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.org33968Why gender-neutral scouting will negatively affect boys and girls • Cam & Cohttp://iwf.org/media/2804993/Julie 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> http://iwf.org/news/2804979/Julie 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> http://iwf.org/blog/2804956/Julie 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="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/us/boy-scouts-girls.html">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="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/boy-scouts-movement-begins">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="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/05/the-war-against-boys/304659/">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="http://www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/highest-awards/gold-award.html">Gold Award</a>&mdash;the Girl Scout&rsquo;s highest honor, which requires girls to solve a community problem. <a href="http://blog.girlscoutsww.org/2015/06/go-gold-22-girl-scouts-who-changed-our-community-this-year/">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="https://www.babble.com/kid/boys-need-rough-tumble-play/">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="http://www.apadivisions.org/division-35/news-events/news/risk-taking.aspx">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> http://iwf.org/news/2804948/Julie 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="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4965858/Bill-Hillary-Clinton-haven-t-spoken-months.html">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="http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/politics/hillary-clinton-harvey-weinstein/index.html">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> http://iwf.org/blog/2804931/Julie GunlockWed, 11 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumChicago Repeals Massive Soda Tax<p> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/10/why-chicagos-soda-tax-fizzled-after-two-months-and-what-it-means-for-the-anti-soda-movement/?utm_term=.d71734dac673"><em>The Washington Post</em></a> reports that after only two months of being implemented, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 15-1 to repeal the Chicago&rsquo;s massive soda tax&mdash;the country&rsquo;s largest.</p> <p> The Post chalks the repeal up to a variety of things--legal challenges, implementation glitches and the soda industry&rsquo;s own advocacy on the issue. It isn&rsquo;t until several paragraphs into the article that the <em>Post</em> mentions the main reason for the repeal: widespread voter outrage that the tax was passed in the first place.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> [The tax] was met with staunch public opposition: Consumers have organized highly visible boycotts, driving to nearby Indiana for groceries, and flooded their representatives with complaints.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> Several Cook County commissioners who switched their votes in favor of repeal have cited that outrage.</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &ldquo;I have heard from the people of my district, overwhelmingly,&rdquo; said Commissioner John Daley during the Tuesday hearing, which stretched on for hours as proponents and opponents of the tax testified to the board&rsquo;s finance committee.</p> <p> Consumers understand what&rsquo;s behind these measures. Politicians don&rsquo;t pass soda taxes to help solve the obesity crisis or to dissuade people from buying sugary drinks (otherwise diet drinks, flavored water and juices wouldn&rsquo;t be included in the tax). The reason they pass these nonsense measures is to create new streams of revenue.</p> <p> The Post hints at this reality in the article, reporting that the &ldquo;&hellip;county of 5.2 million people was already contending with budgetary woes&rdquo; and that the measure &ldquo;was pitched largely as a means to plug a $1.8 billion budget gap&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p> What politicians might try to do instead is practice a little fiscal restraint, slash a few hundred county-wide duplicative and wasteful programs, consider the privatization of certain social programs and&hellip;here&rsquo;s an idea, stop seeing government as the solution to every public need.</p> <p> Of course, that would mean actually doing some work and making difficult decisions. I guess it&rsquo;s far easier to simply levy another tax on an already overburdened tax base.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2804930/Julie GunlockWed, 11 Oct 2017 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEven your dinner is a part of the #Resistance • Cam & Cohttp://iwf.org/media/2804927/Julie GunlockTue, 10 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNow, Even Your Dinner is Supposed to be Part of the #Resistance<p> Americans are quickly growing weary of politics seeping into every crevice of life. Long gone are the days of simply sitting down to watch a football game and enjoying some snacks. Today, one must endure the political stunts of kneeling players while wondering if those chicken wings you put on the buffet were humanely raised and slaughtered.</p> <p> Some applaud the politicization of pretty much everything, even the mundane task of eating. Consider chef and cookbook author Julia Turshen&rsquo;s self-congratulatory piece in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/opinion/puerto-rico-resistance-trump-food.html">New York Times</a>. Turshen is so woke to the issues of the day&mdash;the resistance to Trump, the lack of diversity in food media, her own habit of not inviting people of color to her dinner table (despite claiming she actually has non-white friends).</p> <p> Challenged by a colleague who asked her when was the last time she invited someone &ldquo;who doesn&rsquo;t look like me&rdquo; over for a meal, Turshen&mdash;who reminds readers every few paragraphs of her embarrassing whiteness&mdash;decided to host a <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085244/">Big Chill-style weekend</a> &ldquo;of conversation and organizing&rdquo; (ostensibly her pantry and sock drawer&hellip;she doesn&rsquo;t specify) with her non-white friends (which she made extra clear by actually writing: &ldquo;My wife and I were the only white people there.&rdquo; Brave).</p> <p> Turshen&rsquo;s weekend of self-induced diversity training was so exciting that, as she recounts, &ldquo;Except to sleep, none of us ever left the kitchen table.&rdquo; One simply has to assume bathroom breaks were allowed. On <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BXyGnRlATAO/?taken-by=turshen">Instagram</a>, Turshen published a picture of the group and wrote:</p> <p> The future (of food + more) isn&rsquo;t just female- it&rsquo;s also black, brown, Asian, indigenous, trans, queer, non-binary, inclusive, intersectional, active, engaged, loving + thoughtful. and for those of us who have benefited from lots of privilege, it&rsquo;s primarily full of listening. getting to spend a weekend with this group of friends and share stories + ideas + intentions in a safe, positive space has left me feeling grateful, compassionate, aware, and hopeful.</p> <p> Might Turshen&rsquo;s description of a very &ldquo;diverse&rdquo; group of people sitting around having a conversation in a &ldquo;safe, and positive space&rdquo; be code for the fact that they talked about things on which all of them agreed&mdash;like the need to resist Trump and all those yucky non-diverse people who voted for him?</p> <p> Turshen clearly defines diversity as simply skin color and sexual orientation. But what about diversity of thought?</p> <p> If Turshen is really committed to diversity, for her next experimental slumber party, she might try doing something truly provocative (and worthy of a New York Times article): Invite people over who think differently from how she thinks. For instance, she could invite someone who voted for Trump. Perhaps she could include someone who doesn&rsquo;t think a person&rsquo;s value derives from his or her skin color, or&mdash;here&rsquo;s a novel idea&mdash;she could invite someone who doesn&rsquo;t really think all that much about food. You know, someone who has more important things to think about, like disaster relief.</p> <p> Oh sure, Turshen knows all about disaster relief workers. She wrote about them in the same New York Times opinion piece but limited her focus to the celebrity chefs who are selflessly generating their own good PR by cooking for hurricane victims. She writes about Washington, D.C., chef Jose Andres:</p> <p> The Washington chef Jos&eacute; Andr&eacute;s has spent the past week in Puerto Rico cooking meals in hot-tub-size paella pans for Americans affected by Hurricane Maria. With his team, working out of mobile kitchens, restaurants and food trucks, he&rsquo;s prepared more than 50,000 meals and counting.</p> <p> And while we can all agree with Turshen&rsquo;s feel-good point that it&rsquo;s nice to give back to those those in need, she inadvertently exposes that she lives in a bubble since she seems blithely unaware that emergency response workers, state officials, private businesses (other than restaurant owners) and charities do this stuff all the time and for far less praise. Consider the work of the <a href="http://www.sbc.net/">Southern Baptists</a> who operate massive disaster relief kitchens that feed 20,000 people per day. Sure, it&rsquo;s not celebrity-chef-made paella or high-end food but are survivors of a natural disaster taking a break from sifting through the rubble to contemplate what sort of fine dining they&rsquo;ll be eating that day?</p> <p> Turshen is correct that food and political activism have always been linked, but sitting around with like-minded folks talking about this historical fact doesn&rsquo;t make you woke to today&rsquo;s issues. It makes you just another food elitist reinforcing the walls of your high-end blown sugar bubble.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804922/Julie GunlockTue, 10 Oct 2017 10:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWisconsin's Move Toward Food Freedom<p> The headline reads &quot;<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/judge-lifts-ban-on-selling-homemade-baked-goods-in-wisconsin/">Selling homemade baked goods now legal in Wisconsin, judge rules</a>.&quot; What follows is a feel good story about the return of common sense and the restoration of food freedom for the people of Wisconsin.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> LaFayette County Judge Duane Jorgenson ruled Wednesday afternoon in favor of three women who&#39;d challenged a state law they say made it impossible for home bakers to legally sell their treats.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p> This is of course good news but the fact that for years, baking items in your own kitchen to sell on the open market was banned, should&nbsp;make everyone stand in awe at just how many freedoms this country has abandoned and how governments at all levels make it more difficult to simply make a living.&nbsp;</p> <p> Judge Jorgenson, who ruled in the case, seems to understand this. In his oral statement, he said that the ban on home baked goods &quot;primarily serves business interests.&quot; He&#39;s correct. After all, when you can&#39;t get a cherry pie from your neighbor Jenny--who is the best baker in the neighborhood--you have to head to the local grocery store or the brick-and-mortar bakery, where you&#39;ll likely pay double the price. Of course this leaves Jenny doling out her famous cherry pie for free at church events and at her own barbeques and as her reputation as being a good baker grows, she&rsquo;ll be unable to profit on that noteriety. But the professional bakers and big grocery stores sure do make a profit off her loss.</p> <p> Sorry, Jenny (and all your potential customers), government knows best!</p> <p> The real tragedy here is Jenny&rsquo;s likely a stay-at-home mom who left her lucrative career track to raise her kids. Jenny simply wants to find a creative way to use her own talents to add to the family&#39;s income and so she thought she&rsquo;d do what she enjoys&mdash;sell her baked goods to friends and neighbors and eventually perhaps provide area restaurants with her items. But because of this ban, she&rsquo;s left with fewer choices, and no supplemental income.</p> <p> I see this in my own community. Many of the moms in my neighborhood operate small businesses--offering exercise and nutrition advice, some offer babysitting services; still others sell products online, which allows them to work from home and still care for their kids.&nbsp; Women love having these choices and the flexibility to carry on working without sacrificing time with their children.</p> <p> Those who defend these sorts of silly bans often site food safety issues, which of course suggests Jenny represents some sort of danger. But that&#39;s nonsense. If we take that logic any further, we&#39;ll soon see a ban on potluck dinners, bake sales, heck, why not ban the dinner party! (One can almost see the nervous government bureaucrat wringing his hands at a neighborhood gathering and wondering if Mary washed her hands before making that potato salad and if Janice made sure there was no mold on those blueberries before adding them into the muffins&hellip;and oh, there&rsquo;s Jenny with one of those cream pies&mdash;is it thoroughly cooked?).</p> <p> The very idea that banana bread, blueberry muffins, brownies, cakes and other confections somehow became the jurisdiction of the government and a pet project of some eager politician with a hatred of gluten tells you that the government has gotten just a teeny bit too big.&nbsp;</p> <p> Wisconsin has taken a positive step in reducing it.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2804896/Julie GunlockFri, 6 Oct 2017 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConsumers Seek Choices At Checkout<p> <strong>Consumers embrace moderation and choice at retail checkouts, industry data reveals.</strong></p> <p> Choices, that&rsquo;s what consumers want when it comes to the retail checkout area, and that includes candy and chocolate. This is according to data from market research firm Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) that finds consumers are focused on achieving balance and moderation, noting that for every 10 trips to the store they are purchasing confectionery products at checkout less than once, on average.</p> <p> In fact, consumers say they feel in control when checking out at grocery stores and other retail locations that sell candy at the front end, according to a national survey by NCA. In addition, 63 percent of parents note they appreciate having the option to purchase candy in the checkout aisle.</p> <p> Additionally, the &ldquo;pester power&rdquo; argument does not hold water as the segment with the highest concentration of children in the household has a low purchase index for instant consumables, according to a Hudson Institute whitepaper, <a href="https://www.hudson.org/research/12502-new-realities-at-retail-checkout-challenges-and-opportunities-for-instant-consumable-candy-and-snacks"><strong>New Realities at Retail Checkout: Challenges and Opportunities for Instant Consumable Candy and Snacks</strong></a>. The whitepaper notes candy does not rank among the top foods and beverages consumers avoid because of health concerns.</p> <p> The Hudson Institute also found candy ranks among the most frequently purchased items of the numerous categories retailers carry, accounting for more than 30 percent of the instant consumable market and having an 80 percent household penetration rate.</p> <p> <strong>Consumers Practice Moderation</strong></p> <p> Evaluating the five consumer segments developed by the Natural Marketing Institute that range from &ldquo;well beings,&rdquo; who are the most health pro-active, to &ldquo;eat, drink and be merrys,&rdquo; who are the least concerned with health and healthy eating, the Hudson Institute found that regardless of group, all segments buy and enjoy confectionery products in moderation.</p> <p> Despite these findings, the food policy organization Center for Science in the Public Interest continues pressuring retailers to remove chocolate and candy from retail checkout areas, calling on misinformation and the notion consumers are not capable of self control when confectionery products are merchandised at the front end.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Julie Gunlock, senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, says that she doesn&rsquo;t think saying no to a child&rsquo;s request for candy is the toughest challenge parents face. &ldquo;The food nannies might say this is an epic problem for parents, but moms and dads know it&rsquo;s a pretty minor issue,&rdquo; she says.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;I have three children. I know the challenging decisions we face every day, in the grocery store and in life,&rdquo; Gunlocks adds. &ldquo;I have every confidence that parents are more than equipped to deal with the presence of candy at checkout. Many times, if children even ask for a treat, the answer is a simple no. From time to time, like most parents, I enjoy the option to say yes and treat my kids a small sweet. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with that.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Cam Cloeter, an expert in the field of retail checkouts, notes adults shopping with children tend to purchase less candy at checkout than they do in center-store sections. He points out this debunks the &ldquo;pester power&rdquo; argument many opponents cite in seeking to remove confectionery from checkout aisles.</p> <p> Front ends are complex store areas with limited space that need to accommodate products meeting a range of usage occasions, continues Cloeter. &ldquo;These instant consumables fill a plethora of need states, from refresh to reward,&rdquo; he explains. &ldquo;Front ends are really about helping shoppers make informed and responsible choices, while maintaining sales productivity.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Whether consumers purchase confectionery items in the center of the store or at retail checkout, they understand the unique role chocolate, candy, gum and mints can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle,&rdquo; confirms John Downs, NCA president and CEO. &ldquo;Chocolate and candy have always been a treat, and the Always A Treat initiative is a big commitment by the participating companies to keep it that way.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>Companies Support Consumers&rsquo; Ability to Make Informed Choices at Checkout</strong></p> <p> Reinforcing the industry&rsquo;s commitment to help make informed choices, America&rsquo;s leading chocolate and candy companies, in cooperation with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), in May announced the Always A Treat initiative to provide consumers with information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats.</p> <p> This voluntary initiative is in line with a recent McKinsey Global Institute study that identified &ldquo;portion control&rdquo; as the number one intervention that would make the biggest impact on health and life extension.</p> <p> This initiative brings together Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC, Nestl&eacute; USA, Inc., Ferrara Candy Co., Inc., Ferrero U.S.A., Inc., Lindt &amp; Spr&uuml;ngli (USA), Inc., Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. and Russell Stover Candies, Inc.</p> <p> A main component of the Always A Treat initiative is that by 2022 one-half of the individually wrapped products made by these companies will be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. Right now, more than 60 percent of the participating companies&rsquo; individually wrapped products contain less than 250 calories per pack. In the next few years, consumers will see more options in smaller sizes &mdash; and innovative new products, as well, Downs tells CST.</p> <p> Most Americans enjoy candy about two to three times per week, averaging about 40 calories and about one teaspoon of added sugar per day from confectionery items, notes Christopher Gindlesperger, vice president of public affairs and communications at NCA.</p> <p> &ldquo;Today&rsquo;s shoppers value a variety of food options and in the checkout lane, it is no different. As retailers it is up to us to provide that variety including more nutrient dense options such as fresh fruits and veggies, string cheese, and nuts as well as the traditional treats such as candy and bakery items,&rdquo; says Stephanie Edson, MS, RDN, LD LMNT, with SpartanNash Co., a wholesale distributor and grocer with approximately 150 stores in the Midwest.</p> <p> Edson adds that while retailers must make these nutrient dense options easy and convenient, consumers still deserve a choice. &ldquo;Treats can be part of a balanced lifestyle. They should not necessarily be an everyday food, but should be enjoyed in balance with other food choices and physical activity,&rdquo; she tells CST.</p> <p> As confectionery companies step forward in providing consumers with the information, options and support to make choices when it comes to enjoying chocolate and candy, retail checkout remains an important section of the store for shoppers looking to fill a range of need states and retailers seeking to remain profitable. CST</p> http://iwf.org/media/2804858/Julie GunlockMon, 2 Oct 2017 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe baffling rise of Gwyneth Paltrow's "Goop" • Cam & Cohttp://iwf.org/media/2804825/Julie GunlockTue, 26 Sep 2017 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGOOP and the Media’s Double Standard on Pseudoscience<p> Recently, Olga Khazan of <em>The Atlantic</em> <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/09/goop-popularity/539064/">tried to figure out</a> &ldquo;The Baffling Rise of GOOP&rdquo;&mdash;actress Gwyneth Paltrow&rsquo;s trendy lifestyle website, which has recently been accused of promoting deceptive health claims. Khazan wonders what the site&rsquo;s popularity says about the future of health journalism.</p> <p> Khazan does a good job navigating the oddball world of GOOP pseudoscience and the enormously lucrative business of selling snake oil to a new market of consumers who are equally parts gullible and health obsessed. Yet, as with anyone examining their own trade, Khazan fails to see what&rsquo;s truly wrong with health (and frankly, all) journalism today&mdash;routine double standards, crushing cynicism, and the media&rsquo;s utterly ridiculous and embarrassingly sycophantic admiration of the Hollywood elite.</p> <p> Khazan clearly sees a problem&mdash;that not enough journalists are asking the necessary tough questions about Gwyneth&rsquo;s wacky claims. But ultimately, Khazan reasons that this is simply a budgetary matter:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Fact-checking often doesn&rsquo;t fit into increasingly tight media budgets, or isn&rsquo;t much of a priority, so dubious health claims about&nbsp;prolonged fasting&nbsp;or avoiding gluten ricochet around the internet.</p> <p> Really? How lazy and impassive have journalists become that they require a fact-checker to look into the validity of GOOP&rsquo;s various bizarre claims? Does it really require a fact-checker on staff to look into Gwyneth&rsquo;s assertion that water has feelings or that crystals heal clinical depression and that walking barefoot on grass heals &ldquo;everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression?&rdquo; In fact, before &ldquo;fact-checkers&rdquo; became a thing, weren&rsquo;t reporters supposed to be the checkers of facts?</p> <p> Well, yes. And that&rsquo;s why Khazan&rsquo;s reasoning comes off as just another tired excuse for bad reporting. What Khazan and many journalists don&rsquo;t want to admit is that reporters give GOOP a pass because its creator, Paltrow, is one of them&mdash;an elitist. She&rsquo;s a member of the &ldquo;in crowd.&rdquo; She&rsquo;s liberal, wealthy, and an A-list, Academy Award winning actress who claims to be &ldquo;incredibly close to the common woman&rdquo; while selling $5,000 vases (or does one call them vaaahses when they&rsquo;re that expensive?), $8,000 tents, and a $500 umbrella. In fact, Paltrow is peak elite.</p> <p> Is there a more protected or privileged class than that tiny demographic?</p> <p> Even after the actress admitted on <em>Jimmy Kimmel Live</em> that she doesn&rsquo;t &ldquo;know what the f*ck we talk about [on GOOP&rsquo;s website]&rdquo; the media chuckled and turned the other way. Or rather, they turned their attention back to what they view as a much more dangerous group of pseudoscience peddlers&mdash;like those who suggest prayer can help those suffering from diseases, never mind that <a href="https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/study-cancer-patients-with-strong-religious-or-spiritual-beliefs-report-better-health.html">there&rsquo;s actual evidence</a> that prayer can help with disease management and recovery.</p> <p> I mean, the gall of these Christians!</p> <p> One need only juxtapose the media&rsquo;s reaction to two similar yet vastly different recent comments made by two actors in the wake of Hurricane Irma to understand the problem. When actress Jennifer Lawrence claimed Hurricane Irma was Mother Nature&rsquo;s way of punishing Americans for electing Trump, the mainstream media yawned (save for a few articles that tried to explain her comments because, come on, cut her a break, it&rsquo;s Trump, so anything goes, right?).</p> <p> Yet when actor and vocal Christian activist Kirk Cameron made the equally ludicrous claim that Hurricane Irma was sent by God to teach man &ldquo;humility, awe and repentance,&rdquo; the mainstream and entertainment media blew up, generating dozens of headlines and smug stories denouncing such dangerous theories. I mean, really: awe, humility, and repentance? What gives, Kirk? How could you suggest such things?</p> <p> This all makes me wonder. What would reporters do if Gwyneth suddenly &ldquo;found God&rdquo; as they say, and GOOP started recommending Christian-based health treatments like bathing in the waters of the Grotto of Massabielle in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, France; or gave travel tips on a pilgrimage to the Bosnian town of Medjugorje, where, in the 1980s, townspeople started seeing visions of the Virgin Mary. That sort of passes the GOOP snobbery smell test, right? I mean, if those waters or visions were in Detroit, Michigan, or Columbus, Ohio, no dice, but Europe? Maybe.</p> <p> Or what if Goop offered its readers an interesting how-to article on praying the rosary or the chaplet of St. Michael or maybe a nice, short piece on how going to Mass improves mood. One can probably predict the outcry from the media: CRUCIFY HER!</p> <p> Gwyneth is no dummy. She gets that wacky health claims are best kept firmly secular. And she understands she&rsquo;s mollycoddled by members of the mainstream press, who act more like <em>Tiger Beat</em>-clutching preteens at a boy band concert than the skeptical investigators they were hired to be. Perhaps that&rsquo;s the answer to Khazan&rsquo;s question about why Goop remains so popular.</p> <p> Knowing her courtiers won&rsquo;t ask tough questions or write essays that could damage the brand, GOOP carries on with its dangerous and deceptive health claims, entirely unchecked.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804748/Julie GunlockFri, 15 Sep 2017 10:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolitics in the classroom<p> As kids head back to school, it&rsquo;s natural for parents to worry. Will little Timmy make friends? Will Susie get over her nervousness? Will they like their teachers? These are the natural concerns of parents. Yet, conservative parents worry about something else: will teachers push a political&mdash;and liberal&mdash;agenda during daily lessons?</p> <p> Consider just a small number of recent examples:</p> <p> Just after the election in November 2016, a California history teacher compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. He was suspended and later retired after he didn&rsquo;t receive an apology from school officials. Needlessly to say, he also failed to apologize to his students.</p> <p> In February 2017, the city of Alexandria, Virginia shut down the entire city&rsquo;s school system because of a teacher-organized walk out to support &ldquo;A Day Without a Woman,&rdquo; which was just a paid day off in celebration of a liberal political agenda. No one from the Alexandria school system has investigated this incident nor issued guidance to school principals or teachers to prevent further disruptive political activism.</p> <p> In April 2017, a teacher in Seth, West Virginia embraced the humor you&rsquo;d expect from a seventh grade boy, by affixed an anti-Trump patch to her shirt that said &ldquo;Tuck Frump.&rdquo; This was worn in her classroom while she taught. Several of her students shared pictures of her wearing the patch on social media.</p> <p> In June 2017, the New York Times reported that a teacher in New Jersey digitally altered a child&rsquo;s yearbook picture, airbrushing out the &ldquo;Make America Great&rdquo; slogan on his shirt. The teacher also refused to print the student&rsquo;s pro-Trump yearbook quote.</p> <p> And a few weeks ago, a teacher Georgia made two students leave a classroom for wearing &ldquo;Make America Great Again&rdquo; shirts and suggesting the campaign slogan was akin to wearing a swastika. At least in this case, the school superintendent instructed all principals to meet with their teachers and staff to remind them that their political opinions should be kept out of the classroom.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"> Left wing teacher calls Make America Great Again clothing Nazi swastika<a href="https://t.co/OcFvadYhLx">https://t.co/OcFvadYhLx</a></p> &mdash; Valerie Johnson (@Valerie74189942) <a href="https://twitter.com/Valerie74189942/status/905377431888031745">September 6, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> These are all deeply concerning incidents, particularly to conservative parents. Yet, for parents in Berkeley, California, this might also be a safety issue.</p> <p> When Berkeley middle school teacher Yvette Felarca isn&rsquo;t teaching, she runs an ANTIFA-related organization called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), which, like ANTIFA, is an extremist left-wing political organization that physically attacks its opponents, vandalizes private property, and encourages other activist organizations to adopt their dangerous and destructive tactics.</p> <p> We all saw these tactics on full display on Inauguration Day&mdash;a national holiday supposedly to celebrate the peaceful, non-violent passage of power from one leader to another. Yet, ANTIFA decided to break this tradition by lighting trash cans on fire, throwing rocks and bottles at police, setting a car on fire, and vandalizing dozens of businesses in the nation&rsquo;s capital. They haven&rsquo;t stopped. ANTIFA has continued to set fires, storm buildings, and threaten violence on college campuses throughout the United States.</p> <p> Since 2016, federal authorities have been warning state and local law enforcement that ANTIFA has become increasingly dangerous, with the Department of Homeland Security now classifying ANTIFA&rsquo;s activities as &ldquo;domestic terrorist violence.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yet, this doesn&rsquo;t seem to worry Berkeley officials, who haven&rsquo;t removed Felarca from the classroom.</p> <p> The hypocrisy is hard to miss: The Left spend countless hours demanding that schools be &ldquo;safe spaces,&rdquo; free of violence and clear of &ldquo;dangerous&rdquo; people (like Republicans, feminist writers like Christina Hoff Summers and Camille Paglia, scholars like Charles Murray and others who promote messages of limited government and economic freedom). Yet there seems to be little concern for children who are being left alone with Felarca, who has actually been filmed physically assaulting a man with whom she disagrees. It begs the quite reasonable question: How will Felarca deal with a student who disagrees with her?</p> <p> Americans are growing weary of politics, especially in their children&rsquo;s schools. It&rsquo;s time for it to end and for so called &ldquo;child safety experts&rdquo; to demand an end to political bullying in our nation&rsquo;s schools.</p> <p> Talking about the role of teachers in a child&rsquo;s life, President Ronald Reagan said, &ldquo;In the hands of America&rsquo;s teachers rests the formidable responsibility of molding and inspiring tomorrow&rsquo;s heroes&mdash;the medical scientists who will invent cures for disease, the businessmen who will found whole new industries, the writers, artists, doctors&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p> Teachers should get back to this noble goal.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804716/Julie GunlockTue, 12 Sep 2017 16:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTeacher punished for alarmism over this kids science project... • Cam & Cohttp://iwf.org/media/2804730/Julie GunlockTue, 12 Sep 2017 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Do Former GMO Execs Lead An Anti-GMO Lab? It’s Not A Change Of Heart<p> Environmental activists like to denounce conservatives as anti-science, but in many cases they ignore inconvenient evidence themselves. For a deliciously ironic example, look no further than genetically modified food. Environmental alarmists have baselessly proclaimed GMOs a hazard, but the same biotech executives who create GMOs have found a market opportunity in the junk science these groups peddle.</p> <p> The story begins with the <a href="https://www.nongmoproject.org/">Non-GMO Project</a>, a nonprofit organization that runs a popular verification program for non-engineered foods. Companies pay to have their food tested by a consortium of approved labs. Once the labs sign off that they&rsquo;re GMO-free, the companies may advertise their goods using the Non-GMO Project&rsquo;s iconic logo on their labeling.</p> <p> That cute orange butterfly has become an ersatz Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the GMO-phobic. But one of the top labs the Non-GMO Project uses is run by none other than the supposedly evil biotech executives who came up with food-engineering methods. <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/paine--partners-to-acquire-leading-food-safety-platform-global-id-300334090.html">Genetic ID is owned</a> by the New York City-based global private equity investment firm <a href="https://www.paineschwartz.com/">Paine Schwartz Partners</a>, which specializes in food and agribusiness investments.</p> <p> You Knew the Big M Was Involved</p> <p> The firm is led by David Buckeridge, a former CEO of Advanta, a global GMO seed company. Two of the firm&rsquo;s current operating directors, John Atkin and Robert Berendes, were most recently employed as top execs at Synterga, a subsidiary of ChemChina&mdash;the world&rsquo;s largest agrochemical and GMO seed producer. Operating Director John &ldquo;Jack&rdquo; Anton served as chairman, CEO, and co-owner of candy giant Ghiradelli Chocolate Company and in executive roles for such large food companies as Carlin Foods and Nabisco.</p> <p> Big Ag! Big Food! Big Sugar! What&rsquo;s next, Monsanto?</p> <p> Yes! Former Monsanto executive Steve Padgette joined Paine Schwartz Partners as a partner in 2016. He didn&rsquo;t just work at a GMO industry leader&mdash;he helped create the technology, co-inventing Roundup Ready, a tool that allows genetically modified crops to withstand a powerful weed-killer.</p> <p> This amazing innovation helps farmers produce a higher yield on less land, which is great news for the environment. Yet the Non-GMO Project has demonized Roundup Ready technology, referring to it as &ldquo;toxic&rdquo; and <a href="https://www.nongmoproject.org/blog/8-ways-to-celebrate-non-gmo-month-this-october/">saying</a> it &ldquo;can cause tumors, multiple organ damage and lead to premature death&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p> Similarly, <a href="https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/with-2000-global-studies-confirming-safety-gm-foods-among-most-analyzed-subject-in-science/">thousands of credible scientific tests</a> have certified that GMOs are safe. So has basically every major health and medical organization, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, the European Union, and the National Academy of Sciences.</p> <p> Capitalizing on Manufactured Ignorance</p> <p> But environmentalist alarmists&mdash;like those at the Non-GMO Project&mdash;have been extraordinarily effective in persuading the public, regardless of what science says. A recent <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/08/11/amid-debate-over-labeling-gm-foods-most-americans-believe-theyre-unsafe/">Pew Research Center survey</a> found that 57 percent of American adults believe GMOs are unsafe to eat. Those same wary consumers would doubtless be shocked that so many former biotech executives are the ones signing off on their beloved orange butterfly.</p> <p> The Genetic ID execs haven&rsquo;t had a Pauline conversion about GMOs. Instead, they&rsquo;re savvy business leaders capitalizing on the market opportunity inadvertently created by the anti-science Left. They&rsquo;ve realized that, largely due to the dearth of accurate reporting on GMOs, many shoppers want GMO-free food.</p> <p> Maybe that&rsquo;s cynical. Or maybe it&rsquo;s just meeting the needs of the market, however irrational. Regardless, in this case, consumers are the ones paying the high price for meaningless and unnecessary food labels while others profit from their fear.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2804683/Julie GunlockThu, 7 Sep 2017 10:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum