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A hijab is a traditional head covering worn by many Muslim women all over the world.

In the Muslim faith, a hijab is worn to protect modesty, privacy, and morality. Many people think they're oppressive to women and a symbol of extremism, which is why the last time you saw one in the news was probably when France passed several laws restricting when and where women are allowed to wear them.

In reality, many Muslim women embrace the choice to wear hijabs (not to be confused with niqabs, which cover the face, or burkas, which cover the entire body) of their own free will.


A woman preparing hijabs for sale in Indonesia. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images.

Do a little searching online, and you can find amazing tutorials showing all the different ways to style a hijab, fan-art illustrations of superheroes wearing hijabs, and other outspoken and successful Muslim women who embrace the hijab. One of them is Dalia Mogahed, who recently explained on "The Daily Show" why wearing a hijab doesn't mean she's oppressed, saying that women who wear hijabs "do it as an act of devotion, as a part of their faith. Not because anyone forces them but because it's how they believe they should be following their faith."

Two young women have been making news lately with their decisions to show the world that wearing a hijab is not only their right but an important part of their culture that they hold dear.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencing champion from New Jersey, will soon make history when she becomes the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete in hijab.

After earning a bronze medal at the Athens Fencing World Cup, Muhammad — who was already the first Muslim woman to compete in U.S. fencing — earned enough qualifying points to compete in this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently second place in the U.S. national fencing team's point standings.

Muhammad (second from left) after winning the women's team sabre final in the 2014 World Fencing Championship in Kazan. Photo by Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images.

"I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender," she says in her USA fencing team bio. "I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance."

Muhammad is well aware of the lack of diversity in U.S. fencing. In fact, that's partly why she pursued the sport. Shortly after her fencing career at Duke University, she realized she could help push the sport forward.

"After I graduated from college, I saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport," Muhammad told Team USA. “I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber.”

And Stephanie Kurlow, a 14-year-old dancer from Sydney, Australia, is aspiring to be the worlds first hijabi ballerina.

A dancer since age 2, Kurlow stopped practicing shortly after converting to Islam with her family when she was 8, according to the NY Daily News.

She felt self-conscious about wearing her hijab in ballet class and was frustrated to find there were no ballet studios that readily accepted Muslim women. She feared this would prevent her from achieving her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Had such a fun photo shoot the other day!💙 #wedanceasone #dailytelegraph
A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

So her mom decided to open up a performing arts studio that teaches ballet, martial arts, and aboriginal art classes for girls like Stephanie. There, Kurlow continued dancing and went on to win first place in a Muslim talent show as well as the Most Inspirational Young Star in Sydney’s Youth Talent Smash competition last year. All while wearing her hijab.

“[The hijab] is a part of who I am, and represents the beautiful religion that I love,” she told the NY Daily News. “If people have the right to dress down, then I have the right to dress up.”

Kurlow dreams of inspiring other women the way she was inspired and has started a fundraising page so that she may one day train full-time at ballet school and eventually open up her own school.

Both of these women are promoting diversity and acceptance by being who they are.

Ibtihaj Muhammad competing in 2011. Photo by Giusseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images.

Society often moves forward at a snail's pace. You need people who are willing to jump out in front and lead the way. Ibtihaj Muhammad and Stephanie Kurlow are leaders because they believe that the world gets better when everyone is included equally.

Whether it's politics, art, music, dancing, or an Olympic sport, there are talented and incredible people everywhere.

And they can wear whatever the hell they want.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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