This man is helping end toxic masculinity one kitten lunchbox at a time.

Cats are the undisputed rulers of the internet.

And because recent research suggests that our feline friends would murder us all if they weren't so small, it's probably best that we continue appeasing them by purchasing shirts, mugs, and all other manner of cat-branded accoutrements to continue showing our undying fealty to these juggernauts of the animal kingdom.


There's one problem, though: Despite the fact that cats are metal AF, they're somehow still seen as animals "only girls like."

Ridiculous, right? One man certainly thought so. And he's doing something about it.

In an April 2 Facebook post that's gone viral, David Pendragon told a story that's both heartbreaking and uplifting.

It involves his cousin's 10-year-old son, who was bullied for bringing a dope-ass lunchbox covered in a violently hued array of kittens to school.

From Pendragon's post:

"My cousin, Emily, has a 10 year old son named Ryker. Ryker, who loves cats, was very excited to get his new lunchbox. Unfortunately because of its colors, or because it has cats, or both he was teased about it by other boys in his class. He even wanted to stop taking his lunch so he wouldn't be teased about it any longer."

How messed up is that? Spoiler alert: very.

Of all the everyday disappointments of being a kid, I can think of nothing sadder than being told you shouldn't enjoy something just because it's "girly."

My cousin, Emily, has a 10 year old son named Ryker. Ryker, who loves cats, was very excited to get his new lunchbox....

Posted by David Pendragon on Monday, April 2, 2018

What's wrong with being "girly"? Absolutely nothing.

But it's that kind of thinking that can trap boys in patterns of toxic masculinity (via harmful messages like "men don't show emotions," "men don't cry," and "men should reject anything that's considered to be feminine") and demean women.

And yet, as a society, we continue to perpetuate this idea for no other reason than "that's the way it's always been."

But it hasn't.

Did you know that pink used to be a "boy" color?

A quick bit of history: It wasn't until the 1940s that blue became synonymous with boys. In fact, for a long time, Smithsonian.com notes, boys would wear white dresses and have long hair until the age of 6 or 7. This was seen as gender neutral. When colors came into the picture, pink was initially seen as the most "masculine" option.

In 1918, pink was prescribed for boys due to it being a "more decided and stronger color," having been derived from the bold color red. For girls? The "delicate and dainty" blue.

But it got even more complicated, with shifting trends suggesting that blue and pink weren't about gender at all, but about babies' coloring. Have a blond kid? Wrap 'em up in blue. Your baby's first hairs showing up a dark auburn? Swaddle 'em in pink.

In 1927, Smithsonian.com adds, Time magazine published an article informing parents which colors were "appropriate" based on sales at top department stores. The color for boys? Pink.

So, what changed? Manufacturers interpreted these changing customer preferences and switched things up. Generations since have been passing down the idea that boys and girls have specific, gender-prescribed color preferences.

And sometimes, when these views are challenged, moral panic ensues.

Remember what happened when Target decided to go gender neutral for in-store signs advertising kids' clothes and toys? Or the much-to-do that occurred when a father bought his daughter a "Little Mermaid" doll? (That kid's got good taste, by the way. Ariel's the undisputed best of all the Disney princesses.)

Forcing kids into gender roles at a young age is harmful.

As Cassandra Stone points out on Scary Mommy, making kids choose what they like based on how their genitalia looked at birth is breaking their spirits and setting them on a path of self-denial.

Why shouldn't a girl love monster trucks? And why shouldn't a boy love kittens? Or dresses? There really isn't any reason except a desperate clinging to archaic thinking. (Check out FDR rocking a white dress and long hair in 1884. He grew up to be president.)

And isn't that what we should really be focusing on — making the world a safer place for everyone to express themselves? It's more important to make sure that all kids learn it's OK to be themselves.

Pendragon agrees. That's why he's stepping up for his cousin in the best way possible.

"So I have ordered the same lunchbox for myself and proudly carried it to work today at my large, conservative, corporate workplace," he wrote. "I've told anyone who asked the story behind my lunchbox and ... they all stand with Ryker too."

"There's no one way to be a man," he added. "Men can be colorful. Men can be expressive. Men can be emotional and silly and gleeful."

Most importantly? Men (and boys) can step up for others to end the notion that we can't like what we like and feel what we feel. It's up to us to encourage each other to just be ourselves.

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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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via Cadbury

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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Well Being

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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Culture