Hey, hey, hep cat jurors! In today's modern and crazy courtroom, some words may come up that you don't quite understand. While in your everyday life, you could just let these words go, in court you gotta get wise to 'em because they may make the difference in a guilty/not guilty verdict. Ya dig, turkeys?
Luckily, courts across the country are looking to the world wide website Urban Dictionary as a slang source to help all you squares out there.
From the New York Times:
Last month, Urban Dictionary was cited in a financial restitution case in Wisconsin, where an appeals court was reviewing the term “jack” because a convicted robber and his companion had referred to themselves as the “jack boys.”
The court noted, however, that according to Urban Dictionary, “jack” means “to steal, or take from an unsuspecting person or store.” It then rejected the convicted man’s claim that he should not have to make restitution to the owner of a van he stole to use in a robbery.
A court in Tennessee also recently used Urban Dictionary to expose that "to nut" means "to ejaculate" and were then able to reject a motion to dismiss a sexual harassment claim.
In fact, courts are using Urban Dictionary all of the time:
In the last year alone, the Web site was used by courts to define iron (“handgun”); catfishing (“the phenomenon of Internet predators that fabricate online identities”); dap (“the knocking of fists together as a greeting, or form of respect”); and grenade (“the solitary ugly girl always found with a group of hotties”).
Why were the words "dap" or "grenade" used in a court case at all? Who knows? The fun mysteries of life!
Citing Urban Dictionary in court will likely become more and more common. Says Rutgers professor of law Greg Lastowka, "If it is Urban Dictionary or hire some linguistic expert to do a survey, it seems like a pretty cheap, pretty good alternative for the court."
While the courtroom use of a crowdsourced slang dictionary has its supporters ("cool guys"), there are others ("lamewads") who think it is out of place.
“Using [Urban Dictionary definitions] in court is a terrible idea; they don’t claim to be an authority or a reference. Some of the stuff on their site is very good, but there is more chaff than wheat. It is a lazy person’s resource," says Tom Dalzell, senior editor of The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. (U jelly, Dalzell?)
Dalzell may actually have a point. Anyone can submit a definition to Urban Dictionary (though the definition goes through a few rounds of approval before appearing on the site) and often a definition gets published not because of accuracy, but because of humor. As the NYT points out, the word "emo" has over 1,100 definitions, so which one does the court reference when one teen stabs another with a My Chemical Romance CD?
The 2010 issue of the law review of St. John’s University in Queens made an attempt at determining what sort of crowdsourcing is appropriate in a legal context.
From the Times:
Scientific terms and other technical definitions should not be culled from such sites, the article concluded, but it added, “The wisdom of the crowd is an appropriate and valuable reference when consensus itself is at issue, the information is generally known or the content is easily verifiable.”
Image via Everett Collection/Shutterstock.
It's a crazy world when a woman can't get through five minutes of comedy without some drunk assholes screaming at her to take her clothes off, but hey, that's apparently the world we're living in. Or so Canadian comedian Christina Walkinshaw discovered in September when she did a set at a club called Yuk Yuk's at Casino Niagara.
In a blog post on her site, Walkinshaw lays out the whole saga. She was in the middle of her set when she heard the following:
“'Show us your tits! Show us your tits! Show us your tits!' Under normal circumstances, I would shoot them a sassy line, and tell them to shut up. But this club sends us all memos, telling us NOT to talk to the crowd, or engage the staff in our acts. So basically, I have two choices. Keep going, or show them my tits. I decide to just keep going. A few minutes later, they started chanting again:
'Show us your bush! Show us your bush! Show us your bush!'"
Walkinshaw managed to get through her material and get backstage, only to have a really stellar interaction with a member of the casino staff:
"At the end of the night, the woman running the show came back into the green room. I’m absolutely the worst person when it comes to confrontation. I knew I had to say something to her, but I didn’t know how. I got a little choked up. I finally managed this:
'Hey, next time some audience members shout "Show us your tits! Show us your bush!” You might want to tell them to be quiet.'
Then I burst out crying. Oh for fucks. I can’t believe I’m confessing to crying on the internet. I never cry. At least I didn’t cry on stage, right? I’m professional enough. My tears seemed to shock her.
'Oh! Sorry! We thought you liked it.'”
Walkinshaw kept working at Yuk Yuk's the rest of the weekend because she didn't want to lose the money, and describes feeling "relieved" when she found out she was asked back to work again, writing, "I knew that weekend was awkward, but I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, so I’m glad they didn’t. Or so I thought…"
Last week, Walkinshaw found out through an email from her agent that her next gig at Yuk Yuk's had been cancelled. A Casino Niagara spokesperson emailed the The Globe and Mail and said, “Based on post-show comments from our staff (following the September, 2012 show), we decided not to re-book Ms. Walkinshaw at this time. Ms. Walkinshaw’s recount of the evening was outlined using social media. We’ve reviewed all of the details of the evening and stand by our decision not to re-book her.”
This explanation of why the Casino doesn't want her back appears to mirror Walkinshaw's explanation that it's the Casino, not the club, that is the real problem here:
"The fact is, they want to treat a comedian like an 'employee' of their casino, but they won’t protect us like one. I’d be willing to bet all $500 I’m losing by not playing their club, that if a bunch of guys chanted “Show us your bush! Show us your bush!” to a Blackjack dealer, they’d be kicked out."
Can I just ask: who actually heckles? Who dares to do more than just quietly whisper under their breath about how they're not having a good time at a show? A better question than trying to speculate on the activities of drunk assholes who seem to think what they want to do matters more than the larger body surrounding them: what organization decides that it's the performer who is too much trouble in a situation like this? Whether on purpose or not, what Casino Niagara did was tell Walkinshaw that it was her fault that they can't handle their own clientele.
Because it's her job (and probably also because she's received support from the comedy community) Walkinshaw has managed to have a sense of humor about the experience:
Thanks for all your support everybody. The one lesson I've learned in all this, is how many of my friends don't know how to spell "Niagara."— Christina Walkinshaw (@walkinsauce) May 20, 2013
It's a hard word. Apparently not as hard as taking sexual harassment seriously, but hard enough.
Canadian comedian loses gig at casino after heckling incident [Globe and Mail]
Your skin shouldn't look like a package of pork cracklins after spending the day outdoors; that's why we invented sunscreen. However, there's a right way and a wrong way to slather on your protection—screw it up and you could get burned.
It's not the visible light from the sun that causes your skin to crisp, but rather the invisible ultraviolet waves. As assistant professor of dermatology and director of photomedicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, Jeffrey M. Sobell, explains:
A sunburn—manifested by cutaneous redness, swelling and pain—is an acute toxic reaction caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. Although the precise mechanism by which a sunburn occurs has not been clearly identified, complex chemical reactions and pathways take place that most likely result in the clinical symptoms.
The energy from ultraviolet radiation can damage molecules in the skin, most importantly DNA. One consequence of this is the synthesis of different proteins and enzymes. The effects of these proteins, notably prostaglandins and cytokines, lead to dilation of the cutaneous blood vessels and recruitment of inflammatory cells. This, in turn, produces a sunburn's characteristic redness, swelling and pain. Once the signal of excessive radiation exposure is initiated, it generally takes four to six hours for these proteins to generate. Sunburn symptoms thus don't appear until well after exposure. (DNA damage can also result in the destruction of the involved skin cell. This is one of the reasons why skin peels after a bad sunburn.)
Ultraviolet radiation arrives most often in three distinct wavelengths, designated UV-A, -B, and -C. UV-A has the longest wavelength at 400 nm - 320 nm and therefore penetrates both the ozone layer and glass as well as deeper into your skin than the others, causing age spots and wrinkling. UV-B, with a wavelength of 320 nm - 290 nm, is partially blocked by the ozone layer and cannot travel through glass. This wavelength is the primary cause of sunburns and the targeted range for protection, though Broad-spectrum sunscreens will inhibit both UV-A and UV-B. UV-C has a wavelength of 290 nm - 100 nm, though it is completely blocked by the ozone layer and only an issue if you use tanning beds.
To block these harmful solar emissions, sunscreens employ a mix of organic and inorganic ingredients that either reflect, scatter or absorb the radiation and dissipate it as heat. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two of the most commonly used inorganic materials used to physically block UV rays from reaching the skin. Previously, these ingredients would appear white (see below), however modern micronizing techniques break down the particles so as to be invisible without diminishing their functionality.
These inorganic compounds are supplemented with UV-B absorbing organic chemicals such as cinnamates, octyl methoxycinnamate, para-aminobenzoic acid, and Benzophenones, that convert the incoming energy into harmless waste heat.
Together, these compounds provide a level of protection measured in factors. That is, if your baseline, unprotected time limit for sun exposure is say 30 minutes before burning, an SPF (sun protection factor) 30 sunscreen would allow you to remain outside for 30 times that duration, or 15 hours. If your baseline is 15 minutes, an SPF 30 would only hypothetically provide 7.5 hours of protection.
Of course, these products only work if you actually put it on and keep it on. Unfortunately, many folks fail to realize that fact and are putting themselves at long term risk for skin cancer and freckles by not doing so. These are a few of the most common sunscreen misconceptions:
1) I'm naturally tan, so I don't need sunscreen
Hahaha, no. The American Cancer society reports more than two million people are diagnosed annually with skin cancer. Roughly 76,000 of them will be cases of invasive melanoma, skin's deadliest cancer, and it will kill an estimated 9,200 people. It's not just the pastiest of us that are at risk, all skin burns eventually. Naturally darker skin simply offers a higher baseline protection factor, not an unstoppable UV barrier.
Instead, slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, water resistant if you've got it. The SPF 30 will block 96 percent of the harmful incoming rays and the water resistant properties will prevent it from washing away as you sweat.
"To cover your whole body, you would have to fill a shot glass," dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Stein of New York University Langone Medical Center said. It's not as though you need to apply it to every crack and crevice, but be sure to get the tips of the ears and use lip balm with a sufficient SPF.2) I got my face, neck, legs, and forearms this morning, I'm good for the day
Sunscreen does not last all day. "The general principle is to reapply every two to four hours," dermatologist James Spencer, MD, of St. Petersburg, Fl, told WebMD. "Sunscreen does go away with time."
In addition to touching up your exposed bits every couple of hours, you should try to cover up as much as possible with long sleeves and broad-brim hats and avoid being under the sun when it's at its midday peak between 10am and 2pm.3) It's cloudy out, I'm fine
The weather makes little difference with overcast conditions blocking as little as 20 percent of the inbound radiation. What's more, geographic features like snow, sand, and water can all reflect as much as 70 percent of the sunlight that hits them and higher altitudes actually increase UV exposure (yes, because you're closer to the Sun). As such, you shouldn't rely on the local forecast to protect you.4) Anything higher than 30 is a waste
That's partially true, but don't count out the higher stuff entirely. SPF 90 only provides a three percent boost in protection over SPF 30. "You get 99 percent sunburn protection with SPF 90, versus 96 percent with SPF 30," says Howard Sobel, M.D., of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
For most people, that extra bit of protection may not be all that necesssary. However for exceptionally fair skinned folk that extra three percent over a lifetime really adds up, and could determine whether or not you come home looking like Zoidberg.
As you may recall, when writing about the Today kerfuffle surrounding Ann Curry's departure, Brian Stelter noted that though the show targets women, it is mainly managed by men. But yesterday, NBC News got a new president. Her name is Deborah Turness.
The LA Times reports that Turness, a British journalist, will officially take control of NBC News — which includes the Today show, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as well as Rock Center — on August 5.
While "Today" may be the highest priority for Turness, it is far from the only one. She will also be tasked with beefing up the online presence of NBC News. Like many traditional media outlets, , NBC has seen its ratings decline over the last several years as viewers flock to cable and the Internet for coverage.
And just in case you don't realize how notable it is that Deborah Turness, 46, has this job, consider this, from New York Times reporter Brian Stelter himself:
Ms. Turness will be the first woman to run a network news division in the United States. She held a similarly groundbreaking position in Britain, where she was the first woman to be editor of a television news division.
In a statement, she called her appointment “the greatest imaginable honor.”
“I am hugely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to working with the talented journalists and technicians who make it one of the great global news operations,” she said.
Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.
I graduated from college four years ago. I know four years probably seems like an infinitesimal blip to many readers (disclaimer #1: self-aware millennial realizes she has far less life experience than you do), but when I remember the anxious stress case I was at 21 — incapable of imagining life as a gainfully employed, emotionally available adult without a crippling fear of failure/with more than two pieces of silverware — it seems like a solid chunk of time.
I wish I could share the often painful, always valuable lessons I've learned over the past 1,461 days with my 21-year-old self, even though she would probably fake-smile and then completely ignore all of it. (She can be pretty stubborn. She's working on it in her old age.) Here they are.
Disclaimer #2: I attended a public university near a big city and thus graduated with no debt and a slew of both unpaid internships and "real" jobs at big-name publications under my belt. I feel extra fortunate because I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young age; most of my 20-something friends still don't have a "dream job," however unrealistic, in mind. Given that total student loan debt now totals more than one trillion dollars (jesus fuck), I know advice from someone who doesn't struggle to pay loans might not work for you. These are just some insights I wish someone had shared with me when I graduated, which is why I'm sharing them with you.
If you know what you want to "do" (for money or passion or, if you're lucky, both), focus on your work and block out excess noise.
2009: not a fun year to graduate with a liberal arts degree. (Thanks, subprime mortgage crisis!!) Possibly well-intentioned people literally laughed in my face when I told them I wanted to be a journalist. "But…print is dead," they'd say. "You can't get a job at a newspaper anymore, unless you went to, like, Harvard. Did you go to Harvard?" (No.) "You'll never be able to support yourself by writing." "Have you considered a career in social media?"
I don't want to turn you into a misanthrope at such a tender age, but listen: most people do not have your best interests at heart. I now see that most of the idiots who told me I'd surely fail were projecting their own insecurities onto me. I wasn't as jaded back then, but I did quickly realize that I had two options: I could run through endless downer "What If?" scenarios until I scared myself into giving up before I had even really begun, or I could — at the risk of being buzzily trite — ignore my haters.
I chose the latter. I was still passed over for countless jobs and had to struggle to make ends meet for a while, but I focused on fine-tuning my writing and reaching out to everyone I knew in my wannabe field instead of listening to people who said I was foolishly dreaming of a post-recession era. Months later, I was offered a very well-paid, full-time editorial position at the San Francisco Chronicle. A year later, I was writing front-page stories. At a newspaper. Which was not dead. Even though I didn't go to an Ivy League school or time-travel back a decade. Look at that! It didn't happen right away, and it definitely wasn't easy, but I made it happen by working hard and blocking out all that destructive bullshit. It's important to be realistic and set time-sensitive goals for yourself, but it's just as important to ignore the nobodies and trend pieces gleefully predicting your demise.
As I said before, I knew I wanted to be a reporter for years and I've always been pretty career-oriented. But you don't have to be like me or want what I currently want out of life to benefit from filtering out schadenfreude from people who expect or even want you to fail.
Don't create drama. Create stuff.
All of the qualities that had made me "me" for years seemed to vanish at warp speed as soon as I received my diploma. I had been an official student of something ever since I was a toddler; no more. My boyfriend of 3+ on-and-of years and I "officially" (ha) broke up. I was living in my best friend Corey's bedroom because the cheap sublet I'd rented was infested with Golden Orb spiders. (No, I did not appreciate their beautifully crafted webs.) Corey was still in school, so I spent my days babysitting, copy-editing and applying for jobs while sitting in his crumb-infested (my fault) bed and waiting for him and his roommates to come back from class so we could all get drunk. "Babysitting is awesome," I told everyone. "I have so much time to write! And the snacks rule!" But I wasn't writing. I was drinking, and watching old episodes of The Real World, and feeling violently jealous whenever anyone I even vaguely knew seemed to be having a nice day, and devising ways I could convince my ex-boyfriend to get back together with me so I wouldn't feel so lost.
Here's a photo of me and Corey in his bed/my home from a Facebook album I made during this time, entitled "The Current State of My Life." Cute joke, right? Hey, look at that Tecate! I knew I was a cliche — and this was years before Girls, no less — but I was so, so unhappy.
I was miserable because I wasn't in control of my life. But then! Instead of trying to create drama, I started creating STUFF. I tentatively started "freelancing" — very literally for free most of the time, since few outlets wanted to pay me yet — and working on a novel, and every time I finished an article or completed a page of my book I felt 10000x more confident.
Writing reminded me that I was not my job. Eventually it became my job, but back then I paid my rent by chasing little kids around and copy-editing what I can most nicely refer to as drivel. Don't worry about landing your ideal job right away; very few people do.
I'm talking a lot about "ideal jobs" because I'm extremely fulfilled by the one I have now, which is one I wanted for a long time. But it's okay if you don't have a dream job in mind, or if you don't want the way you make money to define you. We're taught by the media and banks and our parents that the only way to feel successful is through socially accepted methods of making money. Remember that you can define success on your own terms instead. The time you spend as a server or an administrative assistant or working retail is not worthless. And if you carve out even a teeny bit of space to make stuff that matters to you — whether that's music, web design, jewelry, whatever — you'll feel more confident. If you don't feel inspired to "create" anything and wish I would stop sounding like your hippie summer camp counselor, go on hikes. Volunteer. Do whatever makes you feel like you're in control. I don't know what your thing is, but I can tell you what won't make you feel like you're in control: waking up past noon on the regular, watching Wife Swap episode after Wife Swap episode, and picking fights with people you care about to create drama in hopes of feeling distracted or fulfilled. Don't create drama! Create STUFF. Let's make t-shirts.
Don't know what to "do" or make? Just fucking pick something.
Ugh, this is embarrassing to admit, but here goes: I used to be obsessed with comparing myself to Esther, the protagonist in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I know, I know. It was all about this god-damned fig tree. Plath wrote:
"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."
So I would regularly get stoned and describe my own personal fig tree to my friends in painstaking detail until one of them finally said, "Why don't you just fucking pick something?"
"But…what if it's the wrong thing?" I said.
"Then you'll know, and you'll choose something else," she said.
She was right. I was using my fear of "boxing myself in" as an excuse not to move forward. I decided to focus on reporting on reproductive rights and sexual assault, two issues I cared very much about. I developed sources and wrote a weekly "women's news" column and, eventually, I wrote my first front-page investigation exposing San Francisco's crisis pregnancy centers. Now I get to write about this stuff for Jezebel on the regular. Will I always want to write about these totally not at all depressing topics? Probably not. But I don't think I would've landed this job, my dream job, without narrowing my focus.
Again: I know you are not all as obsessive about your career as I am. (Sounds healthy!) But I think it's important to start making commitments whenever you can in all areas of your life. Don't be afraid to fucking pick something. You can always pick something else if it's not the right fit.
Hello, young person! Can you hear me? Probably not, because you're lost in your own neuroses. It's to be somewhat expected. You have a lot going on right now, and it can be difficult to make space for other people besides yourself. But you know how amazing it makes you feel when your family, friends or even strangers ask you how you're doing, or compliment you or simply listen? Do that for other people. It's so easy! Check up on your friends. Don't be a flake. Be supportive. Be openminded. Don't be a bitch because you're feeling insecure, or take your shit out on other people, or talk shit about other people (...unless absolutely necessary for cathartic reasons).
Be as thoughtful as you can afford to be, financially and emotionally, but don't let yourself off the hook because you're broke in either department.
Also: be kind to yourself! Accept that you're in a weird, hard place and you're going to experience feelings of jealousy, frustration and depression. Don't get mad at yourself for feeling those feelings, because beating yourself up won't allow you to move past them. Try as hard as you can to love the person you're in the process of becoming. Therapy can help, if that's something that's possible for you. (Also because I don't think I've ever written anything this non-cynical and I'm starting to get the shakes.)
Everything is not "going to be ok," but that's okay (?)
Growing up, I thought "adulthood" was this nebulous, dreamy scenario where everything was finally OK. Adults had stable relationships, supportive friends, steady jobs. Once you reached adulthood, you'd be set for life. It's really hard to let go of that fantasy. It's hard for me, even now.
I don't want to be that 25-year-old who tells you what "adulthood" is all about. (See disclaimer #1!) But I think life = constantly learning and rethinking the rules by which you want to live; constantly GRADUATING, one might say — to new experiences and, yes, struggles. Does that sound depressing? I hope not, because it's supposed to be reassuring.
Because what happens is that — sloooowly — you get better at dealing with overwhelming responsibilities and terrifying experiences because you've been through similar overwhelming responsibilities and terrifying experiences before and you know you'll pull through. It still sucks, but it sucks less to get rejected (professionally or personally) because you've been rejected before. You become more resilient and more empathetic at the same time. You get used to yourself and realize that you'll never not be you, that, maybe, you don't want to ever not be you.
Wait, stop. Let me re-write that paragraph sans second-person narrative because no one, with the exception of Lorrie Moore, can pull off second-person narrative.
I've slowly gotten better at dealing with overwhelming responsibilities and terrifying experiences because I've been through similar overwhelming responsibilities and terrifying experiences before and I know I'll pull through. It still sucks, but it sucks less to get rejected (professionally or personally) because I've been rejected before. I've become more resilient and more empathetic at the same time. I've gotten used to myself and realized that I'll never not be me, that, maybe, I don't want to ever not be me.
I still have a hard time remembering to be kind and focused and to follow all of the other guidelines listed above. But I'll always remember this scene from Greenberg — an otherwise extremely insignificant movie — when Greta Gerwig's character says she's been out of college for longer than she was in college. Fuck, I thought at the time. That sounds fucking depressing. As of last week, that's me, and that's just fine. 21-year-old me would've been psyched at what 25-year-old me has accomplished. I hope 25-year-old you will feel the same way, too.
Image by Devin Rochford.
If you hate Spanx, you will LOATHE these X-rays of women wearing corsets. Gasping for breath.
Oh holy shit, this is so brilliant.
Jes from Thee Militant Baker wrote a perfect response to Abercrombie & Fitch's idiot CEO Mike Jeffries about his hatred of fat people. Her letter is lovely, smart, and destroys everything Jeffries has ever said about fat people not being cool.
Never in our culture do we see sexy photo shoots that pair short, fat, unconventional models with not short, not fat, professional models. To put it in your words: "unpopular kids" with "cool kids". It's socially acceptable for same to be paired with same, but never are contrasting bodies positively mixed in the world of advertisement. The juxtaposition of uncommonly paired bodies is visually jarring, and, even though I wish it didn’t, it causes viewers to feel uncomfortable. This is largely attributed to companies like yours that perpetuate the thought that fat women are not beautiful. This is inaccurate, but if someone were to look through your infamous catalog, they wouldn't believe me.
Truth. Further, I don't know how many fat women I know who have straight-sized, attractive boyfriends — myself included — but you'd never guess that such a pairing might exist in the real world because of such advertising. And not only the ads, but the movies, TV shows, and more that say that fat women get nobody, because fat men are too busy with skinny women, too. That's not saying that I don't know fat women with fat men — or skinny women with fat men — I do! I just wish all of us were represented in media in positive ways.
It's one of the things that makes these photos so special. Oh, and the fact that they're so luscious and unapologetic — I can't stop looking at them.
I also love how Jes writes about attractive and fat not being exclusive terms — you can be both. So often you hear "thin and attractive" and "fat and ugly" as paired terms — someone is made good looking by their thin frame, or hideous because they're rocking the sexy chub. To that, I think there's no better response than this picture:
Fuck you, Mike Jeffries, and fuck yeah, sexy women of all sizes.
This little dynamo was found barely alive near dead kittens, and there was no sign of her mom around. From her rough beginnings, she grew into what is obviously the world's most adorable kitten. Get it, you pint-sized badass.
Victoria's Secret will not be making mastectomy bras anytime soon. In response to a Change.org petition circulated earlier this year, which ultimately attracted nearly 130,000 signatures, the company says it has looked into the matter and decided making mastectomy bras is too hard:
Through our research, we have learned that fitting and selling mastectomy bras in the right way...a way that is beneficial to women is complicated and truly a science. As a result, we believe that the best way for us to make an impact for our customers is to continue funding cancer research.
On the one hand, this makes sense because Victoria's Secret has so far only mastered the art of making bras in, oh, approximately four different sizes? Mastectomy bras would probably confound them. But on the other hand, if Nordstrom can do it... [Racked]
Zuhair Murad totally definitely obviously ripped off a Prabal Gurung design in his latest collection. [Fashionista]
Here is Karolina Kurkova on the cover of Vogue Ukraine. [FGR]
The first episode of Season 2 of Model Files is here. [YouTube]
• Diane von Furstenberg, the head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, wrote to the organization's members expressing concern about the apparel factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,127 people:
"What happened in Bangladesh is a tragedy and a harsh reminder that it is our obligation as designers to make sure our factories are a safe place to work and that the workers are respected,” von Furstenberg wrote. “I also encourage you to have your production team visit directly with your supplier partners to see firsthand the working conditions and treatment of workers. There are third-party vendors who can audit and inspect for you. It is important to know who you work with and to ensure safety and fairness in the workplace."
Von Furstenberg included her own company's Supplier Code of Conduct rules and Supplier Certification Document as examples. Meanwhile, two non-fatal accidents occurred at garment factories in Cambodia. The Asics shoe factory that last week suffered a partial floor collapse, which killed two workers (including one girl under the age of 16 who was employed illegally) has reopened for business. Workers say they are traumatized; a mass fainting incident occurred when there was a short-circuit at the factory. Cambodia's garment industry is known for tolerating child labor; during a strike outside a Puma factory last year, three workers were shot by a Cambodian politician. [WWD]
• Rihanna added Erin Wasson and Pharrell Williams as judges on her U.K. fashion reality show, Styled to Rock. [Vogue UK]
• Canadian model Autumn Kendrick sounds pretty fun to hang with. She has a master's in cultural studies (her thesis topic was BDSM), was a former principal ballet dancer at a company in Indiana, and met her husband at a pot-luck dinner for people who like board games. What's her favorite board game?
"There’s this card game that I love called Munchkin that’s a spoof on Dungeons & Dragons. I like Careers, Monopoly….I like the more simple, like Carcassonne, Catan. OK, now I’m getting dorky."
• Francisco Costa says he and the Calvin Klein brand are working on another collaboration with a mass-market retailer, akin to his Macy's collection from last year. [Fashionista]
• Vogue and Bottega Veneta are again sponsoring a competition for emerging photographers. The winner gets $10,000 and year-long mentorships with top agency Art + Commerce and Vogue photography director Ivan Shaw. [WWD]
• Here's another story about how used clothing donations often don't reach the people donors imagine it will benefit. In reality, most used clothing (especially fast fashion which wasn't made to last in the first place) is pulled from thrift store racks when it doesn't sell within a predetermined amount of time, then bundled and sold by the pound to resellers. Those resellers then generally do one of two things with it: either they sell the bales to textile recyclers, who turn your old H&M t-shirts into carpet padding, insulation, and batting, or they sell the bales to sellers in other countries, and your worn-out Old Navy pants go to Africa. This story doesn't mention it, but that influx of cheap used clothing makes it harder for local apparel businesses to remain competitive, and has a depressive effect on the economy, in those countries. [NPR]
• Same-day delivery is the next frontier in online shopping, because immediate gratification is one of the last competitive advantages that brick-and-mortar stores have over e-tailers. Google, eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Nordstrom are each testing it. [WWD]
• Benetton's board of directors has undergone a sea change. All four company founders — Carlo, Luciano, Gilberto, and Giuliana Benetton — have left the company. Replacing them are their adult sons and daughters, Christian Benetton, Sabrina Benetton, Alessandro Benetton, and Franca Bertagnin Benetton. [WWD]
• Qatar holding, which owns Harrods, is said to be interested in investing in Versace. [BoF]
• Profits at Giorgio Armani rose 20% from 2011 to 2012, to $434 million. [WWD]
• Profits at Burberry fell by 3.4% from 2011 to 2012, to $401.8 million. But revenue for was up for the year; the fall was attributable to one-time costs for ending its beauty license and taking its perfume and cosmetics lines in-house. [WWD]
• Urban Outfitters is continuing its turnaround. Income rose year-on-year by 38.6% during the quarter just ended, to $47 million. [WWD]
As fervent Tumblr users already know, their beloved Internet home, replete with reality TV gifs and hashtag-confessions of a hashtag-teenage-tumblr-queen, has a new landlord. Yahoo announced a $1.1 billion deal Monday that will bring Tumblr under the corporation's wing. Though Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised "not to screw it up," Tumblr users are, unsurprisingly, blogging like it's the apocalypse. "Yahoo just bought Tumblr… This is the beginning of the end," "They say they would let it continue as a independent business. Don't you fucking lie to my face," and "The end is near" are some of the obligatory statements Tumblr creatures must post to save face in the wake of their new forced allegiance with The Man. But one of the biggest questions that Tumblr users have been bringing up is how Yahoo will deal with the NSFW content that some estimate makes up about 10% of Tumblr.
During Yahoo's Flickr press event last night, Mayer stated that Yahoo has no plans to axe the porn and NSFW material that many Tumblr users hold dear. "It's the nature of user-generated content," said Mayer. "I think the richness and breadth of content available on Tumblr— even though it may not be as brand safe as what's on our site— is what's really exciting and allows us to reach even more users."
But that "richness and breadth" includes pages like jiggle-jiggle.tumblr.com and other very clearly labeled tumblrs like pussy-ass-tits.tumblr.com (Obviously NSFW, I don't feel bad about not giving you a warning). I wonder what kind of tailored advertising those blogs would receive from Yahoo? Something tells me it won't be one of those John Stamos greek yogurt commercial.
The funny thing is, Yahoo is the part of the Internet where your mom goes because she doesn't quite get what the Internet is. (No offense to your mom. YOUR MOM!) Whereas Tumblr is the safe-haven for every subculture and its subsequent subcultures in gif form, Yahoo is where my aunt sips on coffee from her "Must Love Dogs" mug and pauses every half hour to appreciate the wonderful invention that is the Internet. What's she going to do when she sees Sailor Moon's boobs covered in semen on a hentai Tumblr? "We want to let Tumblr be Tumblr and let Yahoo be Yahoo," Mayer assured wary investors after the deal. For now, letting Tumblr be Tumblr means letting those ass jiggle gifs continue to jiggle scot-free.
Image via Associated Press
Massively successful room-renting service Airbnb is now illegal in New York City: officials say the startup violates an illegal hotel law that prevents residents from renting out their property for fewer than 29 days.
Fast Company reports that the ruling doesn't mean all Airbnb hosts will have to close up shop, since the city will only enforce the rule when a complaint is filed. Here's Airbnb's statement:
"This decision runs contrary to the stated intention and the plain text of New York law, so obviously we are disappointed. But more importantly, this decision makes it even more critical that New York law be clarified to make sure regular New Yorkers can occasionally rent out their own homes. There is universal agreement that occasional hosts like Nigel Warren were not the target of the 2010 law, but that agreement provides little comfort to the handful of people, like Nigel, who find themselves targeted by overzealous enforcement officials. It is time to fix this law and protect hosts who occasionally rent out their own homes. Eighty-seven percent of Airbnb hosts in New York list just a home they live in—they are average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet, not illegal hotels that should be subject to the 2010 law."
Airbnb is great for tourists, since it's often cheaper (and more fun) to stay in someone's home instead of a hotel. It can be great for local businesses, too, since Airbnb hosts are encouraged to recommend their favorite coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Of course, Airbnb is lucrative for hosts — except they're not all "average New Yorkers trying to make ends meet," as so lovingly described in the above statement.
A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle article illustrated how permanent renters can get fucked over by Airbnb, since some landlords can make much more money renting out apartments to tourists than city residents and "encouraged by lax oversight and lucrative payoffs, use the rental sites to run ad-hoc hotels, which besides annoying neighbors, takes long-term rentals off a market that desperately needs them - and in cities like San Francisco violates zoning regulations."
"Many landlords decided they would be able to make more money by renting (their properties) as tourist space," the president of the San Francisco Tenants' Union, which promotes renters' rights, told the paper "We're seeing a big loss of rental housing stock, which we're already losing through other means. This is added pressure."
The "sharing economy" is fun and all, but it's also important to make sure would-be hoteliers and tourists don't take precedence over the actual community. It'll be interesting to see who, exactly, this law effects.
Comedian Amy Schumer's new sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer, is the best thing to hit the airwaves since The Golden Girls. Yes, THE The Golden Girls. That's how you know I'm serious.
The 31-year-old funny lady — perhaps best known for bit parts on 30 Rock and Girls — kills at calling out wack universal truths, and then taking it to the next level. As evidenced in the sketch above, the jokes come fast and furious — and they can cut to the bone, in the goofiest, most delightful way possible.
Not surprisingly, Schumer herself is a brilliant loon who is well-versed in recognizing society's quirks. This anecdote will make you fall in love with her:
“I say I graduated in 2003 from Towson, but that’s not actually true,” the 31-year-old New-York-born performer says in a recent interview. “I went to Towson and had the credits to graduate on time, but then I found out I needed to pay $200 to post these credits. And I was like, ‘What?’ And I was so enraged that you had to pay to post credits that I was like, ‘What an arbitrary, made-up thing.’ So, I didn’t pay the money.”
Right?? This woman. I like her.
It's her no-bullshit POV that makes a show filled with silly sketches into something special. This Crossbolt v. Butterface sketch is the perfect example of Schumer's perverse and insightful humor:
"But there's just a scrunchie in here?"
Marry me, Amy Schumer.
To coincide with the tribute to U.S. Astronaut Sally Ride's life that occured at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in D.C. last night, President Obama has awarded Ride — the first American woman to ever make the voyage into space — with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The honor was bestowed posthumously as Ride passed away last summer at the age of 61 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a statement released Monday evening, the president announced:
“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women. Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve.”
In 1983, Ride made history as the first American woman (and the third woman ever) to deploy into space when she and her fellow crew mates launched the Challenger space shuttle into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center. She made the journey into space again as a mission specialist in 1984 and served on the Presidential Commission who investigated the tragic Challenger disaster in 1986.
After retiring from NASA in 1987, Ride went on to teach physics at the University of California, San Diego. She also founded the company Sally Ride Science, which, among other things, seeks to educate girls about science and mathematics.
In 2012, Ride made additional waves when she announced in her own co-written obituary that she was survived by her partner of 27-years Tam O'Shaughnessy, making Ride the only openly gay astronaut to have made the voyage into outer space to date.
As tribute to her extensive career and contributions to space exploration, NASA has announced a new new agency internship program in her name. They will also be renaming a camera aboard the space station the Sally Ride EarthKAM.
Sally Ride to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom [Florida Today]
Image via AP.
On last night's episode of Bravo's Newlyweds: The First Year, we got to watch engaged couple Jeff and Blair experience Whitney Houston's death together. Or more precisely, we got to watch their dramatic retelling of how they learned about her death the night before via text message when Blair screamed and Jeff thought something happened to one of their family members. Tragedy has never been more entertaining.
Blair was affected by Houston's passing because he was such a big fan, and found himself getting emotional while listening to her music the next day. Jeff thought he overreacted and snapped at him to stop being such a "drama queen."
Blair properly responded with, "I did not overreact. It's Whitney Houston!"
I was squarely on Blair's side with this and found his general demeanor in the aftermath of her death appropriate and relatable. I couldn't help but wonder if at least part of Jeff's annoyance with the whole situation didn't have something to do with how he was closeted until he was 35, and thus maybe has some residual shame issues with what he perceives to be stereotypical, over-the-top gay behavior.
Or maybe Blair was just being super annoying. That's entirely possible.
Still, this is exactly the kind of stupid bullshit arguments that couple get in during the tension-filled, stressed-out weeks leading up to their wedding. So if anything, their bickering is stereotypical of people who are about to get married.
Gawker Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Finds Missing Dog During Live Interview | Lifehacker The Air Travel Rights You Aren't Aware Of (and How to Get Them) | Gizmodo Why Are There No Black People On The Jetsons? | io9 Elementary Demonstrates the Right Way to Update a Classic Hero
Another day, another opportunity to think about how much space you, as a woman, take up. That's how it feels when you can't throw a fat-burning supplement without hitting a visual about the losing of the weight or the gaining of the weight, and who gained what, how they look, how they lost it, and how you can, too. You can't control these images, but you can control the narrative in your own head. So the next time you get yet another message about weight that implies or outright demands that you consider your own, try thinking these things instead:
This is some bullshit right here.
When it comes to media pushing perfect people, if you're not skeptical, you're doing it wrong. The only right way to do it is with deep, trigger-happy skepticism. It's advertising — which means it's supposed to make you want something. That alone makes it squirrelly as fuck. If you don't train your brain to see that first and foremost, and to move cautiously forward if at all, then you may as well just hand over your wallet, dump it out, throw yourself onto the floor and ask someone to pelt you with rotten vegetables. So instead of feeling bad or even mesmerized by the flawless images, messages, and prescriptions for thinning yourself away, see it all as a super sad, cynical cash grab. Because that's what the fuck it is.
Do men have to put up with this?
Lean on Caitlin Moran's rule of thumb for whether something is worth getting all worked up about: Are the men worrying about this as well? When it comes to weight concerns, men are not advised to shrink themselves away. However, it's worth nothing what they are bombarded with: images of pumping up, boning up, manning up, dude-bro-ing it up. They inflate, we minimize. Viewed that way, it's even more cartoonish, and everything is dumb, and it's super dumb to do anything but laugh at it. Laugh at the little spectacle of capitalism trying to take your money.
Is this making me think about my weight or my health?
Simple question. Hard to put in practice. If, like anyone, you would like to be healthier (ACTUALLY healthy, as in stronger, fitter, better fed, able to do more physical things) and the message is helping you work toward that or inspiring you to that end with information or good facts, fine. Being healthy feels good. It makes you like your body! But that isn't about a number. If you're just wondering how much shrinkier you have to shrink to be considered more attractive based on the models you see doing Pilates on the beach, nope.
Why do I care?
Seriously, why DO you care? Are you paid to care? By that I mean, are you in a sexist, lookist industry where it behooves you to maintain a certain weight and be excited when Allure broadcasts that you only weigh 115 pounds? If so, are you able to separate that from your own personal feelings of self-worth? Do you still feel like a worthwhile person when you are not a perfect size -.5 or whatever that is?
If you're not in an industry where it is literally your job to maintain a weight, which is most of the rest of us, do you simply feel as a woman that your actual livelihood and well-being depends on weighing less than you do right now? Is that a valid conclusion you can put through the paces? Or does it fall apart with the slightest critical thinking? Because feeling good and liking yourself happens across all body types at all weight levels. Confidence and genuine appreciation of yourself is not a switch that flicks on at a certain number. It is not a "goal weight." This is a dumb trap so many people fall into: I just feel better when I'm X number of pounds. That's psychological. There's probably a range of weight where you would feel the most fit, but you're just assigning some arbitrary sounds-skinny number to that that has been culturally conditioned to feel OK about announcing out loud in earshot of other women.
What exactly is going to happen when I reach magical X pounds?
Ask yourself when you felt your best. Was it really when you weighed 135 pounds? Or was it when you were the most validated about your looks? Consider that your nostalgia for a past existence and the positive attention it brought you might have been more about the confidence you projected than a number. Force yourself to imagine the perfect life you think the perfect weight will bring you. What does it look like? You never argue with your husband? That guy you like at work will ask you out? The woman you've been in love with since college will suddenly want to sleep with you? Cough*bullshit*cough. The beauty of working toward real confidence by actually liking yourself is that it doesn't disappear the moment you gain weight, it is always there, and anyone worthwhile is drawn to you because of that aura, not the fact that you're at some specific number.
Numbers are misleading.
It shouldn't have to be said but apparently it has to be said a thousand times over: Weighing X weight doesn't mean you're healthy, or attractive, or "better." Changing your relationship to food in a positive way — eating more of what's good for you and less of what's bad, may actually mean that you lose no weight at all. For some people, gaining weight could actually signal better health, particularly with disordered eating. There is no magic number for anyone, there is a range, and even within that range there are exceptions. Paying attention to some perfect goal weight, at which point you imagine yourself to no longer have problems or somehow transcend the issues you faced with 20 more pounds is a complete and utter illusion. And a waste of time. And probably really about something else.
What is this REALLY about?
It is almost always really about how you feel about yourself. The rest of it is about simply processing an endless onslaught of images and ads with tons of money and Machiavellian calculation behind them. I'm not saying those images are so easy to blot out, but, real self-worth can go a long way toward obliterating them. That comes from doing and being a good, accomplished person that you want to be, and be alone with. A person you like. A person who adds something to the world, does a thing that makes the world a nicer or better or more interesting place, is a good friend. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice, and feel nice, and like your body. But if you can't get out of the rabbit hole of thinking that is entirely wrapped up in your weight, you're fucked.
What am I wasting time NOT thinking about that's more important?
We have to have idle, pointless or superficial thoughts — our brains cannot be deep and calculating every second. But it really does help to know when you're having idle, pointless thoughts, and when they are doing you no favors. And it really helps to not confuse them with meaningful thoughts that enhance our lives. The sickening ability to take instant inventory of our bodies at a glance and superimpose some better, thinner self onto our bodies is a trap of idle thinking. It is the illusion of control. It is not reasonable. The idea that anyone who weighs less is happier is pure farce. You know it to be true; stop subscribing to this bullshit myth. And really, aren't you bored with it? Aren't you bored thinking about it? Isn't it the most soul-deadening shit in the world to think about it?
I am not a pawn.
Get pissed. Get really good and pissed. Think about it: You're a woman, a clearly more complex biological specimen who does miraculous and mind-boggling things with your body, whose systems and reproductive organs have been hotly debated and controlled since the dawn of time (and which are still only dimly understood at best), whose powers have historically been viewed as highly suspect if not outright demonic, whose energy and rhythmic connection to the universe is mystifying and awe-inspiring, and who is so often reduced in modern times to a fretting, insecure, body-shrinking worrywart convinced she should probably take up less space because she definitely isn't hot enough. That's so fucked it doesn't even register on the charts of fucked. Do you really want to play into a set of steps already laid out for you? Do you really want to be a complete and utter product of a system designed to make you feel like shit directly for its own gain? Does't that burn you to the fucking core? It does me. No thanks! Everyone can go straight to Go Fuck Yourself Village.
Remind yourself of what real human beauty is again.
If all else fails, just get out of your head. Look around and ask yourself what moves you about the human form, historically, contemporarily, artistically. Remind yourself that bodies in all shapes and sizes of all ages are interesting, unique, strong, useful. That we are nothing if not utilitarian creatures. That our bodies are meant to do things and show it. Anyone who tries to make you feel that ALL you are is an object to be weighed, when in fact you are object, subject, protagonist, antagonist, villain, hero and especially the NARRATOR of this story you call your existence, is not on your side. Including when that person is you. Flip the script.
Vive le volume!
The dress is très chic as well.
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Marion Cotillard attends the 'Blood Ties' Premiere during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
The trailer for the Claire Danes movie As Cool As I Am has been released, and it is not, contrary to popular belief, set to a whole bunch of Mike Posner songs. It does, however, have Claire and James Marsden and Elton from Clueless who is really getting his time in the sun as a heartthrob for Moms, isn't he?
See also: Anika Noni Rose, Peter Fonda, ALANIS MORISSETTE (AS HERSELF) and MARIO BATALI (AS HIMSELF), all in this movie where "A smart teenage girl comes of age in a small town with her self-centered parents who had her when they were teenagers." Said Smart Teenage Girl (STG) is played by Sarah Bolger, whom you may have seen as Mary Tudor on The Tudors. I stopped watching that show when I realized that it was historical and they were going to kill anyone I cared about so I can't vouch for her but I'm sure she did a good job dealing with Henry VIII trying to get it in incessantly. (Feel free to use this as an excuse to watch the Claire Danes Cry Face Supercut again.)
Delivery rooms increasingly resemble gladiator-style amphitheaters where uninvited family members cram in to watch women give birth, according to Today, which describes situations "rife with drama as grandparents-to-be vie for the best camera angle, or a mother-in-law angles to be the one feeding ice chips between contractions." (Definitely just inadvertently shut my legs together tight while typing that.)
Women nowadays apparently swap tips on parenting sites like BabyCenter and DC Urban Moms and Dads on how to tell parents, in-laws and other family members that they don't want them in the room peering into their traumatized vagina:
One mom says she had to request hospital security to escort her in-laws off the premises, because they repeatedly tried to barge into the delivery room. Another woman recounts how her mother-in-law appeared, uninvited, during her C-Section prep— and somehow ended up holding the new baby before the mom could. And one pregnant mom, after two hours of pushing, asked her own mother to leave when the grandma-to-be elbowed their midwife out of the way to get the perfect shot with her camera.
Dr. Rob Olson, a Bellingham, Wash., obstetrician and gynecologist, told Today that in the 1990s (thus explaining a lot of emotional romcom scenes from that era) there could be between five and 10 people in a delivery room, making it rough for the doctor trying to facilitate human birth and the laboring mom "who, not infrequently, felt like she had to entertain 'guests' instead of focusing on herself." (Lean in!) Here are some tips for kicking unwanted bystanders out with grace:
Image via Anatoly Tiplyashin/Shutterstock.
Beyoncé just gave birth to a Grown Woman, and she can do whatever she likes.
The song is most likely the lead single on her untitled fifth album, and it's got a steady Timbaland beat — he produced it, with The-Dream listed as co-writer. Here's a prediction: Ten seconds and you'll be shaking that ass.
I've listened about a million times so far, and this is the roller coaster Bey has taken me on:
Thoughts: Ugh, I get it; you're a grown woman. This is annoying.
Actions: Shaking ass uncontrollably.
Thoughts: OK, Queen Bey MIGHT know what she's doing on this one.
Actions: Entire body shaking uncontrollably.
Thoughts: ONE MORE TIME!!
Actions: Dumping boyfriend, putting on my face, heading to the club
Thoughts: I'm too old for this shit.
Actions: Laying in bed, ass still shaking uncontrollably, sobbing. Should I go to the hospital?
Photo via AP