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Why your choice not to have kids is awesome.

Sometimes it seems like childless adults can't win for losing. That sucks.

I think we can all agree that women are under a lot of scrutiny. A lot.

We are almost always too fat — unless we cross over and become “disgustingly thin“ or a “skinny bitch.“


Photo used with the author's permission.

We are expected to behave, and we hear these commands all the time:

“Smile!”

“Sit up!”

“Don’t be pushy!”

“Don’t be too loud!”

“You are too opinionated!”

“Act like a lady!”

Wait, are those last four said only to me? No, I’m pretty sure they are universal.

We are constantly under observation.

“Sure, she lost some weight, but now her face sags.”

“I think she has had some work done.”

“She has cankles and her left eye is lazy.”

From where I sit, women can’t win for losing. This goes double for moms.

“I don’t know why she even had kids if she is never home.”

“She just lets those kids walk all over her.”

“She is a mess! If you can’t handle the stress, don’t have kids!”

Talking about not being able to win for losing, try that, women. Try not having kids. That will surely keep all that criticism away.

Oh wait — no it won’t.

You want to open yourself up to a huge stinking pile of judgment? Just be a childless female over 30.

Even worse, a married childless female over 30 — a woman who chooses not to have a child.

I have never been a childless female over 30, so I am not speaking from experience. But I can tell you that I have never heard anything good offered up about women who exercise their right to live their life in a way that suits them.

Photo via pixabay.

I can also tell you that when I meet a woman who has chosen not to have children, she often confesses that right away. Sometimes she will share this information apologetically, sometimes with a bit of compensating bravado, and sometimes just as a warning or heads-up that I may find her pristine ovaries all too much and take leave of her company forthwith.

Women would not be so preemptively defensive if they didn’t get a ton of crap for not having a kid.

Here is a list about why we should not dump crap on childless woman, aptly titled:

Why giving people shit for not having babies is messed up.

Photo via Mateus Lunardi Dutra/Flickr.

1. It is their body, their life, and their choice.

That’s right, people. Women are actually autonomous creatures with lots to offer the world besides their uteruses. They are not extensions of a man who can breed with them; they are not cattle impregnated for the good of the farm; they are not the unpaid nannies of the world, continuing the species, alone, on their exhausted shoulders.

They are humans, living in a society and oh so very capable of personal choice.

2. Overpopulation.

Seriously, folks, before you start laying into people about how “they must experience children, for they are God’s gift“ — think about the fact that God has been a little too generous with the gifts when we consider what the planet can sustain. God is like the uncle who brings us a puppy and a drum set. They seem like a good idea, but sometimes we have no place to put the drum set and now we have to feed and care for the puppy.

I know I am opening myself up to major critique with this point, as I have so many “littles,” but that is just my point. When I encounter people who have opted for a childless life, I thank them.

3. Poverty.

This is a very real consideration. It even has a name — the feminization of poverty — with lone mothers experiencing the highest risk for extreme poverty because their income is insufficient to feed their children.

Before we get all high and mighty as we look down on women who choose to lower their risk of destitution, maybe we should stop a moment to think about it as a wise choice.

If as a society we are so hell-bent on every womb being sacred and therefore obligated to hold human life, perhaps we should help a mother out now and again.

Players all be like:

“Have a baby! Have a baby! Have a baby!”

Then:

“Girl, why you have a baby when you can’t take care of it!??!!!”

Can’t win for losing.

4. Babies can kinda suck.

You know, I love me some babies. I am a total addict; I always need to hold them — I will even ask complete strangers if I can hold their babies. And thank God I have a fertile family that pops those little poopers out every few years because there is nothing better than baby head smell.

Buuuuuut ... truth be told, babies can suck the life right out of you, too. You give up your body to make them and your sleep and sanity to raise them. And you get to deeply understand the phrase “this is why we can’t have nice things” for at least 20 years.

When the littles are young, you spend every moment making sure they don’t die, and when they are older, you spend every moment fixing stuff they have broken or looking for stuff they have taken.

I love my kids. But realistically, parenting is not for everyone. Maybe it's not even for most people.

If social pressure did not exist and we had a really clear picture of what it's like to raise children before having them, I think our overpopulation problem would fix itself in a generation.

So, to people who do not have children: You are perfectly complete and amazing.

You have to answer to no one about your mindful decisions and your powerful choices.

You are going to have more time and disposable income than those of us who made a different choice, so good for you! I hope you use both in ways that make your life and the world even better.

Photo via iStock.

The mandate that you must have children to be a “real woman“ is completely false.

You are real. How could anyone ever tell you otherwise?

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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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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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.

Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

via GIPHY

A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

via GIPHY

It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

via GIPHY

Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

via GIPHY

Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

via GIPHY

Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

via GIPHY

Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

via GIPHY

It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

via GIPHY

I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

via GIPHY

Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

via GIPHY

The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

via GIPHY

Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

Giphy

Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

Giphy

Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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