May 9, 2013 12:30 pm
Every year, Sports Illustrated comes out with its famous swimsuit edition. But without the bikini, women aren’t as welcome on the magazine’s cover. A recent analysis of 11 years of SI covers shows that—if you take out the swimsuit issue—women appear just 4.9 percent of the time.
Even when they do appear on the cover, they’re rarely the focus. “Of the 35 covers including a female, only 18 (or 2.5 percent of all covers) featured a female as the primary or sole image,” the study explains. “Three covers included females, but only as insets (small boxed image), or as part of a collage background of both male and female athletes.”
In fact, women showed up on more covers of SI between 1954 and 1965 than they did between 2000 and 2011. A lot more. Those early years of the magazine had women on the cover 12.6 percent of the time.
Pacific Standard points out that just putting women on more covers doesn’t solve the problem either (as the SI swimsuit edition clearly shows):
Then again, if women athletes were on SI’s cover more often, they might have to sacrifice their dignity for the publicity. A recent survey of Rolling Stone covers found 83 percent of female musicians were portrayed in a sexualized fashion (often wearing minimal clothing), compared to just 17 percent of men.
This, of course, happens on Sports Illustrated‘s covers too. A few years ago, the Atlantic wrote a piece on how women can get on the cover of Sports Illustrated more often, including tips like “get famous before 1962″ and “be a cheerleader” and “put on a bathing suit.” Take the Anna Kournikova cover from June 5th, 2000. The authors of the new study describe how the tennis star is “lounging on a pillow in her street clothes, peering seductively into the camera, and clearly not prepared for any sanctioned sports activity. Even the author of the interior story suggested she was not on the cover for her athleticism: ‘She won’t win the French Open, but who cares? Anna Kournikova is living proof that even in this age of supposed enlightenment, a hot body can count just as much as a good backhand.’”
Women do, in fact, play sports: there’s no dearth of female athletes to feature on a sports magazine cover. But if any of those talented women hope to make the cover of SI, their best bet might be to go swimming.
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April 30, 2013 6:26 pm
Mary Thom, feminist editor, writer and behind-the-scenes activist, died earlier this week in a motorcycle accident in Yonkers. Thom was the editor-in-chief at the Women’s Media Center. The center’s co-founders said:
“We who are Mary’s friends and family haven’t absorbed her loss yet; it’s too sudden,” said Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem, and Jane Fonda, co-founders of The Women’s Media Center. “Ms. Magazine, the Women’s Media Center, the women’s movement and American journalism have suffered an enormous blow. Mary was and will always be our moral compass and steady heart. Writers from around the world have been able to share their words and ideas because of her. Wherever her friends and colleagues gather, we will always ask the guiding question: What would Mary do?”
Thom might be best known for her role at Ms. magazine, where she joined in 1972 as an editor and where she eventually became the executive editor. As Ms. she pushed the magazine to cover more politics, specifically the actions of lawmakers surrounding things like abortion and birth control—issues that remain at the forefront of women’s rights struggles today. The other editors at Ms. found Thom a refreshing presence, according to the New York Times:
At Ms., she often stayed late into the night reading letters to the editor. “It was incredibly moving and exciting, to just get that kind of response,” Ms. Thom recalled in a 2005 interview. “And no one had expected it.”
Her former colleagues said she brought a pragmatic, self-deprecating viewpoint to the magazine, which some saw as too serious.
Eventually, Thom wrote a book about the history of Ms., and helped to produce an oral history on the congresswoman Bella S. Abzug with the epic title Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad From the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way.
The accident happened on the Saw Mill Parkway in Yonkers, where Thom was riding motorcycle, which many called her one true love. Thom never owned a car, they say, and it was the 1996 Honda Magna 750 that got her where she needed to go, both physically and mentally.
The next issue of Ms. will feature more on Thom’s life both at the publication and beyond.
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April 29, 2013 1:04 pm
Your significant other isn’t the only one interested in knowing what you’re thinking about as you sit in silence. Psychologists have long sought to record and study these inner monologues, Ferris Jabr writes for Scientific American.
Some people have tried to eavesdrop on the silent conversations in other people’s minds. Psychologists have attempted to capture what they call self-talk or inner speech in the moment, asking people to stop what they are doing and write down their thoughts at random points in time. Others have relied on surveys or diaries.
One researcher, Andrew Irving from the University of Manchester, devised a new means of studying strangers’ inner voices. He started by asking terminally ill patients to walk around with a recorder and vocalize their thoughts rather than keep them to themselves. He told Jabr:
“I realized that you could see somebody sitting in a chair or walking along the street and it may seem like nothing much is happening—but actually an incredible amount is happening. In their heads they may be going from childhood to religion to questioning God to trying to imagining what exists beyond death.”
After those initial experiments, Irving moved on to studying everyday people. He approached around 100 random people walking, sitting or standing alone through New York City and asked them what they were thinking. For those that responded favorably, he asked them to wear a digital recorder and speak their thoughts out loud while he followed closely behind (but outside of earshot) with a video camera. From those encounters came these voyeuristic but completely relatable videos:
You can find more over at Scientific American. But however fascinating, these videos likely only represent a limited and skewed view of the voices in our heads. The participants knew they were being recorded and could have been thrown off by the oddity of speaking rather than thinking personal thoughts. Most likely, we’ll only ever know for sure what the voices in our own heads are saying, regardless of the probing questions we might ask our loved ones.
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April 18, 2013 2:30 pm
If you’re a famous sports star, singer, dancer or actor, watch out. New research published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine helps to confirm a long-held stereotype about fame, showing that the price for making it big in performance-related careers may be a shorter life.
To arrive at this morbid finding, researchers analyzed New York Times obituaries. Making it into the Times obits, they reasoned, indicates some degree of career success and celebrity. The researchers sampled 1,000 such consecutive notices published between 2009 to 2011 and documented each person’s gender, age, occupation and cause of death. The occupation categories were divided into four broad groups: performance and sports-related pursuits; non-performing creatives (such as writers and visual artists); business, military and political careers; and professional, academic and religious occupations.
Men dominated the obituary headlines, they found, by about a factor of four. Younger ages tended to be connected to performers, athletes and creatives, whereas older people usually fell into the professional or business categories.
Honing in on cause of death, the researchers found that early deaths were often caused by accidents, or illnesses such as HIV and some cancers. Specifically, lung cancer tended to kill people with performance-based careers about five times more frequently than those with professional or academic jobs. The authors think this probably points to a live-hard-die-young lifestyle of chronic smoking and other unhealthy choices.
In a statement about the study, co-author Richard Epstein summarized the significance of the findings:
A one-off retrospective analysis like this can’t prove anything, but it raises some interesting questions. First, if it is true that successful performers and sports players tend to enjoy shorter lives, does this imply that fame at younger ages predisposes to poor health behaviours in later life after success has faded? Or that psychological and family pressures favouring unusually high public achievement lead to self-destructive tendencies throughout life? Or that risk-taking personality traits maximise one’s chances of success, with the use of cigarettes, alcohol or illicit drugs improving one’s performance output in the short term? Any of these hypotheses could be viewed as a health warning to young people aspiring to become stars.
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April 5, 2013 12:00 pm
“No one knows for certain how much of the planet’s private wealth is parked in tax havens,” says the CBC. “One estimate is that there’s $32 trillion stashed offshore; a more conservative calculation puts it at a minimum of $8 trillion. Either way, that means tens – if not hundreds – of billions of dollars in lost tax revenues for the world’s governments.”
A massive investigate project by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists saw reporters dig through 2.5 million files, revealing “the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.”
The leaked files provide facts and figures — cash transfers, incorporation dates, links between companies and individuals — that illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has spread aggressively around the globe, allowing the wealthy and the well-connected to dodge taxes and fueling corruption and economic woes in rich and poor nations alike.
ICIJ’s investigation is an incredibly thorough look at the global tax game, one played by “the wife of Russia’s deputy prime minister,” “Indonesian billionaires with ties to the late dictator Suharto,” along with “American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.”
Talk of tax havens, loopholes and secret bank accounts and international offices (not always illegal, mind you) comes up all the time when discussing how some extremely rich people or corporations avoid paying taxes. Perhaps you’re curious as to how this seemingly other world works. To that end, the CBC has put together a fun interactive that lets you walk through the steps of how to set up your own tax haven, everything from picking the kind of sham business you want, picking your favorite tax-friendly nation, and deciding whether to use your own name on the documents of one of a “nominee.”
No one is recommending that you actually do this. While holding money in offshore accounts, setting up businesses overseas and many of the other routes taken to hiding money from the tax collectors are not in themselves inherently illegal, moving money in and out of these holdings in ways that allow you to skirt taxes are, meaning that there’s little reason to go to all the effort if you just plan to keep things above board.
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