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Black Lives Matter

I am absolutely enraged as i write this post. Enraged because I have seen two lives taken in a matter of 48 hours. More specifically black lives. I am tired, as I’m sure many of us are of constantly seeing tragedy and seeing people’s lives being taken by those who vowed to serve and protect them. Is this protection? Firing four bullets into a man who was reaching for his wallet?

I am a white person, and as such I realize that I will never face the discrimination that people of colour are faced with each and every day. However I can empathize with them, as a human being I can recognize their struggles, their trials and tribulations. This empathy however is not as common as one would hope. The hash tag “Black Lives Matter” is continually met with retaliation hash tags such as “All Lives Matter” and “White Lives Matter”. This is not a time to tear down those who are in need of help, it is a time to liberate them. They are angry, and can you blame them? They continue to watch their people get murdered and for no good reason. This is a time to say BLACK LIVES MATTER, not all lives matter, not white lives matter, but BLACK LIVES MATTER. This does not mean that black lives are more important than the lives of others, it simply means their lives are in danger right now, and their lives are the ones we need to focus on saving. When Paris was attacked and the world banned together with the Message #PrayforParis, is was not countered by other hash tags. People realized there were other human beings in need and felt it was their job to help empower them. This is no different.  

To say race doesn’t play a role in these events is ignorant. When a black man is being detained  by two white officers, is shot multiple times and killed for no particular reason. While a white man rapes an unconscious woman and is sentenced to 3 months in prison, for fear that a longer sentence might have “serious effects on him”. Whites are getting slaps on the wrist and a stern warning and blacks are getting murdered. 

I began writing this post two days ago, after watching the video of Philando Castile’s death. Clearly I was very angry, I woke up in shock and disbelief that yet another life had been taken, only a day after we lost Alton Sterling. Yesterday I woke up angry once again, to the news that five white police officers were shot and killed and seven were wounded in Dallas, by a sniper. As I understand the anger many have towards the police force in the United States, murdering innocent officers is in no way just. Trying to stop blood shed with more blood shed is not the answer. These officers were innocent and un related to the deaths in the days prior, taken from their loved ones by a senseless act of violence, out of “revenge”. We need to aim for justice by ensuring officers who are killing people get the proper sentencing they deserve and are not left to walk free without facing the repercussions of their actions. This is justice. Killing innocent people to send a message is not. It is just as horrific as what we are speaking out against.

Rest in peace #PhilandoCastile #AltonSterling #BrentThompson  #PatrickZamarripa #MichaelKrol #MichaelSmith #LorneAhrens

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A desensitized world

In our day to day lives we are constantly faced with stories of tragedy and devastation from all around the world. We hear about them on the radio, we watch them on the news and we read them on the internet and in newspapers. We are incessantly bombarded by story after story and tragedy after tragedy, so much so that we as a society have become utterly desensitized. We forget that the “man caught in crossfire” is someone’s son and father and brother. We forget that the “woman stabbed to death in parking garage” is someone’s wife and mother and daughter. We forget that these stories and articles are about real people, people who have friends and family who love and care about them, loved ones that are shattered by despair in losing them. It becomes so easy to forget, to become numb to the continuous devastation we are faced with. However sometimes we need to put a face to the name, in order to remind people. We owe our fellow human beings that much don’t we? Not to let them die as the “man fatally shot”, but to give them an identity.

As journalists we are constantly criticized for our choices when it comes to the stories we publish, the quotes we use and the photos we release. Many think of us as insensitive and heartless, that we’ll stop at nothing to get a story. And for some that may be true, however as journalists it is our job to bring people the news both truthfully and promptly and also give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Many of our decisions are based on these principles. With that being said, what may seem to some as inconsiderate, to us it is simply what needs to be seen or heard. We owe it both to the public and the victims of tragedy.

Take for instance the Alan Kurdi photograph, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who was found by a soldier, dead, face down washed up on the shore. This little boy became the face of the Syrian refugee crisis. This photograph resinated with people in a way that other articles and photos had not. The heart-shattering catastrophe captured in this photograph is both disturbing and astounding. This young boy inspired people to do their best to help refugees, to educate themselves on what is going on in other parts of the world and most importantly, this boy gave an identity to the Syrian refugees. They were no longer mere news articles, but real people. People with lives and families, who had feelings and emotions, people in dire need of help. This photo was published on the front cover of newspapers all over the country, and all though many criticized this decision, saying it was done in bad taste, the fact of the matter is, our society needed to be faced with something that real and that devastating. They needed to be faced with this photograph to truly comprehend that these horrific events are happening to real people around the world. 

When faced with tragedy we owe it to the victims and our society as a whole to empathize and ensure we are all informed and aware. This is how we will put an end to these events, by putting an end to ignorance. 

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Who do we idolize?

Take a moment and think about the people that you strive to be like. I’m willing to bet that at least one of these people is a celebrity. Now ask yourself why you look up to this person? Why do we idolize singers and actors and models? What positive contributions are they making to our society and what kind of examples are they setting for our youth? I’m guilty, as we all are, of following celebrities on social media and keeping up to date on certain people’s lives. But it occurred to me as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, why do I want to be like people that I don’t know? Why am I so concerned with their lives?  The fact of the matter is, that most (not all) of the people we idolize are not doing anything to make positive changes in the world, or help others, or even set good examples for young kids.

Take the Kardashians for example, why are they famous? Yes their father was the lawyer that defended O.J. Simpson, but how did they get on a reality television show? Because Kim Kardashian made a sex tape. What talents do any of these girls have? They publicly exploit themselves and their families for a living, and we as a society pay to watch them. In an interview with Barbra Walters, she asked the Kardashian girls, or rather told them, that none of them really had any talent, and the saddest part was, none of them were able to defend themselves. They simply sat there, with the inability to reject this statement admitting “none of us think we have talents”.

Only one of the Kardashian/Jenner girls attended university (Kourtney). Now this isn’t to say that those who haven’t attained higher education aren’t as smart as those who have. However, as people who grew up with money, with every possible opportunity handed to them, it’s sad that only one of these women wanted to attain a degree and attempt to educate and better themselves. It’s sad that they are content with being famous for all the wrong reasons. And it’s even more sad that we as a society consider these people icons.

In an interview with People Magazine, when asked about her plans for the future, Kylie Jenner said “I’m not going to college”, “I just really want to be a businesswoman”. When first reading this interview I laughed, because of the sheer contradiction of her words. Clearly Kylie has no true understanding of what it means to be a business woman, or how hard normal people have to work to reach even a fragment of the success she was simply handed.

At age 17 Kylie Jenner got her first round of lip fillers and since then her appearance has continued to change drastically.

 

kylie-jenner-before-and-after-lips-2013-2014Photo credit: The Daily 411

Not only did Kylie’s personal appearance change drastically, her personal life did as well, as she started dating 24 year old rapper Tyga when she was only 17 years old.

So what have the Kardashian’s taught us? Selling your body for fame is okay. Exposing your personal life to the world is encouraged. Education is unimportant. Young girls shouldn’t aim to love their imperfections but instead alter themselves to meet ideals. And barely legal relationships between young girls and grown men are socially acceptable.

I hope this has made you take a second look at the people you both consciously and unconsciously look up to and try to find role models that are doing positive things for our world. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be famous, it simply means we should look up to people based on what they value, who they are and what they represent. We should not only look up to these people, we should aim to be these people. This is how we will make the change from idolizing the Kardashian’s of the world to idolizing the Mala Yousafzai’s. If you don’t know who that is, look her up. You might just discover your new role model.

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How I got clear skin

This is not a typical blog post for me, seeing as I’m not a health or beauty blog. However, as someone who has struggled with acne I feel compelled to share my experience with others. I know how much pimples suck and the toll they can take on our self-esteem. I also know how frustrating it is trying to get rid of them. If you were to look in my medicine cabinet you’d think you were at a pharmacy. I have bottles and bottles of different products that I’ve tried, none of which worked for me.

About two months ago a friend of mine recommended I try goats’ milk soap, (I know what you’re thinking… ‘what the hell?’) and seeing as I had nothing to loose I gave it a try. I went to my local pharmacy and bought a bar, it only cost me about $3.00 and after about a week I already began noticing a difference. You can buy goats’ milk soap from your local pharmacy or even your local bulk barn. I recommend buying a plain one without scents, the less ingredients the better. The brand doesn’t really matter, I bought whatever my pharmacy had which was Caprina. 

Goats’ milk is great for you skin for a number of reasons, here are just a few:

  • It has anti-bacterial properties which stop bacteria from forming in your pores, and therefore stops pimples from growing
  • It reduces skin inflammation due to its high fat molecule content
  • It moisturizes your skin because of the cream present in the milk
  • It contains lots of vitamins and minerals, which are absorbed into your body

Exfoliation has also become a key part of my skin-care routine. I make sure to exfoliate my face once to twice a week. I make my own face scrub because the more natural the ingredients the better. My face scrub contains sugar, honey and lemon juice. The sugar is to exfoliate, the honey is to moisturize and bring down any inflammation and the lemon juice is to lighten any dark spots.

Lastly, after washing my face I always make sure to moisturize (morning and night), I use a NIVEA face cream that’s unscented. And that is my full skin care routine! Nothing high maintenance and nothing expensive.

We have to remember that everyone has different skin types and everyone’s bodies’ react differently to different products, however I have noticed a significant improvement in my skin since starting to use goats’ milk soap. And because it’s so inexpensive there really is nothing to loose by trying it.

I hope anyone who is struggling with their skin gives it a try and is as pleased with the results as I am. 🙂

 

 

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End of Semester Thoughts

We’re nearing the end of the semester, and as students we all know what that means. Last minute cramming, stress eating and crying about our grades! University is the time of our lives! Here are some thoughts that I’m sure have crossed all our minds in the last few weeks:

  • The essay is due tomorrow? Wait… we have an essay ?
  • Honestly, I’ll just get up early tomorrow and finish it.
  • Wow I’m starving, I need to go make a snack. I know I just had an hour long study break but I can’t deny myself proper nourishment!
  • Why does my T.A. hate me?
  • Who even is my T.A.?
  • C’s get degrees *I tell myself as I check my marks online and cry*
  • But do I REALLY need an education? *googles careers that don’t require university degrees*
  • *gets into bed* WOW I have so much to do, am I going to pass school? If I fail where will I end up in life? I don’t want to be a disappointment. Shit I didn’t submit that paper online. Who am I as a person? Why did I eat those chips today?
  • Why did I think high school was hard?
  • If I just don’t eat lunch for 3 days I’ll have enough money to go out this weekend.
  • I’ve only opened my $100 textbook once…
  • I need a drink.
  • I need a hug.
  • Having 3 large coffees before 3 p.m. should be fine right?
  • Sleep is for the weak *stays up all night and falls asleep in lecture*
  • I’m so stressed out! I have so much due! *lies in bed eating cereal*

If I had a dollar for every time I procrastinated on my homework:

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The life of a creative

Attending an arts school gave me an extremely unique high school experience. My high school  offered an overwhelming sense of comfort and belonging and will ultimately always have a very special place in my heart. We had jocks, theatre kids (a lot of theatre kids), art kids (a lot of those too), math lovers and everything in-between. However, although we had such a large assortment of personalities, not once did I ever feel as if I couldn’t 100% be myself. Everyone expects high school to be cliquey and terrible, but mine was the exact opposite, and for that I am eternally grateful. We didn’t have cliques, friend groups of course, but there was never a strong divide that deterred people from talking to one another and overall being quite friendly. Aside from the extremely “everything goes” and “we’re all friends” vibe that my high school had, what I am even more thankful for are the arts.

Throughout my four years I was apart of the drama, dance and musical theatre programs and auditioning was easily one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Not only did performing break me out of my shyness and make me much more outgoing, but it made me a part of something. The tiring, long rehearsal hours all seemed to be worth it once we stepped out on stage. When you and all your friends got to bow at the curtain call, holding hands and truly appreciate how hard you all worked and how amazing the show was. Nothing will ever replace the adrenaline you feel on stage and nothing will ever replace the amazing memories you make with everyone out on that stage with you. You have no choice  but to become a family. You spend all your time together and put all your energy into creating something wonderful together, and you never realize how much you love it until it’s over. Here I am, a year after graduation, still missing the opportunity to be apart of something creative and beautiful. Missing the long rehearsal hours and the sheer exhaustion. My high school turned me into a creative, and for that I am thankful but also resentful. Because ever since leaving I have the undying urge to create, to write, to dance, to act. I have the undying urge to be apart of something innovative and artistic and for as long as I live I don’t think that thirst will ever really be quenched.

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It’s Important

I love how liberal our generation is and how we are able to express ourselves much more freely than any generation before us, however there are many instances where we speak without knowing the facts. One issue that I feel many of us discuss without the proper knowledge on is feminism. Now hold on, before you start rolling your eyes and stop reading this post, just know I love my dad and my boyfriend and this is not a post to empower women by putting men down, because that is not what feminism is. I believe there are a lot of misconceptions regarding the term feminism and I hope to clear a few of them up. Feminism by dictionary definition is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”. Feminism is equality, it’s as simple as that. It is very alarming as to how many men and women don’t truly understand what feminism is. I see posts on the internet of women refusing to call themselves feminists because they “love men”. It’s wonderful that you love men, but if you also love and respect yourself, you would consider yourself a feminist. Because your right to vote, your right to go to school, your right to join the work force, all these rights that we seem to take for granted and disregard we didn’t always have, and they were obtained through feminism. Because women before us were brave enough to stand up and say we are equal and we should be treated as such. All women should consider themselves feminists and frankly so should all men, in doing so you are advocating for equality, telling the world that regardless of gender we all have the same worth.

 I’m sure many of you have seen the term “meninist” on social media. This is a term that has been created to mock feminism. It’s saddening to see so many people making a joke out of women fighting for their rights. What I find even more saddening is women referring to themselves as meninists. In doing so you are telling others that you want to be a second class citizen, that you as a woman, are worth less than a man. A large percentage of meninist content found on the internet is extremely misogynistic and ridicules the real issues women still face in today’s society. For anyone who doesn’t know what misogyny is, it is an “ingrained prejudice against women”. What many of us need to realize is that women requesting equality is in no way oppressive to men. All we are asking is for what you already have, nothing more. And for those who feel threatened by a liberated woman, all I can say is that is an issue of your own.

 We need feminism because a 15-year-old girl was shot dead in Pakistan for pursuing her right to learn. We need feminism because we teach our daughters not to dress a certain way so they won’t get raped, but we don’t teach our sons that even if a girl is wearing a short skirt she’s still not “asking for it”. We need feminism because in Afghanistan only 12 percent of women are literate. We need feminism because it’s necessary for there to be a “women’s only” section at the gym. We need feminism because every year 15 million young girls around the world are forced into child marriages with older men and deprived of their fundamental rights. We need feminism because there are women getting paid less money than men even though they do the same job. We need feminism because in China newborn baby girls are murdered by their own parents because males are seen as more valuable. We need feminism because although you may be able to speak freely and voice your rights, not all women can. We need feminism, and will continue to need feminism until men and women are seen as equals in every country all over the world.

 

 

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