Someone asked about his body issues, and it made me wonder why he has them.

Men are targeted by body-image messaging too.

And I think maybe it starts with toys.

Like millions of other young boys in the '80s, I had He-Man, G.I. Joe, "Star Wars," and Superman dolls. They were all white men with trim bodies, thick hair, and strong jawlines. Their jobs were to stand tall and keep everyone safe in the respective worlds they lived in (aka my bedroom).


Toys were setting the "man body ideal" in the '80s. But some of them actually looked pretty average.

...that is, for men who ran around fighting crime, because crime fighting is probably great exercise.

See, this original Batman doll looks pretty average:

But holy Crossfit, Batman! What happened to you in the 2000s?

I mean, I'm glad they did something with the outfit 'cause it looks totally badass.

But why did you become an unrealistically *ripped* Batman?

You were perfectly good at fighting crime before (even with your silly spray-can weapon).

Toy companies (and advertising) are good at telling a story they believe you'll want to be a part of so you'll buy their product and, for a moment, pretend to be that thing you bought. Who doesn't want to live in Batman's house with cool technology, a support staff that makes said cool technology, and a car that'll do just about anything you want (even fly)?

The Batman franchise was not the only body-changing switcheroo. Check out the "Star Wars" dolls of yesterday vs. today.

Above is a screen shot of a search for male dolls. You can search for most any toy and see the differences of a male body standard through the years. Boys of yesterday are now men of today, and I'll stand up to say "these toys affected the way I see myself."

Today's toys seem to reflect our obsession with a new and almost impossible "ideal."

Chris Thompson agrees with me.


His video is below. He talks about how we are bombarded with advertising and messaging that is prone to make us feel "less than" what we would like to be.

I'm ashamed to admit this, but when I originally watched Chris' video, I thought: "Why is he saying these things about his body? He's not fat."

So I called Chris up to ask why he made this video. He said: "Matt, I've never really felt good about how I look. It's not about what you think of my body, it's about how I feel. I didn't feel good about my body for a long time."

This video is a response to one of his subscribers, who wrote him about his own issues:

"As men, society expects us to be confident while it allows girls to express their insecurities. I have had body image issues since about second grade. ... Just how girls are bombarded with media with images of how they should look, guys are bombarded with that too."

Chris' video makes some really clear points about how he overcomes feeling "less than."

At 1:00, hear how he responds to what women go through. He explains how he reacted to feeling insecure at 2:00. And at 2:45, he takes off his shirt to prove he's ready to embrace his imperfections.

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.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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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.

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A vintage post-card collector on Flickr who goes by the username Post Man has kindly allowed us to share his wonderful collection of vintage postcards and erotica from the turn of the century. This album is full of exquisite photographs from around the world of a variety of people dressed in beautiful clothing in exotic settings. In an era well before the internet, these photographs would be one of the only ways you could could see how people in other countries looked and dressed.

Take a look at PostMan's gallery of over 90 vintage postcards on Flickr.

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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.

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