+
upworthy
Health

19 musicals that are not only catchy—they could help with dementia, according to science

Back in 2013, researchers in the U.S. stumbled upon a novel new treatment for dementia patients: listening to show tunes. Seriously.

musicals, theater, art, dementia, treatments
Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash

A picture taken of the Broadway street sign in New York City.

Back in 2013, researchers in the U.S. stumbled upon a novel new treatment for dementia patients: listening to show tunes. Seriously.

A study of nursing home patients found that residents who sang show tunes — specifically from "Oklahoma!" "The Wizard of Oz," and "The Sound of Music" — demonstrated increased mental performance, according to a report in the New York Daily News:

"Researchers working with elderly residents at an East Coast care home found in a four-month long study ... that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened."

A similar study in Finland, cited in The Guardian, demonstrated that singing not only helped dementia patients feel better and focus, but actually improved certain types of memory as well.

Even better? There are tons of classic show tunes specifically about remembering.

Here are 23 tunes every Broadway fan needs to memorize for the day when it's not so easy to remember. It'll help to start brushing up now.

1. The one about remembering the good old days.

"Those Were the Good Old Days," "Damn Yankees"

If you're the devil in "Damn Yankees," that means the Great Depression, the Black Plague years, and when Jack the Ripper was running around. Good times!

2. The one about remembering a parade that probably never happened.

Any playlist of show tunes about memory has to include this standard from "The Music Man," in which Professor Harold Hill remembers the best day of his life, when "Gilmore, Liberati, Pat Conway, The Great Creatore, W.C. Handy, and John Phillip Sousa all came to town."

Whether or not any of it actually happened is ... up for debate, to put it mildly.

3. The one about remembering a really fun trip you took to a medium-sized Midwestern city.

"Kansas City," "Oklahoma"

"Oklahoma's" Will Parker is so psyched about his Kansas City vacation he can't help bragging about it to all the other cowboys. And why not? It's a neat city! Have you been to Joe's Kansas City Barbecue? Neither has Will Parker, since he was there in 1906, but you should totally go.

4. The one about remembering how fun it was to murder that guy that one time...

"Cell Block Tango," "Chicago"

...while glancing nervously over your shoulder to make sure Queen Latifah isn't around.

5. The one about remembering the questionable choices it's too late to go back in time and not make.

"Where Did We Go Right?" from "The Producers"

Looking back doesn't always go well for characters in musicals. It definitely doesn't for "The Producers'" Bialystock and Bloom, as they tear around their office wondering how their incompetently directed, poorly acted, aggressively pro-Hitler musical wound up becoming a massive hit despite their every attempt to make it fail.

6. The one about remembering the little things.

"I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It," "Phantom of the Opera"

Perhaps the greatest testament to how emotionally transporting "Phantom of the Opera" is: Christine, removing the phantom's mask for the first time, can just straight-up claim to remember mistlike, one mist in particular — and no one calls her on it ever.

7. The one about remembering the worst day of your life.

"The Barber and his Wife," "Sweeney Todd"

No character in musical theater is more nostalgic than Sweeney Todd, who, just moments after we meet him, croons this delightful ditty reminiscing about the time he was framed for a crime he didn't commit and banished from England so that an evil judge could rape his wife who subsequently poisoned herself.

A tune you can hum!

8. The one about remembering things differently than everyone else around you.

"Satisfied," "Hamilton"

Not sure if you've heard, but "Hamilton" is good, you guys.

After Alex and Eliza Schuyler meet and fall in love in "Helpless," Angelica Schuyler basically goes "Wicked" on her sister's song, recalling how agonizing it was watching her sister and the man who she herself is super into get together. But she sucks it up and buries it! Older siblings are the best.

9. The one about remembering that cute girl you just met like five seconds ago.

"Maria," "West Side Story"

A classic from "West Side Story." Sure, it's about remembering a meet-cute that literally just happened — Tony and Maria's orchestral-swell-assisted gaze across a crowded gym — but Tony is super jazzed about it, so it makes the list.

Gosh, I sure hope those crazy kids work out!

10. The one about remembering all the worst things from when you were a kid, and one kind-of-OK thing.

"At the Ballet," "A Chorus Line"

The ballet isn't that great, but it's better than devastating childhood trauma. Score one for the ballet! Thanks, "A Chorus Line!"

11. The one about remembering old hobbies.

"Dentist!" from "Little Shop of Horrors"

"Little Shop of Horrors'" Orin Scrivello, DDS, is just misunderstood. I mean, who among us didn't "shoot puppies," "poison guppies," or "take a pussycat and bash in its head" now and again as a kid? The '50s were a simpler time!

12. The one about remembering watching a dude die on the battlefield and feeling feelings about it.

"Momma Look Sharp," "1776"

47 years before "Hamilton" brought us the swaggery, ass-kicking side of the Revolutionary War, "1776" tore our guts out with this song, in which a courier to the Continental Congress recalls watching a mother comfort a young soldier as he dies at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Hercules Mulligan does the guest rap. (Just kidding. There is no guest rap. It's just gorgeously somber for a while and then over.)

13. The one about remembering the best four years of your life.

"I Wish I Could Go Back to College," "Avenue Q"

Of course the sad-sack puppet man- and woman-children of "Avenue Q" want to go back to college! Who among us doesn't long for the days of term papers, humiliating romantic encounters, and crushing, debilitating debt? And meal-plan ice cream, too!

14. The one about remembering some A-plus advice from your best friend.

"Cabaret," "Cabaret"

Ladies and gentlemen, Sally Bowles from "Cabaret" is no fool! No matter how many lovers leave, or how much her career nosedives, or how nutty local politics get, she always remembers this important life lesson she learned from her good friend Elsie.

If only you had such a great, wise friend, maybe your outlook would be as good as Sally's. You could be so lucky!

15. The one about remembering last Christmas.

"Halloween," "Rent"

When it comes to the science of memory and cognition, "Rent" asks the big questions:

"Why are entire years strewn on the cutting room floor of memories? When single frames from one magic night forever flicker in close-up on the 3-D Imax of my mind?"

Poetic? Pathetic? We report, you decide.

16. The one about remembering everything and realizing how terrible it all was.

"Rose's Turn," "Gypsy"

Ah, yes. "Rose's Turn." The 11 o'clock number to end all 11 o'clock numbers in "Gypsy," the most musical of all musicals. Truly, there aren't many things more enjoyable than listening to Mama Rose replay the events of the last decade and change inside her own brain in a slow-motion nervous breakdown as the notion that her entire life has been completely worthless gradually dawns on her with ever-increasing dread.

Did I mention how fun musicals are?

Trivia time! You know that thing in music where trumpets go, "Ya da da da daaaa DA. Da DA da DA!" You know that thing? This is the song that thing comes from.

17. The one about remembering the first time you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up.

"Ring of Keys," "Fun Home"

There's nothing better than a song that makes you want to shout: "I am so glad I'm watching a musical instead of a basketball game right now." This moment in "Fun Home," where Alison recalls seeing a delivery woman — the first person who looked like the woman she felt like — is really, really one of them.

"This is a song of identification that is a turning moment, when you think you’re an alien and you hear someone else say, 'Oh, me too,'" composer Jeanine Tesori told Variety. "It’s a gamechanger for Alison. And that’s just Musical Theater 101."

...And the entire audience bursts into happy tears forever.

18. The one about remembering a nice dream you dreamed.

"I Dreamed a Dream," "Les Misérables"

When your life isn't going so great, it's good to remember the positive! Things didn't exactly go super well for Fantine in "Les Mis." But, hey, she had a pretty good dream once!

19. The one about remembering your single greatest regret and vowing to never remember it again.

"Turn It Off," "The Book of Mormon"

What's the ticket to living as fun-loving and guilelessly as the Mormon elders in "The Book of Mormon?" Don't just bury those traumatic, scary, impure memories — CRUSH THEM, OK?!

20. The one about remembering a really successful first date.

"Sarah Brown Eyes," "Ragtime"

Ah, young love. Even in "Ragtime," a musical that features racism, state violence, attempted child murder, and terrorism, at least we have this song, in which Coalhouse Walker Jr. recalls how he got his beloved Sarah to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with him with his peerless piano skills? So romantic.

Gosh, I sure hope those crazy kids work out!

21. The one about remembering a scary dream.

"Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "Guys and Dolls"

With, perhaps, only a smidge more credibility than grifter-from-another-mother Professor Harold Hill, "Guys and Dolls'" third-most-degenerate gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson recalls a terrifying dream where he had to convince a group of skeptical evangelical crusaders that he's decided to give up the dice once and for all.

Side note: People in musicals are unbelievably good at remembering dreams. This is, like, full detail. I'd be like, "Um, I was at the Statue of Liberty, and you were there? I think? It wasn't really you, it was like a combination of you and my dad. And we were in prison. But at the Statue of Liberty."

22. The one about remembering how it used to be when you were young and full of hope instead of old and bitter and jaded.

"Our Time," "Merrily We Roll Along"

The closing number of "Merrily We Roll Along" is actually the first chronologically, since the musical goes backward. It's the play's happiest moment — Frank, Charley, and Mary on a roof watching Sputnik go by, giddily talking about how thrilling, perfect, and successful their futures are going to be. It's so hopeful! But so sad, 'cause you already know all the achingly bittersweet stuff that's going to happen.

Ach! So poignant! I'm dead from poignant.

23. The one about remembering.

"Memory," "Cats"

"Cats." The OG.

All right team, what did I miss?

This article originally appeared on 02.26.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Health

Neuroscience learns what Buddhism has known for ages: There is no constant self

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it.

Ven. Thich Thong Hai prays by a statue of Buddha in the garden at the Ventura Buddhist Center.

Proving that science and religion can, in fact, overlap, University of British Columbia researcher Evan Thompson has confirmed the Buddhist teaching of the not-self, or "anatta," is more than just a theory.

"Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness," he tells Quartz. "And from a neuroscience perspective, the brain and body is constantly in flux. There's nothing that corresponds to the sense that there's an unchanging self."


This reality that nothing stays the same should be liberating, because if people believe it, they'll no longer define themselves by their thoughts or be limited by a fixed idea of who they are. Their possibilities will be endless.

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it. Neuroplasticity, as it's called, endows people with the ability to grow and evolve, triumphing over bad habits and becoming more like the individuals they want to be.

Buddha, religion, self awareness, evolution, enlightenment

Buddha GIF

Giphy Discover & share this Big GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Still, exactly how consciousness relates to the brain eludes both Buddhism and neuroscience. Buddhists suppose there's an iteration of consciousness that doesn't require a physical body; neuroscientists disagree.

"In neuroscience, you'll often come across people who say the self is an illusion created by the brain," Thompson says. "My view is that the brain and the body work together in the context of our physical environment to create a sense of self. And it's misguided to say that just because it's a construction, it's an illusion."


This article originally appeared on 09.23.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A woman is sad after getting charged a huge junk fee.

Just about everyone has had the depressing experience of sitting through a long queue to get concert tickets, only to find when they were ready to check out, the price was 30 to 40% higher because of service fees added by the ticketing company.

People often have the same experience when ordering food through an app, only to see a massive service fee applied right before they're ready to place their order.

These service fees, known by many as “junk fees,” are popping up everywhere these days, from surprise resort fees charged when checking out of a hotel to a 4% surcharge on a dinner bill that the restaurant added so you can help pay for their employees' healthcare.


The good news for people in California is that a new bill will go into effect on July 1st that bans hidden or unexpected fees on everything from concert tickets to cruise packages. Senate Bill 478 (SB 478) makes it illegal for businesses to advertise or list a price for a good or service that does not include all required fees or charges other than certain government taxes and shipping costs.

“Our price transparency law is about clear and honest communication with consumers so consumers can make the financial choices that are best for them and their families. This new guidance provides information for businesses across California to ensure that clear answers are available, particularly for small businesses,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “The law is simple: the price you see is the price you pay. Laws work when everyone can comply. I am pleased that we can offer this guidance to help facilitate compliance with the law and make a more fair and level marketplace for businesses and consumers."

A 2023 survey of Americans found that 2 out of 3 said they were paying more in surprise charges now than they had five years earlier.

The bill is good news for consumers who want to make thoughtful decisions about how they spend their money, especially when inflation has made it a lot harder to stretch a dollar. However, the bill probably won’t make things any cheaper. Businesses most likely won’t stop charging these hidden fees; instead, they will be rolled into the listed price instead of popping up out of nowhere right before you hit the “pay now” button.

State Senator Bill Dodd from Napa, the bill's co-author, stated its goals: “A consumer shouldn’t discover hidden fees made up by a business when they pay their bill.”

As the old saying goes, “As goes California, so goes the nation,” and when companies are forced to alter their pricing and marketing in America's most populous state, it’s bound to create changes for consumers across the country. The new law could be the first shot in a larger war against junk fees.

In 2023, President Biden called out Ticketmaster and others who charge "junk fees" in his State of the Union address, claiming he’ll get “rid of junk fees, those hidden fees at the end of your bill that are there without your knowledge.” In his 2022 State of the Union speech, Biden criticized the hotel industry for surprise fees at checkout. "We’ll ban surprise ‘resort fees’ that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts,” Biden said.

This Federal pressure led several companies, including Live Nation, SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE and the Newport Festivals Foundation, to make their pricing more transparent.


Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.


The volunteer slowly entered the kennel with the terrified dog, crouching on his knees for an easy escape if needed. But the dog attempted to essentially become invisible by avoiding eye contact and staying curled in a tiny ball. It seemed like it was going to take a long time for this nervous pup to warm up.

Before long, he's offered a treat. Success! The brown dog takes the treat, and as minutes pass you can see his body slowly relax, eventually coming to sit directly next to Kanaka for pets. In the few minutes of the video, you see such an amazing transformation that proves this little guy just needed some love.

"It was so cute when he started wagging his tail. You could tell his whole demeanor just changed, and he was happy. Just a few kind words and a little attention. That’s all animals need. Well, besides food. Lol," one commenter says.

"That moment when he starts to realize he's actually safe. That gradual tail wag, and the ears perking, the eyes lighting up. You don't have to be an expert to show an animal love and respect," another writes.

"After that first treat his entire demeanor changed. He went from not trusting you to thinking you may be kind and he could feel less stressed. That was really amazing to see," someone gushes.

This sweet scared dog just needed human connection by someone taking the time to sit with him to know he was safe. Once he was sure the shelter was a safe place, the dog even welcomed those who came to visit him after seeing the video.

"I went to the shelter today to visit 'Bear'! Everyone would be thrilled to hear that he seems very happy and energetic! He has a little red squeaky bone toy that he loves. He licked my hand immediately and rubbed his head on my legs and arms, eager for affection. What a sweetheart," a commenter writes.

Thanks to Kanaka's sweet gesture, the dog, now named Shadow Moon, was adopted and is now living his best life with his new human dad and husky brother. You can follow Shadow Moon's journey on his Instagram page.


This article originally appeared on 12.1.23


Categories are great for some things: biology, herbs, and spices, for example.

Image via

But bodies? Well, putting bodies into categories just gets weird. There are around 300 million people in America, but only 12 or so standard sizes for clothing: extra-extra-small through 5x.


That's why designer Mallorie Dunn is onto something with her belief — people have different bodies and sizing isn't catching up.

Dunn has found that the majority of clothing sizes stop at an extra-large, yet the majority of women in America are over that. "And that just doesn't make sense," she says.

All images via Smart Glamor, used with permission.

Human spice rack, only, a LOT more variations of flava. ;)



That's why she started a project around her clothing label, Smart Glamour, to document the bodies of models according to their sizes — and to show how one size can look very different on different bodies.

In pursuit of creating a fashion environment that's kinder to all bodies, Dunn has dedicated herself to educating consumers about sizing.

First, she found 60 people of 12 different sizes and took their pictures.

Then, she put five women at a time in the same size of skirt and shirt to show how diversely beautiful human bodies are and to prove that everyone looks different in clothes no matter what size they have on.

She hoped to show people that 12 sizes don't even come close to capturing the beauty of the human form.

All these models are wearing the same size ... but do they look the same?

"No matter what size you are that's not what dictates your worth or your beauty."

"I had a convo with a friend of mine who was like 'Yeah, if I went from a medium to a large, I'd be fine with it, but if I went from a large to an extra-large, that wouldn't be OK' and I was like, 'Why???' And she had no rational reason behind that," Dunn said, describing a conversation we've all either had, started, or heard. "We've been taught forever that the bigger something sounds, the worse that it is."

Dunn's project also shows just how arbitrary and narrow-minded clothing sizes are.

Sizes really are just numbers.

Unlike the images we are presented both in clothing ads and in entertainment and media, human beings aren't, as Dunn remarked, "robots who come out on a conveyor belt ... we're all shaped differently."

The pressure to look one way is obnoxious. And kinda dangerous.

"We've been taught forever that the bigger something sounds, the worse that it is."

There's so much weight — no pun intended — on being the "right" size.

"You put an 'extra' on top of a 'large,' and suddenly it's the end of the world," Dunn said of her experience in fashion sizing. "... And it really doesn't mean anything, it really only means that there's an extra inch of fabric."

One extra inch of fabric.

3 in 4 girls report feeling depressed, guilty, or shameful after just three minutes of leafing through a fashion mag.

But I'd like to imagine a world where everyone can try on clothes and leave the emotional burden of worrying about fit to the clothes.

Instead, let's focus on what looks good on our bodies. Let the clothes handle the emotional roller coaster of not fitting, and you just live your life in the body you've been given.

Dunn, who has worked for fashion houses for her whole career, puts it bluntly: "Clothes are not made for all bodies. ... We shouldn't then think when something doesn't fit us that it's somehow our fault."

Dunn's models also have a group on Facebook where they support each other, compliment each other, and generally lift each other up. Model Stephanie describes it this way: "We see the beauty in one another and help each other to recognize our own beauty at the same time." Fashion leading to body optimism and confidence? Yes, please.

And Dunn herself drives a hard line when it comes to feeling good in the skin you've been given. Her philosophy is this: No matter what size you are, that's not what dictates your worth or your beauty.

Self-worth not based on appearances. That's a category we can all aspire to "fit" into!


This article originally appeared on 07.27.16

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