Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Katie Couric Regrets ‘Poor Decision’ to Insert Pause in Gun Documentary Interview<p> <strong>&ldquo;This was an unnecessary mistake,&rdquo; an individual with knowledge of Couric&rsquo;s thinking told TheWrap</strong></p> <p> Katie Couric is upset that an eight-second pause inserted into an interview she did with gun rights activists&nbsp;in the documentary &ldquo;Under the Gun&rdquo; has drawn criticism, calling the edit an &ldquo;unnecessary mistake,&rdquo; according to an individual with knowledge of her thinking.</p> <p> The individual spoke to TheWrap and said that director Stephanie Soechtig inserted the pause, which critics&nbsp;are calling an example of &ldquo;deceptive&rdquo; and &ldquo;appalling journalism.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;This was an unnecessary mistake,&rdquo; the individual told TheWrap. &ldquo;It did not represent editing someone&rsquo;s sentences, there was no factual error, this is not a mistake that is a substantive mistake. It could have been avoided,&rdquo; he said, adding: &ldquo;This was a poor decision that was made and it involves silence.&rdquo;</p> <p> Soechtig also spoke to TheWrap and stood by&nbsp;the editing choice.</p> <p> &ldquo;I would never misrepresent someone&rsquo;s point of view and I don&rsquo;t think I did by doing this,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think I misrepresented gun owners or the people featured in the film.&rdquo;</p> <p> In an official statement, Soechtig said, &ldquo;my intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans&rsquo; opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.&rdquo;</p> <p> The documentary features members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League taking part in&nbsp;a roundtable, during which&nbsp;the clip appears to capture eight&nbsp;seconds of silence after&nbsp;Couric asks, &ldquo;If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?&rdquo;</p> <p> VCDL president Philip Van Cleave told the <a href="http://freebeacon.com/issues/audio-shows-katie-couric-gun-documentary-deceptively-edited-interview-pro-gun-activists/"><strong>Washington Free Beacon</strong></a>&nbsp;that Couric&nbsp;&ldquo;intentionally removed their answers and spliced in nine seconds of some prior video of our members sitting quietly and not responding. Viewers are left with the misunderstanding that the members had no answer to her question.&rdquo;</p> <p> According to&nbsp;the Beacon, audio of the roundtable confirms Van Cleave&rsquo;s assertion, and reveals that members immediately answered a similar question.</p> <p> Others are outraged by&nbsp;the way the activists are portrayed overall in the documentary.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Katie Couric should be ashamed of herself for her dishonest and distorted reporting on this issue,&rdquo; Culture of Alarmism Director Julie Gunlock said </span></span><a href="http://iwf.org/media/2800319/STATEMENT:-Like-Serial-Fabricator-Brian-Williams,-Katie-Couric-Should-Be-Fired"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">in an official statement</span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">.</span></span></strong></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2800343/Julie GunlockFri, 27 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCouric stands by ‘Under the Gun,’ director apologizes for controversial edit<p> NEW YORK &mdash; The director of a new documentary about gun violence says she is sorry for a misleading scene that makes gun rights activists seem stumped by one of interviewer Katie Couric&rsquo;s questions.</p> <p> &ldquo;I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way,&rdquo; director Stephanie Soechtig said after conservative blogs and media outlets exposed the editing.</p> <p> Epix, the distributor of the documentary, &ldquo;Under the Gun,&rdquo; defended Soechtig and Couric&rsquo;s work and urged people to watch it for themselves. But the National Rifle Association cited the controversy as proof that the documentary is a &ldquo;fraud,&rdquo; and conservative groups seized on it as a powerful illustration of liberal media bias.</p> <p> Others quickly weighed in. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple said the edit was &ldquo;just plain wrong.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Under the Gun,&rdquo; like many documentaries, comes from a clear point of view. It highlights the death toll from gun violence in America and questions why more hasn&rsquo;t been done to enact gun safety reforms.</p> <p> Couric, an executive producer of the film, also acts as an interviewer.</p> <p> At a gathering of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a staunch pro-gun group, she is heard asking the&nbsp;question:&nbsp;&ldquo;If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?&rdquo;</p> <p> The documentary shows the group members quietly looking at Couric, each other and toward the ground, as if no one has an answer to the question. This goes on for about eight seconds, and then there&rsquo;s a transition to an explanation of background checks.</p> <p> The documentary had its TV premiere on May 15. One week later, the Ammoland blog published the audio from the group interview, demonstrating that the activists started responding to Couric&rsquo;s question right away.</p> <p> In the documentary, Ammoland said, &ldquo;The clear implication is that none of the group had an answer for that question and was being evasive and avoiding eye contact. The truth is &hellip; that the group responded to Katie immediately, with answers to her question. Yet the video shows no one responding.&rdquo;</p> <p> Ammoland&rsquo;s blog post was amplified by the Washington Free Beacon website on Wednesday. That&rsquo;s when Soechtig and Couric apparently became aware of the online controversy.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Most of the reactions centered on Couric, who is already distrusted by many conservatives. One conservative group, the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, issued a statement that compared her to &ldquo;serial fabricator Brian Williams&rdquo; and said she &ldquo;should be fired.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> But Soechtig indicated that she, not Couric, had editorial control. In a statement, Soechtig explained the edit.</p> <p> &ldquo;My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans&rsquo; opinions on background checks,&rdquo; Soechtig said.</p> <p> Soechtig and the editors apparently stitched together Couric&rsquo;s question with video from another part of the interview session, when the activists sat quietly.</p> <p> While documentaries are not necessarily held to the same standards as television newscasts, the edit left viewers with the clear impression that the activists had no idea what to tell Couric.</p> <p> Couric also issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying, &ldquo;I support Stephanie&rsquo;s statement and am very proud of the film.&rdquo;</p> <p> Epix, a television network and streaming service, said it &ldquo;stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.&rdquo;</p> <p> As the controversy erupted, Epix promoted ways to watch the documentary for free on the web.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2800335/Julie GunlockThu, 26 May 2016 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumKatie Couric slammed for 'deceptive' documentary about gun rights<p> Gun rights activists featured in a new documentary hosted by Katie Couric say it utilizes deceptive editing to misrepresent their response to a question from the news anchor.</p> <p> Members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League took part in a roundtable discussion in the film &quot;Under the Gun.&quot;</p> <p> A&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6_9q8K2VK8">clip</a>&nbsp;appears to show nine seconds of silence after Couric asks them, &quot;If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?&quot;</p> <p> Audio released to&nbsp;<a href="http://freebeacon.com/issues/audio-shows-katie-couric-gun-documentary-deceptively-edited-interview-pro-gun-activists/">the Washington Free Beacon</a>&nbsp;reveals members immediately answering a similar question posed by Couric.</p> <p> Director Stephanie Soechtig&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2016/05/25/audiotape-katie-couric-documentary-falsely-depicts-gun-supporters-as-idiots/">tells The Washington Post</a>&nbsp;the pause was so viewers could consider the question. Couric says she supports the statement and is &quot;very proud of the film.&quot;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">But some are furious over the way the film portrays the activists in the documentary. The Independent Women&#39;s Forum issued a statement on Wednesday calling for Couric to be fired.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Katie Couric should be ashamed of herself for her dishonest and distorted reporting on this issue,&rdquo; said Culture of Alarmism Director Julie Gunlock. &ldquo;She has gone from respected journalist to propagandist for gun control groups&hellip;&nbsp; Like serial fabricator Brian Williams, Couric should be fired. Her tactics have been exposed and Americans should never again trust her to report on these important issues.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Some social media users echoed the organizations sentiments.</p> <p> The NRA called the edits &quot;outrageous&quot; and &quot;unbelievable&quot; and tweeted that Couric should explain the editing.</p> <p> &ldquo;Under the Gun&rdquo; premiered May 15 on Epix. It first screened at the Sundance Film Festival back in January.</p> <p> <em>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p> http://iwf.org/media/2800334/Julie GunlockThu, 26 May 2016 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumKatie Couric Stands By 'Under the Gun' As Director Apologizes For Misleading Edit<p> The director of a new documentary about gun violence says she is sorry for a misleading scene that makes gun rights activists seem stumped by one of interviewer <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/12/media/katie-couric/index.html?iid=EL">Katie Couric</a>&#39;s questions.</p> <p> &quot;I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way,&quot; director Stephanie Soechtig said after conservative blogs and media outlets exposed the editing.</p> <p> Epix, the distributor of the documentary, &quot;Under the Gun,&quot; defended Soechtig and Couric&#39;s work and urged people to watch it for themselves. But the National Rifle Association cited the controversy as proof that the documentary is a &quot;fraud,&quot; and conservative groups seized on it as a powerful illustration of liberal media bias.</p> <p> Others quickly weighed in. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple said the edit was &quot;just plain wrong.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;Under the Gun,&quot; like many documentaries, comes from a clear point of view. It highlights the death toll from gun violence in America and questions why more hasn&#39;t been done to enact gun safety reforms.</p> <p> Couric, an executive producer of the film, also acts as an interviewer. At a gathering of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a staunch pro-gun group, she is heard asking this question:</p> <p> &quot;If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorist from walking into, say, a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?&quot;</p> <p> The documentary shows the group members quietly looking at Couric, each other and toward the ground, as if no one has an answer to the question. This goes on for about eight seconds, and then there&#39;s a transition to an explanation of background checks.</p> <p> The documentary had its TV premiere on May 15. One week later, the Ammoland blog published the audio from the group interview, demonstrating that the activists started responding to Couric&#39;s question right away.</p> <p> In the documentary, Ammoland said, &quot;The clear implication is that none of the group had an answer for that question and was being evasive and avoiding eye contact. The truth is... that the group responded to Katie immediately, with answers to her question! Yet the video shows no one responding.&quot;</p> <p> Ammoland&#39;s Monday blog post was amplified by the Washington Free Beacon web site on Wednesday. That&#39;s when Soechtig and Couric apparently became aware of the online controversy.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Most of the reactions centered on Couric, who is already distrusted by many conservatives. One conservative group, the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, issued a statement that compared her to &quot;serial fabricator Brian Williams&quot; and said she &quot;should be fired.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> But Soechtig indicated that she, not Couric, had editorial control. In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Soechtig explained the edit this way: &quot;My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans&#39; opinions on background checks.&quot;</p> <p> Soechtig and the editors apparently stitched together Couric&#39;s question with video from another part of the interview session, when the activists sat quietly.</p> <p> While documentaries are not necessarily held to the same standards as television newscasts, the edit left viewers with the clear impression that the activists had no idea what to tell Couric.</p> <p> Couric also issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon. She said, &quot;I support Stephanie&#39;s statement and am very proud of the film.&quot;</p> <p> Epix &mdash; a television network and streaming service &mdash; said that it &quot;stands behind Katie Couric, director Stephanie Soechtig, and their creative and editorial judgment. We encourage people to watch the film and decide for themselves.&quot;</p> <p> As the controversy erupted, Epix promoted ways to watch the documentary for free on the web.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2800322/Julie GunlockThu, 26 May 2016 07:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #38 • Women LEAD Preview: Culture of Alarmism, Scaring You Sillyhttp://iwf.org/media/2800312/Julie GunlockWed, 25 May 2016 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen, Guns & Gun Control + New Nutrition Labels • Cam & Companyhttp://iwf.org/media/2800311/Julie GunlockTue, 24 May 2016 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSending Your Kids to Sleep-Away Camp Doesn’t Make You a Rebel<p> We tend to think of helicopter parents as those nervous moms on the playground, hovering over their toddlers. Yet, today, the hovering doesn&rsquo;t stop when kids grow up. For some helicopter parents, the need to hover becomes more intense as children age and they continue to try to give their children a leg up in the world.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/05/the-partnership-between-colleges-and-helicopter-parents/482595/">Writing in The Atlantic</a>, Laura Hamilton touched on a new helicoptering phenomenon among college-aged children and their parents, wherein universities now increasingly rely on involved parents to help shepherd their kids through school.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;Professional-oriented helicopter parents like Andrea left nothing to chance&mdash;she began reviewing the dental graduate-school application process before college even began, and ensured that her daughter acquired the right experiences to secure a spot in a top institution. When a wealthy boyfriend nearly caused her daughter to fail organic chemistry, Andrea gently nudged him out of the picture by encouraging her daughter to focus on academics and friends instead. Dental school became a parental project&mdash;as her husband noted, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m happy because the way we did it worked out in terms of her being admitted to the graduate programs she wanted. I think the decisions we made were the right decisions.&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course, it begins before college. Consider Laura Clydesdale, a mother and blogger who lives in Berkeley, California, who recently wrote a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/05/09/can-sleep-away-camp-give-kids-a-competitive-advantage-in-life/">piece</a> for The Washington Post about her decision to send her kids to sleep-away camp, which she claims gives them a competitive advantage over other kids.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &ldquo;We [send them to sleep-away camp] because we truly think it will help our kids be successful in life. With under-employment and a stagnating labor market looming in their future, an all-around, sleep-away summer camp is one of the best competitive advantages we can give our children.&rdquo;</p> <p> Clydesdale claims that some people have told her she&rsquo;s making a terrible mistake by sending her kids to camp and letting them miss out on &ldquo;r&eacute;sum&eacute;-building&rdquo; summer activities such as internships, sports and academic camps, and SAT and ACT prep classes.</p> <p> But instead of defending her choice as one that allows her children to get away from their regular schedule (and also gives her a break) for a few months, Clydesdale constructs a complicated narrative suggesting she&rsquo;s making the better decision for her children&rsquo;s futures and doing more to help her kids in terms of future marketability than parents who choose the more traditional &ldquo;r&eacute;sum&eacute;-building&rdquo; activities that often fill privileged kids&rsquo; summer breaks.</p> <p> Clydesdale admits that her kids are overscheduled during the school year, describing &ldquo;intensely packed schedules full of sports, music, art classes, community service and technological stimulation.&rdquo; Yet, she never once considers that the solution is maybe, just maybe, eliminating some of those activities during the year. Instead, the solution is to continue that neck-breaking pace each year and then pay a significant amount of money to give her kids some &ldquo;quiet mental space&rdquo; at sleep-away camp over the summer.</p> <p> Interestingly, Clydesdale cites and clearly understands the latest research that shows benefits to giving kids more open-ended time. She even quotes Harvard&rsquo;s Dean of Admissions who, in an open letter to parents, implored them to let children relax during the summer break or&mdash;even more out of the ordinary&mdash;let them get a summer job. In other words: to let them do what a whole lot of us did as kids.</p> <p> But Clydesdale doesn&rsquo;t let her kids relax. She doesn&rsquo;t tell them to apply for a summer job at the ice cream shop around the corner. Instead, she tells herself that she&rsquo;s giving her kids a break when, in reality, she&rsquo;s exactly the same as the mothers she derides. She&rsquo;s just controlling her kids in a different way. Clydesdale says that while her children are away at sleep-away camp, they will &ldquo;explore, perform skits they wrote themselves and make those endless friendship bracelets to tie onto the wrists of lifelong friends.&rdquo; What she seems to forget is that these activities will all be scheduled by the camp counselors, and her kids&rsquo; time will be carefully managed and manipulated. She&rsquo;s not sending them to some rustic camp in the mountains where they&rsquo;ll have to fend for themselves for two months, <a href="http://www.beargrylls.com/">Bear Grylls</a>-style.</p> <p> Clydesdale says her children will return home with &ldquo;gobs of creativity and independence&rdquo; and that &ldquo;they&rsquo;ll be more comfortable with who they are as people.&rdquo;&nbsp;That&rsquo;s nice. And no one should criticize this woman for choosing sleep-away camp for her kids. But Clydesdale also shouldn&rsquo;t dress this up as some sort of brave or rebellious decision.</p> <p> Clydesdale&rsquo;s kids are going to be overscheduled at camp, just like they are overscheduled during the school year. If Clydesdale really wanted to be cutting-edge, she&rsquo;d do what many parents of lesser means do each summer&mdash;let her kids lay on the couch, wander the neighborhood, knock on their friends&rsquo; front doors to see if they want to come out to play, ride their bikes to a local playground, and even watch television while munching on Cheetos.</p> <p> In an age of helicopter parenting, that&rsquo;s genuine rebellion.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2800227/Julie GunlockTue, 17 May 2016 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSleep-Away Camp + No, Your Oatmeal Won't Kill You • Cam & Company http://iwf.org/media/2800264/Julie GunlockTue, 17 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJulie Gunlock: “Let Parents Decide If They Want their Kids to Wait in the Car”http://iwf.org/media/2800221/Julie GunlockMon, 16 May 2016 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum Megan Fox Steps Away From ‘Sexy’ Roles To Be A Better Role Model For Her Kids<p> Actress Megan Fox is known for her sex appeal, but now that she is a young mom, she&rsquo;s taking a step back from roles. Fox <a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/7134194/Hollywood-star-Megan-Fox-says-her-raunchiest-days-are-behind-her.html">explained to</a>&nbsp;<em>The Sun&nbsp;</em>that she&rsquo;s done taking those which involve sex scenes, in case her sons were to ever see them, since she doesn&rsquo;t &ldquo;think my boys could handle that&rdquo; and that &ldquo;it gets very confusing when it&rsquo;s your own mother.&rdquo;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">It may cost Fox&nbsp;some roles and lead her to leaving Hollywood completely, which is &ldquo;a shame,&rdquo; but is </span></span><a href="http://iwf.org/news/2800199/Megan-Fox-Just-Made-a-Radical-Decision-for-the-Sake-of-Her-Kids"><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">still applauded by </span></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color: rgb(234, 66, 91);">Julie Gunlock with Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. &ldquo;Fox shows she&rsquo;s put some deep thought into this, understands the essence of her craft and how it&rsquo;s perceived by the audience, not just the actor,&rdquo; Gunlock notes.</span></span></strong></span></p> <p> Fox is also a refresher compared to&nbsp;Kim Kardashian, Beyonc&eacute;, or Madonna, who are also mothers, yet still act as sex symbols. Pointing out that they&rsquo;re mothers amounts to &ldquo;slut shaming,&rdquo; as some see it, however.</p> <p> The idea that mothers, and women in general, don&rsquo;t need to show their bodies off in such a way to feel empowered, is not seen by all. Gunlock points to the new Starz series,&nbsp;<em>The Girlfriend Experience,&nbsp;</em>where &ldquo;Riley Keough, who, as the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, hardly has to turn to grimy soft-core pornography in order to get her foot in Hollywood&rsquo;s door, was filmed totally nude, engaged in multiple sex scenes, simulated masturbation and inserted a tampon on screen.&rdquo;</p> <p> And yet as embarrassed as Keough unsurprisingly was, she spoke positively of it, by &ldquo;show[ing]&nbsp;things that you don&rsquo;t really see, like the girl getting her period or the girl masturbating.&rdquo;</p> <p> But, the blame is not only on Keough for taking such roles and Hollywood for offering them. It&rsquo;s on the consumer as well for demanding sexual roles and to see women portray themselves in such a way.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2800211/Julie GunlockSun, 15 May 2016 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFree-range Parenting Movement • Good Morning Washington (05.13.16) http://iwf.org/media/2800208/Julie GunlockFri, 13 May 2016 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMegan Fox Just Made a Radical Decision for the Sake of Her Kids<p> &ldquo;There are just certain things boys should never see their mothers do,&rdquo; says Megan Fox, a sexy-as-they-come actress who has starred in a series of Hollywood blockbusters. Usually cast in the sultry eye-candy role, Fox says she&rsquo;s done taking roles that require her to do, as she says, &ldquo;near pornographic&rdquo; scenes.</p> <p> What changed her mind? Becoming a mother and quite naturally wanting to protect her children from the embarrassment of seeing a parent perform a sex act on screen.</p> <p> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think my boys could handle that,&rdquo; she&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/7134194/Hollywood-star-Megan-Fox-says-her-raunchiest-days-are-behind-her.html">told the Sun</a>, adding: &ldquo;They can&rsquo;t separate the experience from the reality from the art. It gets very confusing when it&rsquo;s your own mother.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not just shame, as she notes &mdash; though there is that. Fox shows she&rsquo;s put some deep thought into this, understands the essence of her craft and how it&rsquo;s perceived by the audience, not just the actor.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s especially important since the audience she&rsquo;s worried about here is her family &mdash; specifically, her young children (and the one on the way). &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just acting, it&rsquo;s just a job&rdquo; may be a tempting way to wave away such concerns and build a wall between an actor&rsquo;s professional and personal lives. But the nature of (good) acting is that it blurs those lines. Fox gets that.</p> <p> Her comments are also notable because when famous mothers like, say, Kim Kardashian or Beyonc&eacute; or Madonna are out and about with no clothes on, and they get the &ldquo;cover up, you&rsquo;re a mother for Pete&rsquo;s sake&rdquo; critique, feminist writers are quick to defend them by leveling the charge of &ldquo;slut-shaming.&rdquo;</p> <p> Fox&rsquo;s perspective, prudish by Hollywood standards, is refreshing out here in the real world. Particularly in today&rsquo;s culture, where female entertainers increasingly go by the &ldquo;less (clothing) is more&rdquo; rule and casually post naked pictures of themselves claiming they feel &ldquo;empowered&rdquo; and &ldquo;liberated&rdquo; to cover for their gross immodesty and (pardon the pun) naked self-promotion.</p> <p> And unlike Fox, more and more actresses are blurring the line between traditional movie roles and pornography.</p> <p> Consider the new Starz series &ldquo;The Girlfriend Experience,&rdquo; which follows the life of a full-time law student and part-time prostitute.</p> <p> Men sort of love this mythical scenario, right? The smart-as-a-whip, yet financially strapped young woman who is only whoring around for money because she wants to improve her station in life.</p> <p> For the role, Riley Keough, who, as the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, hardly has to turn to grimy soft-core pornography in order to get her foot in Hollywood&rsquo;s door, was filmed totally nude, engaged in multiple sex scenes, simulated masturbation and inserted a tampon on screen.</p> <p> Remember to add it to your family&rsquo;s TV night Netflix queue.</p> <p> Of course, &ldquo;The Girlfriend Experience&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t some late night, after-hours, cheaply produced, badly acted, on-demand soft-core porno. &ldquo;The Girlfriend Experience&rdquo; is a well-funded premium cable channel series produced and directed by Academy Award and Palme d&rsquo;Or winning director and producer Stephen Soderbergh. You don&rsquo;t get much more respectable than that.</p> <p> And while Keough admits she was uncomfortable filming many of the scenes, she seems to think she&rsquo;s performing some sort of public service by embarrassing herself, saying, &ldquo;We wanted to show things that you don&rsquo;t really see, like the girl getting her period or the girl masturbating.&rdquo;</p> <p> Apparently women are in the dark about these things. Thanks for educating us all, Ms. Keough and Mr. Soderbergh. Brave.</p> <p> Keough may feel better to see this as somehow edgy and empowering, but it&rsquo;s more likely evidence of a race to the bottom, in which young actresses have fewer choices and taking sexually explicit and exploitive roles is the best way to get ahead.</p> <p> Actresses aren&rsquo;t the only ones feeling limited in Hollywood. According to a complaint filed by the ACLU, female producers and directors are also feeling sidelined by Hollywood studios that rarely select them to direct major films. This has prompted two federal government agencies to launch investigations into discrimination against female directors in Hollywood.</p> <p> Megan Fox seems to understand that she can&rsquo;t change the culture alone and that her unwillingness to take on the racy roles may limit her opportunities and fame. As such, Fox says she&rsquo;s considering a move away from Hollywood.</p> <p> Yet, Fox has done more than she knows. She&rsquo;s voiced a concern that no doubt others in Hollywood share. And she&rsquo;s alerted the public to her discomfort. That&rsquo;s important because the Hollywood studio system isn&rsquo;t entirely to blame for the limited roles offered to female actors. Consumers are increasingly demanding sexually explicit material.</p> <p> Until consumers start shutting these shows off and start turning on shows that are more family-friendly and modest, nothing will change.</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2800199/Julie GunlockFri, 13 May 2016 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNo, Your Oatmeal Will Not Kill You<p> This week, Americans woke up and decided to forgo their healthy morning bowl of oatmeal because of a misleading story from <em>The Daily Mail</em> headlined <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3568268/Is-oatmeal-killing-Quaker-Oats-sued-5million-following-claims-WEED-KILLER-used-production.html">&ldquo;Is your oatmeal killing you? Quaker Oats is sued for $5 million following claims WEED KILLER is used in production.&rdquo;</a> Where do I start?</p> <p> Well, let&rsquo;s start with sources. Sources, sources, sources&mdash;there are so many sources these days. The trick is knowing the good sources. So let&rsquo;s consider the source for this story: <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</p> <p> Look, don&rsquo;t get me wrong. I love <em>The Daily Mail</em>. In fact, I read it every single day&mdash;for Hollywood and entertainment gossip (and to keep up with Gwyneth and Jenny McCarthy&rsquo;s latest idiocy). Yet I do not get my health and diet information from a site that specializes in promoting Kim Kardashian&rsquo;s buttocks, Justin Bieber&rsquo;s love life, and Gisele&rsquo;s new nose.</p> <p> In <em>The Daily Mail</em>&rsquo;s defense (hysterical and utterly unnecessary headline aside), they were reporting on a (soon to be thrown out) lawsuit filed by a Brooklyn (natch!) resident who claims Quaker Oats lied by labeling the cereal &ldquo;100 percent natural.&rdquo; The lawsuit claims this label is false because during the growing of the oats, a pesticide called glyphosate&mdash;a synthetic weed killer&mdash;is used as an herbicide on the crops to stave off weeds and increase yield.</p> <p> <strong>Beware Words Like &lsquo;Natural&rsquo; and &lsquo;Toxic&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> I&rsquo;ll get to the &ldquo;glyphosate kills&rdquo; baloney in a moment, but this lawsuit should serve as a warning to the food industry. It raises some very interesting questions about food marketing and the food industry&rsquo;s continued use of meaningless and somewhat misleading phrases like &ldquo;natural,&rdquo; &ldquo;healthy,&rdquo; &ldquo;clean,&rdquo; and similar gimmicky terms that lack an agreed-upon or federally recognized definition (while the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, doesn&rsquo;t currently define &ldquo;natural,&rdquo; the agency is <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm456090.htm">currently taking comments</a> on a definition).</p> <p> Whether the word &ldquo;natural&rdquo; is being properly used is open to debate. But just because something is a chemical and used during the food production process doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s a danger to humans, must less a secret killer.</p> <p> In fact, &ldquo;toxic&rdquo; is a word that is often thrown around but is as misleading as &ldquo;natural.&rdquo; After all, everything is toxic at a certain dose. Drinking too much water can kill you. Eating too much cantaloupe can kill you. Even eating too much kale can kill you. And yes, consuming high levels of just about any sort of chemical can harm or even kill you. The important takeaway? Dose makes the poison.</p> <p> <strong>Dose Makes the Poison</strong></p> <p> So, in evaluating how concerned you should be about the trace amounts of glyphosate in oatmeal, one must consider the dose. It&rsquo;s helpful to compare it to other items Americans are consuming. This graph from The Credible Hulk offers a good visual:</p> <p> <a href="http://s1202.photobucket.com/user/IWF11/media/Blog%20photos/gunlock1_zpsuqqo9fer.png.html" target="_blank"><img alt=" photo gunlock1_zpsuqqo9fer.png" border="0" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Blog%20photos/gunlock1_zpsuqqo9fer.png" /></a></p> <p> So, if you&rsquo;re concerned about trace (almost undetectable) levels of glyphosate in your bowl of oatmeal, you better put down that coffee, stop taking an Advil after your spin class, and learn to love bland food.</p> <p> But before we move on, take another look at that chart. Look way up there at the tippy top. See that compound called Rotenone? Well, guess what? That stuff is <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/rotenone-organic-zb0z1405zsto.aspx">allowed for use as a pesticide in organic farming</a>. See a few columns below that, that stuff called lime sulfur? Yeah, another &ldquo;organic pesticide&rdquo; that&rsquo;s more toxic than glyphosate. Uh huh. Those organic farmers might just want to switch to the less-toxic glyphosate if they really cared about their customers. Just an idea.</p> <p> Still not convinced? Check out this piece on glyphosate toxicity written by Dr. Anastasia Bodnar who, unlike the entertaining writers at <em>The Daily Mail</em>, studied genetics and sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University and writes on agriculture questions for Biofortified blog. I mean, she&rsquo;s not covering Madonna, but&hellip; In answering the question &ldquo;Is glyphosate toxic,&rdquo; Bodner offers some common sense, saying:</p> <p> Of course glyphosate is toxic! It is a herbicide after all &ndash; the whole point of glyphosate (G for short in this post) is to kill unwanted plants. Like all chemicals, including <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication">water</a> and <a href="http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/toxicology/salt_toxicity/overview_of_salt_toxicity.html">salt</a>, G is going to be toxic to animals (including humans) at some <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dose_(biochemistry)">dose</a>.&nbsp;Compared to other herbicides, though, G is a pretty safe option for killing weeds.</p> <p> Next, Bodnar explains produce is regularly tested for pesticide residue to ensure the residues are kept at safe levels. She writes:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The EPA sets maximum safe levels of pesticide residues for crops (called <a href="http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/tolerances.htm">tolerances</a>), based on the latest science. These tolerances are hundreds of times higher than estimated toxic values, and they consider a person&rsquo;s total exposure to pesticides (with a wide margin of error to protect children and others who may be vulnerable). The <a href="http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/pdp">USDA</a> tests crops each year to make sure they don&rsquo;t go above the tolerances. Very few pesticides are found above the tolerance levels (despite what the <a href="http://www.biofortified.org/2013/05/dirty-dozen/">Dirty Dozen</a> list claims). If the USDA finds any pesticides above the set tolerance, or finds pesticides on crops where they aren&rsquo;t supposed to be, they report that information to the FDA. The <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Pesticides/UCM2006797.htm">FDA</a> puts the teeth in this whole system. They have the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Pesticides/UCM371200.pdf">regulatory power</a>&nbsp;to start recalls, levy fines, turn back foods at the ports, and so on&hellip;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;No Solid Evidence&rsquo; Links Glyphosate to Harm</strong></p> <p> Bodnar then offers links to the latest (and highly respected) literature on glyphosate and humans (<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21798302">here</a>, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22683395">here</a>, and <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202229">here</a>), explaining that these &ldquo;reviews looked at epidemiological studies, ones that look at disease incidence in large numbers of humans with varying levels of exposure to G or that look at exposure to G in a population that has a disease.&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s important. It means scientists have looked at populations that have higher rates of cancers and other diseases and looked to see if those people had been exposed to glyphosate. Conversely, they&rsquo;ve looked at people who for whatever reason have higher exposure to glyphosate (farm workers, for instance) and have checked for certain disease.</p> <p> To quote one of the studies&rsquo; findings: &ldquo;the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations.&rdquo; Another says: &ldquo;Our review found no evidence of a consistent pattern of positive associations indicating a causal relationship between any disease and exposure to glyphosate.&rdquo;</p> <p> Bodnar also provides some information on why farmers use the stuff:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> One interesting use of G is to dry wheat before harvest. To help reduce levels of toxic fusarium fungus on wheat, it is good to harvest the wheat as early as possible but you can&rsquo;t harvest it until it&rsquo;s dry. So G is used to dry (aka kill) the wheat plants so the grain can be harvested. As long as the G is sprayed after the plants have fully matured, the G won&rsquo;t be moved from the plant into the seeds. Here, G is actually helping farmers prevent a legitimately scary toxin from getting into the food supply.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s right. Farmers aren&rsquo;t using this simply to freak out moms. They&rsquo;re using this pesticide to improve farming, increase yield, and stave off a potentially very harmful bacteria from entering the food supply. DAMN YOU, MONSANTO!</p> <p> <strong>The Real Consequences of Crazy Food Frights</strong></p> <p> Of course, what&rsquo;s really sad is that a number of folks who read this kind of rubbish will react by changing their habits&mdash;like forgoing their favorite oats in the morning. Moms will stop feeding oats to their kids because they&rsquo;ll begin to worry they&rsquo;re slowly poisoning them. Just look at a sample of the comments from the article (I know, I know, never read the comments!).</p> <p> <a href="http://s1202.photobucket.com/user/IWF11/media/Blog%20photos/gunlock2_zpsmvdn0lq8.png.html" target="_blank"><img alt=" photo gunlock2_zpsmvdn0lq8.png" border="0" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Blog%20photos/gunlock2_zpsmvdn0lq8.png" /></a></p> <p> So California Sue and Phantom D.I.C.E now think they&rsquo;ve hurt themselves. They&rsquo;ve probably dumped their tins of oatmeal and will never eat it again. Or, even more disturbing, particularly if don&rsquo;t have enough money to buy organic, they will nonetheless switch to these more expensive brands that are no healthier or safer, at a great sacrifice to their personal food budgets.</p> <p> Bob&rsquo;s Red Mill, which produces a more expensive, organic brand of oatmeal, was quick to take advantage of the &ldquo;oatmeal kills&rdquo; tosh. It posted a note on the company website to kinda, sorta (<a href="http://blog.bobsredmill.com/behind-the-scenes/glyphosate/">okay, we&rsquo;re not really sure if our growers use glyphosate but we&rsquo;re looking into it</a>) offer reassurance.</p> <p> Of course, this is no surprise. Organic food peddlers are very good at using these food scares to promote their own products and I sure as heck don&rsquo;t expect Bob&rsquo;s Red Mill to inform customers that even organic farmers use pesticides (here&rsquo;s the <a href="http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&amp;SID=9874504b6f1025eb0e6b67cadf9d3b40&amp;rgn=div6&amp;view=text&amp;node=7:3.1.1.9.32.7&amp;idno=7">FDA&rsquo;s list of approved organic pesticides</a>), but, man-o-man, wouldn&rsquo;t it be nice to see a call for calm? Wouldn&rsquo;t it be refreshing to see Bob defend the farmers with whom he works by saying, &ldquo;Look, folks, calm down. Glyphosate is safe and useful for farmers. We trust our partners to make the best decisions about their crops, and we&rsquo;re proud to work with them.&rdquo;</p> <p> Clearly, I&rsquo;m drinking too much kumbucha to even hope a statement like that would come out of an organic company. But I&rsquo;m not going to stop hoping that people continue to buy whatever brand best suits their wallets and forget this latest alarmist story.</p> <p> Oats&mdash;both conventionally grown and organic&mdash;are a poor source if you&rsquo;re looking to consume glyphosate. But if you&rsquo;re looking for a low-calorie, low-sugar, cholesterol- and sodium-free source of carbohydrates and protein that also contains iron, thiamin, riboflavin, manganese, selenium, and the amino acid tryptophan, by all means, enjoy a delicious bowls of oatmeal.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s some more health advice: Steer clear of stories with hysterical headlines looking to provoke a panicked response.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2800193/Julie GunlockThu, 12 May 2016 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumShould 16 & 17-Year-Olds Be Allowed to Vote + Free-Range Parenting • Cam & Company http://iwf.org/media/2800181/Julie GunlockTue, 10 May 2016 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDon't Eat "Mor": De Blasio Asks New Yorkers To Boycott Chick-Fil-A • Fox & Friendshttp://iwf.org/media/2800153/Julie GunlockSat, 7 May 2016 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum