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Posts tagged "controversy"

No one expects people to smell their best at the gym. But should smelling REALLY bad get you kicked out?

This story’s creating a bit of a firestorm in the Twitterverse these days. Shawn Morales, a frequent Gold’s Gym goer, was told he could no longer be a member after the management received several complaints that his body odor was offensive. Afterwards, Shawn took to Twitter to get the story out and has garnered some support online… and so has Gold’s gym.

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Ben & Jerry’s has issued an apology after numerous complaints rolled in about their new flavor ‘Taste The Lin-sanity’. The vanilla ice cream contained lychee honey swirls, bits of fortune cookies & contained imagery of take out boxes.

ANYTHING that can be construed as racial stereotyping/profiling will get people riled up, and rightfully so. I mean, I love lychee & fortune cookies, but to associate them to Lin was undoubtedly because of his race. The ice cream itself sounds delicious, and had it not been made to celebrate a SPECIFIC person (rather, NY asian takeout inspired so to speak), the reaction wouldn’t have been nearly so bad. Jeremy Lin is well known for being an awesome basketball standout… NOT for being asian.

Are people over-reacting (I saw death threats) to the ingredients ? Yes. Does that over-reaction come from a valid place? Yes.

In the past, Ben & Jerry’s has been a strong supporter of non-disciminatory practices, including supporting gay rights, marriage equality & the environment. I can’t believe ANYONE on their team knowingly sought to offend anyone (so, let’s simmer down with the death threats). The proceeds of ‘Taste The Lin-Sanity’ were going to a non-profit organization. Ben & Jerry’s has issued an apology to those who were offended (remember, there were plenty of people who were NOT) and has replaced the fortune cookie with waffle cone.

It was a bad idea. It didn’t work. That happens. But it’s starting a conversation, yet again, on race & stereotypes. And conversations are always good things.

Moving on. :)

Via Boston Herald

Local Ben & Jerry’s officials have apologized to customers offended by a limited-edition frozen yogurt flavor paying tribute to New York Knicks hoop sensation Jeremy Lin, after fortune cookie pieces were included in the initial recipe.

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Sex appeal, strength, beauty and yoga. Personally, I see nothing wrong with any of those things and the combination makes divine sense to me: I feel beautiful, sexy and strong whenever I practice yoga (though, I suppose that would depend on which way I’ve got my body twisted, if I’m in public with a hole in my crotch and whether or not I feel a fart coming on).

I’d seen this video awhile back, and had posted it on facebook. Videos like these do not scream ‘controversy’ to me: much of that has to do with my own sense of self, and acceptance of my body (typically, when things ‘irk’ us, it speaks to our our insecurities or fears: not necessarily the thing itself). I thought she looked stunning, and many of my friends/fans did too. Essentially, the video shows a woman practicing yoga, likely at home, and it showcases her incredible yoga body while she strikes many difficult poses. It’s certainly not unique, but like others that preceded it, it has garnered both admiration and criticism.

Let’s start with the obvious: the woman (Briohny Smyth) is truly mesmerizing to watch. She’s strong, practiced, has incredible control over her body and shows remarkable confidence while practicing yoga. When I watch her, I’m both inspired and in awe: I can’t do what she’s doing, and I envy her control and strength. As a regular yoga practitioner (who’s just okay), some of the poses she’s able to maintain truly blow me away.  

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Sometimes, I just laugh and shake my head when something gets labeled ‘controversial’. This is one of those times.

I personally don’t consider this controversial. I think it’s bloody fabulous. But researching the gym has brought up so much negativity, that I’m happy to throw in a positive voice (overall, I think the response is fairly ‘thumbs up’).

Downsize Fitness is a gym that only accepts members who are overweight - significantly overweight. The criteria for becoming a member is that you have 50 or more pounds to lose. When clients reach their goal, they ‘graduate’ from the gym. The idea is to create a non-intimidating environment where members can focus less on feeling judged and more on their workouts. Even the windows are permanently fogged up so that passers by cannot watch people get their sweat on.

See? FABULOUS, right?

The “controversy” apparently comes from the fact that leaner gym goers believe the policy to be discriminatory (I’m sharing this post via Fit Sugar and their Facebook page is filled with comments both for and against the idea). Many claim that overweight people should just ‘get over it’, ‘suck it up’ and all that jazz. They claim that motivation and laziness are the real reasons people don’t go to the gym: not intimidation.

And the media, in all it’s controversy for nothing glory, seem to have some negative point of view in almost every article I’ve read (if not in the article, then the notorious comment section). Instead of celebrating Downsize Fitness as a place where overweight newbies can feel comfortable, they’re focused on the fact that ‘Skinny People Are Not Allowed’.

Every day, I get messages from those of you struggling to start. A common theme is that many of you feel too insecure to walk into a gym where people seem more fit, seem to know how to use the equipment, and whose goals are very, VERY different that your own. Gyms have evolved from being a place where people go to get back on track, to a place where people go to bust their butts, work on their abs, and get in ridiculous shape. It can be very intimidating as a newbie, especially an overweight newbie, to take those first few steps. Currently, very FEW gyms cater to overcoming intimidation.

It’s true that sometimes you just need a push, and that many insecurities are overcome with exposure. And yes, motivation has something to do with it. But heading to a gym, when you feel less than stellar about your body and not as confident as the other gym goers isn’t exactly motivating, is it? In an ideal world, we could all get over our own bullshizz and work out in any environment. But that’s not the world we live in.

This would hardly be the first gym to cater to a specific group of exercisers: there are women only gyms, studios for yogis & runners, and groups entirely focused on seniors and children. There’s also NO shortage of regular gyms for leaner people to go to. Regular gyms, as great as they are, have one BIG problem that they can’t address: the one’s who need the most help have to feel comfortable walking in the door in order to benefit from their facility.

Overall, I think that this idea is wonderful, and it targets the VERY group that needs  support the MOST. True health advocates should embrace the concept, and stop the nit picking. There are enough gyms out there that target the general public, and there’s room for everyone to get fit and healthy. 

Currently, facilities are open in Chicago & Las Vegas.

Weigh in!

What do you think? Controversy unfounded? Good idea, bad idea?

Good thing? Bad thing?

Making meals healthier is a step in the right direction, but may encourage more and more parents to bring their children to McDonalds. What many health advocates would like to see is a shift away from fast food, towards healthy meals with fresh produce made at home.

However, you can’t disagree that this is a step in the right direction, specifically for parents & children who ALREADY go to McDonald’s often & who’s eating habits haven’t been changed by warnings about the fat & sodium content of the food.

Win-Win? Lose-Lose? Win-Lose?

WEIGH IN! I wanna hear your thoughts on this….

Excerpt from

McDonald’s Happy Meals are getting their fat and calories trimmed, the fast food giant announced Tuesday.

The seemingly ubiquitous Happy Meals that have drawn the ire of health advocates and have been blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, will carry apple slices, reduced portion of french fries and a choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low-fat white milk.

The core of the Happy Meal will remain the same as kids will still get fries (a smaller portion) and a choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets.

The changes are scheduled to begin September with the hopes that all 14,000 restaurants will transition to the new Happy Meals by the first quarter of 2012.

The suggested retail price of the Happy Meal will not change.

“By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce,” according to the corporation’s statement.

The new Happy Meal with four pieces of McNuggets, apple slices, smaller French Fries and 1% white milk has 410 calories, 19 grams of fat and 560 milligrams of sodium.

The makeover of the Happy Meal comes after cities and counties began considering Happy Meal toy bans over concerns about nutritional quality and marketing towards children. Happy Meal toys have been banned in San Francisco, and a New York council member  has proposed a similar measure this year.

Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, said McDonald’s had to change its nutritional content because of political and community pressures.

“I see this as a positive development,” he said.  “The companies have recognized the pressures from the public, the community and parents to offer healthier choices for children.  They’ve begun to respond.   There have been criticisms of what they serve children for many years. In the past years, the pressure has intensified, the White House concern about childhood obesity is one source of that pressure.”

First lady Michelle Obama who has spearheaded a public health campaign to prevent childhood obesity commended McDonald’s for making “progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals.  I’ve always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity.”

McDonald’s promised continuing changes to the nutrition in its meals.

“McDonald’s has been engaging suppliers, government and non-government organizations to determine ways it could play a role in helping society address today’s obesity concerns,”  the company’s press release said.  “McDonald’s will develop additional fruit and vegetable choices and expects them to roll out over the next few years.”

The apples were not very popular in Happy Meals - only 11% of all kid’s meal purchases included the fruit option.  Many customers were not aware of apples as an option, according to the company. They will become a default item on the children’s meal.

The fast food giant also pledged to reduce sodium 15% across the board in its menu by 2015.  It recently reduced sodium by 10% in most of its chicken offerings, including the Chicken McNuggets.

McDonald’s also vowed to reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations by 2020.

Brownell said he hoped that reduced sodium and apples in the menu would not give parents “permission to go to McDonalds more than they did before. That’s not a good development.”

It’s a good first step, but doesn’t solve the problem, according to a statement from Corporate Accountability International, which is a frequent critic of McDonald’s.  It released a statement saying that McDonald’s “deserves credit for not only taking these steps, but for acknowledging its role in today’s epidemic of diet-related disease in so doing.”

“McDonald’s is taking steps in the right direction, but we should be careful in heaping praise on corporations for simply reducing the scope of the problem they continue to create,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of Corporate Accountability International.  “Ultimately corporate responsibility is not about securing public relations for cleaning up your own mess, but for not creating the problem in the first place. In this case, that means stopping the marketing of junk food to kids.”

They say never to start a post with your opinion, but I can’t help it. Personally, I think this little girl is BAD ASS amazing. And the controversy? The by-product of a gender bias that says that little girls shouldn’t engage in aggressive behavior.

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NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports on an Australian father who’s taking some heat after he put his daughter in a kickboxing ring with another girl, and encouraged the 8-year-old to continue fighting after being knocked down.

By the way, when they say ‘knocked-down’, they mean she fell. Then got back up. She cried a little (I would to). She wasn’t hurt. They kept fighting & it was a tie. She smiled. That was it. Sensational headline not so much.

Things have changed, and tomboy girls everywhere are free to play their sports, soccer, even baseball to their hearts content. But kickboxing? Too much apparently. We still prefer our girls on a ballet stage than a boxing ring.

We’re not talking about fight club here. We’re talking about age appropriate skills & rules, used with caution, in a supervised ring (take a look at the video below).

Here’s the thing…

Firstly, the girl clearly LOVES what she’s doing (skip ahead to watch her BAD-ASS pushups with a clap!). Her smile says it all.

Second, all children who participate in sports (including dancing) risk injury. In this case, the injury they refer to was not even remotely serious, and did not require more than a few seconds rest. I’ve seen children require more care on the playground than this little toughie needed in the ring.

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According to some people, what this girl is doing is racist.

Yeah, I know.

Listen, I’m not big on planking but I appreciate the sensation it’s become. It’s easy, silly, a little stupid & universal. But racist? Honestly, between this (and a few tragic deaths), how much controversy can a stupid little game generate?

It seems that bloggers & Twitter users are up in arms about the origins of ‘planking’, which some claim has its roots in the slave trade. Slaves were often stacked, or shackled, in ‘plank’ position while being shipped to various destinations.

Even celebrities are getting into the debate.

Rapper Xzibit tweeted:

#Planking was a way to transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, its not funny. Educate yourselves… Dont get it twisted. I care less where your dumb asses lay face down and take pictures of the shit, I’m just telling you where it came from.

So here’s the thing: lying face down is not specific to slaves and planking in it’s current form (lying down for fun and taking photos for the internet) should not be correlated to the treatment of slaves hundreds of years ago. To do so is disrespectful to those slaves and exploiting a current craze to play an unfair race card.

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In Case You Haven’t Heard…

In the latest issue of Newsweek magazine, the issue gets creative and asks the question ‘What It Diana Was Still Alive?’ The cover features a digitally altered, much older Diana, walking along side new princess Kate Middleton. The article explores what Diana’s Facebook page would have looked like (spoiler alert: her and Camilla become ‘friends’ and Prince Charles ‘likes’ it), what her love life would entail (few more divorces, and an apartment in New York), her use of new technologies like the iPhone and details of her continued humanitarian work.

I’ve got my own opinions about the issue (morbid, weird, tacky, disrespectful, disgusting), but I do understand the interest in the question ‘What If?’. It’s something that we often ask ourselves when someone passes too young, and a huge part of the tragedy of it all.

Diana continues to be a subject of interest, of mystery & controversy, even now 14 years after her passing. On one hand, I understand why the story would interest many of Newsweek’s readers and Diana’s fans worldwide. On the other, I remember the ‘breaking news’ when Diana died, seeing the mangled car, seeing the pain in her boys faces as they walked alongside her casket. I can’t imagine how they might feel about a complete stranger, who never knew Diana, speculating about what their mother’s love life may have been like, or whether she would have approved of Prince Harry’s latest haircut.

So what’s your take? Disrespectful or interesting? Should Newsweek issue an apology to the Royal family? Leave your thoughts in the comments or replies!

UPDATE: Reading through the replies and I’m on board with all of you! Hoping the story goes away, but I think a follow-up ‘reaction’ article by Newsweek would be appropriate, wouldn’t you? Would love to see that!

Quiero Taco Bell?

After reports surfaced a few months back that Taco Bell’s taco filling was, well, less than meaty a lawsuit was filed against them for false advertising. A study done by a lawfirm found that the filling contained 35% beef: the other 65% is made up of water, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.

I mean, you order a beef taco, right? Not a 35% beef taco. People were pissed.

Well, it looks like it’s over now. The lawsuit’s been dropped. Taco Bell’s pretty happy about it, claiming the statements were false to begin with and that no settlement was made. They’re claiming vindication on their website.

"This sets the record straight about the high quality of our seasoned beef and the integrity of our advertising," said Greg Creed, Chief Executive Officer, Taco Bell.
"We are extremely proud of our food quality. We took great exception to the false claims made about our seasoned beef and wish the attorneys had contacted us before filing and publicizing a lawsuit that disparaged our brand. We have not made any changes to our products or advertising, or even discussed the possibility of any changes with the plaintiff’s lawyers, contrary to what they have claimed. This is a victory for truth over fiction and we’re glad the lawyers voluntarily withdrew their case once they learned the truth. We hope the voluntary withdrawal of this lawsuit receives as much public attention as when it was filed so we may put the matter behind us and fully concentrate on serving our customers."

In other breaking news: I still don’t want to eat there.

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