They came on the air promising real stories of real women. Now they're just embarrassing.

When "women's networks" started popping up, there was hope that finally there would be TV shows telling the real stories of real women.

Then this happened. Women's History Month, 2015.

It had an uplifting theme.


So exciting. Great stories to be told.

Right?

Well, um, things worked out a little differently than we expected.

[SARCASM ALERT] We should all express our gratitude to these networks...

...for uplifting shows that taught us what womanhood is all about.

Of course, womanhood isn't really about any one thing. There are all sorts of women in all sorts of situations. It's just that TV producers seem to be kind of single-minded in showing women in trumped-up stress nightmares that could make anyone crack. Maybe we should actually feel sorry for these women more than anything else.

...for celebrating the strength of women as communicators.

Women are great communicators. But no one's at their best all the time, especially when they've been set up. A show without extreme conflict is dramatically kind of dull, so producers do their best to make sure that never happens, and away we go.

...for showing women at their inspiring best.

It's almost as if these so-called "women's networks" are out to make women seem as unhinged as possible. Unnatural situations, check. Unnatural obstacles, check. Just turn on the cameras and watch the fireworks.

...and as they really are.

OK, first:

This is not how women really are. Maybe it's about how some women can be when they've been pushed to the point where normal rules of human behavior no longer seem to apply.

Second, and worse:

This fight and others like it are serious, with people getting hurt. It's no joke. If two guys on a reality show got into it like this, they'd be escorted from the set. But there's a double standard here that sees woman-on-woman violence as entertaining. Huh? This is not the type of thing you'd expect of a network for women.

Seriously.

It would be awesome if women's real stories could be on TV all the time. Great tales of amazing women from history. Accounts of women doing remarkable things today. It would provide inspiration and lead to a richer understanding of women for everyone.

Oh, well. Nice idea.

It's not like there's just one kind of women's story that can be told, either. There's room for all kinds of stuff. But it's just not OK when trumped-up sensationalism's pretty much all you see.

The women of Emotistyle want to thank the networks for a job (not) well done.

And yes, they are being sarcastic. 100% sarcastic.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.