Biles leaps into history

Winning a championship sporting event takes practice, skill and determination. But to win four championships in a row, it takes a certain level of expertise and consistency — just ask Simone Biles.

The 19-year-old gymnast just recorded her highest scores ever at the Sunday, June 26 gymnastics showdown, says the Huffington Post, making her “the first woman in more than 40 years to win four consecutive U.S. women’s gymnastics championships.”

Posting at two-day all-around score of 125.000, Biles not only topped her previous high-score of 124.100 from last year, the Huffington Post says she “matched the four straight titles won by Joan Moore Gnat in 1971-74.”

Her closest competitor: two-time London Olympics gold medalist Aly Raisman, who was four points behind Biles with a score of 121.000, according to HuffPost. The top-five gymnasts included Lauren Hernandez (120.500) in third, Gabby Douglas (117.800) in fourth and Madison Kocian (116.450) in fifth, says HuffPost.

HuffPost reports, “The top-five finishers, along with Amelia Hundley, Alyssa Baumann and 15-year-old Ragan Smith earned automatic berths to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in San Jose in two weeks, when the official five-woman team for the Rio Games will be named.”


Jones calls out fashion designers

Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones logged on to Twitter this week to share her frustration with fashion designers — and she’s prepared to shine a spotlight on those who’ve snubbed her.

According to The Cut, Jones, who is part of the cast of the forthcoming Ghostbusters film, took to Twitter on Tuesday, June 28 to reveal that many fashion designers are not stepping up to dress the star for a red carpet appearance for the film’s highly-anticipated release. She wrote:

“It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.”

But shortly after Jones sent out the tweet, The Cut says Project Runway alum Christian Siriano responded, offering to design a premiere look for the star. The Cut reports that Siriano later told Time in an email, “I love Leslie and can’t wait to make her something fabulous to wear. I dress and support women of all ages and sizes.”

While Jones finally got the designer attention she deserves, it didn’t keep her from tweeting one last time about the issue. Several hours later, she wrote:

“Hmm what a difference a tweet makes. Should I name the designers that didn’t look out?Put y’all ass on blast. You will not get my love later.”

Whether or not Jones will actually reveal the designers who dissed her remains to be seen, but the important thing is, she found a designer that is excited about working with her — or we say, the designer found her.

Keep playing #LikeAGirl

Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign is at it again, teaching girls that playing sports ‘like a girl’ really means playing sports ‘like a boss.’

According to the Huffington Post, the campaign’s latest installment entitled, “Keep Playing” depicts young female athletes sharing the purported “reasons” they’ve been told they can’t play sports.

The video first shows a girl on a rugby field who explains that she’s been told by boys that she can’t play the sport because she’s a girl. A weight-lifter says people have tried to deter her from the activity by asking her if she’s afraid of getting too muscular, while another clad in boxing gear says she was told to be a shop assistant instead of pursuing the sport.

But shortly into the one-minute advertisement, the tone changes as one basketball player answers the question, “What would you tell girls who are thinking of quitting?” with “I’d say, ‘Don’t you dare.'”

Others then chime in, offering that girls can “play anything that they want to play,” and they can even be the captain of the team if they so desire.

The ad comes on the heels of a 2015 U.S. Consumer Data study, which shows that while many girls stop playing sports during puberty, “women between the ages of 18 and 24 who play sports regularly are twice as likely to ‘be confident’ compared to women who don’t play sports at all,” reports the Huffington Post.

An study done by Always also found that “67 percent of girls feel that society doesn’t encourage them to participate in sports,” according to the Huffington Post. But to inspire girls to pursue their passions, HuffPost says that the company has partnered with soccer player Alex Morgan to encourage girls to keep playing.

As one young athlete says, “You are worth it and you deserve to play whatever sport you want to play.”

To watch the ad, click here.

College basketball loses a legend

She is celebrated as the winningest basketball coach in NCAA Division I history, but now her life is being both mourned and remembered: on Tuesday, June 28, legendary University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt died at the age of 64, according to the Associated Press.

The Huffington Post reports, “On June 26, a family spokeswoman said that ‘the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses.’ Summitt, who lived in a retirement facility, was “surrounded by those who mean the most to her,” the spokeswoman said.”

While many are saddened by her loss, Summitt’s life and many accomplishments are also being remembered. Spending 40 years as the head coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols, the Huffington Post says Summitt earned 1,098 victories and only 208 losses during her career there — this, HuffPost says, is the largest number of wins earned by any NCAA Division I basketball coach of both men’s and women’s teams.

Besides commanding a team that won eight championship titles, HuffPost says that she also “boasted a 100 percent graduation rate among players who completed their eligibility.”

After being diagnosed in 2011 with early-onset Alzheimer’s, the HuffPost said she retired in 2012, but the University of Tennessee made it known that Summitt would always be a part of their basketball family, giving her the “permanent honorary title of women’s basketball head coach emeritus.”

Summitt was even honored by President Barack Obama in 2012, as HuffPost reports she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest award given to a civilian.

At the time Summitt was awarded the medal, HuffPost says President Obama had this to say about the legendary coach:

“Pat’s gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched. Pat’s coaching career may be over, but I’m confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor.”

Although her life may be cut short, part of her life’s work is, as President Obama foreshadowed, far from finished: HuffPost says her foundation (which aims to fun Alzheimer’s research), along with the University of Tennessee Medical Center, will open the Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic this December.




Call the ‘Ghostbusters’ cast to fight sexism

When sexism is overshadowing your craft, who are you going to call to fix it? The cast of the Ghostbusters reboot, that’s who.

According to the Huffington Post, the film’s cast — which includes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon — joined the New York Times‘ David Itzkoff and the film’s director Paul Feig to discuss the making of the film along with the sexist feedback they’ve received.

While many viewers are claiming that the revamp, which will be released on July 15,  will “ruin” the original, the Huffington Post says that the cast told Itzkoff that they have had it with other sexist comments they’ve fielded:

Jones: To me, the people who are crying about, “This is ruining my childhood,” this movie is not for them anyway.

Wiig: They need to probably go to therapy.

McCarthy: I think their childhood was pretty much ruined already. If this broke it, it was pretty fragile to begin with. It is good to remember, it is a tiny, tiny fraction that screams. Normal, healthy people don’t stand outside, saying, “You’re ruining my childhood!” There’s one nut on every corner in every city that does it. But so what? The other 300,000 people in a town aren’t doing that.

But their responses to the sexist retorts didn’t end there. The Huffington Post says that McCarthy told Itzkoff that she “heard more about the young girls who were excited about the film than the sexist backlash.”

“When we were shooting, Paul would bring in pictures of young girls dressing up, and they had made their own proton packs and jumpsuits, and I thought, that’s really cool,” she said, according to HuffPost. “I was more aware of that stuff.”

Jones agreed, saying that she was surprised by the Internet uproar over the all-female cast. But she also said that she doesn’t understand why such backlash even exists. HuffPost says the actress put it this way:

“It’s the same thing, when you go to a comedy club. [announcer’s voice] ‘Are you guys ready for a woman?’ Are you ready for a unicorn? Why is being a woman so surprising? There are two sexes. A man and a woman. So, if it’s not a man in a movie, what else was it going to be?”

But perhaps Jones expressed her surprise at the backlash best when she said it’s unfounded because “women have been killing it for years.”

And we’re pretty sure Jones and the rest of the cast will only carry on the tradition in this film.


Legendary ‘Times’ photographer dies

Few have left their mark on the fashion industry like Bill Cunningham, and now the industry is mourning his death on Saturday, June 25.

According to Glamour, the iconic New York Times fashion photographer died at age 87 after being hospitalized recently for a stroke. But with his loss come reflections on his career and his indisputable influence in the world of fashion.

Photographing street styles in all corners of Manhattan over a 40-year career, Glamour says Cunningham was known to photograph “the city’s characters who pushed boundaries with how they dressed,” all while “wearing his signature blue jacket and often riding a bicycle.”

Although Glamour says of the legend that he was not one to assume the spotlight, he also earned several awards for his work, including the French Legion d’Honneur — the highest French honor for “military and civil merits,” according to Wikipedia — and the CFDA Media Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In addition, Glamour reports that he was named a Living Landmark in 2009 by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

While his impact on fashion will not soon be forgotten, perhaps we should also remember the way Cunningham saw fashion — not merely as just articles of clothing, but as a means of surviving.

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life,” he said, according to Glamour. “I don’t think you could do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”


Unilever leans toward inclusive advertising

Sexism and gender stereotypes may soon meet their demise in advertising — at least as a result of one company’s new marketing plan.

According to the Huffington Post, Unilever — the parent company of brands like Dove and Axe — announced on Wednesday, June 22, that they plan to remove all traces of sexism and sexist stereotypes in ads for all of their 400-plus brands. The impetus for the move: “Research conducted by the company found that 40 percent of women surveyed said they couldn’t relate to the women in the company’s ads,” reports the Huffington Post.

Conducted over a two-year span, the Huffington Post says that Unilever’s study found that “only 2 percent of its ads show intelligent women. Most women in their ads are represented in domestic roles, with only 3 percent depicted as women in professional positions. A mere 1 percent of ads showed women who were funny.”

So just how does Unilever plan to change their advertising habits? Dove has already been running more body-positive ads, says the Huffington Post, while Axe is planning to create more “inclusive” advertising.

A statement from Unilever explained that while the media’s current depiction of women can be rather antiquated, “It was globally resounding that women are ever advancing in terms of equality, structure and human rights,” the company told The Guardian.

But, Chief Marketing Officer for Unilever Keith Weed told The Guardian that there is no time like the present to change their advertising modus operandi.

“The time is right for us as an industry to challenge and change how we portray gender in our advertising … Our industry spends billions of dollars annually shaping perceptions and we have a responsibility to use this power in a positive manner.”


A ‘model’ for all ages

H&M‘s latest swimwear campaign doesn’t feature an up-and-coming 20-year-old model, nor does it feature a model concealed in layers upon layers of makeup. Yet, the face of the retailer’s recent swimwear advertisements is beautiful anyway.

Fashion stylist and model Gillean McLeod is taking centerstage in H&M’s newest swimwear campaign, according to TODAY Style, and she’s doing so at the age of 60. The resident of Los Angeles, California only began modeling seven years ago, though TODAY Style says McLeod thought about pursuing the career path when she was a teen.

Explaining that she wasn’t very confident in herself back then, McLeod told TODAY Style, “I think it’s better at this point in my life” that she pursue modeling.

Proving that she now has all the confidence that she thought she once lacked, McLeod’s ads for H&M show her sans professional hair and makeup styling, according to TODAY Style, revealing her natural beauty.

McLeod told TODAY Style that she’s shocked by the response that she’s been getting from the campaign, as she’s been flooded with new followers on social media. “It’s been a positive response but I’ve stopped reading everything, because you can go down a rabbit hole with those things,” she said.

While McLeod proves that age does not determine beauty, the model herself shared with TODAY Style the importance of being confident at who you are — no matter your age.

“I think that women need to be comfortable with themselves. You just have to start with yourself, you can’t look at these retouched magazines,” she explained. “You have to love yourself.”


Learning self-love

How would you feel if your bikini photo ever went viral? That’s exactly what happened to one Rice University student’s picture this month, and it’s making its way through the Internet for a good reason.

According to the Huffington Post, 21-year-old Lesley Miller posted a photo of herself in a bikini to Facebook on June 1 to commemorate a special occasion in her young life: it was the first time she had ever purchased a bikini.

She wrote in her post:

“I’ve spent the past 18 years of my life waiting.

I kept my body covered up and hidden away. I told myself that one day I would finally let myself be seen; I would finally do all of the things I dreamed of when I was enough. Thin enough, happy enough, confident enough. When my body looked the way that it was ‘supposed’ to.

I fought my body every step of the way, continually ashamed and silent.”

The Huffington Post reported the measures Miller went to in order to change her body, which ranged from sitting in on Weight Watchers meetings at age 7 to receiving lap-band surgery in the fifth grade to cutting into her own skin at age 15.

While she told the Huffington Post that the surgery helped her to lose weight, it also made her quite sick, causing her to get the saline that keeps the band tight removed.

“The band remained in place, and I continue to get sick when eating to this day, but it no longer restricted how much I could eat,” she told the Huffington Post. “As a result, I gained all of the weight back and then some.”

Miller later lost the weight she gained back — half her body weight, to be exact — and at age 21, she decided that her self-worth would no longer be weighed down by the number she saw on the scale, spurring the purchase of her first bikini and her now-viral celebratory photo, says the Huffington Post. The photo, which was picked up by the Love What Matters Facebook page, has already received over 39,000 reactions as of Wednesday, June 22, according to HuffPost.

Now writing a memoir on her experience, Miller told HuffPost that she plans on having the lap band removed over the summer, which will allow her to “reclaim” her body.

Miller is no longer waiting to love herself, and she closed her Facebook post by telling others that they, too, can recognize their worth right now.

“The secret is, I was always enough,” she wrote. “And you are too:)”

Amen, Lesley.



All represented in proposed change to Canadian national anthem

It’s time to change the antiquated, male-specific language that marks many countries’ traditions — that’s what lawmakers in Canada are trying to say with a recent proposal.

According to Women in the World, a vote was held on June 15 to change the lyrics of the country’s national anthem in an effort to make it gender equal.

“Since 1980, ‘O Canada‘ has been the country’s official national anthem,” reports Women in the World, “but the song was originally written in French a century earlier for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony, then translated to English later.”

The potential change will affect the line that says, “in all thy sons command,” with the revision making the lyric, “in all of us command” to make it inclusive of all genders. The edit, which was proposed in January by Mauril Belanger of the Liberal Party, aligns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s agenda to promote gender equality, says Women in the World.

An attempt to change the lyrics was ventured in 2010, says Women in the World, but it was dismissed. For the most recent legislation to pass, it will have to be given a green light via a vote from the Senate.