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Amber Rose and Blac Chyna confronted their critics in a big way at the VMAs using their dresses.

"I decided to wear every derogatory word you can possibly call a woman because people call us that all the time."

Amber Rose and Blac Chyna confronted their critics in a big way at the VMAs using their dresses.

Ever been insulted, made fun of, or verbally attacked by someone? I'm gonna take a wild guess and say yes. Now imagine tens of thousands of people doing that to you on a daily basis. Would you be brave enough to have a response like this?

Big Thank u to @thesepinklips and @brittanydeshields for making our Fits for the #VMAs #YoungTalent 💋
A photo posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

The MTV Video Music Awards featured feuds, boobs, and everything in between. But before the show even started, two celebrities made a serious statement against slut shaming that a lot of people seem to have missed.


Amber Rose and Blac Chyna decided to strut the carpet wearing clothing covered with hateful terms that are used against women.

Call me crazy, but I think women are more than the clothes they wear, so I personally hate how people fixate on what female celebrities wear on the red carpet. But this is a rare occasion when "What are you wearing?" is an important and necessary question.

Why? Because they're words that Amber Rose and Blac Chyna — along with countless other women around the world — face every day. It's called slut shaming, and they decided to do something about it.

"I decided to wear every derogatory word you can possibly call a woman because people call us that all the time," Amber Rose explained.

In case you haven't come across the term, "slut shaming" is the practice of criticizing a woman for engaging in certain sexual behaviors whether it be actual or presumed based on her manner of dress, speech, or personality — and it's bad.

Slut shaming is crazy-making. Think about it:

There isn't one, young Abigail Breslin.

And that's part of the problem! Women can't express themselves sexually without being scrutinized. There's a clear double standard when Nick Jonas can grind up on multiple women on stage at the VMAs and be praised while Miley Cyrus is attacked for wearing pasties over her breasts. (Um, seriously — what is folks' problem with the female breast?)

Participating in slut shaming or even just allowing it to go on around you sends the message that girls and women who dress a certain way or have sex are sluts. And words have serious power. Slut shaming promotes rape culture.

The next time you hear someone use the word "slut," think about this:

Roughly 300,000 people are raped or sexually assaulted every single year in this country alone.

Rape culture — a society in which rape is widespread because of views on sexuality and gender — is bred from slurs like those that Amber Rose and Blac Chyna wore on their outfits. It's bred from a culture in which we think it's OK to shame and police women. A culture where we blame the victim of sexual violence or harassment because "she was asking for it."

So what do we do about it?

We don't all get to walk the red carpet, but that doesn't mean that we can't take a stand against slut shaming. Here are a few tips:

  1. Think before you speak. Don't contribute to the problem. Make sure you're doing your part to ensure that you aren't shaming others. Ask yourself, “Am I saying something that Amber Rose would put on her next red-carpet outfit?"
  2. Educate yourself. Educate yourself and others about victim-blaming and rape culture. We all have the responsibility to be informed so that we can make the best choices and encourage others to as well.
  3. Shut that ish down. If you see someone shaming others, call them out on it. Ignorance is just a lack of knowledge, so go educate some folks.

Let's start a conversation that really matters. Let's end slut shaming.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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