These awesome teens take tampons to school to help their friends in case of an 'emergency'
via Tara Ahrens

Earlier this month, blogger Tara Ahrens posted a photo of her teenage sons, Micah, 15, and Elijah, 16, to the private Facebook page Pantsuit Nation, and it received over 65,000 reactions.

It was an image of them back-to-school shopping at Target that read: "My teenage boys helped me shop today which included buying their little sister's first bras … because breasts happen."

"Both boys carry a tampon and a pad in their backpacks in case one of their friends needs one," she continued. "Just a mom out here, trying to erase gender taboo!!"


via Tara Ahrens

Ahrens' comfort discussing menstruation with her teenage sons was a breath of fresh air for many on the Pantsuit Nation page.

It broke down a long-standing taboo surrounding teenage boys and periods. Most males of that age group live in a mensuration-free bubble, only to learn the ropes when they become husbands or fathers.

While some men reject any involvement with menstruation or period products for their entire lives.

It also prompted a lot of people to ask themselves an important question: Why can't boys help their friends when they're having period troubles?

RELATED: Male athlete gets roasted for comparing period pain to skinned knees

She discussed the origins of her idea in a blog post she wrote for CafeMom:

I first started talking about this with them last year, after reading an article about a man on the Appalachian Trail who gave a tampon from his backpack to a woman who had bled through. He reportedly said something like, "It's no big deal; I grew up with a mom and sisters … " and that rocked my world. As I was driving in my car one day, I looked at my boys in the rearview mirror and nonchalantly told them that they should probably put a tampon in their backpacks in case any of their friends had an emergency. They seemed to think it over and didn't say much, because teenagers.

Intrigued by her taboo-busting, out-of-the-box parenting skills, Upworthy got the chance to speak with Ahrens about the discomfort our society has surrounding menstruation and how people have reacted to her unique parenting policy.

Upworthy: What were your sons' first reactions to you asking them to carry period products with them to school?

Tara Ahrens: When I nonchalantly suggested they carry a tampon in their backpacks, they were a little surprised. I explained that it might come in handy in case one of their friends has a crisis at school. We had already discussed periods and how traumatic it can be for a girl to have a bleed-through at school, so they already knew to behave like a gentleman and never mock or laugh. It was a logical next step for them to just tell their friends they always have products, in case they ever need one.

Upworthy: What do the teachers at your sons' school think about their willingness to help out their friends when they've having period problems?

Tara Ahrens: This has all snowballed so quickly that they really haven't had a chance to discuss it with many teachers. The few that read the the article think it's "awesome," "astounding," "so cool," and they love all of it.

via Tara Ahrens

Upworthy: What does their father think about it?

Tara Ahrens: My husband, Lucas, is a bit puzzled by the response on the internet. He says "if someone needs help, you help them; that's just being a good human."

Upworthy: Have you inspired any other parents you know to do the same thing?

Tara Ahrens: I have some friends of girls who have said they appreciate this. Some of my friends will remember it for the future (when their sons are older). I have talked with a few friends who love the idea of this; but their sons don't have the same personalities as my boys so this approach wouldn't be a good fit for their families. They have mentioned discussing menstruation more often to normalize it.

Upworthy: I'm sure that a lot of parents who read this article will want to encourage their sons to do the same. Do you have any advice for helping them approach such a sensitive topic?

Tara Ahrens: My advice to other parents is; know your child! Like all parenting ideas, some will work for our children and others we just disregard. If your son is in a friend group that is both male and female and they are a kid not easily swayed by the opinions of others, this might be a great fit.

You get to that point by taking the embarrassment and shame out of menstruation conversations from the time they are young. I've always given my kids short, age appropriate, medical answers. Long talks do not work, but a bunch of quick, teachable moments over time, can easily erase any taboos.

RELATED: Ack! I need chocolate! The science of PMS food cravings

Upworthy: It's 2019, why is menstruation still such an uncomfortable topic for many?

Tara Ahrens: I think that menstruation has been a tricky thing historically. It has definitely been used to control women. The fact that women were referred to as "unclean" is a stigma that still exists. Women have been told their thoughts are "crazy" or "unclean" based on their "time of the month". This misconception is going to take time to change. The more we talk frankly and biologically about it, the more we can normalize it.

Upworthy: What's the most common criticism you've received from talking about menstruation?

Tara Ahrens: The most common, and surprising criticism, is that my boys are somehow forcing tampons on strangers. I think a lot of people read a title and based on their own period shame, their first response is "No." The truth is, my boys have discussed this with their existing friend group.

Another baffling comment is that girls and women should handle this themselves. Period poverty in the USA is a very big reality. Our school is a low-income school. Fifty-one percent of girls nationwide miss out on classroom time due to a lack of period products. We have students who don't have a "mom" or even a mom-figure in their life. We have students who don't have a home. To insinuate that everyone has access to the same resources is pretty asinine. No girl should suffer just because she doesn't have access to period products. Generosity and kindness are choices we make and they are not gender-related.

Many doubters scoffed at the idea that any teenage girl would ever ask a boy for a period product. They are wrong! The day my essay for CafeMom was published, Elijah came home in need of more supplies because one of his friends came to him with an emergency. He's been asked twice. It is working!

I'm not any better of a mom than anyone else. I'm winging it and trying to add some big teachable moments in between the extreme living that is parenting four kids.

via Tara Ahrens

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

"Generation X" got its name in the early '90s from an article turned book by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland. And ever since, they've been fighting or embracing labels like "slacker" and "cynic." That is, until Millennials came of age and all that "you kids today" energy from older generations started to get heaped on them. Slowly, Gen X found they were no longer being called slackers... they weren't even being mentioned at all. And that suits them just fine.

Here are 17 memes that will resonate with just about anyone born between 1965 and 1980.

Gen X basically invented "Whatever."

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Until recently, Generation X has been sitting back and watching as Millennials and Boomers eat each other with an amused, non-confrontational attitude. But recently, Millennials and Gen Z became aware of their presence, and dubbed them "The Karen generation."


They seem to be embracing the Karen thing.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

While I"m pretty sure the "Karen" thing is not complimentary — as BuzzFeed puts it, it's meant to communicate someone who is "the middle-aged white mom who is always asking for the manager and wondering why kids are so obsessed with their identities," lots of people landed on a different Karen to represent the generation: the martini-guzzling, wise-cracking Karen Walker.


Get it right!

gen n memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Well [expletive] me gently with a chainsaw, she's right. The 1980s cult classic starring Winona Ryder and Shannen Doherty really is the Mean Girls of the '80s and a much better term than Karen


The disdain is mutual...

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Most of my Gen X friends have Gen Z kids and they are intergenerationally very chill with each other. However, Gen X is the generation most likely to have Boomer parents and younger millennial kids, and this meme seems to be resonating a bunch with Xers of a certain age.


A lot of Xers are enjoying the "OK boomer" squabble.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITER

The media tends to ignore Generation X as a whole — as a few tweets coming up demonstrate — and this pleases Gen X just fine. After all, they're used to it. They were latchkey kids whose parents both worked long hours, so they're used to being somewhat neglected.


A whole mood.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Gen X: "Look, don't pull us into this. You'll make me spill my beer."


Gen X: Get used to it.

gen x memes

Perhaps Gen X's blasé attitude to the generation wars has something to do with being called "Slackers" for a full decade.


Pass the popcorn.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Aside from this whole "Karen generation" blip, Gen X continues to be largely overlooked, and that fact — as well as their silent delight in it — is possibly one of the most Generation X things to happen to the class of 1965 to 1980.


Pay no attention to the man behind the venetian blinds.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITER

Back in the '90s, Gen X bore the same kind of criticism Boomers tend to heap on Millennials and Gen Z now. It's not necessarily that they want to watch a cage match. It's just they're so relieved it's someone else being called slackers and downers for a change.


See?

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Although this chart doesn't list the generation names, the approximate age ranges are all there... except for a big gap between the ages of 34 and 54 where apparently no humans were born? Poor Gen X (and some elder Millennials) apparently don't have political beliefs worth examining.


Don't you forget about me...

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

If Millennials are the "burnout generation," I guess Gen X is truly the invisible generation. I'm starting to feel inspired to write a science fiction novel where everyone born from 1966 to 1980 inhabits a totally different dimension.


There are perks to being invisible...

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Being overlooked can be an advantage when you just want to sit in the corner and be immature. Gen X spent all of the 90s being told they were immature slackers, and in their 40s, a lot of them are really leaning into that description, because what does it matter?


"No one cares what we think anyway..."

This GIF of Janeane Garofolo mocking her classmates at the high school reunion is basically a whole Gen X mood and definitely captures how a lot of this generation caught in the middle feels about the "OK boomer" wars.


Party on.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITTER

Before Brené Brown was telling us all how to dare greatly, Gen X got their inspirational advice from a different kind of TED and his pal Bill, who taught us all how important it is to learn from history and be excellent to each other.


Too late and yet too early.

gen x memesSOURCE: TWITER

Romance — or getting lucky — was never easy for Generation X. They were the generation most impacted by the AIDS epidemic when it comes to anxiety about casual sex. Whereas Boomers had the free love of the late '60s, Gen X was about safe sex, which usually meant less sex. And even when having safe casual sex, singles in the '90s had to meet people the old-fashioned way or, if they did meet online, they felt shame over it. Now online dating is the norm.


When Gen X replaces the Boomers.

gen x memes

This is probably an optimistic view — because the truth is there are "Boomers" in every generation, and many of them tend to find their way into powerful positions. Let's call this a best case scenario, though.


The Nihilism Generation

gen x memes

There is no generation more over it than Gen X. They are ready for the apocalypse, but don't expect them to, like, help or anything!