Beautiful Women in the Media

The focus on Photoshop as somehow creating an artificial standard of beauty that contributes to poor self-esteem in women is very strange. I don’t believe the real discomfort comes from the artificiality but rather the unapologetic beauty. 

 

Imagine if the practice of photo-shopping ads were banned altogether. The women in ads would still be stunningly beautiful and thin. How do I know this? I’ve seen women easily as beautiful as women in these ads around town/ at the beach/ etc. Really, really beautiful women (and men) exist naturally all over the world. The practice of Photoshop doesn’t create a beauty that can’t possibly exist in nature, it just makes the business of finding and photographing models cheaper and easier. Instead of searching for exceptionally beautiful women, they have many, many beautiful – women to choose from from around the world. Photoshop doesn’t make the impossible possible, it makes a beautiful photo easier and cheaper to create. 

If you don’t believe women as beautiful as women in photographs exist, go watch a Miss America contest. You are kidding yourself if you think their beauty is just due to makeup and plastic surgery. 

I think most people know this, so this leads me to believe that simply seeing beautiful women is what’s actually upsetting. 

 

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Rebounds

I ended up breaking it off with my boyfriend. I feel quite at peace about it, and ready to begin moving on. I’ve actually felt a very surprising confidence and will to try new things. In a moment of particular courage I decided to contact someone who I had met earlier this year in a veiled attempt at getting a date. Well, we really hit it off and met that night and had a really amazing time.

I’m feeling quite on top of the world, high with the sheer pleasure of wanting something, taking a risk, and getting it. But one of my friends tried  – unsuccessfully – to rain on my parade. He said that I was shamelessly rebounding and seemed desperate.

But what exactly is wrong with rebounding? Dating is fun and a great way to keep my mind off of my ex and onto my future. Meeting new people helps me expand my horizons and dating is a very comfortable way for me to talk to new people. I also think this ‘rebound’ stigma unfairly suggests that I am using my new someone, which is certainly not the case.

I didn’t pick a name out of a hat, I contacted someone I knew I found to be attractive. Assuming things continue, I don’t plan on ending things once I get over my ex. I’m not treating this person as disposable in any way. I enjoy his company and he enjoys mine so I really don’t see the harm.

There is of course the matter that I still have feelings for my ex. Yes, but I don’t plan on having any serious relationships until these feeling are all gone. Right now I want to date freely and have flings. So, I’m not exclusive with anyone, so I’m allowed to have feelings for other people.

Most importantly, I’m not going to lie to anybody. If it comes up, I will happily discuss my last relationship, the reason for our partings, and the reasons I am ready to be dating other people.

I think rebounds have quite an unfair reputation.

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Problems with my University Health Center

For the last 5 days or so, I have had fairly acute stomach pain, nausea, and difficulty eating. It’s like I have this cramp in the top of my stomach that just won’t go away. 

But, I can’t seem to get treatment at my university health center because they refuse to believe me when I tell them it’s not just alcohol related. I call and tell them, how I can’t sleep and eat because my stomach is just killing me. And the response I have gotten thus far is a ‘well, lay off the bottle, eh?’. I’m not going to lie, this problem arose perhaps from one night of rather heavy drinking and stress, but the problem has persisted regardless of my blood alcohol content. 

Then, I saw this article in my university paper detailing a new policy that regardless of reason for coming into the clinic, the nurse must ask the patient if he or she has had more than four drinks in the last week, and if so give them a survey to fill out. If he or she does poorly on the survey, they get a talking to right then and there and may need to go to some kind of student AA program. 

So, this details the kind of attitude I’m up against. I don’t deny that many students have drinking problems on campus and should seek help – but it is not the clinic’s job to shame college students to engaging in well the average college life. They have a very similar attitude about sexually transmitted diseases. One time I came in with the flu, and for some reason they insisted on badgering me about my sex life. 

Yes, I understand regular drinking causes health problems – drinking too much is a health problem in and of itself. But, that’s not what I want treatment for right now. I want to have my bloody stomach ulcer or inflammation or whatever fixed.

This program aside from being insulting and demeaning to students is not even helpful. It wastes time in a clinic that already puts students on waiting lists for appointments for weeks. And, let’s say an alcoholic does come in about a cold, tells the truth about his or her drinking habits, and subsequently gets badgered by the nurse. How will this help him or her? Substance abusers can’t get help until they are ready and willing to fight for becoming clean. A talking to is meaningless if the receiver isn’t going to listen. 

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Trapped

Personal issue here, hoping to vent my frustrations. 

My boyfriend of two years informed me that he wasn’t sure he wanted to be with me anymore. We talked about it a lot, but still haven’t reached any conclusion. We discussed options I now realize I would never be comfortable doing (in-exclusive, much less time together) because we have been best friends and held a very close and symbiotic relationship for the last two years and I don’t think I can go back. Of course, I would be willing to compromise on many things, but I feel really hurt that he didn’t even ask for this before now. We came out of it saying we wouldn’t talk about it for a week or so and leave each other to think particularly because he has an inordinate amount of schoolwork this week. 

So, I’m very hurt that he just came out and said he isn’t sure he wants to be with me especially in the manner he did. A drunken fight – trying to storm out without talking to me about it. Yeah. 

I’m in limbo right now, and have been trying to build up the courage to break it off with him. I know I can’t let someone treat me like this, and ‘I’m not sure’ means ‘ I want to break up but don’t have the balls’. I know that, but I am really between a rock and a hard place.

I’ve been thinking positive thoughts about how great it will be being single, I’ve made a list of all the bad things about him, and how I can find someone better in the future, and how we would never have worked anyway, and just when I feel empowered and feel like I am ready to break out of this limbo right now – I get overwhelmed by my feelings of love and adoration about him. 

No matter what I tell myself to think and believe about the situation – I still think he’s fantastic and that I want to keep being with him – maybe forever. So, I can’t do it. I literally have a list of imperfections in my hand but somehow I still think that he’s perfect. I’m really, really in love. 

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Can a Font be Racist?

There is some controversy at my university over this poster: Image

Some students have found the chop suey font used in this poster to be offensive, because the font emphasizes Margaret Cho’s ethnicity, and pigeonholes her into an asian stereotype which could be particularly alarming because she is Korean American and supposedly the font has some sort of Chinese history.

Well, I think in some cases using a font like this could be very offensive and racist. But, in this case, Margaret Cho’s comedy strongly revolves around her asian-american identity so I don’t find it offensive to use a font tied with asian-ness to advertise her performance when the content will be all about being asian. Whereas I think the font would be racist if say she was adopted from Korea and her comedy had nothing to do with asian-ness.

This is still difficult because someone not familiar with her comedy might be alarmed at stereotyping her with that font. I agree, and perhaps it would be best to simply leave out any racially tied type face. But it’s a font. Just a font. Let’s also try to keep that in mind.

It’s difficult to make any compelling analogies to emphasize my point because there really aren’t any other fonts that have an easily identifiable national connection – but I’m going to try anyway.

For example if a female comedian was coming and the poster had like flowers and pink things, then I might be offended. But if her comedy is all about being a girly-girl, then I don’t really see a problem with it because the poster isn’t stereotyping her – it’s just a reflection of how her comedy and stage personality really is.

Putting a rainbow flag on a poster of an openly gay comedian who’s content largely focuses on being gay would also be acceptable. Is it necessarily a great idea or something I would promote doing? no.

Others claim that it would be inappropriate to put shamrocks on a poster for an irish American performer. Yes, it would be unless his performance was centered around being Irish-American.

I also can’t help but feeling like of all the things, why hone in on this? Race tensions rage very high between Asian students and American students, so there are a variety of issues more significant than font style to focus on.

 

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An Abusive Mother Caught On Camera

Today I had the utter displeasure of seeing this viral video of a young musician being berated by his mother about how ‘worthless’ his passion of music is.

This video is particularly horrifying because most people regard making music as a fantastic hobby to engage in. It’s good for your brain, it can be made into a career, and it’s downright fun. People all over the world get satisfaction from music. If only I had chosen music instead of video games as my hobby of choice when I was a teenager, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been criticized nearly as much by own mother.

But, that brings me to my next point. It doesn’t matter what a child chooses to spend his or her time doing, parents have no right to bully their children into partaking in hobbies they deem ‘worthy’. My mother had no right to ruthlessly criticize me for playing video games after school instead of reading or watching t.v. or doing some other hobby she approved of, because I am my own person. I get to choose what makes me happy, and what hobbies are valuable to me, not her.

The harpy in this video asks him what he has done for society lately. Well, what the hell has she done besides bring strife and insecurity into her own family? I think being civil to your own kin would be a great place to start at improving society, for fuck’s sake. It seems like she’s talking about community service, but that isn’t what her generation did for fun either, so I’m not exactly sure where she is getting this sense of superiority from. Anyways, if someone gets happiness out of volunteering – great for them, but let’s not berate those who choose to do other things that make them happy in their own short time on earth.

She, of course pulls out the ‘my generation > your generation’ card. Yuck! I really feel for this kid, and all people my age watching this should take this as a lesson. I’m sure the children of the future will be interested in things people my age won’t understand or will find downright repulsive. That’s not their fault – it’s ours. So shut the fuck up already, and let your kids spend their time how they see fit.

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The Hunger Games Movie Review

As you probably know, one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2012 came out today, and it does not disappoint – much. 

The movie depicts the story of Katniss and Peeta, who are drafted to fight for their districts in a country wide televised battle to the death. About 2/3 of the movie highlights the drawing for the battle, and the pre-battle preparations, whereas the last third is the actual battle. 

I felt that the movie seemed much too vanilla for the very edgy and disturbing plot line. This vanillaness happened in part due to a painfully apparent desire for a PG-13 rating, and a strong focus on the more emotional touchy-feely aspects of the film which felt quite contrived at times. For example in the first twenty minutes of the film, Katniss’s younger sister is chosen to fight and Katniss volunteers in her place and heads off for almost imminent death. Before Katniss leaves, she has a few last heartbreaking minutes with her sister and mother. This scene leaved much to be desired, only in part due to mediocre acting. These characters have just been introduced to us, so I found it difficult to muster a strong enough emotional response to the situation to justify the lengthy screen time her goodbye scene occupied. I just felt sort of mildy uncomfortable watching Katniss almost apathetically hug her shrieking younger sister and then scold her mother for being distant when their father had died. I didn’t like the brief and underdeveloped allusion to Katniss’s tensions with her mother and the death of her father. There are so many other interesting themes to explore in the film, I felt that if they didn’t want to do a good job developing these ideas, they shouldn’t have bothered. I know book fans may disagree with me, but a film can obviously never have as much depth as a book can, so some things must inevitably be either left out or glossed over – and I prefer the former greatly. There is one more painfully long and uncompelling scene following the death of one of the other contestants. This (minor) contestant has not had much screen time at all, and has had almost no relationship with the person vigorously grieving of his/her body once they die, so I found the whole scene very odd. But, I did take solace in the fact that at this point the griever knows he or she is being filmed and perhaps that is the only reason he or she chooses to put on such a show. 

I really enjoyed the next section of the film where Katniss and Peeta travel to the training grounds and prepare for the battle, particularly with the guidance of a former winner and drunkard who serves as their mentor, played excellently by Woody Harrelson. I loved how the film depicted very interesting scenes that arose because of the tension between Katniss and Peeta. They both know that only one can win, and most likely both of them will die. They both wrestle with the choice to either give it their all and drink in the competition, or stoically protest it with probable death either way. Once it becomes apparent that Katniss is the stronger competitor, Katniss is torn by her hatred for the evil competition, her desire to win over her viewers, to save her own life, and to help her friend Peeta as well. As a reality TV fan I could appreciate the confusion that arises in the audience and in the characters when trying to decipher what is really thought and felt and what is a ploy for the cameras. That added a rich layer to an already intriguing film. The interactions between the competition personnel and the contestants both in and out of the public eye is very interesting. Stanley Tucci is particularly convincing as the smiley, yet sinister TV interviewer and host for the games. 

I liked the battle scenes as well – I felt they were exciting, felt genuine, and were not offensive to someone like me who detests action and fighting in a film just for the sake of action and fighting. As I said previously, the fight scenes are actually too vanilla. I think the shock and disgust of the audience at the barbarity of the competition would have been much more intense had the the cameras not consistently cut away from the vast majority of violence, especially against the younger children. This is very disturbing content, and I think sparing the audience from feeling the bulk of the discomfort aroused from child slaughter really does the film a huge disservice. 

For those positing that this movie is the new twilight – fear not. In Hunger Games, the characters are multidimensional and well-portrayed and the contrived love triangle element of the film is very, very minimal. I doubt this will hold true for the next films, but I have hope for now, and am really looking forward to further installments of a very solid film. 

I give it a B+

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