If this is what it means to be an American, count me in.
Sometimes, Google autocomplete doesn't make me hate everything. How do you define American?
Each organization has gone above and beyond to make our world a better place.
Since 2009, the Classy Awards have celebrated nonprofits for their unique approaches to making our world a better place for everyone. Winners are given a platform to amplify their cause and showcase the positive impact of their programs.
This year, we are proud to announce that the Classy Awards have partnered with Upworthy, and we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the 2023 winners.
From championing gender equality, to massively reducing food waste, to providing trade-based skills training to the neurodivergent community, each organization has made an incredible contribution to the betterment of our world.
Collectively through their efforts, nearly 1.5 million people and animals were served across 34 countries worldwide last year alone. That’s a win in itself.
Check out the 11 winners for 2023 below:
In an effort to address the growing concern of food waste, hunger, and environmental sustainability, 412 Food Rescue uses an innovative app to match volunteers, aka Food Heroes, with other organizations that might have a surplus of perfectly good but unsellable food that would otherwise be wasted and redirect it to people who need it.
Food Heroes has redirected 137 million pounds of edible food from landfills to the people who need it most.
She made the cardinal offense of being 37 and daring to not dress like a grandma.
Once women reach a certain age, society does something weird. It starts sending messages that you're simply too old to dress as if you have a social life. In general, it seemed as if society had been moving away from those unrealistic expectations laid upon moms and women over the age of 35, but maybe not.
Jessica Buwick, a mom on TikTok, found out fairly quickly that people still have interesting ideas about how "old people" should dress when going out in public. The 37-year-old mom ordered a plethora of outfits to try on to wear for her son's graduation, prompted by her seeing other moms on social media dressing much more fancy for graduations than parents did when she graduated.
It was a silly, lighthearted video showing her trying on all of the outfits that did not make the cut for various reasons. One was too short and didn't zip. Another was ill-fitting and confusing. They were obvious catastrophes that just didn't work, so she made the misfortune into funny content. And people had a lot to say.
Many people laughed along, while others took the opportunity to take jabs at the mom's fashion choices.
One commenter decided to point her in the right direction by commenting, "Maybe YOU should have shopped in an age-appropriate section of the store so you don't look like a SKANK in your clothing, thereby humiliating your poor son."
Yikes, that was a bit harsh and sadly a common theme as multiple people pointed out how she was going to embarrass her son.
#graduation #graduationfail #dressfail #graduationoutfit #graduationoutfitideas
But instead of letting the haters get to her, she decided to follow up with a video of more "appropriate" outfits for an elderly mother to wear while attending her child's graduation.
"Apparently I triggered a whole demographic of y'all when I shared my dress options for my son's high school graduation. A lot of you were horrified with my choices," Buwick continued. "Apparently they were not appropriate for a high school graduation nor for someone of my age...37."
Clearly, the mom received the message and proved it by donning a floor-length gown with long sleeves to make sure minimal skin was showing. In another outfit that gave off Julie Andrews vibes, she burst into song to complete the look, though she nixed that dress because the sleeve was slightly sheer. The outfit she settled on at the end was clearly more the speed she thought the commenters were expecting.
Thank you for coming #graudation #graduationdresses #formaldresses
She took the comments in stride and made others laugh while doing so. Her son's graduation had already passed, and in a follow-up video she showed the outfit she decided to go with—a cute pair of dress shorts, a tank top and a brightly colored blazer. While I'm sure someone will disagree with that outfit choice as well, Buwick seems to have found a perfectly hilarious way to handle the negativity.
Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.
It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.
Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.
All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.
To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.
Gina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi
When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.
“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”
As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.
“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.
Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.
“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”
To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.
Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.
Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.
Nathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi
Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.
“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”
However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.
“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.
She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”
By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.
Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.
Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.
“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”
Helga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi
When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.
“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”
In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.
“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.
However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.
Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.
Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.
“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”
Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.
This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.
What will people say about us 50 years from now?
If we looked 60 years into the past, there are a lot of things that were accepted as “normal” that today most people find abhorrent. For example, people used to smoke cigarettes everywhere. They’d light up in hospitals, schools and even churches.
People also used to litter like crazy. It’s socially unacceptable now, but if you lived in the ’70s and finished your meal at McDonald’s, you’d chuck your empty styrofoam container (remember those?) and soda cup right out of the window of your car and onto the street.
It’s hard to imagine that just 60 years ago spousal abuse was considered family business and wasn't the concern of law enforcement.
It makes me wonder when people in the future look back on the year 2022, which things will they see as barbaric? Almost certainly, the way we treat the animals we use for food will be seen as cruel. The racial divides in the criminal justice system will be seen as a moral abomination. And I’m sure that people will also look at our continued reliance on fossil fuels as a major mistake.
A Reddit user by the name u/MEMELORD_JESUS asked the AskReddit subforum “What’s the weirdest thing society accepts as normal?” and the responses exposed a lot of today’s practices that are worth questioning.
A lot of the responses revolved around American work ethic and how we are taught to live to work and not to work to live. We seem to always be chasing some magical reward that’s just around the corner instead of enjoying our everyday lives. “I’ll get to that when I retire,” we say and then don’t have the energy or the inclination to do so when the time comes.
There are also a lot of people who think that our healthcare system will be looked at with utter confusion by people in the future.
Here are 17 of the best responses to the question, “What’s the weirdest thing society accepts as normal?”
"Working until you're old, greying, and broken then using whatever time you have left for all the things you wish you could have done when you were younger." — Excited_Avocado_8492
"That dead people need pillows in caskets." — Qfn4g02016
"Guessing how much you owe the IRS in taxes." — SheWentThruMyPhone
"Politicians blatantly lying to the people. We accept it so readily, it's as though it's supposed to be that way." — BlackLetyterLies
"Alcohol is so normalized but drugs are not. It's so weird. I say this as an alcohol loving Belgian, beer is half of our culture and I'm proud of it too but like... that's fucking weird man." — onions_cutting_ninja
"People having kids and trying to live their lives again through them, vicariously, forcing the kids to do things that the parents never got to do, even when the kids show no inclination, and even have an active dislike, for those things." — macaronsforeveryone
"Living to work vs working to live." — Food-at-last
"Being on camera or recorded any time you are in public." — Existing-barely
"'Feel-good' news stories about how a kid makes a lemonade stand or something to pay for her mom's cancer treatment because no one can afford healthcare in America." — GotaLuvit35
"As a non-American, I am amazed at their credit score system. As a third-world citizen, credit cards are usually for rich (and slightly less rich) people who have more disposable money than the rest of us and could pay off their debt.
The way I see people on Reddit talk about it is strange and somewhat scary. Everyone should have a card of his own as soon as he becomes an adult, you should always buy things with it and pay back to actively build your score. You're basically doomed if you don't have a good score, and living your life peacefully without a card is not an option, and lastly, you'll be seen as an idiot if you know nothing about it." — BizarroCullen
"Spending 5/7ths of your life waiting for 2/7ths of it to come. We hate like 70% of our life, how is that considered fine?" — Deltext3rity
"Child beauty pageants." — throwa_way682
"The rape of male prisoners. It's almost considered a part of the sentence. People love to joke about it all the time." — visicircle
"Tipping culture in the US. Everyone thinks that it's totally OK for employers not to pay the employees, and the customers are expected to pay extra to pay the employees wages. I don't understand it." — Lysdexiic
"Having smartphones in our faces all day. This shit isn't normal...imma do it anyway...but it is not normal." — Off_Brand_Barbie_OBB
"Students being assigned homework over weekends and only having a two-day weekend. The whole point of a weekend is to take a break from life, and then you have one day to recover from sleep deprivation then one day to relax which you can’t because of thinking about the next day being Monday. And the two days still having work to do anyways." — MrPers0n3O
"Children/young teens posting on social media sites. I’m not necessarily talking about posting on a private Instagram followed by friends, I’m talking about when kids post on tiktok publicly without parental consent." — thottxy
This article originally appeared on 03.11.22
Kids were tougher then for a reason.
Parents, do you think your child would be able to survive if they were transported back to the '70s or '80s? Could they live at a time before the digital revolution put a huge chunk of our lives online?
These days, everyone has a phone in their pocket, but before then, if you were in public and needed to call someone, you used a pay phone. Can you remember the last time you stuck 50 cents into one and grabbed the grubby handset?
According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, roughly 100,000 pay phones remain in the U.S., down from 2 million in 1999.
Do you think a 10-year-old kid would have any idea how to use a payphone in 2022? Would they be able to use a Thomas Guide map to find out how to get somewhere? If they stepped into a time warp and wound up in 1975, could they throw a Led Zeppelin album on the record player at a party?
Another big difference between now and life in the '70s and '80s has been public attitudes toward smoking cigarettes. In 1965, 42.4% of Americans smoked and now, it’s just 12.5%. This sea change in public opinion about smoking means there are fewer places where smoking is deemed acceptable.
But in the early '80s, you could smoke on a bus, on a plane, in a movie theater, in restaurants, in the classroom and even in hospitals. How would a child of today react if their third grade teacher lit up a heater in the middle of math class?
Dan Wuori, senior director of early learning at the Hunt Institute, tweeted that his high school had a smoking area “for the kids.” He then asked his followers to share “something you experienced as a kid that would blow your children’s minds.”
A lot of folks responded with stories of how ubiquitous smoking was when they were in school. While others explained that life was perilous for a kid, whether it was the school playground equipment or questionable car seats.
Here are a few responses that’ll show today’s kids just how crazy life used to be in the '70s and '80s.
First of all, let’s talk about smoking.
\u201cMy high school had a smoking area. For the kids. What\u2019s something you experienced as a kid that would blow your children\u2019s minds?\u201d— Dan Wuori (@Dan Wuori) 1650809267
Mine too. Up until my senior year. Also, my biology teacher smoked in the classroom. We used to tell time by how many cigarettes she had in her ashtray.— rbe (@perdidostschool) April 24, 2022
We made clay ashtrays as gifts for Mother's Day...whether moms smoked or not!😂— Mark (@coach_mark1) April 24, 2022
We had a smoking room IN our high school. We also had cadet training and a shooting range in the basement of the school. We had Latin as an option and could drop math in Grade 10! Also in the « good old days »: we could smoke in class at Carleton, at the movies and on airplanes.— 🇨🇦Jacques Leger🇺🇸 (@jacquesleger17) April 24, 2022
I grew up in a rural area. It wasn’t unheard of for guys to have a shotgun in a gun rack in their trucks, parked at school. Could also carry large knives and openly chew tobacco in school. They don’t allow any of this now, which is good.— High Plains Grifter (@Too_Grizzled) April 24, 2022
Want to call someone? Need to get picked up from baseball practice? You can’t text mom or dad, you’ll have to grab a quarter and use a pay phone.
My high school had pay phones.— Mark Angres (@AngresMark) April 24, 2022
Using a pay phone that was outside the school gym to call my parents for a ride home from practice. But calling collect and saying "pick me up" and hanging up before getting charged. 😂— Stacy Kratochvil 💟 (@StacyKratochvil) April 24, 2022
People had little regard for their kids’ safety or health.
I slept in the back window of the car when the family went on vacation!— CJFuemmeler (@fuemmelercj) April 24, 2022
We stared Death in the eye every day. pic.twitter.com/zWHh5bvUym— Ed Lettis 🌻 (@edbobgreen) April 24, 2022
Car seats that just hung over the front seat. Hang on, kid! pic.twitter.com/2DdCoXhqmf— Bluenoser Forever (@long17_de) April 24, 2022
I have heard stories of country schools in the 50s (which are now urban schools) having boys swim naked in PE (that’s just how they did it in the country). Van Horn High School in Independence MO.— Matt Parker (@DrMattParker) April 24, 2022
I use this example any time people lament the changes from the “good ole days”.
Also, in Driver's Ed. We warched this film, "Blood on the Highways." 45 minutes of unedited film of fatal highway accidents. This was mostly before mandatory seatbelts. 45 years later, I remember the rear view mirror that split a guy's skull, imbedded in his brain.— some call me Tim 🇺🇦 🌻 MAT Elem. Educ. (@realtimaier) April 24, 2022
Large fry as your entire meal in middle school. It was the most popular item too. Literally as it sounds. Just a large basket of French fries for lunch.— Monique (@LivAnotherDay) April 24, 2022
Truck with gun racks/rifles in the HS parking lot.— FortWorthPlayboy (@FWPlayboy) April 24, 2022
(DFW too not a small town) pic.twitter.com/RnWiKQwKB7
You could buy a soda in school.
Vending machine in the cafeteria to buy sodaaaaa 🥤— Anna Sutter (@AnnaMSutter) April 24, 2022
Things were a lot different before the internet.
If you wanted to listen to a particular song, you had to call the radio station (and hope you got through) and ask them to play it for you.— Sarah (@sarahbschaefer) April 25, 2022
Remember pen pals?
I wrote letters regularly to a penpal from a different country and then saved them all in a shoebox. Then in college I flew to “meet” her for the 1st time to participate in her wedding ❤️ But now we connect on FB 😂— Ms.Teach (@MidwestTeach14) April 24, 2022
A lot of people bemoan the fact that the children of today aren’t as tough as they were a few decades back. But that’s probably because the parents of today are better attuned to their kids’ needs so they don't have to cheat death to make it through the day.
But just imagine how easy parenting would be if all you had to do was throw your kids a bag of Doritos and a Coke for lunch and you never worried about strapping them into a car seat?
This article originally appeared on 06.08.22
Best. Host. Ever.
Seeing the northern lights is a common bucket list adventure for many people. After all, it ticks a lot of boxes—being a dazzling light show, rich historical experience and scientific phenomenon all rolled into one. Plus there’s the uncertainty of it all, never quite knowing if you’ll witness a vivid streak of otherworldly colors dance across the sky…or simply see an oddly colored cloud. It’s nature’s slot machine, if you will.
Traveler and content creator Pency Lucero was willing to take that gamble. After thorough research, she stumbled upon an Airbnb in Rörbäck, Sweden with an actual picture of the northern lights shining above the cabin in the listing. With that kind of photo evidence, she felt good about her odds.
However, as soon as she landed, snow began falling so hard that the entire sky was “barely visible,” she told Upworthy. Martin, the Airbnb host, was nonetheless determined to do everything he could to ensure his guests got to see the spectacle, even offering to wake Lucero up in the middle of the night if he saw anything.
Then one night, the knock came.
In a video Lucero posted to TikTok, which now has over 12 million views, we hear Martin ushering her out to take a peek. Then we see Lucero’s face light up just before seeing the sky do the same.
“I thought it was a prank,” the onscreen text reads in the clip. “And then I see it….”
I’m on the verge of crying every time I watch this video I still cannot believe it. 📍 Rörbäck, Sweden
“I was mostly in awe of what this Earth is capable of,” Lucero recalled. “I never expected it to be THAT beautiful for the naked eye.” This is a hopeful sentiment against the widely accepted notion that the northern lights are often better looking in photos than they are in real life.
As Lucero asserted in a follow-up video, “Our video doesn’t do it justice at all…I would argue it’s even better for the naked eye.”
@penslucero Replying to @PatriotFamilyHomes ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version - Andy Morris
Others were quick to back Lucero with anecdotes of their own experience.
“It’s definitely possible to see it like in the pics. I saw it this winter in Norway, there was bright green, purple and so much movement.”
“They’re so much better in person, the way they dance and move around is insane and beautiful.”
Of course, if you ask Martin, who everyone agreed was the best host ever, seeing guest reactions of pure wonder and joy is even “better than the lights themselves.” But still, he can’t deny that there’s a breathtaking magic to it all. He shared with Upworthy that “Sometimes it feels like it will pull you up in the sky like you are in the middle of it. I wish everyone would have the chance to witness it.”
A photo from Martin's Airbnb listing
When it comes to tips for actually seeing the northern lights, Martin admits it still mostly comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, his Airbnb listing can help with that.
Nature has a great way of reminding us that beyond the distractions and distresses of modern life, there is sublime beauty waiting for the chance to capture our hearts.
This article originally appeared on 03.27.23
If you've got the space, why not rent it out?
With the cost of living skyrocketing, people are looking for clever ways to make an additional buck. The good news is there are many ways to make extra money, whether driving for Lyft, freelancing on Fiverr, babysitting through Care.com, running errands with Task Rabbit or renting your pool out with Swimply.
Joe Gorham, 54, of Brighton, England, told The Mirror that renting out the three parking spaces in front of his home was a low-key way to rake in some passive income with little effort.
He said that renting out the spaces brings in an additional £8,000 ($10,000) annually. The money comes in extra handy because he is a full-time caregiver for his partner.
Joe came up with the idea after paying around £200 ($250) per week to park his car in Southampton when he and his partner went out on cruises. His friend told him about an app called YourParkingSpace, which saved him money when he was out at sea. So, he figured, why not rent out the spaces in front of his house?
'I make an extra £8,000 each year by renting out my driveway - how you can too'https://t.co/iEzyETM8i0pic.twitter.com/rV8G5hC3y8— Mirror Money Saving (@MirrorMoney) June 9, 2023
"I started doing it because we had the spaces spare, and we also had some issues with the house that needed to be sorted, we had to get a new roof because of a leak, and we also had to get the windows and the garage doors sorted, too,” he told The Mirror.
"It was initially for this but with all the price hikes going on, it's really helped us keep going,” he added.
One reason why Gorham has been so successful is that he lives in an area where parking is prohibitively expensive for tourists and people who work at the local hospital. He lives near the Brighton Seafront, a popular tourist destination known for its pier, railway, aquarium and fishing.
But he doesn’t do it just for the money; he posts his spots because he believes it’s good for the local community and prevents people from being ripped off.
“I don’t do it specifically for an income–I do it because I think that the council in Brighton just charges so much money for parking, and it doesn’t encourage people to come and spend in the city,” he said according to MSN.
"If you parked on Brighton Seafront, you are only allowed to park for 11 hours, and that will cost you £33 ($42); if you go to the NCP car park it will cost you £48 ($60) for the day,” he said.
Gorham charges people an affordable £12.50 to park in a spot for the day ($15.75), and they can also use the car charger that cost him £350. He says the number of people using his charger is rising as more people adopt electric vehicles.
Renting out your parking space could bring in some easy extra money, especially if you live near a tourist destination, hospital, university or sports stadium. Also, those who live in heavily populated areas with fewer parking spaces or stringent parking restrictions can also make some good money, too.
In the UK, Gorham uses the YourParkingSpace app to rent out his space, for those of you who live in the United States, Spacer,Pavemint, and ParkStash offer similar services.
Her "invisible labor" quickly became impossible to ignore.
“Invisible work,” aka “invisible labor,” was a term coined in 1987 by socialist Arlene Kaplan Daniels to describe unseen, unacknowledged and unpaid work most often performed by women—though in an academic sense, it pertains to all marginalized groups.
The unpaid aspect, Daniels noted, has been a particularly important factor, since in Western society we have come to believe that it isn’t work unless there’s monetary pay involved. This philosophy has a two fold effect. One, even things that are enjoyable and easy are considered work if you receive an income from them. And two, domestic duties like childcare and house cleaning, no matter how arduous they are, are not recognized as work simply because they don’t result in a paycheck.
It’s easy to see how this widely accepted concept falls short of reality, especially for women performing said domestic duties with little to no recompense. What’s more, many women now have to balance out these tasks, which require time and effort, with a “real” job just to make ends meet.That’s why more and more women are making their invisible labor impossible to ignore, be it in lighthearted or more serious ways.
Lindsay Donnelly (@lindsaydonnelly2), chose the former approach. In a video clip posted to her TikTok, Donnelly shared how her husband made a comment that she “did nothing around the house.”
Donnelly’s response? Why, to actually do nothing, of course. For two days, she picked up nary a dish or garment…all before leaving on a girls' trip.
The results speak for themselves:
@lindsaydonnelly2 Then I left town for a girls trip… #marriagehumor♬ Karma (feat. Ice Spice) - Taylor Swift
Donnelly’s video ended up going viral with 14.5 million views. And comments generally fell into one of two categories—either “Yes, queen!" or “Get a divorce,” more or less. No matter the reaction, women across the board could relate in one way or another to Donnelly’s experience.
Donnelly later posted a follow-up video with her husband, giving him an opportunity to “redeem” himself with an apology. The tone is clearly playful, as Donnelly can’t stop giggling, and ends with her saying it was a “poo poo butt move” (there was a kid present after all) and that he is still a good husband.
@lindsaydonnelly2 Replying to @kris ♬ original sound - Lindsay D
Viewers weren’t convinced that the situation was benign, however, and some even viewed Donnelly’s laughter as a nervous reaction. Because the truth is, where Donnelly’s interaction with her husband might just be a slice of marriage humor, for many, it’s a stark reality. So many women are fed up with household labor not being equal that even the most trivial of examples can be triggering.
Donnelly even went so far as to post another follow-up video listing all the things that her husband did do around the house, like cooking all her vegetarian meals “just the way I like them,” cleaning more on a daily basis, paying the bills, etc. That, however, was mostly perceived as her partner doing the “bare minimum” and Donnelly performing “damage control.”
guys im screwed…♬ This Is a Work of Art (Sketchy)
We only get minute snippets of people’s lives through social media, so it’s impossible to truly quantify the actual health of Donnelly’s relationship—plus, there are professionals for that sort of thing. But one thing is clear: just because domestic chores aren’t considered labor in the eyes of society, their importance becomes evident once they disappear. People are ready for their efforts to be compensated. If not with monetary gain, with basic respect.