Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are Top Students Denied the Opportunity to Attend Top Colleges?

Do you have to be from a family with modest means to be able to attend a top university? Michael R. Bloomberg seems to think this may be partially true.

Research shows 70 percent of the students at the most competitive colleges in the United States come from families with incomes in the top 25 percent while only 6 percent of low income students attend top schools.

There are many reasons that low income students do not attend top universities as frequently as middle to high income students do. Top colleges can cost up to 50,000 dollars in tuition, not including room and board. Financial aid is available at many schools but for these kids the information about financial aid is hard to come by. The families don't know how to get it. Guidance counselors at low-income high schools can be advising up to 1000 students at a time. As a result these high achieving students are not getting the attention that they need and getting the information about schools with good financial aid programs.

A cycle has formed where high achieving students from low income families tend to go to schools that are underneath their potential so that they can afford them and when they graduate they have fewer career options than they would've had they gone to a top university.
"That short changes their talent, reduces their career options, and hurts our country." 
Bloomberg sees this cycle as detrimental because it reduces the potential of these high achieving students and hurts our society because these bright minds are absent.

If our country prides itself on this vision of 'The American Dream' where you can come from nothing and make something of yourself through hard work, why should these hard working students being denied top educations?

In order to get these students who have immense amounts of potential to apply to schools I think more needs to be done to educate them about how to get monetary assistance.

What changes do you think should be made in order to make top colleges more accessible for low income families?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Russian Tennis Chief Slams the Williams Sisters

Russian tennis chief, Shamil Tarpischev has been in the news lately for a comment he made that has caused a lot of buzz. He described the Williams Sisters who play tennis (pictured below) as the "Williams Brothers" on a late night talk show.

 Tarpischev was fined $25,000 and banned from the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) for a year. Additionally he had to make a public apology, but that proved to not be enough for the Williams sisters who are stilled angered by the situation calling the remarks "sexist and racist."

He may have just been joking but this is no laughing matter and shines a light on a prevalent issue women athletes deal with: the long-standing stereotype of women athletes and their bodies. In class today we talked about the gendered training that we have been taught since we were children. We are taught there is an implicit line between being a strong woman athlete and being a "freak" with too big of muscles. Women like the Williams sisters are undoubtedly incredible athletes and can be wrongly deemed "manly" by the public because they possess a figure that may not fit into the standard women's body type.

Women athletes should not be shamed for bodies that do not conform to the unrealistic standards created by the public. It absolutely results in body image issues that can deeply effect the players later on.

Do you think Tarpischev's punishment was fair?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NFL Ignores Purple, Focusing on Pink

I noticed while watching different football games this weekend, both college and professional, the majority of teams were sporting pink arm bands and such in support of breast cancer awareness month. As my family flipped through the channels I caught a glimpse of the Miami vs. Green Bay Packers game and immediately noticed a huge breast cancer pink ribbon painted on the 50 yard line (picture below). I decided to look into the NFL's partnership with the American Cancer Society to find out what kind of involvement they had.

The NFL officially teamed up with the American Cancer Society and throughout October plan on fundraising money and spreading awareness about breast cancer. One reporter Gayle Sulik posed an interesting question in the article, "NFL, pink ribbons not enough to win over women". Sulik asks why the NFL only focuses on breast cancer awareness during November when it is also Domestic Violence Awareness month?

Lately the NFL has been under a lot of fire for their players being involved with domestic abuse scandals. Examples of this include Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Ray McDonald and Rod Smith. Whenever the issue of domestic violence is brought up to the NFL it seems that they push it under the rug, deny accusations, and make very little effort to resolve the situations and win back fans they may have lost due to the scandals.

This is a huge issue, one out of three women are recipients of domestic violence. I believe the NFL should address this and make an effort to raise awareness.

Do you think that the NFL should begin to implement the purple ribbon to raise money and awareness for domestic abuse?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yoga Brand's Downward Dog Turns into a Downward Spiral: The Decline of Lululemon

Lululemon, a brand known for manufacturing high end yoga, running, and exercise apparel has been in the spotlight recently because of dramatic decline in sales.

The company blames this decline in sales on the fact that they had to recall 17% of yoga pants and leggings last year because they were too shear and therefore not living up to the high standards people expect when they spend nearly $100 on a pair of bottoms. This recall caused many customers to re-think investing in the brand causing customers to begin purchasing competitor brands such as Gap Body and Under Armor. This dramatic and expensive recall and the high prices of the products are what the company finds responsible for the decline in sales. 

Beyond that I believe that Lulu Lemon has lost a lot of clientele to a statement the former CEO made regarding the yoga pants that had been recalled: "Frankly, some women's bodies just don't actually work [for Lululemon yoga pants]. It's about the rubbing through the thighs and how much pressure is there." Wilson makes a jab at women who may be overweight and says that the brands pants are only for a certain type of woman, a skinny one. This controversial statement angered many clients and again caused them to turn away from the brand. 

Lulu Lemon has made an incredible amount of money the past 2 years but the company is projected to have it's worst annual performance since 2008 this year. As you can see in the chart below demonstrating Lululemon's price to earnings ratio, it is declining. The company had rapid success in 2012, opening lots of stores and expanding rapidly and lacked the preparation that should come along with such expansion. 

In order for Lululemon to increase their sales once again they need to begin by winning customers back in my opinion. They should do this by making their products more accessible and accommodate more people and body types. Also they need to find a way to bring costs down so that they can be competitive with brands like Athleta who are selling similar products for much less. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How Short is Too Short?

This weekend I was at Target with some of my younger cousins and we happened to walk into the children's clothing section. I was shocked to see some of the articles of clothing they were trying to sell to girls ages 3-12, solely because some of the shorts and tops were incredibly revealing. I decided to do some more research on this topic and came across an article done by an angry mother on the Huffington Post.

Stephanie Giese, a mother of two young girls ran into the same problem that I saw at Target. Shorts that were labeled 2T (a standard size for 2 year old girls) were longer than size 5T (standard size for 5 year old girls). This can be seen in the picture below.

Additionally many brands that Target carries for young girls tend to manufacture shorts that can be deemed as inappropriate because they are too short and have lots of holes and rips. Many mother's in comments on Stephanie Giese's article have stated that they turn down the great prices at Target and look elsewhere for more modest options for their young daughters: "I had to search high and low to find some shorts for my 9 year old to wear to school that met the standard rule of they should be as long as her finger tips. I ended up paying $20/pair at Lands End because apparently they are the only place that doesn’t think it is appropriate for a 9 year old to flash her underwear when she sits in class" (Sarah, a mother of two girls). Sarah had to search extensively to find a pair of appropriate shorts for her daughter. No one should have to pay a lot of money for an age appropriate pair of shorts that a child will wear for one year before they grow out of them. 

If Target claims their girls clothing to be "Ready for school or play" they need to reevaluate their clothing lines and make them more comfortable and age-appropriate so that they live up to the expectation of being appropriate for school and good to play in. 

In my opinion Target needs to work towards change and listen to the comments of mother's who buy their clothing. The company should reevaluate the brands and styles they carry and adjust them to fit their clientele. The revealing clothing sends a bad message to young girls, saying that if they don't want to spend a lot of money they have to settle for clothing that exposes their bodies.

Do you think Target should re-think it's clothing lines for young girls?