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This innocent question we ask boys is putting more pressure on them than we realize

When it's always the first question asked, the implication is clear.

This innocent question we ask boys is putting more pressure on them than we realize



Studies show that having daughters makes men more sympathetic to women's issues.

And while it would be nice if men did not need a genetic investment in a female person in order to gain this perspective, lately I've had sympathy for those newly woke dads.

My two sons have caused something similar to happen to me. I've begun to glimpse the world through the eyes of a young male. And among the things I'm finding here in boyland are the same obnoxious gender norms that rankled when I was a girl.


Of course, one notices norms the most when they don't fit. If my tween sons were happily boy-ing away at boy things, neither they nor I would notice that they were hemmed in.

But oh boy, are they not doing that.

In fact, if I showed you a list of my sons' collective interests and you had to guess their gender, you'd waver a bit, but then choose girl.

Baking, reading, drawing, holidays, films, volleyball, cute mammals, video games, babies and toddlers, reading, travel, writing letters.

I imagine many of you are thinking at this point: That's awesome that your boys are interested in those things!

There's more. One loves comics and graphic novels but gravitates to stories with strong female protagonists, like Ms. Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Cool! I love it.

And sports. They are thoroughly bored by team sports. They don't play them. They won't watch them. They will up- or down-arrow through any number of sporting events on TV to get to a dance contest or to watch competitive baking.

So? Nothing wrong with that.

Those are the kinds of things all my progressive friends say.

But it's often not the message my sons themselves hear from the other adults in their lives, their classmates, and the media.

For example, the first get-to-know-you question they are inevitably asked by well-meaning grown-ups is, "So, do you play sports?" When they say, "No, not really," the adult usually continues brightly, "Oh, so what do you like to do, then?"

No one explicitly says it's bad for a boy not to play sports. But when it's always the first question asked, the implication is clear: playing sports is normal; therefore, not playing them is not.

The truth is that one of them does play a sport. He figure skates, as does my daughter. When people find out that she skates, they beam at her, as if she suddenly has possession of a few rays of Olympic glory. In the days before my son stopped telling people that he ice skates, most of them hesitated and then said, "Oh, so you are planning to play hockey?"

But it's not just what people say. It's all those pesky, unwritten rules. When he was in second grade, my younger son liked the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew series. But he refused to check any out of the school library. He explained: "Girls can read boy books, but boys can't read girl books. Girls can wear boy colors or girl colors, but boys can only wear boy colors. Why is that, Mom?"

I didn't have an answer.

An obvious starting point — and the one that we have the most control over — is to change the way we speak to the boys in our lives.

As Andrew Reiner suggests in a spot-on essay, we should engage boys in analytical, emotion-focused conversations, just like we do with girls. In "How to Talk to Little Girls," Lisa Bloom offers alternatives to the appearance-focused comments so often directed at young girls: asking a girl what she's reading or about current events or what she would like to see changed in the world. I could copy-paste Bloom's list and slap a different title on it: "How to Ask Boys About Something Besides Sports."

And with a few more built-in nudges, we might expand the narrow world of boyhood more quickly. Boy Scouts could offer badges for developing skills in child care, teamwork, and journaling. Girl-dominated activities like art, dance, gymnastics, and figure skating could be made more welcoming to boys, with increased outreach and retention efforts. My son could write his own essay about trying to fit in to the nearly all-girl world of figure skating, including the times he has had to change clothes in a toilet stall at skating events because there were no locker rooms available for boys.

I used to think that the concept of gender — of "girl things" and "boy things" — was what was holding us back.

Now I see it differently.

The interdependent yin and yang of gender is a fundamental part of who we are, individually and collectively. We need people who like to fix cars and people who like to fix dinner. We need people who are willing and able to fight if needed and people who are exquisitely tuned into a baby's needs. But for millennia, we have forced these traits to align with biological sex, causing countless individuals to be dissatisfied and diminished. For the most part, we've recognized this with girls. But we have a long way to go when it comes to boys. As Gloria Steinem observed, "We've begun to raise daughters more like sons … but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters."

I acknowledge that young boys feeling pressured to be sports fans is not our country's biggest problem related to gender.

Transgender individuals still confront discrimination and violence. The #MeToo movement has revealed to anyone who didn't already know it that girls and women can't go about their everyday lives without bumping into male sexual aggression.

But if our culture shifts to wholeheartedly embrace the whole spectrum of unboyishness, it may play some small role in addressing these other issues, too. Male culture will be redefined, enriched, and expanded, diluting the toxic masculinity that is at the root of most of our gender-related problems.

Boys and girls alike will be able to decide if they would rather be made up of snips and snails, sugar and spice, or a customized mix. And my future grandsons, unlike my sons, won't think twice about wearing pink or reading about a girl detective at school.

This story originally appeared on Motherwell and is reprinted here with permission.


This article originally appeared on 06.20.18

Images provided by P&G

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

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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 map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Child Mind Institute/Youtube

Actress Kristen Bell speaks up about coping with depression.

Actress Kristen Bell lives with anxiety and depression.

Maybe you wouldn't have guessed it scanning through her work on IMDb. She's the voice behind Anna in "Frozen," after all; the star of a former hit show called "The Good Place," for goodness sake.

Those seem like, um ... happy roles. Right?


That's why Bell is speaking out again about her mental illness.

The media we consume — on our phones, in the magazine aisle, even in Bell's own delightful TV series and films — rarely convey an accurate depiction of reality. And Bell is advising anyone else living with mental illness not to be fooled.

In a video produced by the Child Mind Institute, Bell opened up about what she'd like to tell her younger self.

"What I would say to my younger self is don’t be fooled by this game of perfection that humans play," she said. "Because Instagram and magazines and TV shows — they strive for a certain aesthetic, and everything looks so beautiful, and people seem like they don’t have any problems. But everyone’s human."

She continued (emphasis added):

"Everyone has problems. Everyone feels yucky on the inside sometimes. And you deserve to feel just as beautiful on the days that you wear no makeup, and the days you don’t shower, and the days that you feel like you’re depressed. And you have an obligation to take care of yourself from the inside out, because that’s how you can truly feel beautiful.”

In recent years, Bell has spoken up candidly about her own mental health in hopes it can benefit others.

The actress was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when she was 18 years old. As she explained to "Off Camera with Sam Jones" in 2016, her mom had been the one to fill her in on their family's history with mental illness.

Bell started taking medication to help — and has no qualms about it. "I still take it today; I have no shame in that,” Bell explained. "You would never deny a diabetic his insulin, but for some reason when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they're immediately ‘crazy’ or something."

Her anxiety and depression, Bell noted, is probably the biggest differentiation between her own life and the characters she portrays on screen.

Depression and anxiety affect millions of Americans of all ages. But despite their prevalence, stigma surrounding mental illness — dissuading people from reaching out, for instance, or shaming them for taking medication — remains a major barrier stopping people from accessing the resources they need.

Bell wants every kid to know they deserve to feel better.

"Never feel embarrassed or ashamed about who you are," Bell advises viewers in her new PSA. "Never feel embarrassed or ashamed about the uniqueness that is you, because there are people out there to help. And we're all just human. And you can do it."

Learn more about depression and anxiety — and access the help you or your child deserve — at the Child Mind Institute.

children, depression, mind, mental health

Child Mind Institute is an organization changing children's lives.

childmind.org

The Child Mind Institute is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders.


This story originally appeared on 5.2.2018



via TheEllenShow / YouTube

Mark Wahlberg on "The Ellen Show."

Actor Mark Wahlberg recently attended a daddy-daughter dance with his 10-year-old, Grace. Sadly, Grace had no interest in seeing her father strutting his stuff on the dance floor.

"I didn't get one dance," Wahlberg told Ellen DeGeneres. "And I told her we were going to do the whole big circle and I was going to go off. And she said, 'Dad, if you embarrass me, I will never talk to you again.' But what she did do is she hung out with me."

No matter who your dad is, especially if you're a 10-year-old-girl, you have zero desire to see him dance in front of your friends.

But the parents at the dance probably would have had a blast seeing Wahlberg bust out some of his old-school '90s Marky Mark moves.

However, Wahlberg couldn't help but leave his mark on the music being played at the dance.


Let's not forget, he didn't get famous for his acting but for showing off his abs in the "Good Vibrations" video.

Being that Wahlberg's time as a pop star was three decades ago, he couldn't believe it when he heard the music being played at the dance.

"[Grace] sat there on the edge of the stage, by the DJ. And then I'm sitting there with one other dad and I'm like, 'This is not an edited version of this song. There are explicit lyrics being played at a school dance for girls and I'm like no good,'" he said.

"I told the DJ and he's like, 'Oh, I thought it was.' I said, 'What are you doing?' I'm hearing F-bombs and this and that's not okay," Wahlberg said.

He's right. There's no place for music with explicit lyrics at a dance for 10-year-old children.

Wahlberg says the DJ didn't know he wasn't playing the edited version, but it's probably more likely that he didn't even realize the song was a problem. Pop music these days is filled with a numbing amount of violent and misogynistic lyrics.

A recent study from the University of Missouri found that nearly one-third of pop songs contain lyrics that degrade or demean women by portraying them as submissive or sexually objectified.

Currently, three of the top five songs on the Billboard Top 40 contain the word "bitch." One of them is sung in Korean.

It's odd that Americans have become more sensitive to misogyny in pop culture in films, television, and comedy, but still have a huge cultural blind-spot when it comes to music.

That's not a good thing, especially when pop music is marketed to teenagers.

"We know that music has a strong impact on young people and how they view their role in society," said Cynthia Frisby, a professor in the Missouri School of Journalism.

"Unlike rap or hip-hop, pop music tends to have a bubbly, uplifting sound that is meant to draw listeners in," Frisby continued. "But that can be problematic if the lyrics beneath the sound are promoting violence and misogynistic behavior."

Let's face it, pop stars are role models. Their examples show young people what to wear and how to behave. That's not to say that kids will blindly follow someone just because they like their music. But it has an undeniable effect.

Wahlberg, and any parent who monitors what their kids are listening to, deserve credit for protecting the minds and hearts of their kids.

Frisby has some great advice for parents concerned about negative imagery in pop music.

"Ask your daughters and sons what songs they like to listen to and have conversations about how the songs might impact their identity," Frisby said.

"For example, many songs might make young girls feel like they have to look and act provocative in order to get a boy to like them, when that isn't necessarily the case. If children and teens understand that what they are hearing isn't healthy behavior, then they might be more likely to challenge what they hear on the radio."

He's right. There's no place for music with explicit lyrics at a dance for 10-year-old children.

Wahlberg says the DJ didn't know he wasn't playing the edited version, but it's probably more likely that he didn't even realize the song was a problem. Pop music these days is filled with a numbing amount of violent and misogynistic lyrics.

A recent study from the University of Missouri found that nearly one-third of pop songs contain lyrics that degrade or demean women by portraying them as submissive or sexually objectified.

Currently, three of the top five songs on the Billboard Top 40 contain the word "bitch." One of them is sung in Korean.

It's odd that Americans have become more sensitive to misogyny in pop culture in films, television, and comedy, but still have a huge cultural blind-spot when it comes to music.

That's not a good thing, especially when pop music is marketed to teenagers.

"We know that music has a strong impact on young people and how they view their role in society," said Cynthia Frisby, a professor in the Missouri School of Journalism.

"Unlike rap or hip-hop, pop music tends to have a bubbly, uplifting sound that is meant to draw listeners in," Frisby continued. "But that can be problematic if the lyrics beneath the sound are promoting violence and misogynistic behavior."

Let's face it, pop stars are role models. Their examples show young people what to wear and how to behave. That's not to say that kids will blindly follow someone just because they like their music. But it has an undeniable effect.

Wahlberg, and any parent who monitors what their kids are listening to, deserve credit for protecting the minds and hearts of their kids.

Frisby has some great advice for parents concerned about negative imagery in pop music.

"Ask your daughters and sons what songs they like to listen to and have conversations about how the songs might impact their identity," Frisby said.

"For example, many songs might make young girls feel like they have to look and act provocative in order to get a boy to like them, when that isn't necessarily the case. If children and teens understand that what they are hearing isn't healthy behavior, then they might be more likely to challenge what they hear on the radio."


This article originally appeared on 03.03.20

Health

Understand consent with the help of stick figures and a cup of tea

You'll never look at a cup of oolong the same way again.

It’s more than just tea.

In this hilarious and enlightening new animated video from Blue Seat Studios, consensual sex is explained in a way that everyone can understand.

By replacing sex with a cup of tea, this crudely drawn short offers a clear picture of what "saying yes" looks like.


The script for this video came from blogger Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, previously reported here.

You'll never look at a cup of oolong the same way again.


This article originally appeared on 05.12.15

This isn’t comfortable to talk about.


Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault and violence.


A recent video by Just Not Sports took two prominent female sportswriters and had regular guys* read the awful abuse they receive online aloud.

Sportswriters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro sat by as men read some of the most vile tweets they receive on a daily basis. See how long you can last watching it.


*(Note: The men reading them did not write these comments; they're just being helpful volunteers to prove a point.)

It starts out kind of jokey but eventually devolves into messages like this:

reporters, news, human resources

Awful.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

These types of messages come in response to one thing: The women were doing their jobs.

Those wishes that DiCaro would die by hockey stick and get raped? Those were the result of her simply reporting on the National Hockey League's most disturbing ordeal: the Patrick Kane rape case, in which one of the league's top players was accused of rape.

DiCaro wasn't writing opinion pieces. She was simply reporting things like what the police said, statements from lawyers, and just general everyday work reporters do. In response, she received a deluge of death threats. Her male colleagues didn't receive nearly the same amount of abuse.

It got to the point where she and her employer thought it best to stay home for a day or two for her own physical safety.

The men in the video seemed absolutely shocked that real live human beings would attack someone simply for doing their jobs.

broadcast news, female reporters, discrimination

Not saying it.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

Most found themselves speechless or, at very least, struggling to read the words being presented.

hate speech, slander, sexualization

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

Think this is all just anecdotal? There's evidence to the contrary.

The Guardian did a study to find out how bad this problem really is.

They did a study of over 70 million comments that have been posted on their site since 2006. They counted how many comments that violated their comment policy were blocked.

The stats were staggering.

From their comprehensive and disturbing article:

"Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the 'top 10', one was Muslim and one Jewish.

And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men."
harassment, feminism, culture, community

If you can’t say it to their face... don’t type it.

All images and GIFs from Just Not Sports/YouTube.

So what can people do about this kind of harassment once they know it exists?

  1. To start? Share things that make people aware it's happening. Listen to the Just Not Sports podcast where they talk about it.
  2. If you know someone who talks like this to anyone on the internet, CALL THEM OUT. Publicly, privately — just let them know it's not OK to talk to anyone like this.
  3. Don't stop talking about it. Every day, the harassment continues. Don't let it linger without attention.

There are no easy answers. But the more people who know this behavior exists, the more people there will be to tell others it's not OK to talk to anyone like that.

Watch the whole video below:

.This article originally appeared on 04.27.16