On the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

I am not here to complain about the shape or size of the models.  If they work out and eat healthy, then that’s great for them that they have such beautiful bodies.  I just hope that they have such “fit” bodies from healthy practices.

I am here to complain about the lack of diversity in the models.  I only watched about 15 minutes of the show, but during that time I only saw one black model and one Latina (I’m not even sure if she was Latina – I’m just giving VS the benefit of the doubt).  The rest were white women. There were no women of Asian descent.  Someone who was watching the show with me mentioned, “Well, the models have to fit certain requirements.”  VS couldn’t find an equal amount of models of color and white models – let alone one model of Asian descent?  It seems off to me.

I am also going to touch upon how extremely fetishized the models were during the interview portion.  I watched one interview about what the models would take with them if they were trapped on an island.  The models’ answers included necessities such as Wi-Fi and a strong man.  A comment was made along the lines of, “I’m from Africa, so I would be able to make fire.”  What does that even mean?  One model said she would bring a knife, and another said she would bring her children and her family.  For the most part, though, the models’ answers made them seem like they lacked simple common sense.   They were prancing around on a fake grass island during the interview, as young girls might.  However, unlike young girls, the models were wearing lingerie during the whole interview.  The image that was sent out was one that made women out to be brainless, needy, and almost child-like sex objects.

I’m not claiming to be a professional on this subject.  I haven’t done any research on any of the VS models or the fashion show.  All I’m saying is that the show sent out a false message that it is only acceptable to be a white, thin, dim-witted girl who is dependent upon others to survive.

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Staying Positive

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I would just like to take this opportunity to say that my heart goes out to everyone in Boston, and everyone affected (which I think is all of us).

As a citizen of America, and a citizen of this world, I feel obliged to write a small post about the tragedy that struck Boston today.  I’m going to try and not focus on the negatives of the situation, because I know a majority of what I’m seeing on the internet and the news are bloody videos from the scene of the finish line, death and injury tolls, and anecdotes from stirred witnesses.  The facts are important to follow, but in order for me to hold my mental and emotional stability in times like these, I focus on the positives.

Incidents like these bring us all together – it’s horribly cliché, but true.  I’m trying to focus on how many courageous policemen, and even onlookers, raced toward the injured to help them.  There are images floating around the internet of the bloody injuries caused today, and although it may be wrong, it helps me to picture people running to help someone, rather than a man with his bones sticking out of his blown-off legs…

On Twitter, there are some people already tweeting, blaming certain people of certain races for the bombing.  This is ignorance, and I don’t know if it’s better to ignore it until it goes away, or to give them the attention they’re asking for.  I’m choosing to ignore these people, and instead focus on the positive tweets I’m seeing: Countless number of people offering their prayers to Boston, Bostonians saying they’re alright, and tweets about sticking together as one in these dark times.

In addition to grieving for those lost and injured today, I’m also so very thankful that the loved ones that I have in Boston are okay.  It’s hard to think positive, but it’s necessary to survive in the world today.

Times like these also make me feel guilty.  People are pointing out that explosions like these happen in other countries every day.  I just read that almost 40 people were killed today in Iraq, yet #PrayForIraq isn’t trending on Twitter.  The fact that people in other parts of the world live in constant terror 24 hours a day, 7 days a week makes me sick to my stomach.  It also makes me sick that we don’t realize that these things are happening.  Can you imagine if we had attacks like this every month? Every week? Every day?

This is where positivity needs to kick in.  It’s no way to live, constantly dwelling on these kinds of events.  It’s important to be educated on what happens, even if American news doesn’t shine much light on the suffering of other countries.  I’d like to add in this post that my heart goes out to everyone in Boston, Iraq, and everywhere else in the world where tragedies are happening.

P.S. If you are wondering how you can help Boston, here’s a link:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/15/17765837-boston-bombing-aftermath-how-you-can-help?lite

P.P.S. If you are in need of some positive vibes, follow @amandapalmer on Twitter.  Her tweets have been helping me stay positive today.

Our Constant Need to Feel Connected

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As humans, I think most of us feel the need to be in the company of others.  These days, even if you are physically alone, you’re not really alone.  Technology such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops allow us to communicate with others at all times, whether it’s by phone calls, social networks, or forums on the internet.  We don’t spend nearly enough time, if any, truly alone.  Yet, this “connection” to the world makes us feel even more distant from ourselves.

I’ll admit it: I have a slight addiction to social media and technology.  I find myself constantly refreshing my Twitter feed when I’m on my iPhone.  Every time I get a new notification on Instagram, I instantly check it to see what someone said about one of my uploaded photos.  I have over 200 Facebook friends on the internet, but only a handful of close friends in real life; yet I still feel the constant need to refresh my newsfeed and get an update on these strangers’ lives.  Do these impulses make me feel any better? They do for a split second when I get an adrenaline rush, wondering what new statuses, tweets, or comments I’ll see.  After that, I just feel like I’m wasting my time.

Wasting my time is exactly what I’m doing.  I’ve just been noticing lately how addicted to technology I really am.  Since I’ve grown up in the age of technology, I don’t know how to entertain myself when I’m alone, so I resort to dawdling on my iPhone.  Even when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my phone.  I feel the need to always be connected to others, and I’m not quite sure why.

What I do know is that I want to break free from this dependence.  Before I got a smartphone, I spent more alone time alone with no distractions.  I took the time to sit in isolation and read a book,  listen to an album, or sit and just ponder my thoughts.  These days, I check my phone every five minutes, or I open up my laptop and go online.  Technology is restricting me from both going out and living my life, and from feeling at peace with myself.  I’m glad I’m finally starting to realize what so many others aren’t, and I am excited to break free from technology and discover my true self.

My proposal for myself is that I’m going to attempt to use technology less.  Instead of waking up in the morning to my Facebook feed, I’d much rather look out my window and watch the sunrise.  When I’m in public alone, I’ll read a book instead of texting my friends about mindless gossip.  I am going to become comfortable with being alone – physically and technologically – and disconnected from the world.

Why do humans feel the need to be unique?

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I was just taking an online survey not too long ago. It was a 60-question survey, and the results were supposed to tell you what your “empathy quotient” was. The scoring was as follows:

“0 – 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)

33 – 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)

53 – 63 is above average

64 – 80 is very high

80 is maximum”

Right when I saw this scoring rubric, without even thinking, I hoped I got a score that was out of the “average” category.

Why is this?

I know I can’t be the only one who feels the need to be different, without even thinking about it. Humans, for some reason, are wired to feel like they must stand out from the crowd. People are always trying to out-do one another, whether it be with their music taste (who likes the most indie band?), hair color (who has the brightest ‘do?), or style (who can wear the most abstract outfit?).

Does being “the black sheep” necessarily benefit us? In some ways, yes, of course. Having unique skills under your belt, for example, will help you obtain a job over another applicant. However, being a part of the herd, so to speak, isn’t such a horrible thing, either. It’s perfectly acceptable to like the same things as other people, whether it be a hobby, food, or music. Having common interests is how people connect, so being similar to someone else can actually benefit both parties involved.

One matter I’d like to point out is how it is ironic that people want to be different, but if they are out of the social norm, they’re judged by others. They’re scrutinized, deemed social outcasts, and looked down-upon. It’s a never-ending struggle of whether we should confine to what others deem acceptable, or discover our unique selves.

The bottom line is that it’s okay to be average, and it’s okay to be unique. Just be yourself.

By the way, my score on the empathy quotient survey was smack-dab in the “average” category: 36. And you know what? I’m fine with that. Some people are just average at some things. I’ll find some other outlet to be unique in.

(Link to survey: http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/EmpathyQuotient/EmpathyQuotient.aspx)