+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy
Celebrity

Richard Simmons makes a rare public statement against Pauly Shore playing him in a new movie

The trailer for "The Court Jester" has people excited.

richard simmons, pauly shore, mark wolper

Pauly Shore as Richard Simmons.

Even though Richard Simmons dropped out of the public eye in 2014, the world clearly wants more of the exercise guru. That was made clear when a new teaser trailer for “The Court Jester,” a short film where Simmons is played by Pauly Shore, dropped before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

On the first day of the trailer’s release, it received over 230,000 views on YouTube. The top commenter does a great job of explaining why people are so interested in Shore as Simmons.

“Richard Simmons is an incredibly fascinating man and I'm very eager to see how this turns out,” Dilapsor wrote. “I also think Pauly Shore is long overdue for some sort of career revival and I really hope this helps him achieve that.”


“The Court Jester” appears to be a sneak peek into what we can expect seeing Shore as Simmons in an upcoming full-length biopic being produced by The Wolper Organization, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. In a statement to CNN, the company's president, Mark Wolper, said the company is in “serious discussions with a major writer to develop this as a dramatic and heartfelt feature in the tone of Little Miss Sunshine.”

The Court Jester | Official Teaser | Pauly Shore is Richard Simmons

That news may excite those who feel Pauly Shore was born to play Simmons. However, the real Richard Simmons isn’t very excited about the news. He commented on the situation in a rare public statement on his official Facebook page.

"I have never given my permission for his movie. So don't believe everything you read," he wrote. "I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful. Thank you for all your love and support."

No one is sure why Simmons refuses to be part of the project; it could be that he’s enjoying his retirement. He could also be reticent for fear that Shore’s casting may make him the butt of the joke in the movie. That would be unfortunate for a man who spent his life helping people overcome their body issues, discuss their mental health challenges and get fit.

“While we would love to have him involved, we respect his desire to privacy and plan to produce a movie that honors him, celebrates him and tells a dramatic story,” the Wolper Organization said in a statement to CNN. “We know he is deeply private, and we would never want to invade that; however, he is an amazing person who changed millions of people's lives, and the effect he has had on the world needs to be recognized.”

Shore believes that now is the perfect time to celebrate Simmons’ life.

“I’m really excited about sharing Richard Simmons’s life with the world. We all need this biopic now more than ever,” Shore said in a statement. “Simmons represented mental health, getting people in shape and being his authentic silly self!”

Simmons was ubiquitous on American TV from the ‘80s until he stepped out of the spotlight in 2014. His disappearance was the subject of much speculation, with some claiming that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper or that he had transitioned into a woman. However, a 2022 TMZ documentary, “What Really Happened to Richard Simmons,” set the record straight.

According to TMZ, Simmons suffered from knee troubles that prevented him from being the same big, gregarious personality that people have loved for decades. So, he left it all behind.

"He wanted to be remembered as a vibrant, healthy man," the documentary claimed, "not an elderly man with medical problems. Richard wanted to retreat before his image was recast as an old man. And his knee problems were a huge factor in his decision… He had a right knee replacement a few years back. And still needed a left one. He was in a lot of pain."

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Pop Culture

Nicole Kidman shares the unconventional marriage rule she has with husband Keith Urban

They've had this communication rule since the very beginning of their 18 year relationship.

Keith Urban (left) Nicole Kidman (right)

Long before Nicole Kidman began her long-term relationship with AMC theaters, she was committed to husband and country singer Keith Urban. The two have happily been together since 2006—which is a good run for any modern day marriage, but most certainly a Hollywood one.

And perhaps their nearly decades-long success can be partially attributed to one surprising communication rule: no texting.

While appearing on the Something To Talk About podcast in 2023, Kidman shared that she was the one who initiated the unconventional agreement.

"We never text each other, can you believe that? We started out that way – I was like, 'If you want to get a hold of me, call me…"I wasn't really a texter.,” the “Moulin Rouge” actress shared.

She added that while Urban did attempt texting her a few items early on, he eventually switched when Kidman wasn’t very responsive. And now, 18 years later, they only call each other.

“We just do voice to voice or skin to skin, as we always say. We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don’t text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times…I don’t want that between my lover and I,” she told Parade

.

There are, of course, some pros and cons to calling over texting. Research has shown that people who call feelmore connected to one another vs. texting, with the voice being an integral component of bonding. As our society becomes increasingly more distant and lonely, finding those moments might be more important than ever.

At the same time, calling can invoke a lot more anxiety compared to texting, which could lead someone to not communicating at all. Also, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to call my partner for mundane things like “don’t forget the eggs” would drive me crazy.

But regardless of whether or not you adopt Kidman and Urban’s no-texting rule, perhaps the bigger takeaway is that relationship longevity depends on being able to establish your own rules. One that feels good and that each partner is able to stick to. Especially when it comes to communication.

As Urban himself told E! News at the CMT Music Awards, "I have no advice for anybody,You guys figure out whatever works for you…We're figuring it out. You figure it out. Everybody's different. There's no one size fits all."

Luckily, there are many ways to have good text hygiene, without having to do away with it completely. Very Well Mind suggests to avoid texting too many questions, and to be respectful of your partner's schedule (probably best to not text them while they’re sleeping just to say “hey,” for example). Nor should texting be used to argue or deal with conflict. Lastly, probably save the lengthy, in-depth conversations for a phone call. Fifteen heart emojis are totally fine though.


This article originally appeared on 4.17.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Family

A recently-deceased mom became a celebrity after her kids' published stunningly clever obituary

“I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated.”

The Hamilton Spectator

RIP Sybil Marie Hicks

It's said that everyone dies twice. The first is your physical death, the second is the last time anyone utters your name.

Sybil Marie Hicks, from Baysville, Ontario, died on February 2, at the age of 81, but it'll be a long time before her name is forgotten. Her children have turned her into a posthumous celebrity after writing a hilarious first-person obituary for her that was published in The Hamilton Spectator on February 5, 2019.

According to her daughter, it was fitting tribute.


"Mom was never boring," Hicks' daughter, Barb Drummond, told Yahoo Lifestyle. "Mom lived large. She would do anything for anyone. It was rare for Mom not to have a smile on her face. Mom was always ready for a laugh."

The obituary begins with a shot at her husband, Ron. "It hurts me to admit it, but I, Mrs. Ron Hicks from Baysville, have passed away," they wrote. "I leave behind my loving husband, Ron Hicks, whom I often affectionately referred to as a 'Horse's Ass.'"

She then goes on to roast her own children.

"I also left behind my children whom I tolerated over the years; Bob (with Carol) my oldest son and also my favourite. Brian (with Ginette) who was the Oreo cookie favourite, Brenda AKA 'Hazel' who would run to clean the bathrooms when she heard company was coming," they continued. "Barbara (with Gordon) the ever Miss Perfect and finally Baby Bruce who wouldn't eat homemade turkey soup because he didn't want to be alert looking for bones while he ate.”

The piece ends with a great zinger and a bit of a mystery: "I finally have the smoking hot body I have always wanted… having been cremated. Please come say goodbye and celebrate my wonderful life with my husband and his special friend Dorothy who is now lovingly taking care of my horse's ass."

Did her husband have a side piece or are they talking about the dog?

The viral obituary has done more than just spread a few much needed laughs across the world, it's helped the family heal after Hicks' long battle with Alzheimer's disease. The disorder may have stolen Hicks' quick wit sharp tongue; but, in a way, the obituary, has given voice to a woman who was long silenced.

"We just thought that when she passed, we really didn't want to have this sort of boilerplate template obituary," Brian Hicks, the second eldest of Hick's five children, told the CBC.

"We wanted to do something that kind of celebrated who she was and to give us an opportunity to basically have one last conversation with her, and have some laughs at the same time," he said.

The Hicks family hopes that those who are moved by their mother's story will consider donating to their local Alzheimer's charity.

Read the entire obituary at Legacy.com.

This article originally appeared on 02.11.19.

Joy

Comedian's viral video perfectly nails how each generation arrives at someone's house

"Millennials will arrive late, but they will text you to let you know they're on their way, just as they're about to get into the shower."

Boomers knock. Millennials and Gen Z text "here."

Playing with the contrasts between generations has become a modern pastime, as baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z see and experience the world quite differently. Generation gaps have always existed, of course, but the tech age has widened those gaps in big ways, sometimes creating challenges, but often resulting in hilarity.

For instance, watching a Gen Zer try to figure out how to use a rotary phone is pure entertainment. The way emojis are used and interpreted varies vastly by age, making for some chuckle-worthy communication mishaps. Slang terms can be hard to keep up with the older you get, but they can also be manipulated by savvy elders to great comedic effect.

And now, comedian Jake Lambert has compared how the different generations arrive at someone's house in a viral video that's been viewed more than 12 million times.


"You've basically got boomers who will turn up completely unannounced any time from about 7:00 in the morning and they will knock on your door just slightly louder than the police using a battering ram carrying out a house raid," Lambert begins.

"And then you've got Gen X. They would have made the plans well in advance, and they would've also checked in a couple of days before just to make sure the plans are definitely still happening," he went on. "You see, Gen X is the forgotten generation and they're so scarred by this title they would've assumed that you'd forgotten not only about the plans but about their very existence."

"Millennials will have hoped that the plans would've been canceled. There's no reason that a millennial will ever actually want to come to your house," he continued. "They will arrive late, but they will text you to let you know they're on their way, just as they're about to get into the shower. And a millennial will never knock on your door. You'll just get a text either saying 'here' or 'outside,' and that's your cue to go and let them in."

"Similarly, Gen Z will never actually knock," he concluded. "But the chances are they won't have to, as they would have been documenting the entire journey from their house to yours, maybe even on Facetime using this angle [camera facing directly up at the chin] as they go along for some reason. Either that or they'll just send a picture of your front door or a selfie of them outside it. And again, just like the millennial, that's your cue to go and rescue them from the outside world."

People felt alternately seen, attacked and validated by Lambert's assessments, with the most common response being "accurate."

"I‘m a millennial, my husband GenX. Scarily accurate! 😂"

"Described this millennial to a T."

"This is surprisingly accurate 😂 I laughed slightly louder than the police using a battering ram…"

"Sooo accurate…guilty of the lateness and ‘here’ text 🙃"

"I must admit I'm a millennial. But knocking on the door feels so aggressive, uknow? 😅😇"

"Millennial texting to say almost there but just started getting dressed to go out. Why do we do this? It's not intentional, at least not for me."

"Honestly your observations are just brilliant! GenX-er here!"

"The Gen Z angle omg 😂😂"

Some people didn't resonate with their generation's description, but there are exceptions to every rule and some people will never fit a stereotype. However, judging by the wave of affirmative responses, Lambert nailed the generational generalities across the board—and did so in a way that allows us all to laugh at ourselves.

You can follow Jake Lambert on Instagram.

Education

The very real story of how one woman prevented a national tragedy by doing her job

Frances Oldham Kelsey believed thorough research saves lives. She was so right.

Image by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey and President John F. Kennedy.

True
Seventh Generation


Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey had only been with the Food and Drug Administration for about a month when she was tasked with reviewing a drug named thalidomide for distribution in America.

Marketed as a sedative for pregnant women, thalidomide was already available in Canada, Germany, and several African countries.


It could have been a very simple approval. But for Kelsey, something didn't sit right. There were no tests showing thalidomide was safe for human use, particularly during pregnancy.

thalidomide, wonder drug, public health

Kelsey in her office at the FDA in 1960.

Image by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

When Chemie Grünenthal released thalidomide in West Germany years earlier, they called it a "wonder drug" for pregnant women. They promised it would treat anxiety, insomnia, tension, and morning sickness and help pregnant women sleep.

What they didn't advertise were its side effects.

Because it crosses the placental barrier between fetus and mother, thalidomide causes devastating — often fatal — physical defects. During the five years it was on the market, an estimated 10,000 babies globally were born with thalidomide-caused defects. Only about 60% lived past their first birthday.

In 1961, the health effects of thalidomide weren't well-known. Only a few studies in the U.K. and Germany were starting to connect the dots between babies born with physical defects and the medication their mothers had taken while pregnant.

At the outset, that wasn't what concerned Kelsey. She'd looked at the testimonials in the submission and found them "too glowing for the support in the way of clinical back up." She pressed the American manufacturer, Cincinnati's William S. Merrell Company, to share research on how their drug affected human patients. They refused. Instead, they complained to her superiors for holding up the approval. Still, she refused to back down.

drugs, medication, medicine

A sample pack of thalidomide.

Image by Stephen C. Dickson/Wikimedia Commons.

A sample pack of thalidomide sent to doctors in the U.K. While more than 10,000 babies worldwide were born with thalidomide-related birth defects, FDA historian John Swann credits Dr. Kelsey with limiting the number of American babies affected to just 17.

Over the next year, the manufacturer would resubmit its application to sell thalidomide six times. Each time, Kelsey asked for more research. Each time, they refused.

By 1961, thousands of mothers were giving birth to babies with shocking and heartbreaking birth defects. Taking thalidomide early in their pregnancy was the one thing connecting them. The drug was quickly pulled from shelves, vanishing mostly by 1962.

Through dogged persistence, Kelsey and her team had prevented a national tragedy.

government, FDA, bureaucracy, community

Kelsey joins President John F. Kennedy at the signing of a new bill expanding the authority of the FDA in 1962.

Image by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy honored Kelsey with the Federal Civilian Service Medal. He thanked her for her exceptional judgment and for preventing a major tragedy of birth deformities in the United States:

“I know that we are all most indebted to Dr. Kelsey. The relationship and the hopes that all of us have for our children, I think, indicate to Dr. Kelsey, I am sure, how important her work is and those who labor with her to protect our families. So, Doctor, I know you know how much the country appreciates what you have done."

But, she wasn't done yet. Later that year, the FDA approved new, tougher regulations for companies seeking drug approval, inspired in large part by Kelsey's work on thalidomide.

Reached via email, FDA historian John Swann said this about Kelsey's legacy: "[Her] actions also made abundantly clear to the nation the important public health role that drug regulation and FDA itself play in public health. The revelation of the global experience with that drug and America's close call indeed provided impetus to secure passage of a comprehensive drug regulation bill that had been more or less floundering during the time FDA was considering the application."

Kelsey continued to work for the FDA until 2005. She died in 2015, aged 101, just days after receiving the Order of Canada for her work on thalidomide.

Bureaucratic approval work is rarely thrilling and not often celebrated. That's a shame because it's so critical.

People like Kelsey, who place public health and safety above all else — including their career — deserve every ounce of our collective respect and admiration.


This story originally appeared on 05.20.16

Family

This innocent question we ask boys is putting more pressure on them than we realize

When it's always the first question asked, the implication is clear.



Studies show that having daughters makes men more sympathetic to women's issues.

And while it would be nice if men did not need a genetic investment in a female person in order to gain this perspective, lately I've had sympathy for those newly woke dads.

My two sons have caused something similar to happen to me. I've begun to glimpse the world through the eyes of a young male. And among the things I'm finding here in boyland are the same obnoxious gender norms that rankled when I was a girl.


Of course, one notices norms the most when they don't fit. If my tween sons were happily boy-ing away at boy things, neither they nor I would notice that they were hemmed in.

But oh boy, are they not doing that.

In fact, if I showed you a list of my sons' collective interests and you had to guess their gender, you'd waver a bit, but then choose girl.

Baking, reading, drawing, holidays, films, volleyball, cute mammals, video games, babies and toddlers, reading, travel, writing letters.

I imagine many of you are thinking at this point: That's awesome that your boys are interested in those things!

There's more. One loves comics and graphic novels but gravitates to stories with strong female protagonists, like Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Cool! I love it.

And sports. They are thoroughly bored by team sports. They don't play them. They won't watch them. They will up- or down-arrow through any number of sporting events on TV to get to a dance contest or to watch competitive baking.

So? Nothing wrong with that.

Those are the kinds of things all my progressive friends say.

But it's often not the message my sons themselves hear from the other adults in their lives, their classmates, and the media.

For example, the first get-to-know-you question they are inevitably asked by well-meaning grown-ups is, "So, do you play sports?" When they say, "No, not really," the adult usually continues brightly, "Oh, so what do you like to do, then?"

No one explicitly says it's bad for a boy not to play sports. But when it's always the first question asked, the implication is clear: playing sports is normal; therefore, not playing them is not.

The truth is that one of them does play a sport. He figure skates, as does my daughter. When people find out that she skates, they beam at her, as if she suddenly has possession of a few rays of Olympic glory. In the days before my son stopped telling people that he ice skates, most of them hesitated and then said, "Oh, so you are planning to play hockey?"

But it's not just what people say. It's all those pesky, unwritten rules. When he was in second grade, my younger son liked the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series. But he refused to check any out of the school library. He explained: "Girls can read boy books, but boys can't read girl books. Girls can wear boy colors or girl colors, but boys can only wear boy colors. Why is that, Mom?"

I didn't have an answer.

An obvious starting point — and the one that we have the most control over — is to change the way we speak to the boys in our lives.

As Andrew Reiner suggests in a spot-on essay, we should engage boys in analytical, emotion-focused conversations, just like we do with girls. In "How to Talk to Little Girls," Lisa Bloom offers alternatives to the appearance-focused comments so often directed at young girls: asking a girl what she's reading or about current events or what she would like to see changed in the world. I could copy-paste Bloom's list and slap a different title on it: "How to Ask Boys About Something Besides Sports."

And with a few more built-in nudges, we might expand the narrow world of boyhood more quickly. Boy Scouts could offer badges for developing skills in child care, teamwork, and journaling. Girl-dominated activities like art, dance, gymnastics, and figure skating could be made more welcoming to boys, with increased outreach and retention efforts. My son could write his own essay about trying to fit in to the nearly all-girl world of figure skating, including the times he has had to change clothes in a toilet stall at skating events because there were no locker rooms available for boys.

I used to think that the concept of gender — of "girl things" and "boy things" — was what was holding us back.

Now I see it differently.

The interdependent yin and yang of gender is a fundamental part of who we are, individually and collectively. We need people who like to fix cars and people who like to fix dinner. We need people who are willing and able to fight if needed and people who are exquisitely tuned into a baby's needs. But for millennia, we have forced these traits to align with biological sex, causing countless individuals to be dissatisfied and diminished. For the most part, we've recognized this with girls. But we have a long way to go when it comes to boys. As Gloria Steinem observed, "We've begun to raise daughters more like sons … but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters."

I acknowledge that young boys feeling pressured to be sports fans is not our country's biggest problem related to gender.

Transgender individuals still confront discrimination and violence. The #MeToo movement has revealed to anyone who didn't already know it that girls and women can't go about their everyday lives without bumping into male sexual aggression.

But if our culture shifts to wholeheartedly embrace the whole spectrum of unboyishness, it may play some small role in addressing these other issues, too. Male culture will be redefined, enriched, and expanded, diluting the toxic masculinity that is at the root of most of our gender-related problems.

Boys and girls alike will be able to decide if they would rather be made up of snips and snails, sugar and spice, or a customized mix. And my future grandsons, unlike my sons, won't think twice about wearing pink or reading about a girl detective at school.

This story originally appeared on Motherwell and is reprinted here with permission.


This article originally appeared on 06.20.18