By now you've all heard the story and seen the hideous pictures of Patricia Krentcil, the 'tannorexic' mother from New Jersey who pleaded not guilty to allowing her 6-year-old daughter to tan on a sun bed.
But wait, it gets better. The 44-year-old mahogany mom has lashed out at her critics, saying "they're jealous, they're fat and they're ugly."
Krentcil, who maintains her innocence and called the accusation that she endangered her daughter "preposterous," even as she remains the butt of media jokes. (Snooki said, "the b*tch is crazy," while comedian Kristen Wiig couldn't resist parodying Krentcil on a recent Saturday Night Live sketch.)
"I'm a great mother, and I would never do that to my child," Krentcil said after her daughter told friends at school that she got sunburned while tanning with her mom. Krentcil argues that her fair daughter merely accompanied her to the salon, but got 'some sun' while playing outside. Tanning is illegal in the state for under 14s.
Hmm. Innocent till proven guilty, or is the proof in the pigment?
Thanks but no thanks. That was pretty much the gist of the meeting between Ann Shoket, the editor of teen fashion rag Seventeen, and Julia Bluhm, the 14-year-old from Maine who's been crusading to curb the magazine's misleading use of Photoshop.
Although Seventeen is by no means the only culprit in the fashion industry to digitally manipulate its images, rendering its models unrealistically perfect, it differs crucially in that its target market is teenaged girls.
Bluhm approached Shoket after collecting a petition of more than 25,000 signatures, although she did offer a compromise: to use just one non-Photoshopped spread per issue. Wow.
Though Seventeen spokesperson lauded Bluhm's efforts and claimed that its magazine features "real girls in our pages and there is no other magazine that highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity," curiously, there was no mention of Photoshop use.
Although Bluhm was grateful for the opportunity to be heard, a real victory would have spelled the end of digitally enhanced images or, at the least, a concession -- a single Photoshopped spread per issue.
Meanwhile models keep getting thinner (impossibly, 'digitally' thin) and young girls continue to fall prey to disordered eating as they try to emulate what they see on catwalks and magazines like Seventeen.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have found some success in treating anorexia neurosa with the anti-psychotic drug Olanzapine. And Vogue magazine plans to ban models under the age of 16 as well as those with "visible signs of eating disorders" from its spreads.
Meanwhile Bluhm's petition continues to grow, with well over 45,000 signatures. How many signatures will be enough to make magazine editors sit up and listen to the people?
So what are you waiting for? Do your civic duty and sign the thing already.
Little Ben Roseth is a helluva lot stronger than he looks. The 8 year old may have a rare, fatal disorder that often makes him so weak that he cannot stand. But with a little help from his three siblings, he has acquired superpowers.
In order to combat Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), an incurable condition that affects 1 in 20,000 people, Ben's brothers and sisters christened him Power Boy. With this new identity, Ben mustered the strength to fight the ALD. He no longer fears his many hospital visits.
“Ben used to cry and scream and fight anytime we went near the local clinic. He would burst into tears at the smell of rubbing alcohol,” wrote Ben's mom on his Facebook page. “Power Boy doesn't fear the tests much anymore.”
Each of Power Boy’s siblings has adopted a superhero identity, and are known as the Fearsome Four. Using their secret powers, the crew empowers Ben, and helps raise awareness about his condition.
So far the Fearsome Four has "cleaned up neighbors’ yards and donated teddy bears to children in hospitals."
How's that for inspiring? Want some more? We could all learn a thing or two from this truly fabulous foursome.