July 26, 2008

Double Dose: Botox for Bridesmaids; Hospitals Work to Create Healthier Spaces; California Bans Trans Fats; McCain’s War on Women; Gaming’s “Fat Princess” …

On the Road: I’m posting from Kansas, on the way from Chicago to South Lake Tahoe … If anyone has suggestions for good food/must-see stops convenient to I-70, I’d love to hear from you! (My recommendation for Kansas City: Blue Nile Cafe and a super funky coffee house in the Crossroads Arts District — argh! what was the name! — that made our morning with a yummy veggie breakfast sandwich.) Rachel will be doing some extra blog posts next week, and I’ll be back Aug. 7. Have a great end of July!

Botox for Bridesmaids: Seriously …? The New York Times has found a new “skin deep” trend: “It is no longer sufficient to hire a hairstylist and makeup artist to be on hand the day of. Instead, bridal parties are indulging in dermal fillers and tooth-whitening months before the Big Day,” writes Abby Ellin.

Some brides pick up the tab for their attendants, replacing the pillbox inscribed with the wedding date with a well-earned squirt between the eyes. In other cases, bridesmaids — who may quietly seethe about unflattering dresses — are surprisingly willing to pay for cosmetic enhancements. “Most women, when they come in here, they want it,” said Camille Meyer, the owner of TriBeCa MedSpa. “They know they’re aging.”

For Karen Hohenstein, who held her party at the Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa in Chicago, convincing her friends was as smooth as a Botoxed forehead. “It wasn’t me saying, ‘Hey, we all could use a little something,’” she said. “It was, ‘I want to do this,’ and a couple of people said, ‘I do, too.’”

But for every accommodating pal, there’s another who feels going under the knife is beyond the duty of bridesmaid. Becky Lee, 39, a Manhattan photographer, declined when a friend asked her — and five other attendants — to have their breasts enhanced. “We’re all Asian and didn’t have a whole lot of cleavage, and she found a doctor in L.A. who was willing to do four for the price of two,” said Ms. Lee, who wore a push-up bra instead.

Plus: Why Brides-to-Be Are Starving Themselves Skinny

Hospitals Work to Get Healthier With New Design: “With hospital-acquired infections claiming more American lives each year than AIDS, breast cancer or automobile accidents, it seems the very facilities built to heal us have themselves become dangerous places,” writes Lisa Zamosky in the L.A. Times. “Two million patients each year suffer from a hospital-acquired infection, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, and nearly 100,000 of them die as a result. Architects believe that doesn’t have to be the case.”

No More Trans Fats in CA: California on Friday became the first state to ban trans fats from restaurant food, following the lead of cities like New York, Philadelphia and Seattle, reports the AP.

The legislation signed by Schwarzenegger will take effect Jan. 1, 2010, for oil, shortening and margarine used in spreads or for frying. Restaurants could continue using trans fats to deep-fry yeast dough and in cake batter until Jan. 1, 2011.

Trans fats occur naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products. Most trans fats are created when vegetable oil is treated with hydrogen to create baked and fried goods with a longer shelf life.

Stephen Joseph, a Tiburon attorney who was a consultant to New York City in developing its ban, said trans fat is a larger health risk than saturated fat because it reduces so-called good cholesterol.

A 2006 review of trans fat studies by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded there was a strong connection between consumption of trans fats and heart disease. Studies also have linked trans fats to diabetes, obesity, infertility in women and some types of cancer.

Gaming’s Big Picture: Blogging at Feministe, Holly, who designs video games for a living, writes about the reaction to and defenses of the new game “Fat Princess.” While the narrative is a send-up of damsel-in-distress games, “there are a lot of ways you could send up that cliche, but of all the possibilities, Titan chose to make the princess FAT,” writes Holly.

“The joke here is also obvious: LOL who would want to rescue a fat chick? It’s a shtick that’s been used in animation and film plenty of times; the dashing hero thinks he’s rescuing a beautiful damsel in distress, but the ‘joke’ is on him because it turns out she’s larger than acceptable! And therefore unattractive and a horrible burden for him to rescue, of course.” Read more.

McCain’s War on Women: “McCain’s campaign has been making a clear play for women voters in recent weeks, hosting conference calls with Republican women and touting that his policies on national security, the economy and healthcare appeal to women voters,” writes Kate Shepard at In These Times. “But the suggestion that women — and feminist women, at that — will be lining up behind him is a fairytale. At least, it should be. McCain’s record and policies on issues of importance to women are neither moderate nor maverick.” — A very good round-up of McCain’s voting record.

What We Want to Hear: In this well-crafted video, RH Reality Check’s Amanda Marcotte surveys attendees of the 2008 Netroots Nation conference about their views on reproductive health and politics. Yes, it’s a self-selected group of progressives, but it’s still nice to hear smart talk on the topic.

Plus: View highlights of the Netroots Nation panel featuring Marcela Howell, Amanda Marcotte, and Eesha Pandit discussing ways to use language to overcome the powerful framing devices commonly used by opponents of reproductive health.

Health Care for All: Progressive Democrats of America is seeking signatures for its Statement in Support of Universal Health Care as a plank in the Democratic Party Platform of 2008. Rep. John Conyers, co-author of the statement, was the first Democratic National Convention delegate to sign on.

Domestic Violence Memo: Over a thousand U.S. women are killed each year by a current or former intimate partner. Two million a year are injured. A sexual assault occurs every two minutes. Read the “memo” — fifth in series on the status of U.S. women that Women’s eNews wants to deliver to the candidates.

Test of Justice for Rape Victims: “Every year, more than 200,000 rape victims, mostly women, report their rapes to police. Most consent to the creation of a rape kit, an invasive process for collecting physical evidence (including DNA material) of the assault that can take up to six hours. What most victims don’t know is that in thousands of cases, that evidence sits untested in police evidence lockers,” writes Sarah Tofte, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, in this Washington Post column.


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