TIME Companies

Intel Pledges $300 Million to Boost Diversity

Krzanich, CEO of Intel, talks about the company's RealSense camera technology at his keynote at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas
Rick Wilking—REUTERS Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, talks about the company's RealSense camera technology at his keynote at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2015.

The tech giant also aims to increase the minority population in its workforce by 14%

Intel announced Tuesday that it will set aside $300 million to promote diversity within its ranks, aimed at combating criticism often leveled at a technology industry mainly comprised of white and Asian men.

The computer chip manufacturer also announced a plan to raise the population of women, blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups by 14% over the next five years, the New York Times reported.

“This is the right time to make a bold statement,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told the Times. Krzanich announced the plan at the ongoing International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

[NYT]

TIME Television

Like Your TV With Strong Female Characters? Thank Murphy Brown

Murphy Brown cover
Cover Credit: FIROOZ ZAHEDI The Sept. 21, 1992, cover of TIME

Gender issues on TV get lots of media attention, but we've forgotten to give credit where credit's due

This week brings the debut of ABC’s Marvel’s Agent Carter, an action series starring Hayley Atwell as a woman who’s underestimated by her male colleagues despite her incredible acumen as a spy. It’s a period piece, set in the 1940s, but one hardly needs to look back that far to find women on TV whose strength in the workplace and self-confidence defined them and befuddled critics.

Murphy Brown, the hardworking, single title character of a CBS sitcom starring Candice Bergen and the subject of a 1992 TIME cover, had been on-air for three seasons when, in 1991, she discovered she was pregnant and decided to keep the baby. It was a predicament not just for the character but for a TV show that, though unafraid of political controversy, was now going far beyond traditional parameters. TIME compared Bergen’s character to Lucille Ball’s on I Love Lucy after Murphy decided to keep the baby: “And to think, Lucy couldn’t even say pregnant on TV.” Even despite the electoral gains by women in the Senate that got 1992 dubbed “the Year of the Woman,” Brown may have been the most-talked-about female political figure of the year.

Murphy Brown’s televised pregnancy and her decision to raise her child as a single mother were a flashpoint in the 1992 election — and changed the role of women on TV. Today, from Scandal to The Good Wife, TV’s packed with strong and complex female characters; thanks, Murphy! Though Murphy Brown is rarely watched or invoked today, the high point of its relevance made a lasting impact on the way we talk about television, and about motherhood.

The show had made waves in the years before Murphy Brown’s pregnancy with, as TIME critic Richard Zoglin put it in May 1992, “the smarts and the moxie to take pokes at everything from gossip-mongering tabloids to the Anita Hill hearings.” Bergen’s character, a recovering alcoholic working for a Washington-based TV news magazine show, was unafraid to be unlikable; the show, and its dependence on sharp, pop-culture-centric comebacks, struck Zoglin as “cleverly written, but in a smug, soulless, metallic way.”

Viewers disagreed. Murphy Brown went into its big fourth-season pregnancy plot line in the Nielsen ratings top ten and with a shelf full of Emmys, including one for best comedy and two for Bergen’s performance. But while viewers and critics were accustomed to the show’s sharply political tone and its acidity, the pregnancy plot touched upon a third rail of sorts. The show foregrounded the question of working motherhood, with a fictional baby shower for Murphy attended by real-world TV news stars from Katie Couric to Joan Lunden. It was a pointed argument that work-life balance was possible (though Zoglin hastened to point out, in his May 1992 take, that more serious journalists like Diane Sawyer, the ones “who Murphy is really modeled after,” skipped the shower).

The fourth season ended with the birth of baby boy Avery — but the controversy was only beginning.

In a May 1992 speech about the breakdown of the American family in San Francisco, Vice President Dan Quayle decried Murphy Brown’s decision to raise her child alone: “It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another ‘life-style choice.’”

Quayle came in for more criticism from Hollywood — and from TIME. Zoglin characterized the treatment of the incumbent veep, up for re-election, at the 1992 Emmy Awards as “a Rodney King beating by the Hollywood elite,” noting that Bergen thanked Quayle sarcastically in her third best actress speech. The show’s creator, Diane English, told TIME that Murphy Brown was “a liberal Democrat because in fact that’s what I am” and lead actress Bergen described Quayle as “Bush’s buffoon” in the TIME cover package.

But this sort of rhetoric was nothing new: Earlier that year, President George H.W. Bush had urged American families to be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” But even The Simpsons were, at the end of each episode, a traditional nuclear family; they even went to church. Murphy Brown was making a reproductive and family decision that stood in opposition to far more than mere matters of taste: As Zoglin pointed out in a June 1992 piece responding to Quayle’s complaint, “prime-time TV these days is boosting family values more aggressively than it has in decades,” citing everything from Home Improvement to Roseanne. It turned out that Murphy Brown was worth highlighting in a Vice-Presidential speech not because it represented the state of television and the culture in general but because, in the particulars of Murphy’s choice, it was so far outside the mores of its day.

But — in a twist that did not go unremarked-upon at the time — once one got past the specifics of how baby Avery came into the world, Murphy Brown was not so outside the mainstream at all. It was a show that followed the vogue at the time in portraying the family bond, however one found it, as an ideal. “It took a Top 10 network series that will undoubtedly be around for years to grab the Vice President’s attention,” wrote Zoglin. “Now he needs to do some channel switching.”

There’s no question that Murphy Brown was attention-grabbing — but, decades later, the show is markedly absent from much of the discussion about great television of the ’80s and ’90s. Perhaps it was the ties to Quayle, and to Bush I-era Republicanism, that spelled a slow death for Murphy Brown, a show whose central mother-son relationship, after all, was as life-affirming as anything on Home Improvement. The show was hardly in immediate danger of cancellation. And yet Quayle’s speech, which TIME columnist Michael Kinsley called in 1994 “the best-remembered speech of the Bush presidency” may well have consigned Murphy Brown to be remembered within the context of the Bush presidency. The show lost some heat off its fastball once the President and Vice President left office in the middle of the fifth season. Every subsequent season fell lower and lower in the ratings — not shocking for a long-running TV series, but proof positive, perhaps, that Murphy Brown’s formula of explicit political discourse, something the series indulged more and more post-baby, was a turn-off for some.

It’s hard for pathbreakers. By the time it left the air, Murphy Brown was a footnote. But two months after its cancellation, Calista Flockhart appeared on the cover of TIME in service of her character Ally McBeal, a single woman whose pursuit of a career hardly stood in the way of her desire to be a mother. Indeed, Ally’s biological clock was the very text of Ally McBeal. And two years after that, the women of Sex and the City would be on TIME’s cover, asking “Who Needs a Husband?” (Soon enough, cover subject Cynthia Nixon’s character Miranda would carry a baby to term without the intention of getting married.) Today, the (anti?-)heroines of Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder define themselves through their acuity at work, with the biological clock left entirely aside; Claire Underwood of House of Cards is the most fascinating character, male or female, on television, and one whose decision not to have a child is presented matter-of-factly and with little agonization.

Neither Ally McBeal nor Sex and the City – nor Desperate Housewives, whose star, Teri Hatcher, played a single mother and appeared on TIME’s cover in 2005– would end up becoming political talking points the way Murphy had. Carrie Bradshaw is the one who still makes news, but someone had to blaze a trail. Later series just learned that specific political references burn quickly – and benefited from Bergen’s character going through a political maelstrom so none of them had to.

TIME women

The Everyday Sexism of Women Waiting in Public Toilet Lines

Close up of bathroom symbol
Adam Gault—Getty Images

Soraya Chemaly is a media critic and activist.

Long lines for women's restrooms are the result of a history that favors men’s bodies

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve a) spent time fidgeting in a long line waiting to use a public toilet, b) delayed a bodily function because you don’t want to or haven’t the time to waste standing in line to use a public toilet, c) considered sneaking into a men’s room—illegal in some places, or d) cursed loudly because of all of the above.

Faced with a long restroom line that spiraled up and around a circular stairwell at a recent museum visit, I opted not to wait. Why do we put up with this? This isn’t a minor pet peeve, but a serious question. Despite years of “potty parity” laws, women are still forced to stand in lines at malls, schools, stadiums, concerts, fair grounds, theme parks, and other crowded public spaces. This is frustrating, uncomfortable, and, in some circumstances, humiliating. It’s also a form of discrimination, as it disproportionately affects women.

After counting the women, I tweeted, “Dear @britishmuseum there are FIFTY women and girls standing in line for the loo while the men’s room has zero line #everydaysexism.” Immediately, people responded with the suggestion that women use the men’s room. But even more responses were defensive, along the lines of “How on god’s green earth did you arrive at the conclusion that this was sexist?”

Let me count the ways.

Women need to use bathrooms more often and for longer periods of time because: we sit to urinate (urinals effectively double the space in men’s rooms), we menstruate, we are responsible for reproducing the species (which makes us pee more), we continue to have greater responsibility for children (who have to use bathrooms with us), and we breastfeed (frequently in grotty bathroom stalls). Additionally, women tend to wear more binding and cumbersome clothes, whereas men’s clothing provides significantly speedier access. But in a classic example of the difference between surface “equality” and genuine equity, many public restrooms continue to be facilities that are equal in physical space, while favoring men’s bodies, experiences, and needs.

Legislation to address the design and provision of public restrooms in new construction often requires more space for women’s rooms. But that has hardly made a dent in many of our oldest and most used public spaces. This is especially true in powerful institutions, such as schools and government complexes, where old buildings, and their gendered legacies, dominate. In the United States, for example, women in the House of Representatives didn’t get a bathroom near the Speaker’s Lobby until 2011. Prior to that, the nearest women’s room was so far away that the time it took women to get to the bathroom and back exceeded session break times. The nearby men’s room, meanwhile, had a fireplace, a shoeshine stand, and televised floor proceedings.

Additionally, old building codes required more space for men, as women’s roles were restricted almost entirely to the private sphere. That reality has often confused the “is” with the “ought.” As scholar Judith Plaskow noted in a paper on toilets and social justice, “Not only does the absence of women’s bathrooms signify the exclusion of women from certain professions and halls of power, but it also has functioned as an explicit argument against hiring women or admitting them into previously all-male organizations.” She cites examples, including Yale Medical School and Harvard Law School, both of which claimed that a lack of public facilities made it impossible for women to be admitted as students. Schools like the Virginia Military Institute used this excuse as recently as 1996.

When spaces are changed so that everyone experiences equal waiting time, backlash has been quick. In 2004, for example, new rules resulted in men waiting in line to use the bathrooms at Soldier Field in Chicago. They complained until five women’s rooms were converted to men’s. The result was that, once again, women’s wait times doubled. No protests have yielded a commensurate response to reduce them. That women are socialized to quietly deal with physical discomfort, pain, and a casual disregard for their bodily needs is overlooked in the statements, “No one is making them wait,” or “Why don’t they demand changes?” Last year, when writer Jessica Valenti made the sensible argument that tampons should be free in public bathrooms, the way toilet paper is, it resulted in a misogynistic hate-fest.

In the meantime, the male-centeredness of our restroom standards can also be seen in the constant stream (no pun intended) of products cheerily encouraging women to expand their excreting options, by peeing, for example, “like a man.” On the other hand, attempts to encourage men to emulate women in equal measure, sitting to urinate, are seen as degrading assaults on masculinity. This growing trend, a more sanitary and less expensive option in public restrooms (because less cleaning is required), horrifies many people.

It matters that 83% of registered architects and an eerily similar percentage of legislators in the U.S. are the very people least likely to have to wait in lines. As urban planner Salma Samar Damluji put it during a 2013 discussion about why women’s input is so important to designing public space, effective urban planning is “not a luxury, it’s a basic need.” In the United States, laws are rapidly changing, largely due to effective LGTBQ advocacy and a generational sea change in how gender is understood. Organic solutions, particularly at high schools and colleges, include combinations of male/female facilities alongside gender-neutral ones. Single-stall designs that can be used by everyone, such as airplane bathrooms and family/handicapped facilities are the most space and time efficient, and least discriminatory. They are also philosophically palatable to a broad spectrum, as they represent not so much a contested segregations or de-gendering of restroom spaces, as much as a rethinking of privacy and the uses of public space.

Women aren’t standing in lines because we bond over toilet paper pattern or because we’re narcissistic and vain. We’re standing in line because our bodies, like those of trans and queer people, have been historically shamed, ignored, and deemed unworthy of care and acknowledgement. We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having these needs fairly met in public space.

Soraya Chemaly is a media critic and activist whose work focuses on the role of gender in politics, religion and popular culture. Her work appears in Salon, CNN, Ms. Magazine, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, RHRealityCheck, Role Reboot and The Feminist Wire.

Read next: A Better Feminism for 2015

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Things Women Leaders Say About Work-Life Balance

Ivanka Trump at the Valentino Sala Bianca 945 Event on Dec. 10, 2014 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty Images Ivanka Trump at the Valentino Sala Bianca 945 Event on Dec. 10, 2014 in New York City.

Smart takeaways from Ivanka Trump, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and others

Last Thursday, Jennifer Szalai of The New York Times explored the origins of the phrase “having it all.” She traced much of it back to a 1982 book by Helen Gurley Brown titled Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money . . . Even if You’re Starting With Nothing. Since then, the phrase persistently comes up in discussions revolving around the pressures women face in their careers as well as at home.

I tend to shy away from asking female leaders what they think about “having it all,” yet I find it is brought up naturally in interviews. Perhaps this means that the phrase is not devoid of meaning as I sometimes feel, but is just evolving alongside work/life dynamics.

Here are three of my favorite takeaways from interviews with female leaders on the topic:

1. You can have it all, but not at the same time.

I heard from execs as diverse as Trump Organization EVP Ivanka Trump and Dee Dee Myers, the former White House press secretary who is now the head of corporate communication for Warner Bros, that it’s a losing battle to think that you can have it all in every moment of the day. There will be periods where work will be the top priority and other periods where children will come into sharp focus, they say. Yet women can have it all throughout the course of their lives.

2. What exactly are we ‘having’?

My favorite interview on this topic last year is when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told TIME’s Nancy Gibbs why she hates the phrase. “I think it’s insulting,” she said “What are you ‘having?’ A party? Another slice of pie?” Gillibrand’s remark gets at one big point: Having it all means entirely different things to different women.

3. Having it all may be overrated.

And on that note, it could be entirely possible that removing yourself from the pressures of having it all could be the best thing to happen to some women. “The choice not to have it all, far from being defeatist, is extremely liberating,” Melanie Healey, Procter & Gamble’s group president for North America, told Fortune’s Jennifer Reingold after announcing that she was retiring. “Slugging through a decade of work but losing touch with your family and friends or with your community creates its own sense of failure.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME relationships

Why Your Self-Esteem Matters More Than a Compliment

Tulip heart
Getty Images

A lot of women are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise

This article originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

One of my recent guilty pleasures is this dating show where the participants meet, naked, on an island, and try to find love. In one episode of Dating Naked, a female contestant seemed to be hitching her self esteem to the compliments of the naked meathead with whom she was riding horses. “He told me I was beautiful, so that made me beautiful…” she said.

I wanted to throw a pillow at my television screen and yell, “NO! You’re beautiful, period!” The premise of the show is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but what I found even more outrageous was this woman’s inability to feel beautiful without her guy’s assessment.

And yet, a lot of women are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise. I’m certainly not exempt from this. The fact is, it’s not easy to only look within ourselves to affirm our beauty. I often talk about how confidence is complicated. I know from experience that being confident is a journey, not a destination, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road. While I try to be self-assured and poised, others’ opinions (men’s especially), have had an impact on how I feel about myself and my appearance.

(MORE: This Is How We Should Be Talking About Beauty)

My dad raised me to believe that I’m beautiful, inside and out — and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in that protective bubble forever. Growing up, if someone I was crushing on didn’t feel similarly about me, I questioned my attractiveness. But, if a boy asked me to a dance, I could feel my self-esteem sky-rocket. In college, when I was single, I wondered if it had something to do with how I looked. But, when I started dating a guy who told me I was beautiful, well, then it was easy to believe I was.

Eventually, I began to realize: I was doing myself a disservice by allowing the men I dated to determine how I felt about myself. I mean, they call it self esteem for a reason, you know? Wanting to get off this exhausting roller coaster (feeling good about myself one month, lousy the next) I decided to return to what my father had taught me so many years ago: I’m beautiful — period.

(MORE: The Dress That Made Me Like My Body)

The thing is, I can appreciate the boost I feel when a man compliments my appearance, but it’s far more important that I feel good about myself regardless. I don’t want my positive self-image to be defined by the way a man sees me. I was able to put this idea to the test about a month ago when I decided to take out my hair extensions and rock my short, natural hair (you can watch that process if you’re interested). As I went from hair that fell down my back to a short cut that hits just below my ears, I knew I loved it.

But, although I felt gorgeous and had a spring in my step when I walked out of the salon, I worried that if my boyfriend didn’t like it, my bright mood would dampen. More than that: I knew that I wanted him to be attracted to me with my new ‘do. Still, I also told myself that what mattered most was how I felt about it. And, I meant it. The minute my man saw me, though, I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. That took me from cloud nine to cloud 10.

And, it hit me: When our partners make us feel beautiful, it’s not a bad thing — as long as we also feel beautiful on our own. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that makes your ass look amazing. Those jeans aren’t magic, but they might just have the power to make you feel hotter than you already know you are.

(MORE: Body Image: The War Nobody Wins)

TIME women

I Am Taking Up Running Again — At 250 Pounds

woman-running-beach
Getty Images

What is different about the attempt this time is that I can see my excuses and fears very clearly

xojane

In my dreams, I run without my feet touching the ground.

I’m not quoting a bad motivational poster, that is really how I get around in my dreams — legs churning, hoping no one will notice that I’m sort of levitating.

In reality, it takes a lot of force to shift my inertia from a body at rest to a body in motion. At 250 pounds, I require even more force to get moving than a typical runner. The “typical” runner I imagine is rock-hard and glistening, a lunch-hour runner who makes mortals wonder what breed of insanity motivates her.

I, however, probably make mortals wonder how this body manages to move at a jogging pace at all.

While the need for physical energy to become a runner may be obvious, I require a great deal of mental energy, too. Each day is a battle with my own mind’s powerful attempts to keep me stationary and hidden inside the house. The excuses begin to flow: Is it too hot today? Or maybe it’s going to rain? What if I get a headache? Maybe I will collapse in the street.

In the past, these excuses limited my route to the streets in the direct vicinity of my front yard. I comforted myself by thinking if I had a physical or medical (or emotional) emergency, I would at least be close to home.

Before now, these three fears often kept me from firing my jets:

  1. Fear of judgment: What must people think when they see someone like me bouncing down the sidewalk? Now I just answer, “What people? And who cares?” If anyone is paying attention to me and has mean energy to burn, it can hardly negate the boost I feel from jogging on a nice day with my happy baby rolling along in her stroller ahead of me. (Also, so far, no one has actually said anything mean to me.)
  2. Fear of failure: Running is something I’ve always wanted to be good at, but what if I never am? To fight this fear, I have to define what it means to be good at running. I used to want to be fast. Now I just want to be fast enough. I want to be fast enough to keep up with my (fairly slow) husband. I want to be fast enough to stay in the race, even if I’m dead last.
  3. Fear of pain: What if I end up miles away from home and some part of me really hurts, but I have to retrace those miles to get back? When my confidence to complete a certain distance is low, I have even circled the same few blocks around my house over and over so I could get back quickly in the event of an injury. I don’t know what injury I expected to occur as I shuffled at a near walking pace. The fact is running has never hurt me except for a few headaches due to heat and poor hydration.

As an aspiring runner, I face many more mental challenges than physical ones. Now that I don’t care about speed, and I don’t worry so much about potential injury, I have only one physical challenge to conquer. No, it’s not my weight! My personal challenge is to run farther, longer, and more often, building by tiny increments at a time.

I just started running again in September, as a 39th birthday gift to myself. When I say I started running “again,” you might imagine I was once one of those taut athletic types, and that I’ve only recently found myself in this overweight condition. Not so! I’ve been about this size for at least a decade, and I’ve “started” running at least a handful of times. At my best, I completed a relay half marathon with my husband. At my worst, I dropped out at mile 6 of a half marathon because I was too slow, and they were closing the course behind me. Or you might say the worst moments in my running life were the times I wanted to do it but didn’t have the courage.

I started this time with a fresh short-term goal — to run an entire 5k in March 2015 without walking.

Training Day 1: I insist that my husband run with me to boost my confidence when I try to bail, to help me feel less conspicuous as a very non-runner-looking person, and to distract me as I huff through a minute of running, followed by four minutes of walking.

Day 3: I repeat the one minute running/four minutes walking intervals without my husband-coach. I do, however, rely on my daughter in the jogging stroller to deflect attention from me. I assume people must think I gained a ton of weight while I was pregnant, and now I’m trying to work it off. The truth is I gained only 12 pounds when I was pregnant, and I lost every ounce during birth.

Day 10: OK, I can run two minutes, but can I run another two minutes after catching my breath for four minutes? And then do it again? Turns out I can. I want to say, “Suck it!” to my doubters, a.k.a. myself.

Day 15: Run three minutes, walk three minutes, then run three minutes again? And repeat the whole sequence for a total of 30 minutes? Thank God for riveting podcasts, counting breaths, just getting to the next driveway, the next corner, the next three minutes of walking.

Day 70: After weeks of viruses, travel, cold weather, flat stroller tires, I’m still at the three-minute interval stage. It’s a pace I’ve become submissive to, as the old confidence demon tells me I probably couldn’t last four or more minutes. Each time I stretch the running interval and shorten the walking interval, I drag along that demon. Once I achieve a new goal, I question whether I can repeat it the next day. The only way I can fight my demon is to keep going out and proving him wrong.

What has changed with this most recent attempt at becoming a runner? Not my body — it looks about the same as always, though it does feel stronger and more capable. The difference is that this time I can see my excuses and fears very clearly. Because I recognize them when they try to block my way out the door, it’s easier to slip by them than it was in the past. I used to think they were solid, immovable walls, but now they are paper-thin.

In November the San Antonio Rock ’N’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon course passed within a few blocks of my house. We walked over with the baby to watch the runners and walkers at Mile 6, the same point where this race defeated me five years ago. All I could think about this time was signing up again next year.

Anna Lee Beyer is a writer in Texas. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME women

I’m Done With Self-Loathing New Year’s Resolutions

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Getty Images

A resolution about accepting my body was way healthier for me than starting another new diet

xojane

Can I ask a really simple question? Do you know anyone who actually makes a New Year’s resolution and keeps it? I’m not even kidding. If I look back over all the years of my life, I’ve probably been choosing to be resolute about one thing or another for 25 plus years. And, honestly until three years ago I can’t remember succeeding — LIKE EVER. Sometimes I barely even made it to January. (There are probably some of you who are already thinking that I just lack willpower and that’s your prerogative, but I think it’s more than that.)

Consider the resolution to stop smoking. I smoked on and off in high school and college. Eventually I quit, but clearly there were years where I would walk around talking about how smoking was going to end on the first of January. I meant it. I hated that I smoked, even though I enjoyed the act of smoking.

On New Year’s Eve I would head out to one party or another, committed to tossing my cigarettes immediately following the clamor of midnight noisemakers. I’d be with friends; we’d dance and toast and gulp champagne — the clock would strike twelve and there’d be singing, joy and by 12:30 a.m., smoking. Who has the will power to stop smoking when you’re already drunk? I can’t vouch for you but my intoxicated self is really good at rationalizing and justifying bad ideas. So, when you’re addicted to smoking, ditching your cigarettes in the middle of a raucous drunken party is just stupid — it’s a set up for failure.

Basically, most New Year’s resolutions suck. I would argue that at least 90% of my resolutions were about changing a bodily habit in some drastic way – quit smoking, cut calories, exercise more, drink less, fast one day a week. I would also argue that 90% percent of everyone else is making similar resolutions. (Do me a favor, don’t quote that statistic because I made it up. However, the internet told me that only 8% of people are succeeding at New Year’s resolutions, so if you decided I lack willpower, it’s most likely you do too.)

The most popular resolution is to lose weight, and I think I have at least 20 years of failing at diet-oriented resolutions under my belt. Resolutions that focus on changing your body shape or size are the worst because basically, what you’re doing when you make this kind of resolution is starting the year by saying my body isn’t good enough, and this year I will finally make my body good enough – only you fail. Or at least 92% of us fail.

Whatever. I’m so over it.

Three years ago I decided I was done hating my body for a living, so when it came time to make a New Year’s resolution I either had to disband the practice or come up with a resolution that wasn’t grounded in self-hatred and self-loathing. (I had already quit smoking, so that was no longer an option.) I think shutting down the whole resolution idea is totally valid – and for some slamming that door may solidify the road to self-love, but I’ve found that self-affirming resolutions have been a really excellent tool for me on my body positive journey.

So anyway, in 2012, I was new to the whole Love Thyself game, so when trying to create a resolution that resonated self-care, I kept picturing the SNL skit — Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley. Basically, that was all I knew self-help to be – gurus and their sheep mumbling mantras at their own reflections. I was a smart-mouthed cynic from New York; mantra mumbling was not going to work for me. I needed practical action. I needed a resolution that would constantly remind me I had my permission to love my body — even if everyone else I knew was still caught in the cycle of being mean to themselves.

In order to find my resolution, I started backwards. I thought about all the times when I hated my body, all the places and instances when I felt ill at ease because I was fat and considered what was making me feel this way. I meditated on the moments when I was feeling self-conscious, big, monstrous and uncomfortable. (Quick recommendation: DO NOT DO THIS. It’s not at all fun and I already did it for you.)

The weird thing was, above and beyond all the emotional misery I traipsed through, I kept coming back to this one physical feeling — my jeans cutting into my belly. You know this feeling; it’s the your-jeans-are-so-tight-that-they-literally-leave-a-red-imprint-of-themselves-on-your-skin feeling. It’s an itchy searing feeling. It’s painful and there is no reason to feel it, except for the belief that we deserve to suffer and feel guilty about our size because God forbid we get bigger than some abstract notion of the size we want to be.

Once I realized this, a resolution was born. I resolved to buy clothes that fit me. I felt certain that one of the key issues I was facing was feeling uncool, uncomfortable, or not fashionable because I was squeezing into clothes that were too small. (Jesus, first world problems, right? That said, self-loathing and body hate feel brutal, so we’ve got to work on it. ) In 2012, I dedicated a portion of my income to buying sassy new clothes that I liked no matter what size they were, clothes that fit well — nothing tight, nothing that would fit in a few pounds, and nothing that I chose because it was “slimming.”

For those of you who dissed my willpower earlier — I nailed this resolution. I was a clothes-that-fit superstar. And while resolving to buy clothes might seem superficial and ridiculous, it wasn’t. It was amazing. As soon as I tossed my too-tight favorites, I started to forget to be self-conscious in private spaces. In other words, when my jeans were too tight, I could sit alone in my car at a red light — feel the tightness — and be reminded that I thought my body was wrong. Once my clothes fit, the “wrongness” I felt with regards to my body was rarely present unless other people or media made me feel that way.

I’m not trying to oversell this idea — all my problems with my body weren’t magically solved by clothes that fit, but I was loving myself more and I was treating my body like it deserved nice clothes, like it was okay to live and be happy and enjoy fashion at my size. So yeah — a resolution that was about accepting my body was way healthier for me than starting another new diet.

Just in case you’re interested in choosing a 2015 resolution that emphasizes self-acceptance, here are the other successful resolutions that I’ve embarked on since choosing to break the bonds of self-hatred:

2013: Stop Moralizing Food and Start Focusing on Nutrients

In the fall of 2012, I listened to a student of mine extol how she was “so bad because she had a brownie for breakfast.” I realized that I thought that way, and it seemed ridiculous to me.

Brownies, pizza, french fries — these aren’t “bad” or “good;” they’re food. They have no moral value so eating them doesn’t make you bad, just like eating salad doesn’t make you a better person. Instead of moralizing what I ate, I started thinking about how I could incorporate foods into my diet that gave me the nutrients my body needed. I resolved to eat veggies everyday — even if I only wanted them with dressing. I focused on nutrients and when I felt like it I ate brownies — because they have nutrients too.

2014: Spread the Message of Body Acceptance and Shut Down Body Hatred

Some of you may have read my last article for xoJane — so you know that I’m not okay with people saying super mean stuff about other people’s bodies. I think it sucks and I want it to stop.

Last year, I resolved to speak up when I could and inform those suffering from body hatred that there was another option. Also, I decided to kindly tell people — friends, strangers, colleagues etc. — that I have chosen to love my body and respect the bodies of others so my air space is a body-hate free zone, which means that I’m gonna call you out if you ill speak of your body or someone else’s body in my presence. Finally, I committed to participate in movements that forward body-positivity, like @fyeahmfabello’s forthcoming social media campaign #NORMALIZEFAT2K15.

2015: ????

I know I only have a few days but I’m still working on my resolution for this year — I want to focus on sexy. Not like, sex (I’m more than good with that). But that sexy glamorous feeling, sometimes I still misplace that and have a hard time finding it. So, I’m going to resolve to do something that makes me feel that powerful sexy charge — I’m just not sure what that is yet. As long as they’re all about body acceptance, I’m open to your suggestions.

Lindsey Averill is a writer and contributor to xoJane. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Why 2014 Was Actually a Great Year for Women in Tech

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Despite the reported incidents of sexism from hackathons to boardrooms, 2014 finally got women to talk and people to listen

This story was originally published at the Daily Dot.

Technology has a sexism problem.

In 2014, revealing investigations and heartfelt admissions ripped the wool off the eyes of the industry and exposed the extent of this very raw and very real truth.

The news about women in technology this year was so dispiriting that you might’ve thought twice before encouraging the women in your life to pursue careers in the field. Countless incidents of sexism from hackathons to boardrooms have demonstrated just how exhausting and insufferable the industry can be for women: harassment lawsuits against companies like Tinder and Zillow; advice to women from the CEO of Microsoft saying they shouldn’t ask for raises, and harassment at GitHub that led to the public departure of a popular female developer—to say nothing of Gamergate.

At first glance, it’s just another year full of a number of very high-profile events highlighting how toxic the tech industry can be towards women.

But look again: 2014 was actually a great year. Not because of the things that happened, but because women are finally talking about their experiences. Perhaps more importantly, people are listening…

Read the rest of the story at the Daily Dot.

TIME Politicians

Hillary Clinton Is Named America’s ‘Most Admired Woman’

The presidential contender beat out Oprah

Americans named Hillary Clinton the woman they admire most of anywhere in the world, a new poll found, for the 17th time in 18 years.

When Gallup asked a random sampling of Americans who is the living female they admire most, 12% named Clinton. The former Secretary of State was followed by Oprah Winfrey at 8% and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafazi at 5%.

Gallup

Obama was named the most admired man, garnering 19% of votes.

The presidential contender held the top women’s spot every year between 1997 and 2014 except following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, when the title was awarded to Laura Bush. Clinton also held the designation when she was First Lady in 1993 and 1994.

TIME Love & Relationships

What I Learned When I Called Off My Engagement

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Let's just say that if you have major doubts about being engaged, you probably shouldn't be

xojane

My life with David* was a surprise. I had returned from a six-month stint in Osaka, Japan, to my small-town family home just out of Sydney, Australia. All my energy was focused on how I would get back to Japan — my life was there; all I had to do was graduate. When David offered to buy me a drink one night, I told him “My conversation is free — I’ll buy my own drinks.” He liked that. Independence had always been my jam, even in relationships.

We started dating and I went from playing it cool to love sick in four days flat. Wanting to hear from him all the time, to know he was interested, that I was valued. From someone who didn’t care about marriage to thinking constantly about my imaginary future children and what I would cook for my man that night.

I quietly shelved my dreams of returning to Osaka for the white picket fence. All this time I was waiting, hinting, wondering when he would pop the question.

We were in my late grandfathers’ home one night when David told me to close my eyes and he led me to the lounge. I could see the warmth of candles glowing behind my shut eyelids and all of a sudden, I was filled with a mix of “YES! It’s happening!” and a gut feeling that said “I don’t want this.”

READ MORE 5 Strange But Effective Ways to Get Over a Breakup

Opening my eyes to the man I loved on one knee, ring in hand, I knew that the only answer was “yes.” I couldn’t afford to lose my dream life with my dream man, but I was utterly bewildered by this nagging feeling and worse, it wouldn’t go away.

Let’s just say that if you have major doubts about being engaged, you probably shouldn’t be. I’m not talking about your standard nervousness; I mean debilitating, undermining doubt.

My ideas about marriage made me beyond uncomfortable. I was outright scared. From the price-per-head to musing over what makes a “good wife,” I was afraid. Without ever planning to, I set about sabotaging the whole thing, the very thing I had wanted…and one day, didn’t want any more.

I realized that my whole world was based on him. I had put aside my plans for myself to force myself into an identity I didn’t fit, all in the hope of impressing him enough to stay. Sure, he stayed, but I was directionless and depressed, jumping from one shaky job to another and running myself into the ground trying to make a meaningful life. He wanted a support person, I wanted to blaze trails. I didn’t know how to reconcile my values with who I had become. Slowly, I began to resent him for it.

One day, David told me “This should be enough for you.” It wasn’t, and I utterly despised the arrogance that dripped from that comment — that a good man should be enough for a woman.

The last straw came when I asked him to visit Osaka for a week with me. I was meeting up with my best girl. She lived halfway across the world from me, and she needed to get out of Missouri after a string of bad luck. My soul was exhausted, and this girl was my conduit to the me I had lost. At that moment, nothing was more important to me. He wouldn’t come, but he was vicious when I suggested I go alone. My blood boiled. I went anyway.

READ MORE The One Word That Sums Up Everything You Need to Do to Be Happier

I called off the engagement before the relationship ended. I took my fears to mean that it wasn’t the right time yet. He put on a brave face and said that was okay. But, dear reader, pro tip: If you end your engagement, you will hurt the other person. Even if you love them. Even if you still think you’ll marry them one day. While you’re saying “I’m not ready for this,” they may hear “I’m not ready for you,” and, wait for it, they may leave.

I spent a long time trying to reconcile my thirst for freedom and adventure with the image of domesticity that marriage presented me. I began to seriously wish I was “free.”

Then it ended, he moved out, and I was. I didn’t know what to do with all that space. I was lonely and doubly afraid. That’s what happens when you wrap your self-worth up in someone else and then they’re not there. I knew I had to set about recovering, so here’s what I did.

  1. I cried. I cried at home. I cried at work. I cried on the treadmill. I had so many feelings.
  2. I banned love songs and negative self-talk. I was so frequently bubbling with rejection and rage and unspoken hurt, I didn’t need to wield those two oh-so popular weapons.
  3. I lived day to day. I couldn’t cope with this “no plans” business without someone to fill the space (he was my plan), so I just disengaged and took each day as it came. Until I saw cheap flights and then I made plans…
  4. …and caught planes. Lots of them. It was lonely and beautiful and I could then cry in planes, too.
  5. I rebounded. The first post-breakup kiss made my stomach flip. I thought I was going to be sick. Next tip: If your body says it’s wrong, listen up!
  6. I travelled more. I walked more. I cried less.
  7. I made new friendships and re-learned that I wasn’t totally wretched and unlovable. I was just hurt.

There were setbacks — phone calls that I sincerely regret making — made in part to get him back, in part to punish him for leaving me. If he was going to break my heart I wasn’t going to make it comfortable for him. Still, I wouldn’t hear other people speak badly of him and publicly I kept a straight face, the whole while trying to grasp onto some idea of what on earth I had done. Last tip: Don’t make that call, you’ll regret it. Even if you think they deserve it, it’s self-deprecating and will do nothing good for your morale.

My recovery meant a million references to the “stages of grieving” and I realized that they really don’t work in a linear way. You’ll think you’re all healed up and then you’re a total mess again. Grief and rejection are vicious jerks and they will wear you out. And occasionally they are more powerful than memory, fact and rationality.

“One day it will be okay” was my mantra. And one day it was okay.

READ MORE 10 Things That Will Change the Way You Think About Love

The biggest thing I learned in this roller coaster is the value of listening to myself, knowing what is right for me and the importance of having the courage to act on that intuition. To grow my personal capital before I bank on someone else. And to honour that voice that says “Something’s wrong.” It’s better to listen up than to find yourself Googling “trapped and unhappy” in ten years.

It was close… and weddings still make me that little bit uncomfortable.

____

*Not actually called David, obviously.

Ruth Harrison is a writer. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com

Read next: The Science of Dealing With People You Hate

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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