Category Archives: Women

Is your blood better tasting to mosquitos than others?

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Horror movies, books and fan-fics are always trying to claim that vampires gravitate towards a specific flavor of blood- that they can sense it even before one crimson drop hits their tongue.

Some of it’s milky, some sweet.

Even the fake blood used on set has a specific taste. In a Vanity Fair interviewTrue Blood’s Kristin Bauer admitted the prop is “really sweet, like sugar water.”

“I turned the bottle around once and read the ingredients,” she said. “It’s corn syrup, red dye, and gelatin. It’s amazing some of the things the special-effects people on True Blood can cook up.”

But the lore associated with vampire’s taste buds might not be too far off from the truth.

Mosquitos are attracted to a certain type of blood also.

Metabolism and body chemistry play a huge roll in the aroma and flavors of your blood.

Yahoo! Health explores some more interesting factors in what distinguishes your blood as a top shelf beverage or a stale leftover dish.

You’re their type

Mosquitoes are nearly twice as likely to land on people with type 0 blood than those with type A, according to a Japanese study. Most people secrete substances that allow mosquitoes to identify blood type before they bite.

Drunk on you

According to a study published in Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, beer also increases your likeliness of being biten. The researchers reported that, “Mosquito landing on volunteers significantly increased after beer ingestion compared with before ingestion.”

It must be the moon

The tiny bloodsuckers are 500 times more active when the moon is full, reports the American Mosquito Control Association. Overall, the highest risk times for mosquito bites are dusk and dawn, with the females of some species migrating up to 40 miles in pursuit of a meal. Male mosquitoes don’t bite.

Stinky feet

Scientist Bart Knols used his own body as a guinea pig to see which parts mosquitos bite most. Sitting in his underwear, he found that 75 percent of the bugs homed in on his feet. But after he washed them with deodorant soap, the mosquitos bit randomly. His team also reported that stinky cheeses, such as Limburger—which has the same odoriferous compound responsible for foot odor—also draws mosquitoes.

Of mosquitos and mothers

Expectant mothers get bitten about twice as often as women who aren’t pregnant, increasing their risk for bug-borne diseases, according to a study conducted in Gambia. The researchers hypothesized that since women in the later stages of pregnancy exhale 21 percent more volume, mosquitos were drawn in by the moisture and carbon dioxide in their breath. They also found that pregnant women’s abdomens are nearly 1 degree warmer, which may cause more volatile substances—released in sweat and attractive to mosquitos—to be present on their skin.

You can run, but you can’t hide

Both the carbon dioxide we exhale and substances in sweat, such as lactic acid, help mosquitoes home in on their prey. As a result, Dr. Koehler reports. “You’re more likely to be bitten if you’re running or exercising than when you’re at rest, since you’re breathing harder and sweating more.” In fact, physical activity ups risk for bites by as much as 50 percent, according to AMCA.

Dark and devious

Many insects, like bees, are attracted to bright colors resembling a flower. Not mosquitos. Dark-colored clothing can increase your risk of being bitten, compared to lighter-colored garments. In one study comparing the appeal of various hues to mosquitoes, the researchers reported  the following results:  black (most attractive); red (very attractive); grey and blue (neutral); khaki, green, light khaki, and yellow (less attractive).

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New Dove campaign flashes attention on camera shy women

As someone who takes candid pictures for a living, it is amazing to see the amount of people who are camera shy in this world. The majority who spy me with my long lens or decline my request to be photographed and give their name are women.

I find this very unappealing. I understand if you don’t want to open you heart and life up to me so I can write it all down and display it to the community on the front page of the town’s local paper.

But what’s a picture?

What’s a picture of you and your child having fun at the Strawberry Festival?

What’s a picture of you and your friends cheering at a football game?

What’s a picture of you at a socialite event in your formal best?

It really makes me sad. Sure, us women don’t always look dolled up. But just because we look natural, organic, doesn’t mean we should live in shame. Don’t ever be ashamed of your appearance.

Pictures, videos- they capture a moment in time. They’re immortal. And you are immortal in that space.

Dove’s newest campaign seeks to point that out. Sure the video is cute and playful. But it pinpoints a dark truth: When did you stop thinking you were beautiful?

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Fitness Unarmed: The story of amputee and bodybuilder Barbie Guerra

One look at a female bodybuilder and anyone can see that she’s different. With muscle tone like an exotic Amazonian and a dark spray tan, a body builder is a walking representation of extreme fitness.

Barbie Guerra lines up along other sculpted bodies during competitions. Together the bodybuilders don’t seem so different.BarbT_Comp_16

But Guerra still stands out.

She doesn’t have any arms.

The mother of two read about fitness competitors like Kelly Ryan in magazines for years. She became fascinated by the sport.

“I wanted to be in the magazines – just like them!” Guerra wrote on her website. “I just wasn’t sure at the time if I believed in myself enough to do it. I had to ask myself if I’m going to sit around wanting to do that or if I’m going to get up and do it? I decided that if I did not at least try, I would definitely regret it later.”

So Guerra called local competitions around her Arizona town to see if she could enter.

“I was concerned that I was going to bust my butt preparing for a competition and then not qualify to compete because of not having arms,” Guerra wrote. “I decided to make a phone call to the promoter to make sure it was alright for me to enter.”

The promoter was excited to have her compete. He said the audience would love her and she would  be a symbol of inspiration.

But he also told her something that would knock most people down.

He told her she could never win.

It only fueled her fire of motivation.

Since then, Guerra has entered 15 competitions from Chicago to Houston. Her last competition was the 2012 NPC Jr. Nationals where she placed fifth.

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Not too shabby for a woman who wasn’t supposed to survive the accident that caused her to lose her arms at just two years old.

“I was outside playing with several other children, and being a typical 2yr old, I was in and out of the apartment a thousand times,” Guerra wrote. “While I was outside, I did something that would change my life in an instant.”

She climbed onto a transformer, grabbing wires to help her up.

Guerra was instantly electrocuted.

Electricity entered through both her hands, shot up her arms, traveled through her little body and exited through her feet.

Her arms were burned to the bone, “like charcoal.” Both were amputated at the shoulder. She still has scars on her legs.

Doctors said she would be in a vegetative state if she survived. But Guerra did survive and is physically and mentally capable. Her medical team speculated that the rubber soles in her tennis shoes might have been the reason her life was saved.

But Guerra believes it was an act of God.

“My mom prayed that if I had to live as a vegetable, that God would just take me,” Guerra wrote. “She also made a promise to God that day-if he let me live, she would make sure that I became ‘somebody.'”

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PHOTO GALLERY: History of the female body through art, fashion and life

The Venus of Willendorf is a 4.3-inch high statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE. With a bountiful breasts and a large stomach, the figure is meant to show fertility. Her head is covered by a headdress or traditional hair style.

The ancestry of the female nude is distinct from the male, an fantastic article from the Met said. Where the latter originates in the perfect human athlete, the former embodies the divinity of procreation. Naked female figures are shown in very early prehistoric art, and in historical times, similar images represent such fertility deities as the Near Eastern Ishtar. The Greek goddess Aphrodite belongs to this family, and she too was imagined as life-giving, proud, and seductive. For many centuries, the Greeks preferred to see her clothed, unlike her Near Eastern counterparts, but in the mid-fourth century B.C., the sculptor Praxiteles made a naked Aphrodite, called the Knidian, which established a new tradition for the female nude. Lacking the bulbous and exaggerated forms of Near Eastern fertility figures, the Knidian Aphrodite, like Greek male athletic statues, had idealized proportions based on mathematical ratios. In addition, her pose, with head turned to the side and one hand covering the body, seemed to present the goddess surprised in her bath and thus fleshed the nude with narrative and erotic possibilities. The position of the goddess’ hands may be meant to show modesty or desire to shield the viewer from too full a view of her godhead. Although the Knidian statue is not preserved, its impact survives in the numerous replicas and variants of it commissioned in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Such images of Venus, the Latin name of Aphrodite, adorned houses, bath buildings, and tombs as well as temples and outdoor sanctuaries.

The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, dated 1434 by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck,  It is considered one of the more original and complex paintings in Western art because of the iconography. One of the icons is the way she is dressed. She is not actually pregnant, but the clothing of the time and art was made to make women appear more fertile and robust.

The Birth of Venus is a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli. Botticelli was commissioned to paint the work by the Medici family of Florence. Venus is characterized by her slim figure and perfect “s-curve” stature which showed correct muscle contrapposto. In contrast, the women next to her was robust and possibly pregnant-looking.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. But unlike what the Greek and Roman athletic depictions might be, Rubens  painted The Three Graces, 1635, in his larger than life style. This is where the term “rubenesque” figures comes from.

An Etsy user is selling a full length cabinet photograph portrait of a Victorian era woman standing rather incongruously next to a fake boulder with a woodland background. The lady is wearing a typical dark dress ensemble from the 1880’s: corseted jacket with brooch at the throat, pleated underskirt and probably a modified bustle. The corset is only a hint at what the expectations of the female body were at the time.

Dropped waists and baggy clothing were meant to hang on the 1920s flapper like clothing on a hanger.

A stark contrast from the 1920s, a more voluptuous figure emerged. But their waists were still meant to me smaller. In some models, waist training was used to synch the waist to unnatural levels. The hips and the bust still remained full.

A resurgence of the 1920s was made when model Twiggy came on the scene. Since then, models have upheld the skinny expectation.

Like Twiggy, models like Kate Moss continue to posses the “heroin-chic” ideal. Although Moss is only 5’7, other industry models are much taller at the same weight. In essence, they are walking clothes hangers.

Companies like H&M, who have recently recruited Beyonce as a model, are starting to make larger clothing and even larger mannequins. But despite the plus size revolution, the industry standard hasn’t changed.

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“Fat Barbie” making reappearance on Pinterest

It’s been 15 years since the rubenesque Ruby made her debut in The Body Shop’s ad campaign directed at teaching women to appreciate their bodies.

Since then rumors have swirled about how Barbie toy maker Matel sent a cease and desist letter to TBS, claiming that Ruby’s plastic body offended Barbie and threatened her sales. Whether or not Matel took TBS to court or even sent the letter has not been investigated into thoroughly.tumblr_m1xo43UZ5l1r7xas6o1_500

However, the image of Ruby has been circulating around Pinterest as of late.

The battle of the bods isn’t a recent phenomenon. It seems that the ideal shape for a woman has fluctuated since the beginning of time.

From the constraining Victorian corset to the skeletal posture of model “Twiggy,” the pressures to fit a mold have always been present. But as we all know, women come in many shapes and sizes.

So where do these pressures come from? A male dominated society that is teaching women they need to be something they aren’t in order to sell products to women they don’t need?

Or is there a legitimate health concern on the horizon- a rising rate of obesity?

I embrace women of every size, but even to me, Ruby seems to be labeled obese, unhealthy.

However, the idea to teach women to be self confident trumps all. In order to be healthy, one must be mentally sound. If she is happy with more meat, then I am happy for her.

What do you think? Are campaign ads like TBS teaching women it’s OK to have unhealthy habits, or is it teaching women self confidence?

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VIDEO: Five vintage food commercials

It’s amazing the transformation advertising has made through the decades. Now, a tv or radio ad should be 15 or 30 seconds. Check out these minutes-long vintage ads about food. Yes…they’re completely racist and sexist.

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Abercrombie’s plus-sized risk: Clothes not for large people

These shoppers have the right look. (October 24, 2012 - Source: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images Europe)

These shoppers have the right look.
(October 24, 2012 – Source: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images Europe)

Abercrombie brings another definition to who the “cool kids” are. In 2004, the company was sued for giving positions to white applicants versus minorities. Now, the “lifestyle concept” shop is at it again, this time attacking weight.

According to business expert Robin Lewis, co-author of The New Rules of Retail, CEO Mike Jeffries “doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people.”

This comes as no shock. The retailer is widely known for its exclusivity, toting “casual luxury” as a wearable way of life.

Jeffries told Salon in a 2006 interview, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t carry women’s sizes over large. But for men, they do stock XL and XLL  (to appeal to the “cool jocks” perhaps).

With scantily clad employees and naked models with bods of gods at the entrance of metropolitan stores, there’s no doubt A & F makes a certain statement.

In the Salon interview Jeffries goes on to explain “that’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

A & F targets the all-American girl-next-door or prom king. Targeting teenagers with their brand, is A & F falling behind in the times? In the past 30 years, obesity in adolescence has tripled. One-third of adolescence and children are obese.

Their prime target market isn’t far behind the older cliental. 37.5 percent of adults are obese with  25.1 percent of white adult Americans being obese.

So is it a smart branding decision? Or is A & F alientating a large chunk of his customer base? After all, a sizable 67 percent of the apparel-purchasing population fit the “plus-size” label.

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