More

Obama quietly signed a bill for new parents everywhere when we weren't looking.

This bill is helping to change antiquated gender norms within families.

Obama quietly signed a bill for new parents everywhere when we weren't looking.

If you’ve ever had to change a child’s diaper in a public bathroom, you know it can be a nightmare if the right equipment isn’t there.

But the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act is a step toward changing that.  

The BABIES Act, quietly signed by President Barack Obama in October 2016, will expand the number of baby changing stations in all publicly accessible federal buildings. This means that buildings like post offices, Social Security offices, and courthouses will have at least one baby changing station on each floor, and they will be in both men and women’s bathrooms.


The bill received mostly bipartisan support, too, a welcome form of relief during such a partisan time.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

The act is "important to ensure that [bathrooms] are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible," David N. Cicilline, the Democratic congressman who sponsored the bill wrote in his press release.      

Aside from added convenience, this new bill is also a step toward breaking down a notorious form of sexism.  

Historically speaking, changing tables have more commonly been in women’s bathrooms, further perpetuating the stereotype that women should be responsible for child care outside of the household.

But by putting changing tables in men's bathrooms, too, we can break down the idea that women should always be the primary caretakers for children.  

In 2015, actor Ashton Kutcher launched this discussion publicly by asking stores to make changing stations available for men and women.

His Change.org petition called out the lack of changing tables in mens bathrooms as "gender stereotyping."        

"This assumption" he said, "is gender stereotyping and companies should be supporting all parents that shop at their stores equally — no matter their gender."

Kutcher's simple act led Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman to launch a bill in 2015 that would make changing tables required in all public restrooms in New York — such as restaurants and theaters — regardless of gender.

While the particular bill is still in committee for the city of New York, Obama's BABIES Act will help change bathrooms in federal buildings all over the U.S. This is good news because it's clear that politicians are realizing that not making family needs accessible to all is a form of gender discrimination.        

The act is also a way of breaking down hypermasculinity, too.  

Hypermasculinty, a term that expresses the exaggeration of stereotypical male behavior such as physical strength, stoicism, and aggression, is often used to put men in a box, ultimately negatively affecting them and those around them.  

Photo via iStock.

When we push the antiquated ideas that women work with the children and men serve as babysitters, we add unnecessary pressure to moms, but we also further perpetuate the idea that being a caring and attentive father somehow makes someone less of a man — an idea that couldn't be further from the truth.          

And this isn't just important for heterosexual couples, either.

Gender norms also plague same-sex relationships. Male same-sex couples, often under pressure to follow archaic masculine or feminine roles, will now have safer and more accessible options for taking care of their little ones in public.    

The bill, which was originally introduced in April, is also a pleasant reminder that our government can in fact work for us when we put partisanship aside and work to improve the lives of citizens around us.    

"This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve," Cicilline said.

If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

Keep Reading Show less
via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

Keep Reading Show less