A former 'MythBusters' extra thanks Adam Savage for crushing a harmful myth about gender.

'MythBusters' may be over, but Savage is just getting started.

For more than 13 years, Adam Savage co-hosted a little show you might have heard of called "MythBusters."

And as its title suggests, the show's premise was that Savage, a special effects guru, and fellow science enthusiast Jamie Hyneman would tackle various myths, urban legends, and stuff you'd usually only see in movies. (There were a lot of explosions, and it was wonderful.)

The show may be over, but a recent string of tweets shows that Savage isn't done busting myths.


Savage, flanked by his "MythBusters" co-star Jamie Hyneman and "science guy" Bill Nye at the 2010 White House Science Fair. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

On April 26, Savage waded into discussion about sex, gender, and the science behind it all.

It began when Savage got some rude responses to his tweet about author Kelly Oxford's new book, leading him to push back on the idea that gender is something that can be neatly divided into two separate teams.

From there, he dished out some real-talk about the gender binary:

And while it was cool to see Savage taking a stand, the best thing to come out of his tweets were the replies from people thankful for validation from someone they admire.

Responses from people outside the gender binary began flowing in, thanking Savage for seeing them for who they are.

There's a sweetness in the replies — but also a frustrating sadness — as many of the people replying are so frequently denied the basic recognition and validation that most of us take for granted.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman living in the Bay Area and one-time "MythBusters" extra, also chimed in with a thoroughly appreciative response.

"Being trans means often having to navigate 'myths' about gender, and it is usually a burden that trans people alone are tasked with explaining," Smith explains over email. "So it meant a lot to me to see Savage use his privilege and position to speak out on behalf of folks like me, and for scientific reality."

And that's just it: Acknowledging the existence of trans people (inside and outside the gender binary) is a statement backed by scientific reality.

Many of Savage's critics — and people who oppose the fight for transgender equality generally — accused him of pushing "pseudoscience." He was having none of it.

"It's biology not bigotry" is the tagline for the National Organization for Marriage's latest push against recognizing trans people for who they are. And it sounds simple, right? XX chromosomes equal female, XY chromosomes equal male. Easy-peasy.

Except it's not, and that's what Savage dove into with a lengthier explanation.

"Humility is one of the loveliest of human traits. It's often hard-won, and in every case it exists, it foments acceptance, kindness, and open-mindedness. These are qualities that improve the lives of all who experience them. I have a wide circle of awesome and amazing friends. I get so much from them. Among my precious loved ones, I count many who fall outside the binary sex/gender identification being asserted. I can't conceive rejecting their experience as anything but cruel and inhumane and I don't care what they have in their pants or what they do with them. I have a hard time imagining why anyone would."

(A 2015 article in Nature supports much of what he's saying, by the way.)

Savage speaks during a 2015 "MythBusters" panel. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Discovery Communications.

There's a lesson we can all learn from Savage here, and it's this: When given a choice, always stand on the side of love, empathy, and understanding.

The most important message of Savage's tweets has nothing to do with chromosomes.

You don't need to be a professional "MythBuster" to know that the first step to bridging gaps begins with empathy and not discounting the existence of an entire group of people. In the fights to decide who is "right" and who is "wrong," we too often forget that there are other people with unique perspectives involved.

Let's hear them and, when in doubt, choose acceptance.

Thank you, Adam Savage. May you keep busting myths and inspiring others to be better people for a very long time to come.

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture