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 RSS Virtue Signalling Barbie <div style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px;"> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Mattel has unveiled a brand new Barbie doll modelled after the the first US Olympian to compete wearing a hijab. This marks the first Barbie doll to wear a headscarf in the company&#39;s 58 year history. &nbsp;</font></span></p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Ibtihaj Muhammad won the Bronze medal for fencing at the Rio&nbsp;Olympics&nbsp;last year and while she indeed is a good role model for young women, there&#39;s something strange about a Barbie doll dedicated to a woman who hides all of her womanly features, as her religion requires her to do (in fact,&nbsp;according to a WSJ story on Muhammad, her parents actually sought out a sport that would allow her to be entirely covered while competing).&nbsp;</font></span></p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">But let&#39;s not forget an important aspect of this particular type of doll: Barbie likes to show skin and according to an awful lot of feminists out there, there&#39;s nothing wrong with that. Even Mattel&#39;s recently revamped line of modern and very woke Barbie dolls (which includes entrepreneur Barbie, scientist Barbie, curvey Barbie, afro Barbie, girl power Barbie, blue-haired punk Barbie,&nbsp;along with a variety of Barbies with different skin tones) all like to show off a bit of skin as well as beautifully coiffed hair, and many fun fashion accessories. They are, in short, very girl-y.</font></span></p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Muhammad&#39;s Barbie is a bit different. Decked out in her fencing garb which covers her head to toe in white cloth, wearing flat athletic shoes and a hajib which conceals her hair entirely, Hajib Barbie hardly makes for a fun doll over which young girls can primp and preen.&nbsp;</font></span></p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">Ibtihaj Muhammad is understandibly excited to have a Barbie in her image, telling the Daily Mail:</font></span></p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="margin: 0px 0px 0px 0.8ex; border-left-width: 1px; border-left-style: solid; border-left-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); padding-left: 1ex;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">I think its revolutionary for Barbie to take a stand in this moment that we&#39;re in&mdash;and I would say, as a country, to have a doll wear a &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; hijab and be the first of its kind.&nbsp;</font><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">There has never been a Barbie doll to wear a hijab before. I&#39;m really excited&nbsp;to have this moment happen in my life and also for all these little girls now who can shop for Barbie doll that may look them, may wear a hijab like they do, or like their mom does, or like a friend does.&nbsp;</span><font face="arial, helvetica, sans-serif">But also have kids who aren&#39;t Muslim, who don&#39;t wear a hijab, to also have the opportunity to play with a doll that wears a hijab.</font></span></blockquote> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="m_3751732752408430989gmail-mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px;"> <span style="font-size: 14px;">Of course it&rsquo;s nice for toy makers to provide consumers with variety of choices and even encourage kids to explore cultures other than their own. But one suspects&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;">this all has very little to do with the the actual people who want or purchase Barbies. This has more to do with a dinosaur of a company working hard to signal it&#39;s own virtue to an increasingly fickle and politically active consumer base and to feminists who continue to devalue traditional femininity.</span></p> </div> <div class="yj6qo ajU" style="cursor: pointer; outline: none; padding: 10px 0px; width: 22px; margin: 2px 0px 0px; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.800000190734863px;"> &nbsp;</div> GunlockMon, 13 Nov 2017 20:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNo, Bolshevik Parents Weren’t Early Free Rangers<p> The whitewashing of communism since the end of the Cold War is evident in recent polling that shows, alarmingly, that Americans have growing affection for the political theory and form of governance. According to a poll released by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">the Victims of Communism Memorial Fund</a>, twenty-three percent of American millennials consider Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un &ldquo;heroes&rdquo; and fifty percent of millennials would rather reside in a socialist or communist nation than in a democratic republic, like the United States.</p> <p> What&rsquo;s absent, it appears, is any sort of knowledge of Communism&rsquo;s death toll, which according to easily-Googled data on the Internet comes in at a horrifying ninety-four million in the last century alone.&nbsp;<em>Reason&nbsp;</em>writer John J. Walters offered&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">this handy comparison</a>&nbsp;to other twentieth-century killers:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism&rsquo;s total by only 9 million.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> It gets worse when you look at the lower right of the chart&mdash;The Natural World&mdash;which includes animals (7 million), natural disasters (24 million), and famine (101 million). Curiously, all of the world&rsquo;s worst famines during the 20th century were in communist countries: China (twice!), the Soviet Union, and North Korea.</p> <p> Communism&rsquo;s new popularity is no surprise when you consider the abundance of stories extolling the system&rsquo;s mythical benefits. This was on full display last week in the&nbsp;<em>New York Times,</em>&nbsp;which ran what seemed to be a parody how-to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">article</a>&nbsp;on parenting in the style of the early Russian revolutionaries.</p> <p> In &ldquo;How To Parent Like a Bolshevik,&rdquo; Yuri Slezkine, a professor of history at UC-Berkeley (natch), provides the perfect amnesiac&rsquo;s account of the early days of the Russian revolution and seems to suggest that the Bolsheviks were a prototype of today&rsquo;s Free Range parents.</p> <p> Too busy reading Goethe, Heine and Tolstoy and torturing and murdering critics of the state when they weren&rsquo;t busy being tortured and murdered (it was dangerous to be a Bolshie), these Bolshevik parents couldn&rsquo;t spare a minute to pay attention to their children. But don&rsquo;t worry, Slezkine writes, the kids thrived! Instead of needing parents and the love, care and nurturing that parents typically provide, these tough toddler comrades simply needed a good Soviet education and the writings of Alexander Pushkin.</p> <p> Slezkine clearly misunderstands the modern push to give kids more freedom. Unlike the Bolsheviks, devotees of the modern Free Range Kids movement aren&rsquo;t trying to get&nbsp;<em>out</em>&nbsp;of the responsibilities of child rearing; they&rsquo;re trying to improve child rearing&mdash;for both the child and the parent. Free Range parents worry that today&rsquo;s kids aren&rsquo;t being allowed to explore their world and experience the same sorts of challenges and freedoms of previous generations&mdash;freedoms that help children develop coping and decision-making skills, good judgment and a greater understanding of their own limits, which will help them develop into independent adults. The Free Range movement was also born out of a concern for parents&mdash;who today feel the grinding daily pressure to hover over their children and protect them from a long list of make-believe and remote dangers.</p> <p> This is a far cry from how the Bolsheviks saw parenting. Instead of free rangers, Bolsheviks surrendered their children to the all-encompassing state. In fact, this is what a good Bolshevik did. In 1922, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, the Bolshevik wife of Vladimir Lenin, explained just how the Communist state would work to unburden parents:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> These obligations, that is, the support and rearing of children, are slowly being transferred from the shoulders of parents to the shoulders of society. For a proletarian family under capitalism, children were often, too often a heavy and insupportable burden.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Communist society without doubt will hurry to meet parents&rsquo; needs and to relieve their difficult burden. Already in Soviet Russia we have Commissariats of Peoples&rsquo; Education and Social Welfare which are doing much to lighten the difficult task of the family in raising and supporting children and a family.</p> <p> Oddly, Slezkine fails to mention two other historical events that might have had a significant impact on Russian kids: The Red Terror, a 1918 Bolshevikian campaign to murder political enemies; and the Russian famine of 1921, a man-made famine caused by Lenin when he ordered Soviet troops to seize the crops that peasants had grown and stored for their own survival as punishment for not sufficiently supporting the war effort. These two significant events in Russian history killed around six million Russians&mdash;robbing even more millions of children of their parents.</p> <p> Perhaps its best not to parent or live like Bolsheviks after all, as history has proven many times over.</p> GunlockTue, 7 Nov 2017 13:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNo, There Are No Parallels Between Free Ranger and Bolshevik Parents • NRA News Cam & Co GunlockTue, 7 Nov 2017 12:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMichelle Blames Mom<p> It&rsquo;s hard to figure out exactly what Michelle Obama was talking about yesterday at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago when she blamed American moms for raising &ldquo;entitled&rdquo; and &ldquo;self-righteous&rdquo; little boys.</p> <p> Ms. Obama&mdash;whose striking expertise on the matter is even more impressive considering she has only raised daughters--explained that moms of boys are creating problems in the world because &ldquo;we raise [boys] to be strong, and sometimes we take care not to hurt men. And I think we pay for that a little bit.&rdquo;</p> <p> If you watch the video of the discussion, it&rsquo;s clear this was an unscripted conversation and one can certainly sympathize that in that format, people often say silly and impulsive things. But one wishes that Michelle Obama--a women with such an enormous megaphone and ability to reach so many people--would take care to understand the real condition of boyhood in this county.</p> <p> Instead of feeling entitled, boys are largely forgotten in today&rsquo;s educational system and larger culture. Boys, who mature later than girls and often have trouble sitting still in the classroom, struggle in schools that are designed to reward those who do sit still in class and pay attention (namely, girls). The results of decades of a school system designed to punish boys for natural behaviors is obvious in the grim statistics, which show:</p> <ul> <li> Boys are less likely than girls to go finish high school.</li> <li> Boys are less likely than girls to earn grad degrees.</li> <li> Boys are more likely than girls to try drugs.</li> <li> Boys are more likely than girls to become addicts.</li> <li> Boys are more likely than girls to turn to crime and end up in jail.</li> </ul> <p> Does this seem like entitlement and self-righteousness?</p> <p> Yet, clearly tapping into the Weinstein narrative, Ms. Obama went on to say that &ldquo;It&rsquo;s powerful to have strong men but what does that strength mean? Does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion? Or are we protecting our men too much so that they feel a little entitled and a little, you know, self-righteous sometimes?&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course, it&rsquo;s fine to question and analyze how people are raising their children (a subject the First Lady totally ignored when it involved parents actually feeding their children), yet to suggest that whole swaths of mothers are ignoring the pretty basic responsibilities of teaching boys to be good human beings is a bit of a stretch, if not a naked insult.</p> <p> Instead of slamming moms, Ms. Obama should have had take the opportunity to examine the culture in which all children live and a pop culture that is ruled by the very Hollywood elite which has for years allowed entitled and self-righteous studio heads to harass and abuse women, and it now seems young children.</p> <p> Ms. Obama might also have taken a moment to denounce the mainstream media&mdash;which is also reeling with accusations of systemic sexism and harassment from the captains of that industry.</p> <p> So, perhaps instead of blaming the millions of moms out there who are currently coddling and encouraging their teeny misogynistic toddlers-monsters, the First Lady could have addressed our nation&rsquo;s rotting culture and those who influence it.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s seems a slightly better path to creating an improved work environment for her daughters and all girls.</p> GunlockFri, 3 Nov 2017 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNYT continued harassment of conservative women • Cam & Co. GunlockTue, 31 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEric Lipton's Attack on Dr. Nancy Beck is a Call to Conservative Women<p> New York Times reporter Eric Lipton&rsquo;s smear piece on Trump EPA appointee Dr. Nancy Beck reeks of the sort of anti-Trump, anti-business hysteria that&rsquo;s now commonplace in the media.&nbsp;</p> <p> President Trump appointed Dr. Beck to head the EPA&rsquo;s office of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention in July. Yet, because Dr. Beck previously worked for the American Chemistry Council (ACC)&mdash;a trade association that represents the chemical industry&mdash;Lipton thinks she&rsquo;s a danger to the environment and human health.</p> <p> It makes sense that Lipton limits his attack to her tenure at the ACC. He doesn&rsquo;t attack Beck&rsquo;s credentials (Dr. Beck has a Ph.D. in environmental health as well as a Masters in environmental health and toxicology) nor does he attack her reputation as a scientist (she&rsquo;s wildly respected by colleagues and Lipton even includes compliments from colleagues). Instead, Lipton suggests repeatedly in the piece that Dr. Beck is using her position to help the chemical industry.&nbsp;</p> <p> Much of Lipton&#39;s concerns focus on what he calls the EPA&#39;s &quot;abrupt new direction&quot; on regulating chemicals that would &quot;change the way the federal government evaluates health and environmental risks,&quot; which he says would make it it more aligned with the industry&rsquo;s wishes.</p> <p> Yet, for those who have watched the EPA embrace the precautionary principle during Obama&rsquo;s presidency, this &ldquo;abrupt new direction&rdquo; is a welcome change. During the Obama administration, the EPA&rsquo;s aggressive, hazard-based approach to regulations hurt businesses and property owners. Many see this shift not as pro-business, but as pro-science, in that the EPA is moving to a risk-based regulatory model that relies <em>only</em> on legitimate and well-designed studies, instead of studies produced by environmental activist organizations, while also requiring agencies do a cost-benefit analysis of the regulations its proposing.</p> <p> This obviously rattles Lipton and his friends in the environmental movement who want scientists to stay in their place&mdash;that is, in academia, or working as government scientists who dutifully push for the regulations the evironmental movement demands. According to Lipton, any scientist who ventures off this path&mdash;like Nancy Beck has done&mdash;to work within and advise industry on better safety standards or improved safety practices is a sellout who cares nothing for human health and safety.</p> <p> Just consider how he compares Dr. Beck to Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, another woman who worked at the EPA and who held Beck&rsquo;s position during the Obama Administration. Accompanying a flattering picture of Hamnett looking off into the distance winsomely, Lipton writes that she &ldquo;spent her entire 38-year career at the E.P.A., joining the agency directly from law school <em>as a believer</em> in consumer and environmental protections.&rdquo; A believer, folks. She&rsquo;s a believer. And, she was at the agency for nearly 40 years. You can almost imagine Lipton swoon as he wrote that.</p> <p> Writing about Dr. Beck, Lipton simply ticks off her resume, writing she &ldquo;&hellip;did a fellowship at the E.P.A., but has spent most of her 29-year career elsewhere: in a testing lab at Est&eacute;e Lauder, as a toxicologist in the Washington State Health Department, as a regulatory analyst in the White House and most recently with the chemical industry&rsquo;s trade group.&rdquo;</p> <p> You see? Beck&rsquo;s not a believer. Beck went astray&mdash;back and forth from the more virtuous work as a government employee to the selfish side trips into industry&mdash;and worse, the makeup industry&mdash;a tool of the patriarchy!</p> <p> Then, Lipton weirdly suggests Dr. Beck and Ms. Hamnett had some sort of catfight going on while they were both serving at the EPA (because of course women always act that way at work), writing:</p> <p style="margin-left:56.25pt;"> Before Mr. Trump&rsquo;s election, Ms. Hamnett would have been regarded as the hands-down victor in their professional tug of war. Her decision to retire in September amounted to a surrender of sorts, a powerful acknowledgment of the two women&rsquo;s reversed fortunes under the Trump administration.</p> <p> Hands down victor? Why then did several paragraphs later, Lipton quote Hamnett complimenting Dr. Beck for her work ethic, grasp of both the scientific and regulatory process, and clear competency to lead that regulatory office. In fact, Hamnett admits, Beck was downright intimidating.</p> <p style="margin-left:56.25pt;"> She described Dr. Beck as a voracious reader of scientific studies and agency reports, diving deep into footnotes and scientific data with a rigor matched by few colleagues. She combed through thousands of comments submitted on proposed rules. And she had a habit of reading the Federal Register, the daily diary of new federal rules.</p> <p style="margin-left:56.25pt;"> All of it made Dr. Beck an intimidating and confident adversary, Ms. Hamnett recalled. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s very smart and very well informed,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> Yet, instead of celebrating the appointment of this smart, well-informed woman to head one of the EPA&rsquo;s most important regulatory offices, Lipton says Beck&rsquo;s confidence had a &ldquo;destructive side&rdquo; because, he writes, she had the gall to challenge EPA scientists and risk assessors and questioned the validity of their studies. She also had the nerve to impose her own judgment.</p> <p> I mean, can you imagine? A strong, brilliant, self-assured women who had the confidence to impose her own opinions and demand answers to challenging questions? Someone better cancel some of those STEM Programs for girls (you know, the ones that Lipton and so many other science reporters love to prattle on about) or we run the risk of getting thousands more of these Beck monsters!</p> <p> Maybe for his next story, Lipton can examine Hilary Clinton&rsquo;s destructive confidence or write about Nancy Pelosi&rsquo;s annoying habit of challenging Republicans. Maybe Lipton can do a series on how Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd have had a really destructive influence on Hollywood&rsquo;s sexual assault machine. Maybe he can do a feel good piece on Saudi Arabia and how nice it is that women there are discouraged from speaking up or ya know, leaving the house without a male attendee.</p> <p> But characterizing Dr. Beck as a pushy, bossy, loudmouthed woman wasn&rsquo;t enough. Next, Lipton questioned her ethics by suggesting that the changes made during the EPA&rsquo;s rulemaking process to a recently passed chemical reform bill was due to Dr. Beck looking out for her buddies in the chemical industry.</p> <p> Yet, if Lipton really understood the rulemaking process, he would know that changes are often made to laws during the rulemaking process, either to correct errors or to account for things not considered or not known during the legislative process. In fact, under Obama, agency bureaucrats were infamous for flagrantly and entirely ignoring Congressional intent and crafting rules that fully altered laws to better suit their pro-environmental agenda. Naturally, Lipton was silent about those rulemaking shenanigans.</p> <p> Conservatives have long steeled themselves to the dismal way they&rsquo;re treated by the mainstream press. Yet the naked and aggressive sexism, cruel derision and shocking distortions female conservatives endure&mdash;particularly those who have chosen to serve President Trump--is a new, and somewhat scary frontier that has the potential to drive women away from federal service.</p> <p> Maybe that&rsquo;s the point.</p> GunlockTue, 31 Oct 2017 00:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHalloween Anxiety<p> It&#39;s tough to be a parent these days. Especially around Halloween--a holiday that for bused to be about fun, sugar-induced tummy aches and staying up too late running around the neighborhood with friends. Now, it&#39;s a battleground for political correctness. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, bloggers and the media were full of material--warning parents about everything from the appropriateness of their children&rsquo;s costumes choices to the content of their kid&rsquo;s trick-or-treating bucket.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s no surprise that the social justice warriors were out in force, explaining that no one should allow their little girls to dress-up as the Disney princess Moana, unless of course the child in question is an actual Hawaiian princess. Parents were also advised to avoid Disney ice princesses Elsa and Anna, because apparently those two Disney princesses represent a celebration of white beauty.</p> <p> Other activists stuck to the old reliable for freaking parents out: food fears. The Non-GMO Project was sure to promote their own money-making scheme by reminding parents to check that their children&rsquo;s treats were non-GMO only. Because that&rsquo;s a totally realistic suggestion&mdash;&ldquo;Hey there, kid! Hold up! No eating any candy from your bucket until we get home and under a strong light and using my microscope, I can check that all your candy Non-GMO! After that, you can have the two pieces of candy that remain in your bucket.&rdquo;</p> <p> Boy, that&#39;s a fun house to grow up in.</p> <p> Others blathered on about the myths of kids being poisoned or harmed by embedded razor blades and candy injected with killer chemicals. Mercifully, the always great&nbsp;<a href="">Lenore Skenzy debunked those tall tales.</a></p> <p> And naturally, the party animals at the&nbsp;<a href="’s-horrors-shouldn’t-come-dyed-sugary-treats-20171026">Center For Science and the Public Interest&nbsp;</a>posted an article about the horrors of Halloween treats containing...wait for it...sugar and artificial dyes. Now, we know the folks at CSPI only purchase candy from Whole Foods that is made of the more trendy though no healthier agave nectar and is dyed with beet juice and turmeric root.</p> <p> But for normal parents who have better things to do than drive around town looking for &quot;natural&quot; and utterly disgusting-tasting &ldquo;candy&rdquo; that costs triple what a bag of regular candy costs;&nbsp;just ignore the Halloween fun stealers and let your kids have a good time.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> GunlockMon, 30 Oct 2017 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFamily’s big role in obesity<p> Minister of Health Kim Wilson stated in the House of Parliament on October 20, while addressing the issue of obesity in Bermuda, that the island ranks among the highest in the world for the condition and that it&rsquo;s not OK. She added that this lifestyle leads to kidney and heart disease, and diabetes.</p> <p> If we seized a snapshot of our neighbouring United States of &ldquo;living&rdquo; America, they also claim that obese people &mdash; and especially obese children &mdash; have also captured international attention. It has been elevated to a level of hysteria, largely by government officials.</p> <p> Julie Geberding, the former director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, compared obesity to a worldwide pandemic <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">(Julie Gunlock,&nbsp;</span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Three Squares a Day</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">,&nbsp;</span><em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Courtesy of the Federal Government</span></em><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">, National Review, January 17, 2011)</span></strong></span></span>.</p> <p> Childhood obesity and diabetes may be correlated to broken families, as single parents resort to convenience and fast food or leave children to select their own meals. The CDC reveals that children living in low-income households, ie, single-parent households, suffer from obesity in far greater numbers than children living in high-income households that are likelier to comprise two-parent families.</p> <p> Meanwhile, an independent research confirms that teens in one-parent families and children of divorced parents are much more likely to be obese than intact families &mdash; K.A. Thulitha Wickrama, K.A.S. Wickrama and Chalandra M. Bryant,&nbsp;<em>Community Influence on Adolescent Obesity: Journal of Youth and Adolescence 35</em>&nbsp;(2006) 647-56; Anna Biehl et al,&nbsp;<em>Parental Marital Status and Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Norway: A National Representative Cross-Sectional Study,</em>&nbsp;Vol 4 No 6 (2014).</p> <p> Further studies reveal that obese children have resulted from the proliferation of single-parent homes and the inability or the refusal of working mothers to cook regular healthy meals for their families &mdash; Taryn W. Morrissey, Rachel E. Dunifon and Ariel Kalil&nbsp;<em>Maternal Employment, Work Schedules, and Children&rsquo;s Body Mass Index Child Development, Vol 82, No. 1&nbsp;</em>(January-February 2011). If we want to halt the rise in obesity, and chronic diseases, as claimed by the Minister of Health, then we should tackle the broken family structure and the divorce industry, which have a greater influence on our physical and mental health, including lowering the health costs and insurance institutions&rsquo; costs.</p> GunlockWed, 25 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow activists use moms and alarmism to advance their own cause • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 24 Oct 2017 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMoms Are Key to Success In Green Agitation<p> In the vast doom-laden world of green activism, there&rsquo;s no stronger advocate for environmental regulations than the humble mother worried about her child&rsquo;s welfare. She&rsquo;s the ultimate virtuous voice&mdash;nurturing, caring, innocent and untouched by industry&rsquo;s big advocacy machine.</p> <p> Environmentalists understand the power and efficiency of moms. Instead of employing high powered, blue-suited lobbyists to meet with legislators or retaining crack PR teams to generate weekly press releases which lead to terrifying news headlines, sophisticated environmental groups are increasingly utilizing these &ldquo;stroller brigades,&rdquo; which like an emergency response team, can be deployed at a moment&rsquo;s notice to push a political agenda.</p> <p> This tactic is catching on. In the St. Louis area, the Teamsters have been leading an effort to get the state of Missouri to purchase hundreds of properties from homeowners who believe their land has been contaminated by a nearby landfill. Of course, the Teamsters aren&rsquo;t exactly known for their warm and fuzzy advocacy (just ask Top Chef&rsquo;s Padma Lakshmi, who used the word&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;terrified&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;to describe her face-to-face run in with the Teamsters Union). So, naturally, the labor group needed a softer ally.</p> <p> Enter Just Moms STL, which presents itself as a grassroots organization made up of concerned moms who live close to the West Lake Landfill and who have joined with the Teamsters to agitate about the landfill and demand a big land purchase payout.</p> <p> West Lake isn&rsquo;t so different from other landfills. It&rsquo;s not pretty and for years residents have complained about the smell but have been ignored by the EPA and local officials. Recently, activists switched gears. No longer just complaining about the aesthetics of the dump, Just Moms STL began claiming something altogether new and far scarier about the West Lake Landfill&mdash;that it was emitting radiation left there in the 1970s and was sickening residents.</p> <p> After a thorough investigation&mdash;including the collection and analysis of 140 soil and dust samples from the area&mdash;by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Army Corps and Engineers, and the state of Missouri, all agreed that the concentrations of radiation were within the normal range and below the EPA standard.</p> <p> Yet, Just Moms STL wasn&rsquo;t satisfied by the testing and began a campaign that suggested West Lake Landfill was similar to another contamination that occurred in the neighboring town of Hazelwood, Missouri, which sits near a small tributary called Coldwater Creek. For years, a group of concerned citizens in Coldwater Creek area&mdash;mainly moms&mdash;complained about a cancer cluster in their community.</p> <p> Reconnecting on Facebook about a decade after graduating from college, these citizens&mdash;who grew up in the 80s and all lived around Coldwater Creek, many of whom had since moved away&mdash;noticed that many (too many) had developed a variety of cancers. Some of the cancers were extremely rare, yet there were multiple cases occurring within the small population in that community.</p> <p> Due to incomplete testing, the Coldwater Creek citizens&rsquo; claims were first dismissed by state and federal officials. But thanks to their persistence, and their willingness to work together with the EPA and other state and local officials, testing was eventually done that showed contamination in the area. That group of citizens continues to work in good faith with local, state and federal officials and persists in their efforts demand better protections for residents of areas where radioactive materials leftover from the Manhattan Project are deposited. The work of the Cold Water Creek group is rightfully seen as a success story of community activists working alongside government officials to find a solution.</p> <p> Yet, sadly, the tragic situation in Cold Water Creek is now being used by groups like Just Moms STL as a tool to stoke fear of radiological contamination in other communities where none exist.</p> <p> For instance, unlike Coldwater Creek, West Lake Landfill is not a forgotten dumping ground for radiological waste. Rather, it is a highly regulated and monitored landfill that has been on the EPA&rsquo;s Superfund list for clean up since the 70s. And while the delay in remediating the radiological material buried deep underground is another grating example of the hassle of government red tape, multiple studies have shown that the waste that remains there poses no danger to residents.</p> <p> Further, it shows that rather than buying out all the homes in the area, a capping remediation plan is a far better and less disruptive solution for residents. Capping isolate hazardous material from people and wildlife and prevents it from spreading. It also creates a barrier so that gasses aren&rsquo;t released. Yet, that sort of cleanup is far less lucrative than the buyout that Just Moms STL and the Teamsters have demanded.</p> <p> The Erin Brockovication of activism has developed over decades. And today, no movement is complete without a team of women&mdash;preferably moms&mdash;storming legislative offices and demanding to be heard. But political leaders and agency heads must be listen to the interests of all their constituents, not just those that know how to tug on heartstrings.</p> GunlockThu, 19 Oct 2017 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy gender-neutral scouting will negatively affect boys and girls • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 17 Oct 2017 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Moral Emptiness of Hollywood Moms<p> There&rsquo;s wide agreement that super creep and alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein&rsquo;s harassment and abuse of women was an open secret. It&rsquo;s a clich&eacute;, but it does appear that everyone and their mother knew about it.</p> <p> His victims certainly knew&mdash;Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Angelina Jolie, Heather Graham, just to name a few. Other powerful A-list entertainers have come forward to admit that they had heard the rumors. Jane Fonda&mdash;considered a member of Hollywood royalty&mdash;recently acknowledged she knew for years and now feels guilty that she didn&rsquo;t try to expose him.</p> <p> Consider that list of women&mdash;they are unarguably some of the most powerful female entertainers in the industry, with multi-million-dollar paychecks, lawyers, advisors, and agents just a phone call away. And yet, even they felt powerless to reveal what Weinstein had done, and was still doing, up until a few weeks ago.</p> <p> It wasn&rsquo;t just Hollywood that knew of Weinstein&rsquo;s disgusting and likely criminal behavior. Even the average television viewer was given a hint when comedian Seth McFarlane made a very unsubtle joke about Weinstein at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony. When McFarlane made the joke, that wasn&rsquo;t a laugh track piped in to the auditorium to fool home viewers into thinking the audience enjoyed the joke. No, that was genuine laughter from the best of Hollywood, all of whom knew that a powerful guy was regularly making women feel small and victimized.</p> <p> All of this has me thinking about a particular group of women in Hollywood&mdash;not the many victims, but the women who are known to push their daughters to enter the entertainment industry. What does it say about Hollywood moms that they would invite their daughters into the lion&rsquo;s den?</p> <p> Sadly, the list of such women is long. Kris Jenner first comes to mind. Known as the &ldquo;Mom-ager&rdquo; of the infamous Kardashian clan, she has encouraged all of her children to enter the industry and is rumored to have negotiated the very thing that put her most famous offspring&mdash;Kim&mdash;in the limelight, her daughter&rsquo;s DIY porn video and glossy spread in Playboy.</p> <p> Of course, no one is surprised by the rather vulgar actions taken by the ambitious and money-hungry Kardashian matriarch. But it does make one wonder about the other, seemingly more reasonable Hollywood moms who, unlike Kris, appear to care about their children&rsquo;s wellbeing.</p> <p> For instance, celebrity mom Cindy Crawford has cheered and encouraged her teenage daughter&rsquo;s modeling career&mdash;an industry that reeks of the same sort of Weinsteinian debauchery that&rsquo;s obviously common in Hollywood. Actors Johnny Depp and actress Vanessa Paradis have applauded their young daughter&rsquo;s burgeoning modeling and acting career. Melanie Griffith seems thrilled with her daughter Dakota&rsquo;s stardom&mdash;including her soft porn debut in Fifty Shades of Grey. Hollywood moms like Goldie Hawn, Blythe Danner, Meryl Streep, Kate Capshaw and Peggy Lipton all seem very supportive of their daughters&rsquo; choices to work in an industry where even the most powerful women are the subject of harassment and bullying. Even Hollywood dads&mdash;like Ron Howard, John Voigt, and Kelsey Grammer&mdash;seem pleased that their daughters have joined the firm.</p> <p> And what of that other familial bond between women&mdash;the sisterhood? Considering the hysterics we&rsquo;ve seen from female entertainers since the election, where was feminism when Weinstein was flagrantly harming young actresses and models? For instance, Ashley Judd stayed mute about Weinstein&rsquo;s harassment for years, even as she was screaming about President Trump&rsquo;s tame-by-comparison pussy grabbing remarks. Self-proclaimed feminist Madonna threatened to blow up the White House, yet stayed quiet about Hollywood&rsquo;s systemic abuse of women. Chelsea Handler&mdash;who regularly offers blistering monologues about powerful people&mdash;stayed away from the Weinstein rumors. Instead, she used her celebrity voice to hysterically warn women that a Trump presidency would mean &ldquo;the end of our civilization.&rdquo;</p> <p> There is something positive that has come out of this scandal. It&rsquo;s finally broken Hollywood&rsquo;s image as a morally superior guide for American culture. But it&rsquo;s also exposed something truly disturbing: that the seductive nature of celebrity status trumps everything, even a mother&rsquo;s love for her child and a woman&rsquo;s duty help her fellow women.</p> GunlockMon, 16 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Girl Scouts Go on Defense <p> Since writing earlier this week about the Boy Scouts&#39; decision to admit girls, I&#39;ve learned that people really don&rsquo;t know about scouting in general and they know even less about the Boy Scout&rsquo;s sister organization, the Girl Scouts.</p> <p> Lidia Soto-Harmon, the CEO of Girl Scouts of the Nation&#39;s Capital Region, seems to understand the confusion and after the Boy Scout announcement, decided it was a good idea to remind people of the benefits of a girl-only organization.</p> <p> In a letter sent to all parents of DC-area Girl Scout members, Soto Harmon first points out the value of participating in the Girl Scouts, saying that Girl Scouts are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to be leaders. She refers to polling conducted by the organization that shows girls who participate in Girl Scouts have a stronger sense of self&nbsp; (80% vs. 68%), they possess positive values (75% vs. 59%), seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62% vs. 42%), they develop and maintain healthy relationships (60% vs. 43%), and are able to exhibit community problem-solving skills (57% vs. 28%).</p> <p> According to Soto-Harmon, the reason those who participate in Girl Scouts have such good outcomes is <em>because</em> they are together with other girls where they feel more confident and willing to take more risks. She writes that starting at about 6 years old, girls start thinking that boys are smarter and that 1 out of 3 girls say that they are afraid to lead because of what others (boys) might think of them.&nbsp;</p> <p> Soto Harmon also offers some impressive statistics about the Girl Scout alumnae:</p> <ul> <li> 90% of all female astronauts</li> <li> 75% of all female U.S. Senators</li> <li> 80% of all female tech leaders</li> <li> And every female Secretary of State is a Girl Scout alumnae</li> </ul> <p> Many have celebrated the Boy Scout policy change. But it&rsquo;s worth considering how this move will affect the Girl Scouts&mdash;an organization that clearly helps girls develop into strong, productive leaders that sadly, will not lose many of it&#39;s members.&nbsp;</p> GunlockFri, 13 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs There A Merit Badge for Gender Denial?<p> In the effort to elevate girls, why do we need to destroy organizations designed to help boys? That&rsquo;s precisely what&rsquo;s happening to one of America&rsquo;s oldest and most trusted organizations&mdash;an organization actually created to help boys develop into civic-minded, responsible men.</p> <p> The Boy Scouts of America <a href="">announced</a> this week that starting next year, young girls can join their own sex-segregated Cub Scout units (usually made up of elementary school-aged boys) and that, by 2019, a separate program for older girls (ostensibly at the Boy Scout level) will be available to allow girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.&nbsp;How long the organization plans to retain the patriarchal name &ldquo;Boy Scouts&rdquo; hasn&rsquo;t been addressed by Scout leadership.</p> <p> Yet, the organization did attempt to explain the change, saying in a statement that the new policy &ldquo;reflects the changing nature of American life.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s nice. Bromides like that go over well with people who know very little about the Boy Scouts. But someone should probably point out to the organization&rsquo;s weak leadership that a better policy for an organization that is <a href="">more than a century old</a> might be to stand steadfast in the face of cultural change. After all, the &ldquo;changing nature&rdquo; of American life has also produced a market for the odious Kardashian family&rsquo;s television show and allowed people like anti-Boy Scout Harvey Weinstein to treat women monstrously.</p> <p> Of course, it&rsquo;s not the presence of girls at a Cub Scout den meeting that&rsquo;s the problem. It&rsquo;s the very clear suggestion that an organization that&rsquo;s made up of boys and that celebrates boys and boyhood is inherently flawed and needs reform. That&rsquo;s the message being sent by the new policy.</p> <p> And it also signals that the leadership of the Boy Scouts isn&rsquo;t willing to acknowledge the reality of what boys face in our culture. Here&rsquo;s just a sample of the <a href="">grim reality</a>: Young men are less likely to graduate high school. They are less likely to attend college or seek higher graduate degrees than young women. Young men are more likely than females to commit crimes, end up in jail, and suffer from addiction. For decades, the country&rsquo;s educational system has ignored the developmental needs of boys, instead focusing solely on encouraging girls.</p> <p> But, but, say defenders of the new policy, the Boy Scouts did a survey that showed parents not involved in scouting had high levels of interest in getting their daughters signed up for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Perhaps a better survey question would have been to ask these folks: &ldquo;Have you ever heard of the Girl Scouts?&rdquo; The answer might be &ldquo;No,&rdquo; but I suspect my more cynical theory is correct: This has very little to do with pleasing these interested parents and more to do with pleasing radical feminists and the politically correct media.</p> <p> Of course, one wonders what will happen to the Girl Scouts now that girls and young women have the shiny new option of taking their business to the now gender-neutral boys club. In the past decade, Girl Scouts leadership has embraced more variety for their programs. Not just for ambitious cookie hawkers, today&rsquo;s Girl Scout can gain experience in STEM, outdoor skills, life skills, and entrepreneurship.</p> <p> Further proving the absurdity of the Boy Scout policy change, the Girl Scouts actually have an Eagle Scout-level award called the <a href="">Gold Award</a>&mdash;the Girl Scout&rsquo;s highest honor, which requires girls to solve a community problem. <a href="">Golden Award-winning projects</a> (which are exactly like the projects boys must complete to earn their Eagle Scout badge) have included the construction of a community garden, development of a town-wide recycling program, promoting STEM and mathematics programs at an elementary school, and the creation of a city-wide first aid and emergency preparedness educational program.</p> <p> Considering the similarities between Eagle Scout requirements and Golden Award requirements, this naturally makes one wonder: Is the Boy Scout organization suggesting the Golden Award isn&rsquo;t as prestigious or that it doesn&rsquo;t match the heft of the Eagle Scout designation? That seems pretty rude, if not outright sexist.</p> <p> Sadly, what&rsquo;s lost in all of this silliness and pandering is the recognition that there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with single sex institutions like the Boy and Girl Scouts. In fact, there&rsquo;s value in segregating the sexes. Having boys surrounded by boys means boys participate in the type of <a href="">rough-and-tumble physical play that boys are known to love</a>. Meanwhile, girls benefit by being around other girls because in a more secure environment, <a href="">girls tend to take more risks</a>.</p> <p> But none of this well-known research means much to the leadership of the Boy Scouts, who would rather pander to the gender parity crowd than honor the traditions of their heretofore much-loved organization. It appears likely that an organization that has thrived for more than 100 years will, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist, simply because it has the word &ldquo;Boy&rdquo; in it&mdash;which is precisely what gender activists intended all along.</p> GunlockThu, 12 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Happened (with Harvey), Hillary?<p> Self-declared feminists and warrior for women Hillary Clinton waited almost a full week to issue a milquetoast statement about serial sexual harasser and now alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein. Releasing a statement through her spokesman, it read:</p> <blockquote> <p> I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein...The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.</p> </blockquote> <p> So what took Hillary so long? Perhaps she was busy hiking? Maybe she was busy trying to figure out ways to <a href="">avoid talking to Bill</a>. Maybe she was desperately trying to get people to take her calls? Maybe she just got distracted by all those classified emails she needs Huma to print on her home printer...who knows.&nbsp;</p> <p> Whatever the reason, her silence was noticed even by her longtime aids, which, as <a href="">CNN reports</a>, have been questioning (in private, naturally) why she has not weighed in sooner.</p> <p> But CNN offers a clue to her silence, reporting that Weinstein has long been a Clinton donor (to the tune of $1.5 million) and friend to the family. The relationship goes back to the 1990s when Weinstein--clearly seeing a kindred spirit in fellow sexual harasser, Bill Clinton--donated to the then-President&#39;s legal defense fund. The Post also reports that the Clintons and the Weinsteins were neighbors in the Hamptons and that Weinstein helped promote Hillary in Hollywood during the 2016 campaign, including hosting multiple fundraisers during the campaign.</p> <p> Hillary famously blamed sexism and misogyny for her campaign defeat and suggested in her book &quot;What Happened&quot; that women who voted for Trump &quot;caved&quot; to male pressure. Perhaps Hillary should take a little more time to examine her own life decisions and the men she&#39;s long supported and taken money from, before tossing out theories on why Americans didn&#39;t want her as Commander and Chief.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 11 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum