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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.


Every woman who works in tech — heck, likely every woman on Earth — hears “because you're a girl" dozens, if not thousands, of times in her life.

It starts young, of course:

Why can't I join that team? Because you're a girl.

Why can't I study physics? Because you're a girl.

Then, the comments age with you.

Why can't I manage that project? Because you're a girl.

Why can't I join that group? Because you're a girl.

And after you've reached any level of attainment in a profession you love, the comments are used to minimize your success.

Why did you get that award? Because you're a girl.

Why were you chosen to participate in that class? Because you're a girl.

Like so many women before me, I have shaken off the comment.

I've gotten angry. I've gotten sad. I've doubted myself and my abilities. I've ignored it entirely. I've challenged it. I've recruited support from men and women I respect. Yet every time it stays there in the back of my mind, screaming for attention after every failure or setback.

But today is the day I've decided to change that.

I did, in fact, get the job because I'm a girl.

A girl who was called "bossy" growing up.

A girl who wasn't afraid to play with the boys.

A girl who didn't hesitate to raise her hand if she knew the answer.

A girl who stood up for other kids.

A girl who was always the first one to volleyball practice and the last to leave.

A girl who was told she was too assertive and aggressive to advance in her career.

A girl who went to MIT anyway.

A girl who asked her company to do more on diversity and inclusion and won't stop pushing until it's truly remarkable.

A girl who has made big mistakes, both personal and professional.

A girl who swings for the fences even when no one is watching.

A girl who puts in hours when other people are asleep

A girl who tells young girls how smart and strong they are.

A girl who hates to lose.

And a girl who won't stand silently while people still use “because you're a girl" as any limitation for girls who want to grow, challenge the status quo, and be something, anything, greater than society tells them they could or should.

So yeah. I guess you could say I got my job because I'm a girl, but not for any of the reasons you might think.

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.


This article originally appeared on 04.14.17

Photo pulled from YouTube video

Animated short about closeted love.

After a much anticipation, the animated kids short "In a Heartbeat" was finally released on July 31, 2017.

The four-minute short film — which follows a closeted boy as he "runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams" — captivated certain corners of the internet once its trailer was released in May and instantly went viral.


The finished film is just as adorable and sweet and pure and squee-worthy as fans were hoping.

People are just totally loving it.

Like, honestly, truly adoring it.

The short is only four minutes long and completely void of narration or dialogue.

But its creators, Beth David and Esteban Bravo — who completed the project as part of their college senior thesis project — were able to invoke so manyrelatable emotions to queer fans watching at home: the helplessness of puppy love, the adolescent dread of being outed as LGBTQ, the judgmental gaze from peers when you are outed as LGBTQ, and the comfort of finally learning you're not alone.

The project's 30-second trailer tugged at heartstrings back in May, so you can imagine what a difference the full movie is making now.

"We're very touched by the response we've gotten so far and we're happy to know that our project has already had a positive impact on so many people," the creators said in May of the film's blossoming fandom. "It proves to us that there is a need and a want for media that addresses LGBT+ themes in a positive and lighthearted way."

The two hoped their film's positive reception will lead to more LGBTQ-inclusive films being produced down the line.

Fans, it seems, passionately agree:

Take four minutes out of your day and watch "In a Heartbeat" right now, below:

This article originally appeared on 07.31.17

Family

One couple's perfect response to people asking when they're going to have kids.

Choosing to have kids or not have kids is no one else's decision but yours.

Photo via Carrie Jensen/Imgur, used with permission.

She’s giving birth to a puppy.

This article originally appeared on 12.19.16

"When are you guys going to start having kids?"

Like many couples, Carrie Jansen and her husband Nic had heard this question a million different ways, a million different times.

The pressure really started to mount when the pair, who've been together for eight years, got married three years ago. While Carrie loves kids (she's an elementary school teacher, after all), she and Nic simply aren't interested in having kids of their own. Now or ever.


"It's not what I was meant for," explains Carrie in a Facebook message. "It's like, I love flowers, and everyone loves flowers. But that doesn't mean I want to grow my own. I'm perfectly happy admiring other people's gardens."

Carrie wanted to tell her family that they don't plan on having kids but knew if she did, they'd say something like, "Oh you'll change your mind one day!" and that pesky question would keep rearing its ugly head.

marriage, adults, children, social pressure, pregnancy

Dressed to the nines on their wedding day.

Photo via Carrie Jansen, used with permission.

Rather than continue to deflect the question over and over, Carrie decided to do something a little bit different.

Since the couple was adding another mouth to feed to the family, they decided to announce it with a series of maternity-style photos, revealing the twist: The new addition was a puppy named Leelu, not a baby.

pets, viral, moms, dads, maternity, babies

Look at my newborn baby... puppy.

Photo via Carrie Jensen/Imgur, used with permission.

"My husband and I have been married 3 years and everyone is bugging us about having a baby. Close enough right?" she captioned the photos.

Her pictures went insanely viral, with many of the commenters giving her props for hilariously addressing the dreaded "kids " question.

kids, choices, population, survey

The adorable pup.

Photo via Carrie Jansen, used with permission.

"If you don't want kids, don't have kids. Seriously. Have fun with each other. I had three kids early and it's all about them now," wrote one user. "I wish people would just mind their business raising a kid ain't easy and cheap," wrote another.

"I got my husband a vasectomy for his birthday this year. Best gift ever," chimed in a third.

Carrie was overwhelmed and inspired by the viral response. "Having children is definitely a hot topic, and one that is evolving in this generation like so many other social issues," she says. "It's exciting to find others that feel the same way I do.”

Carrie is hardly alone in not wanting to have kids — in fact, a record number of women are choosing not to have kids today.

In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey found 47.6% of women between age 15 and 44 had never had children, which is the highest percentage on record. Despite the numbers, however, because we still live in a patriarchally-driven society, women regularly face the expectation that they should be mothers, and they often are judged if they decide not to be.

Whether you want to have one kid, five kids, no kids, or a puppy, the choice should be yours and no one else's.

holidays, gifts, woman\u2019s rights, gender equality,

The holiday photo in front of the Christmas tree.

Photo via Carrie Jansen, used with permission.

No one else has the right to put pressure on you to change your body and life in a drastic way. Thankfully, because of women like Carrie — and partners like Nic — who aren't afraid to bring the subject out in the open, the expectations are slowly but surely changing.


This article originally appeared on 06.14.17


Many of us are familiar with the signs of an abusive relationship. Physical violence is only one of many. Extreme jealousy, verbal insults, controlling behavior, and victim blaming are all hallmark signs that someone is an abusive partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

What we rarely talk about, though, is that for as often as men are the perpetrators of abuse, they can just as easily be victims.


Hundreds of men recently took to Reddit to share their own harrowing stories of abusive relationships.

As many as 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical abuse by a partner. For women, it's as many as 1 in 3.

That's a staggering percentage of people.

The grim and heartbreaking thread helped shed some light on an under-recognized reality: Abuse is abuse, and it has no gender.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the powerful thread, which is worth a full-read.

Note: Last names have been left out to protect victims of abuse.

1. The support system for men who are victims of abuse is extremely poor.

Robert, who shared his story of an abusive relationship in the thread, wrote that his ex would threaten him and lash out physically, but no one would ever take his complaints seriously.

"She would throw knives at stuff and wreck the house," he wrote. "I went through 16 police calls before one of them finally gave her a charge for assault."

When the two were finally separated (he writes that she was arrested on a separate charge), he had to turn to information meant for battered women for help putting his life back together. The sad truth is that the shelters and groups out there dedicated to helping men in abusive relationships are depressingly scarce.

2. Men can be victims of physical abuse too. Often at the detriment of their "manhood."

It's hard enough for many men being abused to find people who'll believe them. It's made even tougher that they might be made out to look like less of a man if they come clean.

"It's like I was supposed to just take it because I was a man," Robert wrote.

Tom, another man who shared his story, wrote that he was "embarrassed" when his ex would hit him during arguments, in public, but that he never even considered it abuse until long after they broke up.

Research supports the idea that men might be even less likely than women to report physical abuse. And we wonder why phrases like, "Man up!" are so harmful.

3. The patterns of abusive behavior are consistent whether abusers are men or women.

Another Reddit user, William, said he wasn't allowed to hang out with certain people his partner didn't like,and the controlling and manipulative behavior took a heavy toll on him. "I knew deep down no matter what I did to try and make her happy it was never good enough. I never felt so useless," he wrote.

Many men in the thread, like Richie, wrote that the psychological trauma from their abusive relationship was the most difficult thing to reconcile and recover from. Mood swings, illogical fights, and suicidal threats from Richie's partner pushed him to a breaking point.

"It wore me down to the bone," he wrote. "I was a shell of myself at one point."

The original thread on Reddit makes one thing abundantly clear: The problem of partner violence and abuse is likely much bigger than many people realize.

Over 10 million men and women in the United States are victims of physical domestic abuse every year; a number that doesn't include behaviors like lying, threats, and manipulation.

Toxic concepts of masculinity can sometimes lead to men becoming abusers, but as this thread shows, they can also paralyze men who need help. Fixing our culture's broken idea of what makes a man could be a crucial step toward ending domestic violence and abuse for both men and women.

In the meantime, we can listen to the victims' stories. Everyone, man or woman, deserves to be heard.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and wants to seek help, start by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which offers support for men, women, and children.

This post was updated 6/14/2017.