At Just 6 Years Old, She Told Her Parents To Put An End To The Birthmark Removal Treatments She Was Going Through

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Mariana Mendes was born with a nevus birthmark on her face and she is flaunting it. At first, her family was determined to find a way to get rid of the birthmark covering her face for fear that she would be bullied by kids in school.

But when she was 6 years old they gave up – and she is glad because she loves it. Now, Mendes is on a mission to share her story with the world and encourage others to love their own nevus birthmarks regardless of where they are on their bodies.

Mariana Mendes is using her own nevus birthmark to encourage people to embrace and love their own.

According to Nevus.Org, nevus is a broad term that can be used “describe virtually any mole or birthmark.” For Mendes, she has a congenital melanocytic nevus which simply means she has an area on her body with heavy pigmentation that has been present since birth, a.k.a. a birthmark.

Mendes, who is from Juiz de Fora, Brazil, told O Globo that her parents started to treat the birthmark with lasers in São Paulo when she was a young girl. When she was 6 years old they asked if she wanted to continue the treatment. She said no.

Mendes says that she doesn’t care what people think about her birthmark.

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A post shared by Mariana Mendes (@marianamendes.m) on

“Some people do like it, others don’t, some love it and others hate it – I get a very mixed response,” Mendes told Metro. “I have been told by a few people that it’s ‘ugly’ or ‘strange,’ but it doesn’t bother me that’s just their opinion and I think it’s beautiful.”

In fact, Mendes thinks that her nevus actually sets her apart from the rest of the people out there.

“I feel more beautiful and totally different from other people because I have a nevus,” Mendes told Metro. “Having a nevus that is as large as mine is not common, so of course there are many people who stare and who don’t like it, but I don’t care. A lot of people ask me about my birthmark, sometimes they think it’s makeup or a tattoo but I don’t mind and explain it to them.”

Mendes is using her experience with her nevus to encourage girls to embrace their birthmarks despite what some might tell them.

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Vestido e estampa por mim e 📷 @velozobas

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Part of how Mendes is getting the message of self-love and acceptance out is by a series of photo shoots she did. She hopes that by sharing these photos with the world, women everywhere will love themselves, blemishes and all.

Mendes did tell O Globo that she is happy she hasn’t had to change her appearance too much because her nevus isn’t hindering her health, but she does get it looked at.

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Dodo 🎤🎶

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“I have not had any changes yet, and the nevus does not harm my health,” Mendes told O Globo. “If it’s stable, it’s because it has no sign of risk.”

READ: These Albino Twins From Brazil Are Showing The Fashion World Beauty Comes In All Color

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Women In Brazil Don't Care If Tech Isn't A Woman's Space, They're Breaking In


Women In Brazil Don’t Care If Tech Isn’t A Woman’s Space, They’re Breaking In

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Although they know this change won’t happen over night, women in Brazil are starting to turn the tide in the male to female ratio of tech entrepreneurs and graduates. According to a report from Americas Quarterly, only 13 percent of the tech startups in São Paulo are founded by women even though the market for tech startups has grown by 20 percent over the last two years.For reference, the global average of women-led startups is 18 percent meaning São Paulo is behind the curve. In total, investors have flushed the tech sector in Brazil with 4.5 billion Brazilian reales (about $1.5 billion USD) just last year. So, what gives? Well, according to Iana Chan, who spoke to Americas Quarterly, it all goes back to gender stereotypes.

So, what gives? Well, according to Iana Chan, who spoke to Americas Quarterly, it all goes back to gender stereotypes.

“These are cultural narratives that go back to childhood,” Chan told Americas Quarterly about her own upbringing with her brother. “Girls play at home with dolls, and boys play with video games. There were boy things and girl things, and I could play when he [her brother] wasn’t using them.”

But, the demand and interest are there, according to Americas Quarterly. PrograMaria is an incubator program for women who want to break into the Brazilian tech world and wants to give all Brazilian women the opportunity to join the fast-growing Brazilian tech economy. One of their programs in March, a women’s only workshop set up to teach young girls the basics of coding and web design, filled up in minutes and had a waitlist that was almost 200 people long. The obvious demand and interest is what keeps women like Chan, a program manager for PrograMaria, working to secure the opportunities for women to join the tech workforce.

“The interest is there,” Chan told Americas Quarterly. “What’s missing are opportunities directed at women.”

You can read the full story from Americas Quarterly here.

(H/T: Americas Quarterly)

READ: TECHNOLOchicas Is Empowering Latinas To Chase Their Technology Driven Dreams

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