by Free Britney at

Plus-size models and modeling have gained a lot of traction in 2013, as they a purpose beyond marketing plus-size clothing to a growing market.

They also provide women with a more diverse range of bodies to look up to, which potentially improves self-confidence, body image and social norms.

So if we have plus-size models ... should plus-size Barbies be next? That's the question posed recently by Plus-Size-Modeling (dot) com on Facebook ...

Plus-Size Barbie Pic

The illustration of a plus-size Barbie doll actually comes from a contest on Worth1000.com, a site where artists compete in daily creative competitions.

The image, created by artist bakalia, won a contest called "Feeding Time 9."

But when re-posted last week by Plus-Size-Modeling (dot) com, the depiction of Barbie with a double chin and a curvier physique sparked debate.

Over 35,000 people have "liked" it, but many criticize it, asking whether society should be praising being overweight any more than being too skinny.

Maria Kang has yet to weigh in ... but we know where she stands.

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by Free Britney at

In a sign of how far the gay rights movement has come, Pope Francis has been named 2013 Person of the Year by The Advocate, a prominent LGBT magazine.

"While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality," The Advocate wrote, "it will also be remembered for the example of one man."

Pope Francis, who has single-handedly sought to unite, rather than divide the Catholic Church and all of humanity, was named Time Person of the Year as well.

Pope Francis on The Advocate

The Pontiff has not supported gay marriage, but he has called for the end of the church's "obsession" with gays and abortion and said he does not judge gay people.

That, symbolically, put the finishing touch on 2013, The Year of Gay Marriage.

From statehouses to the Supreme Court, and from shifting public opinion to politicians' "evolutions," the year saw many milestones. The Pope certainly wasn't alone.

After all, 2013 likely would not have happened were it not for 2012, when President Barack Obama finally embraced same-sex marriage and went on to win reelection.

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by Hilton Hater at

This is pretty much as moving as it gets.

Earlier this month, KSTZ in Des Moines received a letter written by Brenda Schmitz, a mother of four and the late wife of a man named David. She passed away two years ago from ovarian cancer.

Prior to her death, however, Brenda instructed a friend to send her message to the radio station - specifically during its "Christmas Wish" program - after David found someone else with whom to share his life.

“I have a wish for David and the boys and the woman and her family if she has kids also,” Brenda writes in the letter, which is read aloud in the following footage. “I want them to know I love them very much and they always feel safe in a world of pain."

Brenda goes on to outline a trio of wishes for David and his new fiancee, all of which were actually granted by local sponsors.

As you might expect, David grows incredibly emotional during the surprise and you will, too. Watch now:

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by Hilton Hater at

Two husbands have gone ahead and gifted their wives with the most thoughtful Christmas present possible.

Pearls? Diamonds? A night out on the town? Try empathy.

In an unusual medical experiment, the men agreed to be filmed while being hooked up to special electrodes that actually simulate the pain of childbirth. Is it really as bad as woman claim? Or is the fairer sex also the weaker sex?

Watch now to laugh with the ladies and cringe with the men as the latter experience contraction, labor and all the screams that accompany both:

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by Free Britney at

Both jailed members of cause celebre Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been released from prison under an amnesty law, according to reports.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova walked free from a prison hospital in Siberia, while band-mate Maria Alyokhina was cut loose earlier in Nizhny Novgorod.

Both have dismissed the amnesty as a PR stunt ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Russia, but they are nonetheless free for the first time in 14 months.

The women were jailed in August 2012 after performing a protest song in Moscow's main cathedral. The act was seen as blasphemous by many Russians.

However, their conviction for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" was criticized by rights groups, anti-Putin activists and foreign governments.

Their sentences were due to end in March 2014.

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by Free Britney at

In a story both heartwarming and heartbreaking, thousands of carolers gathered in West Reading, Pa., this weekend to fulfill a dying girl's Christmas wish.

Delaney Brown, an 8-year-old suffering from leukemia, included carolers on a "bucket list," and organizers expected "a few thousand" to take part.

Close to 10,000 people showed up. Take a look at this clip of the event:

Now that's the true meaning of Christmas, love, unity and compassion.

Brown's family, which has been updating a "Team Laney" Facebook page, posted a photo of the girl giving two thumbs up as she heard the caroling outside.

On December 17, doctors gave her "two days to two weeks to live."

We wish Delaney and her family nothing but the best in these sad circumstances, and are grateful that her entire community appears to be by her side.

Also helping the cause? Taylor Swift herself! See below ...

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by Free Britney at

Claire Davis, a 17-year-old suburban Denver student, has died after being shot in the head by an Arapahoe High School classmate on December 13.

Claire Davis Picture

Davis had been critical condition after being shot point-blank in the Colorado school shooting one day before the Sandy Hook (Conn.) massacre anniversary.

Friends and well-wishers had posted prayers online and raised money to help pay for her medical care, but the hospital confirms she has passed away.

"It is with heavy hearts that we share that at 4:29 p.m. this afternoon, Claire Davis passed away, with her family at her side," the hospital said in a statement.

"Despite the best efforts of our physicians and nursing staff, and Claire's fighting spirit, her injuries were too severe and the most advanced medical treatments could not prevent this tragic loss."

"Claire's death is immensely heartbreaking for our community, staff and families."

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by Tattle Taylor at

Lord Infamous was found dead in his mother's home in Memphis, Tennessee on December 20. He was 40 years old.

Ricky "Lord Infamous" Dunigan was the founding member of rap group Three 6 Mafia which won an Academy Award for the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the film Hustle and Flow. They went on to win an American Music Award two years later for Favorite Band/Group/Duo.

Lord Infamous of Three6 Mafia Dead at 40

Dunigan suffered a heart attack and stroke in 2010. His cause of death is unknown at this time.

His death was also confirmed on Twitter with "R.I.P. Lord Infamous" coming from fellow group member Juicy J.

Lil Wyte added "He gave us the name #Triple6Mafia he was a pioneer, he was a god, he was my friend. RIP Ricky 'Lord Infamous' Dunigan."

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by Free Britney at

Justine Sacco, a PR executive, is in major hot water after publicly tweeting a racist “joke” during a flight to Africa that went viral and didn't go over too well.

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” she wrote.

Yeah ...

Justine Sacco is a New York-based communications director for media conglomerate IAC, which reps brands like OKCupid, Vimeo and CollegeHumor.

At least she was. IAC responded to the controversy in a statement last night:

“This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC. This is a very serious matter and we are taking appropriate action.”

The company, which is operated by billionaire media executive Barry Diller, noted that it had been unable to reach the in-flight “employee in question."

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by Free Britney at

Phil Robertson disrespected the gay employees at A&E, and that's ultimately what got the star suspended from Duck Dynasty, according to a new report.

Robertson Family

The 67-year-old Robertson family patriarch's suspension has become a polarizing topic this week, and now TMZ has insight into how it all went down.

Why would the network suspend one of its most popular personalities when it knew the backlash it would get for it from fans and certain pundits?

A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc felt she could not in good conscience ask the network's gay employees to kill themselves for the show after Phil's comments.

When Robertson disrespected them by calling all gays sinners, and rather coarsely at that, in his recent interview with GQ, Dubuc felt she had no choice.

A number of gay employees involved in the production of Duck Dynasty were outraged by Phil's comments to GQ and wanted Dubuc to take action.

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