Tag Archives: Slate

It Cost $2.5 Million to Keep My Child Alive (Slate.com)

I’ve got a new piece up on Slate on how repealing the Affordable Care Act could impact families like mine (yes, even with employer-sponsored insurance). And it will do even more damage to poor families relying on Medicaid to pay for their children’s complex healthcare needs. A little background there: As part of their ACA repeal goals, Republicans want to convert Medicaid and Medicare entitlement funds into block grants, which means that the amount of money a state receives will no longer depend on how many of its citizens need coverage. When that happened to welfare, we saw states tighten up eligibility requirements so much that 74 percent of American families with children living in poverty are now no longer able to get cash assistance when they need it.


Filed under Freelance Life, Health, On Eating and Writing

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Toxic Nail Polish: More Beauty Industry Lies

Slate xxFactor Toxic Nail Polish by Virginia Sole-Smith

You guys may have seen this news last week: California toxicologists tested a bunch of those supposedly “toxin-free” nail polishes… and found out that they’re actually toxin-full, as I’m reporting on Slate’s xxFactor blog today.

Hmm, what does this remind us of? If you said Brazilian Blowout (or lead in lipstick or carcinogens in baby shampoo or…) give yourself a high five.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Customer Cult, Government Watch, Health, Ingredients, Products

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Does the Vogue Mom Give Away Our Childhood Obesity Fears — Or Our Beauty Obsessions?


Dara-Lynn Weiss and Vogue by Virginia Sole-Smith on Slate's XXfactor

I admit, when this whole Vogue Mom story broke, I had to take some serious deep breaths. (In case you’ve been under a rock all week: Socialite Dara-Lynn Weiss wrote an essay in the April Vogue — the “shape” issue, ha! — about her obsessive efforts to get her seven-year-old to lose 16 pounds.) And when Ms. Weiss then announced that her fun anecdotes about screaming in Starbucks and forbiding her daughter to eat cupcakes (before sneaking two herself) resulted in a book deal… I had to take a lot of deep breaths. Because that is a thing. That is happening. Yeah.


Filed under Beauty Overheard, Beauty Standards, Fashion, Health, Press

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Israel Bans Underweight Models — So Who’s Hiring Them? [Slate / XXfactor]

Slate XXfactor Israel Bans Underweight Models by Virginia Sole-Smith

I’m back on Slate’s XXfactor blog, with a piece about what these bans on underweight models might do to the models themselves. Of course the hope is: Allow them to keep working, now at a healthy weight. But that assumes the fashion industry will all fall neatly in line and start championing the health of their young workforce — which is pretty much the opposite of what’s happened so far anytime anyone has attempted industry reform thus far. (See Marc Jacobs refusing to check for underage models last month for the case in point.)


Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Standards, Fashion, Glossed Over, Government Watch, Modeling, Press

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Girl Model: The Prettiest (Exploited, Underage) Workforce [Slate's XX Factor]]

Slate XXfactor Girl Model Virginia Sole-SmithI already showed you the trailer, but today I’m on Slate’s XXfactor blog, talking more in-depth about Girl Model, the haunting and thought-provoking documentary premiering around the country this month. (List of screenings here.)

I’m interested to see that so far, the comment thread on that post zeroes in, yet again, on the age-old question: “Why are models so gosh-darn skinny?” There are a lot of theories about fashion being created by gay men and gay men liking a lithe, boy-like silhouette… Meh.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Fashion, Happenings, Modeling

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Pinning Things Down

Virginia on Pinterest

Hi, my name is Virginia and I’m addicted to Pinterest. (If you’re already confused, click here to find out what it’s all about.)

My friend Amy got me hooked way back in September 2010. I’m fairly sure it’s the only thing we’ve ever early adopted! Since then, she’s pinned a reasonable 268 items. Meanwhile I’ve pinned 839 things.

Ahem. That total actually went up to 845 pins since I wrote the first draft of this post.


Filed under Beauty Standards, For Extra Credit, Happenings

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Pretty Price Check, plus Fun New Thing! (07.15.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Nail Art Awesomeness

  • The New York Times has 10 interesting takes on why wild nail polish has gone mainstream, including an awesome one on why no more formaldehyde helped. Can I just say how much I heart nail art? Happy sigh.
  • Tom Hanks is 11 years older than Julia Roberts, his love interest in Larry Crowne — and Amanda Marcotte is noticing he’s not the only dude getting to rob the cradle on the big screen right now. Which is not to hate on May-December relationships, but more to ask we we can’t see older actresses getting these parts and even — wait for it! — looking their actual age?


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Bikini Waxes are Definitely Not The Opera

Definitely Not the Opera

Which is why I was so excited when CBC Radio’s DNTO called last week to interview me about Brazilians, inspired by the Slate/DoubleX piece.

For you United States-ers, DNTO is the Canadian “This American Life” (except, again, Canadian. And hosted by the awesome Sook-Yin Lee). Every week, they explore stories on a theme. Saturday’s theme? Making the Private Public.

It’s a terrific show and you can listen to the whole thing here or in iTunes. If you’re in a really big hurry, my story starts at 25:59 and lasts about seven minutes. But do try to listen all the way through, because every story is pretty grand. (You know I adore/am slightly haunted by Sushma Subramanin’s story of being a recovering makeup addict, just for starters.)

Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Standards, Happenings

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Pretty Price Check (04.09.10)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday roundup of how much we paid for beauty last week.

Photo from National Go Topless Day Campaign

  • 24: How many women marched topless through the streets of Portland, Maine to try to normalize the presence of female skin in public. A noble mission, perhaps – but I gotta agree with Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams, who notes that women have to put up with enough ogling as it is, and asks “Who wants to be the bare-breasted canary in that coal mine?” Also, the photo above from the campaign’s headquarters, GoTopless.org, is relying pretty heavily on size discrimination to make its point. Last I checked, most people would rather see the boobs of the perfectly toned, bikini-clad lady than those of the obese man. Aren’t I supposed to be more concerned about moms being able to breastfeed in public, even if we catch sight of a nipple or two, without being harassed?


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    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

    Pre-order now!