Rudy Giuliani's smear against sex workers is more common than you think. Let's fix that.

Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, went off on Stormy Daniels in a recent interview.

Appearing at a summit in Tel Aviv, Israel, on June 6, the former mayor of New York City fielded a question about Daniels by saying she's not a credible person and suggesting she's lying about having had an affair with Trump.

"Because the business you were in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight," he says, referencing her work as an actress in adult films. "I'm sorry, I don't respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who ... isn't going to sell her body for sexual exploitation."


"I don't respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance." GIF via AP/YouTube.

Naturally there was some immediate backlash, with people slamming Giuliani's comments as misogynistic and demeaning.

Giuliani doubled down. "If you're involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you'll go to make money," he told CNN's Dana Bash. "Our real point about her is that she's not just generally un-credible, she's un-credible from the point of view of wanting to get money. She's a con artist."

On the June 7 edition of "The View," hosts Meghan McCain and Whoopi Goldberg explained exactly what's wrong with saying someone lacks credibility because of a career in sex work.

"A lot of [sex workers] have put their kids through college; they have had incredible lives and gone on to do all kinds of stuff," Goldberg said. "So, the mere fact that you [Giuliani] would make such a blanket statement about someone you don't know, who does something you seemingly know nothing about, seems kind of shocking. ... I feel like you need to grow up. Grow up."

One of the better deconstructions of Giuliani's comments came from porn performer Sydney Leathers.

In a sarcasm-laden blog post for Washington Babylon, Leathers took jabs at Giuliani for talking about women as though we've traveled 50 years into the past.

"A porn star can still be a career woman/woman of substance," Leathers wrote. "To imply otherwise is narrow minded and misogynistic. Rudy and Trump are not men of substance so I'm not sure where they get off judging others on this."

Giuliani's views are, unfortunately, pretty common. But they don't have to be.

Sex work is work. Whether or not a job is "glamorous" or not is beside the point. Imagine applying that standard to any other industry, asking accountants how they can take part in an industry that doesn't have "glamour" or chiding someone for taking a data entry gig "just because they need the money." But misconceptions of sex work — that porn must be bad because it doesn't live up to some arbitrary standard or assuming people involved in the industry are unsuccessful, unsophisticated, and uneducated — are pervasive in our culture.

"It's not only common for people in the sex industry to be underestimated, our deaths are routinely used as punchlines," Leathers says. "Literally right now I'm sitting here watching season 4 episode 1 of 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' and they kill off a stripper for a cheap laugh."

She goes on to list Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, and Patton Oswalt as ostensibly progressive comedians who've used the death of sex workers as punchlines.

"Imagine if these jokes were made about the deaths of any other group of people," Leather says, frustrated. "And we are a group that is killed at an alarmingly high rate, so it's really not a joke, and it's not funny. It's unacceptable."

She adds, "I'm sure some people will read 'sex workers are murdered at alarmingly high rates' and think, 'Wow, women shouldn't get into sex work then!' But maybe men just shouldn't kill us? It's like the 'don't wear a short skirt if you don't want to get raped' argument."

Photo courtesy of Sydney Leathers.

Changing this culture of condescension begins with the media we consume.

"I think the biggest thing people could do [is] stop laughing at those kinds of jokes. Stop retweeting those jokes. And tell the writers of that type of content that it's not funny and it's not OK," Leathers says.

"The View" segment gave her a bit of hope. It was just five years ago that Leathers was one of the women involved in a political scandal people were talking about on TV, and when she made the decision to pursue a career in porn, the reaction was negative.

A few years ago, she notes, that segment wouldn't have happened. "Thomas Roberts called me batshit crazy live on MSNBC for deciding to do porn, and no one said a word," says Leathers. "So there is a cultural shift starting to happen now — even though there has been recent legislation targeting sex work. We just need to keep standing up whenever people are being blatantly disrespectful and damaging."

There's nothing wrong with porn or the people who work in the industry.

Giuliani's statements are sexist and he's using his platform to diminish sex work. We'd also probably be a lot better off if we could stop making "dead hooker" jokes. Easy enough, right?

For more reasons for why porn is actually OK, we've published a whole list.

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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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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