+

This is 21-year-old reigning Miss Iceland Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir.

"We maybe don't understand each other," she once said of ending injustices, "but there is one language we all understand and should speak to stop the violence in this world — that's the language of understanding, kindness, and love."

Jónsdóttir was in the running for Miss Grand International, a world-famous beauty contest being held in Las Vegas.

But she just dropped out of the competition.


According to Jónsdóttir, she was body-shamed by the contest's owner.

And she's having none of it. Nawat Itsaragrisil, who owns the Miss Grand International contest, allegedly told Jónsdóttir that she was too fat to win, encouraging her to skip breakfast each day leading up to the competition, and to only eat salads and drink water to get by.

Jónsdóttir recently opened up about the incident in a Facebook post.

“I intend to stand up for myself, women everywhere, and the Icelandic people," she wrote. "I will not let them tell me I am too fat to look good on stage. I have quit. I will not be taking part in Miss Grand In­ternati­onal.”

“I am coming home a winner and the proudest Icelander in the world," her post concludes.

Jónsdóttir has gotten a lot of applause from people agreeing with her decision to quit.

“It’s a big disgrace how they [treated] you, not only for you, but to a lot of other younger girls," wrote one fan, The Daily Beast reported. "Wrong signal. You’re beautiful and please never change! We love you just like you are."

Not everyone was impressed by Jónsdóttir, though.

"Wait," wrote one Redditor. "She competes in international beauty contests, but this is where she draws the line against normative beauty standards?"

"So you're okay with being in a contest where you're solely judged on your looks," wrote another, "but only so long as they say nice things about you?"

Comments like that, however, forget that each of us have the authority to draw our own line when it comes to our personal comfort level, especially when it comes to the absurdity of beauty standards — after all, to some degree, we're all guilty of conforming to flawed cultural expectations around physical appearance.

One Redditor wrote in response to the critics:

"As much as you'd like to pretend that [everyday people] have no beauty standards, when you woke up today, you did some form of grooming, or hygiene. You showered or shaved or did something that conforms to a standard which was influenced by things you saw in the media and in the culture around you."

The debate over body-shaming and beauty contests has become a particularly hot topic in recent weeks, as Donald Trump's renewed attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado became an election issue.

The GOP presidential nominee, who called Machado "Miss Piggy" about two decades ago, put immense pressure on her to diet and exercise after she gained weight following her 1996 pageant victory. He even had news reporters show up with cameras to document her fitness regimen.

The psychological burden on Machado — who was a teenager at the time — allegedly contributed to her years-long battle with anorexia and bulimia.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

“Over the past 20 years, I’ve gone to a lot of psychologists to combat this," Machado said of the traumatic experience.

In Jónsdóttir's case, she has no qualms with saying goodbye to a pageant that won't accept her the way she is.

"If the owner of the contest really wants me to lose weight and doesn’t like me the way I am, then he doesn’t deserve to have me," Jónsdóttir said of the body-shaming, noting that she's proud of her broad shoulders because they reflect her time as an athlete.

As far as her plans to enjoy Las Vegas, now that she's in town anyway?

Eat good food," she said.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less