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You know how girls' clothing is often stereotyped? Well, so is boys'. These moms were tired of it.

"You know what? My son can like what he likes, gender norms be damned!"

You've probably seen some of the viral videos and photos about parents who are taking a stand and sending this message to the world.

Like the dad whose son asked for a Disney Little Mermaid doll and who enthusiastically exclaimed, "YEAH! That's how I feel. I let my boys choose their life," in answer to his own question, "Now how do you think a dad feels when his son wants to get THIS?"


Or the dad who made a children's custom kitchen out of an old piece of furniturefor his son's 2nd birthday and shared it online ... only to be attacked by insecure angry trolls who told him he was going to turn his son gay. (Side note: What even?!)

That dad was having none of it, responding in part, "He always wants to watch us cook and likes being involved, so we thought this would be a good idea. Furthermore, if my kid wanted a barbie doll I would get it for him. If that is what he wants, then that is what he wants. It's his decision what he wants to play with. Not mine." (Can I get an amen?)

These dads aren't the only ones fed up with the way that ridiculous gender expectations are hurting boys. Parents everywhere are taking a stand.

Three women who own clothing companies for kids recently got together to fill a rather gaping hole in the clothing market.

Courtney Hartman of Free to Be Kids and Jessy & Jack, Jo Hadley of Handsome in Pink, and Martine Zoer of Quirkie Kids are moms and small business owners who were tired of the limitations on the boys' clothes you find in most stores. So they got together to promote clothing options that are pink and purple, show animals traditionally geared toward girls (think kittens and butterflies), and include words like "love" emblazoned on them.

And they're awesome.

Options like this:

Quirkie Kids.

And this:

Free To Be Kids. Photo credit: Liz Donovan Photography.

And this:

Quirkie Kids.

I spoke to the masterminds behind the clothing lines to find out what motivated them to tackle this project.

Hartman, Hadley, and Zoer aren't strangers to teaming up. They were among the nine women behind the #clotheswithoutlimits movement created to give girls more clothing options.

Now, the three are hoping to do the same for boys. At first, you might think that's unnecessary. I mean, girls often shop from the boys' section because there are more options.

But think about it: When boys show interest in things stereotypically considered "girly," they're often labeled as gay. That's ridiculous because clothes or, you know, an interest in kitchens doesn't determine a kid's orientation. (And do I even have to say it? OK, I'll say it: It doesn't matter if they're gay.)

Wouldn't it be great if boys weren't limited to stereotypically "boy" clothes?

Handsome in Pink. Photo credit: Jo Rainbow Photography.

"We think it's time … boys should also be able to like kittens and be proud to be kind and loving and they should also be able to like pink," Hartman told me. "They're just exploring being boys and all the things there are to like!"

Free To Be Kids. Photo credit: Liz Donovan Photography.

Zoer wants our generation of boys to like whatever they want to like — not what they're made to feel they should like. They can "love sports, love pink, love climbing trees…" she said. "Whatever it is that they love to do, it doesn't need to define them."

Jessy & Jack. Photo credit: Happy Genes Photography.

Sure, we've come some way in tackling gender norms, but we still have a long way to go. Hadley talked about a recent Lego magazine her son received.

"On the back cover of the magazine were the words 'Charge into Battle 2016'" she said. "And it's this image of all of these Lego figures covered in armor with aggressive faces... and they're fighting and there are big long swords and fire."

Meanwhile, she described an insert for the Lego Friends — the ones marketed toward girls:

"There are six sexualized girls with big eyes and short dresses. They all have their arms around each other, having their pictures taken. The comic inside is about a big slumber party they're going to have and it's all lovey dovey. They're not even talking about anything."

Her conclusion? "Our kids are are just so imbued in this extreme division of battle versus soft, sexualized friendships. They're both wrong," she said. "They're two extremes and things need to come more toward the center — more access to everything!"

Hadley's point is strong — and it carries over to clothing, too.

Free To Be Kids. Photo Credit: Monte Attard.

Why can't boys' clothes project kindness the way girls' do?

Hartman explained: "One of the things I enjoyed for my line is designing a shirt with the word 'love' on it. Love is on tons of girls' clothes, but not on boys'. How is love a girl thing?"

The message is that boys are aggressive. But why can't they be kind?

"There's an overarching message of aggression [with boys]. The words are always 'troublemaker' and 'eat my dust' — competitive — but they are not kind and not soft in any way. It's sad that we're expecting boys to have this hard facade."

Free to Be Kids. Photo credit: Kerra Vaughan.

Jessy & Jack. Photo credit: Ericka Lowe.

At the end of the day, these expectations harm kids — no matter what gender.

People have been pushing back against the expectations we have for girls for a while now, which is amazing and so important. We need to keep doing it because we're making progress. But it's a little more recent that folks have started to take a stand against silly expectations for our sons.

It's time we did, because our sons deserve to be who they are and like what they like. And those very same expectations are hurting our daughters, too.

"If you give kids free reign, they'll like what they like," Hartman said.

I couldn't agree more. Here's to letting our kids like what they like!

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.


The early 1900s were a time of great social upheaval in our country. During the years leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, miners all around the country looking to make a better life for themselves and their families set up picket lines, organized massive parades and rallies, and even took up arms. Some died.

It's always worth considering why history like this was never taught in school before. Could it be that the powers that be would rather keep this kind of thing under wraps?


Here is Woody Guthrie's tribute to the good people who fought in the battles of Ludlow to help make a better tomorrow for everyone — you can just start the video and then start reading, if you wish:

Coal Country, Colorado

100 years ago, the Rocky Mountains were the source of a vast supply of coal. At its peak, it employed 16,000 people and accounted for 10% of all employed workers in the state of Colorado. It was dangerous work; in just 1913 alone, the mines claimed the lives of over 100 people. There were laws in place that were supposed to protect workers, but largely, management ignored those, which led to Colorado having double the on-the-job fatality rate of any other mining state.

It was a time of company towns, when all real estate, housing, doctors, and grocery stores were owned by the coal companies themselves, which led to the suppression of dissent as well as overinflated prices and an extreme dependence on the coal companies for everything that made life livable. In some of these, workers couldn't even leave town, and armed guards made sure they didn't. Also, if any miner or his family began to air grievances, they might find themselves evicted and run out of town.

strike, economy, money works, Union parade

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Union Parade, Trinidad, Colorado, 1913. Images via Colorado Coal Field War Project/University of Denver Library.

The Union

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had been organizing for many years in the area, and this particular company, Colorado Fuel and Iron, was one of the biggest in the West — and was owned by the Rockefeller family, notoriously anti-union.

Put all this together, and it was a powder keg.

The Ludlow colony, 1914 massacre, Colorado Coal Field War

The Ludlow Colony before the massacre, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

tent colony, mining, miners

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

families, National Guard, unions

Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

Photo from Youtube video.

Strike!

When a strike was called in 1913, the coal company evicted all the miners from their company homes, and they moved to tent villages on leased land set up by the UMWA. Company-hired guards (aka “goons") and members of the Colorado National Guard would drive by the tent villages and randomly shoot into the tents, leading the strikers to dig holes under their tents and the wooden beams that supported them.

Why did the union call for a strike? The workers wanted:

  1. (equivalent to a 10% wage increase),
  2. Enforcement of the eight-hour work day,
  3. Payment for "dead work" that usually wasn't compensated, such as laying coal car tracks,
  4. The job known as “Weight-checkmen" to be elected by workers. This was to keep company weightmen honest so the workers got paid for their true work,
  5. The right to use any store rather than just the company store, and choose their own houses and doctors,
  6. Strict enforcement of Colorado's laws, especially mine safety laws.
calvary, Trinidad, striking women

Cavalry charge on striker women in nearby Trinidad.

Photo from Youtube video.

UMWA, Rocky Mountains, President Woodrow Wilson

Militia and private detectives or mine guards, Ludlow.

Photo from Youtube video.

The Powder Keg Explodes

The attacks from the goons continued, as did the battles between scabs (strikebreakers) and the miners. It culminated in an attack on April 20, 1914, by company goons and Colorado National Guard soldiers who kidnapped and later killed the main camp leader and some of his fellow miners, and then set the tents in the main camp ablaze with kerosene. As they were engulfed, people inside the tents tried to flee the inferno; many were shot down as they tried to escape. Some also died in the dugouts below the burning tents. In the first photograph below, two women and 11 children died in the fire directly above them. A day that started off with Orthodox Easter celebrations for the families became known as the Ludlow Massacre.

Woody Guthrie, child labor laws, worker rights

The "Death Pit."

Photo from Youtube video.

colony, coal country, University of Denver

Rear view of ruins of tent colony.

Photo from Youtube video.

funeral procession, Louis Tikas, Greek strikers

Funeral procession for Louis Tikas, leader of Greek strikers.

Photo from Youtube video.

The 10-Day War

The miners, fresh off the murders of their friends and family members, tried to get President Woodrow Wilson to put a stop to the madness, but he deferred to the governor, who was pretty much in the pocket of the mine companies.

So the miners and those at other tent colonies quickly armed themselves, knowing that many other confrontations were coming. And they went to the mines that were being operated by scabs and forced many of them to close, sometimes setting fire to the buildings. After 10 days of pitched battle and at least 50 dead, the president finally sent in the National Guard, which promptly disarmed both sides.

Union Victory

While close to 200 people died over the course of about 18 months before and after the battles at Ludlow and the union ultimately lost the election, the Ludlow Massacre brought a congressional investigation that led to the beginnings of child-labor laws and an eight-hour workday, among other things.

But it also brought national attention to the plight of these miners and their families, and it showed the resilience and strength that union people could display when they remained united, even in the face of extreme corporate and government violence. Historian Howard Zinn called it "the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history." And the primary mine owner, John D. Rockefeller Jr., received a lot of negative attention and blame for what happened here.

monuments, April 20, 1914, coal miners, revolution

The UMWA is still a solid union today, and there is a monument in Colorado to those who died in the Ludlow Massacre.

Image by Mark Walker/Wikimedia Commons.

This article was written by Brandon Weber and originally appeared on 08.14.14


Images provided by P&G

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

True

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.

Joy

Bob Ross once shared the joy of painting to a colorblind viewer using only black and white

"Let your imagination just wander around while you're doing these things."

Video pulled from YouTube video.

Bob Ross paints for a colorblind fan.

The soft sound of slow-moving water down a creek. The smell of fresh coffee roasting in the morning. A thick blanket resting across your lap during the first snowfall of winter.

Sure, you might find these things soothing. But none of them — none of them — compares to watching (and listening to) Bob Ross paint.



In case you've never experienced Ross, he's that "soft spoken guy painting happy clouds, mountains, and trees in about 26 television minutes," as his website explains. And if you think that sounds boring, well, you're wrong. It's one magical half-hour of television euphoria. End of discussion.

Ross died back in 1995 (rest in peace, Bob), but you can still catch his show, "The Joy of Painting," on TV from time-to-time (or you can binge watch it on YouTube after a rough day at work). His website claims it's the "most recognized, most watched TV art show in history." And who could argue with that? No one. No one, I tell you.

Although it's been more than two decades since Ross' show was canceled, one episode recently resurfaced online.

An especially old one — episode four of season two — made its way onto the front page of Reddit on Sept. 1, 2015. It begins like any other: Ross smiling brightly next to a blank canvas, ready to take us on an endorphin-filled visual journey.

But then, plot twist, as Ross explains, this episode won't be quite as colorful as the others...

"Anyone can paint." (I wish he could give me Monday morning pep talks every week.)

In case you want to print out that quote and hang it on your wall or something (we could all use a little more Bob-spiration, after all), here it is in its entirety:

"Just recently I was doing a demonstration in a mall, and I had a man come to me and he said, 'Bob, I could never paint because I'm colorblind. All I can see is gray tones.' So I thought today we'd do a picture in gray just to show you that anyone can paint."
50 shades of gray, master painter, Bob Ross, soothing voice

Ross shares his joy through his painting.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Ross had a wonderful habit of reminding viewers that art is for everyone.

While his talents were extraordinary, Ross never made viewers feel like they couldn't create their own beautiful works of art, too.

The colorblind fan could have had achromatopsia — a condition that affects roughly 1 in every 33,000 Americans by limiting their vision to see only in grayscale. But Ross was determined to make painting — an activity seemingly dependent on color — an accessible art form for him: "Any color will work, as long as you use the basic method."

In the episode, Ross goes on to paint his own version of 50 shades of gray, masterfully creating rocky mountains behind a wintry sky.

As Ross explains, he only used various hues of browns and blues mixed together (which end up coming through as various grays), along with white.

“Isn't that fantastic? That you can make whole mountains in minutes? And you can do it. There's no big secret to it. All you need is a dream in your heart."

Bob Ross was incredible.

Not only at painting (and assuring me with that soothing voice that the world is a wonderful place), but at helping everyone feel good about themselves and their own abilities. Thank you, Bob.

Check out the whole episode below:

This article originally appeared on 09.01.15


Millennials and Gen Z ditch top sheet to the dismay of Boomers


Once again the youngins are flabbergasting the older generations with their disregard of things they deem unnecessary. There's always something that gets dropped or altered generation to generation. We learn better ways or technology makes certain things obsolete. But it doesn't matter how far we've come, our beds still need sheets to cover the mattress.

The debate is on the use of top sheets, also known as flat sheets. They're the sheets that keep your body from touching the comforter, most Gen X and Boomers are firmly for the use of top sheets as a hygiene practice. The idea being that the top sheet keeps your dead skin cells and body oils from dirtying your comforter, causing you to have to wash it more often.

Apparently Millennials and Gen Zers are uninterested in using a top sheet while sleeping. In fact, they'd rather just get a duvet cover, though they may be cumbersome. A duvet cover can be washed fairly frequently, while some may opt for a cheeper comforter that they don't care is washed often because their distain for a top sheet is that strong.


But why on earth do Millennials and Gen Zers hate top sheets? It turns out it's mostly about practicality. Many Millennials are on the move holding a full time job and a side hustle or two to make ends meet, adding and extra step when making the bed seems unnecessary.

“For a younger demographic, eliminating that step when making the bed in the morning really gives you a jump start on the day," Ariel Kay, CEO of Parachute tells Wall Street Journal.

Parachute is a company that offers bedding sets sans top sheets for folks that just don't like them and boy has Kay heard everyone's unsolicited opinions on the matter. She told WSJ that people will stop her on the street to get into debates about the importance or unimportance of top sheets. Yikes.

In a since deleted tweet, @JesseLynnHarte writes, "People say millennials “killed” chain restaurants, marriage, & napkins... But WHEN will they acknowledge our greatest take-down yet?? TOP SHEETS. I don’t know a single millennial who uses one. Top sheets are archaic. This is just the truth."

It would seem that Millennials and Gen Z would much rather wash their duvet covers weekly than to add a flat sheet into the mix. One big complaint about the flat sheet that adds another con to the list is they get bunched up or tangled around your legs if you're a restless sleeper. Not everyone likes hotel tucked corners on their sheets because it can feel confining.

But if you run hot, Boomers and Gen Xers have got the thing for you–a top sheet. It would seem that that thin piece of material that irritates some people can act as a sort of temperature control according to USA Today. Even if you don't tend to need the cooling effect of a top sheet, what Mary Johnson, Tide Principal Scientist at Procter & Gamble has to say in a USA Today follow up article, just may make you rethink ditching the top sheet.

Simply by existing, "people produce one liter of sweat, 40 grams of sebum, 10 grams of salt, and 2 billion skin cells. All that stuff that happens below the waist [and] up by your head—skincare products, hair care products, ear wax, snot, drool, lots of really gross stuff—is transferred to your sheets," Johnson tells the outlet.

So whether you're team top sheet or not, it may be a good idea to at least wash whatever you use to cover your bed at least once a week.


This article originally appeared on 3.19.24

Democracy

Under French law, businesses can’t email employees after work hours

In France, there’s a rule against emailing employees on the weekend.

Image via Pixabay.

France is famous for protecting its employees.

Nothing can ruin a relaxing weekend or holiday like an email from the office. Even if there's no need to take action until Monday, the unwanted intrusion of professional life can really suck the joy out of a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

That's why the country that's famous for giving its employees 30 days off a year and 16 weeks of full-paid family leave in May 2016 made itself even cooler with its new "right to disconnect" rule.


In France, if you're a company of 50 employees or more, you cannot email an employee after typical work hours. The labor law amendment has come about because studies show that in the digital age, it's increasingly difficult for people to distance themselves from the workplace during their off hours.

This new provision allows people to get the full advantage of their time off.

culture, France, labor laws, emails

France Kiss GIF by Robert E Blackmon.

Giphy by Robert E. Blackmon.

"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant," Benoit Hamon of the French National Assembly told the BBC. "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down."

The rule stipulates that companies must negotiate policies that limit the spillover of work into their employees' private lives. Although there are no penalties for violations, companies are to establish "charters of good conduct" that specify the times which employees are free from being digitally connected to their workplaces.

This right to disconnect amendment was passed as part of a controversial French labor law that some say will weaken unions and enhance employee job insecurity. The digital disconnect amendment was the one part of the law that's been viewed favorably by the French public.

This article originally appeared on 11.12.17



What are women up to when no one is watching?


Artwork courtesy of Sally Nixon, used with permission.

Well, take a look at Sally Nixon's illustrations and you'll see.



The subjects in her artwork aren't aware we're looking at them.

And that's the point. They're living in a world free from the pressures that exist in the real one.

"I like drawing girls doing their everyday routine — just hanging out, not worried about what others are thinking," Nixon told Upworthy. "They're usually alone or with other girls. Their guard is down."

Editor's note: An image below contains partial nudity.

Capturing her subjects in this liberated light wasn't intentional at first, she explained.

But when she started a 365-day challenge last April to create one art piece a day, the work started reflecting the nuances of her own life away from prying eyes — "I was kind of like, 'Oh, I'm brushing my teeth, so I'll draw that.'" — and a theme began to form.Her illustrations show how women look, away from the exhausting world where they're often judged more harshly than men.

You also might notice none of the girls in her illustrations are smiling.

According to Nixon, that's a deliberate choice.

"I don't sit around smiling to myself," Nixon said, noting the double standard that exists in thinking women should always appear cheerful.

"I've been told, 'You need to smile more.' It's so infuriating. I wanted to show the way girls actually look, comfortably."

The theme of friendship is also an important one in Nixon's drawings.

“I have four older sisters, so female friendship has always been a big part of my life," Nixon told The Huffington Post. “You gotta have someone to talk about periods with, and dudes just don't get it."

Creating relatable scenes was key to Nixon, too — from the details of women's lives to the physical shapes of their bodies.

“It's important that the women I draw aren't rail thin with huge boobs," Nixon said. “I think there are enough images of bodies like that out in the world. The ladies I draw typically have small-ish, droopy breasts and thick thighs. They're kind of lumpy but in an attractive way. Just like real people."

The women in Nixon's work aren't real, but she hopes their stories are.

"One of my absolute favorite comments [on my work] is, 'Oh my God, it's me!'" she explained of the depictions.

"There's a little bit of beauty in [everyday life] and I wanted to bring that out."

You can view more of Nixon's artwork on her website and check out her prints for purchase on Etsy.


This article originally appeared on 04.15.16