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Carla Buzasi

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Beyond the Front Pages

Posted: 14/02/2014 16:02

Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day or not this year, it's certainly difficult to ignore. Of all the articles that have been written about the event, and we have certainly run our fair share on HuffPost UK, I don't believe there are any as poignant or heart wrenching as this blog from Guantanamo Bay resident Shaker Aamer.

Marking 14 years since he arrived at the camp, the blog, which was relayed to his lawyer in an unclassified letter, will make you think differently about Valentine's Day no matter what your personal situation.

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Unless you work in media or advertising, the joys of 'stock images' are probably unknown to you. In a nutshell, they're the pictures photo agencies offer up to help editors illustrate news and features they don't have their own unique photos for. As a consequence, they are also the images that imprint on our sub-consciousness and have the power to change the way millions of people think about a situation.

For those of us who do work in the media, stock images tend to be a source of endless hilarity/frustration/amusement. For Sheryl Sandberg, however, they were a challenge. Working with Getty images, she has put together a whole library of photos of women - dubbed the Lean In Collection - that challenge the norm and attempt to show what women are really like today. To give you an idea what she and the team were up again, check out this post from The Cut, showing the kinds of pictures you get when you're trying to illustrate 'feminism'. Here's hoping the search 'working woman' never again shows a sexy secretary with a pencil in her mouth.

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One woman who knows the power of a great picture is Rachel Giordano. Back in 1981 she made headlines around the world as the red-haired girl in the iconic Lego advert What it is is beautiful. Fast-forward to 2014 and she has posed for a follow-up photo, after parenting coach and HuffPost blogger Lori Day tracked her down for a special Woman You Should Know article.

Now 37, Rachel poses with one of the new Lego Friends models, aka one designed specially for little girls. She told Day, "In 1981, Legos were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it's the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender." The slogan on her new poster? What it is is different.

On the topic of perceptions around gender, Facebook this week increased the number of gender options on the site to 56. In a move that transgender activists hailed as a 'big advance', options including 'bi-gender', 'transgender' and 'androgynous' were all added to the selection process for users.

Less positive, for those in long-term relationships at least, was the news that Facebook can pretty much work out when you're going to split up. Well, almost. It doesn't have anything to do with the number of pictures you're posting with or without your significant other, if you're wondering.

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In amongst the thousands of videos I've watched his week - including my political director having a glass of water thrown in his face, and HuffPost business reporter, Asa, testing out the UK's longest zip-wire - one of my favourites has to be this fantastic interview with Irene and Alice. The best friends have known each other for 94 years, and what they don't know about twerking, selfies and Justin Bieber isn't worth knowing.

Finally, I'm not a big American Football fan, but didn't miss the news that the NFL is on course to have its first openly gay player after draft favourite Michael Sam came out to ESPN. This great televised response from Texan news anchor Dale Hansen could just as easily be translated to the British premier league.

Have a great weekend.

 

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