Blog Posts by Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

  • Actor Daniel Franzese Comes Out in Letter to Damian of 'Mean Girls'

    Daniel Franzese in 2013. Photo: Rebecca Sapp/WireImageA decade after his “Mean Girls” portrayal of Damian, the high-school outsider who was “almost too gay to function,” actor Daniel Franzese has come out in real life — by penning a poignant letter to the beloved character he played.

    “I was twenty-six; you were sixteen. You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor,” he wrote in the letter, shared exclusively with IndieWire. “You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. It might've been easier to be gay growing up…

    “So, why the hell did it take me so long to come out of the closet?” Franzese, now 35, asks. “Here’s why: When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles — Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty.  So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid? I was optimistic. Hollywood? Not so much. I was meeting a ‘gay glass ceiling’ in casting.”


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  • One Teen's Victory Over McDonald's Boy-Girl Happy Meal Toys

    Happy Meal with a Skylanders toy. Photo: McDonald'sConnecticut teen Antonia Ayres-Brown is on her way to becoming a feminist hero this week for standing up to a billion dollar corporation — McDonald’s — over its alleged tendency to box kids in by gender when doling out Happy Meal toys.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Teen Takes on Surfer Sexism in Awesome Letter to Mag

    “In the fall of 2008, when I was 11 years old, I wrote to the CEO of McDonald’s and asked him to change the way his stores sold Happy Meals,” Ayres-Brown, now a high-school junior and talented musician, wrote in a Slate essay that’s gone viral since being published on Monday. “I expressed my frustration that McDonald’s always asked if my family preferred a ‘girl toy’ or a ‘boy toy’ when we ordered a Happy Meal at the drive-through. My letter asked if it would be legal for McDonald’s ‘to ask at a job interview whether someone wanted a man’s job or a woman’s job?’”

    The precocious inquiry yielded a series of communications between Ayres-Brown and the fast-food chain. It also led to some

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  • Why Don't We Talk More Openly About Miscarriages?

    Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty ImagesWhen a fellow mom in my daughter’s kindergarten class told me recently that she’d just suffered a miscarriage, I gave her a hug. I didn’t know what else to do, and I was shocked she'd even mentioned it, since most people don't. She shrugged it off, though, as if she’d merely been sick, and smiled to reassure me. “I actually feel fine,” she said. “Really!”

    Though I’ve never lost a pregnancy myself, I know enough people who have to realize that it’s a bigger deal than having the flu. But I also understand this: Talking about miscarriage is pretty much the last taboo. It’s why (most) people are finally writing about Lindsay Lohan this week with a whiff of something besides mockery. “No one knows this, and we can finish [the interview] after this: I had a miscarriage for those two weeks that I took off," Lohan said, tearing up as she spoke on the season finale of her OWN reality show on Sunday. And nothing in our society makes people quite as speechless and uncomfortable as a woman losing

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  • What the Boston Marathon Means for One Grieving Husband

    Meg Cross Menzies. Photo: FacebookWhile this year’s Boston Marathon is surely filled with a tough mix of pain and hope for a great many of the nearly 36,000 runners touched by last year’s bombing, at least one is facing a different struggle with grief: Scott Menzies, a Virginia father of three. He’s running on Monday in place of his wife, Meg Cross Menzies, who was training for the race when she was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver on a fateful morning in January.

    More on Yahoo Shine: 2014 Boston Marathon Guide for Runners and Spectators

    “I will run the Boston Marathon tomorrow for Meg,” Scott wrote on his late wife’s Facebook page on Sunday. “I am going to do my best to finish what she started and I can't wait to see, hear and experience what she would have experienced if she were still here. I want to feel her with me — it will be very emotional. I will do my best to make her proud.” According to a friend’s Facebook update, Scott finished with a time of 3:51:57 at 3:01 PM with a pace of 8:50 per mile.

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  • Moms in Uproar Over 'Banana Girl,' 'TannyRaw,' Online Diet Gurus

    Following a steady pelting of complaints by anti-eating-disorder activists, YouTube temporarily suspended the channel of a popular raw-food adherent known as TannyRaw on Friday. And while the channel was only down for a few hours, the move touched off a social-media dustup about responsibility and blame regarding young, susceptible women, eating disorders, and those spouting diet advice, including TannyRaw and a YouTube star who calls herself Freelee the Banana Girl.

    The small but vocal group of about 15 critics — Mothers (and Others) Against Eating Disorders, or MAED — took issue with what they call TannyRaw's “dangerous” approach to dispensing weight-loss and nutrition advice, and say that in one video the South Carolina woman, whose real name is Tanya, even counseled a young girl to refuse treatment for her eating disorder. “That's unethical and dangerous,” noted one woman on Twitter, where an impassioned back-and-forth between people on both sides of the argument raged all day

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  • Facebook May Hurt a Woman's Body Image

    Facebook obsessing might hurt your self image. Photo: Getty ImagesIt’s been pretty well established that media images of thin models and toned celebrities can cause a woman’s body image to take a hit. Now comes evidence to suggest that realistic social-media images — on Facebook, specifically — can add to that suffering, too. The latest study on the topic, due to be presented in May at the annual International Communication Association conference in Seattle, found that young women who spend a lot of time on Facebook tend to feel more negatively about their bodies than other young women.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Gwen Stefani's Comments About Her 'Chunky' Body Make Us Sad

    “The attention college women pay to physical attributes may be even more dangerous on Facebook than through traditional media because the impact is stronger when it’s people that they know, as opposed to celebrities,” researcher Yusuf Kalyango, an associate professor of journalism at Ohio University, tells Yahoo Shine. And the takeaway, he notes, is that “online objectification and social

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  • Portraits of Little Girls With Cancer Stir Emotions on Facebook

    From left, Riley, Rheann and Ainsley. Photo: Scantling PhotographyEach year in the U.S., about 13,400 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with a form of cancer, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. And while those numbers are staggering enough on their own, sometimes one simple photo speaks even louder than statistics — like in the case of this particular image, by Oklahoma photographer Lora Scantling, that’s currently yanking on the heartstrings of thousands of Facebook users. In it are three little girls, ages 3, 4, and 6, mostly bald from chemo and embracing each other with their eyes closed, in a pose that emanates a warmth and depth beyond their collective years. A caption notes, “Sometimes strength comes in knowing you are not alone.”

    “I thought of this project just because I wanted to do something that would bring out emotion and touch peoples hearts,” Scantling tells Yahoo Shine through a message on Facebook — where her photo of the three girls has been liked nearly 4,000 times since being posted on April 5. “My

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  • Parents Are Naming Their Babies After 'Game of Thrones'

    The inspiration for baby girls named Khaleesi, from Game of Thrones. Photo: HBOOnce upon a time, baby names were a simple affair — Jane, Elizabeth, Susan. Then, for a time, with Sunshine and Autumn and Moon Unit, they got hippiefied. Now, with news spreading over Social Security Administration data showing that in 2012 alone, nearly 150 American girls were named Khaleesi — after a character’s royal title on “Game of Thrones” — the whole name game has become downright surreal.

    More on Shine: Amazing Wedding Ideas Inspired by 'Game of Thrones'

    On Wednesday, the website Vox reported on its discovery of the "Game of Thrones" baby-naming trend. After crunching the numbers, it found that the name Khaleesi had become more popular than Betsy, according to SSA data.

    “There are certain qualities about a character that makes the name really catch on,” Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” tells Yahoo Shine. “And in general, it’s shows featuring attractive young people with supernatural powers.”

    To wit: Katniss, from the "Hunger Games” trilogy, which was among the

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  • Families Protest Alabama Lawmaker's Racist Comments

    The Portis family, proving Rep. Holmes wrong. Photo: Grace Photography/FacebookAdoptive parents in Alabama are firing back against state Rep. Alvin Holmes and the race-based, controversial comments he made during an abortion-bill debate in March. In addition to claiming that 99 percent of white legislators would force their daughters to have an abortion if impregnated by a black man, Holmes also said, "I will bring you $100,000 cash tomorrow if you show me a whole bunch of whites that adopted blacks in Alabama. I will go down there and mortgage my house and get it cash in 20 dollar bills and bring it to you in a little briefcase." Now he may need to head to the bank, as families who have done just that staged a press conference at the Alabama State House Wednesday.

    More on Shine: Mom's Photo Series Spotlights Racist Comments Directed at Daughters

    “Rep. Holmes’ statements were very offensive. He implied transracial adoptions do not happen in Alabama, which is far from the truth,” notes a press release about the demonstration that was posted on the Facebook page for

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  • Disney's 'Frozen' Memorabilia Shortage Causes Panic

    This Anna doll could be yours for $999.95. Photo: eBayWhat ever happened to imaginative, movie-inspired play? You know, like, where a 5-year-old reenacts the scenes from her favorite Disney film while wearing an odd pastiche of dress-up clothes that are mostly mommy’s castoffs? Or plays the soundtrack of said favorite movie while dancing or singing along or, simply, listening? What’s happened to it, apparently, is that it’s gone the way of the record player (just please don’t tell my daughter that). And how I know that is this: “Frozen” merchandise is pretty much sold out everywhere, and parents are totally freaking out about it.

    “Enterprising individuals are charging up to $1,000 for ‘Frozen’ items on eBay, which has driven parents completely insane,” Jezebel notes with an understandable tone of schadenfreude. “Frustrated moms are currently freaking out all over Disney's Facebook page, posting angry messages in the middle of the night.” An example, posted Wednesday afternoon: “What is up, Disney? Why are you not properly stocking Frozen

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