That Sophie Monk Ad: Am I Insane?

Around the water cooler this week there is a lot of talk about that Sophie Monk / Lynx advert. If you have 3 minutes of your life that you don’t particularly care about you can see the ad hereMama Mia questioned whether it was clever or crass. SMH shrewdly analysed the hypocrisy of Unilever: a corporation that feeds highly sexualised young women to hungry males with one hand (Lynx) and then claim to empower the women that they have just served up with the other (Dove ‘love your body’). Anti-sexploitation campaigners (such as Collective Shout) are calling for consumers to boycott any products that fall under the Unilever umbrella.  And now this lowly blogger poses a question to you;

Am I insane or is everyone mad about the wrong thing?!

Yes, the ad is sexist, ageist and racist but giving the Wash Your Balls campaign the attention it is so desperately craving does nothing but encourage those crafty advertising creatives to go one step further next time (please refer United Colours of Benetton circa 1980’s).  Stop talking about it and it will go away. What cannot be disregarded is the key to this companies undoing – the type of controversy that cannot be manipulated to garner free publicity (the good kind, anyway). Yet this is the information that is being ignored the loudest!

Unilever Supports Animal Testing

Unilever test their products on animals such as dogs, cats, pigs, monkeys, rabbits and rats. These animals are locked in small cages for their entire lives where their only respites are the times that they are tested upon. Ingredients and finished products are tested on animals using a variety of methods which include;

The Draize Eye Test

The toxic substance is dripped under the lower eyelids of rabbits who are then monitored for their reactions.

The Draize Skin Irritancy Test

Animals are put into full body restraints where their fur is shaved and their skin is applied with the ‘irritant’ for a period of 4 hours to verify whether the product is corrosive – displayed through redness, burns or blistering.

The Lethal Dose Test

The lethal dose test measures the amount of a toxic substance that will, in a single dose, kill a certain percentage of animals in a test group. “To avoid interference with results,” no painkillers are administered. During a lethal dose test, the experimental substance is forced into the animals’ throats or is pumped into their stomachs by a tube, sometimes causing death by stomach rupture or from the sheer bulk of the chemical dosage. Substances also are injected under the skin, into a vein, or into the peritoneal lining of the abdomen; they are also often applied to the eyes, rectum, or vagina, or forcibly inhaled through a gas mask.

Please keep in mind that several hundred animals may be used for every substance that is tested. Unilever also chooses to test products that are not legally required to undergo any form of testing.

I am not into shock tactics BUT I do think that everyone needs to see the reality of animal testing. Below is a PETA video called ‘Testing 1, 2, 3…”. If you have not made the link between animal cruelty and the products that you buy please be brave and take the time to watch it;

What Can You Do?

There are two very simple steps that every one can take to end this cruelty.

  1. Boycott any companies that test on animals. If you are not sure PETA has this handy online sources where you can type in the brand/company and see for yourself. Click here to use it.
  2. Tell them about it!!! Write to the company and tell them exactly why you are taking your hard-earned cash elsewhere. Get your friends and family to. Forward details to everyone you know. The more they hear the more likely it is they will change. Corporations listen when something affects their bottom line.

In the end it all comes down to Consumer Power – vote with your dollar and all of a sudden people start listening.

Brands To Avoid… (some will shock you)

It can be hard to discern which brands fall under which companies. Here is the Unilever ‘brand wagon’ that you should avoid if you do not want to support animal cruelty;

Backwards

This is happening day-in and day-out yet the only reason Unilever are in the news today is because they scripted a tacky advert with a whole lot of juvenile double entendres. Yes, it pushes some fairly lack-lustre ideals on an impressionable youth but surely disregarding the barbaric torture of defenseless animals is the more deplorable of the two? I am in no way trying to trivialize the massive and scary issue that is sexism. Then again, I do sometimes feel that we need to apply some Never Ending Story logic to it and let The Nothing swallow it up; ignore the non-consequential assaults like this ridiculous advert and focus our energy onto real injustices. We can all turn off the TV and this ad goes away. It is a very different story for the millions of animals that are tortured and killed each year in the name of cosmetics.

Take a stand for something important today-  Boycott any companies that animal test!

Make Your Own Toothpaste

My finished toothpaste

I discovered how to make my own toothpaste on Saturday and now I can categorically say that I won’t be turning back. In this previous post, I explained the reasons why you might want to look into this alternative rather than your average over-packaged, chemical-ridden, animal-tested varieties… But on top of that, there is something so fun about making it yourself! Getting your nutty professor on and testing out different mixes and scents.

The mix that Shani (from Ecoburbia and The Painted Fish) showed us works well for me, but is also the first I have tried. She also gave two other recipes which I will try once I am up with this batch. But for now…this one works swell. Give it a try.

Ingredients

(For tips on where to get these ingredients, see Notes)

  • 4 tsp Bicarb Soda (aka Baking Soda)
  • 1 tsp Salt (table is fine, or crush sea salt)
  • Glycerine (or Glycerol) – as much as needed to make a paste
  • Recycled jar or container

Optional ingredients

  • Essential Oils (like peppermint, vanilla) – make sure they are food-grade!
  • Lemon or Lime peel (dried and ground)
  • Mint leaves – finely chopped
  • Stevia leaves – dried and ground

Method

  1. Mix the Bicarb soda and salt in your container with a spoon
  2. Add Glycerine bit by bit while stirring until you get a smooth paste
  3. Add one of the optional ingredients here and stir. I used Peppermint Oil and it was lovely. It gave the traditional toothpaste-y smell which is good when you are getting used to a new taste.

My finished product! Peppermint Toothpaste.

Note – Where to buy

  • Bicarb Soda – Found in supermarkets, deli’s  etc. Try and aim for bulk to reduce packaging – Planet Ark in Freo sells it in 5kg boxes
  • Sea salt – best found at stores like Kakula’s Brothers or Sisters where you can buy bulk herbs and spices for a low price.
  • Glycerine / Glycerol – can be bought at chemists.
  • Essential Oils – Food grade essential oils can be found at healthstores. Manna Wholefoods in Freo definitely stocks it.

Review

The most important thing you need to realise here is also a very obvious point – this is not your standard toothpaste. You don’t have the Sodium lauryl sulfate in there to make it all foamy, there aren’t artificial sweeteners to make it taste like an after dinner mint and you have put a teaspoon of salt in the mix! At first, I was a very excited…

Eager beaver…

There is definitely a salty tang to it but there is also a sweet minty taste too (if you used the oil, as I did). The Glycerol has quite a sweet taste to it and gives it the smooth pasty consistency which is quite nice – it almost feels like you are just brushing with a wet brush. The bicarb soda acts as the cleansing agent (you can actually feel that working) and the salt is the abrasive. All in all it is not bad. Whenever I felt myself noticing it I just imagined I was at the beach and asked myself if I would mind if a little salt water got in my mouth. Nope.

hmmm… Think about the beach….

But then… I lost my head. I swallowed a bit of the stuff. Shit got crazy…

DON’T SWALLOW THE TOOTHPASTE

I really did consider not putting that photo and tip in… and this is not only because of how physically flattering it is for my face (obviously). I wanted to be honest about the experience and not promise some amazing flavour just to get you to try it! This is not a reason to consider not trying it… It is no different to your average toothpaste: If you swallow it you are going to be met with a few fairly unpleasant sensations. Don’t swallow it. It tastes like salt. Imagining I was at the beach did nothing to help me then, although my husband (the photographer) thought it was the funniest thing he had seen all week.

After our first few teething problems I am truly sold on this DIY toothpaste. My husband has converted as well and we honestly feel that it does wonders. Our teeth look whiter and we have breath tested each other at different points throughout the day and passed with flying colours. It is also just a damn good feeling to know that you are not contributing to environmental damage, animal cruelty and an overall bad system every morning and afternoon. I hope you enjoy it.

Dangerous Chemicals in Your Home

Illustration by Emily Ehlers

Think about the roles that the chemicals in things like cigarettes, drugs and pesticides play in the media. The general message is that they are extremely dangerous for our health and that we should avoid contact wherever possible. This is why it shocks a lot of people to discover that the greatest risk of exposure to synthetic organic chemicals comes from within our own homes.

In Australia, the chemicals used in our homes Continue reading