current location: Home > b7

Police find viral ice cream licker, but theres a catfish twist

2023-04-14 17:36:43

Police find viral ice cream licker, but theres a catfish twist

Police find viral ice cream licker, but theres a catfish twist(图1)

Law enforcement officials have identified and interviewed the woman who was recorded licking ice cream and then returning the tub to a supermarket freezer.

The viral video posted on Twitter on Jun. 29 shows the young woman licking Blue Bell ice cream while the person recording the video goads her on.

Twitter users expressed their horror at the unsanitary act. On Jul. 1, Blue Bell thanked consumers for alerting the company of the tampering.

"We take this issue very seriously and are currently working with the appropriate authorities," the company said in a statement.

Dubbed the "Blue Bell licker," police in Lufkin, Texas, announced on Facebook on Friday that the suspect was identified as a juvenile from nearby San Antonio. Her boyfriend, an adult whose family hails from Lufkin, also admitted to his involvement.

The case is notable because another Instagram user — who was not the teenager in the video — claimed they were the one licking ice cream. Twitter users began sharing a screenshot(Opens in a new tab) of @xx.asiaaa.xx's comment bragging about the incident.

Police find viral ice cream licker, but theres a catfish twist(图2)

SEE ALSO: Instagram's new stickers let you 'request' to join a group chat

"You can call it Flu Bell ice cream now ‘cause I was a lil sick last week," the catfish said. "Repost yourself doing this. Let’s see if we can start an epidemic (literally)."

Blue Bell identified the store's location as a Walmart in Lufkin, based on "unique merchandising" sold in that specific store, according to BuzzFeed News(Opens in a new tab). The company instructed store managers to remove all the half-gallon tubs of Blue Bell Tin Roof, and officials believe the contaminated container was not sold.

Because the suspect is a minor, her case will be turned over to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Police are "discussing" her boyfriend's involvement to determine whether or not he'll face charges.

Others are copying her gross ice cream moves, though. Larz, an influencer who claims he's part of Jake Paul's Team 10, posted a video of himself eating ice cream out of the carton with his hands and then placing it back on the store shelf. Jake Paul allegedly told another YouTuber(Opens in a new tab), "He's not on Team 10 nor do I know him."

Police find viral ice cream licker, but theres a catfish twist(图3)

Although he later posted a video of a police officer questioning him, Larz doesn't appear to be facing significant consequences.

Website of this article:

Go to Baidu to see more

Comments from netizens


contact us



Popular articles


  • The internet made sooooo many jokes about Trumps fake news trophy tweet

    The internet made sooooo many jokes about Trumps fake news trophy tweet


    Perhaps the biggest bummer about Twitter's new 280-character limit is that it allows the current president to compose tweets like this one:

    On Monday morning, President Donald Trump hit Twitter to suggest a "FAKE NEWS TROPHY" for whichever news network he deems produces "the most dishonest, corrupt" coverage of his presidency. As usual, Fox was excluded from Trump's media rage.

    In the same tweet, Trump referred to himself as the American people's favorite president with a parenthetical "(me)." According the most recent Gallup(opens in a new tab) poll, the self-described "favorite" president's approval rating currently sits at 37 percent.

    Naturally the internet jumped all over Trump's first tweet of the day. Some even have a solid suggestion for Trump's proposed "FAKE NEWS TROPHY":


  • Project Entrepreneur expands accelerator program to help more women entrepreneurs build scalable com

    Project Entrepreneur expands accelerator program to help more women entrepreneurs build scalable companies


    Since launching in 2015, Project Entrepreneur(opens in a new tab) — a media partner of Mashable — has trained more than 1,200 aspiring entrepreneurs representing 131 U.S. cities. Its annual venture competition has yielded an alumnae community of nearly 400 women entrepreneurs, with the 2016 finalists reporting $10+ million raised in seed and pre-seed funding.

    Now entering its third year, Project Entrepreneur (PE) — an initiative from the Rent the Runway Foundation and UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs(opens in a new tab) — is expanding the number of winning companies in the accelerator from three to five.

    “We are so excited to continue working with UBS in providing women with the tools they need to create high-growth companies, and see their visions through,” said Jennifer Hyman, CEO and Co-Founder of Rent the Runway. “Past participants in our accelerator continue to inspire us with their incredible progress, including closing rounds of funding. We are eager to provide the next class of talented female founders with the tools and support they need to scale, and to see the disruption their companies bring to various different industries.”

    PE's annual venture competition is open to female founders who are in the prototype or beta stages, have their first paying customers, or are generating revenue. The top 200 applicants will be invited to attend the PE Intensive in New York City on April 13-14, 2018, a free two-day event comprised of in-depth workshops, expert speakers and a pitch competition. The five winning founders will each receive a $10,000 grant, a spot in the five-week accelerator program at Rent the Runway’s New York office and mentorship and engagement with UBS executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. Founders interested can apply online(opens in a new tab); but don’t wait, as the deadline is December 1st!

    Last year’s winning companies included: New York-based LOLI Beauty(opens in a new tab), the first BIY (Blend It Yourself) clean and green beauty brand; Scottsdale-based The Touchpoint Solution(opens in a new tab), a neuroscience wearable that alleviates stress by altering the body’s stress response in as little as 30 seconds; and San Francisco-based Lace & Liberty(opens in a new tab), merging direct-to-consumer convenience with luxury bespoke bridalwear. Two additional New York-based companies were hosted by The Knot/XO Group Co-Founder Carley Roney and designer Rebecca Minkoff: Repeat Roses(opens in a new tab), a sustainable floral waste removal business that gives back to people and planet, and Reboundwear(opens in a new tab), athleisure wear with a purpose, respectively.


    “The caliber of companies we're seeing through Project Entrepreneur further validates what we've always believed — that there is an incredible population of talented female founders in cities and towns across the country,” said Lori Feinsilver, UBS Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas. “Being able to reach these women and provide them with access to resources and support that will help fuel their growth gives us confidence that we can indeed level the playing field.”

    Visit in a new tab) for details on Project Entrepreneur’s Venture Competition, and check out PE’s resources including #theTools podcast(opens in a new tab), blog posts(opens in a new tab) and educational modules(opens in a new tab).

    This article is part of a media partnership between Mashable & Project Entrepreneur. For more information, visit here(opens in a new tab).

  • Two people trying to run the same government agency makes for a really awkward first day

    Two people trying to run the same government agency makes for a really awkward first day


    Revolutionaries, take note -- if you're planning a government takeover, please use high quality breakfast pastries.

    That's a lesson that White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney(opens in a new tab) apparently hadn't learned when he stepped into the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau today. He was there to take on an additional job as the agency's director.

    The only problem? The agency's acting director, Leandra English, refused to cede it to him, in the workplace drama of the decade.

    As a Trump appointee, Mulvaney wasn't exactly welcomed at at the job, so he brought crappy Dunkin' Donuts as a way to "ease" himself into an agency he's expected to destroy.

    SEE ALSO: Sorry, Cards Against Humanity can't stop Trump's wall

    On Friday, Director Richard Cordray(opens in a new tab) stepped down, leaving English to serve as acting director. Last night, English filed a lawsuit claiming that she is the "rightful acting director" of the agency. English has asked the court to impose a temporary restraining order to prevent Trump from appointing anyone, arguing that she is entitled to her position under the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Law(opens in a new tab).

    None of that stopped Mulvaney. On Monday, the Budget Director stepped into the CFPB, ready to take on his new job.

    This is how English responded in an email sent to 1,600 staff.

    "I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving in mind, I wanted to take a moment to share my gratitude to all of you for your service,” English said(opens in a new tab), signing the note with her title, "Acting Director."

    And that, my friends, is what we call a death drop.

    Via Giphy(opens in a new tab)

    Here's how Mulvaney responded:

    “Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as acting director.” Mulvaney said(opens in a new tab). “I apologize for this being the very first thing you hear from me. However, under the circumstances I suppose it is necessary. If you’re at 1700 G Street today, please stop by the fourth floor to say hello and grab a doughnut.”

    If Mulvaney, a budget hawk, thinks he can sway members of an agency whose jobs he's poised to eliminate with Dunkin' Donuts, he's out of his mind. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(opens in a new tab) was explicitly designed to protect consumers from banks and credit card companies. Mulvaney once famously called the agency "sad" and "sick." He is not, as members of the agency likely know, their friend.

    And dude, if you're going to try and win your staff over with breakfast pastries, at least go for something slightly more delicious than Dunkin'. Some suggestions:

    • Krispy Kreme

    • (图2)

      Entenmann's Coffee Cake

    • Savory bacon cheddar scones

    • Literally anything else

    The case is currently being decided. In the meantime, here's Twitter's majority opinion on the issue:

    Chef José Andrés, the man who single-handedly served 3 million meals to Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria, had the best response of them all.

    Case closed.

  • Woman posts video of crocodile attack, and it is heartstopping

    Woman posts video of crocodile attack, and it is heartstopping


    Welp, this is a close call.

    A tourist was bitten on the leg by a crocodile on at Cape Tribulation in Queensland, Australia on Monday night, while standing on a creek bank close to the waters edge.

    SEE ALSO: Maybe don't get a photo with your friends inside a crocodile trap

    A Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) spokesperson said in a statement the crocodile was estimated to be 2 to 2.5 metres (78 to 98 inches) long.

    A video posted on the Facebook page of Ally Bullifent shows the crocodile attack, which comes out of nowhere. It'll be sure to give you a shock.


    The EHP said it would carry out a site assessment of the area on Tuesday, and will possibly target the crocodile "for removal" as it has displayed dangerous behaviour in a designated area. This means it'll be moved to a crocodile farm or a zoo, according to the Cairns Post(opens in a new tab).

    For authorities, it also serves as a reminder about staying safe in areas where crocodiles might be around. Earlier this year, an 18-year-old boy was attacked by a crocodile while reportedly trying to impress a girl.

  • Town crier who announced Prince Harrys engagement to Meghan Markle is 100% fake

    Town crier who announced Prince Harrys engagement to Meghan Markle is 100% fake


    England, with its quirky traditions and old-fashioned customs, is a land of endless fascination for outsiders, nominally for people from the former colony of the U.S.

    SEE ALSO: The most adorable revelations from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first interview

    So it's understandable why a town crier -- with his elaborate, red and gold robed dress and tricorn hat -- attracted people's attention on social media when he was depicted in an ABC News video as he announces the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement outside of Buckingham Palace:

    "Oyez, oyez, oyz!" He yells in the video. "Buckingham Palace is proud to announce the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. God save the Queen!" 

    It can't get any more British than this.

    Business Insider posted a similar video, calling him "the Royal Town Crier":

    However, it turns out the eccentric guy is not officially appointed by the Queen, nor is he a real town crier. His real name is Tony Appleton, from Romford, east London, and he's been making royal announcements for years, bell and scroll on hand.


    In 2013, he fooled prominent American broadcasters(opens in a new tab) including Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper when he announced the birth of Prince William and Kate's firstborn, Prince George, outside St. Mary's Hospital.

    "I'm a royalist. I love the royal family," he told (opens in a new tab)AP(opens in a new tab), while acknowledging he had no official royal role. "I came unannounced."

    Still, many Americans fell for it:

  • Cheeky theory is the best explanation yet for the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement

    Cheeky theory is the best explanation yet for the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement


    News of the engagement between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle caught Americans' imagination just like any other story about the British royals -- births, anniversaries, celebrations, jubilees, and so on.

    SEE ALSO: 'Town crier' who announced Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle is 100% fake

    But what if behind the jolly facade of a couple in love wishing to declare their commitment before God and the nation there's an actual conspiracy to reclaim a former colony, lost in a never-forgotten, embittered war?

    That's the joke Greg Pollowitz, editor at, dug up to explain the royal announcement:

    Meghan Markle is American, so the future offspring will be Americans! Da-daam! Boom! Mic drop!

    via GIPHY(opens in a new tab)

    It was just a cheeky tweet, but it went absolutely viral and people just loved it:

    There was the obvious Brexit reference:


    As well as the Trump one:

    Some conjectured a crossover between two incredibly popular TV shows:

    But in general the tweets reacting to the joke were just hilarious:

    While someone took it a bit too seriously:

  • Dog, sick and tired of waiting in car, slams his paw on the horn

    Dog, sick and tired of waiting in car, slams his paw on the horn


    It will be a long time before America finally grants dogs the right to drive.

    Until then, dogs will have to do what they can to keep themselves entertained. Take this pup, who was recently left alone in a parking lot in " target="_blank">Nanaimo, British Columbia(opens in a new tab), and slammed its paw on the car horn out of exhaustion. And then it kept it there. For a long time.

    SEE ALSO: Calm your dogs down with this fabulous doggy leotard

    The video was captured by Joris Wiggers and posted on Facebook by Elizabeth Herman(opens in a new tab). It's not entirely clear that the dog knows how to get his paw off the horn, but no problem, doggo, that's what driver's permits are for.


    Can someone please call this dog an Uber?

  • Arbys bought Buffalo Wild Wings, so heres what a combined menu would look like

    Arbys bought Buffalo Wild Wings, so heres what a combined menu would look like


    On Tuesday it was announced that Arby's owner Roark Capital will acquire(opens in a new tab) Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.4 billion (or roughly(opens in a new tab) 162,271,805 orders of BWW House Samplers).

    Per Reuters(opens in a new tab), though the wings restaurant will become property of Arby's, it'll still operate on its own.

    SEE ALSO: This edible Alien Facehugger chicken will haunt your dreams

    We think this is a huge mistake.

    Consider the disturbing menu possibilities a marriage of Arby's meats and BWW wings might afford us.

    Our suggestions for this menu full of abominations below:

    • A half-pound Beef 'N Cheddar sandwich dipped in Bourbon Honey Mustard sauce, rolled in Desert Heat seasoning and deep fried

    • An entire smoked brisket coated in Blazin' hot sauce and served whole on a bed of deep-fried Cheddar Cheese Curds

    • Potato cakes drenched in Wild sauce

    • Beer-battered roast beef tacos

    • An Arby's House Sampler, featuring 12 classic Roast Beef sandwiches stacked in a pyramid

    • A Crispy Chicken Farmhouse Salad dressed with Hot BBQ sauce

    • (图2)

      Boneless Wings coated in Cheddar Cheese sauce

    • A Corned Beef 'N Cheese Slider cut up into pieces and sprinkled over Buffalo Mac & Cheese

    • A Cheese Curd Bacon Burger with a Pizza Slider speared on top

    • Every Arby's slider stacked in a tower and adhered to each another with smears of Parmesan Garlic sauce

    • The pastry shell of an Apple Turnover, filled with the B-Dubs Blender shake flavor of your choice

    • A large Ultimate Chocolate Shake blended with a slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake and drizzled over a plate of Dessert Nachos

    • Cheesecake Bites

  • Cops share photo of a driver that went a little too hard with their Christmas tree

    Cops share photo of a driver that went a little too hard with their Christmas tree


    Look, if you want to cut down a massive Christmas tree, and stick it up inside your two-story living room, go for it. But maybe don't endanger anyone's life in the process.

    Police in Massachusetts put up a post on their Facebook page on Friday, reminding people to please transport their Christmas trees safely. They really shouldn't have to do this, but here we are.

    SEE ALSO: Upside down Christmas trees are trending, and the internet is outraged

    "One of our officer's stopped this vehicle on Route 20 today," the cops said on Facebook(opens in a new tab), posting a photo of what appears to be a Prius topped with a Christmas tree.

    The tree is so large, it completely obstructs the view of the side and rear windows. It's not clearly visible, but we're also guessing that it wasn't tied down very well.


    While the tree transport was outrageous to say the least, most people in the comments were upset that the police decided to call the tree a "holiday tree" instead of a Christmas tree.

  • The best Maxine Waters moments of 2017

    The best Maxine Waters moments of 2017


    2017 was the year Congresswoman Maxine Waters was elected president of All in With Chris Hayes.

    From the moment she declared that the director of the FBI had "no legitimacy" and then death dropped in front of a gaggle of shellshocked reporters, 79-year-old Auntie Maxine has had our blood loyalty. Every floor she walked on in 2017, whether it was in the Capitol or at the MTV Movie Awards, became her stage and ultimately, a property in her empire.

    More so than any other "deplorable" president with a Ziploc bag of fleas for a brain, Maxine Waters was the de facto leader of the free world/MSNBC in 2017.

    SEE ALSO: Interview: Maxine Waters thinks millennials can change politics for everyone (yes, everyone)

    Congresswoman Waters gave us so many viral gifts in 2017. Here are just a few of them.

    1. The time she accused James Comey of having no credibility and then just walked on out

    2. When she revealed that she was "never going to go" to Trump's Inauguration because, "I don't honor him, I don't respect him and I don't want to be involved with him."

    3. The time she was asked what she would do once she was done impeaching Trump, and she replied: "Impeach Pence."

    4. When she delivered MTV's first ever "Best Fight Against the System" award, did a plié, and got a standing ovation.

    5. When she tweeted that it was time for our "racist throwback" Attorney General to go back "to the plantation"

    6. Her "Bye, Felicia" moment

    7. When she busted out this stunner of jean jacket, rose pants ensemble at the Tax March

    Credit: tom williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

    8. When she started railing against Trump and told a room full of supporters, "We've got to stop his ass"

    9. The moment she just said it:


    10. And the tweet that did it too:

    11. That day Bill O'Reilly tried to humiliate Auntie Maxine and just ... lol, sorry bro. She can't be intimidated.

    12. When she "reclaimed her time" from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

    13. So the internet did too

    14. And the Women's March made "Reclaiming my time" the theme of a whole convention

    Credit: rachel woolf/The Washington Post/Getty Images

    15. When Congresswoman Maxine Waters finally passed on her torch to the generation that needs it the most.

Random articles


  • 14 of the biggest royal family moments from 2018

    14 of the biggest royal family moments from 2018


    What a year it's been for the royal family!

    While 2018 has been a mean old year for us mere mortals, those whose blood runs blue have had a festive year with not one but two weddings and some pretty major announcements.

    Now that the year is coming to an end, it's time to look back at the most memorable royal family moments from 2018.

    1. *The* wedding

    Two different royals may have tied the knot in 2018, but the first wedding of the year was also the most spectacular.

    The whole world (or at least 29 million people, per Nielsen(opens in a new tab) figures) watched Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle tie the knot in St George’s Chapel on May 19th. Not only was the ceremony quite the showstopper, the guest list was out. of. this. world. In attendance was the Queen of England *AND* the Queen of the Universe, Oprah.

    Come on, just look at the two of them.

    Awwwww Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    The entire ceremony was just one moving scene after another.

    Like when Prince Charles walked Meghan Markle down the aisle, as her own father could not attend.

    US actress Meghan Markle (L), accompanied by Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) walks down the aisle toward her husband-to-be Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 during their wedding ceremony. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Serena Williams was also there. NBD.

    2. The baby announcement

    Five mere months after their wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) rocked our world once more.

    On Oct. 15 Kensington Palace made the announcement that the Duchess is expecting a baby in the spring of next year.

    3. Prince Charles turned 70 and revealed his favourite dish

    On November 14th Prince Charles celebrated his 70th birthday and we all learned a new word; "groussaka". In a birthday interview(opens in a new tab) with Country Life, His Royal Highness revealed that he prefers the classic Greek dish moussaka with grouse, not lamb, giving us the groussaka. Thanks for sharing, your highness.

    Clarence House also released some lovely family photos in celebration of the Prince's big day.

    4. Prince Louis was born

    Prince William and Kate Middleton (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) welcomed their third child, Louis Arthur Charles in April.

    The name Louis was perceived to be a nod to Lord Louis Mountbatten, a well-loved relative of the royal family who was killed in an IRA attack in 1979.(opens in a new tab) 

    A lot of people people thought Kate Middleton paid tribute to Princess Diana when she introduced Louis to the world. The Duchess wore a red dress with a white collar, much like the red and white outfit worn by Diana when she left the hospital after giving birth to her second son, Harry.

    Princess Diana and Prince Harry Credit: Getty Images

    5. Meghan Markle released a cookbook

    One of Meghan Markle's first solo projects as a Duchess was the charity cookbook Together: Our Community Cookbook. The Duchess came up with the idea of the cookbook after a visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen, a community kitchen that helped feed survivors in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017.

    The proceeds from the cookbook, the foreword of which is penned by the Duchess herself, all go to the Hubb Community Kitchen, to help keep it open.

    6. Princess Eugenie got married

    Prince Harry was not the only young royal who got married this year.

    His cousin, Princess Eugenie, tied the knot with wine merchant Jack Brooksbank in October. Their wedding, also in St. George's Chapel, was quite the star-studded affair with Kate Moss, Liv Tyler, Demi Moore, and Naomi Campbell in attendance, to name a few.

    Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank Credit: WireImage

    When Cara Delevingne showed up to the ceremony in a suit and top hat, she pretty much stole the show.

    7. Princess Charlotte started school

    Three-year-old Princess Charlotte started school and we're mostly including this because of how unbelievably darling she is in this photo.

    View this post on Instagram


    (opens in a new tab)

    8. Meghan Markle bonded with the Queen

    Everyone knows that hanging out one-on-one with your in-laws can be a tad strenuous, but Meghan Markle sure makes it look easy.

    The Duchess had her first solo outing with Queen Elizabeth in June, when the two attended the opening of the Mersey Gateway bridge in Cheshire.

    Even though looking at a bridge all day might not sound all that interesting to a lot of people, these two managed to make it look like a hoot.

    Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth II Credit: Getty Images

    9. The first same-sex wedding in the Royal Family's history

    Lord Ivar Mountbatten, the Queen's third cousin, made history when he married his partner, James Coyle, in September. Mountbatten is the first member of the royal family to be openly gay and marry a same-sex partner.

    The wedding was held privately, but Mountbatten shared a photo of the two on Instagram.

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab)

    10. The Queen met President Trump

    Brits weren't too fussed when U.S. President Donald Trump visited the UK in July. Neither was the Queen when the president reportedly showed up 15 minutes late to their meeting.

    Donald Trump denied being late, and actually claimed(opens in a new tab) that the pair got along brilliantly.

    WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 13: U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018 in Windsor, England. Her Majesty welcomed the President and Mrs Trump at the dais in the Quadrangle of the Castle. A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, gave a Royal Salute and the US National Anthem was played. The Queen and the President inspected the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past. The President and First Lady then joined Her Majesty for tea at the Castle. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

    11. Harry and Meghan's first royal tour

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first royal tour overseas was a trip to Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand (in fact, they made their aforementioned pregnancy announcement right as they landed in Sydney.)

    During their trip they experienced a lot of local culture and also served up so. much. cuteness.


    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 16: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet a koala during a visit to Taronga Zoo on October 16, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage) Credit: WireImage
    DUBBO, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 17: (NO UK SALES FOR 28 DAYS) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Victoria Park on October 17, 2018 in Dubbo, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage) Credit: WireImage
    NUKU'ALOFA, TONGA - OCTOBER 26: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit an exhibition of Tongan handicrafts, mats and tapa cloths at the Fa'onelua Convention Centre on October 26, 2018 in Nuku'alofa, Tonga. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

    12. Prince William spoke his mind about social media

    Let's face it; it's the tech bros' world and we're all just living in it. Well, Prince William will not accept that.

    The Duke of Cambridge spoke candidly at an event at the BBC about how Big Tech and social media companies have failed to live up to the responsibilities that come with their immense power.

    "Their self-image is so grounded in their positive power for good that they seem unable to engage in constructive discussion about the social problems they are creating," the Prince said as he urged social media companies to "reject the false choice of profits over values."

    13. Kate Middleton received the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

    One of Kate Middleton's most-talked about looks this year was at a Buckingham Palace state dinner, where the Duchess of Cambridge wore a tiara formerly worn by Princess Diana along with what is probably the most beautiful 19th century pearl and diamond necklace you'll ever see.

    But, noticeably, the Duchess also wore a brand new order; the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II, given to members of the Royal Family for their service (that's the yellow ribbon with the Queen's face, in case there was any doubt.)

    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on October 23, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands accompanied by Queen Maxima are staying at Buckingham Palace during their two day stay in the UK. The last State Visit from the Netherlands was by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in 1982. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images

    14. Prince Harry and Megan Markle released a never-before-seen photo from their wedding

    As the year drew to an end, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex got one more moment in the spotlight as they released an unseen photo from their wedding reception.

    The photo, which is featured on the couple's official 2018 Christmas card, is a black and white shot of the couple watching fireworks while holding hands.

    What's more romantic than that?

    View this post on Instagram
    (opens in a new tab)

    Thanks for all the memories, your royal highnesses. May 2019 be as full of glitz, glamour and royal grandeur.

  • The Simpsons completely missed the mark in addressing Apu criticism


    The Simpsons completely missed the mark in addressing Apu criticism

    By now, dear reader, you may have surmised that some of us are Mad Online™ about how The Simpsons addressed its largest and longest-running controversy: The character of Apu. Sunday's episode had Lisa and Marge vaguely alluding to the Apu controversy only to shrug it off and say they might never address it – and that's just sad.

    SEE ALSO: People feel let down by 'The Simpsons' response to Apu stereotyping

    A quick brief on Apu: Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart owner is an Indian immigrant voiced by a white man (Hank Azaria, who's listening to the noise(opens in a new tab)) and mostly written by white writers. In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu made a documentary about and called The Problem With Apu which featured prominent South Asians from Hasan Minhaj to former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy describing how the character informed people's preconceptions of them as they grew up.

    And that's what's so hugely wrong with The Simpsons responding to the growing criticism in this way. Yes, comedy can be offensive. Yes, The Simpsons is full of stereotypes. But for so many years – too many years – Apu was one of the only South Asian characters on TV. (And whatever other characters existed, none stuck like Apu did.) There are positive fathers and husbands to offset the representation of Homer, and cops who work hard unlike Chief Wiggum. Apu didn't have a counterexample.

    Even if the writers did their research and had the best intentions (although evidence suggests that they really just didn't care), Apu was always going to bear the burden of representing approximately one billion people. He arrived at a time when visibility alone could feel like a victory for South Asians, when many of us were actually excited to see ourselves on The Simpsons or in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom without considering that maybe we deserved a more accurate or nuanced portrayal.

    In 2018, what the Simpsons creative team must face is the legacy of their creation; the generation of South Asian artists and children of immigrants who answered for Apu every single day. Dismissing the concerns of people who used to feel invisible is exactly the wrong thing to do (and not a good look(opens in a new tab)).

    What stings even more is that The Simpsons has actually done good work with Apu in the past, such as an episode that turns Homer and the town around about illegal immigration or the 2016 episode which introduced his American-born nephew. The current analysis could have led to a full Apu spotlight episode – a chance for the show to give him more depth and course correct for the future, not to mention bring in South Asian writers and actors for authenticity.

    More than anything, it looks like The Simpsons' writers did this to cause a stir, which is exactly what they've accomplished, and that's disheartening. They're saying "We hear you" and "We're annoyed with what we hear," and then going against their critics just to be edgy and part of the conversation.

    We're lucky now to be in a time where Apu is less damaging, because we have more complex and varied South Asian characters on TV. Maybe, as Marge suggested in the episode, "Some things will be dealt with a later date." But it's more than likely that, as Lisa counters, they won't, and that this is the show's official response which diminishes a bigger issue.

    I hope at the very least that an entire generation of children doesn't have to answer again for the show digging its heels into this caricature. The political correctness mocked in this episode is what finally got us more and better South Asian representation on TV – from New Girl to Silicon Valley and with so much in between – while The Simpsons remains static. I'll be watching those shows instead.

  • Gwyneth Paltrows Goop to pay $145,000 in settlement over vaginal egg claims


    Gwyneth Paltrows Goop to pay $145,000 in settlement over vaginal egg claims

    Purveyor of the wacky and questionable, Goop, has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle allegations it made unscientific claims on three of its products.

    The consumer protection lawsuit targeted the $66 Jade Egg and the $55 Rose Quartz Egg, which are still available for sale.

    SEE ALSO: Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop is a hazard to your mental health

    According to Goop's claims, inserting these egg-shaped stones into one's vagina for a period of time would help balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control.

    Also named in the suit was the $22 Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, essential oils purported to help depression when taken orally or added to bathwater.

    The lawsuit against Goop was brought upon by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and nine other state prosecutors, who stated its medical claims were "not supported by competent and reliable science."

    "The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising," Rosen said in a statement. "We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science...or any science."

    As well as civil penalties, Goop agreed to refunds to consumers who purchased those products between Jan. 12, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2017.

    In a statement to Bloomberg(opens in a new tab), Goop said it didn't agree with the view of prosecutors, but wanted to settle the case quickly.

    "Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the Jade Egg," Erica Moore, the company’s chief financial officer, said in a statement to the news outlet.

    "The law, though, sometimes views statement like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements."

    In July, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow said it would be hiring a fact-checker, in what would be a "necessary growing pain" for the company.

  • Scarlett Johansson brilliantly called out James Franco during her Womens March speech

    Scarlett Johansson brilliantly called out James Franco during her Womens March speech


    As one of the many women who began Time's Up, the initiative advocating for women in all industries financially and otherwise, Scarlett Johansson was invited to speak at Los Angeles' Women's March—and she used her moment on stage to call out a number of issues, and one person in particular.

    “How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?" Johansson asked before delivering the punchline to a not-so subtle dig.

    SEE ALSO: Scarlett Johansson makes perfect return as Ivanka Trump on 'SNL'

    “I want my pin back, by the way," she declared.

    People began speculating who she was specifically talking about, and the Los Angeles Times confirmed(opens in a new tab) with Johansson's representatives that yes, she was referring to James Franco.

    Franco faced major backlash following a Golden Globes appearance in which he wore a pin from Time's Up, later prompting five women to speak out about inappropriate behavior they had witnessed from the seasoned actor over the years. Additionally, he's made headlines in the past for reaching out to a teenage girl on Instagram.

    Johansson has been a vocal supporter for a variety of issues including Puerto Rico relief, Planned Parenthood, the Time's Up movement, and the Women's march, but she has also been under fire over the years for her work with Woody Allen on multiple times(opens in a new tab) and her role in the whitewashing of films.


    During her speech, she described a "rage" that has bubbled up inside of her over the years and finding the courage to address how she's created narratives for herself in the past to compromise her morals for approval.

    "For so many centuries, women have been taught to be polite, to please and to pander," she said. "I've come to realize that not just my 19 year-old self but my schoolyard self, my married self, my professional self have all been at times a victim of this very condition," Johansson continued. “I recently introduced a new phrase in my life that I would like to share with you: No more pandering. No more feeling guilty about hurting someone’s feelings when something doesn’t feel right for me."

    You can watch Johannson's full speech above.

  • What Yanny vs. Laurel taught us: We yearn to be divided


    What Yanny vs. Laurel taught us: We yearn to be divided

    Remember the optical illusion known simply as the dress? Sure you do. Black and blue or white and gold? This was the question that divided the internet back in the more innocent time of February 2015. The fault lines ran through marriages and friendships: We simply could not believe that someone so close to us could see things so differently when the truth, as we saw it, seemed so obvious.

    Then came the candidacy and presidency of one Donald J. Trump, and we discovered what divided perceptions really looked like online. And now, the Trump effect seems to have settled a bit. At this point, you've probably blocked and unfriended everyone whose mind could not be changed, or you've become numb to the constant lies and corruption, or maybe we're just in the calm before the Mueller and midterm storms.

    Clearly, we needed a new thing that could tear us apart in a safer, more innocent way. Something that would break through the social media filter bubbles we've built around ourselves to avoid hearing aggravating opinions. And into that cultural vacuum stepped Yanny vs. Laurel.

    SEE ALSO: The original Yanny vs. Laurel audio will finally settle this once and for all

    This time it was an audio illusion rather than an optical one. In a one-second clip, some heard the name Yanny, some heard Laurel. The clip spread in just as viral a manner as the dress. In a matter of hours it hopped the barrier from Twitter and Facebook sensation to old-school media curiosity. Local news loved it. The New York Times produced a slider tool(opens in a new tab) that changed the frequency from high to low, helping you hear one sound or the other.

    As with the dress, our obsession with this test appeared to be derived from its unpredictability. In 2018, cultural bubbles have become almost boringly impenetrable. Tell me how someone voted at the last presidential election, and I've got a pretty good chance at guessing their positions on gun control or immigration — and at assessing whether real debate is even possible.

    But with Yanny v. Laurel, there's no telling what a given ear will hear. Anecdotal evidence suggested offices were about equally divided. The controversy was tailor-made for watercooler chatter. "Team Yanny" and "Team Laurel" quickly emerged (as did the smaller subset of us that could hear both and wondered what all the fuss was about). "Our marriage is a lie!" joked a friend on Facebook of her spouse hearing things differently.

    With Yanny v. Laurel, there's no telling what a given ear will hear.

    The subtext of all this: how nice it is to find a vast gulf of difference between friends, especially a difference that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

    This need seems to be something new in the world. It isn't quite the same impetus that divides us as sports fans; the teams we choose have more to do with our birthplace and family background than anything else. Debates between fandoms — Star Trek and Star Wars, say — are an endless set of questions with no objective answers. Fans who loved or hated The Last Jedi are almost as immovable as the pro- and anti-Trumpers.

    SEE ALSO: 'Last Jedi' gets thumbs up from 89% of viewers, says new poll

    So a big part of what made the divisions over the dress and the audio clip so satisfying is that both controversies had definitive answers that were discovered within 24 hours. Widespread curiosity over such a small thing mandated that we would find the truth sooner rather than later. The dress was black and blue. The audio clip turned out to be from a recording for, and the word was "laurel." Sorry about that, Team Yanny.

    In the era of fake news, when our country can't agree on a single political reality even when presented with evidence, how nice it is to have that level of certainty! Sports fans never have this sense of closure: Win the World Series or the Super Bowl and you're still open to the charge that the victory was a fluke. You still have to defend it endlessly.

    Again, the fact that the stakes are so low is helpful. We'll remember the controversy, we'll devour the science on why we hear differently, but there isn't going to be an online industry of Yanny truthers. Info Wars (probably) isn't going to bother insisting that the Deep State is trying to make us hear Laurel. The game is definitively over, but thanks for playing!

    There isn't going to be an online industry of Yanny truthers.

    What does it say about us that we're so eager for this kind of division? One explanation is the rule of 150, also known as Dunbar's Number(opens in a new tab). Turns out our brains have a hard time handling more than this number of friendships, because that's the rough size of the tribal groups we evolved in. We see the 150 limit cropping up in military units, small businesses, Christmas card lists, and even the number of Facebook friends we actually interact with.

    But the modern world, driven by social media, bombards us with more friends than we can handle, some of whom we never see. We may live in cultural bubbles, but the bubbles are generally huge.

    How can our brains make sense of this? How can they impose the 150 limit again? By latching onto any potential differences that mark people out as members of our tribe. This explains the enduring popularity of online quizzes and the Harry Potter house-sorting: We're desperate to know where our fellow Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws are at.

    The dress and Yanny vs. Laurel are both low-grade versions of this urge. Few people are going to fall out over hearing an audio clip differently, but it scratches the sorting itch in a mostly harmless way. Now that it's over, we shuffle back to our bubbles — ready to fight the next culture war, hoping we soon get to fight over a sensual illusion instead.

  • The viral parchment paper liner hack for air fryers is a waste of time

    The viral parchment paper liner hack for air fryers is a waste of time


    I'm all for making cooking less of a hassle. Cooking is perhaps my favorite hobby and, as such, I want it to be as accessible and approachable as possible.

    Kitchen hacks often promise ease, but I've found they often don't deliver. Single-use tools, for instance, have found a million ways to reinvent(Opens in a new tab) the knife(Opens in a new tab). A recent air fryer hack on TikTok — where you create a liner out of parchment paper to reduce mess — proved to be more of the same.

    SEE ALSO: The best air fryers for making crispy food faster than the oven

    In case you haven't seen it, there have been a number of different versions of this hack. The basic idea is to cover the bottom of your air fryer basket to make it easier to clean. I decided to base my test on this version(Opens in a new tab) from @ketoaccountable(Opens in a new tab) for a couple of reasons. One: It was super popular, racking up nearly 2.5 million views. Two: It involved punching holes in the parchment paper to allow for air flow, which I feel is necessary because rapidly circulated, hot air that hits the food at all angles is the entire point of an air fryer. If you cover the whole basket with parchment paper, you're defeating the purpose.

    The process from @ketoaccountable was relatively straightforward. Cut a sheet of parchment to roughly the size of your air fryer basket, fold the paper, then punch holes. Lay it down inside the air fryer basket and, presto, you have a liner. Here's what their process looked like.

    Easy enough. Credit: Screenshots: TikTok / @ketoaccountable

    I set out to test it myself but here's the TL;DR: for most people, doing the hack isn't worth the time it takes to actually do the hack.

    I needed to test something really messy because, well, a liner should help with the messiest meals. I settled on a chicken thigh, marinated in a sticky soy and honey mixture. I also tossed in some broccoli, because veggies are amazing in the air fryer and because broccoli florets make a huge mess. Bits of broccoli get everywhere when you cook it, so a liner should, in theory, help.

    I followed the steps of creating the liner. I cut a sheet until it was roughly the size of my six-quart basket. I folded it and punched holes, albeit with a less-perfect pattern than in @ketoaccountable's TikTok. Side note: Who has a hole puncher lying around anymore? Somehow I dug one up out of Mashable's supply closet. Anyway, I laid down the liner before adding food.

    The liner, all set to go. Credit: Mashable

    From there, I fired up the air fryer until the internal temp of the chicken registered 165 degrees and the broccoli was nice and charred. I removed the food carefully and, looking at the liner, it might've helped a bit. It definitely soaked up a portion of the rendered chicken fat, as well as the cooked-off marinade. But still, lots of fat and florets made their way below the parchment and grate. There was definitely a cooked-on mess that would take a little effort to remove. The parchment liner did not stop all the mess, and I still had to wash the basket and grate.

    The parchment paper did catch some of the mess. Credit: Mashable
    Despite the parchment, my air fryer grate had a fair amount of cooked-on marinade and other mess. Credit: Mashable

    That gets to my point. For many people, this liner hack is pointless. If your air fryer looks like mine — a nonstick basket with a nonstick grate — then it's super easy to clean. Warm water, a sponge, and a few minutes and you're done. That's the magic of nonstick material. Making a parchment liner takes only a few minutes at most, but that's time wasted for many air fryers. You're adding a step that doesn't cut out the same amount of time during the wash later. It's wasting both materials and time.

    Now a big caveat: If your air fryer has a mesh basket, then I might consider this liner hack. Mesh baskets have tiny openings that truly suck to clean. Small bits of food or sauce can get lodged in those tiny spaces, making it hard to get with a sponge. For that sort of air fryer — typically found on older models — I might consider using this hack. As for me, I doubt I'll ever be reaching for a hole puncher again.

  • The self-care revolution is finally coming to men

    The self-care revolution is finally coming to men


    It's tough to practice real self-care when the internet's obsessed with #self-care. Let Mashable help with our new series Me, My Self-Care & I.

    Genuine question: Why don't we invite more men to become their #bestselves?

    At the risk of sounding like a men's rights activist Missing The Point Entirely, self-care really is one of the rare spaces where women dominate the culture, while men face countless gender-based stigmas and barriers to entry. (Don't celebrate the win too much, though, ladies because we've still got the Pink Tax(Opens in a new tab) in the self-care industry to disadvantage us!)

    "A lot of men when they think of self-care quite frankly imagine a woman in a bubble bath with a glass of champagne — and that's just not manly," said Gregory Brown(Opens in a new tab), founder and director of the Green Psychiatry Center(Opens in a new tab) and an advocate for making wellness more accessible to men. "They think that if they're taking time for self-care, they're losing productivity, time from work. And that goes against what society tells us is masculine."

    We're still far away from destigmatizing the types of self-care for men that matter most, like more introspective mindfulness practices, work-life balance, or, for some, therapy. But the past couple of years have shown the start of a huge cultural shift around what's considered "acceptable" for men in terms of more superficial forms of self-care.

    While this part of the revolution revolves pretty exclusively around personal care products, this shift does start conversations about the ways preconceived notions of masculinity hinder more wellness-focused self-care. And breaking down those barriers, even if they seem trivial in the larger scope of things, has the power to help men break free of societal limitations.

    The market's there

    For years now, brands have seen the market value in changing how they approach personal grooming and well-being for men. Axe, in the past criticized for contributing to toxic masculine advertising, launched the “Is It Ok For Guys”(Opens in a new tab) campaign in 2017, questioning negative stigmas with commercials that frame taking time for bubble baths as "bathsculinity." Meanwhile, Dove's been pushing a personal care line for men(Opens in a new tab) since 2010 with advertising expanding to focus on involved father figures(Opens in a new tab). Allied Market Research projects(Opens in a new tab) that the global market for men's personal care will reach $166 billion by 2022.

    It's not just brands presenting a new perspective for men. Terry Crews — previously the spokesman for traditional masculine ideals through Axe, has opened up about his emotional trauma as a victim of sexual assault. Kid Cudi speaks openly about wrestling with depression and drug addiction(Opens in a new tab). On the lighter side, Frank Ocean(Opens in a new tab) and Pharrell(Opens in a new tab) are out here talking skincare regimens in high profile interviews.

    These gateways allow men to question and have conversations about what it means to be a "real" man in modern times, and taking care of themselves is often at the heart of what's being reconsidered.

    One of the biggest barriers for men in the self-care industry is the lack of entry points.

    Women have all sorts of avenues to learn and hear about products that work for them. They talk to friends, watch beauty bloggers, and read magazines. Less so for men.

    Brian Jeong, co-founder of Hawthorne, one of the most innovative startups making the personal grooming side of self-care easier for men, considers Hawthorne a doorway for those left out of self-care culture.

    Aside from providing high quality products for skin and bath care, Hawthorne serves as a platform that lets men discover what self-care means to them as individuals, outside any new or old definition of masculinity. Their mostly male clientele starts with a quiz on their website that helps them understand their specific skin type or hair needs, for example.

    But Jeong's ultimate vision is destigmatizing beauty products for men. Hawthorne found that much like women, men spend a lot of time researching personal care and beauty products before they buy. They just do so solely online because there's no other spaces or social structures designed for their participation in self-care culture.

    The anonymity of the internet allows men to explore this new world on their own time and in private, which may eventually lead to more IRL exchanges about personal care.


    "Men don't have those conversations. They're not like, bro, you smell great. What skincare product do you use?" said Jeong.

    "It just makes you wonder, why do we have to do this in the shadows?"

    Despite what some might presume, this new wave of self-care isn't only for woke coastal elites. Only 20 percent of Hawthorne's customers are from New York or California, with the vast majority coming from the Midwest and the South.

    As Jeong pointed out, the internet played a big role in allowing this revolution in easily accessible and socially acceptable self-grooming, which for some can be an exercise in self-care.

    Harry's and Dollar Shave Club first got men thinking about and investing monthly in quality self-grooming that can come to them. That paved the way for companies like Hims to rise, too, which emphasizes the convenience, education, and anonymity of the internet to provide men with wellness solutions for everything from hair loss to erectile dysfunction.

    A 2018 survey from the American Med Spa Association(Opens in a new tab) found men outspent women by 13 percent in the industry, seeking beautification treatments like injectables sometimes labeled "brotox." It predicted that in the next decade, millennial men would increase from 10 percent of the medical spa marketplace to 30 percent.

    Funnily enough, in talking to customers, Jeong found that one major gateway men have into the world of personal care products is significant others of the opposite gender. They'd use their lotion or cleansers or even makeup once, and it'd be enough to convince them.

    Men deserve to indulge, too. Credit: hawthorne

    "And it just makes you wonder, why do we have to do this in the shadows?"

    The Man Box

    Gender equality advocacy group Promundo did an extensive study in partnership with Axe on what they termed "The Man Box(Opens in a new tab)," confirming the prevalence of harmful, restrictive ideas about masculinity that negatively impact men's habits and society at large in the U.S., UK, and Mexico.

    The study showed the self-care associated with physical attractiveness (like personal grooming or going to the gym) was practiced more by men who identified as being in the Man Box than those outside of it. Promundo Business Development Vice President Tolu Lawrence explained these activities allow men to meet standards of beauty that are still just ways of performing traditional masculinity and meeting societal expectations of manliness.

    However, many core tenets of the Man Box, like self-efficiency and acting tough, prevent men from prioritizing self-care practices associated with emotional and mental well-being.

    "In all three countries, men inside the Man Box showed a higher incidence of mental health problems, depression, suicidal ideation," said Lawrence.

    "The piece of the puzzle we see happening less, and that's the next phase of this work, is wellness that's beyond skin deep, beyond the surface level, and more towards young men caring for their emotional health and well-being," she said.

    Men need this form of self-care desperately, too. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found(Opens in a new tab) men 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women in the U.S. (though the pattern is global, too(Opens in a new tab)). What we might glean from this devastating gender disparity is a message supported by the Man Box study: Men don't feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.

    SEE ALSO: College can be hard on your mental health. Here are 7 ways to cope.


    "Men tend to suffer in silence," said Brown of the Green Psychiatry Center. In his personal experience, he's seen how women usually have stronger support systems of friends and are more willing to talk about their struggles with each other. Even the men that come into his office often only do so after reaching the end of their rope. Often, they're practically being dragged in by a woman in their life.

    As a psychiatrist who believes in the power of holistic self-care practices like yoga and meditation to help with depression, he's hopeful that male attitudes toward these activities are improving. A Yoga Alliance study(Opens in a new tab) claims the number of men practicing yoga jumped from 4 million in 2012 to 10 million in 2016.

    "Men are catching on that taking the time to pay attention to their mind as well as their body doesn't just make them feel better. They're also more productive, able to get more stuff done, have better relationships," he said. "They're realizing that they need to learn to take care of themselves if they're going to be a good husband, a good father, a good boss, a good employee."

    Still, just like self-care products, one of the biggest barriers to getting men to consider this kind of wellness is the lack of social structures encouraging emotional vulnerability with one another.

    "They need to learn to take care of themselves if they're going to be a good husband, a good father, a good boss, a good employee."

    "Unfortunately, while men do have those talks, it's uncomfortable. And when they do open up, it tends to happen in a bar or over alcohol. So the question is how do we get men to a point where they're able to have those healthy conversations together outside of the clinic, in more everyday settings?"

    Organizations like Evry Man(Opens in a new tab) are working on that, through accessible communal activities and retreats designed to connect men to these parts of themselves society tells them to close off. Yoga for Men: Forging Resilience(Opens in a new tab) also focuses on introducing yoga to men, particularly men of color.

    "That first conversation is usually always the hardest," said Brown. "But I think once people are able to see how that conversation goes, identify someone they trust, then usually the second and third conversations are a lot easier."

    SEE ALSO: 10 self-care lessons I learned from video games (don’t look at me like that)

    Promundo also puts a heavy emphasis on the need for safe environments for men to open up emotionally.

    "What we're advising is, in order to break out of these gender stereotypes, we need to create spaces for guys to operate outside of the Man Box," said Lawrence. Whether it's in mass media, advertising, entertainment, or just as folks recognizing when the men in their lives are suffering, "the challenge and mission is helping young men understand that needing help or sharing emotions is not a weakness."

    Normalizing self-care

    Normalizing self-care in its many forms for men doesn't just help a demographic that clearly needs it — though that in itself is reason enough. When we help men better themselves, we're also helping the dominant culture realize the importance of embedding self-care into all our social structures.

    "Men currently still drive a lot of the decision-making, hold a lot of position of power," said Lawrence. "The more men are able to prioritize self-care, the more we all see the positive outcomes, with healthier relationships, and potentially more welcoming diversified workspaces. Just more people able to share spaces with one another safely."

    Because when men can be their best selves — when we begin to dismantle the barriers to letting people just be people instead of keeping them in a box — then we're all better for it.

    If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line(Opens in a new tab) at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(Opens in a new tab) at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list(Opens in a new tab) is a good place to start.

  • Dodge gets slammed for using a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in their Super Bowl ad

    Dodge gets slammed for using a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in their Super Bowl ad


    Dodge made a misstep on Sunday when it ran a Super Bowl LII ad that used the words of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. trucks.

    The car company drew criticism online for pulling from King's "Drum Major Instinct" speech(opens in a new tab) given 50 years ago on February 4, 1968. As Adweek(opens in a new tab) noted, even the official Twitter account for the The King Center commented on the advertisement.

    Within minutes of its airing, people on Twitter were calling out the advertisement for its use of King's words to turn profit – a tone deaf misuse of his message.


    [H/T: Adweek(opens in a new tab)]

  • How sextech is (and isn’t) confronting pelvic pain taboos

    How sextech is (and isn’t) confronting pelvic pain taboos

    Sealed Lips is Mashable’s series on pelvic pain, an experience rarely discussed but shockingly common.


    There's been a lot of progress in calling out the many taboos that once made simply having a vagina feel unmentionable in "polite" society. From menstruation and menopause to the orgasm gap, open conversation about the common yet stigmatized issues vulva owners face is essential to dismantling the systems of oppression that alienate us from our own bodies.

    Yet to this day one of the most integral parts of the female anatomy remains hidden in the shadows, rarely discussed(Opens in a new tab) either casually among friends or with medical professionals, despite affecting roughly one in four women in America(Opens in a new tab).

    Pelvic floor dysfunction, ranging from painful sex to bladder control, is still so overlooked that not even gynecologists are properly trained in the fundamentals(Opens in a new tab) of treating their widespread impacts. Yet through efforts to empower women with tools that circumvent such institutional and social taboos(Opens in a new tab), sextech (sometimes called "femtech" in these cases) is finally starting a dialogue.

    From the Lioness biofeedback vibrator that tracks pelvic contractions during arousal, to Fitbit-like smart Kegel exercisers like Elvie's Trainer(Opens in a new tab), to the Ohnut wearable ring(Opens in a new tab) for painful sex, to Pelvic Gym(Opens in a new tab), an online hub of pelvic exercise videos, women-led companies are breaking the silence on pelvic health. But confronting the systematic lack of education and pervasive myths, shame, and stigmas around pelvic floor issues women have faced alone for so long is no easy task.

    "Our collective knowledge on how to have a healthy pelvic floor is reduced to how to have a sexually appealing vagina."

    "People end up suffering in silence with pelvic pain. They don't seek out help. So the more these devices help normalize conversations around these taboo topics, the better," said Rachel Gelman, a physical therapy specialist who runs the Pelvic Wellness and Therapy clinic(Opens in a new tab) in San Francisco and is often a consultant for sextech companies like Ohnut and Lioness.

    Like most "disruptive" tech, though, the benefits of innovative pelvic-centric devices can be a double-edged sword, with some perpetuating the very issues they purport to improve. Namely, the scores of smart Kegel trainers now flooding the market trade in some of the most harmful misconceptions around vaginal "tightness" (or pelvic strength) and sexual pleasure.

    "Our collective knowledge on how to have a healthy pelvic floor is reduced to how to have a sexually appealing vagina," said Emily Sauer, CEO and founder of the Ohnut. "Since the beginning of Western medicine, and even before that, women's bodies have been sexualized and medically neglected. Now, even though a lot of sextech pioneers are making strides in closing the pleasure gap, women's bodies continue to be sexualized and medically neglected."

    We need to talk about (then stop talking about) Kegels

    "It's not necessarily sextech's failing. They're trying to help bridge this gap with technology and taking on a lot of big issues," said Gelman.

    While sextech might not be the source, though, it does reflect many of the cultural and medical obstacles getting in the way of accurate pelvic health.

    Trendy smart Bluetooth-enabled Kegel exercisers, which rose to mainstream prominence after the Elvie got the GOOP treatment(Opens in a new tab), sell themselves on a lot of the gross oversimplifications and even misinformation that paints Kegels as the best tool for everyone's pelvic health.

    "Everyone makes the Kegel out to be a one-size-fits-all cure for anything to do with the vagina and pelvis. But that's just not the case. There's so many other things at play," said Gelman.

    Or, as Sauer succinctly put it, "Kegel trainers are like if we reduced all of health and wellness to just doing push-ups." It's actually worse than that, even, since most people wouldn't get hurt from doing push-ups — unlike doing Kegels when you don't need them. Sauer believes, "There's a responsibility with Kegel trainers to educate consumers on why someone shouldn't use them, and what alternatives there are to repeat pelvic contractions."

    Elvie CEO and founder Tania Boler stated over email that, "We absolutely support the message that Kegels (and Kegel training) aren’t one-size-fits-all. We’re here to help if they are the right solution for you and make the process of training more engaging and fun... We understand that pelvic floor health comes with many unknowns, and that’s why we are aiming to help educate many, and eliminate taboos as it relates to this topic."

    Invented in 1948 specifically as an alternative to invasive post-pregnancy rehabilitation surgeries, today Kegel exercises (which contract and relax pelvic floor muscles) are pedaled for far more than their original intent. Somewhere down the line, they became synonymous with what Sauer calls "sexually advantageous vaginas." That's evident in all of GripTok(Opens in a new tab) (Kegel-centric TikToks about having a "gorilla-grip pussy") and even one of Cardi B's iconic WAP lyrics: "Hop on top, I want to ride, I do a Kegel while it's inside."

    Despite their mainstream fame, though, many pelvic floor specialists like Gelman rarely recommend Kegels to patients at all.

    That's because, for one, many patients suffering from the same pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms that Kegel devices claim to help with are actually suffering from the exact opposite problem, like hyperactive pelvic floors and overly tense muscles. Those patients require relaxation and release exercises, while Kegel trainers' strength-training squeezes would likely make matters worse.

    "These devices might be helpful for a very specific patient population," said Gelman. "And obviously, having devices out there can be beneficial for people who maybe don't have access to a specialist or a physical therapist who can help."

    Indeed, a 2020 randomized trial(Opens in a new tab) with 54 participants published in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery found that the biofeedback device PeriCoach(Opens in a new tab) (which avoids the word "Kegels" in its marketing) was just as good for treating stress urinary incontinence(Opens in a new tab) as seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. Yet importantly, unlike the average consumer buying an Elvie because GOOP said it was cool or would make their pussy strong, those participants were already diagnosed with this specific dysfunction that may benefit from it.

    Most medical experts agree patients should only use these Kegel trainers after or alongside consultations with a specialist.

    Even the Elvie app encourages seeking professional help, especially if it causes severe pain or discomfort. But you'll still be out the non-refundable $200(Opens in a new tab) for a product that basically sells itself as a substitute for physical therapists. As far as educating prospective buyers on why the Elvie Trainer might not help or even harm prior to purchase, Boler pointed to their customer care team's availability to answer questions, as well as the product's FAQ page(Opens in a new tab). While it does recommend people with pelvic floor conditions consult with a health professional(Opens in a new tab) first, there's no mention of the potential adverse effects of Kegel exercises, not even in the safety section(Opens in a new tab).

    Moreover, Elvie touts the fact that a quarter of women don't know how to do a Kegel properly(Opens in a new tab) as a selling point for why you need it to erase the "guesswork" with real-time biofeedback guidance. But it doesn't really do that. Both I and another Elvie reviewer criticize(Opens in a new tab) it for not providing much education on technique at all. Unlike many other Kegel exercisers, the Elvie does at least alert you when it detects improper technique. But the app only ever directs you to a guide with a few basic pointers, no matter how many times you do it wrong. As the pointers failed to help me adjust, the Elvie didn't adapt, making me feel like the failure instead of the device.

    When asked about this discrepancy, Boler directed me to the Elvie Trainer Support(Opens in a new tab) page, which repeats the same basic pointers(Opens in a new tab) that didn't help me. The troubleshooting section on incorrect technique(Opens in a new tab) repeats them again and adds a couple more suggestions similar to ones you'd get from a basic Google search. It's all a far cry from live biofeedback-driven guidance with no guesswork. "We understand that the feedback process used with Elvie Trainer may take some time to get used to or simply may not be enough for some people, but ultimately, the app always tells users to seek professional help," Boler wrote.

    Reviews for other popular exercisers like kGoal read(Opens in a new tab) as flat-out traumatizing, causing immense pain that the company's pelvic consultant blames on the user rather than the product, advising users just try to relax more. It's still recommended by places like New York(Opens in a new tab)'s The Strategist(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab) as one of the best on the market.

    "I would feel really defeated if a device that promised to help me with these issues didn't or just told me I was doing it wrong. I'd feel like, 'Oh, something really must be wrong with me,'" said Gelman.

    That's the thing with sextech that sets out to fix such an intimate, shame-fueled taboo like pelvic floor dysfunction — which is already an emotionally and physically fraught journey sorely lacking in research and medical infrastructure: When it doesn't work, it can do a lot more harm than good.

    "Gamification of vaginal health is objectification of vaginal health."

    Further, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center staff that looked into smart Kegel trainers(Opens in a new tab) cautioned that, "It's possible to squeeze the wrong muscles and still get positive feedback from the devices," and that, "If you're recovering from delivering a baby or have a pelvic floor issue, seeing a physical therapist could still be your best bet." Some of these devices also come with weights, a huge no-no according to Gelman because, "No one needs to be able to lift a bowling ball with their pelvic floor."

    Then there's the gamification problem. The Elvie and Perifit(Opens in a new tab) boast how their apps turn Kegel workouts into fun games where your vagina is essentially the controller. Of course, gamified biofeedback workout apps, popularized by Fitbit and the Apple Watch, aren't new.

    "But we have a fundamental education around fitness, and how it's advantageous to our health, the best practices," said Sauer. That's not the case for something as neglected as pelvic health. Furthermore, "Gamification of vaginal health is objectification of vaginal health. Because when we lack the education to actually self assess, to do preliminary diagnoses that lead us to a relevant practitioner, then we are objectifying the vagina for the sake of commerce."

    The Elvie team often defends gamification as a means for more engagement. Boler cited one study(Opens in a new tab), that, "showed a significantly better improvement in the biofeedback group, with patients even having more motivation for training after the testing ended."

    To be fair, Elvie does make some smart design choices to avoid the worst of gamifying vaginal strength. It uses a baseline of your own pelvic strength at time of use, instead of comparing you to others or even yourself on different days (since that actually fluctuates).

    It's hard to resist the pull of a lie you've heard all your life, which is that strongest/tightest vagina = best vagina.

    Still, it's hard to resist the pull of a lie you've heard all your life, which is that strongest/tightest vagina = best vagina. Even though I knew that was incorrect and Elvie tried to tell me too, it's still what I initially found most appealing about it. Other reviewers show similar tendencies, viewing smart Kegel exercisers as a competition for the strongest vagina(Opens in a new tab).

    When it comes to pelvic floor maintenance and preventative care widely applicable to the general population, Kegels are almost never the best answer. We all want to believe in the convenient magical quick fix smart trainers sell themselves as. A flashy gadget is much more attractive than the un-sexy, simple, more effective longterm alternatives Gelman recommends like low-impact cardio, hydration, and regular bowel movements. Also, she theorized, none of those alternatives easily translate to making sextech companies a ton of money.

    Sauer, who just launched the Pelvic Gym, does see a lot of potential for growth, though.

    "Kegel trainers brought pelvic health to market, to the land of products. Which is great. Thank you for that, Kegels. Now go home," she said. "Because Kegels do solve certain problems, but abandon 95 percent of the other ones. So 95 percent of people's pelvic needs aren't being filled. And with sextech right now, I think it's our responsibility to fill it."

    How sextech reveals the truth about pelvic pleasure

    The most insidious of the smart Kegel trainers' dubious claims is buried in what Elvie's official description euphemistically calls "enhanced intimacy." While Boler insists the Elvie doesn't claim that Kegels make penetrative sex more pleasurable for partners, blog posts on their site(Opens in a new tab) allege that, "your partner will notice too. Because doing your Kegels means you'll never lose your *coughs* grip during sexy time."

    To be clear: Kegels can't change the width or size of a vagina. As anyone with anatomical knowledge of vaginas will tell you, the resilient, elastic organ expands and shrinks regularly for a variety of reasons. While Kegels might strengthen certain pelvic muscles that contract during climax, it's unclear how noticeable that'd be for a majority of partners. Pelvic muscles are constantly in flux during hormone and menstrual cycles, but you don't hear anyone claiming this leads to "enhanced pleasure."

    The enhanced pleasure promise relies on the other popular notion that everyone with a vagina will experience better, more powerful orgasms if they do Kegels. Again, this can be true, if (big "if") the source of a patient's difficulty with orgasming is mainly a weak pelvic floor. But Gelman and Sauer also emphasized relaxation of the pelvis — often not taught in Kegel workouts — is just as important to a powerfully pleasurable climax.

    "The idea that a 'tighter' vagina means more pleasure assumes that orgasms are just a matter of muscle contractions," said Sauer.

    Gelman added, "So many other things matter just as much, like being in a good headspace, having good blood flow in the area, your nerves working well, hormones being in balance. So asking just one exercise to improve an orgasm just isn't fair."

    More fundamentally, there's little evidence that pelvic floor strength is the most useful metric for measuring something as subjective as how good an orgasm feels.

    In fact, Lioness vibrator creator and CEO, Liz Klinger, knows exactly how poor a metric the strength of contractions can be for measuring orgasmic pleasure. Using similar censors to the Elvie, it tracks the force of these squeezes during a user's climax, translating the data into a chart they can explore to learn more about their aroused bodies.

    But from the beginning, Klinger tried to de-emphasize the force value, knowing users might misconstrue it as a metric for "tightness"(Opens in a new tab) or an objective gauge for an orgasm's quality or power(Opens in a new tab). The upcoming Lioness Gen 2(Opens in a new tab) gets rid of the metric altogether, with the algorithm prioritizing frequency of contractions instead.

    "The rhythm of what the pelvic floor is doing matters much more for arousal and orgasm rather than just purely the force value," Klinger said.

    Throughout Lioness' development, Klinger was confronted with many of the internalized misconceptions the pelvic floor taboo perpetuates about pleasure.

    It came up early on when one user volunteered to have their data used as a classic example of a seemingly "strong" orgasm chart. These "strong" climaxes were actually more like two consecutive orgasms, though. According to the user, the first was a powerful high-force jolt, while the next a much longer and low-force wave. The second climax, where they could actually relax enough to fully enjoy it, was always preferred.

    For Klinger, the pelvic floor taboo is just another side of another taboo we've been fighting for ages.

    "It's rooted in our trouble talking about our pleasure. The medical community isn't well-educated on addressing that as part of our health," she said. Once, she was shocked to hear a practicing OB-GYN with a medical degree from a top-rated school exclaim she'd only just learned about how extensive the internal clitoral system is. "Most people already aren't comfortable asking about this. But then, even if you are, the professionals you'd typically go to for body issues like sexual or pelvic dysfunction are just very lost in these things."

    That's why Sauer — who made the Ohnut after personally experiencing the cost of this neglect — is an ideal leader to usher in sextech's next phase of addressing the pelvic floor taboo.

    "There were no products, no medical resources, that recognized that painful sex even existed. Nothing on the market fundamentally emotionally understood what I was going through," she said.

    "We need to not be afraid to name the actual problems that are happening."

    So during quarantine, when the patient-provider gap was more pronounced than ever, Ohnut was flooded with customers asking for pelvic exercises to do at home. She didn't feel qualified to give that advice, so instead asked a host of pelvic floor specialists (Gelman included) to help create the Pelvic Gym.

    Currently available in beta with a free 14-day trial that then costs $10 a month, it offers video programs for a variety of specific issues and overall pelvic health. There’s education on what these muscles do, how to find them, how to cope with deep versus outside pain, exercises ranging from meditative breathing to pelvic floor stretches. One of the first videos on the education tab is titled “Beyond Kegels,” with a technique called the piston approach, dispelling myths perpetuated by Kegel culture.

    "We need to not be afraid to name the actual problems that are happening. A lot of products and marketing sweep the uncomfortable issues under the rug with promises of pleasure and orgasms. And ultimately, it does everyone a disservice because we're not actually addressing the root cause," she said.

    Ultimately, sextech is not the final answer. We can praise Kegel trainers for the important leap in opening up a dialogue, but should never expect any for-profit tech company to tackle all the complexities of confronting the centuries of silence, stigma, and neglect surrounding this taboo.

    "But when sextech works, when that tight tea kettle of shame finally bursts, it's like people experience a paradigm shift in themselves," said Sauer. "And after, they're much more willing to have these vulnerable conversations that aren't being offered to us anywhere else."

    Read more about sextech:

    • Finally, an ideal clit sucker for those new to the wonders of suction sex toys

    • How a budget sex toy company fixed some of sextech's biggest problems

    • Intimate Rose products are great tools to help relieve pelvic pain

    • I tried Poco, MysteryVibe's new smart, bendable vibrator

  • Harini Logan won the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee in a lightning-round spell-off

    Harini Logan won the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee in a lightning-round spell-off

    Fourteen-year-old Harini Logan(Opens in a new tab) blitzed through a tiebreaker spell-off to win the The Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, successfully spelling 21 words within 90 seconds. It was the first spell-off in the Spelling Bee's history, after the element was first introduced last year(Opens in a new tab).


    This year the Spelling Bee started with 324 competitors, though by Thursday's final they were narrowed down to just two: Logan, from San Antonio, Texas, and 12-year-old Vikram Raju(Opens in a new tab) from Denver, Colorado. Faced with these two spelling experts, the judges appeared to pull out their most difficult words in order to stump them. As such, the two finalists traded incorrect answers for several rounds, before the decision was made to hold a spell-off in order to break the tie.

    Both Logan and Raju had 90 seconds to spell as many words as they could, given to them from the same list and in the same order. Raju took to the podium first while Logan was sequestered, correctly spelling 15 of the words he attempted.

    It was an impressive accomplishment, but unfortunately not quite enough to win Raju this year's Scripps Spelling Bee. Logan subsequently bested his store by six words, managing to spell 21 words correctly and securing the win.

    "It is my fourth time at the Bee, and this is just such a dream — and well, I am just overwhelmed," said Logan.

    The 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee was the first time the competition was held completely in-person since 2019, as it was cancelled in 2020 and held partially virtually in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SEE ALSO: Watch Zaila Avant-garde become the first African American to ever win the Scripps National Spelling Bee

    The spell-off was one of the Scripps National Spelling Bee's most exciting moments in recent memory, though it wasn't the only dramatic event this year — nor the only one involving Logan.

    Earlier in the finals Logan had been eliminated for providing an ostensibly incorrect answer in the multiple choice vocabulary section. Asked what "pullulation" means, she had defined it as the nesting of mating birds, when the answer the judges had been looking for was the swarming of bees.

    However, upon review the judges determined Logan's given answer can also be considered correct. She was soon reinstated to the competition, and ultimately went on to win the entire thing. She takes home several prizes, including the Scripps Cup, a commemorative medal, reference works from Merriam-Webster and Encyclopædia Britannica, and a total of $52,500 in cash(Opens in a new tab). Raju doesn't go home empty-handed either, also winning a medal and $25,000 in cash for second place.