Soft and supple
Knitting has been a cultural expression for generations, and in the modern crafting world it's also a public service. Ever since Beryl Tsang lost her right breast to cancer, she's been whipping out knitted breasts for cancer survivors to use as prostheses. Tsang experienced the need firsthand: After going to every mastectomy boutique and medical supply store in Toronto, she purchased what she was told was the "lightest and most natural looking" prosthesis on the market and a mastectomy bra to go with it. But she wasn't happy with the result. "When I got home, I put on my new titty and bra and promptly broke into tears," Tsang said. "The titty reminded me of raw liver, while the bra resembled the suspension system of my 1995 Volvo."

To cheer herself up, the inveterate knitter went through her collection of yarns. She realized that she could knit her own prosthesis and did so. "I wore it with one of my favorite lacy underwires."

A friend who was in on the process saw Tsang wearing the prosthesis under clothing, and said, "You really did a great job! Your left breast looks almost as good as the right one-a bit lumpy but very realistic." Tsang started her own business, Tit-bits, but also makes her patterns available for personal use at no cost.

Sources: about.com, knitty.com

Sexualizing Dora?

Dora the Explorer, the popular television cartoon character, is reportedly being considered for a makeover in order to keep up with her older and racier rivals like Disney Channel and its pop culture phenom Hannah Montana. The Nickelodeon program, which draws more preschool viewers than any other TV show, is about a kind and curious young girl who helps others while teaching preschoolers Spanish. The show made its debut in 2000 and has since been translated into 24 languages.

The makeover is designed to appeal to Dora's "aging" audience by making her older and more "feminine." There is no set model for Dora's new look; however, she is not the first cartoon character to undergo a more "feminine" makeover. Recently American Greetings Properties remade Strawberry Shortcake to have a more "feminine" look and the Care Bears will now feature longer lashes and smaller tummies.

Nickelodeon declined to comment on specific changes, but acknowledged that it was eager to find ways to retain Dora's preschool fans as they mature. "Dora is as popular as she's ever been, and now has a second generation of viewers that we would love to serve," the company said in a press release.

Sources: ft.com, feministing.com

Abstinence is, like, cool

Abstinence is getting repackaged in the latest publication from the Minnesota-based Human Life Alliance. The "magazine," targeted to appeal to teenagers on their terms, is two-sided: Just for Girls on one side, then flip it over for Just 4 Guys, or J4G for short.

The girls' cover includes a fashion shot of a girl's head surrounded by blurbs about features inside, resembling any major women's publication such as Cosmopolitan or Redbook, while the guys' cover features two teenage boys playing basketball. Both covers claim to give the "Inside Scoop" on the opposite gender. The article in the girls' side encourages girls to do their part in maintaining abstinence by covering up their bodies in order to help guys deal with their sexual urges. "Guys are visual," the article states, "so when a girl is dressing to show off (wearing tight pants, low-cut shirts, etc. ...), it is hard for guys because they are stimulated by what they see." Conversely, the guys' side of the magazine tells teenage boys to give girls some slack, stating that their frequent hormonal changes are the cause of girls' "psycho" behavior. "This isn't an excuse for girls to be mean, but it might help you understand a little better why your mother, sister, or girlfriend can have twenty different moods in one hour." The publication is distributed to middle and high schoolers.

Sources: alternet.org, humanlife.org