Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds — famous actors, yes, but also a famously awesome couple.

The pair is widely known as funny, down-to-Earth parents to their two young girls — not to mention total #couplegoals.

But just because they love to goof around and crack jokes doesn't mean they take their jobs as parents lightly.


Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

In a revealing interview with Glamour, Lively opened up about the couple's plans for raising strong, independent daughters.

Though she admits she doesn't always know the right thing to do, she shared an anecdote about reading a script that had a profound effect on the way she talks to and around her girls:

"I was reading a script, and this woman, who’s very tough, did something where she took control of her life. And so she’s sitting, gripping the wheel, 'a look of empowerment on her face.' And I thought, Hmm, they don’t point that out about men: 'Look how empowered he is.' It’s just innate."

At home, Lively says, she and her husband make a conscious effort to avoid language that's either subtly sexist or even by default male.

"[Reynolds] will pick up, like a caterpillar, and instead of saying, 'What’s his name?' he’ll say, 'What’s her name?'" Lively said. "Or we’ve joked that my daughter is bossy. But my husband said, 'I don’t ever want to use that word again. You’ve never heard a man called bossy.'"

As a big-time Hollywood actor and now movie producer, Lively knows a thing or two about how people react to strong women and knows firsthand how damaging stereotypes can be.

"We’re all born feeling perfect until somebody tells us we’re not," she said of her daughters.

In other words, women aren't born feeling somehow inferior. Rather, the world tries to slowly beat it into them.

"So there’s nothing I can teach my daughter [James]," Lively said. She already has all of it. The only thing I can do is protect what she already feels. I do know that I have to watch her and listen to her and not project any of my own insecurities or struggles on her."

The statistics prove Lively's point: How we use gendered language really matters.

Calling a caterpillar a "girl" or a "boy" may not seem like a very important decision, but consider this:

Children's books are far more likely to feature a male lead character, Hollywood is as non-gender-inclusive as it's ever been, and most of us assume doctors or other high-level professionals are a "he."

From the time we're born, we are surrounded by a culture that paints women into a corner. Tells them that they can be a nurse but not a doctor. That they can't be in charge lest they be labeled "bossy." Tells them that not even an anthropomorphic farm animal can have the spotlight if it's a girl.

Lively and Reynolds are getting a jump on fighting back. If you're part of a couple that wants to be just like them, following their lead on this would be an awesome place to start.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less