Blog Posts by Lauren Tuck, Shine Staff

  • Amazing Slam Poem Criticizes J.K. Rowling for Lack of Diversity in Harry Potter

    Photo: Warner Bros.The Harry Potter series is unequivocally one of the most beloved collections of books ever published. With over 450 million copies in print, translated into 73 languages, and turned into eight movies that were distributed in nearly every country on Earth, the wonderful wizarding world is incredibly far-reaching. But the expansiveness of the franchise doesn’t necessarily translate into a diverse cast of characters in the fantasy fiction. Just ask college student Rachel Rostad.

    The junior at Macalester College in St. Louis called out author J.K. Rowling at an annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) with a poem Rostad wrote from the perspective of Cho Chang, the only Asian at Hogwarts. (While she won the “Best of the Rest” award in 2013 for her work, the video has resurfaced because the 2014 CUPSIs recently took place.) The piece, titled “‪To J.K. Rowling, from Cho Chang,” speaks to the lack of diversity in the Harry Potter plot and the stereotypes Rowling uses to portray

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  • 'I Touch Myself' Takes on New Meaning in Moving Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

    Photo: #itouchmyselfproject
    The hit song “I Touch Myself” spread a message of female sexual empowerment around the world back when it topped the charts in the early '90s, but today the tune is telling women to be in touch with their bodies for a ery different reason.  

    In a tribute to Chrissy Amphlett, frontwoman for the Australian rock band the Divinyls who passed away last year, 10 female recording artists remixed the band's original hit for a breast cancer awareness campaign.

    The music video is performed by artists Sarah McLeod, Connie Mitchell, and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John, to name a few. The original hit, which reached No. 1 on Australian charts and reached the top 5 in the U.S., is stripped down and sung mostly a capella. Commissioned by Cancer Council NSW, the organization is also hoping to spread the self-exam message worldwide with the social media initiative #itouchmyselfproject.

    Advocating for self-exams was a particularly important issue for the singer because of her personal

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  • We're Ready for Some Lego Girl Power

    Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImageFor a film about blocks, “The Lego Movie” was a surprising smash hit — so much so that Warner Bros. ordered a sequel before it was even released to the public. But one glaring issue was the lack of female characters. Shockingly, out of 35 voice actors in the film, including stars such as Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, and Will Arnett, only six were women. On Thursday, Chris McCay, the director of the film's sequal, adressed the issue and promised to make some changes for “The Lego Movie 2.”

    “For us we have a lot of producers that were female who had concerns and we were always constantly saying to ourselves: 'Are we just a bunch of white guys sitting here making this movie from our own myopic point of view?” McCay told the Daily Mail. He recognizes that “sexism is something that's part of our culture and something that we need to adjust” and filmmakers, in particular, have a responsibility to examine the prevalence of gender inequality.

    While the movie is certainly

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  • Transgender Model Geena Rocero 'Came Out' in Incredibly Inspiring TED Talk

    Photo: TEDTED talk stages have hosted some big names — Sheryl Sandberg, Elizabeth Gilbert, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, and Bill Clinton, to name a few famous ones — but model Geena Rocero is the first person to tackle transgender issues.

    Rocero, a beauty pageant queen and model, came out as transgender to a crowd of conference attendees last month in a moving speech. At birth, based on her anatomy, the box for gender was checked boy. But as early as the age of 5, Rocero, who was born in the Philippines, felt like a girl. As a teenager, Rocero started participating in her country's transgender pageants, where the “fluidity of gender” was more accepted than in other parts of the world.  Outside the sphere of beauty competitions, however, tolerance was often hard to find.

    After undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2003,  Rocero was traveling through Tokyo when she was stopped by immigration officials and questioned about her gender extensively. (She looked female, but her passport

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  • James Middleton Is a Marshmallow Entrepreneur (and Other Fascinating Facts About Kate's Brother)

    Photo: Boomf/InstagramSince Kate Middleton joined the royal family, the world has had a continuing fascination with the young woman who captured the future king’s heart. But the public’s adoration hasn't stopped at just the Duchess of Cambridge and has carried over to her immediate family as well. While the reasons for people’s enchantment with certain family members is obvious (sister Pippa looks great in a white dress and publishes great party tips, mom Carole was a stewardess-turned-successful entrepreneur and dad Michael is a fantastic photographer), her youngest sibling, James, has always been a bit of a mystery. That is, until now. Thanks to his opening up to the London Evening Standard, we finally have some interesting information about the 26-year-old Middleton. Here are the nine best things he revealed about himself:

    1. One prep school summer holiday (otherwise known as summer vacation here in the States), as an adolescent of about 11 or 12, James would wake up at at 5:30 a.m. to work as a fruit

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  • How to Copy the Kardashians' Style Without a Reality Star Salary

    No matter what your personal opinion of the Kardashian family is — they inspire emotions from idol worship to intense repugnance — there’s no denying that those ladies have some seriously stellar style. Thanks in part to the millions of dollars they each earn for doing what they do best (being themselves — dream job!) their closets are filled with couture that fans and foes alike lust after. While Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, as well as half sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, have attempted to provide the public with affordable options to mimic their highly publicized outfits with their chain of retail stores Dash, the Kardashian Kollection at Sears, and Kendall and Kylie for PacSun, they just haven't been able to recreate their own particular flair for fashion with these lines. But, luckily, the Internet is full of “Kardashian Kopycats," who mimic their looks for much less (which means you can too).

    More on Yahoo Shine: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Cover Vogue as

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  • Giant Wave of Barbie Dolls Sculpture Makes a Splash

    Photo: Getty
    Barbie generally comes in one shape and size (well, except for artist Nickolay Lamm's Lammily, of course) but one artist has taken the doll to different heights in a mesmerizing sculpture.

    During a trip to visit her ill sister in her home country of Belgium, Annette Thas was overwhelmed with memories of childhood. Wanting to translate those emotions into a universal piece of art that lots of people could connect with and understand, Thas (who now resides in Australia) eventually chose Barbie dolls as her medium. “First it was a wave of dolls and then fine-tuning the idea over the next couple of years turned it into the Barbie dolls as a universal icon that most people know and understand,” Thas says in a video interview. The final product? A wildly impressive, 13-foot-tall "wave" of nothing but Barbies. 

    To achieve the sense of being submerged, Thas explains that the wave’s size had to be just right — above the head and encompassing the eye’s periphery (the sculpture is around 16-feet

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  • American Eagle Introduces (Maybe Fake) Doggie Clothing Line. It's Fetch.

    Pets dressed as humans: Will it ever get old? American Eagle Outfitters doesn't think so. The apparel brand, which famously pranked the Internet with a fake line of jeans around this time last year, has just announced a new collection of hipster doggy clothes.  American Beagle Outfitters, introduced via video "dogumentary" on Monday, features pet-sized products, including crop tops, hoodies, fedoras, statement tees, and — get this — doggy jeggings.

    More on Yahoo: Clobberhead the Dog Uses Nose to Save the Day

    The line of matching pooch and human merchandise is the first one specifically designed for both you and your dog. Dog apparel is no longer limited to just Halloween costumes and cable-knit sweaters because ABO will be offering on-trend items, such as mutt-sized sunglasses, beanies that say "selfie," overalls, and more. “Your dog’s style is another form of expressing your own, and we are thrilled to bring American Eagle fashionable looks to our pups with the debut of American

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  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Cover Vogue as #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple

    It’s finally happened. After months of speculation and rumors of feuds with editor in chief Anna Wintour, Kim Kardashian — the reality star, tabloid staple, and fan of the butt selfie — has landed on the cover of Vogue for the magazine's April 2014 issue (and, simultaneously, hell has frozen over for fashion mag purists). Pictured with fiancé Kanye West, the 33-year-old is shown wearing a white dress — one that looks an awful lot like a wedding gown. (Perhaps a nod to the couple's impending nuptials?) West is the only the fifth man to ever appear on the iconic magazine's front page, and the photoshoot was done by fabled photographer Annie Liebovitz. Across the bottom of the cover reads, "The Fashionable Life and Surreal Times," followed by "#WORLDSMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOUPLE."

    Kim, not suprisingly, couldn't be happier.

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  • How Facebook Fans (and Channing Tatum) Are Helping a Teen Accomplish Her Bucket List

    Photo: Alisa's ButterfliesWhat do residents of a small Kansas town, 15,000 Facebook users, and Channing Tatum have in common? They're all helping a terminally ill teen check off the 48 things she has on her bucket list.

    Since doctors found a tumor in her brain In July 2012, Alisa Finley, now 18, has been undergoing treatment for the Stage 4 glioblastoma. Sadly, doctors have exhausted all of their options trying to shrink the cancerous growth and Alisa, who lives in Colby, Kansas, (population: 5,600), is now in Hospice care. But Alisa is still determined to accomplish a lot in the time she has left, so she's put together a bucket list and, with the help of thousands, she's been ticking off one item at a time. 

    The 48 things that Alisa hopes to do (and has done, in some cases) range from the easy paying for something entirely in pennies or driving around all day blasting music, for example to the trickier, like traveling to Europe, Australia, and all 50 states. And then there are a few that seemed nearly

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