ball–breasted women existed at all.

But for all the differences that emerge while flipping through generations of nudies, the similarities stand out far more. After looking at 734 photos of naked women, one can’t help but conclude that the human body has some very strict limitations and the human mind lacks any substantial creativity when it comes to sexy poses. There are only so many ways to slightly part a set of lips, only so many ways to mimic the act of putting clothes on or taking them off, getting in or out of a body of water, and stepping onto or off of a surface that looks reasonably prepared to support sexual intercourse. Some themes have always been hot: cowboy stables (chaps, lassos, bolo ties dangling between breasts); sportsing (phallic sticks and bats, mesh jerseys, kneesocks); childhood (glasses of milk, merry-go-rounds, dolls); servile domesticity (aprons, pies, and once, disturbingly, pinking shears).

It’s a pleasure to see this kind of Playboy world-making get more elaborate and less self-conscious as time goes by. There are a few funny scenes in earlier years: One deeply weird 1967 shot shows a woman standing on a primitive Onewheel with her toe resting on a shuttle cock, and one from 1983 has a gal luxuriating in a tanning bed, eye shields and all. But the fantasies get way more specific in the ’90s, with a flight attendant exiting an airplane bathroom, a military jacket with dog tags worn as a belly chain, more nautical dioramas than a landlubber might expect, and a prescient cigar situation in July 1996, just before the Clinton–Lewinsky “it tastes good” moment became public. Around the turn of the millennium, schoolgirls started dominating the pages of Playboy, with some dorm room arrangements so scrupulously imagined, they could be ads for PBteen. The effect is a creeping feeling that any place can be a sexual place, and any activity a woman does—even those performed in the course of her job—can be a sexual activity. Playing golf, taking your order at a diner, exercising on a Stairmaster, applying a lure to a fishing rod, cuddling with a kitten, delivering the nightly news at a TV station—if you look hard enough, with a few years of Playboy centerfolds filed away in your brain, these everyday pursuits are actually a kind of foreplay. That cyclist lady is naked underneath her flannel, you know.

Should you, like me, choose to absorb each and every centerfold in rapid succession, the outfits will eventually cease to matter. So, strangely, will the human forms. If you say a word too many times in a row, it starts to lose its meaning. If you review hundreds of naked women in one sitting, the fact of their nudity will lose its meaning, too. Curves and lumps and flaps of flesh punctuated by the occasional dimple or mole will become indistinguishable shapes in the void. By the 40th minute of scrutiny, the nearly half an acre of human skin you’ve seen will have lost all erotic potential, each body just another disgusting bag of organs and blood. As one Amazon reviewer put it, “What an awesome treasure for men!!!”

Who is Gemma Collins? The Only Way Is Essex star who has lost lots of weight and sells her own dresses

by hferrett @ The Sun

GEMMA Collins is the Towie star who refers to herself as “The GC” and famously lasted only 72 hours in the I’m A Celebrity jungle. The Essex girl has divided viewers in the past but recently impressed fans with her dramatic weight loss. But what do we know about her? Who is Gemma Collins, how old […]

After Charlottesville, Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Doubles Down: Resisting Him Is Resisting “the Hand of God”

After Charlottesville, Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Doubles Down: Resisting Him Is Resisting “the Hand of God”

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Televangelist and pastor Paula White has known Donald Trump since the early 2000s, and she is thought to be the president’s closest spiritual adviser. She prayed at his inauguration, appeared with him when he signed his executive order easing restrictions on pastors engaging in politics, and told evangelical TV host Jim Bakker she is in the White House at least weekly these days. This week, as Trump faced sustained criticism over his response to the violent white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, she proved her loyalty once more, appearing on the Jim Bakker Show to defend Trump’s presidency and his spiritual bona fides in apocalyptic terms. While White has condemned white supremacy as evil and has a racially mixed fan base, she didn’t mention Trump’s equivocations that have roiled the nation.

Instead, she made an extended comparison of the president to the biblical figure Esther on Bakker’s show Monday in an interview that at times sounded more like an impassioned sermon. Like Esther, White said, Trump is a come-from-nowhere figure elevated to leadership against all odds in order to do God’s will. She described Trump as a generous, humble man of “character and integrity” and vouched repeatedly for the state of his soul. “He surrounds himself with Christians, and he is a Christian,” she told Bakker, about a man who’s been widely reported as being irreligious for most of his life, prompting applause from the studio audience. “He loves prayer.”

White didn’t need to convince Bakker’s audience that a flawed man can be redeemed to do the Lord's work; the Bakker himself went through a high-profile sex scandal in the 1980s and later spent time in jail for mail and wire fraud before returning to ministry. White’s case for Trump’s divine mission was based not on his character, but on the future of the Supreme Court and other judicial appointments. To White, Trump is doing exactly what conservative Christians elected him to do. She called the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court a “miracle” and spoke fervently about future court appointments. “We’ve got 130 vacancies in the lower courts, and he is appointing exactly what we asked for. ... We wanted originalists; we want constitutionalists,” she said. “Right now, we’re scaring the literal hell out of demonic spirits by me saying this right now,” she added, indicating she sensed her words were summoning opposition from dark forces.

In adamning investigative piece written for the now-shuttered conservative site Heat Street, Jillian Melchior reported this spring on her dubious record as a televangelist and pastor. White’s church outside Orlando, Florida, attracts an almost exclusively black audience, many of whom have low incomes and little savings. That doesn’t stop White from asking for what they have. White asked congregants to donate up to a month’s salary as a one-time special offering to mark the beginning of the year. At her previous church, White often asked congregants to donate jewelry and other valuables, which White would later sift through herself and pluck out valuable items, according to another pastor interviewed by Melchior. That church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy several years after White left.

Trump’s roster of spiritual advisers is heavy on televangelists and prosperity Gospel preachers such as White, who suggest God will reward believers for their generosity toward their churches and spiritual leaders. Even as Trump’s business advisory boards fell apart and the majority of his arts and humanities committee resigned in the wake of his response to Charlottesville, the members of his evangelical advisory board, who informally advise him on spiritual and political matters, have largely stood by him. When ABC’s This Week reached out to the administration to request someone to speak for the president, they offered up Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University who dutifully reported that the president “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.” A.R. Bernard, the pastor of a megachurch in Brooklyn, New York, is a notable exception. He announced last week that he had “quietly stepped away” from the board months ago and formally resigned the day of Trump’s disastrous “both sides” press conference.

Pressure is mounting on the group from other corners of conservative Christianity. Some Liberty students are returning their diplomas as a protest against Falwell’s backing, for example. In an interview with Emma Green in the Atlantic, advisory board member Tony Suarez, the executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, argued that much of the group's work with the president is invisible. Just because they aren’t rebuking him publicly, he implied, does not mean that they aren’t delivering bracing truths in private. “I can tell you there have been legitimate, straight meetings where we delve into these issues,” he told Green. “There is an open door from the Oval Office to be able to express praise, criticism, and concern to the president. And he receives it.”

But critics are skeptical that Trump would tolerate criticism from his religious advisers, given his apparent inability to accept criticism from anyone else. “What is Trump doing with them if he’s not listening to them?” Bryan McGraw, a political scientist at evangelical Wheaton College, said by email. “Using them as props in his White House Reality TV Show.” As long as Trump is able and willing to make conservative judicial picks, it appears White has no temptation to critique the man she believes has been installed by God to the hall of power—and who has brought her right along with him.

Dov Charney’s New Clothing Line Is Like American Apparel, But Profoundly Unflattering

Dov Charney’s New Clothing Line Is Like American Apparel, But Profoundly Unflattering

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

For a while there, the future didn’t look so hot for Dov Charney, the ousted American Apparel founder you’ve probably confused for Terry Richardson more than once. After weathering several years of sexual-harassment lawsuits and assault allegations from former employees, the man who calls himself “one of the most forward-thinking industrialists and entrepreneurs of his generation” found himself booted from his own company, which soon after filed for bankruptcy twice, in 2014. The new leaders refused a $300 million offer to put Charney back in charge before selling off the company’s intellectual property to a Canadian T-shirt maker for just $88 million.

Charney was the living embodiment of the brand he’d helmed for two-and-a-half decades. He wore a uniform of basics—white T-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts, sweatpants, and simple slacks—paired with so-unflattering-they’re-flattering thick-rimmed aviators. He matched his commitment to fair labor practices and progressive politics on issues like immigration with an unredeemably skeevy attitude toward young women’s bodies. Who would he be without the company he’d painstakingly created in his own image? What could he create, unshackled from the suffocating confines of high-waisted shimmery jeggings?

We now have an answer: the same exact damn thing. Charney’s new company, Los Angeles Apparel, is now selling a collection of tops to wholesale printers, and they may as well be hanging off the flashbulb-lit frames of 80-pound teens already. (The current models are decidedly unsexualized, though Charney has promised that “human sexuality is part of the reason that people wear clothes,” so “you’re not going to escape our sexuality from a narrative about a clothing company.”)

The slim-cut tri-blend crewnecks you gifted your boring boyfriend in college; the red-and-white raglan tees you bought when you and your friends were zombie old-timey baseball players for Halloween; the white-zippered hoodies that were as close to a fashion status symbol as hipsters got in the early aughts—they’re all here!

The company admits, or maybe boasts, the garments’ indistinguishability from Charney’s old goods. The “classic originals” Los Angeles Apparel sells “are equivalent to the styles Charney has offered in the past, from a specification, color and textile perspective,” the site reads. It also states that any other “style that was made by Dov in the past” could be available for a custom order.

If you’re looking for something a bit more cutting-edge that could give Los Angeles Apparel a leg up over its American (now Canadian) counterpart, check out the company’s “new innovations” page, where you’ll find—more solid-colored tees and sweatshirts?

These appear to be crafted from thicker and coarser fabrics than American Apparel standards, and built in baggier cuts. This has the effect of making Charney’s female model, who might have been slinking around with her nipples poking out of a sheer tank in years past, look almost comically lost in a gigantic, shapeless cube of undrapeable fabric.

Having pioneered the mass-produced fitted “women’s” tee more than a decade ago, Charney has now taken his powers of creativity in the opposite direction: making soft, flattering essentials less comfortable and more awkward to wear.

On the surface, that wouldn’t seem like a promising solution to American Apparel’s fatal flaw: nobody buying its clothes. Then again, Charney was doing elastic-ankled sweatpants and puffy-abdomened, high-waisted jeans long before anyone could have imagined they’d become long-lasting trends. If he is the marketing genius he claims to be, we can expect to be swallowed up by stiff, boxy T-shirts for years to come.

Love Island’s Olivia Attwood looks downcast as she’s pictured horse riding just hours before fleeing the country following explosive row with Chris Hughes

by lfranklin @ The Sun

OLIVIA Attwood looked downcast as she spent the day horse riding before escaping abroad following her explosive row with Love Island boyfriend Chris Hughes. The reality star appeared distracted as she spent time at her sister Georgia’s stables after the spat. Dressed in black she was seen getting ready outside of her car before going […]

Who is Dan Edgar? The Only Way Is Essex lad who split from Amber Turner and had a fling with Lauren Pope

by nkeegan @ The Sun

HE’S known for his floppy hair and mega-watt smile – as well as for his on and off relationship with Katie Wright, his split from new girl Amber Turner and his recent fling with Frankie Gaff. Dan’s involvement in a secret investment business which scammed customers out of over £450,000 by selling them dodgy coloured […]

Jessica Williams Is Getting Her Own Showtime Comedy

Jessica Williams Is Getting Her Own Showtime Comedy

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

After appearing on the Daily Show  as a correspondent, and her podcast with Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams is heading to show time. Williams is set to star in a new series for the network as black science fiction writer who comes in to her own in Brooklyn, Deadline reports.  It’s...

Dove does it again with a touching beauty ad

Dove does it again with a touching beauty ad


The Independent

Dove has enlisted visually impaired women to explain what beauty means to them for its latest ad campaign.

Dove’s Ad Blunder Shows the Bar is Set Higher for Marketing to Women

Dove’s Ad Blunder Shows the Bar is Set Higher for Marketing to Women



Let me start with a question. Have you seen Dove’s most recent campaign? Now, Dove is owned by the same parent company, Unilever who sells Axe, male-targeted grooming products with a looooooong history of ads like this:  Don't get me wrong - this ad is hilarious, just hypocriti

Court Ruling Says Anti-Abortion Protesters Can’t Be Disruptively Noisy Outside Maine Clinics

Court Ruling Says Anti-Abortion Protesters Can’t Be Disruptively Noisy Outside Maine Clinics

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the right of medical patients in Maine to receive care without noisy disruptions from protesters. The three-judge panel overturned a previous judge’s ruling that found part of the Maine Civil Rights Act—a provision that has been used to control the volume of anti-abortion protesters outside health clinics—likely to be unconstitutional.

This week’s decision concerns the case of Andrew March, a man in his 20s who regularly stood outside a Portland, Maine Planned Parenthood health center and shouted religious invective at patients inside. When police told him to quiet down, March sued Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, the city of Portland, and law enforcement officials in December 2015. His suit came just a month after Mills filed a civil rights lawsuit against a different protester who allegedly violated the state prohibition on disrupting medical care with loud noises. According to the attorney general’s complaint, the protester was screaming about “murdering babies, aborted babies’ blood and Jesus … so loud that it could be heard within the examination and counseling rooms of the building.”

In May 2016, U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen ruled that the noise provision in the Maine Civil Rights Act violated protesters’ First Amendment rights because it policed the content of the protesters’ speech. The appeals court found that the noise provision was not based on the message of the speech, but the volume and location of the protest, which could interfere with other residents’ rights to constitutionally protected health care procedures.

The Maine law was enacted in 1995 with input and support from both supporters and opponents of abortion rights—it applies to crisis pregnancy centers, too. At the time, Judge David Barron’s Tuesday decision states, the state attorney general justified the law as a violence-prevention measure. “The most extreme violence tends to occur in situations where less serious civil rights violations are permitted to escalate,” the attorney general noted back then. “When the rhetoric of intolerance and the disregard for civil rights do, in fact, escalate, then some people at the fringes of society will take that atmosphere as a license to commit unspeakable violence.” In other words, if anti-abortion activists are allowed to interfere with medical care with excessive noise, some might decide to try interfering with their bodies or physical obstacles, too.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin told the Bangor Daily News that the law was written after “a number of groups,” including anti-abortion groups, “came together at a time when there was violence around the country against family planning clinics.” The state has no problem with protests outside clinics, she continued, but “once patients have run the gauntlet outside the clinic, once the door to the exam room or the consultation room is shut, that should be a sanctuary.”

In its defense of the law, Maine argued that March was and is free to yell his message outside the clinic so that entering patients can hear him, but not so loudly that it can be heard inside. Such disruptions can cause elevated stress levels, respiratory rates, and blood pressure, according to affidavits from medical professionals. March contended that the Maine provision specifically targets anti-abortion speech by only prohibiting noises made with an intent to “jeopardize the health of persons receiving health services within the building,” not any and all random loud noises.

“We do not agree,” Barron wrote in the panel’s decision. “… Given the limitless array of noises that may be made in a disruptive manner, there is no reason to conclude that disruptive intent is necessarily a proxy for a certain category of content.” There is nothing in the law that prevents March from making his disruptive noises outside most government buildings or other location of political import, either.

Since the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that established no-protester “buffer zones” around abortion clinics, health facilities that provide abortion care have had few legal options for protecting patients from external threats to their physical and mental health. Tuesday’s ruling suggests that speech may not be constitutionally protected if it penetrates the walls of a private examination room.

Parents, Don’t Let Your Girls Join the Boy Scouts

Parents, Don’t Let Your Girls Join the Boy Scouts

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The Boy Scouts of America are conducting a “covert campaign” to get girls into their programs, according to a stern letter the Girl Scouts of the USA sent the Boy Scouts board on Monday. The letter, obtained by BuzzFeed, says that the BSA’s plan would "result in fundamentally undercutting [the] Girl Scouts.” A BSA spokeswoman confirmed that the organization has been “exploring the benefits of bringing Scouting to every member of the family—boys and girls,” though no final decisions have been made.

If BSA leaders are considering admitting girls to boost membership numbers, as the Girl Scouts allege, can you blame them? The group is one of the best-known civic organizations in the country, but it only markets to half the population in its target age group. Little girls and parents have accused BSA of engaging in gender discrimination, pushing for the organization to let kids of any gender join a troop and earn merit badges like any other scout. And with the public-relations deficit BSA has racked up with its ban on gay leaders (which they recently reversed after much criticism) and its chillingly warm reception for Donald Trump, the Boy Scouts could use a highly publicized, progressive win.

None of that makes girls in the Boy Scouts a good idea. The organizations were founded on two very different visions of gender in America. While BSA began as a response to turn-of-the-century worries that rugged American boys were becoming urbane weaklings, GSUSA began soon after as a space for girls to explore the adventuresome, outdoorsy sides of themselves that were discouraged by mainstream society. The Boy Scouts were affiliated with a different girls’ organization for a time: the Campfire Girls, which represented a more traditional gender paradigm with an emphasis on domestic handiwork. If the Boy Scouts were founded to tether boys to stringent gender norms, the Girl Scouts were founded to challenge them.

Ever since then, GSUSA has helped girls exercise their power and test their capabilities in a space set apart from the boys by whose skill sets they might otherwise measure their own accomplishments. When girls don’t have to worry about how they’ll look if they perform a task better or worse than a boy, they’re more likely to explore the far reaches of their own potential. They also get opportunities that are harder to find in organizations where boys make up the majority—or even minority—of participants. When girls and young women must occupy all leadership roles, girls and young women learn how to lead.

According to the letter GSUSA sent to BSA leadership, the organization is considering gender-neutralizing some of its programs to appeal to millennial parents, who may see less value in signing their boys up for single-gender activities. In the U.S., much to the chagrin of men’s rights groups, most men-only colleges and civic organizations have started accepting women, while many women-only groups have resisted such integration. Perhaps young parents don’t want their kids associated with a group known for its history of regressive politics, or maybe they don’t think their boys need the roughening-and-toughening of an organized boys’ club that hasn’t much changed since their fathers were scouts in the ’60s. (The Girl Scouts, in contrast, have readily evolved with the times in both curriculum and stances on social issues.)

If boys have a special, specific need today, it’s not for a group that reinforces traditionally masculine behaviors and activities. The biggest benefit kids can get out of a single-gender social group is a chance to experience life outside the confines of ubiquitous gender dynamics. The 21st century doesn’t need Boy Scout troops with girls in them. It needs a Boy Scout curriculum that challenges and expands traditional notions of masculinity, doing for boys what GSUSA has done for girls. Instead of chipping away at the Girl Scouts’ membership, the Boy Scouts should heed its example.

Mothers criticise Baby Dove adverts

Mothers criticise Baby Dove adverts


BBC News

Dozens complain to the watchdog about the campaign which some say is against breastfeeding in public.

Dove’s new ad celebrating female body shapes, sizes and beauty gets slammed on social media

Dove’s new ad celebrating female body shapes, sizes and beauty gets slammed on social media


The Indian Express

"But why are all of the bottles still white?", "What happens if you use the wrong Dove bottle shape for my body type? Will the soap not fit me? Can I die?" are some of the hilarious comebacks to the Dove UK advertisement.

Girls as young as four ‘forced’ to wear hijabs as part of uniform at state-funded Islamic schools

by jlockett @ The Sun

GIRLS as young as four are being “forced to wear the hijab” as uniform at state-funded Islamic schools, new research claims. More than two in five Islamic schools in England that accept girls require them to wear the head covering as school uniform, according to the research. Some 59 of 142 (42%) Islamic schools, including […]

Consumers Love to Hate Ads but Won’t Pay to Escape Them

by Anna Yukhananov @ Morning Consult

The post Consumers Love to Hate Ads but Won’t Pay to Escape Them appeared first on Morning Consult.

The Mormon Church Condemned White Supremacists, and This Mormon White Supremacist Mom Is Very Mad About It

The Mormon Church Condemned White Supremacists, and This Mormon White Supremacist Mom Is Very Mad About It

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

This past Sunday, the Mormon church released an official statement expressing “sadness and deep concern” over violence surrounding white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville over the weekend. The statement was firm but vague, condemning racism and intolerance in general terms. Two days later, however, the church updated its statement with what one historian at Brigham Young University called “perhaps the most direct official statement condemning racism and white supremacy in the LDS Church's history.”

“It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views,” the updated statement, which was posted to the church’s official newsroom on Tuesday, began. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” After quoting the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, it concluded:

White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

This was rather upsetting, as it turns out, for church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda. One Mormon who has described himself as “simpatico” with the alt-right tweeted a jab at “LDS libs” who complained about the church’s first statement and then turned around to praise the revision as “the literal Word of God,” for example. Others groused about the church “PR department” putting out statements “contrary to the doctrine of Christ’s gospel.”

But the most significant pushback has come from a Mormon blogger and YouTube personality named Ayla Stewart, a Utah mother of six who has been called the “de facto queen of the alt-right Mormons.”

Stewart has said she was scheduled to speak at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, but the violence there prevented her from appearing as planned. Her online output mixes down-home parenting anecdotes with calls to preserve “white culture,” and she has become a prominent white-nationalist voice. A long piece about the women of the alt-right in the latest issue of Harper’s describes her evolution from self-described feminist pagan to someone who hopes for the repeal of the 19th amendment. (Seriously.) She now has more than 30,000 Twitter followers.

Stewart actually seemed cheered by her church’s initial statement against racism in general, arguing that it confirmed her belief that “you cannot be anti-white and a follower of Christ.” The LDS’s stronger follow-up on Tuesday, by contrast, infuriated her. (Some observers have implied the church’s addendum may have been a response to her initial approval.) “The Church PR department, nor any member of the church I know of, has ever asked a black, Asian, Arab, etc. member of the church to renounce their culture and not promote it,” she wrote in a lengthy blog post. “So why are whites, and only whites, being singled out?”

The Mormon church infamously prohibited black men from the priesthood—a designation offered to almost all male church members—until 1978. The ban began under Brigham Young, the church’s second president, who tied the prohibition to the supposed “curse” of Cain, the Bible’s first murderer. “Any man having one drop of the seed of Cane [sic] in him cannot hold the priesthood,” Young wrote in 1852. (One “traditionalist, nationalist, Mormon” lamented this weekend that “anti-whites” will soon demand the removal of statues of Brigham Young.) In the years since lifting the ban, the church has taken steps to grapple with its legacy, but the issue still haunts the modern church.

Today, just 3 percent of American Mormons are black, though that number has risen dramatically since the priesthood ban was lifted almost 40 years ago. For many black Mormons, the church’s clear condemnation of white supremacy this week was gratifying. A Mormon blogger named Tamu Smith cried tears of joy while speaking with the Salt Lake City Tribune on Tuesday. Decades ago, she was called the N-word in a Salt Lake City temple, and she has been attacked online recently by white Mormon nationalists. “For the first time, it brings us out of the margins,” she said of the church’s new statement. “We don’t have to stand alone—the church is now standing with us.” It is also standing firmly against Ayla Stewart and her allies.

Dove Campaigns

Dove Campaigns


Dove US

Learn more about Dove campaigns here and watch your favorite videos from Real Beauty Sketches to Choose Beautiful.

Arsene Wenger insists Kieran Gibbs’ departure from Arsenal hurt him more than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool

by whaughton @ The Sun

ARSENE WENGER has revealed that Kieran Gibbs departure from the Emirates hurt more than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wenger described losing Gibbs this summer to West Brom was like saying goodbye to a family member. Arsenal sold Gibbs to West Brom this summer for £7m, Oxlade-Chamberlain followed him out the door on a Deadline Day with a move […]

YaCHAIKA: Yasuyuki Yamada Literally Putting The Spring Into Your Step

by Natalie Kimani @ The Designers Studio

We all known the saying, “keep your heels, head and standards high”. Their perennial appeal is aptly captured by Christian Louboutin, “they transform your body language and attitude. They lift you up physically and emotionally.” It doesn’t hurt that it also happens to put your posterior on a pedestal. But we can’t deny that this…

The post YaCHAIKA: Yasuyuki Yamada Literally Putting The Spring Into Your Step appeared first on The Designers Studio.

The Most Eye-Popping Outfits at the 2017 Emmys, From Lena Waithe’s Suit to Sam Bee’s Shoulder Pads

The Most Eye-Popping Outfits at the 2017 Emmys, From Lena Waithe’s Suit to Sam Bee’s Shoulder Pads

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The 2017 Emmys got started Sunday night with a parade of precious metals outside the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Actresses and actors in sparkles, spangles, sequins, and all-over shine made the biggest footprint on the red carpet this year, reflecting the sunny-mood-in-the-face-of-impending-doom of Stephen Colbert’s opening sequence.

Westworld’s Tessa Thompson and Big Little Lies Zoe Kravitz, who described her dress as “fairy-like,” projected rainbow prisms from their skirts. Jessica Biel wore another of the best looks of the night, a sweeping Ralph & Russo couture gown with a sparkling top half that echoed the texture of micro chainmail.

Yara Shahidi of Black-ish wore tulle in a perfect shade of nude with kelp-like flourishes of green sequins. In vivid blue, Ellie Kemper went the rhinestone route with her appliques.

Last year’s Emmys saw Sarah Paulson in head-to-toe Kelly green sequins and shoulder pads—one of my favorite looks of the 2016 show—and she went a similar route on Sunday with a puff-sleeved column of semi-matte sequins designed by Carolina Herrera. Laverne Cox and Uzo Aduba, too, glimmered in total silver, while Priyanka Chopra braved the heat in a full-coverage Balmain number quilted with jewels.

Plunging necklines that require body tape are standard fare on any red carpet. Here are three very different interpretations of the silhouette: The Handmaid’s Tale villain Yvonne Strahovski in elegant red satin, Shailene Woodley in cheeky-casual autumn velvet, and Anika Noni Rose in a striking Thai Nguyen Atelier gown with sequined stripes.

Allover lace can look fussy or infantile at a black-tie event. Chrissy Metz, Felicity Huffman, and  a breathtaking Ryan Michelle Bathe did it right: smartly tailored in sophisticated shades.

With sheer panels and floral patterns, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gabrielle Union, and Leslie Jones elevated long black gowns to a statement-making level.

The best colors of the night came from Viola Davis in a shade that’s quite rare for a gown, Samantha Bee in a set of enviably structured shoulders, and Westworld’s Angela Sarafyan in a chartreuse off-the-shoulder Elizabeth Kennedy number—one of the few dresses out there whose useless sleeves actually prove worth the extra fabric.

Master of None’s Lena Waithe, the first black woman nominated for a comedy writing Emmy award (and the first to win!), wore a showy gold patterned jacket; Brad Goreski of Fashion Police was her shimmering silver counterpart. Tituss Burgess, known for his flowing scarves and extravagant fabrics on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, toned it ever-so-slightly down in glowing marigold. With a persona that glaringly bright, it would have been foolish to let a sparkling garment compete for the spotlight.

Read more in Slate about the Emmys.

Real Madrid transfer news: Marcos Llorente signs new deal at Bernabeu to stay with Los Blancos until 2021

by Jake Lambourne @ The Sun

REAL MADRID midfielder Marcos Llorente has committed his future to the club after penning a new deal until 2021. The 22-year-old has agreed a new four-year deal at the Bernabeu, and has vowed to help the club to win trophies in the years to come. Very happy today and will be every day at @realmadrid. […]

Barmaid, 29, caught romping in Domino’s takeaway with builder boyfriend admits she ‘deserves to be punished’ for brazen sex session

by gbirchall @ The Sun

A BUSTY barmaid filmed having sex in a Domino’s pizza takeaway yesterday apologised – and insisted: “I deserve what I get.” Daniella Hirst, 29, and her builder beau Craig Smith, 31, romped up against the counter after a boozy night out in February. CCTV footage of the X-rated shenanigans was last week played in court […]

Wonder Woman Was Reportedly Funded by the Koch Brothers. That Shouldn’t Surprise Any of Us.

Wonder Woman Was Reportedly Funded by the Koch Brothers. That Shouldn’t Surprise Any of Us.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Wonder Woman hit a major milestone on Tuesday, when its North American box-office take topped $400 million. The film is now the highest-grossing film ever made by a female director and the third highest-grossing domestic release in Warner Bros. history.

Woohoo! Feminist #win! Think of all that money flying out of women’s paychecks and into the pockets of female actresses and a female director, keeping it in the sisterhood! And also, think of the way, way, larger sums of money going into the bank accounts of the right-wing billionaires who funded it!

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

It turns out that the feminist fave of the summer reportedly counts among its investors not just any rich dudes, but the literal Koch brothers. These are the men we can thank for the Tea Party, the funding of the “education reform” movement and organized opposition to Obamacare, and some of the most concerted efforts against environmental regulations the country has seen. They are some of the wealthiest men in the world, and they use their money to influence policies that protect the rich at the expense of the poor.

The Hollywood Reporter published a piece Wednesday morning describing Charles and David Koch’s “significant stake” worth “tens of millions of dollars” in RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which invested $450 million in 2013 to cover Warner Bros.’ entire slate of up to 75 movies over four years. That includes the “masterpiece of subversive feminism” that argues, according to the Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg, that a world without misogyny “would be liberating and wonderful for men.” Post-Wonder Woman, misogyny is still around, but the success of the film has no doubt been liberating and wonderful for the men who funded it. (A Koch Industries spokeswoman gave THR the vague assurance that the brothers themselves and Koch Industries “do not have any involvement with this investment.”)

Full disclosure: I did not find Wonder Woman to be the tear-jerking feminist masterwork so many of my colleagues and contemporaries claim to have seen. To me, the movie baited women into the theater with some heavy-handed surface-level empowerment schtick, then gave us 180 minutes of jokes about how sexy half-dressed women are when they know how to fight. That normally wouldn’t have bugged me so much—blockbuster films are blockbuster films, and superhero movies are among the most formulaic of blockbuster genres—if critics and lay-viewers and men’s rights activists alike hadn’t made the movie out to be some kind of monumental step for womankind. Of course Wonder Woman wouldn’t star an average-looking bulked-up fighter, because they don’t look hot on movie posters. Of course the titular character would sleep with the first man she meets in her entire life, because otherwise people might think an athlete from an all-woman island was a lesbian.

I don’t think many, if any, of the people extolling Wonder Woman’s feminist bona fides believe that supporting the film meant they were supporting feminist causes in any significant way. Warner Bros. is not a nonprofit, and big profits are how big, splashy movies get made. But it’s just so rich to consider that the money it cost to send these little girls who “might make your heart explode” to see Wonder Woman now support the Koch brothers’ efforts to call climate science into question, making it measurably less likely that those little girls will grow up with a livable Earth to inhabit. The price we pay to see a woman kick ass with killer CGI effects is the continued electoral dominance of Koch-funded politicians who want to force women to give birth against their will. It’s no surprise—it’s how the system is designed. It’s what happens when unimaginable wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few white men looking out for themselves and their buddies. It’s called capitalism.

And under capitalism, in case you haven’t heard, there can be no ethical consumption. Every dollar spent in this messed-up marketplace supports exploitation, a fact that’s become even harder to swallow since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision allowed corporate entities to all but cast physical ballots for their preferred political candidates. The Koch brothers aren’t the first right-wing puppeteers to invest in a corporation that produces a seemingly feminist product, and Wonder Woman is far from the only girl-power movie to enrich men working hard to make the world a harder place for women to thrive.

In fact, one of the last blockbuster action movies with a woman in the leading role, Mad Max: Fury Road, was also funded by RatPac-Dune, the company that bankrolled Wonder Woman. One of the founders of that company, Steven Mnuchin, was the finance chair of Donald Trump’s campaign, donated $425,000 to the campaign and the Republican party to help him win, and now serves as his Treasury Secretary. In other words, if you bought a ticket to see Imperator Furiosa bust the heads of a bunch of sexual abusers, you may have helped America elect one.

Texan Survivors of Harvey Can Get Free Abortion Care, With Travel Costs Covered

Texan Survivors of Harvey Can Get Free Abortion Care, With Travel Costs Covered

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Whole Woman’s Health, a group of clinics that provide abortion care and other health services, announced on Friday that it will offer free abortions to women impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Noting that women in the Houston area and elsewhere in southeast Texas may have had to miss abortion appointments during the storm, a blog post on the Whole Woman’s Health website promised to help affected women get to one of the organization’s four Texas locations for abortion care at no cost.

“During Hurricane Harvey, many of the clinics in Houston had to close temporarily, leaving women with very few options,” the post read. “Continued political attacks on abortion access make an unwanted pregnancy particularly stressful in Texas—add that to the stress of dealing with hurricane aftermath.”

Natural disasters exacerbate existing logistical and financial barriers to women’s health care access. Women on Medicaid can’t use their insurance to cover or subsidize abortion care, and low-income women may save for weeks to afford the procedure, only to find that they’re too far along to get a cheaper medical abortion or to get a legal abortion at all in the state. After losing property or wages to a hurricane, even more women may find it difficult to pay for an abortion. Where it was once merely difficult to afford child care and time off work to accommodate an abortion appointment, after a natural disaster, it can be nearly impossible. And since women are usually the default caretakers of their families, they face the bulk of the extra responsibilities that come after a tragedy, including making arrangements for relief, organizing relocation, and caring for the young and old. This further diminishes the reserves of time and resources available for their own health care.

For the month of September, Whole Woman’s Health—the successful plaintiff in last summer’s landmark Supreme Court case on abortion restrictions—will cover both travel and housing costs for Harvey-affected women who need help getting to the organization’s outposts in Austin, Fort Worth, McAllen, or San Antonio. The group will draw from its own abortion fund, the Stigma Relief Fund, as well as the Lilith Fund, a Texas-specific abortion-funding organization that has established an emergency fund for care for Harvey survivors. Slate recommended donating to abortion funds after Donald Trump’s election because they support people who, by virtue of their class, geographic location, or immigration status, can’t access abortion care, a right wealthier women will almost always be able to enjoy. It’s for this same reason—that they empower the most marginalized people exercise autonomy over their own bodies—that abortion funds are essential resources in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

All over the world, in all kinds of crisis situations, women’s sexual and reproductive health care is one of the first basic needs to fall through the cracks of disaster relief. Rates of sexual assault rise in crisis zones, and distraught survivors are more likely to engage in sexual behaviors that put them at risk for unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. At the same time, agencies focused on food, shelter, and first aid often neglect sexual health needs that don’t go away when disaster strikes. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that emergency health care providers stock up on emergency contraception, preventive contraception, and condoms when they help communities recover from a natural disaster. These are resources no one’s sending in their donation boxes of diapers and canned food.

Abortion care is even trickier to ensure in the wake of a crisis, since federal funds can’t be spent on abortions and politicians may be reluctant to single out a controversial medical procedure as a critical need during a time of recovery. Abortion funds in Texas are filling in the gaps of Harvey relief, because that’s what abortion funds are designed to do.

Who is Jenny Ball? X Factor 2017 contestant along with pal Johnny Wright and singer from Blackpool

by Ed Hyatt @ The Sun

X FACTOR hopeful come and go as often as the years, but Jenny Ball is hoping she may have what it takes. The aspiring singer has been plying her trade on YouTube and sings with her friend Johnny Ball who is also auditioning on The X Factor – here’s the lowdown. Who is Jenny Ball? […]

The GOP’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Proposal Finds New Ways to Be Disastrous for Women’s Health

The GOP’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Proposal Finds New Ways to Be Disastrous for Women’s Health

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Senate Republicans are taking one last stab at repealing Obamacare before September 30, when their ability to squeeze a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill through the legislature expires. The bill Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have proposed is the most extreme version Congress has considered so far—it would slash essential parts of Obamacare that benefit low-income Americans and those in poor health without offering any meaningful replacement.

And, like the last health care bill the Senate rejected, this one would be disastrous for women’s health. It would cut off poor women’s access to Planned Parenthood, decimate the private insurance market for abortion coverage, allow states to let insurance companies cut essential health benefits for women, and—this is some new garbage—restrict how states can cover abortion care.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal would accomplish several major rollbacks of women’s health care that Republicans have been trying to push through for years. First, it would block the use of federal Medicaid dollars at Planned Parenthood health centers, a so-called “defunding” measure. Over half of Planned Parenthood’s client base—more than 1 million patients—currently gets its health care through Medicaid. These patients would have to turn elsewhere for care. For all these patients, Graham-Cassidy would cause a possibly dangerous disruption in care; for those who live in rural areas or health care deserts, where the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics sit, it could mean an end to accessible reproductive health care altogether. The average Planned Parenthood serves nine times the number of contraceptive clients as the average federally qualified health center, which Republicans have proposed as alternate sources of publicly funded reproductive health care. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the interruption in contraceptive services caused by a nationwide block of federal Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood would result in thousands of extra unplanned, unwanted births.

Women who don’t rely on Medicaid would also see their reproductive health care access curtailed by Graham-Cassidy. The bill would prohibit the use of health care tax credits for both individuals and small businesses on private insurance plans that cover abortion care. That means any woman who gets tax credits because she neither qualifies for Medicaid nor gets insurance through her employer would not be able to purchase abortion coverage with those credits on the individual market. People who work for small businesses that use tax credits to offer health insurance benefits would also be left without abortion coverage. Right now, most private insurance plans cover abortion—but if the federal government slashed the population of people and businesses that could buy those plans, insurance companies would be likely to stop offering them, limiting coverage access for those who don’t use tax credits, too.

Like the previous Obamacare repeal bill, Graham-Cassidy would let states end rules that require insurance companies to cover essential health benefits, such as maternal health coverage. Before the Affordable Care Act mandated it, about 88 percent of health insurance plans didn’t cover maternity care. Planned Parenthood estimates that up to 13 million women could lose such benefits if Graham-Cassidy goes through. The bill would also end the Medicaid expansion, causing disproportionate damage to the health of women, who make up the majority of Medicaid enrollees and 69 percent of the 9 million people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. More than half of all U.S. births are currently covered by Medicaid. Substantial cuts to the health program would be devastating to children, mothers, and low-income families.

The most significant bit that sets Graham-Cassidy apart from its predecessors is its introduction of block grants to states. States could spend these grants however they wished, essentially inventing their own health care programs. (As Slate’s Jordan Weissman explains, the loose restrictions on the funds would allow states to put the money pretty much wherever they wanted, making the grants more of a slush fund than a health care program.) But Graham-Cassidy would forbid states from using any parts of those grants on insurance plans that covered abortion in any cases other than rape, incest, or a life-threatening medical emergency. States that currently allow insurance coverage of abortion—including states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York, which require all insurance providers that cover maternity care to also cover abortion care—would be hampered by the rules of the grants. If they wanted to use the block grants to subsidize parts of their health care programs, they would have to limit abortion coverage to those parts that didn’t include federal money.

The GOP’s past proposals for Obamacare repeal met their end in part because of their impact on women’s health. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, both Republicans who cast crucial votes against former proposals, have reliably supported the continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood through Medicaid reimbursements. Collins gave an eloquent defense of the organization in her statement on why she voted against the “skinny” repeal proposed in July. “If Planned Parenthood were defunded, other family planning clinics in Maine, including community health centers, would see a 63 percent increase in their patient load. Some patients would need to drive greater distances to receive care, while others would have to wait longer for an appointment,” she wrote. “This is about interfering with the ability of a woman to choose the health care provider who is right for her. This harmful provision should have no place in legislation that purports to be about restoring patient choices and freedom.” So far, Collins seems like the Republican most likely to oppose Graham-Cassidy, and Rand Paul has already said he won’t vote for the bill. If one more Republican doesn’t turn against the bill, millions of women will pay an exorbitant price in both their dollars and health for the benefit of the wealthy, who’ll get a little treat come tax time.

Who is Amber Turner? The Only Way Is Essex star and Dan Edgar’s on-again off-again girlfriend

by jkavanagh @ The Sun

TOWIE lass Amber Turner took Towie by storm in the most recent series – she’s co-star Megan McKenna’s best mate and quickly landed herself in hot water. The Sun exclusively revealed she had cheated on long term boyfriend Jamie Reed with co-star Dan Edgar in Tenerife – she and Dan have apparently got back together […]

Kylie Jenner leaves fans confused as she flashes her flat stomach in first social media posts since ‘pregnancy’ news

by tpearce @ The Sun

KYLIE Jenner has shared her first social media snaps since news of her upcoming pregnancy – but has kept fans guessing after still not confirming her potential new arrival by showing off a noticeably flat. In one photo, the star was seen heading to the zoo for her pals birthday, and as the pair cuddled […]

“He Looks Like a Dick”: The Transcript of Jurors Explaining Their Biases Toward Martin Shkreli Is a Gift

“He Looks Like a Dick”: The Transcript of Jurors Explaining Their Biases Toward Martin Shkreli Is a Gift

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Self-care can take many forms, and it doesn’t have to involve funneling money toward your bath bomb collection. For instance, today, you can reclaim your time with a quick skim through a random sampling of Americans’ opinions on one Martin Shkreli.

Harper’s has published selections from the June transcript of voir dire in the fraud trial of the famously besmirked pharma bro, wherein prospective jurors were forced to reveal to a judge any biases that might prevent them from making a fair decision in Shkreli’s case. More than 200 people were dismissed from the pile of possible jury members because, it seems, Shkreli’s reputation as a smug jerkoff who price-gouges HIV and cancer patients preceded him. Their in-court explanations are positively healing to read.

“The only thing I’d be impartial about is what prison this guy goes to,” one juror declared. Said another: “I don’t like this person at all. I just can’t understand why he would be so stupid as to take an antibiotic which H.I.V. people need and jack it up five thousand percent. I would honestly, like, seriously like to go over there—” “Sir, thank you,” the judge interrupted, presumably to protect the potential juror from drawing charges of his own for threatening the defendant.

These hero almost-jurors prove that effective shade need not be complicated nor particularly creative. Some of their simplest phrases are their best. “I have total disdain for the man”; “I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him”—if these people weren’t standing before a judge, they would 100 percent be blowing on the tips of their nails, flipping their hair, and flouncing away before their interlocutors could utter another word. Everything they said—“he’s a greedy little man”; “he’s the most hated man in America”—is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but reading the comments as a whole feels even better than truth-telling. It feels like watching that inauguration Nazi-punching GIF over and over again, but without people fighting all over your Facebook wall about whether or not it was okay.

The most honest juror self-disqualifications concern Shkreli’s face, which nine out of 10 faceologists* (*not a real medical specialty) agree is yearning to be knocked around. “I was looking yesterday in the newspaper and I saw the defendant,” one person said. “There was something about him. I can’t be fair. There was something that didn’t look right.” Yes, yes, that sounds right. Another juror explained that “when I walked in here today I looked at him, and in my head, that’s a snake—not knowing who he was—I just walked in and looked right at him and that’s a snake.” Perceptive!

Of course, none of these people made it onto Shkreli’s jury, because judges must strive to get a set of 12 people who know as little about the involved parties as possible, and who have no preconceived notions about their innocence or guilt. That’s great for the justice system, but sad for me, because I would very much like to hear more sharp observations from the mind of juror No. 144. “The question is, have you heard anything that would affect your ability to decide this case with an open mind. Can you do that?” the judge asked the prospective juror. “I don’t think I can,” the juror replied, “because he kind of looks like a dick.” That kind of well-reasoned argument belongs in every good jury deliberation, or at least in the miniseries adaptation.

Dove’s Latest Ad Campaign Takes Body Positivity Too Far - Acculturated

Dove’s Latest Ad Campaign Takes Body Positivity Too Far - Acculturated


Acculturated

Dove is making headlines again, for yet another misguided advertising campaign. Do we really need soap bottles to evoke body positivity?

The Racists of OkCupid Don’t Usually Carry Tiki Torches

The Racists of OkCupid Don’t Usually Carry Tiki Torches

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

In the heat of the violence of this month’s white-supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer published a promise to the men carrying tiki torches while chanting Nazi catchphrases. After the marches, the site said, “random girls will want to have sex with you. Because you’re the bad boys. The ultimate enemy of the state. Every girl on the planet wants your dick now.”

By the end of the following week, one of the most popular dating sites had made it a little harder for those KKK enthusiasts to find the love they were promised. OkCupid announced on Aug. 17 that it had banned Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist who found fame in a Vice documentary about the Charlottesville protests, from the platform for life after a user pointed out his profile to site administrators. “There is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love,” OkCupid tweeted in its statement, urging users to report other hate-group members who kept profiles on the site.

In the days before white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Bumble had already been in the process of strengthening its anti-racism efforts, partly in response to an attack the Daily Stormer had waged on the company, encouraging its readers to harass the staff of Bumble in order to protest the company’s public support of women’s empowerment. (Only women, not men, can make the first move on the app.) “At that point, we realized that there’s a larger conversation to be had here about not wanting these people in our app,” said Alex Williamson el-Effendi, Bumble’s vice president of brand content. Bumble bans any user who disrespects their customer service team, figuring that a guy who harasses women who work for Bumble would probably harass women who use Bumble. After the neo-Nazi attack, Bumble contacted the Anti-Defamation League for help identifying hate symbols and rooting out users who include them in their Bumble profiles. Now, the employees who respond to user reports have the ADL’s glossary of hate symbols as a guide to telltale signs of hate-group membership, and any profile with language from the glossary will get flagged as potentially problematic. The platform has also added the Confederate flag to its list of prohibited images.

Racial slurs, sexual harassment, and promotion of racial violence are easy to identify as bannable offenses on dating apps. And it’s not hard to see why publicly banning white supremacists might be an irresistible public relations opportunity for a dating site. But what about users who keep it friendly on the app, then post racist memes on 4chan or Twitter? Both Bumble and OkCupid say they employ moderators who evaluate user reports on a case-by-case basis; el-Effendi said Bumble would probably “take action” against a user who was posting content that could make Bumble users feel unsafe, even if that content was on a different platform. Still, the line between a white supremacist and a white person who tells OkCupid they think there’s a correlation between race and intelligence is quite blurry.

“Some decisions are easy: White supremacists and Nazis are not welcome here,” OkCupid CEO Elie Seidman told me via email. “Others are hard. Our goal is member safety and the removal of hateful content from our platform.” Seidman wrote that the company has a zero-tolerance policy toward harassers, and “any clear connection between one of our members and [a hate group] is an indication to us that they do not subscribe to our mission to create a welcoming, inviting place.” Surely there are plenty of white supremacists who don’t have a clear connection to a recognized hate group but who tell OkCupid in their user questionnaires that they use racial slurs and would happily date a vocal racist. (Seidman did not answer my questions about the site’s race-related queries that let racists out themselves.)

OkCupid, in particular, has been helping people broadcast their hateful views on the site for years. The platform’s match algorithm depends on a series of questions that users can answer and rate by importance—and several of them all but encourage users to out themselves as racists. “Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias toward a certain race of people?” “Is interracial marriage a bad idea?” “Do you use racial slurs when you are around friends or family whom you trust?” “Do you believe that there exists a statistical correlation between race and intelligence?” It’s not hard to find white people in OkCupid’s database who answered “yes” to these questions. They have chosen to make their racist views public and a factor in their search for a mate. OkCupid helps them seek each other out.

Crucially, though, it also helps others keep white supremacists out of their feeds. “Those questions are helpful flags that tell me who to avoid,” said Farrah Skeiky, a 27-year-old woman of Lebanese descent. Users can answer “no” to the race questions and weight them heavily, helping screen out some of the proudest racists; according to OkCupid data, this is a common strategy. In fact, Tanisha Humphrey, also 27, likes OkCupid specifically because it asks blunt questions about racist attitudes. “I’ve ended up talking to a guy and then saw that he had marked that he thought you could tell someone’s intelligence based on their race,” she said. “I knew immediately that I needed to stop talking to him.”

Racism on dating sites usually manifests in more insidious ways, though. If you’ve ever read or listened to any personal account of online dating from a woman of color, Humphrey and Skeiky’s will sound familiar to you. There are the men who insist on qualifying every compliment with “for a black girl.” The men who say they like Asian or Muslim women because they let their boyfriends dominate them. The men who cannot describe a woman of color without invoking foodstuffs—“spicy” and “chocolate” are their favorite flavors. There are men who get angry if they don’t get an immediate response to a message, then resort to flinging racial slurs at the women they were trying to woo mere hours before. (Both Skeiky and Humphrey have been called variations on the N-word for this reason.) Some sites also have a diversity problem—and when most of the available matches are white, a platform can start to feel like a hostile dating environment. “As a black woman, each time I log onto Hinge feels a lot like going to an IRL event with a room full of WASP-y men and being the only black person in the room,” said Holly Bass, a 46-year-old woman who once found a literal Winklevoss twin on her feed despite asking for matches of any race but white. “These sites need to go beyond eliminating the most egregious examples of bigotry and work toward creating actual diverse spaces.”

Though racist users can make dating platforms treacherous ground for people of color, many of the women I talked to have had good experiences with existing reporting mechanisms on the dating sites they use. “I’ve reported users for racist behavior before, and OKCupid followed up pretty quickly. It was obvious that the profile was deleted,” Skeiky said. Humphrey uses OkCupid’s content filter to keep some of the most blatantly racist messages out of her inbox. “I feel a lot more comfortable using a site where I know that they will take action if I report harassment for any reason, including race-based comments,” she said. “I think that’s a much more direct, and, for me, as a user of the app, meaningful way of combating racism rather than saying you’re going to kick out one or two super vocal, super-visible racists.”

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dating sites taking a hard-line stance against vocal white supremacists. At the same time, if sites are already letting users out themselves as racists and banning those who use hate speech, the chances of a person of color accidentally matching with a white supremacist are slim. Their chances of facing racist remarks from people who don’t self-identify as such are much greater, and this is the kind of thing that’s nearly impossible for a dating site to moderate. One OkCupid user, Fabiana Cabral, recalled the time an older white woman repeatedly insisted on telling her she looked Colombian even after Cabral said she was Venezuelan. “It does make OkCupid look good to ban a now well-known white supremacist,” said Cabral. “It also reinforces the idea that a ‘racist’ is someone who attends a rally like the one in Charlottesville and carries a flaming torch and not someone who thinks all Latina women must look the same and feels OK telling me so to my face.”

There Are Lots of Women Running for Governor Right Now, and Some of Them Are Very, Very Bad

There Are Lots of Women Running for Governor Right Now, and Some of Them Are Very, Very Bad

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Much has been made of the gender imbalance in the U.S. Congress, where just 21 percent of senators and 19.3 percent of representatives are women. But the country’s record for governors is even worse: Only six women currently hold their states’ top executive office, and the most female governors the U.S. has ever had at one time is nine.

That gives the current slate of female gubernatorial candidates a decent chance of making history. If she wins her 2018 campaign, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly, would be the state’s first female governor. She would also be the state Democratic Party’s first female gubernatorial candidate and the country’s first black female governor.

Then there are the Republicans. Three women are currently competing with two men for the GOP nomination in the governor’s race in Tennessee, which has had neither a female governor nor a female gubernatorial nominee from a major party. All three of the female candidates have been hardworking opponents of reproductive rights. Beth Harwell has taken up the cause of several abortion restrictions as the speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, including mandatory waiting periods and mandatory pre-abortion counseling. Mae Beavers, a state senator, was the primary sponsor behind a mandatory ultrasound bill and a ban on abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Rep. Diane Black was the latest to enter the Tennessee race this week with a video seemingly crafted to counter the perception of women as too wishy-washy or fragile to properly hold executive leadership offices. In her video, Black uses metaphors of war and violence to describe just how not-fragile she is. She blasts “weak-kneed” members of her own party, claims most politicians are “too meek, or maybe even too weak” to “fight for the right things,” and promises to focus on “beating the liberals instead of caving into them.” “In Tennessee, we’re conservative, and we do things the right way, no matter what Hollywood or Washington thinks about it,” she says in the clip. “We believe in absolute truths: Right is right, wrong is wrong, truth is truth, God is God, and a life is a life.”

Black loves lives-that-are-lives so much, she has made disrupting women’s health care one of her primary goals in Congress. On her website, “Defunding Planned Parenthood” has its own page, in addition to and separate from the page titled “Pro-Life,” which shows the Congresswoman cuddling an infant. She accuses Planned Parenthood of being part of “the big abortion industry’s trafficking of baby body parts for profit.” In 2015 and 2016, she was an active member of the House’s investigative panel formed in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that claimed to show fetal tissue trafficking. (They did not, and the producers were later indicted for identity theft and charged with several felonies.) Black has also introduced bills to prevent Planned Parenthood from getting federal family-planning grants and getting reimbursed for services provided to Medicaid patients.

In South Carolina, an equally hardcore right-wing woman is running for governor. Catherine Templeton, who headed up a couple of state agencies under Gov. Nikki Haley, gave a few alarming answers to questions posed at a GOP town hall this week, one of her first major events since announcing her candidacy in the spring. She promised to stand in the way of any efforts to remove monuments of Confederate soldiers, saying she was proud of the Confederacy and doesn’t “care whose feelings it hurts.” Of transgender soldiers serving in the military, Templeton said “If you sign up and join as a man, you serve as a man. If you join as a woman, you serve as a woman,” and, likewise, “If you’re a boy, you go to the boys room. If you’re a girl, you go to the little girls’ room.” And, she added, “if you’re a pervert, we throw you in jail and throw away the keys.” She didn’t clarify what she meant by “pervert.”

The moderator also asked Templeton about abortion rights in the state. “Until we can overturn Roe v. Wade, the best we can do is restrict it as much as possible,” he said. “How far can we take those restrictions? What’s the next step to make it—to protect life?”

Templeton responded with a story about carrying her now-middle-school-aged twins, boasting that she never considered aborting one of the fetuses, even when she developed “a life-threatening illness brought on by pregnancy.” She is “the only girl running” for governor in South Carolina, she said, so the question is “personal” for her. “You’re not going to find anybody that’s more pro-life than I am,” Templeton went on, explaining that she only supports exceptions in cases of incest and a threat to the life of the pregnant woman. One audience member asked Templeton to reassess her support of the incest exception, because a fetus conceived in incest “doesn’t deserve to be killed just because of the sin of the parents.” Templeton nodded. “And that’s why I’m not for the rape exception,” she said. “We agree.”

The same audience member asked the candidate about “homosexuality and transgenders,” claiming that “God says it’s wrong and it should be wrong in the law.” Templeton didn’t challenge the attendee’s assessment of the “sin” of LGBTQ people, but again invoked her love of her children, as if queer and trans South Carolinians pose a threat to their well-being.

Templeton, Black, and their kin aside, there are plenty of worthy female candidates running for governor in 2018. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, a former Michigan state Senate leader with a history of reproductive-rights activism, has broken fundraising records in her gubernatorial campaign. In May, she’d attracted about three times the number of donors as her Democratic competitor, though he’s since been closing the gap. Kate Brown, who in 2016 won a special two-year term as Oregon’s governor, was as the country’s first openly-LGBTQ person to win a gubernatorial election. (She’s bisexual.) And gender-equity advocates can celebrate the 16,000 women who’ve asked EMILY’s List about running for office since the election. The Democratic Party itself may be cool with funneling money toward politicians who vow to curb abortion rights, but EMILY’s List only supports female candidates who are pro-choice.

Update, August 7, 2017: This post has been amended with updated fundraising information on the Michigan governor’s race.

Thibaut Courtois fears England will remember Diego Costa the ‘the little bully‘ and not the nice and funny striker

by wally Downes @ The Sun

THIBAUT COURTOIS fears Diego Costa will be remembered in English football as a “little bully” rather than a top-quality striker. Chelsea No 1 Courtois is preparing for Wednesday’s Champions League return to Atletico Madrid, the club where he spent three successful years on loan. Costa has rejoined Atletico for £60million after grabbing 58 goals in 120 […]

On-demand webinar: Are You Set Up for ABM Success? What to Know Before You Go.

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a live webinar with Jon Russo, founder of marketing performance firm B2BFusion.

Jon is often a voice of clarity to me in what has become a complex world of marketing and sales technology. Choosing the right vendor is enough of a challenge, but making systems work to their full potential is another story.

What's more, making tech work together in stacks can be a major challenge preventing organizations from seeing value in their investments. 

I asked Jon to present his worldview working with clients to find success with ABM tools. Watch the free, on-demand recording of our event, below. One-time registration is required (but is soooo worth it, trust me.)

Are You Set Up for ABM Success? What to Know Before You Go.

Account-Based Marketing tools like Engagio, DemandBase, and Terminus are powerful, exciting pieces of technology. But without the right data and decisions in place, it's like putting really nice shutters on a house without a foundation.

B2B companies must be thoughtful about their ABM setup. 

Join Katie Martell, on-demand B2B marketer, and Jon Russo, B2B marketing operations expert and high-tech CMO as they walk through EXACTLY what companies need to get these tools to work. They'll share a real-life example of how to wrangle data and MAP/CRM integrations to get up and running with account-based strategies. 

Everyone's on a journey with ABM, but some are in different places than others. This session is ideal for anyone who's interested in getting started with ABM, who has bought an ABM tool and wants to improve their implementation, or who wants to see more value from their investment in ABM.

What Do Rick Ross and Mike Pence Have in Common? An Inability to Platonically Interact With Distracting Women

What Do Rick Ross and Mike Pence Have in Common? An Inability to Platonically Interact With Distracting Women

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Noted gentleman Rick Ross appeared on a New York radio show Monday morning to promote his new VH1 reality series Signed. In the series, he and two other hip-hop moguls will audition and develop aspiring artists, who will get the chance to sign with one of the three big dogs’ record labels.

“When I’m looking for an artist, I’m really just looking for something I’ve never seen, first and foremost,” Ross told the Breakfast Club radio hosts on Monday. “If it’s something that’s unique, I feel that’s something that’s in demand. After that, I want to see that hunger.”

But what if that unique, in-demand, hungry young artist is a woman? As Breakfast Club host Angela Yee pointed out, Ross’s Maybach Music Group label has no female artists on its current roster and has only ever signed one, singer-songwriter Teedra Moses. Ross shared his well-thought-out reasoning with Yee. “You know, I never did it because I always thought I would end up fucking the female rapper and fucking the business up,” he said.

“That’s awful,” Yee replied.

“I’m so focused on my business. I got to be honest with you,” Ross went on. “You know, she looking good. I’m spending so much money on her photo shoots. I got to fuck her couple times.”

What a conscientious businessman! If you cannot interact with women without having sex with them and losing your focus on moneymaking, the responsible thing to do, Ross says, is avoid contact with women in the first place.

It is exhausting to imagine the life of a man who sees every female colleague and industry contemporary as a predestined sex partner. How do you have any time for artist development, business strategy, and radio-show appearances if you’re constantly having sex, scheming about how to have sex, or being distracted by people who, because they are women, remind you of sex? How do you sit through dinner with a buddy and his sister? How do you handle meetings with female marketing executives and record distribution heads while maintaining a constant erection? How much does your life suck because you can’t have any female friends?

Those are questions many posed to Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year, when it came out that the guy refuses to break bread alone with any women who aren’t his wife. The famously chaste ‘n’ Catholic Pence initially comes off as the anti-Ross: The rapper’s promiscuity is as much a hallmark of his brand as the vice president’s condemnation of almost every type of sexual contact is a hallmark of his. One thinks you should almost never have sex, the other thinks yachtloads of sex is the way life was meant to be lived.

But these two men are a lot alike. Ross has women call him “Daddy”; Pence calls his wife “Mother.” Both are gatekeepers at the top of their respective industries. And both use their warped, semi-Biblical views of women as inevitable temptresses to keep non-men out of their inner circles. To Pence, all women—no matter how random or disinterested—represent potential detriment to his marriage. To Ross, they are poison to his business. Women already face significant structural barriers to advancement in politics and the music industry. Men like Ross and Pence, who explicitly limit their contact with women, codify sexist notions of women as sex objects who divert attention from the important work at hand. (See also: dress codes that force underage girls into bulkier clothing because their bodies are burdensome distractions for innocent, hardworking boys.)

Ross continued his Monday interview by asking Yee several times to reveal her legs to him, implying that he would have to have sex with her if she signed with his label, telling her he wants to see her twerk at an upcoming pool party, and posing for a photo while grabbing her hair and pretending to lick her face. If his goal was to keep distracting women out of the music industry—or broadcast journalism, for that matter—Ross can count this interview as a major win.

Collins and Murkowski Stood Up for Womankind Over the Threats of Men

Collins and Murkowski Stood Up for Womankind Over the Threats of Men

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Two female senators, perhaps the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, have gotten many well-deserved thank-yous for going against their party and voting down a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare late Thursday night. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have stood stalwart against a few instances of GOP B.S. this year, including the Senate’s initial Obamacare repeal attempt and Betsy DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education.

But their votes on Thursday came at a particularly critical moment, under extreme pressure and gendered attacks from members of their own party. One unforgivably doofy Republican Congressman from Texas said on a radio show that he would like to have a duel-to-the-death with the “female senators” who stood in the way of Obamacare repeal, but since they are but ladies, he would hold himself back. (Wonder if he’d roll back that statement now that John McCain, a verifiable man, cast the final, deciding vote against the legislation.) When asked about Murkowski and Collins, a Republican Congressman from Georgia said someone should “snatch a knot in [the Senate’s] ass,” meaning hit them. Trump specifically targeted Murkowski on Twitter, riling up his supporters to go after her, and the Secretary of the Interior threatened to stop Alaska drilling projects if she didn’t vote the president’s way.

Weaker legislators might have stuck to the party line in defiance of their consciences. (See: the Republican senators who said they’d only vote for the bill if they got a guarantee that it wouldn’t become law.) Standing up to a crowd of peers making glib references to physical violence and real threats to legislative priorities could not have been easy.

Braver still was Collins’ public statement on why she voted against the bill. She makes arguments against both the Affordable Care Act as is and the plans Senate Republicans have proposed, then outlines a key reason for her opposition to the bills her peers wrote: the provision that would have prevented Planned Parenthood from getting reimbursed for any services provided to patients on Medicaid, who make up more than half the health organization’s client base. Collins’ defense of Planned Parenthood was as accurate and passionate as any Democrat’s should be, far beyond the compassion or mental capacity of her male contemporaries in the GOP:

Millions of women across the country rely on Planned Parenthood for family planning, cancer screening, and basic preventive health care services. Denying women access to Planned Parenthood not only runs contrary to our goal of letting patients choose the health care provider who best fits their needs, but it also could impede timely access to care.
If Planned Parenthood were defunded, other family planning clinics in Maine, including community health centers, would see a 63 percent increase in their patient load. Some patients would need to drive greater distances to receive care, while others would have to wait longer for an appointment.

Collins also did away with the persistent right-wing lie that federal taxpayer money is funding abortions:

Let me be clear that this is not about abortion. Federal law already prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk.
This is about interfering with the ability of a woman to choose the health care provider who is right for her. This harmful provision should have no place in legislation that purports to be about restoring patient choices and freedom.

It’s so unnerving to read an honest, humane assessment of women’s health care from a Republican! Murkowski, too, has been a vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood’s continued eligibility for Medicaid reimbursements and federal family-planning grants. This in spite of the very real risk that being women advocating for so-called women’s issues could further alienate Republican men in the Senate who didn’t even think women belonged at the drafting table in the first place. Together, with their adjoining desks, Collins and Murkowski have proven that female legislators have some of the strongest spines in Congress. That strength comes in numbers, even when that number is two.

Scott Disick and Sofia Richie confirm their relationship with series of loved up pictures – as fans are convinced they’re engaged

by tpearce @ The Sun

SCOTT Disick and Sofia Richie have sparked rumours online that they’re engaged – after locking lips for a photo in front of a dessert wishing them ‘congratulations’. The pair smothered each other in kisses for the Snapchat photographs, where they sat in front of a plate that read “Congratulations Scott and Sophia” in chocolate sauce. […]

Would you jump on the brow stamp wagon?

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

When you first hear about brow stamps, it seems like an “As Seen on TV” product that doesn’t work, but as the Internet proves, sometimes, a product can go wrong, people are fascinated by it. Whether you get your brows waxed or microbladed, the brow business is booming with options to perfect those arches. And

The post Would you jump on the brow stamp wagon? appeared first on Fashion Week.

Cans of Starkist Tuna

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

In September2017, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Starkist Co. alleging that cans of Starkist tuna do not contain the amount of tuna represented on the label and contain less tuna than the minimum amount required by federal regulations. (Puckett et al v. Starkist Co., Case No. 17-cv-1416, D. OR.) For more information about other

The post Cans of Starkist Tuna appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Marc Anthony pleads for help for Puerto Rico after Maria

by Staff - The Associated Press @ METRO NEWS | ENTERTAINMENT

I had one stupid night of drunken sex with an ex — but I’m worried it may wreck everything I have with my girlfriend

by rbayne @ The Sun

Got a problem? Send an email to problems@deardeidre.org. Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays. You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter @deardeidre or write to Deidre Sanders, The Sun, London SE1 9GF (please enclose SAE). Dear Deidre I HAD one stupid […]

Mystery as snake handler, 31, is found dead next to pet python with ‘serious injuries’ on his body — sparking police investigation

by Alahna Kindred @ The Sun

A PYTHON is at the centre of a mystery death investigation after its lifeless owner was discovered nearby. Police said experienced handler Dan Brandon, 31, who owned several as pets, had suffered “serious injuries”. One of his beloved snakes, which can grow up to 25ft long, was outside of its pen when his body was […]

Austin City Official Refused to Meet With a Co-Worker He Thought Had a Crush on Him

Austin City Official Refused to Meet With a Co-Worker He Thought Had a Crush on Him

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

A city employee in Austin, Texas, has been taking advice from the Mike Pence handbook on interacting with women-people, according to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman. William Manno, the events manager in charge of orchestrating city festivals such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, has received a written “reprimand” for refusing to meet with female employees because he feared things could turn, or appear to turn, inappropriate.

The city’s investigation of Manno’s behavior began in early July, after a female business specialist in Manno’s department reported that he had missed meetings because he thought a communications consultant who’d be there “had romantic feelings for him,” the American-Statesman reports. The specialist told investigators that Manno had floated the idea of reassigning both the consultant and a female assistant city attorney with whom he interacted at work because his wife apparently took issue with how they interacted with him. According to a memo about the investigation, Manno also canceled regular lunch meetings with the consultant, explaining to her that “I’ve been told it is not appropriate for a married man to have lunch with a single lady.” The consultant told investigators that she thought that statement was “odd,” because she’d assured him that she didn’t have sexual or romantic feelings for him and just wanted him to mentor her.

On the surface, this looks like another instance of men being incapable of interacting platonically with women. Pence, like many other religious men, abides by a self-imposed rule that says he can’t dine alone with any woman other than “Mother” (aka his wife). The implication there is that women are temptresses by nature and/or men are just giant floating balls of hormones and urges that can easily drift outside the bounds of marital fidelity toward any passing whiff of a woman’s scent. Then there’s the Rick Ross school of thought, which holds that taking on female protégées is a bad idea, because it’s nearly impossible not to have sex with them. Ross described his theory in terms a bit more vulgar than Pence’s, but the effect is the same: Women miss out on important mentoring and bonding opportunities when the men in charge see them as latent sex threats instead of regular employees with admirable skills and leadership potential.

Manno’s case is a bit more complicated, though. The business specialist who brought the complaint against him was reportedly spurred to action by a discussion with Manno’s wife, who found out that Manno had given the specialist a ride to City Hall. According to the specialist’s statement to investigators, Manno’s wife told the specialist that she and her husband were working through some troubles in their marriage and that he had promised to never again have a female employee alone in his car. There isn’t much in the way of details about why this was such an important issue in their marriage, but one can imagine a few reasonable explanations for his wife’s concern.

Last week, Manno filed a grievance contesting the investigation’s results. “I do acknowledge that I introduced personal information about my marriage into the workplace and to a subordinate,” he wrote. “I recognize that this does not foster a positive work environment and is unprofessional and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. As such, I will ensure that this does not reoccur.” But, he contended, “many of the statements included in the reprimand memo are based on misleading and incorrect information.” The communications consultant hugged Manno multiple times at a 2016 New Year’s Eve event, the business specialist’s statement to investigators confirmed, which Manno named in his grievance as the reason why he didn’t want to be alone with her.

There are many ways Manno could have dealt with this situation—starting with talking honestly to his wife about the kinds of meetings his job entails—without trying to cut off professional contact with women in his workplace. Unless the consultant was actually sexually propositioning or harassing him, which he hasn’t claimed, his actions were based on his own history and hangups with women. Women will never get equal treatment or promotion at a workplace where they’re treated as temptations lying in wait.

Update, Sept. 19, 2017: This post’s headlines have been updated to better reflect Manno’s title.

Danny Higginbotham: Pep Guardiola is making Manchester City stars into better players with merry-go-round approach to their positions

by ashilton @ The Sun

ONE of the most interesting things about Manchester City’s demolition of Palace was the flexibility of Pep Guardiola’s team. When centre-back John Stones went off, the manager moved Kyle Walker to the middle, made Danilo swap to right-back and bought on Fabian Delph to play left-back! That shows me that Guardiola wants to challenge his […]

Listen Well, Speak Up; and 3 more Lessons from Madge

Listen Well, Speak Up; and 3 more Lessons from Madge

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

There really isn’t a word that accurately describes the feeling of walking into a room of over 1000 women.

Part of me was surprised – I mean, I’m so used to conferences being a room filled with mostly men. Another part of me was filled with anticipation - I’d been looking forward to this day for weeks.

It was the 2017 Women’s Leadership Forum, hosted by the Ad Club.

Regardless of how I felt walking in, it’s easy to articulate how I felt walking out:

Emboldened. Activated. Reassured.

One talk among many that day left me feeling particularly energized. It was given by Madge Meyer – a public speaker, author, and former EVP and Chief Innovation Officer at State Street, with a long career at organizations including Merrill Lynch and IBM.

Madge offered concise, yet profound lessons to the room, good and sound advice for both men and women.

1.    Speak Up

Early in Madge’s career, at IBM, she was told by a manager that she’d be no longer invited to his meetings. Why? Her quiet and shy personality.

“You never ask questions or make suggestions. You occupy a seat, and never give me any value.”

Though she was listening, albeit passively, it wasn’t good enough. This is an important takeaway for anyone (talking to you, ladies) who may feel nervous about speaking up in a meeting.

Madge asked her manager for a second chance. She promised to ask at least one question, and make at least one good suggestion every meeting. She was allowed to return.

Studies show (and so does women's collective experience every day) that professional women are actually penalized for voicing their opinions more frequently.

“Male executives who spoke more often than their peers were rewarded with 10 percent higher ratings of competence. When female executives spoke more than their peers, both men and women punished them with 14 percent lower ratings.”

Read more in this NYT article.

The article describes a speaking-up double bind that harms organizations by depriving them of valuable ideas.

While before, Madge would attend passively, she began attending actively – and her success in doing so was predicated on her ability to listen the right way.

2.    How to Listen Well

Madge pointed out that many suffer from selected listening in meetings.

We can all likely relate to this. Who hasn’t interacted with someone who spends entire conversations just waiting for their turn to talk?

For Madge, the difference between passively and actively attending was to cultivate the skill of listening well – focusing on what someone really says, and asking intelligent questions.

She shared the tenets of Ting – the Chinese word for the art of listening, which consists of four elements in its Chinese character; ear, ten eyes, a heart, and a king.

Listen with your ear, but with 100% attention and focus (ten eyes), wholeheartedly, and as if listening to your King.

Wouldn’t that make for different meetings…

3.    Tell People Who You Are

One particular story I enjoyed from early in Madge’s career focused on a series of achievements she made in highly complex technical roles. With degrees in mathematics in chemistry, she worked in… well… literal rocket science.

Despite outstanding work, she found herself passed over for promotion in favor of her male colleagues multiple times. Frustrated, she went to her brother for advice.

What he said to her resonated with me, and the rest of the room, as I saw heads nodding in agreement:

“You’ve got to tell people who you are, otherwise, why would they listen to you?”

Being a Chinese immigrant, she possessed a cultural expectation that her accomplishments would be enough to get her promoted. Her experienced was proving this not necessarily true in America. While she did not want to brag, she realized the importance of outside recognition.

“You must show your value to the business. Doing a good job is not enough.”

Years later, as a manager at State Street, Madge ensured the work her team did was recognized consistently, to the tune of 32 industry awards.  

It's critical to toot your own horn. Be your own advocate.

4.    Never Accept No

Whether it was “you’re no longer invited to this meeting” or “you will never become an EVP” or “the answer is no on this project” – Madge persisted.

In one story shared, Madge had identified a massive cost-savings opportunity for State Street. While it would require some significant change, it would save the organization millions. Her proposal, however, was rejected by a committee who told her – Madge, the answer is no.

Expecting a fight, they were relieved to hear her say “OK” in the meeting, and walk out.

Where she was headed, however, was directly to her manager. She confidently brokered a deal (seriously, love this woman) – to let the results of a test dictate the viability of the proposal. If she couldn’t save the company $10M, they could fire her.

Yeah, she bet her job on it. No pressure. Casual.

Madge ended up saving the company $42M (boom), and earning the trust she so well deserved on her path to EVP.

In this story, she mentioned a piece of advice from her parents:

“When the boat hits the shore, you don’t keep trying to move forward. You turn right or left.”

Never accept no for an answer. Go around, and find a way to make it a yes.

5.    How to Innovate

All of these stories, weaved throughout her experience, built a strong foundation for Madge’s unique understanding of the concept of innovation – something she consults organizations on now. At the end of her talk, Madge shared a kind of alphabet of innovation, at least from A-G.

Innovation is:

Anticipatory, not reactive.

Business focused, not technology-driven.

Creative destruction, not guardianship. It’s very easy to hold on to the old way of doing things. Change is a risk.

Distributive leadership, not command and control. Companies that are top down must consider a culture of innovation, letting all people bring ideas to the surface.

Execution, not just inspiration. Madge recalled a Japanese saying:

If you have a vision with no execution, you have a day dream. If you have execution with no vision, you have a nightmare.

Fast and flexible, not fixed or frozen.

Global mindset nor parochial thinking. Leaders must move past only what they're comfortable with, and reach beyond boundaries.

---

I could not get enough of Madge’s easy humor, or her confident humility.

I realize “confident humility” may be an oxymoron, but what I witnessed was a delicate balance of touting her remarkable success, sharing lessons born of mistakes, all delivered with an empathy that left each of us feeling that her journey was – or could be - our own.

 

For more, listen to Madge’s podcast “Innovation is Business as Usual” and read her book The Innovator’s Path.

Thank you to the Ad Club of Boston for having me at the 9th annual Womens Leadership Forum – Stories told, by women bold.

 

 

Every Saturday morning I send out new ideas, writings, and interesting links on marketing, business, and life. It’s free & curated by me. Get on the list.

What Was Melania Trump Thinking With Her Hurricane Harvey Stilettos?

What Was Melania Trump Thinking With Her Hurricane Harvey Stilettos?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

The president and his wife boarded Air Force One on Tuesday morning to visit southeastern Texas and survey the devastation Harvey has wrought. It was a chance for Donald and Melania Trump to set their egos aside and humble themselves before the victims of a tragedy whose scope we are only beginning to understand.

It was also a chance for them to sell their merchandise and play blue-collar dress-up. The president showed up in a white “USA” baseball cap, embroidered with his own last name, that he sells on his website for $40. Melania opted for a satiny olive bomber, tailored black trousers, aviator glasses, and a pair of teetering snakeskin stilettos. Her shoes attracted the most criticism from internet observers, prompting a White House spokeswoman to assure the Washington Examiner that Melania was planning on changing her shoes on the plane. Vogue, a known champion of garments that serve the gods of fashion over the false idols of function, said the heels were “better suited to a shopping afternoon on Madison Avenue or a girls’ luncheon at La Grenouille” than a trip to the site of an ongoing natural disaster.

True, Melania would risk an ankle sprain by merely stepping out of a climate-controlled limousine in those shoes, never mind walking through mud and debris to comfort evacuees recouping in shelters. But the rest of her outfit was just as obnoxious. It was as if an assistant told her they’d be roughing it on a mission to an inhospitable place of unimaginable devastation, and Melania thought “war zone.” Her aviators and bomber jacket are playing at the courage and ready-for-anything spirit that defines most mainstream depictions of the military, as if she were risking anything or helping anyone at all on this trip to Texas. (She’s not.) Melania was trying to use military signifiers to simulate utility and a willingness to get her hands dirty when she’ll likely return with her manicure intact, making a mockery of those whose olive drab and aviators come standard-issue.

By the time Melania disembarked in Corpus Christi, she had changed into white sneakers, a crisp white button-down with a popped collar, and a baseball hat that read “FLOTUS.” On a trip ostensibly made to support people who’ve lost everything and the agencies trying to help them recover, Melania found a way to make her visit about herself. One wonders when that hat will be up for sale on the president’s merch page.

No one expects the first lady to traipse through flood waters to save stranded Texans—that’s not her job, and her help would be far more trouble for rescue agencies than it would be worth. She didn’t need to show up in thigh-high waders and a poncho; anything that didn’t turn her trip to a flood zone into a platform for showing off the contents of her designer closet would have been fine. But for this former model, there can be no sublimating of the wardrobe to keep the attention on those in need. Fashion doesn’t take a break, and white is a perfectly good color for a blouse in a rainstorm.

Steve King Wants Planned Parenthood Funds to Pay for a Border Wall. How Much Wall Could Those Funds Buy?

Steve King Wants Planned Parenthood Funds to Pay for a Border Wall. How Much Wall Could Those Funds Buy?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

It’s not every day Rep. Steve King comes up with a novel thought—most of his brain waves waft out of racist novels from the ‘70s. But on Wednesday morning, the Republican Congressman from Iowa managed to come up with one original idea: Take away Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, and use it to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall!

King popped out his precious thought-baby while speaking on CNN about the House Appropriations Committee’s recent bill that proposes allocating $1.6 billion to Customs and Border Protection for the purpose of Donald Trump’s promised wall. If King had his way, he said, the wall would get $5 billion more. “I would find a half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget,” he said. The other $4.5 billion would come from cuts to food stamps.

Why hasn’t any other intrepid legislator suggested taking away poor women’s pap smears and spending the money on a giant fence instead?! Let’s pause for a moment to imagine how big and beautiful a wall could be with all that health-care money that usually subsidizes birth control for women on Medicaid.

Now let’s calculate it. An internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Reuters earlier this year estimated that the border wall could cost about $21.6 billion to build. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood got $554.6 million in government reimbursements (from, for instance, providing services to people on Medicaid) and grants (from, for instance, family-planning programs like Title X). Some of that money comes from state governments, and some comes from federal funds, but Planned Parenthood doesn’t disaggregate the funds in its annual reports.

So let’s be generous to King and assume that every state “defunded” Planned Parenthood and donated the resulting funds to the cause of the U.S.-Mexico border wall instead of putting them back into public health.

$554.6 million in government funds goes into a $21.6 billion wall 38.95 times. Customs and Border Protection has estimated that the wall could be 1,827 miles long. Divide that by 38.95, and Planned Parenthood’s $554.6 million could build a wall segment just under 47 miles long. Not bad! That would span about the length of the very top tip of New Hampshire, where it brushes up against Canada before spooning Vermont.

Ah, wait a second. That $21.6 billion? Just an estimate. When the Trump administration actually asked for money for the wall, it wanted $2.6 billion for fewer than 75 miles of wall. According to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, that would bring the total cost of the wall to about $66.9 billion. Plug that into the equation:

$66,900,000,000 / $554,600,000 = 120.63

1,827 / 120.63 = 15.15 miles

That’s more than 15 miles of border wall, and no Medicaid reimbursements or family-planning subsidies for Planned Parenthood patients. Not much of a dent in the blocking-Mexico department, but think of what else it could do! A 15-mile wall in D.C. could encircle Ivanka Trump’s Kalorama house, the White House, the D.C. Trump Hotel, and all the drunk bros at Nationals Park. Fifteen miles is just enough for Manhattan to build a wall below Central Park and around the lower coastline of the island, enclosing Trump Tower in a quarantined zone. Or, with just under 15 miles of wall, Trump could build his way from his golden Fifth Avenue tower to the Pizza Hut in downtown Newark. It’s no well-done steak, but with just 15 miles to work with, a few plates full of cheesy bites is about as good as it’s going to get. Defunding PBS should cover the bill.

Thinx Founder Wore Breast Pumps Around Burning Man and Shared Milk With Burners

Thinx Founder Wore Breast Pumps Around Burning Man and Shared Milk With Burners

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Now that the gyrating hordes have returned from Burning Man, it’s time to catch up on all the beautiful acts of intention and community and MDMA they committed on the playa. This year’s star is Miki Agrawal, former purveyor of Thinx period underwear and living, breathing TED talk. In an Instagram slideshow Agrawal posted on Tuesday, the new mother described pumping breast milk for her three days at the annual dust bowl.

“So many people told me that they had no idea that I had to keep pumping every three hours because they didn’t know that breasts would become engorged and super painful if they were not pumped,” Agrawal wrote, “nature's way of keeping mama and baby working together :-)”

Because Burning Man encourages an ethos of gift-giving, Agrawal didn’t keep her nutritious secretions to herself. She gave most of it away to consenting adults, who apparently couldn’t get enough. “Some people downed a whole four ounces hoping for a hangover cure,” Agrawal wrote on Instagram. “Some wanted it for their coffee to make lattes. So many were excited and curious to try it. I drank some too when I ran out of water, it tastes like sweet coconut milk!” Apparently this is common practice on the playa: Other breast-feeding commenters on the post wrote that they “loved sharing all the wonders of breastmilk” with other burners and served it to patrons at a Burning Man diner.

This endorsement of public breast milk consumption, accompanied by several photos of Agrawal wearing her breast pumps around the playa, is truly the ne plus ultra of posts about breast-feeding shaming. Not only is Agrawal proudly asserting her need and right to pump in a place that doesn’t look particularly hospitable to pumping, but she is passing the pump tube to another burner like she’s administering a beer bong. Women have said in their social media accounts of breast-feeding and pumping in public that it is natural, necessary, and a perfectly OK thing to do around strangers. To that, Agrawal adds: a fantastic source of party refreshments.

Agrawal is pretty much the personification of Burning Man, making her the perfect vessel for this peak–Burning Man performance of radical self-reliance. She digs startup wordplay—she called herself the “She-E-O” of Thinx and is writing a book called Disrupt-Her—and peppers her personal website with identifiers like “social entrepreneur,” “impact investor,” “dreamer,” and “societal-norm-busting-millennial.” She considers herself a capitalist revolutionary, wrote a book called Do Cool Shit, and has a fetish for ill-proportioned hats. She sometimes plays the DJ at parties for the organization her sister founded: Daybreaker, which, like Burning Man, is a gathering of forced profundity where people wear lamé and, you know, connect.

She also loves talking about bodily fluids. In addition to the period underwear, Agrawal has launched a line of underwear for urinary incontinence and a portable bidet called Tushy. A former Thinx employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against Agrawal for, among other inappropriate office behaviors, FaceTime-ing employees from the toilet. One wonders if Agrawal’s “got breastmilk?” post is a low-key ad for some forthcoming venture centered on a better breast pump—or as is Agrawal’s shtick, subverting the taboos around breast pumping. “Every human has been birthed and raised somehow and yet even the smartest people have no idea what this process looks like,” she wrote on her Instagram slideshow. “Nobody learns how to become a parent, let alone a good one. Time to change this! Great parenting can change the world! More conversations about this soon!” Soon.

But if Agrawal’s breast-milk bistro—“Miki’s Milk Bar,” an Instagram commenter said it was called—was a promotion scheme for some future innovation around her new favorite secretion, it would violate one of Burning Man’s core principles: decommodification, which forbids sponsorships and advertising. “Breast milk” would also screw up the pneumonic device of her current brand, the four Ps: pee, poop, periods, and pizza. That incongruous last entry refers to a gluten-free pizza chain she started in New York. No word on where they get their cheese.

Mum’s heartbreaking screams after finding two of her triplet babies dead – as cops rule out carbon monoxide and GoFundMe smashes £5k target in 24 hours

by tmichael @ The Sun

THE GoFundMe page set up by a heartbroken godmother f two triplets who died in their cot has smashed its £5,000 goal in under 24 hours The tot’s mum was heard screaming “my babies, my babies” when she found them. Cops had checked to see if the tots had perished due to carbon monoxide poisoning […]

Eddie Redmayne in line to play Fagin in new film of musical Oliver! — and could be joined on set by Adele

by modonnell @ The Sun

EDDIE REDMAYNE was left cringing on The GRAHAM NORTON Show when recounting how he was once only workhouse boy No43 in a production of Oliver!. But I can reveal the Oscar winner could have the last laugh as he is in promising talks to star as rogue Fagin in a new film of the musical. […]

Who is Chloe Meadows? The Only Way Is Essex lass who was best friends with Megan McKenna

by kpaulworika @ The Sun

AFTER falling out with Megan McKenna, Chloe Meadows has had a tough time on The Only Way Is Essex. It looks like they could finally be on the mend after Courtney Green took it on herself to heal the relationship and bring the Towie ‘Girlband’ back together – here’s all you need to know. What is […]

Dove includes transgender mother in latest ad campaign | Equally Wed

Dove includes transgender mother in latest ad campaign | Equally Wed


Equally Wed - LGBTQ Weddings

Advertising took a monumental leap as Dove includes transgender mother in their recent campaign for Baby Dove entitled #RealMoms.

Far-right gains by Alternative for Germany and protests cast a shadow over Angela Merkel’s German General Election win

by jlockett @ The Sun

PROTESTS broke out across Germany after the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first nationalist party to win dozens of seats in its parliament since the Second World War. Huge crowds gathered outside  a club where the AfD was celebrating in central Berlin, shouting “Nazis out” and “all of Berlin hates the AfD”. Earlier, […]

Betsy DeVos Plans to Consult Men’s Rights Trolls About Campus Sexual Assault

Betsy DeVos Plans to Consult Men’s Rights Trolls About Campus Sexual Assault

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

When Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education, anti-rape advocates worried about the damage she might do. The Obama administration had pushed universities to better address sexual assault on their campuses, prescribing stricter guidelines for adjudicating accusations and publishing lists of schools under investigation. DeVos refused to say whether or not she’d uphold that guidance, but the prospects looked grim. She and her family foundation had both donated money to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an advocacy group working to undo the progress Obama’s Department of Education had made on campus sexual assault.

Now that she’s in office, DeVos has to choose: Will she let the Obama guidance, which lowered the burden of proof required in sexual assault cases, stand? Or will she let schools revert back to their old practices, like forcing victims to sign nondisclosure agreements and letting accusations stand for months—or even years—without taking action?

To help her decide, DeVos is meeting with several organizations that do work on this issue. Victims’ rights organizations, including Know Your IX and the National Women’s Law Center, are on the list. So are a few men’s rights groups that see campus rape as a faux crisis manufactured to demonize and damage men and boys. Politico reported last week that the Department of Education has contacted Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and the National Coalition for Men to set up meetings about the campus sexual assault guidance, which all three organizations oppose.

The National Coalition for Men, as its name implies, is one of the largest, longest-running, and shameless men’s rights organizations out there. It is founded on the belief that domestic violence and sexual assault are widely overreported (in other words, that women regularly invent incidents of these crimes) and that some of the blame often lies with the female victim. President Harry Crouch calls this alleged conspiracy of women, the media, and law enforcement the “men’s violence industry.” The organization has a history of harassing and intimidating alleged sexual-assault survivors, ThinkProgress points out: Chapters have published photos, names, and biographical details of women who have accused men—falsely, the National Coalition for Men insists—of rape. Its members routinely bring lawsuits against women-only networking groups and social events, crying discrimination.

Crouch has argued that women are too rarely held responsible for domestic violence they “instigate.” “I’m not saying he’s a good guy,” Crouch said in 2014 of football player Ray Rice, who knocked out his then-girlfriend in an elevator. “But if she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit. They would say that’s blaming the victim. But I don’t buy it.” He also claimed that “if a little person without a penis instigates, she will never be accountable for her actions” and wondered why the NFL can’t “have a week, or just one day, where they celebrate men?” as when the league wears pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness.

The other organizations from which DeVos plans to learn aren’t any better. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified SAVE, which opposes rules that prevent defense attorneys from entering evidence of a survivor’s sexual history in a rape trial, as a planet in the “manosphere” of misogynist online forums. SAVE lobbies against domestic violence protections, claims that the “leading reason” for abuse is “female initiation of partner violence,” and calls falsely accused perpetrators the “true victims of abuse.” And then there’s FACE, which claims that colleges are expelling innocent students “with increasing frequency” due to made-up accusations. “If the school investigators feel that there is even a slight chance that your accuser might be telling the truth, you will almost certainly be suspended or expelled,” the organization’s site says. “If your accuser had any alcohol at all, you will most likely be expelled.” This is untrue. According to federal data, of 478 sanctions dealt for sexual assault on about 100 U.S. college campuses between 2012 and 2013, just 12 percent were expulsions. That doesn’t include the cases that were dismissed with no sanctions ordered at all.

These are the experts the Secretary of Education is trusting to school her on campus sexual assault: people who lie to advance a worldview of women as pathological liars, who believe women receive unfair preferential treatment in abuse trials, and who think false accusations are the real rape problem. This is a classic case of false balance, because the two sides here do not have equal merit. Meeting with advocates for sexual-assault victims is not the same as meeting with trolls who have made it their lives’ work to defend domestic violence and end women-only happy hours. But as a representative of an administration run by a man with an interest in protecting sexual harrassers, DeVos has every reason to side with the latter.

All the Best Looks From the NRA Concealed Carry Fashion Show

All the Best Looks From the NRA Concealed Carry Fashion Show

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

At the National Rifle Association’s Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee this weekend, firearm fanatics attended workshops that taught them how to protect themselves from “today’s unprecedented violence and global threat,” employ jiujitsu moves to supplement the bullets they put in people’s bodies, and use flashlights.

They also got a tastemaker-curated peek at fall fashion trends in hiding deadly weapons on the human body. At the organization’s first Concealed Carry Fashion Show, models showed off ready-to-wear designs from a bunch of up-and-coming fashion houses you’ve never heard of, including Man-PACK, Packin’ Neat, and Lady Conceal. Here, we’ve collected some of the most notable designs from the show, coming soon to your local duel.

For a higher-end consumer who likes to protect her privileged class standing with hollow-points, a white leather handbag provides a touch of class. The shoulder strap chain symbolizes the shackles of oppression that keep Second Amendment advocates from bringing their weapons anywhere they damn please.

WERQ! A holster worn under a safari-inspired shirt does double duty, cinching in belly fat while preparing the wearer for life-threatening encounters en route to the drug store or dentist.

When “I’d like to speak to your manager” comes with the threat of violent death.

You’ve probably heard that skinny jeans are out, but did you know the wider-leg trend started with gun owners who wanted a little more room for their calf holsters?

Quilted totes that camouflage both pumpkin-spice spills and lethal weapons: in for fall!

Last week, you swore you’d kill your barre instructor if she told you to do one more “little pulse.” Now, with a pistol under your leggings, you can!

The NRA should be applauded for spotlighting “real” bodies, like that of this dollar-store Fabio. (Some fashion critics have disagreed, saying the show needed more “sex appeal,” “babes,” and “himbos.”)

This model committed to a matchy-matchy look with a manicure in the same “sea to shining sea” blue as her fake gun. The show’s use of training guns did not inspire particular confidence in the safety of these holsters, but the saturated color provided visual interest.

A shirt with quick-release snaps is essential for those who keep their guns in their cleavage.

Join in the feminist T-shirt trend with a shirt that screams “the only good Women’s March is the one to the firing range!” Then, channel fashion icon Plaxico Burress by tucking a very safe object into your waistband.

The Anna Wintour of the NRA looks unimpressed, but his famously chilly expression could belie internal fits of ecstasy at the sight of a truly transcendent lewk.

Fawlty Towers legend John Cleese to read a bedtime story to 9,000 homeless charity fundraisers to raise £4m in Sleep in the Park

by cgreenwood @ The Sun

JOHN Cleese will lend a hand to support a charity for the homeless in a fundraising effort in Edinburgh. The award-winning actor and comedian will read a bedtime story for thousands of fundraisers as they take part in an overnight rough sleeping event with the aim of raising £4m for homeless charities. Monty Python legend […]

Artist Creates A $1.3 Million Piece Made Of More Than 7,000 Ecstasy Pills

by Justina Bakutyte @ Konbini United States

Hearing the phrase chemical x, two things come to mind – the first one, especially thanks to recent events, relates to the accidental creation of Powerpuff Girls; the second, however, rings in different connotations as it directly pertains to the British artist Chemical X who has famously designed the original Ministry of Sound logo and has […]

The post Artist Creates A $1.3 Million Piece Made Of More Than 7,000 Ecstasy Pills appeared first on Konbini United States.

When It Comes to LGBTQ Acceptance, Muslims Are More “Assimilated” Into American Culture Than White Evangelicals

When It Comes to LGBTQ Acceptance, Muslims Are More “Assimilated” Into American Culture Than White Evangelicals

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

One of the most memorable motifs is the presidency of Donald Trump is the notion that Muslims are somehow incapable of assimilating into American culture.  “Assimilation has been very hard,” Trump told Sean Hannity last summer, in response to a question about how to vet Muslim immigrants to determine if they want to proselytize and import theocracy. “I won’t say nonexistent, but it gets to be pretty close. And I’m talking about second and third generation. For some reason, there’s no real assimilation.”

On at least one issue, however, recent surveys suggest Trump’s fears about assimilation are directed at the wrong group. According to a poll of American Muslims conducted this year by Pew, more than half (52 percent) say “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” In a wider survey on the same question last year, 63 percent of the general population said the same—compared to just over a third of white evangelicals. On the question of LGBTQ acceptance, in other words, American Muslims look much more like “mainstream” America than white evangelicals do.

A 2014 Pew survey that asked specifically about same-sex marriage turned up similar results: 53 percent of the general population favored legalization, while just 28 percent of evangelicals said the same. Among Muslims, support was at 42 percent. Which group looks like its values are approaching the American consensus, and which one looks like a population of “unassimilated” religious extremists?

Let me pause to say that’s an overly broad brush with which to paint evangelicals. The gap between young white evangelicals and their elders has widened dramatically in recent years, for example, with almost half of Millennial and Generation X cohorts now favoring gay marriage. But white evangelicals as a whole remain dramatically set apart from the culture on a question with major social, interpersonal, and political implications. There’s a reason that many conservative Christians who object to same-sex relationships now frame their opposition not as “traditional” but as “counter-cultural.”

Meanwhile, American Muslims’ acceptance of homosexuality is striking for two reasons. First, it is growing with remarkable speed. A decade ago, just 27 percent of American Muslims said homosexuality should be accepted, while 61 percent said it should be discouraged. Today, the “accepters” outnumber the “discouragers” by almost 20 percentage points. And these numbers are also remarkable because of how dramatically American Muslims differ from the global Muslim population, which is overwhelmingly opposed to homosexuality. This kind of change is practically the textbook definition of “assimilation.”

The big picture is that despite our president’s flailing attempts to reignite the culture wars, Americans keep moving inexorably toward acceptance of LGBTQ people. Two years after Obergefell v. Hodges, support for same-sex marriage is rising among just about every religious, racial, and generational demographic. The majority of Americans believe transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military, just to pick another issue at random. At this point it’s fair to say that acceptance of LGBTQ people is a mainstream American value. If certain religious groups can’t adjust to the tolerance of the culture in the country where they have chosen to live, well, that would be a real shame.

L’Oreal Paris taps Elle Fanning as beauty ambassador (Video)

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

Not only has Elle Fanning landed on the cover of Vogue for the first time, she has landed a beauty contract with L’Oreal Paris. The actress announced the news of her beauty contract on Monday, May 15. “I can FINALLY let you all in on the mega SURPRISE!!!! I am officially a #lorealista !!!!!” she shared on

The post L’Oreal Paris taps Elle Fanning as beauty ambassador (Video) appeared first on Fashion Week.

Sellers Playbook

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

"Winning on Amazon" at the expense of "significant losses."

The post Sellers Playbook appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Top Russian general Valeryi Asapov killed in ISIS mortar shelling in Syria, reveals Vladimir Putin’s defence ministry

by jlockett @ The Sun

RUSSIA’S Defence Ministry revealed tonight that one its top generals has been killed by mortar shelling in Syria. The fatal attack on a Syrian military outpost was carried out by ISIS fighters near the war-torn city of Deir al-Zor. The ministry said Lieutenant-General Valeryi Asapov died at a command station manned by Syrian troops, assisting […]

#NeverStopNeverSettle: Vote for LIT Brooklyn!

by Renae @ In Her Shoes

What happens when your ABSOLUTE favorite candle brand enters a national contest with Hot 97 and Hennessy for those who never stop and never settle? You spread the word far and wide! Denequa Williams, founder of LIT Brooklyn is one of the most passionate entrepreneurs I know. She pours huge doses love and integrity into […]

Style Diary: Iris West from ‘The Flash’

by May Chan @ Fashion Week

While we’re still reeling from the latest episode of The Flash, we’ve decided to take a look at Iris West’s style ahead of the season finale this Tuesday. Played by the gorgeous Candice Patton, Iris by far has the best wardrobe. Yet, not everyone can nail that sleek and classic style like the love of

The post Style Diary: Iris West from ‘The Flash’ appeared first on Fashion Week.

Denequa Williams Fires Up the Luxury Candle Industry with LIT Brooklyn

by Renae @ In Her Shoes

Nearly a month or so before the close of 2016, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Denequa Williams, the founder and creator behind LIT Brooklyn. For those unaware, LIT is one of the most sought-after, Black-woman-owned candle companies in the business. She’s completely on fire, with the brand’s signature scents flying off the shelves almost faster than they can be poured into their chic glass and gold tin containers. I’m blessed to now call her a friend. Recently, we sat down and chatted more about life before LIT and how she plans to expand in the future. Keep reading for the deets from our exclusive chat!

People hate Dove's new ad campaign, despite well-meaning message

People hate Dove's new ad campaign, despite well-meaning message


seattlepi.com

The six limited-edition Dove soap bottles come in shapes meant to emulate the body types of women.

Senior Conservative MPs urge Philip Hammond to ‘tax foreign buyers’ to stop them snapping up British homes instead of struggling first-time buyers

by Sun Internet 2 @ The Sun

FOREIGN buyers must be taxed hard to stop them snapping up new UK homes, top Tories urge. One Cabinet minister has called on the Chancellor to introduce “punitive” tariffs. Philip Hammond is also being pressed to consider tougher restrictions on future buy-to-lets. It comes as first-time buyers struggle to afford a home while overseas investors […]

Watch: This Body-Positive Dove Video Is Chicken Soup for All of Our Souls

Watch: This Body-Positive Dove Video Is Chicken Soup for All of Our Souls


theFashionSpot

Dove's newest body-positive video created by Shonda Rhimes stars Cathleen Meredith, founder of Fat Girls Dance.

Why Does the Anna Faris/Chris Pratt Breakup Feel So Singularly Heartbreaking?

Why Does the Anna Faris/Chris Pratt Breakup Feel So Singularly Heartbreaking?

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

When a celebrity couple breaks up, of course the decent thing to do would be to pay no mind, to “respect the couple’s privacy at this difficult time.” But when we’ve spent years watching them on red carpets, reading about their relationship in magazines, liking their cutesy Instagram posts, and gobbling up their anecdotes on talk shows, the impulse to react personally is hard to subdue. And in the case of Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, who announced their separation on Sunday, the overwhelming reaction is one of sadness. These two weren’t an Angie and Brad–style tabloid staple, nor were they a flavor of the week, destined to burn out before their next press tour. Instead, they seemed to be that rare thing—a low-key (for Hollywood), actually-likes-each-other couple that could be in it for the long haul.

Their statement about the separation, which they both released on social media, is shattering in its plain-spokenness (“We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed”) and offers a hint at the “real deal” factor that made their union so compelling. Of course, the idea that a casual observer of any marriage, let alone a celebrity one from a distance, could have any idea what it’s like on the inside is flawed, yet Farris and Pratt had that spark of authenticity that made people root for them. Part of that charm has its origins in the story of how Faris and Pratt got together about a decade ago, on the set of a now-forgotten romantic comedy, when she was the more famous of the pair. (She was married at the time but began dating Pratt when that relationship ended, and they got engaged and married soon after. The two had a son together in 2012.)

When they met, Pratt had appeared on TV shows like Everwood and The O.C., but Faris had made a name for herself as the ditzy blonde in the Scary Movie franchise, headlined a few movies on her own, and was poised to become the next big thing. In a 2011 profile, the New Yorker called Faris “Hollywood’s most original comic actress,” and though she’s held several starring roles since then, including one on the CBS sitcom Mom, her career didn’t end up taking the A-list, it-girl trajectory such a writeup hopes to foretell. But during the same period, Pratt’s did. He parlayed a beloved ensemble role in Parks & Recreation to landing lead parts in blockbusters like Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy, and along the way, he went from beer-bellied goof to hard-bodied heartthrob. This seemed to add another dimension to their relationship—she had her success, now he’ll have his. But viewed in hindsight, it now sounds like both typical Hollywood and high school all over again: A guy goes away to summer soccer camp, has a growth spurt, and gets cool. When he comes back, he breaks up with his old girlfriend and starts hanging out with the popular kids.

Of course, this is all speculation, and Pratt’s career hasn’t been without its setbacks. (Remember Passengers?) But part of what feels heartbreaking here lies in the way this breakup resonates with Hollywood’s tradition of treating men and women very differently, which gives context to Pratt’s ascent. Faris’s career may be chugging along beside it, but her lack of astronomical success ends up looking like she got the short end of the stick. Their ages further flesh out this reading: At 40, Faris might be considered past her prime by Hollywood standards, whereas Pratt, slightly younger at 38, is just coming into his and can look forward to another decade or more of lead roles. Faris will be fine—she’s got that CBS money—but where’s her franchise?

Having a career in the public eye exerts an unmeasurable toll on relationships, and Faris herself spoke recently to People about the pressure she and Pratt faced. “I don’t think that’s something, when you’re an actor, that you’re prepared for,” she said. “There are two different roles that you play—the one on-camera and the one in public. That’s the tricky part.” We can never know what really broke the two up, but the meta narrative is enough to make you give up on love—and hope for women in Hollywood—completely.

Mel B makes rare red carpet appearance with formerly-estranged mother as they heal decade-long rift… as she gets VERY close to male stylist pal

by Olivia Waring @ The Sun

MEL B joins her estranged mother Andrea Brown on the red carpet in Hollywood as they’re pictured for the first time since burying their decade-long feud. The ex Spice Girl has been joined by her mum in the States for support during her divorce court battle with Stephen Belafonte – and on the same night […]

Herbalife Events

by TINA @ Truth In Advertising

The post Herbalife Events appeared first on Truth In Advertising.

Well Here’s a Weird Company Selling Stickers That Seal Your Penis Shut as a Condom Alternative

Well Here’s a Weird Company Selling Stickers That Seal Your Penis Shut as a Condom Alternative

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

While kiddos are decorating their binders and notebooks with stickers this fall, men around the country are finding more controversial uses for tiny bits of adhesive. At least, that’s what Jiftip would have you believe. The company is encouraging men to buy little stickers and affix them to the tips of their penises, sealing off the hole to keep any and all the ejaculate inside.

Wait whaaaat, you might wonder. That’s not how penises work, you may say. I came up with that idea once, too, but I was supes faded and immediately realized that shutting off a natural exit channel for bodily fluids was a) ill-advised, and b) impossible, you’re probably thinking.

It seems like Jiftip’s founders agree, which makes the product they’re pushing—an alternative to condoms, they say—seem rather strange. Jiftip’s website claims that “nothing gets in or out until you remove” the barrier, but it also says users must pull out and take off the sticker before they feel like they’re going to climax. The site also says the pasties-for-penises, designed by the founders “as a desperate attempt to avoid using condoms,” are not to be used to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

Okay, so: The pros of using condoms are that they protect against most STIs, prevent pregnancy, and don’t make you pull out or complete a task before you ejaculate somewhere in mid-air. The main con is that condoms can feel weird. The pros of using a Jiftip are—what? That it looks like a tiny fidget spinner and keeps lint from accumulating in your penis hole? The cons, obviously, are that it doesn’t perform any of the intended functions of a condom, and you have to rip adhesive off your penis in the middle of sex.

There is so much misinformation on Jiftip’s site, a Jiftip user could create a dozen 8.5”-by-11” Jiftip sticker collage versions of “Starry Night” before I had time to address them all. Here’s one of the best bits: “Healthy skin is a virtually impenetrable natural germ barrier,” the brand’s FAQ reads. “If you trust it, isn’t wearing a raincoat double-wrapping?” Gaaaah! Healthy skin does not protect against STIs! Friction during sex causes tiny skin abrasions; skin is not virtually impenetrable. Condoms, it should not have to be said, exist for a reason.

Jiftip is counting on a fair number of curious, gullible dudes to drop $6 on a pack of the stickers just to see what’s what. (They are probably also counting on some incredulous articles like this one to boost visibility.) The brand’s response to skeptics is this: “WILL IT WORK? HOW CAN YOU KNOW? HOW CAN ANYONE KNOW—UNTIL THEY TRY?” But on Twitter, the proprietors behave like people who have no clue how to run a business. They’ve retweeted Jill Stein’s invitation to Edward Snowden to be a member of her cabinet and suggested that the global HIV rate isn’t declining because people don’t like condoms and choose not to use them. They also tweeted a link to a story about a Malawian man raping children, commenting that “some cultures are practicing stupid and giving their young daughters HIV.” Is this magical, utterly useless dick sticker supposed to combat child rape, too?

At least one anonymous “beta user” claims to love the product. Well, kind of. “My partner and I can't use condoms and the pill messed up my body, hair fell out,” Jiftip quotes. Here’s her pitch for the product itself: “@jiftip has no side-effects.” A ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one!

Ted Cruz’s New Chill, Sex-Positive Persona Is All Well and Good. It’s Also Preposterous.

Ted Cruz’s New Chill, Sex-Positive Persona Is All Well and Good. It’s Also Preposterous.

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Pity Ted Cruz. No one likes the guy. (“I just don’t like the guy”—George W. Bush) He’s spent the last few weeks being called out for his hypocrisy over hurricane aid. And now, just when he’d rather be selling his tax reform plan, he has spent almost an entire week talking about a pornographic tweet.

It is by now the stuff of legend: On Monday evening, Cruz’s official Twitter account clicked “like” on a tweet featuring hardcore porn, causing the tweet from account @SexuallPosts to show up on a section of Cruz’s public profile. Speculation ran wild, including at Slate. Did Cruz himself hit the like button? Did a staffer do it, and under what circumstances? On Tuesday, Cruz called it a “staffing issue,” furthering the story without clarifying it. Concerned watchdogs like CNN’s Chris Cillizza put Cruz on notice, treating the errant finger-twitch like the matter of national security that it was: “Cruz needs to clear this up. Immediately. Possibly sooner.” On Wednesday, he cleared it up—or at least tried to. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, he said a staff member “accidentally hit the wrong button.”

Cruz seems to be in a forgiving mood toward the mystery staffer. He called it an “honest mistake” and said he wouldn’t throw the “fella” under the bus by revealing his name. Then again, Cruz is a forgiving guy: Then-candidate Donald Trump insulted his wife’s appearance and insinuated that his father was involved in the Kennedy assassination, and Cruz still endorsed him.

But the interview was notable for more than just Cruz’s awkward attempts to move past SexuallPosts-gate. When Bash brought up a 2007 case in which Cruz, then Texas solicitor general, defended a state law banning the sale of sex toys, Cruz got huffy. He called the ban a “stupid law” and said he only defended it because it was his job to do so. “Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want in their bedrooms,” he said. “The media and the left seem obsessed with sex. Let people do what they want!”

Cruz’s newfound persona as a chill, sex-positive free spirit is all well and good. But back in 2007, Cruz showed no sign of thinking that the Texas sales ban on dildos and vibrators was “idiotic,” as he told Bash. His team filed a 76-page brief arguing that Americans have no right “to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” When a court of appeals panel struck down Cruz’s argument in a 2–1 decision in 2008, the judges in the majority noted that the case was very specifically about controlling what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms: “It is about controlling what people do in the privacy of their own homes because the State is morally opposed to a certain type of consensual private intimate conduct.” After his loss, Cruz and the state’s attorney general (now-Gov. Greg Abbott) asked the full court of appeals to hear the case, and Cruz’s office filed another brief suggesting it might take the case—defending what he now calls a “stupid law”—to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Cruz’s approach to LGBTQ issues also does not suggest a mellow disinterest in other people’s bedroom habits. During his 2012 Senate campaign, he criticized his opponent for marching in a pride parade as Dallas mayor, saying it’s “not a statement I agree with.” He spoke publicly during that campaign about his record of “standing and fighting to protect traditional marriage between one man and one woman.” In the run-up to the 2016 election, he told NPR that opposition to same-sex marriage would be “front and center” in his campaign. Except he also he assured a gay-rights supporter at a private fundraiser that he would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority. That’s Ted Cruz: Consenting adults can do what they want behind closed doors as long as it’s politically convenient for him.

Hillary Clinton’s Book Tour Is a Dose of Much-Needed Therapy for Her Fans

Hillary Clinton’s Book Tour Is a Dose of Much-Needed Therapy for Her Fans

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Hillary Clinton opened her What Happened book tour on Monday night with what sounded like a retort to the critics who’ve said she should have never written the book in the first place. In a bit of self-aware justification, Clinton told her interlocutor—former speechwriter and campaign advisor Lissa Muscatine—that the writing process gave her the “discipline and deadline” she needed to sort through both her own feelings and her shock at America’s election of a malicious wannabe tyrant. It was an act of “catharsis,” Clinton said. “It was my therapy.”

The product of her efforts seemed to have a similar effect on her audience. The bodies filling the seats at Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theatre quaked when Clinton walked onto the stage, giving her an ear-splitting standing ovation that shook the floor of the venue. Every minor attempt at a joke was met with riotous laughter, every dig at Trump with a lengthy round of applause. There were more than a few tears.

You’ve got to be a pretty big Hillary Clinton fan to spend up to $82 to sit in a room and listen to her say things you’ve probably heard her say before. Because it’s D.C., the theater also contained several former campaign staffers. These weren’t casual Clinton voters. They were her diehards, the people for whom the termination of a potential Clinton presidency was nearly as devastating as the bombshell of a Trump one. Their enthusiastic support wasn’t just about making the first female president, but electing this specific candidate, with her formidable resume, unflagging composure, and history of pressing on in the face of sexist attacks. The election and American democracy as we once knew it may be over, but the cult of Hillary Clinton is not.

Anyone who doubted Clinton’s “likability” or capacity to inspire hope in young women during her campaign should look to the crowds who’ll flock to her 15-city book tour to understand the magic some attributed to her candidacy. Monday’s event felt strangely intimate, with audience members eagerly nodding along as if they were at a cozy reunion with a friend they hadn’t seen in years. They erupted in cheers when Clinton spoke about turning to friends and family in the difficult days after the election. They booed and hissed when she mentioned Matt Lauer, whom Clinton calls out in the book for incessantly harping on her emails while letting Trump babble nonsense about ISIS. The audience seemed equally enthralled with Clinton the person as with Clinton the candidate, and genuinely concerned for her well-being.

Underlying their concern for Clinton the woman is a deep sense of identification with her. On Monday, Muscatine gave Clinton several pairs of nouns and had her choose her favorite: coffee or tea (Clinton chose coffee); yoga or Pilates (yoga); shower or bath (“it depends on how much time you have”); and vodka or chardonnay (“again, it depends on how much time you have”). It was silly and banal, but dozens of audience members clapped and hooted after each answer. So eager were these people to identify with Clinton that they screamed in a public place simply because she too prefers coffee over tea, like the majority of other U.S. adults. When it came time for audience questions, which were submitted in advance, several were just messages of thanks. One noted that the writer was drinking wine with Clinton “in solidarity.”

This book and attendant publicity tour will mark an important step in the grieving process for those Clinton fans who see themselves, and perhaps their own thwarted ambitions, in her struggles. For them, grappling with the daily horrors of the Trump administration has probably left little time or mental space to process Clinton’s loss. There is no shortage of policies to protest amid righteous, chanting hordes, but few outlets for feelings about the candidate herself. Seeing her onstage, back in the public eye on her own terms and in visibly good spirits, will give some a sense of closure they need. If Clinton can rebound and crank out a book after the worst setback of her professional life, maybe the rest of us can churn on, too.

Clinton made exactly this point on Monday night. “At the end of the day, everybody has disappointments. Everybody has losses,” she said. “I view this book as much about resilience as about running for president. … I want others, no matter what happens to you in life, to understand that there are ways to get up and keep going. Don’t give up on yourselves.” You know else recently wrote a book about resilience? Sheryl Sandberg, whose co-written book Option B chronicles, among other things, her emotional journey after the death of her husband. Clinton and Sandberg are acquaintances, and Sandberg starred in a prominent anecdote about women in leadership that Clinton shared on Monday. In the story, Clinton repeatedly referred to the Facebook COO’s previous book and business philosophy, Lean In, as “Lean On.”

It was a rather endearing flub-up that Clinton never caught and Muscatine was too nice to correct. But, looking out on a sea of faces eager to process their lingering devastation in the company of hundreds of other Clinton fans, the former candidate might have committed a Freudian slip. As far as advice for recovering from electoral trauma goes, “lean on” isn’t half bad.

Lionel Messi asked Man City loanee Pablo Maffeo if he was from the Etihad in win over Girona

by whaughton @ The Sun

MANCHESTER CITY loanee Pablo Maffeo has revealed he was quizzed by Lionel Messi during the La Liga game on Saturday. As Barcelona won a comfortable 3-0 away victory over Girona, Messi asked Maffeo how old he was and if he was on loan from Man City. Maffeo who is currently enjoying his third season on […]

Somehow Women Still Make Up Less Than a Third of Speaking Characters in Top U.S. Movies

Somehow Women Still Make Up Less Than a Third of Speaking Characters in Top U.S. Movies

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

For about a decade, researchers at the University of Southern California have been tallying up the speaking and named characters in each year’s 100 top-grossing films in the U.S. Each year, the study’s authors hope they’ll see the demographic makeup change.

But, by and large, the proportion of female characters in the country’s top films has stayed constant since 2007. In a new analysis, USC researchers report that in 2016, just 31.4 percent of the films’ 4,583 speaking roles were female characters, up from 29.9 percent in 2007. That proportion never rose above 32.8 percent in the intervening years. Action and adventure movies included the smallest segment of female characters, at 23.4 percent of all speaking roles. Comedies, with 40.8 percent of roles occupied by women, were the most gender-balanced.

When researchers added race to the equation, the picture looked even grimmer. Of the 100 most successful films in 2016, only 34 had at least one female leading or co-leading role, and just three of those were women of color. There were no black women in 47 of the 100 films, no Asian women in 66 of them, and no Latina woman in 72 of them. More than half of the films had no Latinx or Hispanic characters at all; such characters made up just 3.1 percent of the films’ speaking roles, about one-sixth the size of what the segment would be if it mirrored the U.S. population.

The roles that went to women in 2016 were far more likely to be explicitly sexual than those that went to men. More than a quarter of the female roles in the top 100 films of 2016 involved “sexy attire,” and an equivalent proportion got at least partially nude. Only 9.2 percent of the male roles involved any nudity, and just 5.7 percent of male characters wore sexy clothes. Researchers found that female characters aged 13 to 20 were just as likely wear sexy clothing, get partially nude, and be called attractive as those aged 21 to 39.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen a mainstream film. Previous analyses have shown that while male actors age, the love interests in their films don’t. Women playing the sexy roles in film and TV (read: the major roles) are forever young, seeming not to notice or care how old and decrepit their onscreen boyfriends are getting. Female roles may be hard to come by, but there’s at least one kind of woman who is way overrepresented in films: the woman who fetishizes and lusts after men two or three times her age.

Another recently published USC study analyzed more than 53,000 dialogues in almost 1000 film scripts and found that films with at least one female writer had about 50 percent more speaking women onscreen. But when they spoke, their dialogue was usually written within gendered boundaries. Women were more likely to speak in positive terms and talk about “family values,” while men swore more and talked more about “achievement” and death. The study also found that characters of color were largely written along the lines of racial stereotypes. Black characters, who made up an almost exactly proportional 13.6 percent of all speaking roles in the top films of 2016, speak with a higher concentration of swear words than characters of other races, according to the study. Latinx and multiracial characters talked more about sexuality than their white, black, and Asian peers.

Women were generally not central to the plots of the hundreds of films in the study. The researchers mapped out the characters’ relationships and dialogues, making each character a “node” connected to all the rest. When they removed the female nodes, the plots and other character relationships remained largely intact. Horror films were a major exception, since women were more likely to be the victims in those movies.

These two studies add up to a discouraging assessment of Hollywood today, which is depressingly similar in its treatment of women and people of color to the Hollywood of 10 years ago. Two of the most successful and buzzed-about films of 2017—Wonder Woman and Girls Trip—center women in their narratives, giving advocates for gender equity in film reason to hope. But even in a movie that was supposed to be a major feminist win, at least according to the men who protested it, the title character in Wonder Woman spent a decent portion of the film being ogled and lusted after by men. After so much talk about equal pay and better representation in the film industry, women have ended up with bigger roles that reflect the same narrow tropes.

The Google Anti-Diversity Memo Cribs Its Worst Arguments From Men’s Rights Activists

The Google Anti-Diversity Memo Cribs Its Worst Arguments From Men’s Rights Activists

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

White men, studies have shown, do not like diversity policies. White men feel threatened by attempts to nurture diverse and inclusive workforces, so companies create special diversity-education seminars tailored to the unique, valid needs of white men, gently coaxing them from their knee-jerk hostilities. White men, as it happens, are also the only people who don’t suffer negative consequences in the workplace for promoting diversity.

But one guy at Google took his objections to programs and policies built to advance women and people of color a few steps further than a run-of-the-mill diversity skeptic: He circulated a 10-page manifesto to fellow Google employees explaining why diversity efforts are discriminatory to men and why women are biologically unsuited to tech careers and leadership roles. Motherboard reported the existence of the document on Saturday morning; Gizmodo published the whole thing later that afternoon.

The memo makes it plain that the author has spent far more free time researching biological sex differences than any healthy adult male should. Women have inborn tendencies toward neuroticism, he writes, which may explain why women report higher levels of anxiety at Google, and they have “a harder time … speaking up and leading.” The document reeks of misplaced frustration, of a man who started with a scapegoat and a stereotype, then sought out legitimate-sounding “evidence” to prove himself right. He diminishes the mental and emotional impact of microaggressions, then complains that Google employees suffer from a lack of “psychological safety” because they’re scared to air their doubts about diversity programs.

No respectable reader will trust the gender critiques of a man who is so incensed by company efforts to advance women in tech roles that he sinks hours of his own time into explaining why lady brains cannot execute the technical, high-pressure roles occupied by men at Google. But there is a sizable built-in audience for this kind of lament for the days when men were men and women just didn’t want to do man jobs. That audience is the men’s rights movement.

The document’s arguments owe a great deal to men’s rights activists, who have maintained for years that programs devised to advance women are hurting men, the real victims. “The same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths,” the Google author writes in his manifesto. MRAs tirelessly employ this factoid in documentaries and Reddit threads to argue that men shoulder the world’s toughest burdens while women reap the rewards. The “death and injury gap” is a handy distraction tool, a foil MRAs like to present when the gender wage gap comes up in discussion, as if one gender disparity cancels out the other.

The Google guy also complains about “exclusory programs” that allow women and people of underrepresented racial groups to share skills and experiences. These constitute “discriminatory practices,” he writes, and leave “swaths of men without support.” Women-only networking groups have been some of the most visible targets of lawsuits from MRAs, who claim that such organizations are engaging in “reverse sexism.” One attorney, the secretary of an MRA haven called the National Coalition for Men, has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements after filing sex-discrimination suits against companies that do things like give away free baseball hats on Mother’s Day and let women into bars without paying cover on ladies’ night. He also recently got a settlement from a group called Chic CEO, a small business founded to help women become entrepreneurs, which held a women-only networking night in California. “Imagine the uproar by women business owners and entrepreneurs, feminists, and other equal rights advocates if a business consulting company in partnership with a business networking firm brazenly touted a no-women-allowed business networking event,” the attorney’s complaint argued, stating that “struggling single dads” and male “disabled combat veterans” deserve the same networking opportunities as women.

Of course, there’s a big difference between a struggling single dad (or the other “swaths of men” who earn the Google guy’s sympathy) and a struggling single mom: When the dad faces obstacles to success in his field, it won’t be because his bosses think men are too neurotic to hold leadership positions or his co-workers think men are biologically inferior at software development. Men don’t need gender-specific support in the tech industry because the industry—and, therefore, almost every general-interest industry support group—is already dominated by men. To agree with the MRAs and the Google anti-diversity man, you must believe that the world would be better off without programs to support women and other demographic groups that have been historically excluded from positions of corporate power. To believe that, you must start with the premise that human beings function without unwarranted biases, and thus gender gaps are almost entirely attributable to natural differences between men and women.

That is exactly what MRAs and the Google man believe. In his memo, the Google employee invokes evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology to explain why women don’t want or can’t get promotions into tech leadership positions. MRAs have manipulated the same fields of science to excuse rape as inbred behavior and argue that men are naturally wired to cheat on their girlfriends or dote on them in exchange for sex acts. “The movement’s use of evolutionary psychology convinced my rational mind that everything I read was a scientific fact suppressed by feminists,” one former MRA told the New Statesman earlier this year. Facile stereotypes and smears sound a lot less offensive when there’s an –ology word in the same sentence.

MRAs are undesirable company, for sure, but the Google guy’s memo aligns him with an even more despicable crowd: white supremacists. In the Google document, the author tosses in criticisms of programs that support people of “a certain race” and dismissals of calls for racial diversity. If programs designed to support women are bogus because women are naturally inclined to shun stressful jobs and analytical work, what’s wrong with programs designed to support people of color? The author doesn’t attempt to explain whatever evolutionary arguments undergird his opposition to racial diversity efforts, probably because there is a much smaller (though quite enthusiastic) audience for that kind of bunk. Blanket claims about why women aren’t born to lead are bound to go further, especially in an industry that rewards single-minded, self-promoting men.

4 Essentials of Startup Branding from The Ad Club’s 2017 Brandathon

4 Essentials of Startup Branding from The Ad Club’s 2017 Brandathon

by Katie Martell @ THE BLOG -

What happens when ten Boston-area startups meet ten of Boston’s best creative agencies?

 

Brandathon, that’s what.

 

The Ad Club President Kathy Kiely admitted in her opening, “we’re not supposed to pick favorites… but this is our favorite event.”

 

And I totally get it.

 

This event checks every box. It’s a pure celebration of the sheer work that goes into brand building, the creativity behind well-loved marketing ideas, and the strategy and research required to deliver a message that is both relevant and remarkable.

 

But, perhaps the most entertaining piece of this evening is the art of the agency pitch.

 

Imagine if Don Draper had access to Photoshop and embedded .gifs in PowerPoint slides. Then, add puns. Brandathon’s audience is given front-row access to see the type of performances that win these agencies global name-brand accounts. A truly remarkable experience.

 

This annual Ad Club event (now in its fourth year) includes 10 marketing teams who work for 72 hours to develop a new brand for 10 of Boston’s most promising startups.

 

It’s a coveted position to be in, as evidenced by the swell of applicants this year. 150 companies applied for ten spots. These startups, many lacking dedicated marketing resources of their own, know the competitive advantage of a strong and well-conceived brand.

 

For example, a 2016 Brandathon startup Tranquilo took the new branding work developed by 36creative all the way to Shark Tank, ending up with a deal from Robert Herjavec, and going on to grow “from 5 figures to 7 figures in less than a year” according to CEO and founder Melissa Gersin.

 

This year, Arnold took the top spot for a hilarious rebrand of Kulisha chicken feed. (Yes, really, chicken feed.) In second place was 36creative for their work with OatShop, and finally, Genuine Interactive secured third place for their meaningful revival of CommonWealth Kitchen.

 

 

 

Other participating startups this year included WA11.ST, HipChip, Janji, Nomsly, Sheprd, and Solstice, receiving new brand design and ideas from creative teams including Forge Worldwide, GPJ Experience Marketing, Racepoint Global, SapientRazorfish, Small Army, and W-9.

 

This was a night of creativity and humor, but also a reminder of startup branding basics:

 

1. Branding goes beyond packaging

 

When you think of branding, you may consider a website, logo, business cards, and of course the packaging a product may come in. But, we were reminded this evening that a brand is truly comprised of all the touchpoints a customer may have with an organization.

 

Agencies tonight presented each startup with ideas to bring their brand recommendations to life far beyond the initial website or package design, well into the lifecycle of a customer. Many entrepreneurs forget to consider that their brand is the sum of an experience a buyer has from before the purchase to after the sale, not only the wrapper to their product.

 

2. Customer-centric branding wins

 

Many startups describe what it is that they do in terms of the products or technology they provide.

 

But, as each brand makeover demonstrated, product-centric branding is only so effective. When a startup is ready to for real growth, their brand must reflect customer-centric ideals.

 

This begins with the audience being served, and working backwards to design an identity and a message that speaks directly to them - in their language, and addressing their problems, first.

 

3. Simple and approachable is best

 

For many of these startups, the biggest change to their original messaging came in the form of simplification.

 

These agencies know through their work with consumer brands worldwide that less is often more, especially when a consumer is faced with a new brand for the first time. Buyers (and all humans for that matter) make a split-second judgement call. That moment of truth is where the power of a good brand comes into play - and where the danger of complex, confusing branding creates problems.

 

Throughout the evening we saw taglines shortened, websites streamlined, and jargon/buzzwords banished. Each agency helped to make their startup clients more approachable, their mission and value clear, and their relevance to the buyer easy to understand.

 

4. Startups need a cohesive brand narrative

 

Many startups will cobble together their initial attempts at branding using an affordably-made logo, accessible Wordpress template, and whatever free stock imagery they can access. (Resourcefulness is the name of the game for early-stage businesses, right?) But for those companies seeking to grow, a cohesive brand narrative is a paramount component of building a business.

 

Each pitch tonight featured a narrative that reflected the brand’s founding story, values, personality, beliefs, and identity. The art of articulating all of this in a set of imagery, colors, and copy is exactly what makes this profession so difficult - and what made each pitch so impressive.

 

---

 

Brandathon 2017 was special - the energy and passion of both brands and agencies were on full display. Nearly every startup here knew the biggest problem they faced in this nascent stage of their businesses was creating awareness, and for each of them, a cohesive brand is an invaluable gift, as it serves as a launch pad for all future growth.

 

Diane Hessan, Brandathon Committee Chairperson summarized it best, sharing in her introduction, "when I founded my own company, the idea that I could have this level of access to the great, creative agencies of Boston was simply incomprehensible.”

 

This was an event that really could have only happened here in Boston, reflecting this city’s unique mix of entrepreneurial strength and world-class marketing fortitude.

See you in 2018.



 

Strictly Come Dancing returns with highest first night ratings as 10.2million viewers tune in — almost TWICE as many as X Factor

by cgreenwood @ The Sun

STRICTLY returned on Saturday with its highest first night ratings as 10.2million tuned in — almost twice as many viewers as rival The X Factor. The 140-minute marathon saw 15 celebs take to the floor and the debut of Shirley Ballas as head judge. But as Strictly dragged in the bulk of the Saturday night […]

OkCupid Banned the White Supremacist From the Vice Video. Here’s Why That Makes No Sense.

OkCupid Banned the White Supremacist From the Vice Video. Here’s Why That Makes No Sense.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Of the hundreds of white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, for a show of power last weekend, Christopher Cantwell has emerged as one of the most recognizable. Since starring in a viral Vice documentary on the weekend’s protests and violence, Cantwell has published a blog post calling Heather Heyer’s murderer a “hero,” posted a video of himself crying over his FBI-issued arrest warrant, and wrote an apology to Donald Trump for wishing for a president who “does not give his daughter to a Jew.”

In the wake of the media coverage of Cantwell’s white nationalist ideology and the violence he perpetrated at the weekend’s demonstrations, OkCupid announced on Thursday that it was banning him from the dating site for life. “Within 10 minutes” of being alerted to his account, the company proudly tweeted, it booted him from the platform. Now, the company wrote, OkCupid is asking people to report other users associated with “hate groups” because “there is no room for hate in a place where you're looking for love.”

Isn’t there, though? OkCupid asks its users to fill out a lengthy series of questions it uses to match people with potential mates; users can answer as few or as many as they’d like. Among those questions are a few that would look right at home on an entrance exam for the Klan:

“Would you strongly prefer to go out with someone of your own skin color/background?”
“Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias toward a certain race of people?”
“Is interracial marriage a bad idea?

There’s a term for white people who answer “yes” to these questions: white supremacist. In these questionnaires, OkCupid has basically created a functional database of white supremacists it could have banned at any time. It has not only allowed white supremacists to use the platform, but it also gave them a way to find each other by matching potential lovers based on their answers. Users can make their answers private, so only OkCupid can see them to calculate their match percentages, or public, so all other users can see what they said. OkCupid has given people who are proud of their opposition to interracial marriage and their desire to date someone with a “strong negative bias” toward people of color a friction-free way of finding like-minded (read: racist) mates.

Users can also rate how important a prospective date’s answer to each question is to them, weighting how much each response counts toward their match percentage. Imagine the white person who answers “yes” to all the racial prejudice questions, then ranks them as “mandatory.” He can make it so he mostly or only sees people who want to date a racist. He’s just created his own personal white supremacist dating site.

This isn’t to say that OkCupid should use its own questionnaire to bait white supremacists into revealing themselves, then kick them off the site. No white person who grows up and lives in a racist society, as all white people do, is free from racism; it would be impossible for OkCupid or any other digital service provider to faithfully weed out all racists from its ranks. Even if there were, the idea of a few tech CEOs wielding their power to kick jerks off the internet should cause concern. Some racists are undeniably worse than others—particularly those who advocate violence and affiliate with white nationalist groups—but no company, especially not one that makes it easy for users to self-identify as racists and find others, should be in the business of measuring degrees of racism to determine a user’s eligibility.

OkCupid’s Cantwell ban is effective as a symbolic statement against white supremacy, but its efficacy mostly applies to the company’s public reputation. The site gets to look good for taking a stand against one internet-famous white nationalist, but it can still make money off run-of-the-mill white supremacists who use OkCupid’s question-weighting system to find their people. Users who send messages to black women asking if they “taste like chocolate,” or to Asian women praising their race’s “docile and submissive” nature will still get to search for targets for their racism. Those who use hate language will sometimes get banned if other users report them, but white supremacists can easily benefit from the platform without running afoul of the very vague “conduct” section of the terms of service, which OkCupid says Cantwell violated. (The company hasn’t specified what he did other than become famous for his white nationalism in a Vice documentary. Cantwell claims he never used his OkCupid account “for anything other than talking to women in pursuit of romance.”)

What if someone reports a guy who posts Nazi propaganda on his Facebook page, but fills his OkCupid profile with banal tributes to Led Zeppelin and Breaking Bad? Is just sharing white supremacist memes on Twitter enough to get someone banned, or does one have to be a card-carrying member of Identity Evropa? More than a few users espouse racist views on OkCupid itself. Data released by OkCupid in 2016 showed that 18 percent of Mississippi users said in their questionnaires that they disapprove of interracial marriage, and those answers helped the site find those people other racists to love.

In one sense, OkCupid’s questions about racial prejudice do a service to people of color: They allow white supremacists to identify themselves. Anyone who doesn’t want to see that kind of scum, provided the scum have answered “yes” to those questions, can filter them out by answering “no” to all three and marking them “mandatory.” According to OkCupid, so many users do this, they’ve made racism the No. 1 “dealbreaker” on the site.

Sofía Vergara’s Ex Might Finally Be Out of Luck in His Battle for Custody of Their Frozen Embyros

Sofía Vergara’s Ex Might Finally Be Out of Luck in His Battle for Custody of Their Frozen Embyros

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

After years of battling ex-fiancée Sofía Vergara in court for custody of a pair of frozen embryos they once made together, condiment entrepreneur Nick Loeb might finally be out of luck. Last week, a federal judge in Louisiana dismissed Loeb’s suit, saying that the embryos are “citizens of California,” where Vergara and Loeb conceived and froze them. Thus, the judge ruled, embryos have no legal standing to sue in Louisiana, the only state that gives embryos the right to sue and be sued.

Embryos are frozen when they are just clumps of a few dozen cells, equivalent to a vaginally inseminated egg that would still take another week to become embedded in the uterine wall. Louisiana law deems these cells “juridical persons”—not quite human beings, but deserving of legal rights. In Louisiana, embryos are not merely property of the two people who made them, so any legal disputes must meet “the best interest of the in vitro fertilized ovum.”

That’s the most likely reason why Loeb sued Vergara in Louisiana despite the fact that neither party maintains a residence there.* (Loeb says he chose the state because the couple broke up there; he dropped an earlier California suit because he didn’t want to name his previous girlfriends who’d had abortions.) Actually, Loeb didn’t exactly sue Vergara—the embryos, “Emma” and “Isabella,” did. “Plaintiff EMMA is a female human being at the embryonic stage of life, five days old developmentally,” the “right to live” suit read, claiming that Vergara had “effectively abandoned and chronically neglected” her children by keeping them frozen in a medical tank since 2013. Though Vergara and Loeb had signed a contract when they were together agreeing that the embryos would never be implanted anywhere without both parties’ consent, Loeb wanted to nullify the agreement and implant them in a surrogate.

Over the past couple of years, the Vergara–Loeb embryo battle has become a proxy fight for anti-abortion advocates who think frozen embryos should be treated like people. Anti-abortion groups have funded or filed amicus briefs in the embryo disputes of split-up couples, including the case of a Missouri woman named Jalesia McQueen. In the middle of her own court battle over two frozen embryos (“Noah” and “Genesis”) with an ex-husband who wanted to dispose of them, McQueen founded an organization called Embryo Defense to advocate for all excess embryos in legal limbo. She aggregates news on the Vergara–Loeb case and uses their photos in images made for sharing on social media. The graphics say things like “Sofia says it’s ‘selfish’ to let the embryos be born without both parents being in a loving relationship. Shouldn’t both parents just love the child?” and “Please pray for Sofia Vergara and those she called her ‘frozen babies,’ that she’d open her heart so they could be a blessing in her life.” One pairs a picture of Loeb’s face with the question “what about a father’s right to choose?”

The concept of “a father’s right” to procreate without input from the woman whose egg created the embryo is a favorite rallying cry of the embryo-protector set. Loeb himself made this argument in a 2015 New York Times op-ed with the magnificent headline “Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live.” “A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects,” Loeb wrote. “Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?”

The federal judge’s decision against Loeb is only the latest in a string of disappointing court losses for those who believe embryos should be treated like people. When Barack Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2009, he was hit with a lawsuit from one Mary Scott Doe, a “frozen embryo symbolizing all existing frozen embryos.” A federal appeals court ruled that Doe had no standing as an “amorphous” class that could not prove any actual harm. In 2015, a California Superior Court judge ruled that a contract a divorced couple signed at the medical center where they created the embryo prevented either party from taking unilateral custody of the embryos unless one of the parties died. Even McQueen, the founder of Embryo Defense, lost her suit late last year when a St. Louis court ruled that embryos are “marital property of a special character,” not human beings with unalienable rights.

That St. Louis case might be the most promising decision yet for those who believe that no person should be able to incubate an embryo without the consent of the other person whose genetic material it carries. The others, which rest on the tenets of contract law, legal standing, and jurisdiction, say more about how the suits were filed than what rights adults have to the embryos they create. Still, Loeb’s loss could set a welcome precedent in these kinds of cases: Jurisdiction-shopping embryo protectors might find Louisiana to be a less hospitable home for a lawsuit than they’d imagined. 

*Correction, August 31, 2017: This piece originally referred to “the most likely reason why Loeb sued Vergara in California, despite the fact that neither party maintains a residence there.” It should have said Louisiana.

Soul II Soul Singer Melissa Bell Dead at 53

Soul II Soul Singer Melissa Bell Dead at 53

by Clutch @ Clutch Magazine

Melissa Bell, Soul II Soul singer and mother of X Factor star Alexandra Burke, has passed away at the age of 53, due to kidney failure. Bell was the lead vocalist in Grammy award-winning act Soul II Soul. She joined in 1993 after founder Jazzie B...

Judge Blocks Arkansas Law That Could Have Forced Women to Notify Their Rapists of Abortions

Judge Blocks Arkansas Law That Could Have Forced Women to Notify Their Rapists of Abortions

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

On Friday night, a federal judge blocked four recently passed Arkansas abortion restrictions, including one that seemingly could require rape survivors to get input from their rapists before terminating their pregnancies. That law, in addition to a ban on the most common second-trimester abortion procedure and a requirement that doctors report teens’ abortions to the police, would have taken effect on Tuesday. A fourth provision, which would have forced a doctor to obtain and review a patient’s entire pregnancy medical history before providing her abortion care, was set to go into effect at the beginning of 2018. The decision prevents Arkansas from enforcing the laws until a full trial takes place.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a suit challenging these laws in June on behalf of Frederick Hopkins, a Little Rock–based doctor who provides the state’s only outpatient second-trimester abortion care. The complaint argues that the ban on dilation and evacuation abortions constitutes a ban on second-trimester abortions, since alternate procedures are far less safe, more expensive, and more time-consuming. D&Es comprise 95 percent of second-trimester abortions in the country and 100 percent of second-trimester abortions performed in Arkansas in 2015. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade held that banning abortions before viability—around 22 to 24 weeks—is unconstitutional. The Arkansas D&E ban would have also allowed husbands and legal guardians to sue for injunctive relief to prevent women from getting D&E abortions.

But the law that caused the most national outrage was the addition of fetuses to an existing Arkansas statute requiring family members to come to agreement on the method of disposal of remains. The law could have forced abortion-seeking Arkansans to notify their sexual partners or parents of their impending abortions to get their input on fetal-tissue disposal. (A grandmother’s recent Facebook comment that she’d “notify [her rapist] with a loaded 45” if the law came into effect made her “Twitter’s newest hero,” according to Bustle.) At worst, it may have given sexual abusers and hostile family members reason to target women with physical, financial, or emotional abuse for terminating their pregnancies. At best, it would have involved other people in women’s private medical decisions and delayed their abortion care, causing her increased risk and expense.

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker, who issued a preliminary injunction against the laws on Friday, wrote that this law “mandates disclosure to a woman's partner or spouse, even if that person is no longer in her life or is a perpetrator of sexual assault.” The fetal tissue law offers no public health benefit, she wrote, and would have undermined the “constitutionally mandated” judicial bypass option for a girl under 18 who can currently get a judge’s permission to obtain an abortion without involving her parents.

Baker also enjoined enforcement of a law that would have required doctors to report every abortion performed on a teenager under 17 to the police, even if there are no signs of abuse or coercion, and save the fetal tissue as medical evidence. (Arkansas doctors must already do this for minors under the age of 14.) The final law Baker blocked would have required abortion providers to spend “reasonable time and effort” obtaining and reviewing the medical records of a patient’s entire pregnancy history to ensure that she wasn’t getting an abortion based on the sex of the fetus. To get her records, the patient would effectively have to disclose to other institutions that she was trying to terminate her pregnancy. This would have caused unnecessary delay and privacy incursions for the sake of preventing sex-selective abortions, which aren’t a real problem to begin with. Such bans encourage racial profiling of patients, especially Asian American women.

Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas’ anti-abortion attorney general, has indicated that she will appeal Baker’s ruling, and the results of that appeal could have far-reaching effects. Several other states, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, and Alabama, have passed D&E bans and seen their enforcement similarly blocked by court challenges. These bans are a recent trend in anti-abortion state legislators—the first passed in Kansas just two years ago, and the most recent passed in Texas in June—and reproductive-justice advocates are fighting to halt what they say is an unconstitutional violation of the constitutional right to legal abortion. If any one of these states’ D&E bans meets its permanent end, that would be a promising sign to women in the others.

Trump’s Boy Scouts Speech Is a Reminder of How Different the Girl Scouts Organization Is

Trump’s Boy Scouts Speech Is a Reminder of How Different the Girl Scouts Organization Is

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

If you’d like to test whether your human capacity for shock has been overworked to the point of total ruin by Donald Trump’s presidency, watch his Monday evening address to the Boy Scouts of America’s quadrennial jamboree. Every beat more self-obsessed, petty, and hateful than the last, the speech found Trump cussing and alluding to sexual exploits in front of a crowd of children, congratulating himself and demeaning his ideological opponents at an event that has pretty much steered clear of partisanship for 80 years.

Plenty of member of Trump’s audience were right there with him. They clapped when he insulted the press and the specific videographers at the event. They booed when Trump made a passing mention of Hillary Clinton during an extended rant about how thoroughly he won the presidential election. They chanted “USA!” when he said that former Boy Scout and current Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price is “helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy” by getting the Senate votes necessary to start “killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.” (If Price didn’t get those votes, Trump told the scouts, he’d fire the secretary.)

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

In some ways, the Boy Scouts represent a perfect slate onto which Trump can project his fantasies about authoritarian rule and a bygone era of white men saying and doing whatever they wanted. As Amanda Marcotte wrote in Slate in 2011, the Boy Scouts were founded in 1910 in response to a “crisis in Anglo-American masculinity.” The growth of U.S. cities had parents worried that their sons were turning into soft, urbane sissies—the cucks and betas of yesteryear. Scouting was supposed to hone a kind of pioneering, colonialist sensibility in these young men, toughening and roughening them up through outdoor excursions and wilderness skills-building. Trump won the 2016 election in part because of a related panic over the slow-declining supremacy of white men in the U.S. There is reason to believe that the proudest misogynist in public life could not have won over anyone but a woman, and that the most openly racist candidate in modern history could not have succeeded any president but a black one. Building campfires and tying knots soothed the masculinist anxieties of the last turn-of-the-century; a Manhattanite heir to a real estate fortune has soothed the masculinist anxieties of this one.

Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts, and the scouts’ demoralizing response, makes one wonder what a parallel Girl Scout event would have looked like. The Girl Scouts of the USA have jamborees, too, after all, and the organization was founded just two years after the boys’ group. Unlike their male counterparts, though, the founders of the Girl Scouts championed a more forward-thinking conception of their gender. Girls were, and still are, encouraged to embrace outdoor adventure just as the Boy Scouts did and do. “The Boy Scouts had previously backed another girls’ organization, the Campfire Girls, which incorporated some elements of scouting, but with more of an eye towards domestication,” Marcotte wrote in 2011. “Not so surprisingly, the national leadership of the Boy Scouts reacted poorly to the Girl Scouts, which had girls acting more as the Boy Scouts imagined boys should act.” Girl Scouts of the USA is still more welcoming and broad-minded than Boy Scouts of America. In 2015, weeks before the Boy Scouts decided to start accepting gay leaders, one regional branch of the organization returned a $100,000 donation after the donors demanded that the group stop serving transgender girls. For more than a century, Girl Scouts leaders have advanced a generic brand of women’s empowerment that teaches girls they can do and be anything they want—just today, the organization introduced 23 new STEM-related badges—while keeping neutral on political matters.

That hasn’t stopped right-wing organizations from casting the Girl Scouts of the USA as a band of radical leftists indoctrinating young girls into some kind of sex cult. Family Research Council head Tony Perkins has gone after the Girl Scouts for years, suggesting that money from cookie sales goes to Planned Parenthood and accusing leaders of “leaving the door wide open at the chicken coop for the fox” by hiring LGBTQ staff members. (He recommends girls join the Christian-based American Heritage Girls instead.) Some conservative groups once concocted a completely false rumor that the Girl Scouts gave a “graphic sex guide” prepared by Planned Parenthood to a group of girls at a United Nations conference. In 2014, anti-abortion activists signal-boosted by Megyn Kelly boycotted Girl Scout cookie sales after the organization tweeted a link to a Huffington Post discussion of “incredible ladies” who “should be woman of the year for 2013.” The discussion included a mention of pro-choice Texas legislator Wendy Davis, leading right-wingers to accuse the Girl Scouts of endorsing Davis and, thus, abortion rights.

Because the actual curriculums of Girl Scout troops are laughably benign—girls earn badges for first aid skills, pottery, and researching family history—the right-wing fixation on the Girl Scouts as some kind of socialist abortionist training ground seems based in the idea that a group that emits any faint scent of women’s empowerment must, by definition, contain the seeds of a misandrist revolution. Their frenzied boycotts betray the idea that any gathering of women not explicitly devoted to patriarchal ideals, as the American Heritage Girls are, is a threat. On the other end of the ideological spectrum is Trump’s address to the Boy Scouts: a speech akin to any he’d give at a rally of supporters, comfortable in the knowledge that he would not be challenged, that his audience would play along. If a group of empowered, confident girls represents a threat to oppressive systems of power, to Trump and his supporters, a group of young, mostly white men trained to be obedient represents their comfort zone: an insulated, impressionable boys’ club.

It’s no wonder some people find it hard not to politicize the very act of girlhood—female bodies are on the docket in every state and federal lawmaking body, in every legislative term. But the Girl Scouts are not inherently political, and they’re far from a political monolith. I know one Trump-supporting Girl Scout troop leader, and I’m sure there were at least a few Boy Scout troops that boycotted Trump’s speech or sat horrified through the whole sickening thing. If there had been a different outcome in last year’s presidential election, perhaps President Hillary Clinton might have addressed the Girl Scouts and attracted criticism for poisoning members’ young minds with feminist propaganda—or, in other circles, for declining to do so.

The Boy Scouts of America have defended Trump’s speech by reminding observers that his appearance was not politically motivated, since they invite every sitting president, regardless of party, to address their jamboree. Imagine hypothetical President Clinton accepting that invitation, a woman audacious enough to believe she has something to say that men and boys should hear. Would the scouts and troop leaders who cheered on Monday when Trump criticized a sitting female Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, have chanted “lock her up” when Clinton took the stage? Or is it Trump’s victory—a triumph of man over woman—that’s begun to erode the Boy Scouts’ capacity for nonpartisanship, respect, and common decency? Under better leadership, a single-gender group of service-minded Boy Scouts could do a lot of good. In the hands of a spiteful misogynist, a crowd of pliable young male minds goes to dangerous waste.

This new Dove antiperspirant advert trolls Donald Trump, and it's perfect

This new Dove antiperspirant advert trolls Donald Trump, and it's perfect


indy100

Dove has built up a bit of a reputation for innovative advertising.

Your Heritage Is Drenched In Hate

by New Black Woman @ New Black Woman

These last three weeks have seen the return of the debate surrounding the Confederate flag. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the latest public discussions about the Stars and Bars stem from photos of terrorist white supremacist Dylann Roof surfacing of him holding the flag in one hand and a pistol in another (because, ‘Murica). The discovery of this and […]

People hate Dove's new ad campaign, despite well-meaning message

People hate Dove's new ad campaign, despite well-meaning message


San Antonio Express-News

The six limited-edition Dove soap bottles come in shapes meant to emulate the body types of women.

Farewell to Scaramucci, Trump’s Best Hire Yet

Farewell to Scaramucci, Trump’s Best Hire Yet

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Anthony Scaramucci’s tenure in the White House was so brief that you might have missed it if your annual family vacation or meditation retreat fell during the last week of July. In the span between two Game of Thrones episodes, Donald Trump’s communications director, who wasn’t even supposed to start until mid-August, got hired, publicly accused a co-worker of attempting to fellate himself, chose hanging with Trump over attending his son’s birth, and was forced out of his gig by the new White House chief of staff after threatening the old chief of staff with an FBI investigation. Whew! Sounds like someone could use a bubble bath and a tall glass of cocaine!

Short as it was, the Mooch’s diminutive reign made a disproportionate impact on America’s emotional health. If Scaramucci were describing his own tenure in terms of  his favorite metaphor—male genitals—he might say that small apparatuses often work extra hard to make big impacts, leaving their partners extra satisfied. And so we are! His antics might have given a bad rep to honorable Americans whose last names end in -ucci, but they were the best thing to happen to the Trump administration since Michelle Obama’s face on Inauguration Day.

Usually, when America laughs at the Trump administration, it’s through tears, acid reflux, and teeth ground down to nubbins. It was heartening to watch the judicial smackdown on the president’s travel ban, at least until SCOTUS weighed in. Trump’s gendered attack on Mika Brzezinski and leering flirtation with the first lady of France were easy to mock, but they reminded women and men alike that America loved a shameless misogynist enough to make him president. His speech to the Boy Scouts was ridiculous, full of wink-wink allusions to sex yachts and boasts about the Electoral College that must make even his staunchest supporters shake their damn heads by now. But it was sad, too, because the audience was composed of children and teenagers looking to this sorry excuse for a man as a role model.

The Mooch was a refreshing break from the Trump administration norm. Other Trump appointees are taking nunchucks to environmental protections, immigrant communities, and funding for essential global health aid to women and children. The Mooch’s muck-ups were a lot friendlier: They only caused injury to people inside the White House’s festering inner circle of incompetent egomaniacs. We could laugh, because Scaramucci’s messes were funny—he said the word cock a lot, for one thing—and they didn’t cause irreparable damage to humanity. His shifty eyes were a window into the administration’s desperate, loyalty-obsessed, insecure soul. In Mooch’s very public missteps and power grabs, it was easier to see that Trump and his cronies weren’t just bent on doing evil—they were also way, way out of their depth.

But in Scaramucci’s departure, some may feel a familiar twinge of sadness with their schadenfreude. According to some delicious reporting from the New York Post, Scaramucci’s wife, Deidre Ball, filed for divorce at the beginning of July when she was nine months pregnant, in part because she hates Trump and was “tired” of the Mooch’s “naked political ambition.” “She would mock him for being a Trump sycophant,” one source said. Scaramucci allegedly missed the birth of his son last week in order to attend Trump’s Boy Scout address; afterward, he reportedly texted Ball, “Congratulations, I’ll pray for our child” and didn’t go to Long Island to meet his son, who was premature and in the hospital’s intensive care unit, until the end of the week.

It’s hard to feel the same kind of unqualified cock-era joy at Scaramucci’s implosion and departure with the knowledge that he sold his business and seemingly abandoned his family for the sake of a megalomaniacal doofus and a job that lasted a disastrous 10 days. Then again, the past week has probably proven beyond a reasonable doubt to Ball that she and their three kids are better off without the guy. As for the Mooch, I hear piles of money make excellent pillows to cry on.

Chloe Green pictured with ring on her finger as she steps out with Jeremy Meeks amid engagement rumours

by tpearce @ The Sun

CHLOE Green and Jeremy Meeks continued to fuel engagement rumours during a date night in Los Angeles. The unlikely loved-up couple, who were matched in all black outfits, clutched each other’s hands as they made their way through the streets – and a bright diamond ring was seen on Chloe’s engagement finger. The British Topshop heiress, […]

The Particular Grossness of Trump Telling Brigitte Macron That She’s “In Such Good Physical Shape”

The Particular Grossness of Trump Telling Brigitte Macron That She’s “In Such Good Physical Shape”

by Marissa Martinelli @ Slate Articles

In the wake of an affectionate butt-tap between French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, here’s some decidedly unromantic news out of Paris. A video of Donald Trump commenting on the French First Lady’s physique is making the rounds on Twitter, and it is about as unpleasant to watch as you might imagine.

“You’re in such good shape,” Trump says in the video, with incredulous delight, while gesturing with both hands toward the first lady’s body. He then turns to the French president to repeat the comment. “She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful.” Brigitte, who is facing away from the camera, takes a step back and touches Melania on the arm, as if in solidarity.

Trump making gruesomely objectifying comments about female appearances is clearly old hat at this point. But still: this one's a doozy. Setting aside the general appropriateness of the American president commenting on the body of the French president's wife in public, there's the way he pays the "compliment" first to Brigitte, and then to Macron, as if to praise him on her upkeep, too. And most of all, there is a big difference between telling a woman she looks good and informing her, with a note of awestruck surprise, that she’s “in such good shape.” His choice of words is telling, because the unspoken end of the sentence “you’re in such good shape” is “for your age.” It's a formulation that highlights a core Trumpian trait: just how obsessed he is with the specter of female decline.

Brigitte is 64 years old, making her 24 years older than her husband and 7 years younger than Trump. Trump's disgust toward both the aging process and, paradoxically, women's attempts to combat that process, is a deep current in his general worldview. There was, of course, the “bleeding badly from a face-lift” tweet about Mika Brzezinski. There was the news that he allegedly told Melania that she could only have a baby if she promised to “get her body back” after her pregnancy. There was his fun joke to Howard Stern that he would still love Melania after a disfiguring car crash if her breasts remained intact. And also his relentless fixation on Hillary Clinton's health.

Both Macrons seem cordial and friendly throughout the skin-crawling exchange in Paris, which is hardly surprising, given that the French president has been strategically turning on the charm throughout Trump’s visit. But it sure would have been satisfying if Brigitte, or her husband, had replied to doughy Trump by deadpanning, “Same to you.”

Why Does Anthony Scaramucci Keep Making Hair and Makeup Jokes?

Why Does Anthony Scaramucci Keep Making Hair and Makeup Jokes?

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

Wall Street lifer Anthony Scaramucci got a new job Friday, and he spent the weekend trying to prove his worth to his new boss. When the freshly minted White House communications director shared his inspired vision for the role with Jake Tapper on CNN on Sunday morning, he said things that sounded nice, then immediately contradicted them. “Let’s soften up our relationship with the press,” Scaramucci said. “They’re tough on us, but let’s be tough on them. I have no problem with that.” Soft, but tough—like toilet paper meant for the world’s dirtiest yet most sensitive butts.

Scaramucci had kind words for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the disarmingly familiar press secretary who will take over for Sean Spicer now that he’s resigned. “I think Sarah does a great job. She’s an incredibly warm person, she’s incredibly authentic,” Scaramucci told Tapper. “I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium. I think she’s phenomenal there now, but like every athlete that’s training for the Olympics, every day we got to make ourselves incrementally better.” Then, the Mooch used Tapper’s TV show to send a message to his new direct report: “The only thing I ask Sarah—Sarah, if you’re watching, I loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday, so I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.”

It sounded to some journalists like Scaramucci thought Huckabee Sanders looked great on Friday, when the two made an appearance together in the White House briefing room, or that he thought she looked kind of blah in her previous appearances, and Friday marked a vast improvement. (To an eye less attuned than Scaramucci’s to the aesthetic particulars of Trump hires, Huckabee Sanders didn’t look all that different in her Friday briefing, though her hair was curled, a look she usually reserves for TV news spots.) Either way, it’s a bizarre first bit of feedback for a new subordinate, both because it has nothing to do with her job performance and because he delivered it via CNN.

Scaramucci insists that the remark was a self-deprecating commentary on his own appearance. “For the record, I was referring to my hair and make up and the fact that I like the make up artist. I need all the help I can get! #humor,” he tweeted Sunday afternoon.

For a man making a sad stab at #humor, Scaramucci looked awfully serious on Tapper’s show. But hey! He’s not a comic—he’s a Trump flack, and he has a lot to learn. His justification of his odd plea to Huckabee Sanders suggests that he thinks hiring and managing a makeup and hair stylist is the White House press secretary’s job, which it almost certainly is not. One wonders whether he would have assumed the same of Sean Spicer or Obama press secretary Jay Carney. In Scaramucci’s first press conference on Friday, a reporter asked whether he’d continue to allow cameras in the White House briefing room, a tradition that came under threat when Spicer was at the helm. “If [Huckabee Sanders] supplies hair and makeup, I will consider it,” Scaramucci replied. “I need a lot of hair and makeup.”

This running joke (?) also betrays Scaramucci’s preoccupation with looks, a fixation he shares with the president who hired him. When a New York magazine reporter interviewed him for a piece on Trump’s Wall Street connections that ran earlier this year, Scaramucci asked her how old she was. “You look good,” he said. “No lines on your face. What are you, a Sagittarius?” The very weird, inappropriate compliment sounds a lot like Trump’s remarks to French first lady Brigitte Macron, who is in “good physical shape,” the president said. Perhaps he demands the same ageless, made-up beauty of his communications directors.

Dove's latest advert criticised for painting negative picture of public breastfeeding

Dove's latest advert criticised for painting negative picture of public breastfeeding


HOLA

Baby Dove has been criticised for controversial new adverts, which fans of the brand say paints a negative image of breastfeeding in public

‘Bama Greeks Can Be As Racist As They Wanna Be

by New Black Woman @ New Black Woman

Instead of living up to the historic precedent set during the Civil Rights Movement, the University of Alabama’s student government decided to turn their noses up at the blood, sweat and tears shed by those fighting to for racial equality. The institution’s Student Senate put forth a resolution that would support racial integration of the […]

It’s Hard Not to Feel a Bit Wary About Ivanka Revealing Her Postpartum Depression on The Dr. Oz Show

It’s Hard Not to Feel a Bit Wary About Ivanka Revealing Her Postpartum Depression on The Dr. Oz Show

by Ruth Graham @ Slate Articles

Postpartum depression is a potentially serious condition with symptoms that can range from anxiety and irritability to panic attacks, suicidal impulses, and a feeling of detachment from one’s newborn. The condition affects about one in 9 women, according to the CDC.

But it’s hard not to feel a bit wary of the way in which Ivanka Trump revealed her own PPD struggle on Thursday’s episode of the syndicated Dr. Oz Show. “With each of my children, I had some level of postpartum depression,” Trump told Oz, perched on a white armchair in front of a studio audience. “It was a very challenging emotional time for me because I felt like I was not living up to my potential as a parent or as an entrepreneur and executive.” The interview was taped Monday.

The conversation included other tidbits, including Trump’s insistence that she doesn’t view it as her role to be a “voice of moderation” in her father’s administration. But the PPD reveal was the one that made headlines. It’s not clear from early clips whether Trump was formally diagnosed with PPD, or whether she self-diagnosed in retrospect. (The so-called “baby blues” are distinct from PPD, and much more common.)

There’s an interesting kernel in this otherwise anodyne bit of puffery from the land of Oz. The Dr. Oz “reveal” felt like evidence of Ivanka’s greatest talent: recognizing when a topic is innocuous enough that she can safely use it to build her personal brand at no risk to her reputation. She is against human trafficking and racism. She is in favor of “empowerment” and working women. When it comes to politics, she thinks whatever you do. “Like many of my fellow millennials,” she told the Republican National Convention, “I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat.” In June, she told Fox & Friends, “I try to stay out of politics.” Her views on controversial topics like abortion remain unknown, and her supposedly progressive beliefs on topics like climate change remain publicly unspoken.

In light of that, the revelation of her postpartum suffering makes perfect sense. It was once taboo for role-model mothers to talk about PPD, regarded as a confession of weakness or unnaturalness. But it has now become a mainstay of women’s magazines and tabloids. Adele, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Drew Barrymore are just a few of the many celebrities who have revealed their diagnoses in interviews. In the real world, there remains an intense stigma attached to mothers who are consumed by negative emotions in the early weeks and months of motherhood. In the glossy realm, though, 12 years after Brooke Shields published a breakthrough memoir about the topic, talking about PPD is no longer controversial at all.

It’s surely a good thing that another high-profile woman is discussing her postpartum depression in the public sphere. Still, it’s striking how canny Ivanka’s instinct is for feeling out when an issue has become so uncontroversial that discussing it imposes no cost on her. If she’s determined that her struggles with difficult feelings in the wake of childbirth is worth discussing on daytime television, it likely means she is confident that no one will judge her harshly for it. If only women who don’t get invited on the Dr. Oz Show had the luxury of feeling that way, too.

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