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Proactiv Plus – Acne Treatment Skincare System

Proactiv Plus – Acne Treatment Skincare System


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Proactiv Review No acne product is quite as famous as Proactiv. This acne treatment system completely changed the way that teenagers, women, men treat their acne. It revolutionized the kit acne tre…

Proactiv / Proactive Solution Skin Purifying Mask (90 Day Supply) - Walmart.com

Proactiv / Proactive Solution Skin Purifying Mask (90 Day Supply) - Walmart.com


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Buy Proactiv / Proactive Solution Skin Purifying Mask (90 Day Supply) at Walmart.com

Menswear Company Fred Perry Forced to Denounce Skinheads and Alt-Right Bigots Who Love Golf Shirts

Menswear Company Fred Perry Forced to Denounce Skinheads and Alt-Right Bigots Who Love Golf Shirts

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

If you’re new to the far-right, men’s rights-y, West-is-best brigade on your block, the first thing you’ll need to do is get in uniform. Perhaps you’re a racist skinhead, or maybe you’re itching to join the Proud Boys, Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes’ group of militant alt-right frat bros. Either way, you’re going to have to buy a black and yellow Fred Perry polo.

The 100 percent cotton golf shirts have been around since the ‘50s, and they’ve been associated with white-supremacist groups for nearly as long. It started as an accident: Fred Perry launched around the height of mod fashion in England, and trendy youths latched onto the shirts as symbols of identification with the movement. Mods begat short-haired, working-class hard mods, which begat apolitical skinheads who chose Fred Perry shirts to match the colors of their favorite soccer teams. When a substantial segment of skinheads joined up with the far-right National Front party in the ‘70s, Fred Perry’s association with racist right-wing extremism was born.

These days, skinheads still love them some preppy golfwear emblazoned with the brand’s laurels logo. So do the Proud Boys, who love Donald Trump and identify themselves as “Western chauvinists.” McInnes insists that his small but faithful crew of men, who swear off masturbation to keep their potent man juices perpetually revved up, are not racists—he threatened to sue one Outline reporter if she made any connection between the group and “Nazi skinheads.” He also says that the group has members of color, and that while the organization’s values “center on” closed borders and a rejection of “racial guilt,” men are not required to agree with those values to become members.

Still, the group’s chosen uniform is so closely associated with violent white-supremacist movements that the Southern Poverty Law Center has “Fred Perry” listed in its glossary of terms for racist skinheads. Now that the Proud Boys have been showing up in the news for disrupting indigenous demonstrations and harassing Muslim Senate candidates, Fred Perry has been forced to explicitly denounce a group that celebrates the memory of a mass genocide of native people. “It is a shame that we have to even answer the question,” Fred Perry chairman John Flynn told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation when asked about Proud Boys’ adoption of the signature shirts. “No, we don't support the ideals or the group that you speak of. It is counter to our beliefs and the people we work with.” Flynn pointed to the company’s namesake, whose father was a socialist member of the British parliament, as evidence of the brand’s longstanding opposition to the far-right factions that have embraced the classic polo. His statement felt reminiscent of the way New Balance tweeted that it “does not tolerate bigotry or hate” when it was declared the official shoe of neo-Nazis.

But jerks love the shirt so much, the Amazon page for the polo has become a kind of dopey alt-right message board. “For all my Proud Boys out there,” Scooba5teve wrote in one review, the shirt “is a very nice piece of clothing for dressing up while still keeping a casual aspect.” A ringing five-star endorsement! Other users who hate immigrants and love a well-fitting blouse had fit recommendations: “Proud of your boy! (Order a size up),” wrote a guy who titled his Amazon review “UHURU!,” a popular Proud Boy phrase that mocks the work of a queer black YouTube star. “Fits great oi oi,” countered another in a reference to a skinhead punk subgenre. One rarely gets the chance to see veiled statements of racism—“mine is bright white,” reads a review titled “Oi! Oi! Oi!”—paired with earnest fashion assessments: “POYB! Classic and never goes out of style Oi!” one reviewer assures potential Proud Boys who may worry their purchase will look dated after just a few anti-Muslim rallies.

The rise of the alt-right has put clothing companies like Fred Perry and New Balance in a tough position. They can’t force white nationalists and xenophobes to stop buying their clothes, and they probably wouldn’t want to change their logos to a big red X over a swastika or something. They could theoretically take firmer stances against bigotry by donating a portion of the profits from the affiliated products to an organization that fights hate groups. What Proud Boy would sport a Fred Perry shirt if it signified money flowing to, say, the Council on American-Islamic Relations? At minimum, if only for P.R. reasons, they might want to choose a different model to sport the black and yellow polo on the Fred Perry site, one who doesn't look angry and pale enough to be a willing Proud Boy recruit. But if a bunch of dudes who would normally be lounging around in stained Guy Harvey T-shirts are dropping $85 a pop on golf tees, at least Fred Perry stands to do a brisk business in the Western chauvinist demographic.

Correction, July 13, 2017: This post originally stated that Proud Boys must reject immigration to the West and “racial guilt.” McInnes has since clarified that while the organization’s values “center on” those tenets, men do not have to agree with them to gain entry to the group.

19 Must Know Skincare Tips for Women Over 30

by Monica @ Monica's Beauty

Remember the good old days? You know, when your “skin care regime” consisted of a half-hearted wash with a lightweight cleanser, and maybe, if you thought about it, and if it was handy, a thin coat of moisturizer (without SPF of course). Unfortunately, as your shelves fill with random products of varying effectiveness gathering dust,... [Read more]

The post 19 Must Know Skincare Tips for Women Over 30 appeared first on Monica's Beauty.

The Best Anti Aging Cream – Our Updated Lifecell Review

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

Lifecell is like no other anti aging cream on the market. It is one of the only anti aging creams we’ve come across that wasn’t suffocating under a million bad reviews from unhappy customers who experience zero results.  In fact, it is quite the opposite. When Lifecell launched onto the market it was revolutionary because […]

The post The Best Anti Aging Cream – Our Updated Lifecell Review appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.”

Witch Hazel Toner for Acne Breakouts

by noreply@blogger.com (Alisha Renee) @ The Natural Acne Cure

Witch hazel has been used as a natural remedy for centuries. Native Americans were the first to derive witch hazel from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel plant. The primary benefits of witch hazel include its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and healing properties.

Witch hazel is a cheap and natural way to help treat and prevent acne breakouts. Witch hazel can be purchased in pure form at nearly any drug or grocery store. Sometimes it is combined with other healing ingredients, like rose water and aloe vera. Not only does witch hazel help get rid of acne causing bacteria, but it also helps tighten pores and improve tone and texture of the skin.

To use witch hazel as a toner or astringent simply apply with a clean cotton round all over the face, paying close attention to breakout prone areas. Allow it to dry completely before applying any moisturizer.

You can also use witch hazel as a spot treatment by pulling off small pieces of cotton and soaking them in the witch hazel and apply directly to a pimple. Allow it to sit on the pimple until it dries and then repeat as often as needed. Another option is to soak a hot washcloth in witch hazel and place it over your face for 5-10 minutes. This will help clear and tighten your pores!


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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Cosmopolitan’s Underbaked Account of a Sexual Assault Is Bad for All Victims

Cosmopolitan’s Underbaked Account of a Sexual Assault Is Bad for All Victims

by Ruth Graham @ The XX Factor

Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s 2014 Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” was an account of a gang-rape at the University of Virginia that crumbled disastrously under scrutiny. The saga, with the anonymous “Jackie” at its center, ended in expensive lawsuits, lost jobs, and 13,000-word autopsies from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Most devastatingly, it also contributed to undermining the accounts of other survivors of rape and sexual assault, discouraging them from speaking up. In the post-“Jackie” world, journalists writing about rape and sexual assault know how high the stakes are; they know well to show their work.

But in a recent piece, Cosmopolitan falls far short. On June 26, Cosmopolitan.com published “She Told a Guy She Worked at an Abortion Clinic. On Their Next Date, He Raped Her.” Calla Hales, the director of a chain of four abortion clinics in North Carolina and Georgia, told freelance journalist Rebecca Grant that the rape occurred after she cut short her second date with a man whom the story does not name. He walked her to her car—it’s not clear where it was parked—and then attacked her. The details are both savage and confusing:

[H]e walked her to her parking spot, and as she was getting into her car, she says, he came up behind her, pulled her into the backseat, and raped her. “He had me in between the seats, wrapped the seat belt around my neck, and at some point, bit me on my chest,” Hales said.

Grant makes clear that the rape was intended as a sort of punishment for Hales's work as an abortion provider. On their first date, Hales said, she told him she worked in “women’s health”; he later pressed her by text to say she worked at an abortion clinic. As he attacked her, he called her a “jezebel” and a “murderer,” and told her she should repent. The attack lasted for 15 minutes, she said, until he was scared off by a noise.

Hales said she later drove to the house of friends, who urged her to call the police; she declined. She went to a Planned Parenthood “the Monday after the rape” (although the piece doesn’t say when the rape occurred) and, sometime later, to an unnamed hospital, where she was told to come back the next day; when she returned, she said, the hospital couldn’t find a record of her visit, and she realized they had given her someone else’s paperwork.

The disturbing details continue. Hales said her rapist started showing up to the protests outside the clinic where she worked. Soon, other protesters started using the epithet “jezebel” as they screamed outside her clinic. Another protester made a reference to a hidden tattoo that would have been visible to her attacker. Hales also said she received anonymous harassing text messages, letters, and voicemails.

Some of these details are so remarkable that it’s baffling to see the article gloss over them. Did the rapist tell the other protesters what he had done? Did he prompt another protester to ask about the tattoo, and encourage others to use specific words such as “jezebel”? Was he responsible for all those anonymous calls, letters, and texts, or were others involved? Did the hospital bungle her paperwork intentionally? Questions along these lines were first called out by Reason editor Robby Soave, who tweeted several times on Wednesday about his attempts to contact Cosmopolitan:

There were no witnesses to the attack itself, but many of the other details in the piece would be straightforward to corroborate. Presumably Hales knows her attacker’s name, but Grant does not mention attempting to contact him or anyone he knows, or even googling him. If Grant interviewed any of the friends Hales saw on the night of the rape, she doesn’t mention it. She doesn’t say whether she saw or heard any of the harassing texts, letters, and voicemails, or the earlier text exchanges about Hales's line of work. She doesn’t say whether or not she contacted the unnamed hospital about Hales’s treatment there, or even whether Hales shared its name with her. (It is not unusual for a reporter to ask a source for sensitive details she has agreed not to include in the piece, for the purposes of verifying the story.)

The piece is riddled with strange elisions: Grant quotes Hales’s mother, who opened the chain of clinics in 1998, but doesn’t name her. If it’s a question of security, why not say so—and in that case, why does her photograph appear in the story? Grant interviewed several people who regularly demonstrate outside Hales’s clinics, but doesn’t seem to have asked any of them about the alleged rapist’s repeated appearances there.

These are serious failures of both reporting and editing. (Grant and the editor of Cosmopolitan’s website, Amy Odell, have not responded to requests for comment.) And what is confounding is that the magazine seems to have invested real time and money in producing the story. Grant’s website says she is based in Brooklyn, but she reported on location in North Carolina. The magazine also sent an accomplished photojournalist to shoot Hales, her mother, and scenes in and around their clinics.

None of the red flags listed here are necessarily problems with Hales’s story; they are significant problems with Cosmopolitan’s. Corroborating a source’s account does not mean that you don’t trust her—it means that you want to do everything you can to present her story as airtight, unimpeachably accurate. Thorough reporting is a form of respect, even protection. The bottom-feeders who insist that women regularly lie about sexual assault had a field day with the disintegration of “A Rape on Campus.” Cosmopolitan might have just handed them more fodder.

Hot Showers Make Acne Worse

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

There are few things greater in life than hot water. Think about it: Hot tubs, showers and tea all bring us joy and relaxation. On top of that boiling water kills microbes in water and allows us to cook food. Hot water has no doubt been an essential facet of human life for thousands of […]

The post Hot Showers Make Acne Worse appeared first on Screw You Acne.

Four in 10 People Get Harassed Online But Young Men Don’t Think It’s a Big Deal, Says New Survey

Four in 10 People Get Harassed Online But Young Men Don’t Think It’s a Big Deal, Says New Survey

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

Four out of 10 American adults have been harassed online, according to newly released data from the Pew Research Center. In a nationally representative survey administered in January, 41 percent of the 4,248 participants said they’d been victims of at least one form of online harassment.

Pew divided the types of harassment into two categories: less severe and more severe. The former involves offensive name-calling or deliberate attempts at humiliation. More severe behaviors include threats of physical harm, stalking, long-term sustained harassment, and sexual harassment. Of the survey participants who reported experiencing harassment, 22 percent said they’d only experienced less severe varieties, while 18 percent said they’d faced at least one of the more severe behaviors.

Among young adults, those numbers are even worse. More than two-thirds of people aged 18 to 29 have been targeted by harassment—a proportion twice as large as that of people 30 and over who’ve faced harassment—and 41 percent of young adults reported being victimized by one or more of one of the most severe varieties of harassment. That may be a function of young internet users spending more time on social media (58 percent of harassment victims say their last encounter occurred on a social platform) and having more contact with strangers, who were responsible for more than half of reported harassment incidents in the survey.

These stats aren’t necessarily shocking. It’s hard for the average person to do anything online and not endure or witness some kind of harassment. In the Pew survey, 66 percent of respondents said they’d seen other people targeted by harassment online, even if they’d never experienced it themselves. Still, it’s sobering to see statistics spell out the price of letting people “speak their minds freely” online, which 45 percent of participants said was more important than providing for users’ safety and comfort. One in ten respondents said they’d been physically threatened over the internet, and one in four black respondents said they’d experienced racial harassment online.

When using the internet is necessary for so many elements of modern life and work, statistics like these should alarm and trouble tech companies whose platforms enable such abuse. As technology advances, opportunities for online harassment will multiply. See, for example, the recent case of a woman who was ridiculed for speaking out against a man who groped her in a virtual reality game. In the Pew survey, victims of online harassment reported curtailing their online activities and experiencing severe anxiety or stress after being targeted.

But some people still believe online harassment isn’t a big deal. More than half of the Pew survey respondents, including 73 percent of young men, said that people take offensive online speech too seriously, and only 54 percent of men would call online harassment a major problem. Women were significantly more likely than men to say online harassment isn’t taken seriously enough. Unsurprisingly, young women reported the highest rates of sexual harassment in the survey. Two in 10 said they’d been sexually harassed online and more than half said they’d received sexually explicit images they didn’t solicit. The harassment they experience may be more severe than what men encounter: Thirty-five percent of women who’ve been harassed said their last experience was extremely or very upsetting, more than twice the proportion of men who said the same.

PURE Skincare & Acne Spa | Acne Solutions - Facials - Waxing | Okemos

PURE Skincare & Acne Spa | Acne Solutions - Facials - Waxing | Okemos


PURE Skincare & Acne Spa | Acne Solutions - Facials - Waxing | Okemos

Located in beautiful downtown Okemos, PURE Skincare & Acne Spa offers customized acne solutions, spa facials and waxing services in a private spa setting.

Clarisonic Mia Review

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

Don’t you love that feeling of smooth, glowing, radiant skin? Of course you do! Not only is it fun to feel how silky smooth your skin feels after a good exfoliation, but it also makes us look fantastic! When it comes to skincare, a lot of people shy away from going all out with skincare […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Our Review of Proactiv Plus to Read Before Buying

Our Review of Proactiv Plus to Read Before Buying


My awesome beauty

Read our Proactiv plus reviews to know if it is worth considering as an acne skincare treatment. We checked the ingredients and tested this kit for 1 month.

18 effective witch hazel uses on face, skin and 8 DIY Recipes

by sophie @ My awesome beauty

If you have never heard of it or used  witch hazel on face skin, or for other disorders, then you seriously need to read this article now as you may miss many benefits from this awesome plant. In fact, this is a plant that has a long and rich history of being used in anything […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Here’s Why Your Skin Gets Greasy (Take Notes, Take Action)

by Gina V. @ SkinCare.net

Is your skin super greasy these days? If so, are you completely sick of dealing with it? Well, no matter what you do, it might be a lost cause unless you take the necessary approaches and specifically address some of the things that I’m about to point out to you today. Keep in mind, that

The post Here’s Why Your Skin Gets Greasy (Take Notes, Take Action) appeared first on SkinCare.net.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Blemish skin care line rapped by ASA for misleading ad

Blemish skin care line rapped by ASA for misleading ad


CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against blemish treatment skincare line Proactiv, after claims came in about its teleshopping and website ads being misleading.

Farewell to Scaramucci, Trump’s Best Hire Yet

Farewell to Scaramucci, Trump’s Best Hire Yet

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

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.

5 Essential Products to Add to Your Daily Skin Care Routine

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

*Guest Post by Pat* Developing and following a daily skin care routine is one of the most important things you can do for your health and beauty. Your skin serves as a flexible armour that protects sensitive inner tissues from harmful microbes, chemicals and intense light. When you keep your skin healthy, you keep this […]

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Top 10 Vitamin C serum benefits for your skin

by sophie @ My awesome beauty

There are so many Vitamin C serum benefits that it would come as no surprise that they have become an incredibly popular cosmetic product. If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I literally cannot live without it for my day and night beauty routine. (No, I am not addicted…. ok, ok […]

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Horrible Habits We Use to Cure Acne

by Admin @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

*Guest Post by Erica* As humans, it is our nature that our endurance level is either sparse or limited, which is why we want everything to work miraculously with the blink of an eye. Take acne for instance – women skip through treatments to treatments as a hope that they might find a genie inside […]

The post Horrible Habits We Use to Cure Acne appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

19 Must Know Skincare Tips for Older Women

by Monica @ Monica's Beauty

Remember the good old days? You know, when your “skin care regime” consisted of a half-hearted wash with a lightweight cleanser, and maybe, if you thought about it, and if it was handy, a thin coat of moisturizer (without SPF of course). Unfortunately, as your shelves fill with random products of varying effectiveness gathering dust,... [Read more]

The post 19 Must Know Skincare Tips for Older Women appeared first on Monica's Beauty.

60 Second Face Lift Review — Is it Just Hype?

by Admin @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

I think it’s pretty darn safe to say that the majority of people take great pride in their appearance. Maybe not alllll the time (seriously, you should see me hungover!), but when it comes to aging and environmental damage that can be done to my face, I take that sh*t seriously. And like me, other beauty […]

The post 60 Second Face Lift Review — Is it Just Hype? appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.”

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Looking Younger On A Budget, Here’s How To Do It

by Gina V. @ SkinCare.net

If you’re one of the typical middle-aged women wanting to look much younger than you should, then you need to know what to do to your skin and how to do it. Achieving a wrinkle-free status in terms of skin isn’t impossible nor is it super expensive. Believe it or not, you can take an

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Olivia Munn: I’ve Tried So Many Crazy Things to Cure My Acne

Olivia Munn: I’ve Tried So Many Crazy Things to Cure My Acne


PEOPLE.com

The star explains why she’s the new face of the skincare line

Remove Your Makeup With Coconut Oil (Steps Included)

by Gina V. @ SkinCare.net

We’ve been speaking about coconut oil for as long as I can remember. Honestly, it’s got so many great qualities that I’m not even sure where to begin with it. If you want to have a positive conversation about coconut oil and everything great about it, then just contact Brandon. He can talk for hours

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Chrissy Teigen Reveals Kermit the Frog Is the Tattoo She ‘Thankfully Never Got’ — and the Muppet ‘Low Key Disses’ Her

Chrissy Teigen Reveals Kermit the Frog Is the Tattoo She ‘Thankfully Never Got’ — and the Muppet ‘Low Key Disses’ Her

by Karen Mizoguchi @ PEOPLE.com

Chrissy Teigen was such a fan of Kermit the Frog when she was younger that she would’ve permanently immortalized the Muppets character on her body.

The model and cookbook author, 31, posed a question about tattoos to her 7.5 million fans and followers on Twitter Wednesday, revealing that she “thankfully” never went through with a Kermit body ink.

“What is a tattoo you wanted when you were younger but, thankfully, never got? mine is kermit,” Teigen tweeted.

The outspoken social media star received many submissions and later shared that singer Eve’s infamous paw prints on her chest tattoos also once crossed her mind.

In between answering fans and asking Twitter to help her find six brown bananas to make banana bread, the wife of John Legend was surprised with a response from the one and only Kermit.

Kermit wrote back: “Whew! Glad to hear it. Now I don’t feel so bad about not getting that @chrissyteigen tattoo.”

And Teigen couldn’t believe Kermit’s subtle shade.

“I think kermit just low key dissed me I love him even more now,” the mother of one retweeted.

Watch out Miss Piggy!


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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Don’t Let Acne Ruin Your Life

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

It’s time to wake up. Time to face the world again for another day. You get out of bed and examine any new blemishes that appeared, or stare at that pimple that has finally surfaced. How wonderful! It’s time to start your day. You do everything you can to avoid people from seeing your skin. This means avoiding […]

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Things To Ask Your Dermatologist During Your Next Visit

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

Every time you go to your dermatologist, it’s important that you know the questions to ask them. If you don’t ask the right questions, then you might not get the right answers. When your skin starts to show signs of aging or issues then you need to move quickly. Skin cancer and other issues are

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.  

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Proactiv Horror Stories: Tales From Skincare's Big Scam

Proactiv Horror Stories: Tales From Skincare's Big Scam


Jezebel

Why is it so hard to quit Proactiv? Because, according to scores of frustrated customers, the company lures people in with enticing "free trials" that aren't as free as they seem and are next to impossible to cancel. We asked our readers for their own experiences with Proactiv's red tape, and they delivered: We got dozens of emails from people who had eerily similar experiences and are still battling the company months and years after attempting to leave Proactiv behind. Here are a few accounts we received — including an illuminating report from someone who claims to have been a Proactiv customer service rep.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Bethenny Frankel Has Serious Skin Growth Issues

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

It’s not everyday that we share news on reality TV stars like Bethenny Frankel. While we’ve featured many of the other Real Housewives of New York City, this time it’s a lot more serious than any other times. According to one of the recent articles published in Newbeauty.com, Bethenny Frankel had a growth removed from

The post Bethenny Frankel Has Serious Skin Growth Issues appeared first on SkinCare.net.

The Side Effects of Proactiv

The Side Effects of Proactiv


LIVESTRONG.COM

Proactiv is an over-the-counter topical acne treatment that contains the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide. The three-step Proactiv system includes facial cleanser, toner and lotion, and is indicated for daily use. Though improved skin clarity can begin within three weeks of treatment onset, it can take up to 12 weeks for certain people to notice...

Swole Jeff Bezos Is Exactly the Meme the World Needed

Swole Jeff Bezos Is Exactly the Meme the World Needed

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

The Best Facial Cleanser For Younger Looking Skin

by Monica @ Monica's Beauty

Cleansing your face correctly is the key to beautiful, younger looking skin. It is imperative that twice a day you use the best facial cleanser that works hard to remove makeup, environmental dirt, and oils from your skin while still gentle enough that it doesn’t strip your skin. If you have oily skin or combination... [Read more]

The post The Best Facial Cleanser For Younger Looking Skin appeared first on Monica's Beauty.

Proactiv Launches A New Product Line For Grownups

Proactiv Launches A New Product Line For Grownups


StyleCaster

The new line treats all of our skincare problems, not just acne.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Bare Minimum You Need To Do Daily For Your Skin

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

Some people are flat out lazy and others are go getters. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, it’s important that you take some minimum action when it comes to maintaining a nice skin complexion. Sure, people typically turn to Sephora, ULTA, and even Wal-mart looking for some high-end serum or cleanser to try

The post Bare Minimum You Need To Do Daily For Your Skin appeared first on SkinCare.net.

Get the Clearest Skin of Your Life by Winning These Proactiv Products

Get the Clearest Skin of Your Life by Winning These Proactiv Products


POPSUGAR Beauty

Proactiv has become synonymous with clear skin, but that's not all the brand is great for. The Proactiv Makeup Cleansing Wipes ($20) remove makeup quickly and

Growing Facial Hair With Acne

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

So I realized that I haven’t shaved for the last few days. My facial hair is starting to get itchy and scraggly. If you’re a guy you know how that is. I thought above shaving it, but my sister reminded me it’s No Shave November. If you’re not familiar with No Shave November, this month […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Exposed Acne Treatment

by Admin @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

Sick of zits? Us too! And apparently so is the rest of the world because the industry continues to come out with even more products. Now, let me preface this all by saying that we’ve reviewed Exposed Acne Treatment before (check it here!) and thought it was a pretty bomb product. But we wanted to […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Do These Things Or Look Old, The Ball’s In Your Court

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

Are you the type that wants to look old? If so, then you can completely ignore everything that I’m about to share with you. Sure it is important today to look young but not everyone cares about that. If you’re the type that doesn’t want to look old, then might I suggest trying to work

The post Do These Things Or Look Old, The Ball’s In Your Court appeared first on SkinCare.net.

Proactiv Solution: It Just Ain’t That Good Anymore

Proactiv Solution: It Just Ain’t That Good Anymore


Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com

It seems that the word ‘acne’ these days is synonymous to one product – Proactiv Solution, which currently doesn’t even crack the top 5 in our top acne treatment choices. Al…

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Things only people with ACNE will understand...

by noreply@blogger.com (Alisha Renee) @ The Natural Acne Cure

As an acne sufferer myself I can honestly say that there are many things that people without acne just don't understand.  When I had acne I HATED getting advice from people that had never even had a pimple.  I also HATED when someone got ONE pimple and acted like the world was ending, I mean, try having a face full of them! Not only was it embarrassing, but it was also painful.  Most people don't talk about the painful side of acne.  Having to poke and prod at your face with needles and other tools just to pop them, it's so awful! Here's a list of things that I'm sure only people with acne can relate to...I put this together just to help you remember that you are NOT alone in the fight against acne...

  • Waking up each morning afraid to look in the mirror (because you know that new pimples have appeared overnight)
  • Having to spend an hour or more in front of the mirror popping pimples just to go out in pubic
  • Being paranoid about everything that touches your face (I literally changed my pillowcase EVERY NIGHT I was so paranoid)
  • Avoiding having your photo taken at all costs because your face is so broken out
  • Avoiding going out in public when you have a bad breakout because sometimes no amount of makeup is going to help
  • People with clear skin giving  you advice on what you should (or shouldn't) be doing to get clear skin, like they have a clue!
  • Trying every product on the shelf in the acne and skincare aisle at the store
  • Spending thousands of dollars trying to get rid of acne
  • Going to the dermatologist and STILL not getting rid of the acne
  • Going on antibiotics for an extended period of time trying to get rid of the acne
  • Being told that you'll grow out of it someday (so I'll just be miserable in the meantime?!?)
  • Trying every diet possible trying to get clear skin (vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free...the list goes on)
  • Getting angry when your mom, grandma, aunt, etc. brings up your acne like it's YOUR fault
  • Trying what worked for someone else, but it doesn't work for you (go figure)
  • Scrubbing the heck out of your face in an attempt to scrub the acne off for good!
  • Not looking forward to social events because you are afraid that people will be looking at your acne
  • ALWAYS thinking that people are staring at your pimples when they are talking to you
  • Being self-conscious when someone looks at your face, hoping that you don't have some big white head right on your forehead (or cheek, or nose, etc.)
  • Low self-esteem (enough said)
  • Spending hours researching acne cures and remedies and products on the Internet
If you have acne and you can relate to any of these things, just remember that your not alone.  It may seem like it sometimes, but there are many people out there struggling with acne.  If you have anything to add to the list, add it in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you all!  Best of luck on your personal acne journey and I hope that you find some of the things in my blog helpful!

Proactiv

Proactiv


RealSelf.com

Read 7 reviews of Proactiv, including cost and before and after photos, submitted by members of the RealSelf community.

Skin Drying From Proactiv, RetinA and Other Acne Treatment Products

Skin Drying From Proactiv, RetinA and Other Acne Treatment Products


Dr. Bailey's Skin Health & Wellness Blog

Skin drying from acne treatment products is really common.  There are simple tricks to figuring out how to fix it so that you can treat your acne without suffering from tight, dry, peeling skin that screams for a moisturizer. A reader sent me this exact question as a blog comment. Because I know that so …

Organic Face Masks Straight From the Kitchen

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

The change in seasons can wreak havoc on your skin. With temperatures and humidity shifting your skin doesn’t know what to do and acts out with break outs. Sometimes all you need to do is give it a little TLC and what better way to do this than have a DIY spa date! Without further […]

The post Organic Face Masks Straight From the Kitchen appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Proactiv + TV Commercial Featuring Adam Levine

Proactiv + TV Commercial Featuring Adam Levine


iSpot.tv

Adam Levine suffered and still continues to suffer from acne, which is why he uses Proactiv.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Inside the Legislative Fight for the Rights of Incarcerated Women

Inside the Legislative Fight for the Rights of Incarcerated Women

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

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.”

Tech Neck Is Now A Thing Ruining Your Skin and Appearance

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

Are you the type of person that likes to spend every waking moment on either your computer or mobile phone or tablet? If so, then you’re certainly not the only person out there with this “tech” obsession. The truth is that more people struggle with this today than ever before. The culprit is none other

The post Tech Neck Is Now A Thing Ruining Your Skin and Appearance appeared first on SkinCare.net.

Guess Where You Can Finally Buy Proactiv

Guess Where You Can Finally Buy Proactiv


Allure

The cult favorite skincare system is finally available in a store near you.

Why You Should See a Dermatologist

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

What do you do when you have a problem? Personally, I like to take matters into my own hands. I’ll think about my experiences and do some research to come up with an answer. If I’m still stumped I’ll seek out family and friends. And of course, when it comes to my skin, I like […]

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The Truth About Skincare Websites

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

A few weeks ago I decided to join the forums over at Acne.org. I thought I’d provide some thoughtful and helpful advice, and then if people like what I had to say they could click on the link in my signature, driving traffic to my blog. Everyone wins right? Wrong. Unfortunately, Acne.org does not allow […]

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What Not to Do When You Have Acne

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

Have you been struggling with acne and it just won’t go away? Perhaps you feel like you’re doing everything you can and it doesn’t seem to be making a difference. Maybe, just maybe, you’re doing a little too much. As it turns out, less can very well be more when it comes to clearly an […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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!!!”

Turns Out It’s Fun to Read About Models Dissing Leo DiCaprio’s Out-of-Shape Bod

Turns Out It’s Fun to Read About Models Dissing Leo DiCaprio’s Out-of-Shape Bod

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

In case anyone was worried about Leonardo DiCaprio having a crisis of confidence as he settled into middle age, the baby-faced climate activist put concerns to rest at a party in Malibu last week. Page Six reports that DiCaprio allegedly spent his time at an early Fourth of July shindig “bragging” to a group of models at a private estate “about how he doesn’t work out.”

No surprises here! DiCaprio was never particularly ripped. The unremarkable thorax of the man who used to be America’s most lusted-after heartthrob has been wonderfully described by the Daily Mail as a “middle-age spread” and “the body of a fellow who likes to live the high life.” At least one website has called his “the DadBodiest Bod of All.”

Indeed, DiCaprio’s shape is the prototypical naturally-occuring dad bod: a bit of pecs, a bit of delts, a fair bit of gut, and an all-over layer of jiggle. His body exudes laidback, catered-to, unselfconscious luxury—the human equivalent of a first-class airline seat—and he loves to show it off. I think two-thirds of the photos of DiCaprio I’ve consumed in my lifetime have involved him laying on a yacht, plowing through ocean waves, or lounging by a pool. His torso is an integral part of the American celebrity lexicon, and in this age of performative body positivity, its lack of particular grandeur makes women’s magazines swoon.

But according to Page Six’s source, the models at last week’s Malibu party “weren’t impressed” by DiCaprio’s boasts about avoiding the gym. “Does he think that’s attractive? It’s not like he’s in Titanic shape anymore,” the women allegedly said.

No one’s body deserves to be insulted, and Slate wishes DiCaprio all the confidence in the world—his muscles and skin are perfect just the way James Cameron created them. However! Followers of DiCaprio’s romantic exploits may derive a droplet or two of pleasure from this anecdote. This man, who goes around bragging that he never exercises, does not date anyone except bathing suit models, whose entire livelihoods are based on constant exercise and caloric deprivation. The man who is so proud of his soft bod he mentions it at parties does not see fit to associate romantically with anyone whose job is not folding her tiny body into shapes that minimize any visible flesh fold or movement.

To the best of public knowledge, the 42-year-old actor has never even dated anyone over the age of 25. That includes recent ex Nina Agdal, with whom he split just a few months after she turned 25, a pattern he’s repeated with about half his roster of young exes. Since the average working model age is 17 (!), one can assume that the recipients of DiCaprio’s body boasts were in his romantic sweet spot. It’s nice to hear that some women he tries to woo are able to take his exceedingly high aesthetic expectations and turn them back around on him. Of course DiCaprio doesn’t look like he did in his Titanic years! When it filmed, he was but a wee 22—three years from his expiration date.

5 Natural Tips for Tattoo Aftercare

by Admin @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

*Guest Post by Delan* Getting tattoos is a great way to let your creativity shine and show the world a little bit about yourself and what you stand for without having to say a word. However, there is a healing period that follows once the ink is embedded beneath the skin. From an open wound […]

The post 5 Natural Tips for Tattoo Aftercare appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

What Makes a Face “Punchable”?

What Makes a Face “Punchable”?

by Heather Schwedel @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

What Was Melania Trump Thinking With Her Hurricane Harvey Stilettos?

What Was Melania Trump Thinking With Her Hurricane Harvey Stilettos?

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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?

Why Proactiv is a Scam! - Screw You Acne

Why Proactiv is a Scam! - Screw You Acne


Screw You Acne

Proactiv is arguably the most popular line of skin care products out there; it may also be the worst. Here's why.

Proactiv Acne Treatment: Be Aware of Rare but Serious Side Effects - MedShadow

Proactiv Acne Treatment: Be Aware of Rare but Serious Side Effects - MedShadow


MedShadow

Proactiv is one of the most heavily advertised acne treatments out there. But does it actually work well and are there side effects you should know about?

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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!

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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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.)

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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.

Proactiv Kiosk Boxes And The History Behind Them

Proactiv Kiosk Boxes And The History Behind Them


SkinCare.net

If you're curious to learn how these Proactiv kiosk boxes were spawned, then I suggest you read this article in full. Especially if you're a Proactiv fan.

How to get rid of acne scars fast ?

by sophie @ My awesome beauty

Do you feel embarassed or frustrated with your pesty acne scars?  Do you wonder how to get rid of acne scars fast to get that flawless face that would not require tons of layers of foundation or hours to apply cover makeup ? We can help. The root of those scars usually dates back to […]

The post How to get rid of acne scars fast ? appeared first on My awesome beauty.

Do High Protein Diets Cause Acne?

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

I wanted to gain muscle, so I knew I “needed” to get about 200+ grams of protein per day. I consumed about a pound and a half of animal meat per day, along with eggs and protein powder. Not only did I not gain much weight, but I found myself feeling sluggish. I also noticed […]

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WATCH: Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland Announce Tour with a Musical Medley

WATCH: Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland Announce Tour with a Musical Medley

by Maria Pasquini @ PEOPLE.com

Hold on to your cowboy hats because your favorite country musicians are all going on tour together!

On Wednesday, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Texas trio Midland announced they were all going on tour together — and to celebrate, they made a pit stop by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to perform a medley of some of their biggest hits.

Midland started things off with their debut single “Drinkin’ Problem” before the camera panned to Musgraves, 29, who followed Midland’s lead and performed her debut single too: 2013’s “Merry Go Round.”

Then Little Big Town added themselves to the mix, leading the whole group in a spirited rendition of ELO’s 1979 hit “Don’t Bring Me Down.”

Last week, Little Big Town unveiled their star on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville. The group was inducted by Keith Urban, the man who jump-started LBT’s career when he invited the then-unknowns to open his tour 11 years earlier.

RELATED VIDEO: Find Out Why Little Big Town Loves Taylor Swift

Urban called the group “the closest thing to a family band that are not related that you’ll ever meet. It’s that sound that’s not connected by blood or last name – well, in the case of Jimi and Karen, now it is – but there is no connection except the spirit. That’s what I feel when I hear Little Big Town.”

“That’s what makes them family,” he added. “That’s what makes them connected. It’s what makes somebody like me feel their music immediately when they sing to me.”

The Breakers Tour — named after the 2017 Little Big Town album The Breaker— kicks off in Spring 2018, but tickets go on sale everywhere Friday, Sept. 22.


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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Men’s Guide To Skin Care While Traveling Via Airplane

by Brandon Sirrico @ SkinCare.net

Most men neglect their skin 90% of the time, let alone while they’re traveling. Every time most men get on a long plane ride, they end up getting off the flight with their skin looking 50% worse than when they took off. It’s because they haven’t been doing things while flying that they should be

The post Men’s Guide To Skin Care While Traveling Via Airplane appeared first on SkinCare.net.

Exposed Skin Care Exclusive Review: Beats Proactiv to Take Top Spot for 2015!

Exposed Skin Care Exclusive Review: Beats Proactiv to Take Top Spot for 2015!


Monica's Beauty

Looking to buy Exposed Skin Care? Read our review before you do. Find out why this product beats Proactiv as the number one acne treatment for 2015.

Erase Acne Scars with 4 Items From Your Kitchen

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

Do you have acne scars on your face? It seems like double trouble. First, you are traumatized by the nasty pimples. Then, these pimples leave behind ugly scars. Acne scars are an unfortunate reminder of your acne breakouts and stay with you long after the pimples have passed. They tend to appear as deep, raised […]

The post Erase Acne Scars with 4 Items From Your Kitchen appeared first on Skin Care Advice That Matters - BesSkincare.com.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Why You Should Use Cetaphil Products for Acne

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

How can you know what skin care products to use? There are so many skin care products out there. It can hard to choose among these and find one that actually works. Go on a site like Amazon or walk into your local drugstore and you’ll be bombarded with bright labels making claims to be […]

The post Why You Should Use Cetaphil Products for Acne appeared first on Screw You Acne.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Review of the Acne.org Regimen

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

When you have acne, you do whatever it takes to clear your skin. That means scouring the internet for the ‘Holy Grail’ of skin care products and routines. On this search, you’ll inevitably stumble upon Acne.org, one of, if the not the largest websites on skin care. Acne.org is a fantastic resource for people who suffer […]

The post Review of the Acne.org Regimen appeared first on Screw You Acne.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Stress Does A Number On Your Skin, It’s The Truth!

by Gina V. @ SkinCare.net

Life in general can be very stressful at times. In fact, many of us haven’t got a clue just how stressful it can truly get. Between career issues, poor health choices, weakened immune systems and even mental health issues, it can truly be a battle to deal with stress. Assuming you’re struggling to make ends

The post Stress Does A Number On Your Skin, It’s The Truth! appeared first on SkinCare.net.

Kathy Griffin Files for Restraining Order Against Neighbor After Verbal Altercation with the KB Home CEO

Kathy Griffin Files for Restraining Order Against Neighbor After Verbal Altercation with the KB Home CEO

by Christina Dugan @ PEOPLE.com

Kathy Griffin has filed for a restraining order against her neighbor, KB Home CEO Jeffrey Mezger, following a verbal altercation that occurred over the weekend.

According to The Blast, the 56-year-old comedian filed the request against Mezger and his wife, Sandra, in Los Angeles County Court on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Huffington Post released audio of the reported incident — which was taken from security footage — that happened on Saturday, in which Mezger allegedly verbally attacks Griffin and her boyfriend, Randy Bick, after the couple had made a complaint to the Los Angeles Police Department about the noise coming from Mezger’s home.

In the explicit audio, Mezger can be heard screaming profanities, calling Griffin a “f—– bald d–e “whom President Donald Trump “kind of put the heat on.” (Griffin shaved her head over the summer in support for her sister, Joyce, who was battling cancer. Joyce Griffin died last week.)

Mezger continued his rant by saying, “Let’s declare war, a—–e, ’cause we got a lot to go for. Let’s bring it on, you b—-.’ ” He also referred to Griffin as a “f—— c—.”

Bick told HuffPost that he called in a complaint to the LAPD late Saturday after “hours” of excessive noise at Mezger’s residence.

“Mr. Mezger regrets losing his temper over a supposed noise complaint involving his three young grandchildren in his swimming pool around 8 p.m. on Saturday, while they were being supervised by their mother and grandmother,” a KB Home spokesperson told the outlet in a statement. “He apologizes for the language he used, as it does not reflect who he is or what he believes.”

KB Home is the sixth largest publicly traded company and is known for its energy and water efficient homebuilding. Mezger has been with the company since 1993. According to The Wall Street Journal, KB Home said it will cut Mezger’s annual bonus by 25 percent following the surfaced recording.

In May, Griffin sparked nationwide outrage after posing with a replica of President Donald Trump‘s bloodied, decapitated head in her hand — a career move that changed her life.

“I’m a comic. I crossed the line, I moved the line and then I crossed the line,” she said in a video posted on Twitter. “I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people, it wasn’t funny.”

A rep for Griffin did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.


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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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!

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Vitamin C Serum for Acne prone skin

by sophie @ My awesome beauty

Vitamin C Serums are without a doubt one of the most effective serums available and on top of that, you’ll find that they are a popular cosmetic purchase too. In fact, studies have shown that they are one of the most-bought cosmetics on the market. The fact is, vitamin C comes with a lot of […]

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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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.”

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Vanessa Williams Is Repping Proactiv Again, But With a Twist

Vanessa Williams Is Repping Proactiv Again, But With a Twist


InStyle.com

Vanessa Williams rejoins the Proactiv family as a spokesperson along with her daughter Sasha Fox.

you gotta be zittin’ me!

by V @ Skin Care Advice That Matters – BesSkincare.com

Have you never had random occasional break outs?! Yeah me either. It’s like you just wake up with a new skin accessory. It’s hard to really label it acne. But those little bumps that seem to pop up in the same spot once a month when Aunt Spot comes to visit. Or when you just […]

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Why ProActiv is Terrible for Your Skin- And Your Wallet

Why ProActiv is Terrible for Your Skin- And Your Wallet


Ethereal Aura Spa

Dryness, redness, itchiness, peeling, flaking, allergic reactions... Not healthy or pretty.ProActiv is one of the most 'successful' skin care brands on the market right now. It promises beautiful, blemish free skin, a money back guarantee, and countless celebrities that rave about how it c

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

Cerave vs. Cetaphil: The Best Brands for Acne

by Seth @ Screw You Acne

Have you ever bought a new skincare product only to have it cause a break out? We’ve all been there. Searching through Amazon or your local drug store to find a quality skincare product is a total pain. There are so many brands to choose from, with many of them making outrageous claims, it’s hard […]

The post Cerave vs. Cetaphil: The Best Brands for Acne appeared first on Screw You Acne.

Kesha’s New Video Tracks Her Transformative Struggle Through Religious Symbolism

Kesha’s New Video Tracks Her Transformative Struggle Through Religious Symbolism

by Christina Cauterucci @ The XX Factor

Kesha has spent the last three years mired in a legal standoff with her ex-producer, Dr. Luke, whom she’s accused of sexual assault and emotional abuse. Her contract stipulated that she couldn’t make any more music unless it was with him, but she refused to work with a man whom she alleges tormented and manipulated her for years. The court system repeatedly ruled in his favor, leaving her career at a standstill.

On Thursday, she finally emerged with new material, a ballad about survival and healing that clearly draws on her hardships with Dr. Luke, the courts, and dealing with trauma in the public eye. The song, “Praying,” opens with an internal monologue that verges on the suicidal. “If there is a God or whatever, something, somewhere, why have I been abandoned by everyone and everything I've ever known, I've ever loved?” Kesha asks. “God, give me a sign, or I have to give up. I can't do this anymore. Please just let me die. Being alive hurts too much.”

In an essay for Lenny Letter published with the “Praying” video debut, Kesha writes that finding spiritual solace—not with “a bearded man sitting in the clouds or a judgmental, homophobic tyrant waiting to send everyone to eternal damnation,” but with “nature and space and energy and the universe”—helped her move forward.

So it’s fitting that the video for “Praying” is full of religious signifiers, placed without concern for relevance or continuity. Kesha plays mournful piano in angel wings, a scaly mermaid-looking suit, and a crown of thorns; later, she kneels at a candlelit altar in front of a neon cross and prays with an open eye drawn on her forehead. There’s a recurring scene with a wall of TVs painted with words and phrases (“you’re too thin,” “the television will not be revolutionized,” “weapons of mass deception”) that make vague reference to cultural coercion and overconsumption, implying a different kind of modern religion. The title cards are written in a font that looks like an imitation of Hindi script, and when the song reaches its climax, Kesha throws around the kind of colored powder people use at Holi, the Hindu festival celebrating the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil. At the end, she literally walks on water, à la Jesus Christ.

The video’s haphazard use of religious symbolism—is she really supposed to be a savior figure?—confuses the thrust of the song, which is a pretty straightforward anthem of redemption. “I can thank you for how strong I have become,” Kesha sings, “’Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell / I had to learn how to fight for myself.” Marks of transformation abound: The butterflies on her veil, the rainbows on her nails, and her seeming resurrection from a left-for-dead survivor of a terrible boating accident to a mystical deity all speak to Kesha’s vision for her new album as a kind of rebirth. Her album, out August 11, is called Rainbow, too. Most of the video takes place in a kind of psychedelic junkyard that might have been dreamed up by a visionary or outsider artist, delivering a raw product of grief processed into hope, something Kesha had to get out of her in order to salvage her self.

“This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you,” Kesha writes in her Lenny Letter piece. “It's a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It's also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.” It might be too much to say she’s pardoned Dr. Luke—“Some say in life you’re gonna get what you give / But some things only God can forgive,” she sings in “Praying.” Even so, she seems to have found a healthy coda to their years of public struggle. Kesha’s ability to record a new album and bare her emotions on a press tour while living with anxiety, depression, and a “relentless” eating disorder is a testament to the strength she says she wants to inspire in others. Her new release has an obvious meaning, but her survival to see another day, write another song, and tell another story says far more.

“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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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 @ The XX Factor

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.

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