Sunday, February 8, 2015

One Boy's Snapchat Goes Too Far

   In Pittsburgh Pennsylvania this past week there was a devastating shooting. A high school football player allegedly shot a fellow classmate, but what he did after was completely disturbing.

  16-year-old Ryan Mangan was shot in the head several times by junior running back Maxwell Morton. Ryan Mangan's body was found lifeless in the home of his mother. After Maxwell killed Ryan he stopped and posed for a selfie with the dead body. Following the picture being taken Maxwell sent it out via Snapchat. Another boy allegedly received this photo and was able to screenshot it before it permanently deleted. The boy went to the police and Morton was immediately taken into custody.

  This story is appalling. Not only is it terrible that a promising, young high school student was killed but it is sickening that the boy who killed him thought to stop and take a selfie with the dead body. With the recent popularity of Snapchat and selfie-taking it seems that teenagers will do outrageous things and snap pictures to share with their friends, almost like it is some sort of a competition to see who can get the most original or different picture. I am not at all saying that this boy was killed just for the mere sake of a selfie but I definitely think Maxwell Morton sent out this picture with the hopes of getting attention from friends. There is an appropriate place and time to take pictures, a fine line needs to be established and taught to kids. I am disgusted by this tragedy and the actions that were taken following it.

What are your reactions to this story? Do people need to be taught proper etiquette of when to/when to not take pictures in an increasingly digital era or should it be common sense?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


    This Sunday amidst the vast quantity of Super Bowl Ads one really stuck out at me as being important. The company "Always" aired a commercial called "Like a Girl". If you have not seen it yet, please click the link below before reading any further.

    As you can see this is a 60 second ad devoted to building up a young girl's self esteem. In this commercial males and females varying in age are asked to run like a girl, throw like a girl, and fight like a girl. The males and teen/adult females all weakly imitate these actions, weakly slapping instead of punching, dropping the ball, etc. When young girls were asked to complete a task like a girl they did so aggressively.
    This is similar to the phrase "that's so gay" that some people say to describe something weird or unusual. These are both derogatory phrases. The connotation that goes along with the phrase "like a girl" shows that sexism is still present in our culture. As seen in the commercial, this negative connotation is something that is learned over time. The young girls were not influenced by the poor meaning of the phrase and instead had a positive take on it. Since the negative connotation is taught to us by our society and culture over time, it is something we absolutely have the power to change.
    I think that this commercial did a nice job shining a light on this issue that can be stopped if we stop using phrases like these in a derogatory manner. "Like a girl" should have a positive meaning.

    What do you think about this commerical? Is it possible to change the negative connotation of this phrase?  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Anti-Semitism Demonstrated at UC Davis

This past week at UC Davis, a college located just west of Sacramento, California, an affiliated fraternity house was vandalized. During the night two swastikas were spray painted on the Jewish dominated fraternity home. This vandalism can be seen in the picture above. The swastika is seen as one of the most offensive and vulgar symbols to community members of the fraternity.

Timing was everything in this hate demonstration. The vandalizers, still unknown, clearly thought out when the demonstration would be taken most offensively. They spray painted the symbols on the sabbath, the day of the week that Jewish people observe. Additionally they did this the week that marks the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

Students have the right to feel safe on campuses and in their own homes. It is completely shocking to see this kind of anti-semitism towards a group. It shows that anti-semitism still exists today in America and that some people have not learned the lessons about the culture of hate.

What steps do you think the university should take to ensure that this does not happen again?

Disney's First Latina Princess is Unveiled

This past week the internet has been buzzing following the announcement of Disney’s first Latina princess. The newest member of the Disney princess family is named Elena and in the coming weeks she will be debuting on the popular Disney show “Sofia the First” geared at kids 2-10. Following her debut she will have her own spinoff show by 2016 that will focus on her story through cultures and traditions.
This is a step in the right direction for Disney as they were commonly criticized for their lack of diversity amongst princesses. As Elena develops into a 3 dimensional character I hope that they show her having confidence and the capability to do whatever she wants to do so that young girls will look up to her and follow by her example.  Michelle Herrera Mulligan, the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan for Latinas raves, “Having a princess/role model who looks like them is a huge step forward for girls’ self-perception everywhere. Most Latinas have darker skin tones, so Elena is very welcome!”
On another note this is strategically a great move for Disney. The company is really going to benefit from the addition of the diverse princess. This is because 17% of the United States, or rather 53 million people are hispanic. This huge group has the buying power of 1.6 trillion dollars. The group will definitely spend a portion of their money here, Disney definitely made this move at the right time because the market is just right.

Although this is a sure improvement I am not completely sold on the fact that Disney is changing the image for their princesses. As illustrated in the picture above Elena clearly has darker skin which is good and adds an element of diversity that was missing. Eliminating the color of her skin, the rest of Elena seems to fit into the cookie cutter and stereotypical look of other princesses. She has large almond shaped eyes, flushed pink cheeks, perfect hair, and of course an impossibly skinny physique. Disney still has a long way to go if they strive to truly represent what real girls look like.

What do you think of Disney launching their first Latina princess?