An All-Female Marine Platoon Will Finally Train Alongside Men at Boot Camp

In an historic first for the U.S. Marine Corps, women will be able to train alongside men during boot camp. On Friday, a platoon of about 50 female marines began training side-by-side with the men at the traditionally all-male battalion at a facility in Parris Island, South Carolina. About 300 recruits are participating in this groundbreaking session, according to NBC News.

But before we pop a cork for this step towards gender equality, we have to take into account that this decision doesn’t totally reflect a shift in the Marine Corps’ philosophy going forward. Instead, according to NBC News, as well as a source cited by the New York Times, they only integrated the male and female marines for “training efficiency.”

“A lack of female recruits during the winter training cycle made it more practical to shut down the all-female battalion at Parris Island and roll the remaining 50 women into a male battalion,” the Times wrote, citing the official, who remained anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. According to NBC and the Times, recruits will still be trained by instructors of their own gender, despite the integration, and women will live on a separate floor in the barracks.

The Marine Corps’ gender segregation has long been controversial. As Glamour wrote in in September 2017, “Officials have often argued that women and men must be separated during the training process so that women can “become more physically competitive before joining their male counterparts.”

Because only 8.4 percent of Marines are women (the lowest percentage among all the branches of the military), Marine Corps leaders have said that an all-female training environment could provide them with the support they need during the early stages of service. However, others are now changing their tune and suggesting that the separation of men and women prevents male recruits from establishing good relationships with their fellow female Marines. By changing the early training process, it could foster more respect for women and help change the problematic culture that pervades the current Marine structure.”

Ret. Army Col. Ellen Haring, who is advocate for the women in the military and the CEO of Service Women’s Action Network, pointed out in a statement to NBC News that all other military services have coed training units—and have for years.

“The Marine Corps’ recent announcement that it would integrate an all-female platoon within a company of all-male platoons on a trial basis comes decades after all of the other Services integrated all of their basic training units,” she wrote in her statement. “After reviewing training data in the 1990s both the Army and the Navy found that integrating basic training units improved performance on a number of measures.”

She went on to say that her organization has, “long advocated for fully integrated boot camp in the Marine Corps, including through pending federal litigation alleging that sex segregated training violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.”

But there’s still some hope that this training can lead to larger change: According to the corps, they will evaluate the training results after the 13-week session.

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Why Women are Posting Photos of Their Leg Hair on Instagram for Januhairy

In recent years, more and more women have ditched their razors, buoyed in part by body hair-happy celebrities, beauty brands, and the rest of us alike taking a definitive stance on body hair. Rihanna posted a selfie showcasing her leg hair, while Billie became the first brand to actually show body hair in a razor ad. Whether they’re trying to make a statement or just no longer interested in being “perfectly groomed”—or maybe both—it’s working.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 2019 is off to a similar start, as women have taken to social media to celebrate #Januhairy, a project that encourages women to grow out and share photos of their body hair for the month of January.

Started by student Laura Jackson, who first grew out her body hair for a school project, #Januhairy encourages women to accept and empower themselves while challenging the view that female body hair is abnormal and something to be ashamed of. It’s a fundraising effort, too: #Januhairy is also raising money for Body Gossip, a nonprofit that promotes education around body acceptance, by encouraging followers to sponsor women up to the task.

Jackson told the BBC News that she was inspired to start the hashtag after experiencing backlash after growing her own body hair out. “Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn’t understand or agree with why I didn’t shave. I realized that there is still so much more for us to do to be able to accept one another fully and truly.”

As part of the project, Jackson is encouraging like-minded women to post photos of their progress on social media, too—all for the purpose of normalizing women in their natural state. In an Instagram post in which she recounts explaining her plan to her curious mother, Jackson points out: “Why should we be called lazy if we don’t want to shave? And why do we have to be proving a point?…If we do something [or] see the same things over and over again, it becomes normal.” And by filling feeds with photos of women with body hair, she aims to make it just that: Normal.

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The Best New Hair Products Launching in January 2019

Who needs a good hair day when you can have a whole hair month? It’s bound to happen, considering all of the newcomers hitting shelves this January. And in hair care, that’s a big deal, because just one new formula can make all the difference in your strands. Our editors washed, spritzed, and scrunched our way through all the new hair products that landed our desks—from a shampoo that’s all about scalp health to a lotion that makes your morning blowout a breeze, we’re pretty confident your hair routine is in for an upgrade. The only thing now is to try to stick to your budget. Scroll on to meet your new hair heroes, and check in as we add more favorites throughout the month.

Demi Lovato Calls Out Horrifying Fat-Shaming Ad on Instagram

Demi Lovato has been slowly making her way back onto social media as she continues her recovery from an overdose back in July. But like the Lovato we’ve always known and loved, she’s not afraid to use her voice and platform to call out things she takes issue with—especially when it comes to body issues.

Today (January 4), she’s taking Instagram and the makers of a game called Game of Sultans to task for a rather horrifying ad that popped up in her feed. In the ad for the video, women are categorized as either “pretty” or “obese” with users apparently choosing what the women can eat—including a “controlled” diet of broccoli. “Why is this fat shaming bullsh*t on my feed?” Lovato asked in an Instagram Story. “So many things wrong with this ad.”

Um, yes. Yes there are.

PHOTO: Instagram/@ddlovato

She goes on to correctly point out that “you can be ‘pretty’ at any weight.”

PHOTO: Instagram/@ddlovato

“This is absolutely harmful to anyone who is easily influenced by societal pressures put on us by diet culture to constantly be losing weight in a world that teaches us to equate our value and worth with the way we look and especially anyone in recovery from an eating disorder,” she continued. “Especially when eating disorders are all about control.”

PHOTO: Instagram/@ddlovato

“So please Instagram, keep this bullsh*t off mine and others’ feeds who could easily be affected by this disgusting advertisement,” she wrote. “With how aware people are becoming of mental health and mental illnesses, I expect you guys to know better by allowing this advertisement to be allowed on your app. And shame on the game.”

PHOTO: Instagram/@ddlovato

It’s insane to me that this sort of game even exists, let alone that its distributor is allowed to advertise it on one of the largest social platforms in the world. The overt fat-shaming is indeed incredibly harmful, as Lovato points out, and the categorization of women in this way is deeply reductive.

Many thanks to Demi for calling them out. Let’s hope this keeps other young women from being subjected to such a hurtful piece of media.

The Best Buys From & Other Stories’ Epic New Year’s Sale

The post-holiday sales are a good time to start thinking about what in your current closet can be updated (or better yet, upgraded), what you don’t need more of, and what you wish was in there. If this process extended into the new year, fear not: A bunch of stores saved their best deals to kick off 2019, whether that means additional discounts on sale items or simply slashing the prices of current merchandise. & Other Stories, the Swedish retailer beloved by our very own American Duchess Meghan Markle, just announced its new year sale, which has over 1,000 items ranging in price from $4 (for a two-pack of socks, down from $7) to $396 (for an oversized leather moto jacket, down from $495). It’s also got all of your winter bases covered: outerwear, boots, warm trousers, cozy knits…the kind of purchases that can easily be justified at this point in time. Below, check out 18 of our favorites from & Other Stories’ excellent sale.

How to Actually Use Gua Sha Tools and Jade Rollers

If your introduction to face rollers and gua sha tools comes from a cursory scroll through Instagram, you’d be forgiven for thinking they serve more as focal points for flat lays than anything else. The jade, marble, and quartz skin care tools aren’t a new phenomenon; their origins go back centuries. But, the methods I’m familiar with have also undergone a gradual evolution for social media (my childhood version of 刮痧 (gua sha) involved soup spoons, loose change, and copious amounts of Tiger Balm, which is significantly different from what influencers are currently posting on their feeds).

While I can think of plenty of Instagram-backed products that amount to little more than empty hype, dermatologists and aestheticians agree that these tools deliver legitimate skin benefits. The problem is, you need to know how to use them correctly in order to maximize their benefits. If you’re looking for more detailed instructions for the jade rollers, ice rollers, and gua sha tools sitting on your bathroom counters, consider this your definitive guide. Below, celebrity aesthetician Karee Hays and founder and CEO of Shiffa Beauty, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, break things down step by step.

Face Rollers

Both Dr. Hamdan and Hays tell me to work from the neck upwards, using sweeping strokes that go toward the outer edges of my face. I grab my $30 Herbivore Jade Facial Roller and do my best to follow their detailed instructions. First, I cover my clavicle with an up-and-down motion. Next, I do a sweeping up-and-down roll on my neck. After this comes the jawline; here, I switch to a back-and-forth roll that starts at the center of the chin and goes toward my ear, repeating this all the way up to my cheekbone. On my forehead, I repeat the vertical roll, starting from the middle of my face and moving outward toward my temples. I like that Herbivore’s extremely chic offering is double-sided; I flip it over to apply the smaller attachment under my eyes (in a horizontal motion toward my temple) and then roll once more in a horizontal movement down my nose.

The phrase to remember here is “lymphatic drainage,” a form of massage that pushes fluids to your lymph nodes, which subsequently process and filter them out of your system. When you perform this technique consistently (i.e., via your face roller of choice), it’s supposed to deliver de-puffing, glow-boosting benefits. Also, it just feels really nice.

According to Dr. Hamdan, there are two key things to keep in mind. “There is no point in rolling your face expecting drainage if you haven’t started with your neck first. You need to roll your neck first to clear the lymph passageways before starting on the face,” she says. Secondly, she cautions against pressing too hard. Use a light hand; the weight of the roller will do the rest.

Hays echoes those sentiments, explaining that too much pressure can actually irritate your skin and break capillaries, a warning I’ve heard repeatedly from aestheticians. “If you are re-using a roller at home, always sanitize it with alcohol,” she adds. Hays recommends beginning with a clean, moisturized face and adding additional layers of product if you wish to do so; the massage will help push them further into the skin. “When I have the time, I apply a KH Koji pad packed with antioxidants, then add Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum and DEJ Face Cream and roll in an upward motion while the products are absorbing.”

While I found that the roller already felt slightly cooling when stored at room temperature, there are options for even chillier applications. I like the $30 Ice Roller from Stacked Skincare, which has a stainless steel barrel and houses a liquid core of water and gel. You store it in the freezer between uses and breathe out a sign of relief when it meets your face. (You can, of course, also store your regular rollers in the freezer; the Stacked Ice Roller just retains the cool temps for longer.) Hays recommends this refreshing approach for those experiencing TMJ or sinus issues. And if you want to take things up a notch, you could invest in a vibrating version—Jillian Dempsey’s $195 Gold Sculpting Bar doesn’t roll per se, but the device delivers an automated massage that performs the same type of lymphatic drainage. Vibrating devices are also said to be particularly effective in aiding product absorption. All you have to do is slowly move it across different sections of your face to get the contouring, reviving effects.

Both experts tell me I should repeat the ritual daily for the best results—”at least three times a week,” says Dr. Hamdan. As for time of day, it’s entirely up to you. Dr. Hamdan prefers facial rolling in the morning “because it helps with puffiness, especially under the eyes.” Personally, I can barely manage to get dressed without injuring myself before I race out the door each day so I reserve my at-home facials for pre-bedtime relaxation.

Gua Sha

Gua sha tools vary significantly in appearance; the futuristic Marble Eraser from Make doubles as a decorative object if you have $150 to spare. It looks absolutely nothing like the $40 Shiffa Fasha Crystal Clear Quartz Tool, but they accomplish the same purpose. For my experiments in Instagram-friendly gua sha, I go with Herbivore’s $18 Rose Quartz Gua Sha. The brand sells a variety of shapes—I choose the one labelled “Teardrop,” basing my decision on the fact that it loosely resembles a cute dinosaur foot.

“Gua Sha needs a well-oiled face,” Dr. Hamdan tells me, so I coat mine in a layer of Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil before proceeding.

Dr. Hamdan and Fays both tell me to do my gua sha from the neck upwards, following a similar order as I did with my facial rolling. The motions differ here, though; I scrape the tool across and down my face (hitting the jawline, cheeks, and forehead), and switch to a zigzag motion on my smile lines and around my mouth.

Over the course of my experiments, I found that gua sha (unlike rolling) perceptibly lessened the tension in my neck and jaw. Because I’m already used to performing the latter on my body, I also included the back of my neck and shoulders in the demonstration. A little maneuvering is needed here, but nothing that requires superhuman flexibility. This is probably my favorite part of the ritual, since it noticeably decreases the soreness in my neck and shoulders. Once I move to the front of my body, I find that some edges of the tool work better for certain areas of my face, so I flip it accordingly. Dr. Hamdan tells me that each movement should be repeated three times.

“The main difference between jade rollers and Gua Sha tools, is that jade rolling is mainly a lymphatic drainage massage, and Gua Sha is a fascial [aka fibrous tissue] release massage,” says Dr. Hamdan. “Think foam rolling, but for your face. My own Fasha Tool is designed with different edges because fascia is multidirectional, so to properly release tightness, you need to use it a little differently from the jade roller.”

This process feels especially relaxing because you’re gradually releasing the tension in your face. “Imagine you have a tight muscle in your neck or back,” explains Hays. “When you [use] a foam roller or a foam ball, you’re pressing into the tension to create blood flow and break up the fascia, which brings relief. These tools are working the same way. Their common goal is to promote optimal circulation and lymphatic drainage.”

As for the reason why you see so many different variations, that’s part spirituality, part catering to social media. “There are many healing and spiritual beliefs around different stones and crystals,” says Hays. For the uninitiated, rose quartz is often said to radiate loving energy, clear quartz opens the mind, and jade is both soothing and purifying. Go for rose quartz if you love incorporating the material into your environment; opt for stainless steel if that speaks to your aesthetic more. As Dr. Hamdan advises, make sure whatever material you pick can be kept hygienic and doesn’t crack easily.

“Whether it’s round, on a roller, square, or rectangular, you are doing the same thing,” says Hays. “Just find one you’re comfortable using.”

Since my foray into the realm of facial massage, I can see why so many have become converts; these tools really do deliver the sensorial experience of a luxuriously long facial. My beauty-related laziness means I can’t claim to use either one on a consistent basis, but on weekends when I’m feeling particularly indulgent, I’ll reach for my jade roller or clear quartz Fasha tool. I have yet to see any firming and contouring benefits (if they exist, they are definitely reserved for people who can commit to a daily routine), but they do give me the subtle glow of a circulation boost. There are acid peels and active-packed serums that do this more quickly, but the draw of these tools is the fact that they make you slow down. It could be the jade and rose quartz talking, but I always feel surprisingly pampered after 10 minutes. For those that can’t swing by the spa whenever the mood strikes (so, everyone reading this and also me), they’re well worth the investment.

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From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Ilhan Omar, The Secret Meanings Behind the 2019 Congresswomen’s Fashion Choices

The swearing-in ceremony of the 116th U.S. Congress was an emotional one, as an historic number of women and a slew of “firsts” joined the House of Representatives. And even before members of the new class took their oaths, several shared their excitement about this moment on social media—clips and photos from the Washington, D.C. airport, snaps of the name plates outside of their offices, images of their families, who’d tagged along for the ride… and, in at least one case, an #OOTD.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the first Palestinian-American woman and one of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress, announced she’d be borrowing a traditional thobe from her mother to be sworn in. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who joins her as the other first Muslim woman and is also the first Somali-American person elected to Congress, became the first to wear a hijab and declared she’d challenge a 181-year ban on headwear on the House floor when she arrived in D.C. And given that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York was fielding criticism from conservatives about her wardrobe weeks before her official start date, many anticipated what she’s wear to take her oath.

Fashion choices can speak volumes when a woman is in the public eye—and especially when she’s in public service. It can communicate power (see: Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s viral Max Mara coat), identity (like how members of the Congressional Black Caucus wore kente cloths to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address, following his disparaging comments about African nations) and even an agenda (when she was First Lady, Michelle Obama had a whole strategy for championing American designers and for tailoring her fashion choices to wherever she was going.) The incoming congresswomen understood that. And their swearing-in outfits reflected it.

Ahead, see how six U.S. Representatives used fashion on their first day on Capitol Hill to send a message to their constituents—and Americans at large—about who they are and what they stand for.

People Are Losing It Over This Woman Using a Fake Accent on ‘The Bachelor’

The Bachelor hasn’t even started yet, but one contestant already has the Internet’s heart: Brianna, or “Bri” for short. The model, whose worst dating fear is “farting too loudly” (relatable), adopted a fake Australian accent for her first meeting with suitor Colton Underwood. 2019 is officially the year of the scam, people, and Bri is the mascot.

Here’s what happened: In a teaser for the Bachelor‘s first episode, we see Bri exit her limousine to hug Colton for the first time. She’s fully committing to this Australian accent and Colton asks her, “Where are you from?”

That’s when the brilliance really jumps out. “The accent, it’s Australian,” Bri says. “I was hoping you’re kinda a sucker for accents. I didn’t know what you’d think about it.” Colton’s response? “I love it.”

Notice how Bri technically doesn’t lie here. All she says is that the accent is Australian, not that she is. “I’m not really Australian,” Bri later says in an interview. “But you have to do what you can to stand out.”

Every single person who’s ever attempted a fake accent is shaking. Ross Geller in that Friends episode where he pretends to be British? Canceled. Kristen Wiig’s rendition of Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones? Never heard of it. Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and Margot Robbie are stunned!

Watch Bri’s masterful plan unfold for yourself, below:

Naturally, people on Twitter are living for this deception. “I might watch The Bachelor for the first time ever just to see how this unfolds,” one person tweeted, but be warned: Once you join Bachelor Nation, there’s no going back.

Check out some more reactions, below:

The Bachelor returns this Monday, January 7 at 8 P.M. ET on ABC.

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The Best Documentaries on Netflix January 2019

After the viral success of Making a Murderer, Netflix has churned out dozens of documentaries and documentary series. From behind-the-scenes rock docs like Gaga Five Foot Two to true-crime deep dives like Amanda Knox, the amount of nonfiction content on Netflix is seismic. The streaming platform is also home to important non-original documentaries that stand the test of time, like Paris Is Burning. Don’t know what that is? Watch it on Netflix! Besides, you’re probably growing tired of watching the same Friends episodes. So consider checking out any or all of the documentaries on this list to mix it up. And spoiler alert: They’re all fascinating.

The Best TV Shows on Netflix in January 2019

Netflix is officially a destination for television, which is fantastic, but that makes finding something to watch 10 times more difficult. There’s just too much good content to choose from, and it ranges in style, genre, and taste. For comedy lovers, there’s The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Netflix originals like Grace and Frankie. Shondaland shows are also on Netflix, so it’s easy to just get sucked into those. When it’s Wednesday night and all you want to do is unwind, deciding on a show can be stressful in itself.

That’s where we come in. We’ll be periodically updating this post every week with the absolute best shows streaming on Netflix right now. For now, though, give the below fan favorites a whirl. They never disappoint.