Hey guys! I've recently been hired as a writer for the Odyssey, a national media platform with chapters at college campuses across the nation. Once our chapter is up and running, I will be sharing articles by me and by the other writers on my staff. I am super excited for this part of my life!
We are officially starting the Writer's Spotlights. Chosen writers will have their own page that they can submit work to for publishing and such. Right now, we have Nick Cassady, a friend of mine since seventh grade. He has a lot to share so be sure to check out his page!
If you would like to have your own page, please be sure to visit the Contact page. Let me know you're interested and I will email you back and interview you electronically and ask for a writing sample and what you would like to write about on the site.
Thanks guys! I hope you're doing well!
"You can do anything you set your mind to."
Unless you're a woman. Then you can do it, but be prepared to face the statistic that every 1 in 3 women will face sexual assault or rape in their lifetime and those are only the reported cases. And, you won't make as much as your male counterparts.
If you're a man, that's great, but you have to be white. You can still do it, but due to the systemic injustice in our country, you will start your life with less tools, advantages, and privileges than your white counterparts.
Great, so you're a man and you're white! "You can do anything you set your mind to."
Oh wait! You're gay! You know you can be fired in the state of Mississippi based on your sexual orientation and nothing can be done about it? Guess you can't do anything if you keep getting fired because your partner is the same sex as you.
Okay, you're not gay. Again, a white male. But you're transgender? Well, according to statistics, because you're transgender, you probably committed suicide when you were fifteen due to the lack of acceptance and understanding in your life from your family and friends. In that case, you definitely can't do anything you set your mind to.
Makes you re-think phrases such as, "You can do anything you set your mind to," and "Anyone can be anything as long as they work for it," right? Life isn't as one-dimensional as these phrases make it out to be. Look for the connections and ask questions. Make a difference.
So many times, people judge others based on their own ideas and perspectives without considering how someone else might see it. This is unfortunate because it isolates us from the people we could know, befriend, even love. We let differences cloud our judgment and exclude a human more than worthy of friendship.
Think about it. When you see a strange group of people you've never met hanging out and maybe acting weird with each other, you might wrinkle your nose, shrug, stuff your hands in your pockets and continue walking. You might think how you don't understand why people just can't be normal. Why do they have to be so different?
You keep walking, silently judging this group of people you are probably stereotyping, and arrive at the bar you're suppose to meet your friends at. When you walk in the door, you're greeted by a silly rhyme your best friend came up with when you were both drunk last week. You laugh and your rowdy group crowds around a table, occasionally throwing peanuts at each other and using phrases and language unique to your gathering. You whoop and holler at jokes and keep up with the drinking.
Meanwhile outside, a member from that group you were judging is walking home by herself. Her friends were tired and went their separate ways for the night, and as she walks by the bar she peers in the window and sees the crazy things you're doing with your friends. She wrinkles her nose with disgust because all of you look like a troop of wild monkeys to her. She shakes her head and stuffs her hands in her pockets, and continues walking home.
See what happened there? Next time you start to judge someone for their behavior or the way they are, sit back and realize they feel the exact same way about you. What do you do with that? Don't ignore it. Notice the differences, but don't dismiss them or think them silly. If you don't understand, ask. If you want to know more, make a friend. If you want to be a part of this life with full clarity, wipe away the fog of your judgments and see people for what they are: people, just trying to live, trying to get by, trying to find love, trying to find family and friendship, trying to find a purpose... just like you.
This little review is a little late since the movie came out last year (haha New Year's joke), but it's never too late to share your opinion.
Before going into the theater, I sat down at the burger joint nearby and enjoyed a delectable bison burger while contemplating what I was about to see on the big screen. I expected horrible torture scenes since the movie is about a journalist imprisoned in Iran back in 2009. I braced myself for the worst and then trotted in with a group of friends, all excited for the motion picture.
From a cinematic perspective without factoring in the book, the movie was great. For a directorial debut, Jon Stewart did an excellent job with transition, motion, and action. The live footage from the presidential elections of Iran in 2009 was added into the movie beautifully! The movie was not hard to follow, but not nearly as violent as I thought it would be. Those horrible scenes I was expecting were implied, and not overdone. However, while it was tasteful, it also sugar-coated the entire story. By the time it was over, I was convinced of the power of social media, entranced by the educated of Tehran, Iran, and swept away by the violence and despotism of a modern day country.
The film steered me towards the book, eager to read what I thought would be a written guide to help the viewer understand some of the difficult Middle Eastern names and make sense of the players on the complicated board of Iranian politics. What I found was something else entirely... a lot of the film had changed the original story, much more than I thought it would have.
As I read through the chapters, I realized you were not really in Maziar Bahari's head while watching the film. The movie barely touched on the man's story and what he saw in Iran in the days leading up to his arrest. He witnessed families beaten by the police, old women attacked and left to suffer, and the younger generation of his country rising up to fight the injustice. The movie barely covered the Iranian government's choke-hold on the people and their paranoia of Western civilization and its media, and its absolute desperation to hide its true colors and keep the legitimacy that allowed them power.
I had expected sugar-coated torture scenes, but not almost everything left out entirely. Maziar suffered psychological torture the movie showed the audience, but did not go into depth about. Not only that, but the sorrow of Maziar's family in the film felt much different than the sister, mother, and father I met on the pages. His father and sister suffered so much at the hands of the Iranian regimes they faced in their times and none of it was given justice in that movie theater.
The movie was moving and touching for those without the book, but as my tears soaked the pages of Maziar's memoirs, I realized the movie was for Americans who can't handle the truth. The movie delivered its message and fulfilled its purpose of making aware the problem of Western media journalists facing imprisonment and torture in countries like Iran, but it did not necessarily put to the screen the story of a brave journalist who was punished for doing his job. There was not enough detail for me, not enough of what I found in the thoughts Maziar decided to share in his book.
Please do not think I am bashing the movie. It was a great experience and an incredibly difficult true story to bring to life for the big screen. Jon Stewart did well with the task he assigned himself. I hope he does more in his career and creates more films based on the current events we face today. He does a fantastic job of making the news easier to watch and shares a point of view more of my generation should pay attention to. Thank you, Jon Stewart, but I really did prefer the book.
I recommend both the movie and book! Thoughts? Comments? Questions?
While reading my textbook, I came across a pretty interesting paragraph:
"Industrialism is often associated with smaller families, but the assumption that industrialism necessarily damages families is unjustified. David Kertzer found, for instance, that industrialization in the Italian community of Caselecchio di Reno actually strengthened the nuclear family. In the mid-1800s, 15 percent of children under the age of fifteen did not live with their parents but rather as "servants or apprentices in the homes of others"; by 1921, this number had fallen to 3 percent, largely as a result of factory work for poor families (1987: 154). "Far from tearing children away from a nurturing parental family environment, industrialization often permitted children to grow up in their parental household to an extent that would not have otherwise been possible" (158), he concluded."
You see, I have a bit of a thought concerning this conclusion. Yes, factories kept families together because they all needed each other slaving away in the factory for the little income and food, but is that any healthier than children living as apprentices in others' homes?
This would require more research, but I would think that would not "strengthen" a family. While the family members are staying together under roof, what are the relations between the members like? Poverty puts a lot of stress on a family. With the stress of trying to feed everyone, would it not make the situation unhealthy sometimes?
Also, during this factory boom, there were no labor laws to manage the amount of work assigned to each worker. Employees would spend 16 hour days and children were often no exception to that rule. You have a family unit in that there is a mother, father, and children and they occupy the same space and stay together, but when they are not in the factory, they are sleeping at home.
To me, the "nuclear family" is the unit that communicates well, functions as well as possible, and is healthy and a reliable, reasonable standard to hold family members to. Factories may have kept families together, but were they truly nuclear families? Did the factory system really cause no harm whatsoever?
As you guys may know, I am double majoring in anthropology and sociology. This morning, I have a little bone to pick about anthropology specifically.
Anthropology evolved basically on the premise of racially classifying human beings. The entire science has the origin of classifying people for the purposes of discrimination and racism.
The word "race" did not appear in the English language until the early 1500s when Europe began to come into contact with other cultures in the world. They were obsessed with labeling humans and finding scientific evidence for why they were the best and anyone non-white was inferior. Anthropology is responsible for the cephalic index, the measurement of brain volume, as well as the facial angle.
All of this makes me ashamed of my chosen field of study (and of being white), however, the field is not like that anymore. We have the concept of cultural relativism, or not bringing our own cultural bias into the situation when observing other cultures, understanding that what may be wrong or disgusting in our world is normal in their world.
Part of the appeal of anthropology for me is learning about and understanding different cultures. I want to help small societies threatened into assimilation to embrace their own origins and cultural identities and I want to help Native Americans have their own country, not just piece of federal land called a reservation. That last one is a bit of a stretch, but let's not get into it.
I want to further change the face of anthropology and make it a science people want. People would get more excited about it if they knew what it truly was.
The point of this post is that if you find something that you love, don't be afraid to change it, evolve it, improve it, make it yours completely. Find your passion and make it yours. Be proud of it and don't be afraid to help someone else be proud of it.
There is something I have noticed with this blog. I complain a lot about the world and everything that should be changed about it. You know, there is a lot that could be done to make our world a better place, but we should talk about the beautiful things, too.
I normally have rather indifferent feelings towards snow, but as I opened my door and watched it fall this morning, it struck me as beautiful. The fresh, pure white flakes floated down and landed with grace and fragility on the earth. It gathered in a blanket over the field and remained untouched.
Of course, by the end of the day, it was melted and muddy and slushy. A lot of people had trampled through it and left their footprints all over the place. It saddened me to see such purity marred and destroyed, but more flakes began to fall. Perfect, unique snowflakes began to cover the ground once more. Before long, the field was a blanket again.
Even though the world may seem dirty and unforgivable, new life comes into it every day, blanketing our existence with new ideas and new beginnings. The world is new every morning. No matter how many times people trample on it, mess it up, or make it miserable, new snow falls and makes it perfect again.
It makes everything hopeful and makes all the difference. We are all snowflakes falling on a field.
Before I begin this post, I did not intend to make almost every post about feminism. I need to research other topics and give people a variety, however, I am not sorry. Feminism is a major part of my life right not just because I'm a woman, but because I am currently living on a college campus and sexual assault is a huge problem.
Having said that, I feel very frustrated. This evening, one of the clubs I am in had a representative from the Women's Rights group on campus visit us and talk about feminism. There was a lot of good discussion, but part of it has really irked me.
We discussed the #LikeAGirl commercial the Always company did some time ago. A woman in the group said that she was a glad a woman wrote and directed the ad and that a man had nothing to do with it.
Curious, I asked her why she felt that way. She told me that a man does not know what it is like to menstruate and this is a feminine products company participating in female empowerment, so it makes sense for a woman to do it and not a man. While her opinion makes sense, there is a tiny flaw.
Feminism is not just a female issue. It is a human issue and everyone should be involved and talking about it. Before I continue, I am not saying I need a man to credit my freedom movement. I do not need a man to validate my thoughts, opinions, and feelings. What I am saying is that it would be nice if a man had directed that advertisement.
Part of the problem in this world is that a majority of it feels nothing is valid unless a middle-age white man says it is. That is an evil, unfortunate fact about the world. That mindset has been ingrained through historical events spanning hundreds of years. It is a cultural, historical mindset and almost impossible to get rid of. Why not use it against them in defeating that mindset so in fifty years, we don't see a white man directing a feminine commercial and feel he validates the movement? Of course, if we reach that point, will there even be a need for a movement?
However, I wanted a man to direct this commercial but not for validation. Let's talk again about Emma Watson. She has formally invited men to join the conversation about feminism and we should do just that. I would have been thrilled to see a man behind such a powerful ad because I would hope young girls and boys would see it. Girls should see men promoting female empowerment so they will not settle for any less in their romantic relationships should they be heterosexual girls. Girls and women need to see men upholding these values to destroy that nasty cultural mindset of men being superior. I wanted a man to direct that commercial not because we need his validation or approval, but because we need to let men and boys know that they too can participate and know how to treat their mothers, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters as humans instead of lowly females. "Do not teach your daughters to fear the night. Teach your sons not to rape."
Boys need to look up to men and women. However, the evil fact of the world is that boys are taught to look up to men. Let's use this fact to our advantage. Let's use men to teach boys they can cry and look up to female role models. Let's use the weapon women have suffered from to change male dominance into gender equality.
Men don't have to understand what it's like to have a period or birth a child to be a feminist leader. Anyone can be a feminist leader and everyone should be a feminist leader. The more we push men out of the conversation because "they don't understand" the more we sound like our oppressors. Why kick them out because they don't have a period when they kick us out because we have a period? That doesn't make any sense to me.
What are your thoughts? Do you see any flaws in my argument? Please share your opinions with me.