TIME year of the man

More Sex—and 7 Other Benefits for Men who Help Out at Home

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8 reasons why it's good for men to embrace their inner feminist.

As Sheryl Sandberg likes to say, if given a choice, women should go gay—for the sake of equality, of course. Study after study shows that same-sex couples are more egalitarian, meaning they split chores, decisions and finances more evenly than the rest of us.

Us hetero gals aren’t so lucky, at least not yet. While the men in our lives may want to be all 50/50 when it comes to work and chores (and indeed, some of them are) it just doesn’t usually happen that way in practice. Gender roles run deep, and women still do the vast majority of the domestic work.

But if 2014 was the year of the female protagonist, then this will be the year of male feminist as icon. I’m not talking about men marching down Fifth Avenue (though I’d welcome it) but subtly adapting to the way things ought to be: New research shows there are more stay-at-home dads now than ever; and men of all walks are demanding more in the way of work-life balance, even if it means ridicule from their peers (or ignorant talk radio hosts).

Men are suiting up for more than just the rec football league—they’re suiting up in the kitchen. And if they’re cooking, it means they’re probably cleaning too, which would explain why proud fathers and sensitive betas are suddenly dominating the ad world, too. (Swiffer? A guy’s gotta mop the floor. Nissan SUV? It’s for shuttling kids to soccer practice, obviously.)

Now they’re entering the feminist Public Service Announcement circuit, which typically gets very active around this time of year. (It’s Women’s History Month, after all.) There is a new film, The Mask You Live In, that tackles our narrow definitions of masculinity. (It’s available for screenings in schools). There is a three-day conference—the first ever to take on “masculinities studies”— in New York City the first weekend in March. There is a campaign from the United Nations, He for She, to engage men on the topic of gender equality. You may remember the rousing opening speech to the campaign, from non-man but one of that gender’s favorite people, Emma Watson.

And now there is Lean In Together, a partnership between Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, LeanIn.org (where, in full disclosure, I am a contributing editor) and the NBA, to encourage men to support women at home and work. As Sandberg and business professor Adam Grant put it in a New York Times op-ed, the final in a four-part series on women and work, “equality is not a zero-sum game.” In other words: It’s good for men, too.

It’s easy to understand how women benefit from men doing their share both at home and at the office. When men chip in at home, women thrive at work (and feel less resentful and guilty). When men advocate for female colleagues in the office, women rise up. Yet beyond the obvious—that, uh, it’s the right thing to do—how do men benefit from the extra effort?

From raising healthier daughters to more sex at home, here are eight reasons why men supporting women is actually good for men.

Sexxxxxxxxx. You’ll Have More of It.

Call it the economics of choreplay: women are turned on by the idea of a man with his elbows up to suds. Sure, maybe they have a Mr Clean fetish, or maybe they’re just freaking exhausted, and not having to do the dishes for one night might put her in the mood. These days, women are the primary or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American households, yet only 9% of dual-income marriages share childcare, housework and breadwinning evenly. Which means that when the first shift (work) is over, the second shift (home, dinner, laundry, dishes) begins. Which puts this next statistic into context: When couples share chores and breadwinning more equally, divorce rates go down. Men who share in dishwashing and diaper changing have happier wives, and more stable marriages.

When marriages are happy, couples, ahem, have more sex. So, the laundry: strip down and toss it in.

Your Daughters Will Have Higher Self-Esteem.

Engaged fatherhood is good for all kids: tots of more involved dads are better off cognitively, emotionally, socially and, ultimately, educationally and economically. But fathers have a particularly measurable impact on girls, whose self esteem develops —and then often falls—as early as middle school. Daughters with active fathers have more autonomy. They are more empowered. And if they watch their dad do chores, they’re actually more likely to aim higher. As Sandberg and Grant write, a study by a University of British Columbia psychologist found that when fathers shouldered an equal share of housework, their daughters were less likely to limit their aspirations to stereotypically female occupations (like nurse or teacher). “What mattered most was what fathers did, not what they said; no amount of saying ‘you can do anything’ is as compelling for a daughter as witnessing true partnership between her parents,” they write. For a girl to believe she has the same opportunities as boys, it makes a big difference to see Dad doing the dishes.”

You’ll Breed Feminist Sons.

And that will start the cycle over, as studies have found that boys who grow up in more equal homes are more likely to create equal homes as adults. As Sandberg and Grant point out, the flip is true too: sons reap rewards when their mothers have meaningful roles at work.

You’ll Be Happier.

This one’s for dads: Employed fathers who spend more time at home with their kids actually feel greater job satisfaction and less work-life conflict, according to a recent study. They’re also less likely to consider quitting their jobs.

You’ll Live Longer.

Caring for kids has been shown to make men more patient (ha!), empathetic and flexible, as well as lower their rates of substance abuse. Fatherhood has also been linked to lower blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease. But also: there’s longevity, even if you don’t have kids. Studies have found that there’s a longevity boost for men (and women) who provide care and emotional support to their partners.

You’ll Be More Successful At Work.

Know this, male bosses: diverse teams perform better. And when it comes to women specifically, here are a few attributes: they put in more effort, stay longer on the job, take fewer unnecessary risks, and collaborate more. (It’s no surprise, perhaps, that successful venture-backed start-ups have more than double the median proportion of female executives to failed ones.) But this isn’t just about women: companies that have family-friendly work environments are actually more productive, and higher employee retention.
Your Company Will be More Profitable. <
Companies with more women in leadership perform better — full stop. Twenty-five percent of U.S. GDP growth since 1970 is attributed to women entering the paid workforce, and economists estimate that bringing more women into the workforce could raise GDP by 5%.

You’ll Get a Free Pass to the Revolution.

And free passes rock.

Jessica Bennett is a contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of gender, sexuality, business and pop culture. She writes regularly for the New York Times and is a contributing editor on special projects for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s nonprofit, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett.

TIME celebrities

Don’t Tear Down Patricia Arquette for a Well-Intentioned Speech

It's important to find a way to critique her comments about the rights of others without dismissing her feminist message

When Patricia Arquette took the stage to accept her Academy Award last night for Best Supporting Actress in Boyhood, she made a brave political statement and demanded gender equality. “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said in her speech. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Her words were initially greeted with with loud cheers, especially from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, whose enthusiasm culminated in one of the most-shared memes of the evening.

But no good deed goes unpunished — especially on social media — and within hours of the ceremony, Arquette was being attacked by people who said she was prioritizing the rights of white women over those of LGBTQ people and people of color. These criticisms are legitimate and deserve to be heard. Still, Arquette’s heart was in the right place and it’s not right to completely dismiss one of feminism’s most visible advocates.

It wasn’t Arquette’s speech that came under fire so much as her comments in the pressroom later.

“It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t,” she said. “It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Many people on Twitter, including feminists like Roxane Gay and Morgan Jerkins, wrote that Arquette’s plea was tone-deaf for suggesting that gay people and people of color have achieved equality while women have not. They’re absolutely right. Feminism has often come under fire for being a movement for white women’s rights, not all women’s rights. Comments like these make queer women and women of color hesitant about joining the mainstream movement, which can seem exclusionary and oblivious to intersectionality.

But out of last night’s winners, few used their time onstage to get political. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu begged for respect for Mexican immigrants; John Legend and Common spoke about why the messages of Selma still resonate today; and Arquette made a plea for women’s rights. The rest of the show was dull and occasionally verged on racism. On a night when the nominees were overwhelmingly white, Octavia Spencer was forced to stay in her seat and stare at a box, Sean Penn made an offensive green card joke about Iñárritu and Neil Patrick Harris managed to botch the names of both Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo.

There was a lot to criticize at this year’s ceremonies, and the well-meaning Patricia Arquette should rank a lot lower on that list than, for example, Sean Penn.

MORE Watch Sean Penn’s Oscars ‘Green Card’ Joke That Sparked Controversy

Let’s state the obvious: the wage gap exists and needs to be closed. According to the White House, full-time working women earn just 77% of what their male counterparts earn. (That number is under dispute — the Pew Research center recently estimated it’s closer to 84%, but that’s still a significant gap.) Though some politicians might have you believe that women just work lower-paying jobs, studies show this gap persists within industries: female lawyers make 82% of what their male peers earn; physicians 77%; financial specialists 66%. And research shows the pay gap exists for women without children — women who don’t take time off to have babies and raise them.

The wage gap affects women of all races, and Arquette didn’t demand that we only close it for white women. Arquette’s message was that women ought not subordinate the fight for their own rights over fights for other people’s rights. As she wrote on Twitter today, we can fight for rights for different groups of people simultaneously; we just shouldn’t forget women along the way. Sure, her speech wasn’t perfect, but she had the right intentions.

While Gay and others had more nuanced takes on Arquette’s comments — supporting her message while critiquing her phrasing — folks on Twitter are dismissing her entirely, and that’s dangerous. Even while we recognize the problems with her speech, feminists should be careful not to tear down their best and most visible advocates.

MORE These Are the Worst Paying Jobs for Women

Last year, Lena Dunham — perhaps the most famous feminist in Hollywood — endured a similar backlash. In a strange turn of events, feminists joined conservatives in attacking the Girls creator over a section of her book in which she describes her seven-year-old self looking at her little sister’s vagina. They called her a sex offender and attacked the feminists who tried to defend Dunham’s actions as normal childhood behavior. A group of feminists even wrote an open letter to Planned Parenthood asking them to drop Dunham as a rep.

Love her or hate her, there’s no greater public advocate for feminism in pop culture than Lena Dunham. Dunham personally convinced Taylor Swift (and therefore millions of tweens) that calling yourself a feminist is okay; she wrote about her own sexual assault so that other victims would feel comfortable talking about their experiences and reporting them to the authorities; she created a show with explicitly feminist themes. Joining conservatives in attacking people like Dunham and Arquette only serves to hobble the movement.

Different women can choose to express their feminism in different ways. But when women begin to tear down their best, most popular advocates, we hurt our own cause. As Sally Kohn wrote at The New Republic after the Dunham incident: “The minute feminism becomes hypercritical and humorless, it becomes too easy for the mainstream to dismiss our more valid complaints.”

Let’s take to social media to protest the fact that Selma director Ava DuVernay was overlooked for an Oscar nomination and that red carpet interviewers insist on asking women about the dresses they are wearing instead of their work — and let’s not vilify the people actively trying to create change, even when they do it imperfectly.

This post was updated to include Monday’s tweets from Patricia Arquette.

Read next: Lady Gaga’s Performance at the Oscars Could Redefine Her Career

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TIME relationships

You Can Trick Someone Into Loving You — and 6 Other Surprising Facts About Love

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How to make somebody fall in love with you, get over an ex, and why you should treat your relationship like a drug addiction.

There are male dating gurus who train men in the dark art of the female putdown. They tell guys that playing hard to get is the way to make a woman fall head over heels; that women prefer men who behave like jerks, with a touch of humor thrown into the mix.

There is some truth to their claims: when we obtain what is hard to get, we appreciate it more. Sensing signs of love from a jerk may feel like more of an achievement than from a guy who constantly dotes on us (or on any woman he lays his eyes on). But these male dating gurus are not entirely right, either. Behaving like a jerk for too long builds resentment. Sometimes those negative feelings surface with a vengeance and we simply fall out of love, almost overnight.

Love advice spreads across the internet Gangnam-style, especially this time of year. But much of the advice on love – and breakups, for that matter – is little more than urban legend. Here are 7 surprising facts about the actual science of love and heartbreak.

You Actually Can Make Somebody Fall in Love With You

Dr. Arthur Aron made two strangers fall in love in a lab by staring into each other’s eyes for several minutes and taking turns answering 36 personal questions. (Things like, “What do you find most attractive in a woman/man?” and “If you were to die this evening, what would you most regret not having told someone?”) That experiment was replicated by two friends — now lovers — whose story was recently published in the New York Times. Why it works? The test creates intimacy, which can increase dopamine, one of the chemicals that floods the brain when you are in love.

You may be able to fool the brain with adrenaline, too. Adrenaline comes along with low levels of the feel-secure-and-safe chemical serotonin — just the right cocktail to fool the brain into producing feelings of love. In one famous study, a woman asked eligible strangers survey questions on a dangerous bridge and also safely on solid ground. Afterwards, she gave each of them her number. Who were more likely to call her later? The men on the bridge. Perhaps they had confused the adrenaline caused by the danger with the adrenaline caused by new love.

True Love Isn’t ‘Unconditional’

Newlyweds vow that they will love each other forever; that their love will never change. But they are deluded. Sexual desire and romantic love always fade. Scientists used to believe it would fade around the seven year mark. You know, that day you wake up next to your partner and suddenly feel like you’re in bed with a relative. But newer research shows that romantic love may fade even faster, even at just three years, according to recent research by the Pew Research Center and the National Survey of Families and Households. That doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, of course. Just different. What keeps people together? Attachment. And altruism: a desire to keep our partner happy.

Marriage Isn’t Going to Solve Your Problems

In folklore, getting married is associated with happiness: an elegant white princess dress, a striking tuxedo, a wedding cake with marzipan flowers and the devoted man or woman you are going to spend the rest of your life with. A marriage may indeed signal happiness— a 2006 study in the Journal of Socio-Economics, which followed married couples over 17 years, found that happy people are more likely to get married than unhappy folks. But the marriage was not the cause of that happiness, these were naturally happy people. In reality, marriages do not make people happy. So don’t think a proposal is going to fix your relationship problems.

Love Hurts. Like, Physically Hurts

You want to fall in love, you say? Be careful what you wish for. Lovers might assume a broken arm may hurt more than a broken heart, but they’d be wrong. Emotional pain can feel just like physical pain by firing the very same neurons in the brain. Your heart can actually hurt.

And if you think love can’t kill you? Think again there, too. The idea of “broken heart syndrome” has been around for ages, but it’s a real condition — known as “stress cardiomyopathy” in the medical community. Heartbroken lovers with stress cardiomyopathy have two to three times as much adrenaline in their blood as people who suffer from a classic heart attack, and they have seven to thirty-four times more adrenaline than normal individuals. What that means? Taking a Tylenol actually might ease your emotional pain.

Instead of Trying to Forget Your Ex, Try Remembering Him

If Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind weren’t fiction, I’d recommend erasing a few memories. But the path to recovery from a breakup may be just the opposite: don’t try to forget. Expose yourself to just about every reminder of your ex you can think of. Did he ride an Audi S5 Coupe? Go to an Audi store and test drive one. Keep going until the store manager asks you to get lost. The reason? Our brains get bored when we feed them the same information over and over. They adapt to the stimulants and eventually cease to take note – which enables to forget, and move on with our lives. This is true even if the information overload may be torturous at first.

Drastic Changes After a Breakup Can Help You Heal

It’s called “placement conditioning”: the idea that changing your surroundings may help you recuperate from heartbreak. The reason we know it works is because it’s been tested — in drug addicts. These weren’t heartbroken drug users, no, but love can be a lot like a drug: the reward chemical dopamine that plays a crucial role in drug addiction is overflowing in the brains of people smitten with love.

What explains the need for drastic changes is chemical conditioning. If a heroin addict always takes a dose at a specific time, in a specific hangout, the brain will learn that these stimuli (room, time, people) mean the dose is coming, and it will prepare itself for the fix. But suppose the heroin addict and his pals agree to quit. The withdrawal symptoms would be worse in the old environment because there the brain knows to prepare the body for a dose. When the fix doesn’t arrive, the cravings get stronger. When you are in emotional pain and crave your ex, you are in the same situation as the heroin addict who suddenly quits his addiction. His craving will be more intense in the “heroin” environment than in a new one. So get the ball rolling: move the love seat to the other side of the living room.

Go Out and Get Kinda Drunk After a Bad Breakup. No, Really

You may have heard the opposite, and even your shrink might warn against it — if she hasn’t caught up on the latest research. It takes time for the brain to store events to long-term memory. But there is an exception to this. When you experience something terrifyingly traumatic — which a breakup can be — the trauma leads to immediate memory storage. When you recall the negative memory it may continue to activate the amygdala, the brain’s fear processing center, on every recall. But there is a way to bypass this. If you get hammered right after the trauma, your memory of the event won’t be as tightly anchored in your brain. Excessive alcohol consumption naturally protects against this. So, go get drunk as a skunk. Just don’t don’t drink an unhealthy amount or do anything stupid.

Berit Brogaard is the author of the new book ON ROMANTIC LOVE: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion (Oxford University Press). She is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami, where she specializes in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and the cognitive sciences.

TIME Television

Jon Stewart’s Replacement on The Daily Show Should Be a Woman

After so many years of men hosting late-night shows, a woman at the helm is long overdue

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, and Comedy Central is presumably looking for a replacement. This is a no-brainer: it should be a woman.

In the past two years, there’s been so much turnover in late-night television: Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Larry Wilmore have all taken over old shows, or started new ones. A reader needn’t be particularly astute to notice that none of these people are women. There are, in fact, no women on late-night television at all. (Chelsea Handler was reportedly in talks to take the CBS Late Show spot, but ultimately wasn’t chosen. She has an upcoming late-night-style show on Netflix, but it hasn’t aired yet — and technically, it can’t really qualify as a late-night show in the traditional sense, since it’s on a streaming service.)

If there is any network that should “take a risk” on a female host, it should be Comedy Central. (Yes, it’s ridiculous that a woman hosting her own show is a “risk” in 2015.) The channel has done tremendous work to bolster the platforms of female comics in the past couple of years, adding shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City—which was created by and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson—to its traditionally male-dominated lineup.

Ratings have proven that viewers, including men, will tune in to watch these funny ladies. Inside Amy Schumer was the most watched series premiere for the channel in 2013, drawing a 50/50 male-female demographic despite tackling topics like objectification, discrimination and gender politics with a distinctly feminist tone. (Comedy Central’s audience is about 60% male overall.) Meanwhile, Broad City has earned critical acclaim and averaged 1.3 million viewers per episode in its first season. Compare that to FX’s Louie, which pulls in just over 1 million viewers per episode — despite being in its fourth season with a much better-known comedian at the helm.

The Daily Show has long been the core of Comedy Central’s lineup, and without it, the network will depend on these female-led shows to buoy their viewership. Given that, choosing a female host for this empty slot isn’t a matter of affirmative action — it’s just smart business.

That’s the dollars and cents argument. Now, for the idealistic one.

Comedy Central — and The Daily Show specifically — has long been an incubator for talent. It’s lovingly groomed Stewart, Colbert and Oliver, along with Steve Carell, Ed Helms and more, then sent them on to do bigger and better things. These men have become icons in their own right, an indelible piece of comedy history. It’s time that they do the same thing for a woman.

Read Next: How Amy Schumer Gets Guys to Think Feminists Are Funny

TIME

Dr. Tom Frieden: Vaccines Can Prevent Measles From Being a Disease of the Future

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Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listens during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Jan. 13, 2015, in Washington

Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Every four minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies from measles and its complications. That’s 400 children each day. For many more, an infection from measles will give them permanent hearing loss or brain damage.

In the U.S., it can be easy to forget how serious measles can be. We simply don’t see that many cases here.

But measles is one of the most contagious diseases known. It’s so easily spread that if one person has it, 9 of 10 people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.

Now the U.S. is facing a measles outbreak. It started in Southern California in December and has spread to several states and Mexico. By the end of January, more than 100 people had been reported as having gotten measles as part of this outbreak. This number is increasing daily.

We don’t know for sure how this outbreak began, but it’s likely that someone got infected with measles overseas and then brought measles to the U.S. and spread it to others. Nearly 90% of the people getting measles in this outbreak are not vaccinated or don’t know if they are vaccinated.

A family vacation, lunch out with friends or a trip to the doctor or grocery store should not be the reason children become sick from a disease that’s almost entirely preventable.

And one thing about measles: it is so remarkably infectious that you can’t protect yourself. You can get it just from being in a space where a person not yet very ill with measles left two hours ago, or in an auditorium with just one measles patient many seats away from you.

Measles would be a far greater threat in the U.S. if it weren’t for the measles vaccine, which has now been successfully used for more than 50 years.

It’s widely administered through childhood immunization programs around the world. In the past 14 years alone, it has been given to more than 2 billion people worldwide. Since 2001, a global partnership that includes the CDC has vaccinated more than 1 billion children. In that time, these vaccinations have prevented more than 15 million deaths. The worldwide effort to prevent deaths from measles is leaving behind trained people, refrigerators for cold storage of vaccines and patterns of vaccination that will continue to make the world more secure.

Fifteen years ago measles transmission in the U.S. was declared over. But as this current outbreak shows, unvaccinated people can get measles while they are abroad and bring it to the U.S. They can spread it to others and cause outbreaks.

We can prevent another outbreak from occurring through some simple steps.

First, doctors can make sure all their patients are up to date on their MMR shots — which protect against measles as well as mumps and rubella — and other vaccines. If your children are sick with a fever, keep them at home. Or if you are sick with a fever, stay home. This protects others and works just as well whether the diagnosis is measles or flu or something else. This measles outbreak is also a reminder that adults should make sure their vaccinations are up to date. If you’re not sure, talk with your doctor, particularly prior to overseas travel.

Second, if their patients will be traveling abroad, they should make sure anyone 6 months or older receives the appropriate dose or doses of vaccine.

Third, doctors should consider a measles diagnosis in anyone who has a fever and rash and associated symptoms such as cough, irritated eyes or a runny nose. It can take anywhere from seven to 20 days after exposure before these symptoms appear. A patient with these symptoms should be isolated, specimens should be collected for testing, and the case should be reported to the local health department immediately.

Fourth, we need to increase vaccination rates, particularly in areas where parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. We are not islands. If your child gets measles because he or she hasn’t been vaccinated, infection of a child with cancer or an infant can occur, with results that can be devastating. Understandably, many parents think that measles is a disease of the past. But unless we increase vaccination rates, it will be a disease of the future.

TIME Opinion

Judging the Couple Who Locked Their Kids In a Car to Go Wine Tasting

Schadenfreude is modern parenting's favorite spectator sport.

A Washington, D.C. couple is under arrest after leaving their two young children locked in the car while they were wine tasting at a local restaurant. Yes, wine tasting.

The parents, identified as Christopher Lucas, 41, and Jennie Chang, 45, left their 22-month-old boy and 2 1/2 year-old girl strapped in their car seats in a locked car while they went to go wine-and-dine at a restaurant near the Ritz Carlton. The temperature was hovering near freezing, according to the Washington Post, and neither child had a hat or gloves; one had bare feet. The parents felt like it was okay to leave their kids locked in their Volvo, because they were at a restaurant just around the corner and had left an iPhone on to monitor the two children.

“I left to go inside the restaurant,” Lucas said, according to the report, “but I’m watching them.” The parents were gone for an hour and according to police who checked surveillance cameras, they never came to check on their children. A resident of a local apartment building called police after watching the car for 20 minutes, according to the Post, while, NBCWashington reports that another passerby dialed 911 after hearing the little girl sobbing.

The children were brought into a police car to be warmed up, they were checked out by paramedics and were in good health, police said. The parents returned as police were investigating, but the children were turned over to D.C. Child and Family Services and the Lucas and Change were arrested on two counts of attempted second-degree cruelty to children, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Their own stupidity, though, will last a lifetime.

To be frank, it seems clear that the parents are idiots. Lucas runs a software company and Chang works for the USDA, they drive a Volvo, and they live in a townhouse, according to the Post. All solid life choices. Despite this: idiots. Idiots for drinking wine while their children were locked in a car in near-freezing temperatures. Even bigger idiots because these parents clearly had the resources to hire a babysitter for the afternoon. Luckily the children were fine, which is what makes this case so prime for one of the favorite pastimes of modern parenting: Parental Schadenfreude.

Schadenfreude is taken from the German and means “harm-joy” and it’s usually used to connote some pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. In this case, the chucklehead parents. To be clear, this is is not about the kids. The kids survived the parents’ lousy idea and were just the innocent victims of some astoundingly poor parenting. These parents were arrested for making not just a bad choice, but an astonishingly bad choice. These kids weren’t left alone in a car for five minutes while the parents ran into the mini market, they weren’t napping in strollers while their parents watched from inside a coffee shop, nor were they 9-year olds playing at the park while the mother worked. This isn’t free-range parenting or an unfortunate but understandable reality of impoverished working parents. It’s two seemingly well-educated, upper middle class parents who left their toddlers alone for an hour while they imbibed at a tony restaurant around the corner. This is not a mistake that most of us would make. Hence the schadenfreude.

There’s a certain glee that comes with watching other people screw up worse than you, especially when it comes to modernity’s high-stakes parenting. While you may leave your sleeping infant in a car for a minute to buy a gallon of milk or forget to pick up your kid from preschool before 6p.m., not bother to check for trans fats, like, ever, or even drop the baby while trying to cram him into an Ergo, you’re still not even close to locking your children into a car in near-freezing temperatures causing concerned strangers to dial 911 while you’re cozied up around the corner noting the subtle flavor profile of a glass of Rioja.

Thanks to your passable parenting skills, you can click on the headline as you scroll past it on your newsfeed and shake your head in disbelief at the mistakes of others. You can nod along with the local newscasters as they decry the poor decision-making skills of those parents. You can even recognize that parents with two children under the age of 2 probably really needed a glass of wine, while still rolling your eyes at their child care choice. You can understand it, but you would never ever do it, so you can tsk tsk tsk away.

In short, thank you to the police for doing their job and protecting those children and thank you to these parents for making almost everyone else look good by comparison.

TIME Body Image

Bye, Bye, Barbie: 2015 Is the Year We Abandon Unrealistic Beauty Ideals

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Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Cali Girl Barbie waves from the front seat of a Chevy

As Barbie sales figures continue to drop, unrealistic ideals are losing clout both in the toy and fashion world

It may be time for Mattel to roll out Retirement Barbie. Friday morning, the toymaker announced that the doll’s sales dropped 16% in 2014, marking Barbie’s third consecutive year of falling earnings.

“The reality is, we just didn’t sell enough Barbie dolls,” CEO Bryan Stockton explained to investors last January, following Mattel’s disappointing 13% drop for 2013. The decline of the company’s premier product led in part to Stockton’s resignation on Monday. But a corporate shakeup might not be enough to counteract the almost 56-year-old doll’s waning allure. The problem might not be sales strategies, but rather the doll and the impossibly slim-body ideals she represents.

The push for more realistic, “body positive” images of girls has been gaining momentum over the past year and not just in toys. In 2014, Barbie sales plummeted, while a doll with an average woman’s proportions gained viral success; full-bodied models were integrated into high-fashion campaigns without fanfare; e-retailer ModCloth announced an anticipated doubling of its sales after introducing plus sizes; the single “All About That Bass,” which celebrates curvy bodies, became such a commercial success that, no, you will never get it out of your head; and Kim Kardashian’s famously ample butt broke the Internet.

After decades of false starts, maybe we are finally ready to move away from unattainably slim ideals.

Fashion: Plus-Size Integration Isn’t a Passing Trend
When we think of lingerie ads, winged Victoria’s Secret Angels flutter through our minds. But in November alone, three high-fashion institutions displayed a fuller understanding of feminine beauty.

Seductively posed in a rubber leotard, Candice Huffine debuted as the first plus-size model to be featured in Pirelli’s prestigious calendar in December:

A Vogue online gallery featuring sexy lingerie starred women with F- rather than B-cup sizes. “Going into this, we assumed that the beautiful, delicate, lacy bras that we all prefer would only be available in the smaller cup sizes, but we were thrilled to find a real wealth of options for a huge variety of body shapes,” editor Jorden Bickham tells TIME in an email.

And Calvin Klein used Myla Dalbesio in its “Perfectly Fit” underwear campaign. Dalbesio, a size 10, told Elle, “It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like ‘Whoa, look, there’s this plus-size girl in our campaign.’ They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there’s no distinction. It’s not a separate section for plus-size girls.” (This interview incited misappropriated backlash against CK when the Twitterverse thought Dalbesio was incorrectly cast under the “plus size” category — she wasn’t.)

While the Internet reacted to the seamless integration of fuller-bodied models into these campaigns, the models were presented by designers without fanfare.

“There were no big tambourines, no big calling out of the size thing,” Emme, widely regarded as the first plus-size supermodel (even though she eschews the moniker), tells TIME. “It’s just so old. Saying, ‘Oh she’s plus-size, yippee!’ and making a big deal of that.”

Tess Holliday

Although there was certainly fanfare when size-22 model Tess Holliday was signed to MiLK Model Management last week — making her the first model of her size to ever be represented by a major agency.

“It was unheard of, I never even tried to get with an agency,” Holliday, 29, tells TIME. “One of my friends even said, ‘Isn’t it crazy that you’re in the news for being the biggest plus-size model when you’re the true size of a plus-size woman?’” Holliday says the average plus-size model is between size 8 and 10, even though the average plus-size woman is bigger. “There has always been an issue with [designers] using smaller plus-size models, and if they wanted one who was a little bit bigger or curvier, they would pad her because they said they couldn’t find good quality models above a size 16.”

In the past, Holliday was barred from castings because of her size. But in the past week, Holliday says at least designers who refused to work with her in the past have now called to book her for a job. “If they want me then they’ll pay for it.”

Many of Holliday’s critics complain that she sets an unhealthy example for women, but the model notes that she is active, has a trainer, and works out at least four times a week. It should also be noted that just as skinniness does not connote healthiness, being a plus size doesn’t connote unhealthiness.

While Holliday is currently an anomaly, Muse Model Management president Conor Kennedy tells TIME that the fashion industry opening its doors to a variety of body sizes is a consistent movement rather than a “flavor in the moment” passing trend.

Vogue

“A few years ago there was a little burst where there was an Italian Vogue cover” — in which plus-size models seductively posed over … spaghetti — “and then V Magazine did a shoot, and then it tailored off,” he says. “The past two years it’s very different because there are all types of editorials. I think that the next breakthrough we are looking for are campaigns, and we’re starting to see it now.” Curvier celeb cover subjects like Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez are also changing perceptions in the fashion industry.

Kennedy has noticed increased excitement on the creative side of the industry over a diversity of sizes as a desirable aesthetic choice and greater openness in castings.

“But there’s an evolution on both sides of the spectrum,” he says. “It’s also a great thing for business.”

Retailers Finally Recognize an Untapped Market
Clothing makers are finally beginning to understand that if they increase their offerings — and we’re talking fashionable offerings rather than an increased muumuu selection — in the “plus size” category, it will be beneficial to their bottom line. With the “average” American woman wearing a size 14, that’s 100 million potential customers.

“It’s a huge market and it’s totally underserved,” ModCloth co-founder Susan Gregg Koger told CNBC.

When Koger decided to expand the e-retailer’s plus-size division, she reached out to 1,500 vendors for help — and only 35 responded. But a year into the expansion, with 100 vendors on board, Koger told Business Insider that she expected sales to double in 2014.

According to the market-research firm NPD Group, plus-size-clothing sales increased 5% last year to $17.5 billion. E-retailers are taking advantage of this rise. In December, plus-size fashion e-retailer ELOQUII raised $6 million in Series A funding. But brick-and-mortar retailers still have room for improvement.

But the quality must improve as well because, at the moment, full-bodied women are searching for — but often not finding — fashionable outfits that go up to their size. Stylist Sal Perez explained the difficulties in trying to dress Rebel Wilson for her role in Pitch Perfect 2 to the New York Times.

“I am horrified by some of the clothes I find in the stores,” he said. “I don’t know anyone who enjoys wearing polyester.”

Target premiers its plus-size line

After interacting with six different designers who wouldn’t dress her for the Oscars, Melissa McCarthy decided to launch a fashion label of her own that will offer both plus- and “regular” size clothing.

Larger retailers are finally getting the message as well. In mid-February, Target will launch a plus-size line called Ava & Viv that is designed specifically for “the plus-size woman who loves fashion.”

“Women want to go shopping together,” Emme says. “If you eliminate the plus-size department that’s always in the basement or next to maternity, and you increase the numbers of 14, 16 and 18s, you are going to make more money than you have ever made.”

To illustrate her point, Emme recalls a plus-size fashion show she attended with her daughter at Macy’s. At the end of the show, the 13-year-old asked if Emme thought a particular dress came in her size — she didn’t see it as undesirable for a larger demographic, but as beautiful clothing displayed on a beautiful model who she would like to replicate.

“A lightbulb went off,” Emme says. “I don’t think the younger generation sees it as size. They see beauty as it is.”

The End of Barbie
New trends in toy sales serve as fiscal evidence that children also want natural, realistic beauty — rather than unattainable ideals. Barbie, who has seen her share of criticism for being an anatomically impossible mutant, is losing her clout among girls — and their parents. As people stopped buying Barbies, they crowd-funded an alternative to the tune of $500,000.

Touted as the “normal Barbie,” Lammily dolls are built to the measurements of an average woman, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

LammilyThe “normal” Barbie, created by Nickolay Lamm,

“This is the doll people have been waiting for,” Nickolay Lamm told TIME when he prepared to ship tens of thousands of dolls to eager backers before the holidays.

“She looks like a regular girl going to school,” a second-grader said when she was presented with a Lammily doll.

“She’s not like other dolls,” said another. “She looks real.”

One of the reasons that Lamm was able turn the Lammily doll from a concept to an actual product was because his original sketches of the “normal Barbie” — meant to simply be an art project — went viral. Its traction online indicated to Lamm how thirsty people were to celebrate the beauty of reality.

While #thinspiration and unhealthy body ideals that promote eating disorders or worse certainly exist on social networks, an easily outraged Twitterverse is quick to call companies out for promoting body-negative ideology.

People will no longer stand for Victoria’s Secret creating an advertisement that puts the wording “Perfect Body” over a slew of skinny, skinny models. The company quietly changed its ads after an onslaught of social-media outrage. And some 20,000 people will sign Change.org petitions when they find out that Old Navy charges more money for items that come in plus sizes. (The retailer didn’t fully capitulate, but it did change plus-size policies.)

Holliday, who started a viral #EffYourBeautyStandards online campaign, attributes her recent signing and burgeoning career to her dedicated social-media following. “People aren’t used to seeing someone who is fat and happy,” she says, which could be why her 415,000 Instagram followers so eagerly await her posts.

“It’s not a trend, really — it’s happening,” Emme says. “It’s the tipping point.”

TIME celebrity

The World’s Obsession With Amal Isn’t About Her Accomplishments

Lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney attends the hearing in the case Perincek vs Switzerland, at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Jan. 28,2015.
Sandro Weltin/Council of Europe/EPA Lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney attends the hearing in the case Perincek vs Switzerland, at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Jan. 28, 2015.

Charlotte Alter covers lifestyle, crime, and breaking news for TIME in New York City. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

They're real, but the gushing isn't

Amal Clooney is at it again— doing something celebrities don’t usually do, and looking like a movie star while doing it.

This time, she’s arguing in the European Court of Human Rights against a Turkish politician who denied the existence of an Armenian genocide 100 years ago in which more than 1.5 million people were brutally murdered. That’s, like, sooo impressive… but who is she wearing?

When a reporter from The Telegraph asked her, she cheekily replied “Ede and Ravenscroft,” the legal robes maker that has been selling drab back judge costumes since 1689, the year Benjamin Franklin’s parents met.

Once she did that, the focus shifted from the history of the Armenian genocide to Amal’s sense of humor and fashion choices. The global reaction to her comments was proof that jig is up: it’s time to stop pretending you care about what Amal Clooney is doing, when you really just care about how she looks while doing it.

The public obsession with Amal Clooney has been outwardly focused on her professional accomplishments, and with good reason. She’s represented high-profile clients like Julian Assange and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, fought for the Elgin Marbles to be returned to Greece, and worked to free three Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. She’s done more in the last ten years than many lawyers do over their entire career.

It sounds great, and it is. But the gushing adoration in the media about her work is false appreciation that crumples under scrutiny. How many other human rights lawyers inspire anything close to Amal-mania? Look at Samira al-Nuaimy, the Iraqi human rights lawyer who was executed by ISIS last year. If the tabloid-buying American public so obsessed with human rights, why wasn’t she on the cover of InTouch?

MORE Lawyer Who Led Challenge of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law: ‘Long, Long Way to Go’

Let’s face it: no matter how real Amal’s accomplishments are, the breathless celebration of her legal triumphs is just a thinly veiled infatuation with how she looks.

When placed in the glare of celebrity, Clooney’s binders of legal documents and folders of case material become accessories to her shiny hair and perfect manicure, instead of the other way around. What’s worse, there’s something grotesque about using serious work on behalf of genocide victims as a pretense for a fixation on her looks, her clothes, and her marriage to one of the world’s most eligible actors.

Amal’s beauty is the unspoken end of every sentence about her legal career, the sub-head to every headline about her human rights work. Even if the coverage is ostensibly focused on Turkish politics, or the Elgin marbles, or sexual violence in conflict zones, the substance get inevitably lost in the subliminal hum over what Amal’s wearing, how Amal’s hair looks, and the fact that Amal is married to George Clooney. It even happens when there’s nothing to report—the Armenian genocide case was overshadowed by Amal’s non-outfit (she was wearing essentially the same thing as all the other lawyers in the room).

It’s also a weird over-correction to the common sexist problem of focusing on women’s looks over their careers. Instead of focusing on the looks of an accomplished woman (like Kirsten Gillibrand), the media is loudly proclaiming how not-sexist they are by obsessively trumpeting Amal’s professional accomplishments, then mentioning her beauty as a super-conspicuous after-thought.

But discussing Amal Clooney’s human rights work in the same tone as Kim Kardashian’s workouts or Jennifer Lawrence’s pizza cravings isn’t just awkward— it’s bizarre. Imagine if other human rights activists were treated the same way. Next it’ll be “Watch Ban Ki-Moon Go to the Gym Without Makeup” or “Malala’s Celebrity Crush: REVEALED!”

MORE Malala Condemns the Killing of School Children in Peshawar

Some celebrities use their existing fame to shine a light on problems in the world, like Amal’s husband’s best friend’s wife Angelina Jolie, who recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times demanding improved conditions in Syrian refugee camps. But that’s a different story, because Jolie came to activism after she got famous. She’s getting her picture taken in refugee camps and giving impassioned speeches at the U.N. precisely to direct those who are interested in her hair and clothes towards something more important.

But Amal’s just doing her job. Her work isn’t celebrity activism or a publicity stunt. Yet when it’s put in the context of celebrity fodder, Amal Clooney’s work on behalf of marginalized people gets reduced to just another thing a woman does while being beautiful.

So stop gushing. Stop with the headlines that trumpet Amal as a goddess for doing her job. Stop with the shock and awe that someone so beautiful could be so smart as well. Just let Amal keep doing her thing.

Read next: Amal Alamuddin Clooney and the Rise of the Trophy Husband

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TIME Sexual Assault

The Vanderbilt Rape Case Will Change the Way Victims Feel About the Courts

The decision sends the message that the criminal justice system does work for rape cases

On Wednesday, two former Vanderbilt University football stars were convicted by a Nashville jury of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery. Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg could serve decades behind bars for gang raping a fellow student in a dorm room in 2013. (Their argument that they were drunk and thus not in their right minds at the time of the attack was quickly dismissed by the court as a poor excuse for their violence.) The decision offers hope to victims of campus rape who, up until now, have shied away from reporting assaults to the police.

A recent study from the Justice Department found that 80% of campus rapes went unreported to the authorities (compared to a still-disheartening 67% in the general population). Victims of campus sexual assault have many reasons to choose a campus judiciary process over reporting the assault to the police. These victims are often in the position of living on the same campus as their assailant and thus forced to encounter them in the school cafeteria, in classrooms or in the library—places no student can avoid. Depending on the school’s policies, filing criminal charges against an assailant may not necessarily get him removed from campus, whereas a quicker, quieter campus judgment can. In the minds of many victims, the fastest way to feel safe is by going to the dean not the police.

Victims’ advocates have said that some students believe faculty members will be more sympathetic to assault claims than the police. “If you’re a person of color or you’re queer, the process of going to the police also can be one that is not necessarily competent or great to deal with,” Caitlin Lowell of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence at Columbia University told TIME last year.

Perhaps the most compelling reason students are deterred from reporting a rape to the police is that they think they will spend years going through the criminal judicial process reliving the agony of their attack only to be denied justice. A tiny fraction of accused rapists will ever serve a day in prison, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).

But the criminal justice system can provide guarantees that campuses cannot. If the news cycle from the past year has taught us anything, it’s that universities—from Columbia University to Florida State University—are not equipped to adjudicate these cases. Students complain that evidence is not systematically collected, hearings are often held without attorneys present and administration officials and those designated to preside over these cases have posed inappropriate questions. In theory, our courts are the best way to ensure that rapists are removed from our streets, and the Vanderbilt case—along with the recent arrest of a Stanford University swimmer who allegedly raped an unconscious woman on campus grounds— suggests that in practice that may finally be the case. (The Stanford student was barred from campus after his arrest, highlighting the importance of police involvement.)

MORE:My Rapist Is Still on Campus': Sex Assault in the Ivy League

The evidence in the Vanderbilt case was hard to dismiss. Though the victim (whose anonymity is being preserved by TIME and other news outlets) said she did not remember what happened the night of her attack after she lost consciousness, other players testified that they saw Vanbenburg slap her buttocks and say he could not have sex because he was high on cocaine. They also said that Batey raped the woman and then urinated on her. (Two other players who have pled not guilty will be tried later.)

University surveillance videos of players carrying an unconscious woman through a dormitory and graphic images of the assault taken from players’ phones proved that the victim was unconscious and confirmed which players participated in the gang rape. There was no DNA evidence, but one player testified that Vandenburg—who can be heard laughing and encouraging the assault in a video shown in court—passed out condoms to the other players.

Most victims are not able to bring so much evidence to the court. And many victims would understandably worry that they wouldn’t be able to finish their degree while enduring this arduous process. (The victim in this case impressively did and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at another university.)

Assault survivors should take comfort in this small victory. “I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame,” the victim said in a statement that was read by Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman in a press conference.

Bringing rapists to justice is just one piece of fighting the campus rape epidemic. In the Vanderbilt case, police said that five other athletes saw the victim in distress and did nothing to intervene or report her attackers. Even if our criminal justice system were perfect, it could not stop rape from happening. That’s why the White House is currently promoting a bystander intervention educational campaign on campuses. Ultimately it’s up to students to watch out for one another.

Read Next: Rose Byrne on Frat Culture and How Bystanders Can Stop Sexual Assault

TIME Opinion

The Trouble With Disney’s Teeny, Tiny Princesses

BRAVE
Pixar/Disney Queen Elinor and King Fergus in Brave

A culture populated by absurdly small princesses and hulking male heroes can change the way men and women see themselves

Disney has taken a lot of flak for perpetrating sexist stereotypes in its princess movies. In today’s competitive, every-moment-counts child-rearing culture, American parents want their kids’ entertainment to be not just fun, but also fulfilling. So if a movie sends the wrong message, many parents stay away. That’s why the company has responded to the criticism, shaping more recent princess movies such as Frozen and Brave around female characters for whom romance is not the primary motivation.

I welcome this evolution. But there’s still a lot to wonder about — and even complain about — in today’s animated children’s movies, especially in the radical differences between male and female bodies.

Yes, on average real men’s bodies are bigger, and more muscular, than women’s. And yes, animation is an art form not restricted to the boundaries of realism, which is what makes it great. But the exaggerations in these children’s movies are extreme, they almost always promote the same image of big men and tiny women, and they are especially dramatic in romantic situations.

Consider just the differences in hand size. Here are the hands of romantic couples in (clockwise from top left): Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Gnomeo and Juliet, Hercules, Tangled and Brave.

Disney (4); Dreamworks; Touchstone Pictures

The differences between men’s and women’s hands and arms in these pictures are more extreme than almost any you can find in real adults. The men’s hands are routinely three or four times larger than the women’s. For comparison, I checked a detailed report that the Army commissioned to design its equipment and uniforms. In real American adults, for example, men’s wrists are on average only about 15% larger in circumference than women’s. In that scene from Frozen, not only is Anna’s hand tiny compared with Hans’, but in fact her eyeball is wider than her wrist.

Disney

In the Hercules scene, his bicep is about 2.8 times wider than hers, while the very biggest man in the Army report had a bicep just 2.1 times bigger than the very smallest woman (that bicep difference is also greater than that observed between Shaquille O’Neal and his former wife, Nicole Alexander). The same is true of their neck and wrist measurements.

In the case of Hercules, we can actually compare the Disney depiction to ancient renditions of the demigod and his mistress. From 4th century mosaics to Alessandro Turchi’s 17th century painting, the demigod is portrayed relative to Megara in much more normal human proportions. I know Hercules is not supposed to be a regular human, but if he’s really a different species, maybe Disney shouldn’t feature him kissing a girl in a children’s movie.

(There are exceptions to the Disney/Dreamworks model of couples, even in modern animation. Consider, for example, the teen couple in Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s magical film Kiki’s Delivery Service, Marge and Homer Simpson — or, of course, Charlie Brown and Lucy. Even the older Disney classics, like the 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, had much more normally proportioned couples.)

Because humans reproduce sexually, there are obvious differences between males and females, called sexual dimorphism. However, in the grand scheme, as the sociologist Lisa Wade puts it, “men and women are overwhelmingly alike”; our similarities outweigh our differences. Still, we choose whether to highlight the differences that are apparent. And the amount of energy we devote to emphasizing and acting on the different qualities of men and women changes over time and varies across cultures.

Artists have been pairing men’s and women’s bodies for millennia. And even in art that was not intended to be realistic, the sex differences were usually not as dramatic as those seen in modern children’s movies.

Consider these three works of art. The first is Seated Man and Woman, a sculpture from Mexico about 2,000 years old, showing obvious but modest differences in body type. The second is Michelangelo’s famous rendition of Adam and Eve from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1512, in which Eve’s robust physique is comparable to Adam’s. And the third is the classic American Gothic, by Grant Wood, from 1930.

Dallas Museum of Art; Getty Images (2)

I wouldn’t argue that differentiating the sexes in animated movies is the most pressing problem we face today. But I do think the choices that artists and producers make — and the popularity of their choices — gives us a window into important cultural dynamics.

In my own area of research, families and gender, many of our modern debates revolve around the different roles that men and women play. Can men warmly nurture children and work as nurses? Can women successfully lead families and companies? The differences between mothers and fathers can create comfortable compatibilities with obvious benefits. But unless we see that men and women have physical, emotional and cognitive qualities in common as well, we will continue to treat single parents — and same-sex couples — as fundamentally deficient instead of evaluating them as complex people with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Having written about this subject frequently in the past few years, I know many people will disagree, arguing that the fundamental differences they perceive between men and women are natural and should be embraced. But what we think of as normal is not simply natural; it’s a product of the interaction between the natural world and our cultural ways. When the beautiful and romantic stories we grow to love in childhood set a standard that exaggerates gender differences and makes them seem natural — built into our very bone structures — it gives us a more limited, and less complex, vision of our human potential.

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