Blog Posts by Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

  • Girl Scouts vs. the World: Who Knew They Were Such a Radical Force to Reckon With?

    Girl Scout Danielle Lei outside of the Green Cross dispensary. Photo: FacebookLittle did I know, as a buck-toothed 9-year-old singing “Make new friends but keep the old…” in my knee socks and polyester green Girl Scout uniform in a stuffy New Jersey classroom, that I was part of an organization on its way to radical-political greatness. I admit I didn’t really get it back then, even though the Girl Scouts' roots — the organization was first launched in 1912 as a way to get urban girls into the great outdoors — are cool enough. But fast forward to 2014, and the Girl Scouts have become a lightning rod for feminist-hating conservatives. And whipping that crowd into a frenzy (without even trying!) is something I can totally get with. And so, for those who haven’t been following along, here are the subjects of five recent controversies surrounding the Girl Scouts, many of which, naturally, involve Thin Mints.

    1. Marijuana. In San Francisco this week, the Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary posted some welcome news on its Facebook page: A savvy Girl Scout had set

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  • How a Boy and His Legos Gave Rise to a Cult Beauty Product

    Jack building the prototype with his Legos. Photo: Marcy McKennaFor all the flak Lego has gotten lately, it’s getting plenty of love this week. That’s thanks to entrepreneur Marcy McKenna, who credits her son and his trusty plastic building blocks with turning one of her beauty-product ideas into a successful reality — one that’s made their family a million bucks. 

    More on Yahoo Shine: This Kid Inventor Is Using Legos to Change the World

    “He loved Legos. Every Lego thing you can imagine, he’s built,” McKenna, the product inventor behind Simply Solved and a QVC guest host based in California, tells Yahoo Shine about her then-7-year-old son, Jack, who’s now 12. It’s how she wound up turning to him for help in nailing down the design for what’s become one of her most successful products to date — the Style & Go hair-care valet, which mounts on the wall and keeps hair dryers, curling irons, and other products both plugged in and stored.

    “It started as a joke, and as just trying to involve Jack, so it was a crude prototype,” McKenna, 44, recalls. “But I

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  • 10 Quotes Proving Why Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski Deserve a Gold Medal in Olympic Banter

    It’s no secret that retired pro figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are the most intriguing Olympic pair since Tonya and Nancy — though this duo's drama has nothing to do with rivalry. The chatty BFFs, who have been wowing as NBC commentators this month, don’t hold back about their passions, whether they’re spewing witticisms about their outfits, their overpacking issues, or, oh yeah, the skills of the skaters. Maybe it’s because they’ve got that magic gay-guy–straight-girl couple formula down perfectly (mutual adoration balanced with fierce judgment of others), or maybe it’s because they’re just so damn cute. Either way, Weir, Lipinski, and their clever comments are shaping up to be the most entertaining part of Sochi. Here are 10 of their best quotes yet:

    On being a team:
    “Tara and I take our work seriously,” Weir, 29, told the New York Times. “She’s my work wife. And she’s a slave driver, so we sit up and study until she’s satisfied. We not only plan how we look, but we’re up

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  • Dreadlocks Could Cost California Prison Guard His Job

    Men with long hair might be hot in Hollywood, but in the offices of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation they are just employees who are breaking the rules. It’s a lesson that one prison guard, Mark Williams, is learning the hard way. Williams, who has worked at the California Institution for Men in Chino for 14 years, says he’s facing disciplinary action after refusing to cut his long dreadlocks despite a policy stating that male employees must wear their hair short enough to sit above their collars. 

    More on Shine: Figure Skater Jason Brown's Bronytail Wins Hair Olympics

    "Why are we worried about one particular individual who has his hair long?” Williams asks CBS Los Angeles. “What does that have to do with the ability, my ability to do my job? There are other things we can worry about.”

    Yahoo Shine could not reach Williams. But Bill Sessa, spokesperson for the California corrections department, tells Yahoo Shine, "He was not threatened with firing. He was told

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  • Sister Megan Rice: The Outlaw Nun Turned Folk Hero

    The world watched with intrigue this week as no-nukes nun Megan Rice, 84, was sent to the slammer — sentenced to 35 months in prison for breaking into a Tennessee nuclear-defense facility, spray painting it with peace signs and splashing it with human blood. When guards confronted Rice (along with her two male accomplices) back in 2012, she began singing and then offered him food. And on Tuesday, while being sentenced in federal court in Knoxville, she asked the judge for even more time behind bars. “Please have no leniency with me,” she said. “To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest gift you could give me.”

    There’s no doubt that Rice is dedicated and fearless. But who is she? And where did she come from?

    The answer to that second question may not be all that surprising: Manhattan. She was born there in 1930, raised by her father, an obstetrician, and her mother, who received her doctorate from Columbia University and was ahead of her time in many ways,

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  • Spanking, Paddling and Padded Rooms: Are School Punishments Getting Worse?

    Photo: Jupiterimages/Getty ImagesThe image of a paddle-wielding elementary-school teacher may seem like an antiquated one to the vast majority of Americans. But this week, a proposed Kansas law—which would give educators (and caregivers) permission to spank students even harder than currently allowed there—is serving as a harsh reminder that corporal punishment, still legal in 19 states, is alive and well in U.S. schools.

    More on Shine: Spanking Makes Aggressive, Depressed Kids?

    “What’s happening is there are some children that are very defiant and they’re not minding their parents, they’re not minding school personnel,” Rep. Gail Finney, who introduced the Kansas bill, tells the Wichita Eagle Tuesday. She says the law—which would expand corporal punishment to allow spankings that could cause redness or bruising, rather than just those that leave no marks—is an attempt to restore parental rights and improve discipline. [Update: the Kansas bill died in a state House committee Wednesday afternoon shortly after this story

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  • Loneliness Is More Dangerous Than We Thought

    Photo: Getty ImagesFeeling like you might die of loneliness is one thing. But could it actually happen? Apparently, as researchers have found that leading an extremely lonely existence could increase an older person's chance of premature death by 14 percent — providing good reason for everyone to make sure to maintain connections with others as they age.

    More on Shine: Why Widows Deal With Chronic Pain Better Than Married Folks

    “We looked at perceived loneliness versus objective isolation, and how it leads the brain’s biology to change over time,” John Cacioppo, University of Chicago psychology professor and the study's lead researcher, tells Yahoo Shine. “There are toxic effects.” Even after taking into account lifestyle behaviors, like diet and exercise, he adds, the impact of simply feeling isolated — disrupted sleep, elevated blood pressure, surges in the stress hormone cortisol, compromised immunity, and increased depression overall — is profound. “When you are isolated from companionship, then the

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  • Here's How to Talk About Facebook's New Gender Terms

    photo: FacebookTransgender awareness is having a moment — a sustained one. Just take the rising visibility of movers and shakers like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Carmen Carrera, and Jenny Boylan, not to mention new laws on both local and national levels. Then there are the headlines across the country, almost daily, about schools grappling with equality for their transgender students on issues from prom queens to bathroom privileges. And now, of course, comes the major announcement from Facebook that its users will be able to choose from more than 50 new gender options for their profiles — transgender, genderqueer, cisgender, trans male, trans person, and intersex among them.

    "This new feature is a step forward in recognizing transgender people and allows them to tell their authentic story in their own words," GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis notes in a statement about the change.

    Still, treatment of the news by many media outlets, including by endless Twitter jokesters, has been a bit lacking in the

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  • Life After Massive Weight Loss: It's Not Always Perfect

    Rachel Frederickson before, left, and after. Photo: Getty ImagesShe shed 155 pounds and gained $250,000 by winning the 15th season of “The Biggest Loser,” but there’s one result of extreme weight loss that Rachel Frederickson may not have bargained for: the barrage of vocal critics, who have called her newly thin self “anorexic” and “disturbing.” While the 24-year-old admits that she may have been “a little too enthusiastic” with her workouts, she maintains that she’s both “confident” and “very, very healthy.” But is she happy?

    More on Shine: Eating Disorders in Boys: More Common Than You Think

    It may be too soon to tell. But the harsh public reactions she’s faced thus far have served to shine a spotlight on what can be unexpected results of dropping a serious amount of weight, including the jarring realization that shedding those pounds may not be the panacea you’ve been longing for.
    “When it comes to obesity, we often look at the disease as a cosmetic thing,” James Zerrios, spokesperson for the Obesity Action Coalition, tells Yahoo Shine. “But

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  • Plus-Size Women Write Love Letters to Their Bullies in Valentine's Day Challenge

    One of the posted memes. Photo: FacebookPlus-size women who have dealt with enough nasty, body-shaming comments to last a lifetime are standing up to their haters with a powerful weapon this week: love. It's part of a Valentine’s Day-inspired empowerment campaign, “Love Letter to an Internet Bully,” encouraging women around the country to express their feelings of pain, forgiveness, and self-acceptance, and then post them, along with proud photos of themselves, on Facebook.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Life After Massive Weight Loss: It's Not Always Perfect

    “I was envisioning a way for people to just share their story and have it be therapeutic for them, to forgive their bully and just move on,” Chrystal Bougon, owner of the San Jose, California, plus-size lingerie shop Curvy Girl and one of the forces behind the effort, tells Yahoo Shine. “Let’s put that chapter away now, and let’s rock it and wear it.”

    Bougon and her shop made headlines last year for another online campaign, “Regular Women,” which had plus-size ladies posting

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