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upworthy

empowerment

Representative Image from Canva

May we all be able to give ourselves this kind of self esteem boost

Honestly, there should be positive self-talk classes for adults taught entirely by kids. Kids seem to have no trouble telling themselves how worthy they are with 100% conviction, and it’s a skill that so many of us grown-ups end up having to relearn in life.

Luckily, social media provides free masterclasses.

A father named Jay noticed his young daughter Tatum was so confident in front of the camera that he dedicated an entire Instagram account to her called @dadsdoittoo, where she regularly gives unabashed pep talks to folks.

But it’s her latest spiel that’s really got people talking.


Jay allowed Tatum 20 seconds of alone time in the bathroom to say whatever she wanted, mimicking the popular current trend for parents to allow their kids to experiment with swear words in a private, safe space for a limited amount of time.

Only Tatum decided to give it her own wholesome spin.

Looking at herself in the camera, Tatum says “I got this,” before shouting at the top of her lungs, "I'm a queen, I'm a young queen! I'm a superstar!"

Ramping up, Tatum continues, "I'm beautiful, I'm smart, and I love myself!” And then, the kicker:

"I'm a Barbie, and I look pretty!” This even got a response from the official Barbie Instagram account, which commented, "And don't you forget it 😉💖."

And of course,Tatum ends her epic pep talk with her signature move—a peace sign.

Down in the comments, people could help but praise the young queen, and for her parents.

“She understood the assignment,” one person wrote.

“My fav part was that she didn’t speak, she PROJECTED,” another added.

A third said. “She is all that. Good for her that she has the confidence at such an early age and good for her parents that they recognize. This is so important for her future.”

Another suggested that Jay save the video, so that “when she had challenges later in life...let her listen to her voice!❤️❤️❤️”

And of course, it left adults inspired to do the same.

“Gonna recite this in the mirror next time I need a confidence boost,” one viewer shared.

Little ones really do have so much to teach us.

Keah Brown feels cute, and she's not afraid to show it.

But for the 25-year-old from upstate New York, it hasn't always been that way.

“It took me a while to get to that place to feel any sort of positive thing about my physical appearance," says Brown, who has cerebral palsy. "So now that I do, I’m like, hey, I might as well celebrate it.”


On Feb. 12, 2017, Brown shared photos of herself on Twitter using the hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

The idea behind the hashtag was pretty simple.

“What I wanted to do was make something that felt empowering to me and to other disabled people," she explains.

The message caught on.

Others in the disability community started sharing photos of themselves using the hashtag, too.

Before long, #DisabledAndCute became a trending phrase, with lots of people joining the conversation.

"I wanted to do something to celebrate disabled folks and take the time to really take back the narrative that all we are is something to be pitied or used as what I’d call, 'inspiration porn,'” Brown says.

Inspiration porn, she notes, is "only being as valuable as what you can achieve or make able-bodied people feel about themselves."

The hashtag became intersectional, too, with people from all walks of life and various experiences chiming in.

Sometimes, pets made appearances.

But mostly, the hashtag filled up with selfies from folks who were feeling good about being themselves.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Brown explains of responses to the hashtag — although not everyone's been on board.

Some voices in the disability community were critical of Brown's choice of the word "cute," she says, explaining that able-bodied people often talk down to folks who are living with a physical disability. When able-bodied people say things like, "You're so adorable" to those living with a physical disability, it can be demeaning and infantilizing.

But that point wasn't lost on Brown.

“What I wanted to do was reclaim the word ‘cute,’" she says. "I think it’s OK when we feel cute, and it’s OK to say that.”  

"I generally dislike making human beauty the focus of any discussion," one user wrote. "But why not celebrate?"

“A lot of times — specifically with social media — disabled people are often used as memes or jokes," says Brown.

"And this hashtag was a way to put that on its head and for people to tell their own story and celebrate themselves in a positive way.”

Scrolling through responses, you'll notice #DisabledAndCute wasn't so much about being "brave" — it was about loving who you are...

...and showing off fierce photos, too.

Some people's disabilities were more visible than others.

But that wasn't the point, either.

"We are all hella #DisabledAndCute" was more what the hashtag was going for.

And the internet pulled it off quite nicely.

Brown wants able-bodied people to understand she "doesn't have to be your inspiration porn or your pity party to be good enough."

But she'd appreciate your help in fighting for what's right.

Disabled people "can have happy lives — we can be loved," she notes. "We don’t need you to feel bad for us. It would be nice if you were in our corner when we’re fighting for our rights, but you don’t have to feel bad for us, because we’re living full lives.”  

Check out more photos and join the discussion on #DisabledAndCute.

Black women are beautiful, complex, and worthy of love. It sounds so simple, and yet here we are.

While representations of black women have increased on television and movies, it's still an exercise in extremes. It's easy to scan from well-worn negative tropes and stereotypes like the "angry black woman," or "the baby mama," or the "hypersexual black Barbie" to the powerful leading ladies of "Hidden Figures," "Being Mary Jane," or "Black-ish," but there are few stops in between.

What have you done to support Viola Davis today? Double it! Photo by  Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures.


In fact, according to a 2013 report in Essence, negative depictions of black women appear twice as often as positive ones. These representations are demoralizing, and, speaking from personal experience, exhausting and embarrassing. Thankfully, we can look beyond television and film for positive representations in pop culture.

Mickalene Thomas brings bold, powerful representations of black women to fine art.

Based in New York, Thomas is known for her large-scale paintings of domestic interiors and multi-textured, rhinestone-covered portraits of women. Her work is colorful, vibrant, and affirming. Her paintings of women appear as collages, with small pieces accenting and challenging each other. Each woman is more than the sum of her colorful, mystifying parts. Time passes quickly as you attempt to "figure her out," but you can't. Therein lies the beauty.

Mickalene Thomas, "Racquel Leaned Back," 2013. © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Thomas' photography series, "Muse," seeks to challenge norms of black beauty.

In the series and book, "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs," she portrayed black women in highly stylized, fantastical portraits.

Mickalene Thomas, "A Moment's Pleasure #2," 2007, from "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs" (Aperture, 2015). © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

With each photograph, Thomas redefines black beauty for herself, pushing back on tired stereotypes and outdated norms. Each one is a stunning act of resistance.

Mickalene Thomas, "Calder Series #2," 2013, from "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs" (Aperture, 2015). © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Thomas drew inspiration from portrait photographers like James Van Der Zee (who beautifully documented the people of the Harlem Renaissance with his pioneering tableau portraits) as well as pro-black modeling campaigns from the 1970s featuring stars like Beverly Johnson.

Mickalene Thomas, "Remember Me," 2006, from "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs" (Aperture, 2015). Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Instead of using professional models for her series, Thomas' muses include her mother, sisters, lovers, and friends. These visually stunning portraits are a truly shared effort between Thomas and the women who've had an impact on her.

Mickalene Thomas, "I've Been Good to Me," 2011, from "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs" (Aperture, 2015). © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

In addition to "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs," released in 2015, Thomas has exhibited her work in galleries around the country.

Through March 12, 2017, "Muse" is on display in the Meyerhoff Gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Thomas also curated  a companion exhibit of photography, called "tête-à-tête," which is also on display at MICA.

Mickalene Thomas, "La Leçon D’amour," 2008. © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Representations and depictions of black women are vital.

It's still too easy for little black girls to grow up seeing few positive depictions of black women outside of their families. It's easy to grow up feeling less than or unworthy when women with curly or kinky hair, women with full lips, and women with rich, dark skin don't make it to your picture books — or your history books, for that matter.

Mickalene Thomas, Din, "Une Très Belle Négresse #1," 2012, from "Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs" (Aperture, 2015). © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

That's why we need to shout out and celebrate black women as the superheroes they are.

Black women write laws, start businesses, make art, explore the natural world, build towers, save lives, and teach at local schools. Yes, we are strong, but we are also tender, loving, and vulnerable. Black women are the embodiment of balance and resilience, holding down families, communities, and nine-to-fives, while pushing back against racism, sexism, and privilege. It's hard work. It breaks you down. But black women, for better or worse, keep grinding.

There is beauty in our strength, but you don't get to see that. Not nearly enough. And that's why black representation matters, why black art matters — it's a love letter to our persistence.

Mickalene Thomas, "Negress With Green Nails," 2005. © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Most Shared

Why Chrissy Teigen’s stretch-mark selfie actually matters.

Yes, she has "stretchies," and she's not afraid to show them off.

Model Chrissy Teigen's good looks are just an afterthought when it comes to why many fans adore her.

She fights back against sexist double standards, defends fellow moms from ridiculous parent-shaming, and is unashamedly a big fan of cheese.

No wonder the internet tends to be on Team Chrissy.


Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

But Teigen has also used her platform to promote body positivity on more than one occasion. And on Aug. 16, 2016, she did just that.

Teigen shared a photo of leg stretch marks on Snapchat, joking that her "thighs have tributaries."

It's not the first time she's shown the world what her "stretchies" look like, either.

The snap quickly spread to all corners of the internet this week, with many praising the star for being able to poke fun at herself while promoting a message of self-love.

But the best thing about the snap was seeing how it actually made a real difference to many people.

Because when celebrities share themselves with the world, people are listening.

Many fans found it refreshing to see a celebrity just being real.

Others pointed out that Teigen's snap challenges our tired, harmful definition of beauty.

And some fans simply appreciated knowing that others are in the same boat.

Because, let's be real, having anything in common with Teigen is pretty much awesome.

Some fans used the snap to point out that no one should feel ashamed of their stretch marks.

And others reiterated the idea that embracing your body is the best way to go.

Teigen's snap was the perfect example of how sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can humanize celebs.

Social media can be superficial, silly, and even downright harmful at times. But it can also be a powerful tool for good.

When an actor opens up about his struggles with depression, it lets others know they're not alone. When a comedian shares a personal experience exposing the harsh realities of racism, it can unite communities against hate. And when models share photos of their non-Photoshopped legs, it can have a ripple effect of empowerment.

Thank you, Teigen, for being real in an industry that can feel so fake.

We all have bodies, after all, and there's no feeling quite like being comfortable in your own skin.