Let's settle the discussion about the female hero in 'Rogue One' once and for all.

So, um. There's a new "Star Wars" trailer out.

I... wha...


Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Yeah, man.

...

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Right?

Awesome!

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

I know.

But wait, who's that lady?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

That's Jyn Erso.

Uh, who?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Jyn Erso. She appears to be the main character in "Rogue One," the new "Star Wars" movie.

Yes, I know that. I'm not an idiot. I mean, like, who is she?

There's not really much info on her yet, but judging by the trailer, she appears to be a renegade from the wrong side of the tracks with nothing left to lose.

Which probably means she's the hero.

Wait, wasn't the hero of the last "Star Wars" movie a woman too?


GIF from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"/Disney.

Yes.

That's kind of weird. Why would they do that?

I mean, why wouldn't they do that?

It's just, I don't know. It seems like ... why do they have to, like ... make a whole thing out of it?


Another woman! There's at least two women in this movie! Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Well, it's not necessarily "a thing." Why can't it just be ... what it is?

Is, like, every "Star Wars" movie going to have a female lead from now on? As, like, some sort of statement?

Probably not. But ... would it be wrong if they did? Putting men at the center of action/adventure movies was pretty much the default since the beginning of movies. But there's no real reason that has to be the case!

Women are perfectly capable of running, jumping, fighting, and blowing things up. When you think about it that way, having a woman lead two movies in a row seems a lot less weird.

Then why does it feel weird to me?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Look, women are 50% of the population. That being the case, you'd expect to see a roughly equal number of movies starring women and men. But right now, we don't. From 2007 to 2014, only 30% of all speaking roles in the top 700 grossing films went to women. And in 2014, only 21% of the top 100 grossing films featured a female lead, according to a report published by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC. That's kind of ridiculous! But it's what we're used to.

Balancing those tables isn't giving female heroes special preeminence. It's correcting a huge imbalance that already exists. It's totally understandable that it feels odd. But what's actually odd is the way things were already. If ... that makes sense.

But what if I want to see a "Star Wars" movie with a male hero?

GIF from "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi"/LucasFilm.

You're in luck! Men still hold the all-time record for Most "Star Wars" Movies Led — at six in a row. You can purchase all of those films on DVD or Blu-ray.

But what if I want to see one on the big screen with Dolby surround sound?

GIF from "Star Wars"/LucasFilm.

More good news! You can do that in just a few years when the Han Solo movie comes out.

Yeah, OK. That makes sense.

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Sure! Look. Change is hard. Men have been starring in big blockbuster movies since basically forever. But just because it's always been that way doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

It's not only fair to mix it up, it's more interesting! Variety is the spice of life! Normal is a setting on a washing machine!

I mean, the last woman-led "Star Wars" was pretty great. And this one looks ... pretty damn good too.

Women have always been more than capable of heading a "Star Wars" movie. And now that they're actually getting chances, they're killing it. Batting 1.000, actually (on an admittedly small sample size). I'll sign up for that any day.

Cool. Want to preorder tickets?

Nah. In the spirit of the film, I'm sneaking in.

GIF from Star Wars/YouTube.

Most Shared

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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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