This conservative politician slammed 'Wear a Dress Day.' It backfired. Big time.

This is Australian senator Cory Bernardi.

He's a conservative. That's putting it lightly.

Photo by Mark Graham/AFP/Getty Images.


Down Under, Bernardi is known for, among other things, pushing climate change denial, vehemently opposing LGBTQ rights, and calling proponents of abortion access "pro-death."

So, at face value, a tweet he published on Sept. 20 probably wasn't all that surprising.

In the tweet, which has since been deleted, Bernardi wrote, " One school in SA now has a 'wear a dress day'. This gender morphing is really getting absurd," Bernardi said, linking to a story about a school in South Australia holding a "Wear a Dress Day."

The first problem with Bernardi's tweet is that it's wildly transphobic. The second problem is that it ... sort of totally missed the whole point of what "Wear a Dress Day" actually is.

"Wear a Dress Day" has nothing to do with any sort of LGBTQ awareness campaign like Bernardi's tweet suggests. It's about girls' education.

Student leaders at Craigburn Primary School near Adelaide had chosen to support One Girl's Do It in a Dress campaign on their last day of term — a day in which students are typically allowed to wear casual clothes to class.  

Students who want to wear casual clothing can certainly still do so. But, in recognition of the campaign, students of all genders are also allowed to wear dresses — only if they wish to do so — to boost awareness of girls' lack of access to education globally, a blog post by the school points out.

In addition to wearing casual clothes or a dress, students were encouraged to donate to the campaign so the school could reach its $900 goal supporting One Girl, funding needs like scholarships and making schools safer for girls.

The senator's offensive, tone-deaf tweet didn't really add up. And people noticed — including Josh Thomas.

The prominent Australian comedian and LGBTQ rights advocate published a thread of tweets in response to Bernardi's remarks.

Thomas pointed out Bernardi's transphobic, "gender morphing" accusation was misleading, noting the actual intention of the students' campaign.

The comedian reiterated the fact Bernardi was exploiting a school's effort to raise funds — for charity — to reap the political benefits.

Thomas concluded the thread by letting fans know he was supporting Craigburn's Do It in a Dress campaign with a $1,000 donation.

As the backlash built, Bernardi went on ABC Radio on Sept. 20 to discuss his remarks.

Instead of apologizing or clarifying his intent, the senator doubled down, claiming the school was wrong for carrying out the campaign while marriage equality is a hot-button topic currently being decided at the ballot box.

"In the hypersensitive time where we’ve got same-sex marriage debate, we’ve got people concerned about gender ideological training in schools, I think this is entirely inappropriate," Bernardi said, continuing to draw lines between a campaign focused on girls' education and transgender rights.

The senator claims he's on board with the campaign's overall goal of helping girls in the developing world. But many Australians still weren't happy with his remarks.

People gleefully shared their support for the campaign online while mocking the senator's backward stance on LGBTQ rights.

Ironically, Bernardi helped boost the very same effort he initially criticized.

The school's initial fundraising goal was just $900. To date, Craigburn School has raised over $235,000.

In large part thanks to an "ultra-conservative rant" targeting LGBTQ rights.

"We are speechless," One Girl responded to the overwhelmingly popular campaign.

If the nonprofit's math checks out, that's over 780 girls in need who will now receive an education — all thanks to one school's fundraiser (with a little help from a bigoted politician, of course).

To support Craigburn's Do It in a Dress campaign, visit One Girl's website.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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