Every swimwear brand should take note of Target's beautiful, Photoshop-free ads.

Spring's warmer weather can bring about an unfortunate, terrifying reminder: Beach season is around the corner.

Summer should be the season of carefree living, but fashion brands too often use the extra sunshine as an excuse to shove body-shaming ads about beach bodies down our throats for their own gain.

Target is the latest retailer to change the way it advertises beach bodies in a new swimsuit campaign featuring a diverse set of models in ads that haven't been digitally retouched.

Photo courtesy of Target.


On one hand, of course, Target's move isn't entirely selfless — body positivity, it turns out, is great for business, and at the end of the day, a business is exactly what Target is. On the other hand, it's great to see retailers realizing that body shame isn't what customers want to buy and adjusting accordingly.

No Photoshopped curves, no air-brushed stretch marks — the ads feature women enjoying the beach just as they are.

Photo courtesy of Target.

"We loved working with these women because they embody confidence and inspire women to embrace and be proud of who they are, regardless of their size or shape," Target explained in a statement.

Photo courtesy of Target.

Body-positive fashion is cropping up in more stores and in the ad campaigns that promote them.

The numbers don't lie — customers seem to appreciate the efforts.

When American Eagle's underwear line, Aerie, stopped retouching their underwear models three years ago — "There is no need to retouch beauty," CEO Jennifer Foyle had explained — the retailer saw its sales climb 14% compared to the year before during the fourth quarter.

Keeping festive with just a dose of Holiday red. #AerieREAL ❤️

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on

Some fashion brands have gone a step further in pushing the industry away from its body-shaming ways. More times than not, plus-size models still have an hourglass shape, and companies like H&M have come under fire for using plus-size models in ads while not selling clothes over a size 14 in stores.

A groundbreaking new campaign from Lane Bryant, however, actually shows the company's new fitness line on a number of plus-size athletes in a variety of body types, truly reflecting the brand's diverse customer base.

“Seize the day. In whatever body you have today." Preach @borntoreignathletics

A post shared by Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) on

So why are we seeing these more inclusive changes from brands now?

It's not like the fashion industry's obnoxious exclusivity and body-shaming troubles are 21st century inventions.

Social media has played a big role, AdWeek reported in 2016. On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, girls and women are speaking out about wanting retailers to have clothing options for various body types as well as more diverse models to sell the products. Seeing an opportunity for their bottom lines, brands are more than willing to listen and respond.

"We're seeing a great acceptance of girls in all different sizes, which is really exciting," Gary Dakin, a former executive at Ford Models, told AdWeek. "It's not something that was happening in our day at Ford."

It's a good thing, too, because the more the fashion industry realizes every body is a beach body, the better off we'll all be.

Note: Upworthy and Target have no business partnership.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture