A topless selfie cost a middle school teacher her job. She's fighting back citing gender discrimination.

Lauren Miranda, a middle school math teacher, was fired after a shirtless photo she sent to her boyfriend back in 2016 ended up in her student's hands.

Miranda didn't choose to send the photos to her students — or anyone other than her boyfriend at the time. It's quite baffling that the school that employed her felt justified in ending her employment for their distribution.

But the case goes deeper than that. Miranda feels the consequence she endured has more to do with gender discrimination.


She believes if she were a man, her job wouldn't have been in jeopardy. That's why she's refusing to walk away without a fight.

In addition to a $3 million gender discrimination suit — think the unfair double standards women are subjected to related to attire and decency — she's going to do everything she can to bring attention to the way women are regularly victimized by people on the internet sharing their photos without consent.

"How do girls feel when this happens to them?" Miranda told VICE News. "Their photo gets shared without their permission or consent. And what do we say to them?: Crawl in a hole, quit going to school...?”

​​Cyber security and online privacy have been hot topics since the beginning of the internet. In the last few years, however, the discussion has gotten a lot more complicated, especially with regard to sharing personal photos.​​

A wide range of arguments have been made for who owns photos that are put into this public sphere. Everything from hackers to cell phone malfunctions and even a company's right to sell our personal information to 3rd parties keep us from reaching a conclusion. But few aspects of personal data have been as concerning and contested as personal photos containing nudity.

So once again, the public is calling into question the appropriate course of action for victims of non-consenting photo sharing.

Unfortunately, it's just the latest in a long line of photo-sharing incidents that has impacted people — disproportionately women — globally.

In fact, it's impacted developed nations so severely that revenge porn legislation is being put in place. And in some countries like South Korea, photos being shared without women's consent has led to the widespread scrutiny of the entire K pop industry.

And back at Bellport Middle School, many parents and community members are rallying behind Miranda, vocalizing their frustration with the situation. And strangers on social media are echoing their sentiments.

Women's rights activists suggest that we must point out the hypocrisy of this situation. Standards of purity and conduct are often enforced much more strongly with women than men.

In today's world, it is unrealistic to assume that sexting and nude photos won't wind up in the virtual world somehow. It is no one else's right to tell us that we can't or shouldn't share images of our bodies with others. However, that doesn't mean we should be powerless to stop them from impacting our lives in a negative way if they are somehow shared without our consent.

Instead of focusing on whether or not images should be shared, because we know they will, we need to put forth more effort into deciding the consequences when someone's images are shared without permission.​​

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Those of us who have been parenting for a while have some wisdom to share from experience. Not that older moms know everything, of course, but hindsight can offer some perspective that's hard to find when you're in the thick of early motherhood.

Upworthy asked our readers who are moms what they wish they could tell their younger selves about motherhood, and the responses were both honest and wholesome. Here's what they said:

Lighten up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

One of the most common responses was to stop worrying about the little things so much, try to be present with your kids, and enjoy the time you have with them:

"Relax and enjoy them. If your house is a mess, so be it. Stay in the moment as they are temporary..more so than you think, sometimes. We lost our beautiful boy to cancer 15+yrs ago. I loved him more than life itself..💔 "- Janet

"Don't worry about the dishes, laundry and other chores. Read the kids another book. Go outside and make a mud pie. Throw the baseball around a little longer. Color another picture. Take more pictures and make sure you are in the pictures too! My babies are 19 and 17 and I would give anything to relive an ordinary Saturday from 15 years ago." - Emma H.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less