Gabourey Sidibe's reaction to seeing herself on a subway poster is awesome.

The ad campaign challenges traditional beauty norms.

Last month, actress Gabourey Sidibe debuted her first-ever fashion campaign, Lane Bryant's #ThisBody.

Sure, the Oscar-nominated actress and "Empire" star has landed her share of magazine covers and feature spreads in the past, but the Lane Bryant campaign — which also included "Orange Is the New Black" actress Danielle Brooks and models Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, and Alessandra Garcia — marked a bold new step in her career.

Sidibe recently shared a photo from the campaign on Twitter, which perfectly explains why it means so much to her — and hopefully to others as well.

"I'm STILL not over this," she wrote, accompanied by a picture of her ad plastered across a subway station wall. "Who knows how many subway posters I walked by hoping to one day feel as beautiful as the faces I passed."


In a 2009 interview with Oprah, Sidibe opened up about the difficult process of accepting herself for who she is and for what she looks like.

"My first diet started when I was 6 years old. I've never been a small girl," she said. "One day, I had to sit down with myself and deiced that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body. ... I got tired of feeling bad all the time. I got tired of hating myself."

#ThisBody shines everywhere, all day. #BTS #WCW @gabby3shabby

A photo posted by Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) on

She's not alone, either. New York City's Girls Project reports that more than 80% of 10-year-old girls worry about being fat, and by middle school, between 40% and 70% of girls feel dissatisfied with two or more aspects of their bodies.

In a world filled with bullies and unrealistic beauty standards, girls have it rough. Campaigns like #ThisBody can help change that by showing girls everywhere that beauty doesn't have a size. This sort of representation matters.

One of the core aspects of the campaign centers on is pushing back against bullies — especially on social media.

The anonymity of social media mixed with the cruelty of society makes for a dangerous combination when it comes to the self-esteem of young women and girls. #ThisBody pushes back on weight-related insults flung by strangers.

In one of the campaign's videos, Sidibe reads a common message she receives: "I hope I never let myself get that big!" She also shares her response: "By 'big' you mean amazing and beautiful and fabulous, right?"

One thing that’s not up for debate. #ThisBody @gabby3shabby

A video posted by Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) on

The reality is that most women aren't a size 2. Somewhere around 65% of U.S. women are a size 14 or larger.

Despite the actual average size being somewhere between a 16 and 18, clothes 12 and above are usually labeled "plus-size" and in many cases aren't even available for purchase in stores.

These sorts of messages are damaging to girls, boys, women, men, and well, all of us. They warp our view of what's "average," and they demolish the self-confidence of impressionable minds. Seeing women like Sidibe, Graham, Brooks, Huffine, and Garcia not only embrace their bodies, but push back on the haters is a nice counterbalance to some of the bad in the world.

Yassssssssssssssssssssssss @gabby3shabby #ThisBody

A video posted by Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) on

Growing up, Sidibe looked at the subway posters but didn't see anyone who looked like her. Thanks to her, a future generation might not have to.

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