Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Wine Alarmism pt 2 • Conservative Commandoshttp://iwf.org/media/2797238/Julie GunlockThu, 21 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWine Alarmism pt 1 • Conservative Commandoshttp://iwf.org/media/2797237/Julie GunlockThu, 21 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWine Alarmism • Cam & Company http://iwf.org/media/2797210/Julie GunlockWed, 20 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWine Alarmists Should Stick a Cork In It<p> I&rsquo;m a mom of three young kids. That means I like to have a glass of wine <strike>with breakfast, lunch, and dinner</strike> now and then. And since my kids seem to grow out of their clothes and shoes seconds after I&rsquo;ve purchased them, I like to get a good deal on a <strike>box</strike> bottle or two. Luckily for me, there is stiff competition in the wine industry, which means I can get wines from around the world at prices I can afford.</p> <p> Yet with competition comes increased need to attract customers. And some companies are resorting to a new strategy: Alarmism.</p> <p> Consider the recent suggestion by some wine companies that some corks are not just inferior, but dangerous. That might seem silly to some or just a lousy marketing stunt to others, but it&rsquo;s a familiar and all-too-effective tactic used on moms who are constantly encouraged to police their homes for threats to their families.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>What They&rsquo;re Wining About</strong></span></p> <p> So what&rsquo;s all this drama about wine corks? Should we all take that pop as a warning sound?</p> <p> First, one should know winemakers use several kinds of corks: natural, screw top (my personal favorite), synthetic, agglomerate, vinolok, and zork (check out <a href="http://www.winemag.com/February-2014/Getting-Closure/">this instructive tutorial on cork types</a> in <em>Wine Enthusiast</em>). The first three types are the corks with which most Americans are familiar. The last two&mdash;vinolok and zork&mdash;are considerably pricier to use, so they are not widely used.</p> <p> The variety of corks has developed to meet different needs and preferences. The traditional, natural corks continue to be used but because they can sometimes cause &ldquo;cork taint,&rdquo; or wine spoilage due to a contaminated cork, many wineries have moved away from natural corks. Some have chosen to go with screw tops, others use synthetic corks, while still others use agglomerated corks, which are made of natural cork fibers and may include tiny plastic granules that serve as a sort of bacteria guard between the cork and the wine and control oxygen flow into the wine, protecting it against spoilage.</p> <p> This innovation has helped winemakers, who at one time only had only one option&mdash;natural corks&mdash;and who had to absorb the cost of bottles of wine spoiled through cork taint. This new process improves corks by mixing natural cork material with a product that staves off bacteria and helps control the flow of oxygen into and out of the bottle. This means winemakers have less production loss, which means they don&rsquo;t have to raise prices to account for those losses. That&rsquo;s good for consumers&mdash;like me&mdash;interested in a good deal on wine.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;">The Great Chemical Boogey Man Arises</span></strong></p> <p> Unfortunately, some have sounded an unnecessary alarm about agglomerated corks, suggesting the trace amount of chemicals contained in the cork might contaminate the wine. Studies, both independent and those conducted by the cork manufacturers, refute this and show that no chemical is leaching into the wine.</p> <p> The Food and Drug Administration concurs, <a href="http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=59098">writing in February 2015</a> that the agency has &ldquo;identified no safety issues with this use of TDI-based PU in agglomerated corks,&rdquo; adding that the agency &ldquo;is not contemplating any enforcement action against the agglomerated corks or wine, is not recommending that wines already sold or in the supply chain with agglomerated cork closures or agglomerated corks be recalled, and is not recommending a cessation of the marketing and purchasing of the agglomerated corks for use with wine and beverages at this time.&rdquo;</p> <p> Of course, there is one proven way to get a dose of chemicals when consuming wine&mdash;drink the wine! That&rsquo;s because wine itself is filled with chemicals. For instance, red wine contains ethyl alcohol, glycerol, as well as certain minerals like potassium, zinc, and copper. And cork taint&mdash;the very thing against which the agglomerated cork protects&mdash;is caused by the introduction of&hellip;wait for it&hellip;chemical compounds 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) or 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA).</p> <p> If that seems scary, don&rsquo;t fear. The amount of TCA or TBA required to ruin a nice bottle of wine won&rsquo;t do a thing to harm you, except put you in a bad mood by ruining a bottle of wine you were hoping to enjoy. So, instead of giving in to alarmist nonsense, let&rsquo;s celebrate invention, progress, and modernization&mdash;specifically this innovative new cork that keeps wine fresh, bacteria-free, and reasonably priced.</p> <p> Cheers!</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and directs the organization&rsquo;s Culture of Alarmism Project. She is the author of &quot;From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.&quot;</em></p> http://iwf.org/news/2797197/Julie GunlockTue, 19 May 2015 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSoda Companies and Healthy Choices<p> The Mad Med series finale is getting rave reviews and I agree with them. It was an epic end to a fantastic show. Sure, I could have done without the weepy dude embrace at the end of the show but I suppose Don Draper was due a sob or two and who can begrudge such a damaged man a hug.</p> <p> But what struck me most about the last show was how it reminded me that Americans didn&rsquo;t used to be so cynical about big businesses&mdash;specifically soda companies.</p> <p> Consider the last scene&mdash;that iconic &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to buy the world a coke&rdquo; commercial (is anyone else having trouble getting that tune out of your head?), which ostensibly Don Draper came up with after his return from Kumbaya-land. That scene served as a reminder of just how positive Americans used to think about soda&mdash;specifically Coca-Cola.</p> <p> Coca-Cola and other soda companies used to be thought of as true American symbols. Perhaps because it showed America as a wealthy country where its citizens could choose beverages for enjoyment, not just to sustain life.</p> <p> Today, soda companies (and large food companies, and chain restaurants, and grocery stores) are pilloried daily with hyperbolic statements about consumer products being toxic and poisonous and cancer-causing, and obesity-causing and&hellip;how many negative adjectives or phrases can I think of to mimic how the alarmists talk about soda and certain food items?</p> <p> Yet, so often, we forget the good things about some of these big companies&mdash;the charitable works they do to support communities, the studies they fund (often on their own products), the foundations they create to help fund worthy causes, the buildings and other infrastructure projects they often fund to build up American cities. And in this &ldquo;bad news&rdquo; culture, we often forget that contrary to what the alarmists say, these companies are desperate to please their consumers. They listen to their consumers.</p> <p> For instance, just today, a coalition of soda companies provided more proof that they&rsquo;re listening and that the market works far better than government strong-arming to improve people&rsquo;s food and beverage choices.</p> <p> This coalition, made up of the Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association, plans to launch an initiative in four Los Angeles, California and Little Rock, Arkansas area communities that would, by 2025, reduce by 20 percent per person the number of calories consumed through drinking soda. The interesting part of this initiative is that these companies are actually targeting areas where their market research shows there&rsquo;s been little interest in lower-calorie beverages or smaller serving-beverages.&nbsp;</p> <p> According to a press release put out by the American Beverage Association, the companies will make these lower-calorie and smaller-portion beverages more available in stores and will provide incentives to consumers to try these options and create displays that show calorie information.</p> <p> These companies understand that people are demanding lower calorie beverages and alternatives to full-sugar soda. It isn&rsquo;t government action making them do this; it&rsquo;s listening to their consumers and corporate responsibility&mdash;two things for which soda companies rarely get credit.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797189/Julie GunlockTue, 19 May 2015 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAlcohol taxes to solve non-problems • Cam & Co http://iwf.org/media/2797152/Julie GunlockFri, 15 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJosh Barro's Lesson in Economics and Healthy Eating<p> Josh Barro&rsquo;s latest piece in <em>The New York Times</em> is must read not just for useful tips on how to eat healthy in chain restaurants and for the beautiful photography accompanying the article but for a lesson in why free markets work.</p> <p> Barro acknowledges that many chain and fast food restaurants&mdash;like McDonalds and Chipotle--don&rsquo;t focus on health (and perhaps they shouldn&rsquo;t be expected to, right?). Filling this void is a whole new group of restaurants&mdash;the type of place that I like to call &ldquo;good food fast.&rdquo; &nbsp;Barrow writes (emphasis mine):</p> <blockquote> <p> There&rsquo;s another, albeit smaller, rising group of restaurants with menus that are both tasty and healthy. These chains include Chop&rsquo;t, Lyfe Kitchen, Maoz Vegetarian, Modmarket and Native Foods Cafe. At these, you can often eat a meal that has a reasonable number of calories, and a nice array of nutrients, without thinking too hard. Sweetgreen, which makes the grain bowl you see above, <a href="http://www.inc.com/kris-frieswick/2015-30-under-30-sweetgreen.html">got its start</a> in Washington, from three Georgetown students frustrated by the existing restaurant scene.</p> <p> We expect these kinds of restaurants will continue spreading, perhaps beyond the largest metro areas, <strong><em>as more Americans look for ways to eat right</em></strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p> Barro&rsquo;s got it right. These healthier restaurants will grow because Americans want healthier food; they&rsquo;re demanding healthier choices. And businesses are more than happy to comply.</p> <p> This might explain McDonalds&rsquo; and other traditional fast food restaurants&rsquo; eagerness to test new products, introduce new and fresher-looking items to their menus, and provide consumers with choices beyond the standard fast food fare.</p> <p> Of course, there are those who are still&nbsp;clamoring&nbsp;about the evils of fast food and the need to regulate or somehow restrict restaurants that provide consumers with&hellip;you know, things that taste good (the NERVE!). But as Barro&rsquo;s piece beautifully illustrates, government action really isn&rsquo;t necessary because the market will take care of this. If Americans&rsquo; eating habits and taste preferences are indeed changing (and I firmly believe they are), then enterprising businessmen and hungry entrepreneurs will feed this demand&mdash;literally&mdash;by creating restaurants that serve healthy and affordable food prepared quickly.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s no need for <a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2796635/Fast-Food-Ban-Failure">South Los Angeles-style bans on fast food restaurants</a>,&nbsp;Bloombergian soda taxes, and government mandates for calorie postings because consumers will simply stop going to restaurants that don&rsquo;t meet their demands for healthier food. Read Barros whole piece <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/27/upshot/How-to-Eat-Healthy-Meals-at-Restaurants.html?_r=2&amp;abt=0002&amp;abg=1">here</a>.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797123/Julie GunlockWed, 13 May 2015 07:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAlcohol Taxes to Solve Non-Problems<p> This week, French researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/raise-alcohol-tax-to-boost-economic-output-says-oecd-1431427413">recommended governments implement a ten percent tax increase on alcohol</a> to reduce excessive consumption. In particular, the researchers said this move would help reduce consumption among the heaviest-drinking 20% of the population and for those who participate in dangerous binge drinking.</p> <p> Yet, this is the very demographic that seems impervious to price hikes. According to a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3089007/">2011 study</a> conducted by researchers at RAND Corporation and published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, among all races and ethnicities, the effect of higher taxes on alcohol consumption were only significant among light drinkers and shrank substantially for moderate and heavy drinkers&mdash;the very demographic those at the OECD are trying to target.</p> <p> The truth is, this is a non-issue. Alcohol consumption is declining worldwide and among women, the rate of alcohol intake hasn&rsquo;t increased much in a decade. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2002, 2.2 percent of women ages 26 and older were considered heavy drinkers. By 2011, that number had only raised a fraction to 2.6 percent. The number of heavy drinkers among men actually shrank in that same time period from 10 percent in 2002 to 9.1 percent in 2011. Among teens and young adults, the rates of underage drinking are also declining. IWF writer Carrie Lukas wrote about this trend in a <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/carrielukas/2013/11/14/women-and-alcohol-a-shot-of-reality-is-needed-in-this-conversation/">2013 Forbes column</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p> According to the government&rsquo;s Youth Risk Behavior report, in 2011, 37.9 percent of female high school students reported having one alcoholic drink in the last 30 days, which is down from 49.9 percent in 1995.&nbsp; The decline among high school boys was similar.&nbsp; More importantly, binge drinking&mdash;the drinking of five or more drinks at a time&mdash;fell more precipitously:&nbsp; 28.8 percent of high school girls reported binge drinking in the last 30 days in 1995 compared to 19.8 percent in 2011. 37.3 percent of high school boys binge drank in 1995 compared to 28.8 percent in 2011.</p> </blockquote> <p> Yet, despite this good news, politicians will likely seize on the OECD recommendations as an excuse to raise taxes to solve a problem that really doesn&rsquo;t exist.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797106/Julie GunlockTue, 12 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAmazon removes gender filters from toy dept • Fox & Friends Weekend http://iwf.org/media/2797091/Julie GunlockSat, 9 May 2015 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBetter bread or marketing gimmick?<p> <strong>A bakery chain has compiled a list of ingredients it says it will drop, though the announcement is being called a publicity stunt.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p> Panera Bread says it&#39;s committed to removing artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors and flavors from the food in its bakery cafes by the end of 2016.</p> <p> The so-called &quot;No No list&quot; can be viewed <a href="https://www.panerabread.com/panerabread/documents/panera-no-no-list-05-2015.pdf">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p> With the list, Panera has become the first national restaurant chain to go public with a list of ingredients it says it will not put in food.</p> <p> Company CEO Ron Shaich <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/05/04/panera-panera-bread-fast-food-restaurants-dining-artificial-additives/26696823/">tells <em>USA Today</em></a> that he wants to &quot;serve food that I feel good about my daughters eating.&quot;</p> <p> Julie Gunlock, senior fellow for the <a href="http://www.iwf.org/">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</a>, and a mother, suspects Panera is conducting a stunt to attract people concerned about nutrition.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;Unfortunately what they&#39;re doing, removing the so-called additives and preservatives, in large part isn&#39;t making the food any healthier,&quot; says Gunlock. &quot;These trace amounts of preservatives and additives are not unhealthy. They don&#39;t make food dangerous.&quot;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Preservatives protect against things that can cause food poisoning.</p> <p> Still, the IWF spokeswoman says Panera is a business and can run its business the wait it sees fit.&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&quot;But we&#39;re seeing this kind of behavior from other corporations,&quot; she observes. &quot;They have a lot of high-calorie items on their menus. So what they&#39;re trying to do is make their food seem like it&#39;s better, not necessarily healthier.&quot;</span></span></strong></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2797050/Julie GunlockWed, 6 May 2015 15:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFemale Leaders, Baltimore Riots, Pamela Gellar, and more...• Bill Cunningham Show Pt. 2http://iwf.org/media/2797048/Julie GunlockWed, 6 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFemale Leaders, Baltimore Riots, Pamela Gellar, and more...• Bill Cunningham Show Pt. 1http://iwf.org/media/2797047/Julie GunlockWed, 6 May 2015 14:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe State of Chick Drinks -- Or So, It Has Come to This<p> Surprisingly, the creepiest thing about <a href="http://vinepair.com/booze-news/what-do-beer-hollywood-have-in-common-collagen-injections/">the recent launch of a light beer called &quot;Precious&quot;</a> isn&#39;t the name (which should be reserved for Gollum and/or the film based on the novel <em>Push</em> by Sapphire). It isn&#39;t even the ingredients list, which includes an unexpected cameo by two grams of collagen per can. It&#39;s the tagline. &quot;Guys can tell if a girl is taking collagen or not.&quot; Cool. Wait. What?</p> <p> Women are used to being assaulted with &quot;solutions&quot; for the &quot;problem&quot; of &quot;aging&quot; (i.e. fighting the good chemical fight against, well, nature)--beauty magazines in the dentist&#39;s office, ads for eye cream popping up in your Gmail, Kardashians pretty much everywhere at this point. But...in our beer? Seriously?</p> <p> The fact that there&#39;s a company (and not just any company, Japanese beverage megalith Suntory) that thinks it can intimidate a woman into drinking some light beer by suggesting she might want to have anything to do with the guy scrutinizing her face for fine lines is weird enough. Weirder still is the relatively calm cultural response, with female writers from <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/eustaciahuen/2015/04/22/who-knew-beers-could-be-precious-with-a-little-collagen/"><em>Forbes</em></a> to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/11537433/Alcohol-that-makes-you-look-younger-Japan-launches-collagen-beer.html">&gt;The Telegraph</a> taking less of a &quot;dear god&quot; and more of a &quot;yeah but will it work&quot; perspective on Precious. Sure, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/collagen-infused-beer-suntory_n_7126684.html">HuffPost was appropriately indignant,</a> but then again, the next day they published an article on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/24/coachella-instagram-girls_n_7139422.html">how two attractive teenage girls in jean shorts achieved &quot;Instagram superstardom&quot; at Coachella</a> (for, as it turns out, being attractive teenage girls in jean shorts). In this weird, weird world, maybe an overtly sexist, anti-aging light beer is just what you drink?</p> <p> But before we quiet down and take our serving of the Kool-Aid, er, collagen beer, the whole phenomenon begs the question: what <em>is</em> going on with chick drinks these days? Is this really the state of affairs?</p> <p> That chick drinks are still very much a thing isn&#39;t really in doubt. If you&#39;ve been to the liquor store recently, chances are you&#39;ve seen at least one or two beverages marketed specifically to the ladies: Little Black Dress, Mommy Juice, Sweet Bitch (yes, that&#39;s a thing). But they also aren&#39;t a new phenomenon. Since before the days of Zima, women were being sold on a certain way of drinking. And these drinks weren&#39;t always lower ABV. In fact, in 1951, the gin-packed, grenadine-hued <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/02/pink-lady-recipe-drinks-cocktails-gin.html">Pink Lady cocktail</a> was sold as a kind of secret way for girls to go wild (alas, with no one there to film them back then). Then president of the Bartender&#39;s Union of New York, Jack Townsend described the Pink Lady as the drink for the kind of woman who&#39;s &quot;so courteous but always seems so timid. She&#39;s the one who sort of reminds you of your aunt, so quiet.&quot;</p> <p> Like wine coolers and SoCo in the years that followed it, The Pink Lady was the kind of drink intended to help the good girl blur her lines a bit, all without seeming to know what she&#39;s doing. As Townsend fancifully suggested in 1951, &quot;It&#39;s quite possible she has seen the decorative and innocuous-appearing pink-and-white amalgamation passing on a waiter&#39;s tray and decided, &#39;Hmmm, that couldn&#39;t do me any harm.&#39;&quot; See? Precious isn&#39;t some kind of trend-setter. Chick drinks have been creepy for <em>decades</em>.</p> <p> In fact, what&#39;s changed isn&#39;t the concept of chick drinks--or some semi-marginalizing sense that women should drink and/or be marketed to differently (despite our best efforts to argue the contrary). What&#39;s changed is the ownership women are taking on both sides of the alcohol beverage market. All signs point to women drinking and making more alcohol. And yes, while some signs point to ladies drinking more stereotypical &quot;chick drinks&quot;--a <a href="http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/americans-have-the-fever-for-flavor-alcoholic-beverages-and-creative-taste-profiles.html">March 2015 Nielsen study</a> found that &quot;women enjoy flavored alcoholic beverages much more than men,&quot; with only 27% of female respondents claiming they don&#39;t like the stuff--there&#39;s as much of an increase elsewhere. A long term Gallup poll found a significant uptick in wine consumption by women between 1994 to 2012 (up from 43 to 52%), while another recent Nielsen study found women (and Hispanics) are buying more whiskey generally.</p> <p> Though yes, self-styled &quot;chick drinks&quot; seem to be enjoying a recent boom in marketing. Nielsen&#39;s alcohol and beverage VP Danny Brager reports that &quot;[s]ales for those brands jumped by 57 percent from 2011 to 2012.&quot; And even the most superficial tour of the Ladies Liquor Cabinet reveals a slew of aggressively gender-ized brands with their own respective &quot;Ick&quot; factors: the aforementioned Precious (collagen, &#39;nuf said); &quot;Mommy&quot; brands like <a href="http://www.mommystimeout.net/#!mommys-time-out/c24i2">Mommy&#39;s Time Out</a> and <a href="http://mommyjuicewines.com/about-the-wines/">Mommy Juice</a> (beyond using the term &quot;mommy,&quot; phrases like &quot;Moderate tannins make this a wonderful wine to drink while the kids are sleeping.&quot;); Little Black Dress (how about how two of three pairing recommendations are for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZc2dSPG1Ls">salad</a>?); Girls Night Out (an actual little black dress on the Chardonnay label); Vernissage (<a href="http://www.vernissagewine.com/the-story-29.aspx">purse-shaped wine</a>, and the phrase &quot;A woman&#39;s touch has propelled the Bag-in-Bag wine from the practical to the elegant.&quot; Happy 1952, everyone.); &quot;Sofia&quot; (&quot;stylish pink&quot; 187 mL cans of sparkling Sofia Blanc de Blancs from the Coppola winery, Ick factor being, Come on, Coppola, you&#39;re better than that! Apocalypse Now!); and of course <a href="http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/how-many-calories-do-skinnygirl-cocktails-really-save-you/">the Skinny Girl brand</a>, whose ick factor--beyond the Barbie-proportioned silhouette on the bottle--is probably just <a href="http://skinnygirlcocktails.com/drink-like-a-lady">the dead, dull thud of marketing language like this</a>: &quot;A lady knows the rules...Drink like a lady.&quot;</p> <p> The fact that wines seem to dominate the chick drinks category isn&#39;t a coincidence: women drink more wine generally, with Gallup reporting that by 2013 &quot;52% [of women] say they drink wine most often, while 24% say liquor and 20% beer.&quot; Dr. Liz Thach is a management and wine business professor at Sonoma State University (she&#39;s also the first female Master of Wine in California), and she recently explained to us that &quot;women have always drunk more wine than men. In fact, women <em>buy</em> more win than men in the U.S.&quot; The only reason it&#39;s getting more attention culturally (e.g. <a href="http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/wine-snobbery-ny-times-scandal/">female TV characters holding massive wine goblets like scepters</a>) is because &quot;wine has become more trendy,&quot; says Thach.</p> <p> Yes, men buy the wines, the way they might also wander into a Victoria&#39;s Secret and blush among the panties until a salesperson realizes there&#39;s a dude among the panties.</p> <p> And while men are actually drinking more thanks to the trendiness, &quot;women still drink the most wine and purchase the most wine, 60 to 80 percent.&quot; As for why wineries are dressing the product up, so to speak, and &quot;coming out with labels targeted to women is that they realize there&#39;s a consumer segment among women that appreciates these labels,&quot; says Thach. &quot;I talked with some of the brand managers who created these wines, and yes, 90 percent of the people who purchase these wines are women, it&#39;s who they&#39;re targeted to.&quot; Yes, men buy the wines, the way they might also wander into a Victoria&#39;s Secret and blush among the panties until a salesperson realizes there&#39;s a dude among the panties. &quot;It&#39;s mainly as a gift,&quot; says Thach.</p> <p> The real story underlying chick drinks isn&#39;t that they still exist, or that marketing has become more aggressively <em>fabulous</em>. It&#39;s that women are drinking more generally. A study just <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150423182540.htm">published</a> by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington found heavy drinking and binge drinking rates are up 17.2% and 8.9% respectively, with women making up a large proportion of the increase (&quot;heavy drinking&quot; for a woman is more than one drink a day, on average, per month). Coincidence (or opportunism), the push to market to women is on the rise, <a href="http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/the-pulse/67107-why-alcohol-marketing-targeting-women-has-public-health-researchers-concerned">something David Jernigan of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins has been paying careful attention</a> to (since roughly the late 1990s, when he says marketing began to be geared toward women in the U.S.) &quot;If the level of marketing gets to the same intensities as it is for men,&quot; he told News Works last April, &quot;because of the biological differences, the harms will be greater for women than they are for men.&quot;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">On the other hand, Julie Gunlock of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum called it sexist, &quot;or at the very least an exaggeration to say that women are victimized by this marketing.&quot; </span></span></strong></span>This is, after all, an age where groups like <a href="http://www.meetup.com/Womens-Drinking-Club-Ladies-Who-Lush/">Ladies Who Lush</a> and <a href="http://thewhiskeywomen.com/about/">Whiskey Women</a> are trying to &quot;redefine the norm that has been handed to us by men&quot; (presumably by drinking non-flavored, well-aged, leather-couch-worthy whiskies while not watching <em>Sex and the City</em>).</p> <p> Women seem to be intentionally and collectively defining their own drinking habits, which, again, appear to be increasing. (Hence another, more recent uptick in<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/04/women-on-the-wagon-club-together-to-cut-back-on-drinking"> women-on-the-wagon</a> clubs?) In such a context, the question <em>what</em> women are drinking, and whether it&#39;s sexist or lazily marketed or comes with a free push-up bra, begins to pale in comparison to <em>why</em>.</p> <p> Meanwhile, at least we can all agree that if Precious is any indicator, 2015 is gonna be a weird and highly stereotyped year for females and alcohol marketing. So hopefully someone out there finally makes a drink that actually helps with self-esteem...</p> <p> <em>This article originally appeared on <a href="http://vinepair.com/">VinePair</a> and was written by Emily Bell. Emily has been writing about food, drink, and the culture and politics thereof for several years now - despite all of which, she is still weirdly hungry and thirsty.</em></p> http://iwf.org/media/2797098/Julie GunlockWed, 6 May 2015 10:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSchool Serves 6yo Expired Meat + Feds Regulating Homemade Soap • Cam & Company http://iwf.org/media/2797056/Julie GunlockTue, 5 May 2015 08:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSchool Serves Expired Meat<p> Multiple news outlets are <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3063984/Parents-fury-six-year-old-pork-served-students-Tennessee-schools.html#ixzz3ZB2GGTla">reporting</a> that a school district in rural Tennessee served children meat that was six years old. The meat was even served to some kindergarteners. That&#39;s right, the meat was older than the kids eating it.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size: 1.2em;">How odd. I thought school lunches were supposed to be so healthy, nutrient dense, locally sourced and delicious. That continues to be the claim of the White House and the First Lady who spent last week visiting all the talk shows to mark the 5-year anniversary of&nbsp;</span><strike style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">making kids eat disgusting food</strike><span style="font-size: 1.2em;">&nbsp;the Let&#39;s Move program. This morning, the Washington Post reports that the First Lady is already thinking about her legacy and will spend the next two years&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">securing &quot;the gains&quot; she has made to make kids healthier.</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Let&#39;s consider those gains. No doubt, the First Lady will include her &quot;reforms&quot; to the school lunch program as a positive gain for the country. But are these gains? Consider the massive food waste (<a href="http://www.abcactionnews.com/money/consumer/taking-action-for-you/study-millions-wasted-everyday-in-school-lunchrooms-due-to-new-standards">one study estimated food waste costs around $4 million a day</a>). Even the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">National School Nutrition Association is worried, stating that there has been an 81 percent increase in food being thrown away in lunchrooms across the country. And of course,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">there&#39;s that small detail that the kids find the food completely revolting, Americans might think twice before giving Mrs. Obama a round of applause for her &quot;accomplishment.&quot;</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size: 1.2em;">T<font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">he sickening case of expired meat being served to kids isn&#39;t just an anomaly. Remember these stories?</font></span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <img alt="" src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/12/06/23CD823100000578-0-image-m-9_1417881506721.jpg" /></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size:12px;">And this delicious pile of mystery mush:</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size:12px;"><img alt="" src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B3Oy2P5IYAAaDSd.jpg" /></span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size:12px;">And of course, you can&#39;t forget this stunning example of what can only be described as torture on a food tray:</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> <span style="font-size:12px;"><img alt="" src="http://toprightnewscom.c.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/lunch.jpg" /></span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; min-height: 1px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p> Meanwhile, we have sanctimonious school officials <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/28/school-lunch-returned-not-nutritious/26498493/">criticizing parents for packing their child an Oreo cookie</a>. And other school districts <a href="http://www.medicaldaily.com/school-bans-homemade-lunches-angering-parents-critical-federal-nutritional-standards-263026">banning parents from providing their kids a home packed meal</a> unless they present a doctor&#39;s note.</p> <p> There is only one way to ensure expired meat, and other disgusting things don&#39;t end up being served to your kids at lunch--opt out of the school lunch program.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2797016/Julie GunlockMon, 4 May 2015 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum