Manifestation of a Decision

My latest piece on security and women, for PassBlue looked at whether or not sexual violence was being used as a systemic weapon of war in Eastern Ukraine, as the conflict rages on, one year after the first protests in Kiev. The findings are inconclusive, but both the OSCE and UNHRC have positioned the situation as catastrophic for women and children.  What is known is that the country, through cultural mores and basically corrupt leadership, is woefully unprepared to deal with massive violence directed against women.

A weapon does not decide whether or not to kill. A weapon is a manifestation of a decision that has already been made. Stephen Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo

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Does a Millennial Not Bruise?

The Salvation Army, South Africa, turned the furor over #TheDress, the one that might have been  Gold/White or Black/Blue, into an amazing statement against Domestic Violence.  Props to the SA South Africa not only for capturing a moment that had widespread public’s attention and powering it for a serious message, but finding the dress in retail.

You can see their campaign in this tweet:

Lots of media outlets picked up on it, including the super cool (in non-ironic way) Quartz.  Only at Quartz, they decided that the cover photo to their article should not have as many bruises as the original PSA.  However, deeper in the article, Quartz published the original photo, leg bruises and all.  Queries to Quartz (c’mon, that’s fun to say) went unanswered as to why the bruise was removed for the cover photo; the bait that draws a reader into an article or book.

The cover image to the Quartz article. Notice that the bruising along the legs are less.

The cover image to the Quartz article. Notice that the bruising along the legs is less.

The image Quartz ran in the body of the article.

The image Quartz ran in the body of the article.

The Salvation Army was originally created in 1865, in the UK to work with those people who were outside of the realm of ‘good society,’ when a preacher left his church and took his vision of Christianity to the street. His intent, to reach those people that church-going Christians at the time wouldn’t welcome into their folds. Today, their mission reads: “Into the world of the hurting,  broken, lonely, dispossessed, and lost, reaching them with love by all means, we will . . . stand for and serve the marginalized.”

Quartz, established in 2012, is a new media venture “built for business people in the new economy” who are digesting media digitally, specifically over tablets and mobile phones. Any comparison between its audience, and the people in churches in 1865 is purely coincidental.

Karma Karma Karma Chameleon

So far, December has been an eventful month for yoga.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.27.44 PMFirst, Well+Good revisits a touchy issue, by posing “Does Yoga Have A Skinny White Girl Problem?” The post touches on race in regard to those who practice westernized yoga in the US, and whether there is judgment on race, body type and basically appearance in general (the post also serves as a good source for acceptance resources.) Part of the problem, and what fast tracked the discussion (at least this year) was this cringe worthy XO Jane post by a self described “skinny white girl.” (The author may be the best example of why I like Pilates more than yoga.) If you were brave enough to follow that link, cleanse your soul and mind with this rebuttal, which switches roles and substitutes twerking for yoga.   Continue reading

Politics of Fashion

As mentioned in “Don’t Cry For Me, Anglesey”  a recent report looked at the economic power to retailers behind Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama, among others. Men in power – they are mostly associated with food,  as food equals wealth and power and the quest for food shaping society from prehistoric days forward. However, there has been a long relationship between women in power (not solely those married to power, while exercising some of their own) that goes back to Cleopatra. Continue reading

If There Is a Snow Storm in Buffalo . . .

a “local area” politician is saying something not very erudite to the press. (Local area, yep – this is the place where a shopping center is referred to as the Galleria Mall. Redundancy abounds in the vernacular.)

Lake Effect Snow, courtesy of Imgur (

Lake Effect Snow, courtesy of Imgur (

Previously, the record was held by the Honorable Jimmy Griffin, famous for two gaffs.  Interviewed during a snow storm while in Buffalo, Griffin went on tv to tell people to wait it out in style.  His advice: “Wait it out with a six-pack of beer and a football game.”  ‘Cause all good storms come to an end.

A separate storm had him on NPR, from Florida, talking about how Buffalonians are prepared for snowstorms and ready to wait it out.  This time, his suggestion was that the good people of Buffalo would be fine, since they could stay inside and “drink a bottle of chabliss.”  Yes, two syllables, chab and bliss. Continue reading

Don’t Cry for Me, Anglesey

A recent study by Jeetendr Sehdev, a branding expert and marketing professor at the University of Southern California, found that women across the United States and the United Kingdom consider Michelle Obama as a greater “Style Icon” than Kate Middleton.   The study found that women perceived as having greater independence are also perceived, essentially, as more stylish. First Lady Michelle Obama, a Harvard Law School educated lawyer, was found to be 11 times more influential in fashion and style than the former party planner, Princess Catherine Cambridge. Another icon listed at Ms. Obama’s level in influence was millionaire singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, those at the Princess’s level included Snooki from Jersey Shore and Paris Hilton. Continue reading

Bigger than the NFL

‘Whoopin’.’ Even the promo for Starz new Lebron James collaborative show Survivor’s Remorse alludes to it. The numbers have been crunched (most impressively, by the NPR and FiveThirtyEight ) and the only thing noted is that spanking and whoopin’ are culturally acceptable in some parts of the country, and the practice is legal in almost every state. Texas even has guidelines on what is acceptable bruising and is not (apparently, any welt that stays around for over an hour could be construed as child abuse, anything that dissipates under an hour, you’re good, cause hey, by the time that kid is in therapy, you won’t be paying for it.) Continue reading