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Mattel is welcoming Ashley Graham, body-positive fashion icon, to the Barbie family.

The model and activist became the latest celeb to get the Barbie treatment.

Mattel is welcoming Ashley Graham, body-positive fashion icon, to the Barbie family.

Let's be real: The people at Barbie have been absolutely knocking it out of the ballpark in recent years.

Whether it's in airing ads that defy gender norms or by creating a wider and more realistic range of body shapes, a lot has been happening in the world of the iconic blonde.

One of the coolest additions, without a doubt, has been the Barbie Sheroes line, which pays tribute to real women doing really cool things in the world. They've featured the likes of history-making ballerina Misty Copeland, country artist Trisha Yearwood, actress Emmy Rossum, "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, and Disney star Zendaya, among others.


In comes the newest member of the Barbie Sheroes family: plus-size model Ashley Graham.

Graham made history as the first plus-size model to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. She's a major proponent for body diversity in the modeling industry, and she delivered a powerful TED talk on the topic of body positivity.

The team at Barbie wanted to honor Graham for "pushing boundaries within fashion and for promoting a message of body positivity, self-acceptance and female empowerment," so they did what they do best: They made a doll.

Here's Graham accepting an award at the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year ceremony in Los Angeles. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Glamour.

At this year's Glamour Women of the Year ceremony, Graham was presented with her very own Barbie — and she freaked out about it in the best possible way.

Graham worked closely with Mattel to make sure the end result accurately represented her look and her personality. She had a special request for the renowned doll makers: no thigh gap. They were happy to oblige. From the sound of things, she's pretty happy with how it turned out.

"She got a round belly. She got round hips. She got round everything, yes!" Graham told Glamour when she first saw the doll.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you'll be able to find Graham's Barbie on store shelves as of now — but that could soon change.

The Sheroes collection is largely a series of one-off models given directly to the women who inspired them, but in certain cases (like Ava DuVernay's, which saw high demand from consumers), they've been put into mass production.

At the moment, there doesn't seem to be plans to put the Ashley Graham doll into mass production, but with enough demand from those interested in buying one, it could be possible. Even so, the fact that Graham's doll exists at all is a sign of how the world is beginning to dismantle traditional standards of beauty — and it goes to show that Mattel can make a doll with a different body type if it wants to.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Glamour.

For as long as Barbie has existed, she's been upheld as a standard of beauty. By creating an Ashley Graham doll, Mattel is making some major progress.

“We need to work together to redefine the global image of beauty and continue to push for a more inclusive world,” Graham said in a press release. “I’m thrilled Barbie has not only evolved their product, but also has continued to honor women who are pushing boundaries. It’s an honor to be immortalized in plastic."

Intentional or not, having one single type of Barbie body meant Mattel was reinforcing some harmful beauty standards that quite simply couldn't be met by human women. In undoing some of that work, Barbie is helping to make the world a better and more accepting place.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

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The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

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