Category : Culture

Actress Demi Lovato called out pop star Lady Gaga on her recent SXSW performance with “professional vomit painter” Millie Brown, accusing the pop star of “glamorizing” eating disorders. Lovato, who received treatment for bulimia in 2010, found the performance more than distasteful—she felt it harmful for Gaga fans to see self-induced vomit glorified. Gaga is known for her kooky and sometimes questionable antics, but as Lovato pointed out, claiming to have an eating disorder doesn’t give you license to replicate it on stage. As Lovato adeptly pointed out, making art is not a blanket excuse for, well, anything.

Via the Guardian

'Certain things are just too overt for kids'

Garcelle Beauvais

Actress Garcelle Beauvais has some unsolicited advice for Beyoncé.

Garcelle Beauvais

According to the 47-year-old White House Down star, 32 year old Beyonce should ‘take responsibility’ for how her sexed-up image, with ‘everything showing out, grinding,’ affects young fans.

The twice-divorced mother of three expressed her views in an interview with HelloBeautiful.com.

‘For me, you’re obviously flattered when someone calls you sexy or thinks you’re sexy,’ the stunning actress told the site. ‘But for me now, there’s so many ways to be sexy without being overt about it.’

Possibly referring to Beyoncé’s risque opening performance with her husband Jay Z at the Grammys, which raised the ire of parents, Garcelle said: ‘I want to do it in a way that’s more classy. Certain things are just too overt for kids.’

A former model, the Haitian-born actress portrayed  plenty of sexy characters a decade or so ago an was voted one of The 10 Sexiest Women of 2001 by the readers of Black Men Magazine.

beyonce overt

‘I love Beyoncé… but, I think there has to be a fine line where you take responsibility for what you do,’ she added. ‘I think it’s good to be sexy, but sexy can come across in so many different ways. It doesn’t have to be showing out, grinding all of the time.’

Asked what her idea of sexy is, the ageless beauty said: ‘I think you can wear a great short dress, but if you have long sleeves  and you’re only showing leg. I think you have to stick to a body part  and show that. I don’t think you have to show all of it.’

In the culture war over reproductive rights, the right to life is often touted as the reason to limit women’s choice. But what happens when one woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy could potentially cure a mystery illness and save generations? That is the question Joselin Linder faces. She carries a genetic mutation in her heart that will eventually cause her a long and painful death, one she witnessed her father undergo. With the help of medical researchers, Linder discovered that the disease began five generations back in her family. Given that her family is the only known carrier of the mutation, she and her sister could eliminate the disease by choosing to bring to term only healthy babies.  Using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, doctors can screen foetuses for such genetic mutations and only implant foetuses without them. While some argue such selective birthing smacks of eugenics, Linder and her family see genetic medicine as an intentional, premeditated form of healthcare.  ”I don’t think it’s right to select for handsome, blue-eyed babies,” says Linder’s sister Hilary. “But if you can save a life? How wonderful that is.”


Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behavior and her presence at inappropriate places

Asha Mirje

india rape

A female Indian politician and member of the “women’s commission” sparked fury by saying that gang-rape victims may have invited attacks by the way they dress and behave.

“Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behavior and her presence at inappropriate places,” Asha Mirje, who is a member of the state women’s commission, said at a Tuesday meeting, local media reported.

She also questioned whether a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who died after being gang-raped on a bus in the capital New Delhi, really needed to go out to a movie at 11 p.m.

Thousands of people took to the streets in nationwide protests against rape and sexual assault after the attack, for which four men were sentenced to death last year.

Mirje, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in western Maharashtra state, also commented on the case of photojournalist who was gang-raped in Mumbai last year, asking, “Why did the victim go to such an isolated spot at 6 p.m.?”

Women, she explained, must be “careful” and must consider whether they are leaving themselves open to assault.

Her comments prompted fury from both politicians and activists, who called for her resignation or removal from her post on the women’s commission.

“Every time such a statement is made by a public figure it justifies rape,” Kavita Krishnan, secretary of lobby group All India Progressive Women’s Association, told Reuters. “It’s unconscionable that people in public posts make such remarks.”

Rupa Kulkarni, leader of domestic workers in the state, told the Hindustan Times that Mirje had ”no moral right to continue on the post as she is biased against women.”

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said Mirje had apologized for her comments, which did not represent the views of the party.

“As far as the party is concerned she has said sorry and the issued is closed,” he said.

Assaults have tarnished the reputation of the world’s largest democracy, where police said last week that village elders ordered the gang rape of a 20-year-old woman after they found out she was in a relationship with a man from a different community.

When the music started the young veiled woman bobbed her head to the rhythm, raised her hands to get the crowd clapping and then unleashed a flood of rap lyrics that tackled some of the biggest social challenges women face in the Arab world. Using the Middle East’s hit TV show “Arabs Got Talent” as her platform, 18-year-old Myam Mahmoud rapped about sexual harassment, second-class treatment of women and societal expectations of how a young religious woman should behave.

The Egyptian teenager didn’t win the program – she crashed out in the semifinals – but she did succeed in putting the spotlight on something bigger than herself.

“I wanted to tell girls in Egypt and everywhere else that they are not alone, we all have the same problems, but we cannot stay silent, we have to speak up,” Mahmoud told The Associated Press.

In Egypt, a country where politics have grabbed most of the headlines for the past three years, little space has been dedicated to addressing social problems. So Mahmoud, who is a first-year student of politics and economics at the October 6 University in a western Cairo suburb, decided to draw attention to women’s rights through rap.

“Everybody speaks about politics, but nobody tackles the topics that relate to me the most,” Mahmoud said.

She said she gets the ideas for her songs from the surrounding community, and that sometimes girls send her their problems to write about and give them a voice.

“Many girls want to say what I rap about, but they cannot for many reasons,” she said. “I speak for them.”

One of the biggest problems for woman in Egypt is harassment. A U.N. report released in April said the issue had reached “unprecedented levels,” with 99.3 percent of women in the country reporting that they have been subjected to sexual harassment.

Most Americans believe there is a ‘war on Christmas’ going on.

In less than a week’s time, Americans all over the country will celebrate Christmas day. Though the exact meaning of Christmas has long been controversial, the modern debate over a war on Christmas began in 2004 when Bill O’Reilly presented a show on Fox News focusing on the increasingly secular nature of Christmas. This year the controversy over Christmas has centred on the efforts of atheist groups to erect ‘Festivus’ poles next to nativity scenes put in place by public authorities.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (51%) believe that there is a war on Christmas going on, while 32% do not. There is a noticeable partisan divide on this issue, with most Democrats (52%) saying that there is not a war on Christmas and most Independents (60%) and Republicans (70%) saying that there is.


Traditionally, one of the major aspects of the war on Christmas controversy is the increasingly widespread usage of ‘Happy Holidays’ as a greeting instead of ‘Merry Christmas’. Supporters of ‘Happy Holidays’ have said that it is more inclusive, as it includes other religious holidays, such as Hannukah, which take place towards the end of the year. 72% of Americans prefer to use ‘Merry Christmas’ instead, but support for ‘Happy Holidays’ is highest in the Northeast (31%).


The display of nativity scenes on public grounds is another major battleground, with secular groups and civil liberties groups supportive of the separation of church and state often seeking to prevent religious displays on public property or, alternatively, fighting to ensure that other religious displays can also be placed on public land. The vast majority of Americans (79%) think that nativity scenes should be allowed to be displayed on public grounds – 3% higher than the proportion of Americans who think that secular holiday scenes should be allowed.


Robin Thicke has been named ‘the sexist of the year’ by a body representing dozens of women’s groups around the UK.

The singer achieved fame and notoriety on the back of his single Blurred Lines, which was accompanied by a video in which he was surrounded by naked dancing models.

Robin topped the voting in a poll conducted by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, with Prime Minister David Cameron runner-up for the second successive year.

The coalition – which has more than 60 member groups working to end sexual and domestic violence, trafficking and other forms of abuse – also highlighted comments Robin had made in interviews.

In one interview with GQ magazine earlier this year, he said: “People say, ‘Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before’.”

The coalition said it would be sending Robin a voucher to enable him to download Aretha Franklin’s hit R.E.S.P.E.C.T. as a prize.

Sarah Green of the End Violence Against Women Coalition pointed out that Robin’s video had created such a backlash that it had actually had the effect of fuelling a campaign against videos using sexist imagery.

She said: “Our heartfelt congratulations to a worthy winner Robin Thicke for both his concerted sexist efforts, and in the end the platform he created for rejection of the use of women as objects to promote mediocre pop.

“Sexism might be de rigeur for some music industry ‘creatives’ but the times they are a changin’.”

Who needs plastic surgery, make-up and beauty regiments when you can just buy a whole new face in the form of a mask? The Uniface mask comes with cell-binding glue and features big anime eyes, long lashes, a perfect nose, contoured cheeks, and a narrow chin – an all-in-one product for a lifetime’s worth of confidence.

But, it’s not what you think. Uniface, developed by Zhuoying (Joy) Li, a design and technology graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, created the mask and an accompanying website as her thesis project last year in response to the pressures women face regarding the “never-ending quest to adhere to society-set beauty standards.”

Raised in China, Joy was motivated to create Uniface by the many young Chinese women who she says suffer negative self-esteem due in part to how the “media has manipulated women’s desire to have the same extreme facial features.”

“The longer I stay in the U.S., the more important I feel individuality is regarding facial appearance, which is the opposite in China,” she said. “A large number of Chinese women are overdoing make-up and plastic surgery and increasingly look like clones of each other. Uniface is intended to raise the awareness of this beauty issue, and to make women rethink about what they are doing to themselves.”

Would a world full of Unifaces make you feel a bit uncomfortable?

uniface_4 Uniface_2-e1385950707770


Should women dress like Jennifer Aniston but act like housewife Betty Draper from Mad Men?

Question & Answer:

I recently read an article online detailing what female fashion trends men hate. Could you provide the definitive list of man-repelling fashion trends?

Sophie, by email


Absolutely, Sophie, it would be my pleasure. In fact, I read a similar article myself in a fashion magazine last month about a fashion stylist learning how to tone down her naturally flamboyant style so as not to scare off any romantic suiters, because heaven forfend she should find someone who likes her for who she actually is. So here is my definitive list about what fashions men don’t like: No 1 on the list is I Don’t Care. In with a flash at two is So What? And finally, rounding out our top three is, Um, Give a Stuff?

Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, and everyone is even allowed to have an opinion on other people’s clothes. Heck, some of us have turned that right into a profession. What is not permissible round my neck of the woods, however, is altering one’s personal style for the imagined preferences of an entire demographic.

I have time for a lot of things in my life: pootling around on the internet for entire afternoons for no obvious reason; buying things on the internet then sending them back about four times a week; re-reading every single Tintin at least once a year. So, as you can see, I have a lot of time on my hands. But I have no time whatsoever for tedious generalisations about men and women and, in particular, what men want from women, which invariably boils down to men wanting women to dress like Jennifer Aniston and act like a housewife from Mad Men.

Not only is this assumption pretty annoying to women, but it’s very demeaning to men. Despite what lazy standup comedians and rubbish bro-humour movies might suggest, some men – quite a few men, even – do want more than a blow-up doll in good jeans. Some of them, I’ve heard tell, like smart women – women with opinions, even! Fancy that! Because some men – maybe, just maybe, even most men – are human beings as opposed to galumphing neanderthals.

So there’s that. Next we come to the issue of dressing for someone else. Sure, it’s nice to be admired and maybe some women do dress purely for public approbation, or, more specifically, male approbation. But in my extensive experience of being a woman who wears clothes and hanging out with a lot of women who wear clothes, I feel I can say with some certainty that most women do not wear clothes for men – they wear clothes for themselves. In fact, contrary to the perception you may have been given by the media and pop culture, I would even go so far as to say most things women do regarding their personal appearance are for themselves. Because, funnily enough, not everything a woman does is to “get a man” or “wow a man” or whatever ovary-curdling phrase might be used.

One of the truly great pleasures of women’s fashion – and a major reason why I will always defend fashion against charges of anti-feminism – is how it allows women to enjoy themselves and try out different looks and just have some gosh-darned fun. After all, if you’re going to spend your own hard-earned money on a garment, at least you should enjoy the garment and feel comfortable and confident in it. You should not spend money on something you don’t like but think someone else will. That, surely, is just obvious common sense.

This tendency to change one’s appearance for oneself is not always healthy. The extreme example here is developing an eating disorder – and excuse me for going mildly off topic, but this is something of a bugbear of mine. Whenever anyone writes about eating disorders, there are always several comments beneath the article – invariably left by men (and that’s not a generalisation, that’s a fact) – suggesting that these women are being silly because: “Don’t women know that men like them with a bit of meat on?” Oh, you like us with “meat on”? Why didn’t you tell us before? Anorexia is now cured! Except, dear male commenters, this is not about you. Women don’t lose weight or, at the extreme end, develop eating disorders to be attractive to you. For better or worse, it’s about how they feel about themselves.

It is a similar situation with fashion. Women wear crazy, fashiony clothes for themselves, not for men, and so it really doesn’t matter what men think about them at all. And, more than that, women don’t care. Perhaps the most annoying gender generalisation these articles make is the suggestion that women don’t know that most men don’t like their dropped-crotch trousers, their giant peplums, their oversized trainers. Women aren’t stupid, you know. They just don’t care. And that’s just great.


Compliments of an invaluable introduction by WYSK Melissa Wardy, Women You Should Know had a chance to speak with David Trumble, an award-winning artist, cartoonist and illustrator about his prototype for Disney’s new “World of Women” collection. First unveiled in a May 2013 Huffington Post Parents blog, it features his princessified versions of ten of the world’s most inspiring women from past and present history. We love why he did it.

In addition to generously allowing Women You Should Know to run his original “World of Women” art, David also shared with us his reasons for drawing the thought-provoking cartoon, which he collaborated on, in part, with educational psychologist Lori Day. Here’s what he had to say (before & after images of each woman below).

“This was a response to the furor kicked up over the glossy ‘princessification’ of Pixar’s Merida character, both in image and doll form. I drew this picture because I wanted to analyze how unnecessary it is to collapse a heroine into one specific mold, to give them all the same sparkly fashion, the same tiny figures, and the same homogenized plastic smile.

“My experience of female role models both in culture and in life has shown me that there is no mold for what makes someone a role model, and the whole point of Merida was that she was a step in the right direction, providing girls with an alternative kind of princess. Then they took two steps back, and painted her with the same glossy brush as the rest. So I decided to take 10 real-life female role models, from diverse experiences and backgrounds, and filter them through the Disney princess assembly line.

“The result was this cartoon, which earned equal parts praise and ire from readers. Some didn’t get the joke, some disagreed with it, others saw no harm in it at all and wanted to buy the doll versions of them… it was a polarizing image, but I suppose that’s the point. The statement I wanted to make was that it makes no sense to put these real-life women into one limited template, so why then are we doing it to our fictitious heroines?

“Fiction is the lens through which young children first perceive role models, so we have a responsibility to provide them with a diverse and eclectic selection of female archetypes. Now, I’m not even saying that girls shouldn’t have princesses in their lives, the archetype in and of itself is not innately wrong, but there should be more options to choose from. So that was my intent, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to paint an entire gender of heroes with one superficial brush.

“But that’s just me.” – David Trumble


Via WomenYouShouldKnow