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3 reasons we need to stop mocking dads who are protective of their daughters.

Threats and violence are never OK, but I reserve my right to be skeptical and, well, even kind of a jerk.

There's this one little boy in my daughter's day care class. I like to joke that I don't trust him.

He's every dad's worst nightmare. Tall (you know, for an infant), dark, and handsome. He's the oldest boy in class, and he can walk already. That makes him hot shit, and he knows it.

One day an email popped up in my inbox — all the parents get photos of their kids throughout the day: a blurry crawling pic here, a funny naptime shot there — but this one showed my daughter and this little Lothario holding hands. Holding hands!


The jokes were almost too easy. "Time for me and him to have a little talk," and "He better keep those hands to himself!"

As a progressive dad, I'm on board with the whole "Newsflash, it's 2016! Women are making their own decisions about their own bodies. And polishing your shotgun on the front porch when her prom date pulls up is, um, problematic" thing.

That's why it's so easy to make those kinds of jokes. In fact, the "overprotective dad" has been subject to a lot of ridicule lately.

But there I was looking at that photo, and for the first time, I felt "it" — a little twinge of terror. That desire to shelter and protect my daughter and not let anyone with remotely suspect intentions near her ever, ever, ever.

Which left me wondering: Does being a progressive dad mean I'm not allowed to be protective of my daughter anymore?

That I have to somehow pretend she won't face unique dangers and challenges that boys her age probably never will? That I have to treat her exactly the same way I would if she were my son, instead?

I don't think it does.

First, let me just say: When it comes to rape culture, our main goal should be, you know, fixing it. Not sheltering women.

We need to teach men to understand and respect consent. We need to stop objectifying and reducing women to their sexuality. And as men, we need to set a better example for the next generation.

I'm going to do my damnedest to work toward those goals.

But I'm also reserving the right to play the role of protective dad. Here's why:

1. It's not always about ownership.

I get where this concern comes from, I really do. In a world of purity balls and "virginity certificates," the dad-daughter relationship has definitely crossed the line from protective to creepy way too many times in our culture.

But personally, I can't relate to that notion at all right now. I'm still wiping poop off of my daughter's butt multiple times a day. Ownership over her sexuality isn't exactly at the top of my mind.

Wanting to protect doesn't have to be about control. It doesn't have to be about sex. For me, it's just about trying to make sure my daughter is safe, healthy, and happy.

And it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons for us to be as protective as we are.

2. Because the world is more dangerous for women than it is for men. That's a fact.

This is just the sad, awful truth.

About 1 in 5 women, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, and 1 in 20 will face other kinds of sexual violence.

According to RAINN, almost half of those women will be under 18 when it happens.

And finally, 4 out of 5 assaults are committed by someone the victim knows.

When I see stats like these, I realize there's a pretty good chance that someone in my daughter's life will try to hurt her one day, probably while she's still living in our home. I'll probably have met this person. I'll probably have shook their hand.

That thought absolutely terrifies me.

Artist Mike Dawson has a simple approach when it comes to this stuff: "I don't make the rules. You don't make the rules. She makes the rules. Her body, her rules."

I love the sound of that. But a lot of men and boys out there aren't playing by the rules. And they're getting away with it.

That makes me mad. It makes me afraid. I feel like I have to do something about it.

The biggest part of that is raising her to be strong, to make good decisions, to be a good judge of character, and most importantly, to know that it's not her fault if someone crosses the line.

But it might also mean giving a firm handshake and a sideways glance to her dates. It might mean carrying a gruff standoffishness or a thick veil of skepticism.

OK, so I'm not going to be "polishing my shotgun" when her prom date shows up. But being kind of a jerk until that person earns my trust?Totally possible.

3. It's coming from a place of love.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is that us dads — all parents, really — are just out here doing our best.

Raising kids is hard. Good lord, is it ever hard. My wife and I are not sleeping well. We're usually covered in spit up, poop, pee, or all three. And we haven't even entered the wonderful world of bullies, behavior issues, puberty, and whatever else lies ahead.

Right now, it's really hard to think about the long term. Right now, we just want to do what we can to keep her safe.

Sometimes we'll probably do too much. Other times we might not do enough. But we've got to try.

I know there's a right and wrong way to be protective.

Not trusting or allowing our daughter to make her own decisions would be wrong. But not letting her walk home by herself at night, while it might feel unfair, might just be the kind of exception that makes a difference.

Threatening another person, even a smarmy teenage boy, with bodily harm, is never OK. But showing them that I'm involved in my daughter's life, actively concerned about her well-being, and making it clear that I'm not going to put up with her being mistreated? Absolutely.

I'm not saying I know exactly where that line is, but I'm going to try to figure it out.

In the meantime, I guess I can handle occasionally being hated by my daughter when she thinks I'm being an overbearing pain in the ass. But if anything ever happened to her because I trusted the world around her too much?

I'd never forgive myself.

Oh, and as for that boy in day care?

We're going to have to have a few words. You know, as soon as he learns to talk.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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