A new PSA on Down syndrome is being both praised and criticized by advocates.

"How do you see me?"

AnnaRose Rubright is a 19-year-old college student in New Jersey. She works part-time, has five younger sisters...

...and is the star of a new viral PSA in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, 2016.


GIF via CoorDown/YouTube.

The PSA is tugging at the Internet's heartstrings with a simple yet powerful message.

Produced by Italian advocacy group CoorDown and ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Rubright narrates as the video follows a woman living out her everyday life — laughing with friends, working as a chef in a restaurant, watching TV, singing karaoke.

You might recognize this woman (the other star in the message) as actor Olivia Wilde.




GIF via CoorDown/YouTube.

Rubright narrates the PSA as viewers watch Wilde's character experience happiness, sadness, laughter, and heartache — the emotions that make us human.

“This is how I see myself," Rubright, who has Down syndrome, says in the voice over. "I see myself as a daughter, a sister, and a best friend. As a person you can rely on."

"I see myself meeting someone that I can share my life with. I see myself singing, dancing, and laughing until I cannot breathe, and also crying sometimes. I see myself following my dreams, even if they are impossible — especially because they’re impossible. I see myself as an ordinary person with an important, meaningful, beautiful life. This is how I see myself. How do you see me?"

At the end of the video, it's revealed that Wilde's character is living out Rubright's actual life, with all the ups, downs, and meaningful moments that come with it.

"This metaphor is aimed to ignite a conversation around how those living with Down syndrome see themselves and how they are sometimes disadvantaged when people pre-judge them based on their condition," Saatchi & Saatchi explains on its website, noting the video aims to promote inclusion. "Even more than what is said about them, the way other people look at them is a common indicator of this type of prejudice."

While much of the reaction to the video has been positive, some have pointed out problems in the way the video addresses the issue.

Writer David Perry pointed out in a post for The Establishment that while "the people involved with the film are clearly well-intentioned in their desire to fight anti-disability stigma," the PSA implies that disability is something that should be invisible — an argument many activists would say is problematic.

"The broader disability rights movement has worked long and hard to promote disability as an identity and an aspect of diversity to celebrate," Perry wrote — not as something about a person we should be fighting to erase.

He spoke with advocates that supported this idea and took to Twitter to point out their perspectives:


While advocates may disagree on the PSA's approach, it's great that the video has directed attention to an important day and utilized the talents of a remarkable person to do it.

Beyond her other accomplishments, Rubright is a Special Olympics athlete and a leader of the grassroots group the Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, which her family launched while she was entering kindergarten. The nonprofit focuses on helping those with Down syndrome find success — whether it be academically, socially, or as leaders in their communities.

To learn more about the Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, check out the group's website.

Watch the PSA by CoorDown below:

More
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being