Dove is challenging beauty standards by banning the world 'normal' from all of its products
via Unilever

How many TV ads have you seen pitching shampoo "for normal to oily hair" or lotion "for normal skin"? Probably more than you can count. The problem is when it comes to beauty products, the term "normal" has always seemed to be code for "white."

For decades, this white-normative labeling has sent a subtle, but damaging message to people of color by casting them as abnormal. It also reinforces notions of white supremacy by heralding white people as the measuring stick for all humanity.

That's why Unilever, the London-based company that owns Dove, Vaseline, Axe, and Sunsilk beauty products is banning the term from their products and advertising. The move comes after the company conducted a 10,000-person study across nine countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

via Unilever

According to a Unilever press release the poll found that "More than half of people (56%) think that the beauty and personal care industry can make people feel excluded."

It also revealed that "Seven in ten people agree that using the word 'normal' on product packaging and advertising has a negative impact."

"The decision to remove 'normal' is one of many steps that we are taking to challenge narrow beauty ideals, as we work towards helping to end discrimination and advocating for a more inclusive vision of beauty," Unilever said in its release. "It comes as global research into people's experiences of the beauty industry reveals that using 'normal' to describe hair or skin makes most people feel excluded."

The announcement was accompanied by a video that explains how many of the norms we've been conditioned to accept — especially those surrounding masculinity, beauty, health, animal rights, pollution, and sexuality — are really quite the opposite.

"We won't accept a world where any of this is normal," the ads says.

The company wants to reposition its messaging so it focuses on what the product does rather than who it's for.

"Unilever has made the most progress with hair products, where 'normal' was removed or repositioned and replaced it with descriptions that highlight the benefit of the product," a company representative told The Washington Post. "We want to communicate what a product does — not who it is for — without the manufactured description of 'normal.' For example, we'll explain that a product will replenish moisture or help to meet specific needs."

A company representative says Unilever has over 200 products with the word "normal" on the label. It has already started the removal process and hopes to be completed by March 2022.

Ateh Jewel, an advisory board member of the British Beauty Council, told The New York Times the changes were "completely necessary" after the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year.

"Saying the word 'normal' has been used to set you apart," Jewel said. "I am normal. My dark skin is normal. My juicy West African curvy body is normal. Everything about me is normal."

Courtesy of Verizon

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

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

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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