I had never heard of Shine before commenter Infinite Monkey sent us a fascinating link to it, but apparently it is a collection of all the stupidest bullshit on the Internet that’s targeted at women.
I know it’s targeted at women because, for starters, everything is pink. Banners, links, headlines, and the dot over the sultry, curvy “i” in “Shine”: pink. Also, there are many pictures of women holding coffee cups and listening to one another possibly talk about feelings. Like this:
Another clue that Shine is meant for those with “vajayjays”? The main categories: Manage Your Life, Fashion+Beauty, Healthy Living, Parenting, Love+Sex, Food, and ASTROLOGY. Yeah, astrology is important enough to get its own category.
Shine’s main goal appears to be driving traffic to other sites. For instance, the article Infinite Monkey sent us is written by the editor-in-chief of Prevention, and the formula is thus:
1. [physical attribute about which I am about to make you panic]
Paragraph One summing up research in very general terms without offering links or citations. This research shows that [physical attribute] will kill you.
Paragraph Two describing a common sense way you can overcome [physical attribute] and perhaps cling to life for a bit longer.
Got it? Let’s look at an example:
4. Arm length
Have a hard time touching your toes (even though you’re flexible)? Women with the shortest arm spans were 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimerâ€™s disease than those with longer reaches, found a recent study. (Find yours by spreading your arms parallel to the floor and having someone measure fingertips to fingertips; the shortest spans were less than 60 inches.) Nutritional or other deficits during the critical growing years, possibly responsible for shorter arms, may also predispose a person to cognitive decline later in life, say Tufts University researchers.
Take this precaution: Put your appendages to good use with a hobby such as painting or pottery. A 5-year study from the Alzheimerâ€™s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center found that adults who spent the most time engaged in stimulating leisure activities were more than 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimerâ€™s disease than those who spent less time challenging their brains.
Okay, so the research in question here is a Tufts study of 2,798 seniors, of whom 480 developed dementia or Alzheimer’s. Researchers did in fact find that the women in the group with shorter arm lengths developed dementia and Alzheimer’s at 1.5 times the rate of those with longer arms. However, “for every inch longer a womanâ€™s leg, the risk of dementia and Alzheimerâ€™s disease was reduced by 16 percent,” something the dear editor didn’t bother to mention. Why? Maybe because it dilutes the fear-mongering by presenting a more accurate and complex view of health? After all, if you want women to freak out about dementia, it’s much easier to tell them to measure their arm span and then OMG panic if it’s under a certain number.
The next point, about ear lobe creases predicting cardiovascular events like heart attacks, is even worse:
Linear wrinkles in one or both lobes may predict future cardiovascular events (heart attack, bypass surgery, or cardiac death). A crease on one lobe raises the risk by 33%; a crease on both lobes increases it by 77%, even after adjusting for other known risk factors. Though experts arenâ€™t exactly sure, they suspect a loss of elastic fibers may cause both the crease and the hardening of arteries.
She simply states these percentages as though they’re fact. In reality, the research hasn’t even proven that cardiovascular risks cause wrinkles. It could simply be that we get wrinkles as we get older, while we also become more likely to experience heart trouble.
Even if there was a definite link between ear lobe wrinkles and cardiovascular events, do you really need to be told that you should keep your heart healthy by staying fit and eating well? And if you know you have a high risk of heart trouble, should you really be following whatever fat-burning cardio workout some magazine recommends for anyone? No! You should talk to your doctor and ask for help planning an exercise regimen that won’t lead to a heart attack on the treadmill.
After clicking around the Prevention web site, I’m actually shocked to see that this is their M.O. They regularly cherry pick scientific research, oversimplify the data, and all-too-readily use it to make blanket recommendations to women. Commonsense advice, like “eat well” and “exercise,” is buried by trendy quick-fix BS, all of which they claim is supported by science.
For instance, the article 5 Potent Anti-Aging Botanicals is subtitled “Research-backed ingredients that firm, smooth, and tone. We’ve got the studies to prove it!” One recommendation is red tea, because it “decreased skin cancer tumors at least 60%,” according to a study that is never actually named. The only person quoted as recommending red tea? Well, that would be the senior chemist at Jason Natural Products, who, as chance should have it, offer a Jason Red Elements Red Clay Masque for just $13.60! I can haz science?
I’m accustomed to seeing idiotic drivel in magazines like Cosmo and Glamour, but somehow this is even more depressing. While those mags are clearly shallow brain vacation material, Prevention targets aging women who worry about their health and want to do something positive for themselves. Why not offer them intelligent breakdowns of new research and debunk the ridiculous claims of the scamsters peddling acai berries and the like?
I guess there’s just no ad revenue in that.