CULTURE

Jessica Biel Denies Being an Anti-Vaxxer (Despite Lobbying with Anti-Vaxxers)

Unfounded and dangerous claims by anti-vaccine activists include: vaccines contain toxic amounts of mercury (disproven), vaccines are untested and unregulated (false), and vaccines are somehow associated with autism (100% fantasy).

Jessica Biel

Original: StyleCaster

Jessica Biel swears she's not an anti-vaxxer—she's just opposed to a bill that would tighten mandates on vaccinations.

On Tuesday, the 37-year old actress made an unexpected appearance before the California State Assembly alongside an outspoken anti-vaccination activist, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (the son of Bobby Kennedy). His unfounded and dangerous claims include: vaccines contain toxic amounts of mercury (disproven), vaccines are untested and unregulated (false), and vaccines are somehow associated with autism (100% fantasy).

The anti-vaxxer took to Instagram to post pictures of himself with Biel before they lobbied the California State Senate. He called the actress "courageous" for speaking out against SB 276. The vaccine bill is authored by state senator and pediatrician Dr. Richard Pan, who argues that doctors are abusing the medical exemptions that allow parents to use a doctor's note to forego vaccinations. The bill calls for more oversight that would prevent doctors from selling exemptions to parents who don't have a medical reason for not vaccinating their children.

So did Jessica Biel come out as an anti-vaxxer? Back in 2015, rumors circulated that she was refusing to vaccinate her then-7-month-old son. But the only source was an unnamed associate of Biel and her husband, Justin Timberlake, who alleged to a tabloid, "She feels that vaccination could cause complications."

On Thursday, Biel addressed the rumors with a lengthy Instagram post in which she outright denied, "I am not against vaccinations." She clarified: "I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians. My concern with #SB276 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family's ability to care for their child in this state. That's why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don't believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what's best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB276. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!"

Anti-vaccination lobbyists push dangerous and unfounded myths about potentially life-saving medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) finds that adverse reactions are as rare as 1 in 2-3 million doses for the polio vaccine, 1 in 1,000 doses to 50,000 for tuberculosis, and 1 in 1 million doses for measles.

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

CULTURE

This Week in Internet Hell: A Bear, a Bunny, and a Bird (Also, Thanos)

The Easter Bunny is a criminal, and there’s still no joy in Idaho.

Venus via WeHeartI

Happy belated Easter! Did you hear that the Easter Bunny was arrested in Florida? Or that you can now stay in a giant potato in Idaho, because how else would you experience joy in Idaho? Also, Thanos is back. Welcome to this week in Internet Hell.

1. Thanos Is Google. Google is Thanos.

The release of Avengers: Endgame may have flooded Twitter with spoilers and broken box office records, but mostly it's real. I mean Thanos is real. Sure, Google is working a cool, kitschy marketing ploy here, but also it's a warning. Guys, he's coming.

2. 11% of the World's Population Lives on $2/DayBut Others Pay $200/Night to Sleep in a Potato Airbnb

With “hash browns for cushions, fries as shelves, and a giant bowl of fluffy mash to snuggle into at night," the cost of spending one night in the Big Idaho Potato Hotel is the same as sponsoring a child's education for six months. Also, where are the windows? How is this safe?

Popdust internet hell This Is Insider


This Is Insider


3. Killer Pets Deserve Homes, Too

Some pets murder their owners and are put to death. But, like humans, if you are too pretty to die, then you can murder whomever you'd like and probably get away with it.

4. The Easter Bunny Got Arrested—in Florida

Antoine McDonald dressed up as the Easter Bunny “for laughs," but then he saw a man in a parking lot spit at a woman, so he intervened. The unidentified man became aggressive, and so McDonald, who told WKMG that he's the type of person "to avoid fights," began punching the man until police arrived. He did it all in a bunny costume, guys—somewhere in Florida, a man has bruises from the Easter Bunny.

5. Anti-Vaccers Held a Rally and They Used a Grizzly Bear to Prove Their Point

Yes. This (sort of) occurred this past week. Gizmodo published, “This Was Supposed to Be a Story About a Bizarre Anti-Vaccine Rally and a Sedated Bear. Then It Got Weird." It got weird after you heard about the bear? How? When? Why? And how bloody were the inevitable injuries that ensued? I won't spoil it for you. Here is an excerpt of the organizers' proposed plans for the rally:

Gizmodo



Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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