Ernst & Young's advice to female employees is an archaic throwback to the 1950s
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In today's episode of WTH, professional accounting services firm Ernst & Young has taken gender dynamics in the workplace to a whole new level. And by whole new level, I mean totally batsh*t backwards.

An anonymous former employee sent a 55-page Power-Presence-Purpose (PPP) presentation to HuffPost, detailing a self-improvement training offered to employees last year. According to "Jane," who has since left the company, the presentation was demeaning to women and left her feeling like a piece of meat.


For example, a section focused on appearances said that women need to "signal fitness and wellness" (is there any way to read that other than "don't be fat"?), and that women should have a "good haircut" and "manicured nails." They should also wear "well-cut attire that complements your body type," but also "don't flaunt your body" and "don't show skin" because "sexuality scrambles the mind."

So be hot, but not too hot. Wear clothes that flatter your body, but make sure no one notices your body. Be sure that your idea of not-too-much-skin conforms to every other person's subjective sexy threshold. And get your nails done, lady.

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Now how about we tack on a list of arbitrary "masculine" and "feminine" traits that make men look like natural leaders (ambitious, assertive, dominant, makes decisions easily, strong personality) and women look like pushovers (childlike, flatterable, gullible, soft-spoken, yielding).

Attendees were given a "Masculine/Feminine Score Sheet" before the seminar and asked to rate how they ranked on each trait in and out of the workplace. Jane said the message was that you had to keep these stereotypical traits in mind and adhere to them if you want to be successful at work.

She also said that women at the training were coached in how to interact with men, with advice such as:

  • Don't directly confront men in meetings, because men perceive this as threatening. (Women do not.) Meet before (or after) the meeting instead.
  • If you're having a conversation with a man, cross your legs and sit at an angle to him. Don't talk to a man face-to-face. Men see that as threatening.
  • Don't be too aggressive or outspoken.

Jane said that attendees were told that women's brains are 6% to 11% smaller than men's brains, with no further explanation for why that would even be relevant. It was also explained to them that women have a hard time focusing because their brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup. Men's brains are more like waffles, and they are better able to focus because they compartmentalize information in each little square.

So...Men are from Waffle House, Women are from IHOP? What actual fresh hell did we just fall into?

And wait one hot minute. If men are so good at focusing because waffles, what's with the bit about skin and sex scrambling their brain? Can they not just put sex into one waffle square and professionalism into another? If their brains are so good at separating out all the information they take in, how are they not capable of seeing a colleague without her legs crossed as just a colleague and not a sexy threat to their male ego? Could it be because the entire premise of this idea is bullpucky?

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Interestingly, the presentation was actually created by a woman—Marsha Clark, an outside consultant. The HuffPost article, in which Clark declined to comment, explains a bit of her background and why perhaps her approach to gender in the workplace appears so out-of-date:

"Clark touts her own business experience as critical to her consulting expertise. According to her website bio, she served as an executive at Electronic Data Systems, the Texas technology company founded by Ross Perot, for 21 years before striking out on her own as a consultant in 2000.

Working as one of the few women in the C-suites of the Texas tech industry in the 1980s and 1990s would have been a sexist minefield. That experience may be why Clark's advice still follows an older approach of telling women how to navigate within stereotypes rather than confronting them more directly."

Yeah, maybe. But it's baffling that anyone in 2018 could possibly find the above advice not completely abhorrent. Internalized misogyny, anyone?

Ernst & Young told HuffPost that the version of the training described here is no longer being used and that they disagreed with Jane's characterization of it. "Any isolated aspects are taken wholly out of context," they wrote. Mmmkay. I'm not sure how any of the above would be considered favorable in any context. And that's great that they aren't using this version any more, but it's only been a little over a year since they did—as if we didn't know in July of 2018 that giving women conflicting advice about how they should look and telling them to be more demure and less assertive in the workplace was not archaic, 1950's thinking.

It's crap like this that makes me want to buy allll the Crush the Patriarchy t-shirts. But maybe that's just my syrupy pancake brain talking.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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