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The new Spider-Man is black. Here's why it's a big deal.

The Marvel superhero roster just got more diverse.

The new Spider-Man is black. Here's why it's a big deal.

Marvel announced that a new Spider-Man is hitting the stands this fall.

This comes on the heels of a Sony email leak showing a contract that required Spider-Man to be — get this — white, male, and straight. Surprise!



This was actually my reaction. GIF from "Real Housewives of Orange County."

And the announcement about the new Spider-Man movie star and director? Spoiler alert: They're both white guys.

Even white dude Harry Potter is bored by the news. GIF via "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

Luckily, the new official Spider-Man in the Spider-Man comics is finally breaking the mold.

Meet Miles Morales, your new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Image by Marvel.

If he looks ... different ... from all the Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) you've seen before, it's because he has an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother.

He's the first black and second-ever Latino Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics universe.

What's especially great is that Miles isn't new to fans of the Spider-Man franchise, but the co-creators made an intentional move to make him official. He has been around for a while in an alternative Marvel universe where Peter Parker dies and he takes his place.

But now Miles Morales is the official main Marvel Comics universe Spider-Man.

Miles Morales in action. Image by Marvel.

This move is significant because it means bringing diversity to Marvel's main roster of superheroes in a big way.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Spider-Man writer and co-creator Brian Michael Bendis explains the reasoning behind the decision saying, “Our message has to be it's not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it's the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else."

And it's already having a positive impact.

Bendis was brought to tears when his 4-year-old black daughter picked up a Miles Morales Spider-Man mask at the store, put it on and exclaimed "Look, Daddy, I'm Spider-Man!"

YAS. I'm crying too. GIF from "Bob's Burgers."

It's important to have racial diversity in our superhero stories because studies show that representation matters.

One study found that children are quick to pick up on racial stereotypes portrayed in the media. Kids also notice when people of color are not shown as much as white people. They end up thinking that people of color must not be as important.

An Indiana University study showed that not having positive role models of color in the media lowered the self-esteem of black children.

Who our children see in the media and how these characters act has a big influence.

It doesn't just shape how they view people of other races; it influences how they view themselves. Imagine growing up and rarely seeing people who look like you on TV or in books, and when they do appear, they're doing bad things.

The fact that one of the most recognizable (good) characters in the world is multi-ethnic will help children of color feel good about themselves in a world that offers so few positive portrayals of people that look like them.

That's why this latest move by Marvel is so great.

We're officially living in a world that has a black Captain America, a female Thor, and a multi-ethnic Spider-Man.

How cool is that?

This cool. GIF from "Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors."

Here's hoping we'll see a live-action version of the new Spider-Man in the near future. My spidey senses tell me it'll only be a matter of time.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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