Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

This is a great article written by a guy about parents allowing their little girls (pre-teen and younger) dress like some of the musicians and young actresses on tv.  I mean come on - what's wrong with little girls dressing like little girls and the same for little boys?  What is up with all the hoochie, slutty clothing out for little girls?  If I had little girls, this crap wouldn't even come within arms reach of my child.

A friend of mine and I had a similar discussion some years back.  He was going through a similar issue regarding clothing choices of what he thought was appropriate and what his little daughter wanted to wear.  He was all deadset against buying any of the Juicy Couture items for his daughter that had words written across the backside.  At the time we had this conversation - Juicy Couture had just launched their new line of items with "Juicy" and such words across the butt of their velour and terry cloth track pants.  His pre-teen daughter wanted a pair and he was adament she was not getting them.  Really what little girl (or big girl/woman for that matter) needs the words "Juicy" across their butt to draw even more attention from closet pedophiles that plague society today?

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
April 19, 2011 8:52 a.m. EDT
Editor's note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN's "Sports Center," "Outside the Lines" and "First Take." He is a 2011 and 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism and a 2010 and 2008 honoree of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for column writing.

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- I saw someone at the airport the other day who really caught my eye.

Her beautiful, long blond hair was braided back a la Bo Derek in the movie "10" (or for the younger set, Christina Aguilera during her "Xtina" phase). Her lips were pink and shiny from the gloss, and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

You can tell she had been vacationing somewhere warm, because you could see her deep tan around her midriff thanks to the halter top and the tight sweatpants that rested just a little low on her waist. The icing on the cake? The word "Juicy" was written on her backside.

Yeah, that 8-year-old girl was something to see alright. ... I hope her parents are proud. Their daughter was the sexiest girl in the terminal, and she's not even in middle school yet.

Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the "Ashley," a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they're pedophiles?

Push-up bikini controversy Video

What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?

That there was a demand to make little girls hot?

I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer's breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don't have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they're potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.

We've been here with Abercrombie before -- if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds -- but they're hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular "Bratz" franchise introduced padded bras called "bralettes" for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase "Who Needs Credit Cards" printed on the front.

I guess I've been out-of-the-loop and didn't realize there's been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.

What's that you say? Ten-year-olds can't drive? They don't have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?

Their parents?

Noooo, couldn't be.

What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, "She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top."

And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we've all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.

And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergarteners if they didn't think people would buy it.

If they didn't think parents would buy it, which begs the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?
It's easy to blast companies for introducing the sexy wear, but our ire really should be directed at the parents who think low rise jeans for a second grader is cute. They are the ones who are spending the money to fuel this budding trend. They are the ones who are suppose to decide what's appropriate for their young children to wear, not executives looking to brew up controversy or turn a profit.

I get it, Rihanna's really popular. But that's a pretty weak reason for someone to dress their little girl like her.

I don't care how popular Lil' Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn't always makes me popular -- and the house does get tense from time to time -- but I'm his father, not his friend.

Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."

The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he'll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn't allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Maybe I'm a Tiger Dad.

Maybe I should mind my own business.

Or maybe I'm just a concerned parent worried about little girls like the one I saw at the airport.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There's nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?

A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

US Department of Labor Issues a Health Hazard Alert for Brazilian Straightners

Brazilian Hair Straightening Is Making Waves Again: US Department of Labor Issues a Health Hazard Alert

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2011 / 12:30 PM

Brazilian blowouts–otherwise known as keratin straightening treatments–are in the news again, this time prompting the US Department of Labor to release a Hazard Alert about the dangers of formaldehyde-containing straightening formulas. The Department of Labor used the information gleaned from the various state and federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigations to formulate its report.

The salient points in the alert:

-In addition to the Brazilian Blowout (GIB LLC’s brand that started the whole investigation in the first place), other brands were found to contain or release formaldehyde even when listed as “formaldehyde free” or not mentioning formaldehyde on the label.

-Formaldehyde poses the following health risks: allergic symptoms, nose/eye irritation, breathing problems, blindness (if splashed in the eyes), nose and lung cancer.

-Formaldehyde is also called methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0. If any of these are listed as ingredients, salons must take the proper precautions to protect workers.

-Products have to list formaldehyde as an ingredient if it is greater than 0.1% and provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to salons. It’s a salon’s responsibility to determine formaldehyde content if they’re purchasing solutions from abroad.

-If salons decide to still use the formulas, they have to provide air ventilation systems, use lower heat settings on flat irons, give workers the choice to wear a respirator and other personal protective equipment (like gloves), educate workers on the MSDS, post signs in salon about presence of formaldehyde, and train workers properly.

-If formaldehyde is present in the air at a level of 0.5 ppm during an 8-hour work shift or 2 ppm during any 15-minute period, then the employer must get workers the right medical attention and test the air periodically to make sure that formaldehyde levels are below OSHA’s limits.
-Salons will have to keep records of air testing.

In related news, WWD reports that a hearing is scheduled for May 2 to determine whether GIB LLC, the company that makes the Brazilian Blowout, will have to acknowledge that its products contain formaldehyde and provide all the appropriate documentation to salons. Additionally the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an independent, not-for-profit watchdog group, just released a very comprehensive summary of the risks of hair straightening treatments.

So is this the first death knell for keratin straightening treatments? Salons are going to have to pay to upgrade ventilation systems, provide protective garments, and do air testing. Hair straightening is huge business for a lot of salons, and is a big money-maker, but it may not be worth it anymore for smaller, independent salons. And will salon workers start refusing to do the treatments? A hair stylist just told us yesterday that he does hundreds of these procedures in the summer months alone. It doesn’t look like the FDA is going to ban these products like Canada has–yet. But if more complaints are filed or salons don’t comply, that may be the future of keratin straightening.
Better fire up your flat irons.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Amazing High Heel Shoes

I snagged these from Kobi Levi's blog - they are way too School for Cool to not be shared with you all!!

The narrative is from Basil's blog -
Israeli footwear designer Kobi Levi takes a playful, unique approach to his designs, treating them as sculptures. Clearly more for humor than high fashion, Levi takes everyday objects and incorporates them into a creative pair of high heels."In my artistic footwear design, the shoe is my canvas," says Levi, a graduate from the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem. "The trigger to create a new piece comes when an idea, a concept and/or an image comes to mind. The piece is a wearable sculpture. It is alive. Most of the inspirations are out of the 'shoe-world,' and give the footwear an extreme transformation. The result is usually humoristic with a unique point of view about footwear."

Slide 2010

Miao 2010

Mallard Duck 2011

Chewing Gum 2009

Swan 2011

Dog 2010

The Olive Oyl 2011

Toucan 2011

Banana Slip-On 2010

Blow 2010

Blond Ambition 2011

Sling-Shot 2010

Under $5 Little Ingenuities That Made Millions

Under-$5 products worth millions

These 7 inexpensive items are so simple, you probably wonder why you didn't think of them yourself. If you had, you would have made some real money. 

Post-it products © Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Post-it Notes
The United States is a nation of innovators. Some of their inventions are grand and revolutionary, like the Internet, while others are small and idiosyncratic. A seemingly small-bore change sometimes has a dramatic effect on the way people organize their lives or get things done.

Consider Post-it Notes. The sticky yellow pads are an example of an inexpensive product that has generated at least $1 million in sales. Post-it Notes got their start with a failed adhesive at 3M (MMM), one of America's most inventive companies. The glue wasn't sticky enough for ordinary uses, but 3M's Arthur Fry began using it to attach removable notes to his reports. Colleagues soon started requesting the sticky notes for themselves.

From its humble beginning, the concept behind the Post-it has been applied to about 4,000 products. Not bad for a failed adhesive.

Girls drinking with Krazy Straws © Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
Krazy Straws
Parents know that kids can be finicky eaters and drinkers. Back in 1936, inventor Arthur P. Gildersleeve of Denver came up with a new twist on this age-old problem. He tried bending straws to attract children's interest and make it more likely they would overlook their aversion to milk and juice. Gildersleeve's simple invention can be found in stores all over the world, marketed under names like Krazy Straws and sold in a variety of colors and shapes.

N'Dea Jackson (left) and Ki Anna Dorsey show off their Silly Bandz © Mark Gail/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Silly Bandz
If you have kids, you're probably familiar with Silly Bandz, those silicon rubber bands that were created nearly a decade ago by Japanese designers who wanted to introduce a more environmentally friendly rubber band as an office product.

The bands can be bent into a multitude of shapes, including animals, rock stars, letters and numbers. Despite a host of imitators, Silly Bandz sells 1 million packs a week.

Pet Rock creator Gary Dahl © Bettmann/CORBIS
Pet Rocks
It started as a joke in 1975. Hearing friends complain about their pets, advertising executive Gary Dahl opined that a rock was the ideal companion because it gave its owner no trouble. Dahl put together "The Pet Rock Training Manual" on the proper care and handling of rocks, and packaged each with a rock that came in a cardboard kennel and cost $3.95.

Within six months, Dahl was selling 10,000 Pet Rocks a day. It is estimated that he made more than $15 million during the first half-year of "production."

A patriotic-themed antenna ball © Bo Zaunders/CORBIS
Antenna balls
Jason Wall became a millionaire selling antenna balls, little round toppings for car antennas adorned with smiley faces, red cherries, ladybugs and other feel-good designs.

Wall was inspired by the "Jack" character in commercials for the burger chain Jack in the Box (JACK). He began selling his invention at auto supply stores near his California home and later contracted with Wal-Mart (WMT) to sell his antenna balls.

Koosh balls and inventor Scott Stillinger © Acey Harper/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Koosh balls
Another simple ball that made millions for its inventor is the Koosh ball, created by Scott Stillinger in 1987.

Stillinger wanted a ball that was easier for his children to toss and catch. He tied rubber bands together to create the soft ball, named after the sound it made when it hit the ground. Stillinger started a company, OddzOn Products, to make Koosh balls and related products. He later sold the company, but the balls are still on the market.

So what do you think?

I know I am always trying to think of new things to help/improve or just tantilize people.

Slinky toy © George Diebold
This simple invention by Richard James was introduced at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia in 1945 and was a raging success from Day One; all 400 of the store's Slinky toys were purchased within 90 minutes. Since then, more than 300 million Slinky toys have since been sold, making it a classic and inexpensive staple in kids' toy boxes.