‘Time’s Up’ campaign makes powerful statement

As the clock was approaching midnight on Dec. 31, 2017, it wasn’t only counting down the final moments of the year. It was running out the clock on tolerating sexual harassment and misconduct in our society.

According to Mic, on the first day of 2018, “three hundred well-known actresses and women talent agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives” unveiled their “Time’s Up” campaign, an initiative to not only combat rampant sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry but in workplaces society at large and for those across the socioeconomic spectrum.

An open letter announcing the movement described it this way:

“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.”

The movement is not fronted by one specific leader, reports Mic, but instead is “being led by a broad coalition of famous Hollywood women,” such as actors America Ferrera, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington, as well as showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Jill Soloway, and will feature “a series of working groups led by women to combat harassment in different areas.”

As for the specifics of the initiative, Mic cites a few of their plans as reported by The New York Times, which includes the following action items:

• A legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.

• Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

• A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.


Aerie debuts new nude collection

Aerie‘s inclusive shopping experience started with using more diverse models that were not retouched. Now, their mission continues with their new inclusive nude offerings.

According to Mic, the American Eagle company announced on Wednesday that they will incorporate five new shades of nude into their line of bras and underwear. Called the Real Me collectionMic says the new nudes palette includes are available in five inspirationally-named shades: “Honesty, Inspiration, Strength, Energy and Confidence,” which “vary from light brown to dark brown.”

Discussing the products’ launch, Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, shared that the new shades aren’t the only reason to be excited.

“…Not only are we offering a beautiful palette that includes a wide range of nudes, but the amazing second-skin soft fabric of these bras lets you feel like your real self,” she said in an email to Mic. “These bras have ultimate comfort and are super lightweight, all while providing amazing support with the right amount of coverage. This is a collection truly designed to move with you, shape to you and feel like you.”

So far, Mic reports that the Real Me collection offers unlined bras, thongs, bralettes and boy briefs in the new hues.

Neary debuts in major fashion campaign

When a model makes their debut in a major fashion campaign, it is usually something worth noting. But when a model’s debut means a chance at more inclusivity, that’s something worth celebrating.

According to BustleShay Neary is the first trans plus size model to land a major fashion campaign,” starring in a spring/summer 2017 collaboration with UK-based retailer, Yours Clothing.

The brand, which offers “modern, funky plus-size clothing up to a size 36,” according to Mic, hand-selected Neary to front the campaign, which aims to connect all people to fashion regardless of their size or their gender identity. When Neary was tapped to help in this mission, Mic says she made inclusivity a top priority.

“In January, we started collaborating on a project for a simple guide for transgender customers,” Neary said. “They have a large clientele of trans individuals, and happen to get a lot of questions for advice on how to dress. Of course I wanted to be a part of this. Any form of guidance is always helpful when you’re starting your transition. I picked out clothes I thought represented my own style, and they sent me them.”

In Neary’s collection for Yours Clothing, she also made sure to include a range of styles to suit many tastes, with pieces offered in bold florals to edgy rocker looks, says Bustle. What’s more is that Neary seems to have found a perfect match in working with the retailer, reports Bustle, offering that they are not creating an inclusive market “for the ticket. They’re doing it because they genuinely understand their consumer.”

As for Neary herself, she is also not just doing it for the ticket; she told Bustle that she hopes other trans people see her and know that they can celebrate themselves.

“I come from an older generation of trans people, where you were fearful to be spotted for being trans,” she said. “I focused on passability. Now, what I want to tell trans [people] is just be yourself. Whatever comes along with that, be yourself. You don’t have to hit either side of the [gender] margin, and your style can represent that. If you want to put on a dress and a blazer, you rock that.”

Way to go, Shay!

Marvel’s Chavez invokes Beyonce

The latest cover of Marvel’s America #2 will have you wanting to get in formation.

According to Mic, title character America Chavez is a “queer Latina superhero” that is depicted as a “‘Formation’-inspired brown woman dressed in patriotic red, white and blue but with a grimace on her face.”

The comic, written by Gabby Rivera and drawn by Joe Quinones, gives the superhero “superhuman strength, speed, the ability to tear holes in space-time, and a take-no-shit attitude,” reports The Verge.

Marvel Editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told Mic in an email that America only adds to the “rich and diverse characters within the Marvel Universe.”

Be sure to look for the bossed up superhero when the comic hits stores on March 1.

Lady Liberty gets an inclusive makeover

America is full of diversity, in people and in thought. That’s why the U.S. Mint and Treasury is about to make Lady Liberty look more representative of the diversity that is inherent to America’s history.

According to Mic to celebrate the U.S. Mint and Treasury’s 225th anniversary, they unveiled a new $100 coin on Thursday, Jan. 12 that depicts Lady Liberty as a black woman, marking “the first time in United States history that Lady Liberty has not been portrayed as a white woman.”

Designed by Justin Kunz, Mic says that the coin will be officially unveiled in April and will launch a series of  racially diverse coins released by the U.S. Treasury, which will “represent Lady Liberty as Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and Indian-American.”

U.S. Mint Chief of Staff Elisa Basnight spoke of the coin’s purpose in a ceremony introducing the new design, reports Mic.

“As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty’s representation,” she said. “We live in a nation that affords us the opportunity to dream big and try to accomplish the seemingly impossible.”

Science research to improve rape investigation methods

One scientist is using grant funding to pursue research in rape investigation methods, all with the goal of improving current procedures.

According to Mic, Dr. Candice Bridge of the University of Central Florida received a grant from the National Institute of Justice received a $324,000 grant “to pursue alternatives to DNA testing using resources to which only the FBI and a handful of forensic labs have access.”

Allowing researchers to investigate and identify rape perpetrators when traditional DNA forms are not present, Bridge said in a press release that her research will be “an important line of research that has become even more important as rapists attempt to elude capture by covering their DNA tracks after an assault,” Mic reports.

Bridge will work alongside an 11-person team in order to examine the lubricants exchanged during an assault, says Mic, with additional research into how such fluids are broken down by the body funded by an additional grant from the University of Central Florida. Additionally, Mic reports that Bridge is “also working with the Orlando Public Defender’s Office to create an educational website for attorneys, helping them to understand what forensics can realistically do.”

Way to go, Dr. Bridge!


Accessible fashion for all

Back to school shopping is in full swing, and besides buying backpacks, notebooks and pencils for your little students, finding fashionable new clothing is also a must. But one designer is making sure that all kids have exactly what they need for school and beyond.

Announced in February as the first major brand to design adaptive clothing for children with disabilities, Mic reports that Tommy Hilfiger and Runway of Dreams — an organization that “works with the fashion industry to create more options for people with disabilities” — are collaborating yet again to release a fall collection of stylish new threads for kids of all abilities.

The 58-piece collection includes “bomber jackets with MagnaReady magnet closures, T-shirts with closures along the back, pantswith an elastic waist and cargo shorts with a velcro fly,” according to Mic, while also maintaining that classic Tommy Hilfiger aesthetic.

In fact, the collection barely differs from non-adaptive options, reports Mic:

“The clothes in Hilfiger’s collection address the various needs of people who have different abilities: for example, adjustable waistbands, pant legs and sleeve lengths for people who use wheelchairs or have limb differences, and alternative ways to put on and remove clothing. The clothes also cost the same as Hilfiger’s non-adaptive collections, and the styles are nearly identical too. It’s just the small details, like having velcro rather than zippers, that set it apart.”

Founder of Runway of Dreams Mindy Scheier explained to Mic the decision to pursue adaptive clothing with Tommy Hilfiger for another season this way:

“Seeing the success of the spring collection was an incredible validation of our mission and proves that there is a real need for adaptive clothing at the mainstream level … We are excited to work with Tommy Hilfiger again and bring more clothing options to the differently-abled community, especially as kids are getting ready to go back to school.”

Summing up the meaning of this accessible clothing line, Scheier told Mic that she sees the collection’s fall revival as the first of only positive things to come in the future.

“With this collection, we are one step closer to making that a reality for people of all abilities, including adults and children.”

To shop the collection, click here.

Carter puts forth positivity

Many Olympic athletes are considered heroes: whether they help their team to victory or they achieve personal bests, some rise above the rest to be seen as role models. But for American shot put star Michelle Carter, being an inspiration to others doesn’t end once she steps off the field.

According to Micthe Olympic gold medalist not only medaled and broke an American shot put record at this summer’s Rio Olympics, she also lives her everyday life as a “powerful advocate for celebrating body diversity and wearing whatever makes you feel like you.”

Mic says Carter recently imparted a bit of body-positive wisdom in an interview with the New Yorker, explaining that all bodies — no matter their size, shape or capability — have a purpose.

“You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” Carter said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”

But her comments did not end there. Carter — who is also a professional makeup artist with her company called Shot Diva — also shared with the New Yorker that she doesn’t shy away from looking her best when competing, encouraging others to also put forth the best version of themselves.

“For a couple of years, being professional, I kind of questioned myself,” Carter said, according to Mic. “Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that. And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards. I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best.”

Way to go, Michelle!


Camp Fury trains future firefighters

Girls in Chesapeake, Virginia are blazing a trail for other females to pursue a future as a firefighter, all thanks to a special summer program.

Established eight years ago in Tucson, Arizona, Mic reports that the Camp Fury summer program “introduces girls to the skills necessary for becoming a firefighter,” and this year, the camp was brought to the girls of Chesapeake, Virginia by the Chesapeake Fire Department and the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.

Twenty girls are participating in the program, says Mic, but spending the night in the fire station and taking rides in the fire engines aren’t all the girls get to do.

“They also train with 30 pounds of equipment, including full turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses, or SCBA masks. They learn forcible entry with axes and Halligan bars, they train in search and rescue, and they hold down a hose line with the full force of a fire hydrant behind them,” reports ABC News.

The girls also do an aerial climb, according to ABC News — something that Chesapeake firefighter and program manager Mandy George says makes even adult firefighters cower.

“It’s very high, very steep and most of the girls have never done anything like that,” she told ABC News.

What’s more is that these future firefighters aren’t just learning the ropes from males in the field; instead, Kaitlin Smith — a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast — told ABC News that female firefighters are those running the program.

“It’s mostly female firefighters running the camps,” Smith said. “They realize there’s a lot more to being a firefighter and they develop a well-rounded view. Being able to talk to women in the firefighter service, seeing the things they get to do makes it a more real career option for them.”

Beyond the physical training, participants also get to hear from guest speakers, who range in occupation from “female pilots with the Navy to special agents with the FBI,” reports ABC News.

So has the camp made some girls want to pursue a career as a firefighter? George says so, according to ABC News, and she hopes that they always remember the skills and lessons they learned from the program.

“I hope that they know that it’s not necessarily brute force that allows them to do this,” she said, “but that skill is involved and they can push through their fears and conquer them, that being uncomfortable and taking on new challenges is okay.”

No style rules for McCarthy

Size shouldn’t dictate what you can and cannot wear — that’s what Melissa McCarthy believes.

According to Mic the Ghostbusters star recently took down the confining rules placed on women’s plus-size clothing in an interview with Chelsea Handler, saying that clothing above a certain size is often designed to not only implicitly tell women what they can and can’t pull off, but to also limit their fashion choices.

After I was a size 12, it was like, apparently I’m done dressing!” McCarthy said, according to Mic. “Like, you literally can’t go into a store and find anything, which I’d love for everyone to know.”

Creator and designer of her own clothing line — Melissa McCarthy Seven7 — McCarthy has long voiced her opinion on the problems with plus-size, according to Mic, even telling More magazine that it can be hard for friends of different sizes to shop together because “your store is upstairs hidden by the tire section.”

So for her own clothing line, McCarthy makes things a little easier, offering sizes ranging from a two to a 28W which would allow friends of different sizes to shop for the same styles. She has, however, seen that some still confine plus-size women to often contradictory rules.

“Certain stores buy only certain sizes because that’s what they carry, but I’ve had people say, like, ‘Well, women above a size 10 don’t really want to wear print and they would never wear red,'” she said, according to Mic. “Women don’t want sleeves. Women only want sleeves. Nobody wants a pocket. Nobody would wear a pant.”

While the fashion industry and some retailers buy into this line of thinking, McCarthy certainly doesn’t.

“The nobodies, the shouldn’ts, what you can’t do, what you can do … and I’m always usually sitting there wearing what they’re telling me nobody will wear,” she said, according to Mic. “You can’t make those blanket statements. It’s like everybody wants to compartmentalize and put women in these little boxes and … it’s just all stupid.”

That’s why Melissa McCarthy Seven7 offers a range of styles, prints, trends and silhouettes designed to fit women of all sizes — even those who the fashion industry says shouldn’t be wearing such designs.

“Women don’t stop,” McCarthy said, according to Mic. “I don’t know why I would stop at a certain size.”

To check out Melissa McCarthy Seven7, click here.