Pro Athletes Got Naked To Talk Body Image (And Other Good Stuff This Week)

1. The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team got its own ticker tape parade.

On Friday in NYC, the newly crowned World Cup victors had their very own Canyon of Heroes parade, making them the first female team to receive the honor. It's about time, eh?

2. This beautiful teenager with Down Syndrome just became the face of a fitness brand.

Madeline Stuart has been tapped by fitness clothing brand Manifesta to represent their line. Madeline and Manifesta are individually committed to changing people's perceptions about what is beautiful, so this is definitely a partnership to root for.

3. Teenage girls literally smashed expectations in this empowering video.

In the video, the girls are asked to write some of the limitations they've been told their gender has on boxes. Then they rip and stomp 'em to shreds. The video is part of a campaign to help girls build confidence and unlock their full potential. I'm not sure the box-smashing is part of the process, but I'm all for the symbolism.

4. This guy treats Chicago's uninsured and homeless for free.

Dr. Daniel Ivankovitch started OnePatient Global Health Initiative three years ago to serve Chicago's needy. Since then, more than 100,000 people have benefited from the program (including those on whom he performed surgery after last weekend's outbreak of gang violence).You can help, too.

5. Research has shown that reading can totally make you happier.

Bookworms everywhere rejoice (quietly).

In an article on the practice of bibliotherapy, Ceridwen Dovey explains, "In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself."

6. Harry Potter-themed races are giving you one more reason to run for charity.

The Hogwarts Running Club aims to entice nerds like me into some philanthropic cardio with events like The Sorcerer's Stone 5K. Races are completed on your own time, wherever you want, with times submitted on the honor system. The next race is the Department of Mysteries 6.2442. (Try it on your keypad to see what the numbers spell.) Sadly, I suspect apparating to the finish line would be frowned upon.

7. "Yes means yes" is now law in New York State.

Governor Cuomo signed this measure into law on Tuesday, It'll govern all 64 universities in the State University of New York system. According to the law, “Affirmative consent is a clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed, and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive.” Common sense and personal responsibility becoming enforceable by law is something to celebrate, indeed.

8. Naked athletes celebrated their bodies in ESPN's Body Issue.

ESPN The Magazine published its 7th annual Body Issue, featuring pro female athletes in the nude, and got real with them about body image. Like most of us, they have favorite and least favorite body parts. The difference between most of us and them, though, is that they consider their bodies' foremost responsibility to be as functional as possible. What it looks like is secondary. Now that's a liberating thought.

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