Barbie's getting real ankles, flat shoes, new skin and hair colors, and more. Is it enough?

Barbie takes one step forward in representing all the children who love her — but is it enough?

The new "Fashionista" Barbie line has already began to hit retailers, with new dolls continuing to roll out through October 2015.


According to CNN, the new line features 23 new dolls that have different options: eight skin tones, 14 facial structures, 18 eye colors, and 23 hair colors.

So many Barbies!


This is, of course, a great thing, as diversity among dolls is important both for children who should see themselves reflected back to them in their toys and for all kids to be exposed to the differences that occur in the world around them.

Barbie is also getting an ankle upgrade (or is it a downgrade?).

Instead of her normal oddly angled ankles that require her to wear heels all the time, the new and improved Barbie has movable ankles that accommodate flats and theoretically let her stand like a human.


These are all steps in the right direction, but is it enough? I hesitate to call this body positivity, because each Barbie still comes with the classic impossible body proportions — and I don't expect Mattel to release any body-shape diversity dolls any time soon.

But for now, progress is progress!

Racial diversity and a slightly more realistic body type — even something as small as movable ankles — is a good change. Baby steps!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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