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Monday, December 21, 2015

Why I Actually Really Don't Like Margo Spiegelman




I first read John Green's Paper Towns in October of 2013. It my first time reading a book of his and it's my favorite one that he's written. Most people have probably heard that Paper Towns was recently adapted for the screen and I must admit that I wasn't thrilled when I first found out about it. It felt like this was my book and these were my characters and they were being taken from me. But when I went to see the movie I was pretty satisfied with it. The release of the movie encouraged me to read the book again because I hadn't read it for two years, I wanted a bit of a refresher. Upon re-reading the book, I was reminded of my favorite thing about returning to a novel after a few years. When you come back to a book a year, two years, or ten years later you view the story and the characters differently because you're a different person. Revisiting Paper Towns two years after my first time reading I've made many new observations.

Among these new observations is the conclusion that Margo Roth Spiegelman is self-centered. She disappears in the middle of the night with no explanation to anyone, leaving everything in her Floridian town behind because she just "had to leave." Protagonist Quentin pinpoints this perfectly when he says to her in the final chapter "'You were just playing with us, weren't you? You just wanted to make sure that even after you left to go have your fun, you were still the axis we spun around'" (Green 284). At fourteen I thought Margo was this cool, mysterious free-thinker but really, she's nothing like that. Now that I've re-read the book I see that Margo is more selfish than anything. She doesn't care about how her actions affect her parents, younger sister, her best friend Lacey, or Quentin.

The way Margo leaves Lacey is a great example of her self-centered attitude. Margo treats Lacey like garbage for most of their friendship we see in Paper Towns. One of my favorite parts of the story occurs in the last twenty-six pages, in the final chapter, titled "Agloe" which is the name of the town Margo escapes to. Post-anticlimactic reunion, Margo sits opposite of Ben, Radar, Lacey and Q on the floor of the abandoned barn she's living in. When she picks up on the fact that Lacey and Ben are in a relationship, Margo taunts Lacey over her relationship with the nerdy guy. Lacey decides that this is her last straw with Margo and consequent to reading this part for a second time, I felt the need to applaud Lacey.

"Margo cuts a look at Lacey. 'Oh my god, are you hooking up with him?' Lacey says nothing. 'You're not actually hooking up with him,' Margo says.
'Actually, yes,' Lacey says. 'And actually, he's great. And actually, you're a bitch. And actually, I'm leaving, It's nice to see you again, Margo. Thanks for terrifying me and making me feel like shit for the entire last month of my senior year, and then being a bitch when we track you down to make sure you're okay. It's been a real pleasure knowing you'" (Green 283).

A few pages later we find Quentin and Margo alone in the barn and Lacey calls Q's cell phone so she can talk to Margo. And they laugh and chat and Margo gives a painfully insincere apology to Lacey. The reader doesn't hear Lacey's side of the conversation but I hope Lacey doesn't forgive Margo. I don't believe that Margo deserves forgiveness. For now, I stand by that. Although if I told my eighth grade self that, I doubt she'd agree.

There's another character that is affected by Margo's actions, Quentin. If you haven't read Paper Towns, you should know that it opens with a prologue about an experience that Quentin and Margo share as nine year olds. As young kids, Margo and Quentin have a close friendship but over the years they grow apart. But, in the second chapter following the prologue, Margo appears at Q's window in the middle of the night asking for his help so that she can go on a stupid revenge mission. She does this after years of not speaking to him. Despite the fact that Margo is just using Q for her own benefit (toxic friendship alert!) he is still "incontestably in love" (Green 31) with Margo. In the last chapter of the novel, the reader sees a conversation between the two characters in which Quentin admits to the reader that "I have never spoken this many words in a row to Margo in our long and storied relationship, but here it is, my last play for her" (Green 301). The entirety of their friendship until this point is Margo and nothing but Margo.

The moment in this novel that upsets me the most also occurs in the last chapter. Margo has been a super huge buttface to everyone and now she and Quentin kiss. But I don't think she's doing this to show her love for him. As much as the audiences would like to think that this is the moment where they finally fall in love, it makes me feel more like Margo is kissing Q to assuage her guilt over leaving Quentin.

 Margo Roth Spiegelman is not some mysterious and incredible character, she is selfish and careless. It is fairly easy in literature to find examples of toxic people and Margo definitely fits under that category.



Sources:
photo taken by me


Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Playlist: Broadway: The Teenage Years

Teenagers in musicals are INSANE! From Evan Goldman to Wednesday Addams to Carrie White, every teenage character on Broadway has their own weird problems to deal with. To celebrate them, I collected my favorite songs sung by teenage characters.


1. The Bitch of Living - Spring Awakening Original Broadway Cast
2. A Little More Homework - 13 The Musical Original Broadway Cast
3. It's Raining On Prom Night - Grease 2007 Broadway Revival Cast
4. One Boy - Bye Bye Birdie Original London Cast
5. Part of Your World - The Little Mermaid Original Broadway Cast
6. One Hand, One Heart - West Side Story Original Broadway Cast
7. A Night We'll Never Forget - Carrie: The Musical Premiere Cast
8. Seventeen - Heathers: The Musical World Premiere Cast
9. Pulled - The Addams Family Original Broadway Cast
10. Sixteen Going On Seventeen - The Sound of Music Original Movie Cast 
11. Everything Else - Next To Normal Original Broadway Cast
12. Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now - Hairspray Original Broadway Cast 
13. Matchmaker - Fiddler On The Roof Original Broadway Cast
14. Never Never Land - Peter Pan Original Broadway Cast 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October Playlist: Trust Fall

The realization that you have misplaced your trust in someone is truly awful. And the process of regaining somebody's trust is a long and difficult process to go through. So, for when you are lied to, cheated on, or you're the one who screwed up, here's a list of songs to help you through. You can listen to my Trust Fall playlist here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Homecoming Weekend

I had the idea to take a ton of pictures last Friday and Saturday to capture my sophomore homecoming. Thanks to my friends and boyfriend for being my models for these photos. You all made last weekend unforgettable. 



Jenna, in deep conversation 


                                      
                                              the marching band lined up before the half-time show
                                  
                                    the band playing the fight song at half-time

some of my favorite freshmen

hugging my best friend of ten years,
she looks so cute in her band uniform

my friends Sarah and Sam dancing together

me and my lovely homecoming date
my favorite photo of my boyfriend that I've taken


Monday, August 3, 2015

August Playlist: Blocking Out The H8rs

With school approaching fast for many of us, I put together a set of songs to boost your confidence for the first day. I hope everyone has a spectacular school year and does their best. Make new friends, do an activity you love, and get grades you can be proud of! And don't let anyone bring you down or push you around. You can listen to Blocking Out The H8rs now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Video of The Week: "12 Feet Deep" by The Front Bottoms

My friend Colin encouraged me to listen to The Front Bottoms last fall and I totally fell in love with them at first listen. I am not exaggerating when I say that their music helped me get through my first year of high school. "12 Feet Deep" was the first song of theirs that I heard and even though it's not my favorite song by them, it still has a special place in my heart. The Front Bottoms are weird and wonderful and in their awkward lyrics I find a lot of comfort. When I listen to The Front Bottoms I am reminded that even as an adult I can be uncomfortable and scared sometimes. Click below to hear "12 Feet Deep" by The Front Bottoms.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear Mother of Feminism, It's Me Lila

Written by Lila Fisher

Throughout my few years of giving myself the label of a feminist, I've never once been taught about a woman changing the world. We read about Rosa Parks in third grade but all her significance to myself and my classmates was her sitting on a bus. You hear myths of Cleopatra and her cool eyeliner but not that she was a pharaoh of the Egyptian patriarchy. So like many other young women of today's society I have had to take the education into my own hands. Upon being asked to write this, I looked deeper into women that have changed the world. And amongst the names and the stories I found an unfamiliar name. Her name was Mary Wollstonecraft. I had never heard of her. Her brief description on the site I was on said she was the "Mother of Feminism". Thus sparking my interests.

Mary Wollstonecraft lived from 1759-1797. So basically she lived in a time where being a woman wasn't easy whatsoever. Throughout her life Mary was constantly faced with not-so-nice men expecting her to be the traditional silent woman. She left home early in life and threw herself into a writing career. Her most famous works "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman", she smashed the standard of a woman only being useful in a domestic setting. She voiced opinions that would be mirrored almost 220 years later. Her ideals are the backbone of modern feminism and I found her extremely inspiring! In today's society at least women are allowed to voice an opinion, imagine sitting in 1792 as a woman and try to get your point across! In later works, she goes on to say women had sexual desires and it was foolish to think otherwise. The image of a docile woman was being challenged for one of the first times in history.

After all of this huge history lesson and rant about a woman I didn't hear about until recently, here is why this matters. Wollstonecraft had always been expected to stay at home and tend to a family. But instead, she told her opinions and was unapologetic. She inspires me. As a teenage girl in the media age, the mean comments and opinions often rack my brain. I sometimes lose all hope of women ever having equality. But then I remember women like Mary. Who was one of the first women to ever be open about ACTUALLY being a woman! It had always been men saying how women feel and do. But now after learning about how this English girl became the Mother of Feminism, I know women change the world. I know now that being unapologetic and sometimes brash is totally okay. It's okay to be angry about situations you are in and to want to change it. Equality is something we will be striving for for a long time. But just because it hasn't gotten better in the past week doesn't mean it's not worth it. Today, because of women like Mary Wollstonecraft, equality is that much closer.

Portrait of Wollstonecraft


Follow Lila:
Instagram: @lilathesprout
Twitter: @lilaiguess


Sources:                                            
qotd.org                
biography.com
womenshistory.com      

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Video of The Week: "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift

A staple of any good break-up playlist is this extremely repetitive gem off of Taylor Swift's Red album. This song was my anthem when I was dumped by my seventh grade "boyfriend." Even though this is by no means my favorite song of hers, it holds a piece of thirteen year old me that I love remembering. I must say though, the "I Knew You Were Trouble" version of Taylor Swift is bizarre. Beat and disoriented rocker Taylor gives a minute long monologue at the beginning of the video and I am being completely honest when I say that I have never listened to the entire thing. If someone could just type it up for me that would be great. Click below to listen to "I Knew You Were Trouble"(and don't skip the monologue.)


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

She's The Bomb: Rebekah H (OnlyBlackGirl)

I stumbled across Rebekah's blog on Tumblr a few months ago and after reading a few of her posts I followed her. She blogs about social justice issues in America and through her perfect phrasing and explanations I have learned a lot.  She handles harassing anonymous messages with a level of class and cool that I can only hope to achieve. She was raised in Olympia, Washington and is transracially adopted. This means that she was adopted into a white family as a person of color. Rebekah says that this is an important part of her identity and is a big factor in her perspective on the things she blogs about.

She started blogging on Tumblr a little over a year ago and had this advice for people who want to run a successful blog through Tumblr. "Just be yourself. I guess I would consider myself somewhat "successful" if success is measured by follower count, but in all honesty I didn't set out to get followers and I'm still surprised people actually follow me. I just talked about my life and people apparently related to it." Like I mentioned earlier, Rebekah blogs a lot about social justice issues and has been passionate about social change for a long time. I also asked her if she had a dream job.I learned that she wants to combine her passion for social justice and music together to manage and support artists that don't get a lot of recognition because they don't fit social standards. Rebekah is a fantastically strong-minded individual with a style and flair that is unique to her. I will leave the link to her Tumblr below so you can read her fantastic posts and watch her take on the Internet with extreme grace and fierce beauty. 
 Avatar
Rebekah

You can find her on Tumblr here: onlyblackgirl.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why Strong Bonds Between Women Are Important

me and my best friend Ann
Kids start making friends as soon as they have the ability to communicate and interact with others. We spend our whole lives meeting people and learning names and building bridges. Sometimes people grow apart or one person grows out of the other and those bridges kind of crumble. I think that sometimes people go through phases with friends. Like, they want to be around only one certain group of people. In sixth and seventh grade I had a lot "guy friends" and I put that in quotes because at twelve I thought it was really cool to have a bunch of friends that were guys. The thing is, I thought that these guys were kind, like-minded, funny, and supportive. I ended up realizing that the majority of them were not the type of friends I had expected them to be. The bonds I thought I had with these guy friends were nowhere close to the bonds I had with my girl friends. At the start of eighth grade I faced a lot of challenges with the boys around me. Let's just say that middle school boys don't handle rejection well. Through eighth grade I focused on embracing and strengthening my female friendships and I continued that through my freshman year. I learned that female friendships are a force to be reckoned with and a group of girlfriends is unstoppable.
me and my best friend Gabby
When I talk about bonds between women I don't just mean as friends. I'm lucky enough to have spent my childhood around strong-willed Greek women like my mother and grandmother. Unfortunately I lost my grandmother in the fall of 2013. But I'm grateful to have had her in my life for thirteen years. She and I were extremely close. We listened to the radio, watched Home Shopping Network together, and I helped her learn how to use Facebook. I miss her a lot.
my grandmother, me, and my mother on the beach in 2001

 While I talk a lot on here about famous women who are influential, I have no idea where I would be without the guidance of the women around me. It's crucial for young girls to be able to confide in and spend time with older women. In a world where women are constantly feeling the pressures of a patriarchal society and being pitted against each other they need to support one another. I've started really getting into the habit of praising and complimenting other girls when I have the opportunity to.

With social media we have the chance to spread so many positive thoughts and showing our love for other girls. Comment something nice on someone's selfie, send your friends nice good morning texts, use your smartphone to make a little difference in someone's day. So I guess this is a sort of call to arms to all my ladies. I encourage you to make an effort to learn about the women around you and you might be surprised. When women are close to each other they are an incredible source of strength and beauty.

You can find the fabulous ladies I mentioned on Instagram here:
Ann- @annbannan_
Gabby- @polarain1999
My Mom- @thomaiomi

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Celebrating Love

When I got a text from my friend Brittany on Friday morning telling me the Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I never thought I would live to see that happen.
the excitement in our group chat yesterday

I was fortunate to catch about an hour of the CNN coverage in Washington and I had never heard the story of the man who the Supreme Court case was named after but now I have no doubt that Jim Obergefell will become a household name. The speech he made moved me to tears and kept me in tears for about twenty minutes.
Jim Obergefell

 One of the most exciting things for me about this is knowing that my best friends will be able to marry the people they love. I have so much love and admiration for my LGBTQ+ friends and could not imagine my life without their support and friendship. The other thing that really makes me happy about the fantastic outcome of this ruling is that my younger siblings, cousins, and someday my own children, will be growing up in a less hateful America. It gives me hope that they will grow to be open minded and accepting.

In the wake of several hate-fueled crimes against black Americans, this is one little light in a dark and difficult time for our country. Both Obergefell and President Obama addressed the recent shooting in a black church in Charleston, North Carolina. The victims of the racist crimes will not be forgotten.
President Obama's amazing speech yesterday 


But even in the wake of a tragedy, on Friday we were all given a reason to celebrate. And we are. We can celebrate love, happiness, and the dawn of a new United States. Seeing live footage of the gigantic group of people outside the Supreme Court yesterday was overwhelming in the best way. This is the icing on the LGBTQ+ Pride Month cake. And we can only go forward from here.




Sources: 
youtube.com
omghow.com
livefreebestrong.org
CNN

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Video of The Week: "How Did I Fall In Love With You" by Backstreet Boys

Everyone reading this should know I have developed a really weird thing for 90s and early 2000s pop. I love it. I'm not usually into boy bands but the Backstreet Boys are definitely an exception. I have a lot of appreciation for the harmonies in this and the extremely sappy lyrics. If you like this, the rest of their music is worth the listen. Click below to hear "How Did I Fall In Love With You".

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Video of the Week: "I'm The Best" by Nicki Minaj


Before I listened to the Pinkprint album a few weeks ago, I wasn't really a Nicki Minaj fan but recently I have really started to get hooked on her music. Nicki is a powerhouse in her music and when dealing with the press and sexist questions. The song of hers that I chose for this post actually brings tears to my eyes. This song is truly powerful and encouraging. In her song "I'm The Best", Minaj raps about her mistakes and struggles as a child and young adult but you can tell there is pride behind her words when the lyrics talk of how she now has enough money to buy her mother things and can make her family proud. She also provides encouragement for other girls who are struggling with lines like "I'm fighting for the girls that never thought they could win." The line that always makes me cry though is "to all my bad bitches, I can see your halo." Nicki sets an incredible example with her powerful lyrics, confidence, and how she owns her sexuality like a "boss ass bitch." Props to her for showing young girls that even if you go through terrible things in life, you can still always come out on top.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June/July Playlist:Summer Jamz

Yes, that is jamz. With a z. Well, summer is like, here and stuff so that's cool. I had a butt ton of fun making this playlist and I'm extremely excited to share it with everyone. Although I never ever thought I would have Britney Spears, Fall Out Boy, and Modern Baseball on the same playlist but here we are. So, go on a hike or be obnoxious and blast this while driving around in your weirdly low to the ground car, or sit under a blanket in eighty degree weather and listen to Summer Jamz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stats and Facts About Abortion, Sex Education, and Contraceptives

You've most likely heard the terms pro-choice and anti-choice when discussing reproductive rights. Some people have heard these phrases before but might not have the definitions straight. Allow me to "break it down, yo." Someone who is pro-choice supports the idea of keeping abortion safe and legal and making contraceptives easily accessible. People who identify as anti-choice do not support keeping abortion legal or making contraceptives easy to access. These clashing viewpoints cause a lot of issues and raise a lot of important questions about legal and safe abortions along with the way sex education is being taught in America.

Women's clinics are places that provide abortions, pap smears, birth control, and other needs related to safe reproductive health. I spoke with a fellow feminist named Megan Delilah who works as a paid clinic escort in her state. The title of clinic escort is an important one. There are a lot of anti-choice people who protest outside of women's clinics and harass the people working there and going there for services. Megan's job is to help keep these protesters in check and make sure that any patrons of the clinic get in and out safely. I asked Megan if she had ever dealt with any particularly nasty protesters and she gave me some incredible feedback.

 She said "[My experiences have] probably not been as nasty as some others, but there have been some gross moments. The first few times I did escorting it was part of an escort/counter protest campaign during the antis' 40 Days For Life campaign, (if you don't know, it's forty days of constant protesting outside of abortion clinics.) So, half of our group would hold signs and generally try to piss off the antis while the rest of us waited for patients in order to walk them in. I was doing the counter protesting aspect on one particular day, and one of the antis was putting rosaries on the fence posts outside of the clinic. He's not allowed to do that because that's clinic property, so my friend and I simply took the rosaries off the posts and put them next to a backpack he had placed on the ground. When he saw us doing that he got extremely angry, called us bitches, and threatened to slap my friend, I can't remember if my friend called the cops on him for threatening her, but if she did they didn't do anything about it." Megan also talked about anti-choice protesters that bring microphones and yell about how "everyone is going to hell, killing babies is sin, God is coming, etc." Megan has also been personally targeted by anti-choice protesters.
American anti-choice protesters


 I asked her what a normal day as a clinic escort is like and she replied with "It's usually boring. There's a lot of waiting involved. However, it's also really fulfilling because I get all kinds of relieved looks and gratitude once I let patients know that I'm there to make sure the protesters have a tougher time harassing them. The antis can be annoying sometimes, but live tweeting their antics can make it bearable, and it's always fun to drown out their terrible singing or chanting by blasting music. They're not big fans of the The Clash. I also get a lot of people 'praying for me' and by 'praying for me' they mean staring at me intently while they chant stuff in what appears to be an attempt at an exorcism. So far it hasn't worked." She summed up her usual day as "boring, fun and also extremely important." Some of the lengths the anti-choice protesters go to are insane. In Massachusetts anti-choice protesters only have to be a minimum of six feet away from a clinic when protesting. And this law was put in place because of the murders of two Massachusetts Planned Parenthood employees committed by two anti-choicers in 1994. In the summer of 2014 the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a Massachusetts law that would have put a thirty-five foot "buffer zone" between anti-choice protesters and clinics. Many people who are anti-choice base this belief on the teachings of their religion. This is evident in the quotes from Megan I shared earlier.

While abortion laws are kind of strict in America, things are worse in other nations. When I was researching this topic I found that women in developing countries account for ninety-five percent of illegal abortions. Many countries where abortion is illegal or highly restricted have significantly higher abortion rates than countries with liberal abortion laws. The approximate numbers of women who were hospitalized after unsafe illegal abortions in these countries are shocking.

Bangladesh: 71,800
Brazil: 288,700
Chile: 31,900
Colombia: 57,700
Dominican Republic: 16,500
Egypt: 216,000
Mexico: 106,500
Nigeria: 142,200
Peru; 54,200
The Philippines: 80,100

And 80,000 women die every year from complications from illegal abortions. But even with these staggering facts and statistics some minds are still unchanged. In an article by Maya Dusenberry on feministing.com, I found out that pro-choice legislators took a stand more than ever in 2014.The State Legislators introduced ninety-five bills to expand access to abortion according to the Guttmacher tally, But in January of this year, the House GOP proposed a 20-week ban on abortion. This meaning that if the ban is approved, a woman will not be able to legally obtain an abortion twenty weeks or later in the pregnancy.
my favorite quote from Friends that kind of applies to this 

By the age of forty-five, three out of ten women will have had an abortion. That's a lot of ladies. A lot of middle schools and high schools teach abstinence only sex education. A lot of people think that teaching adolescents things like "nobody wants to have sex with you if you've had multiple sexual partners in the past" and "STDs are scary and there's no way to prevent them" (and we're gonna use them as a scare tactic so you don't have sex) will lower teen birth rate and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. What we're not being taught is how condoms work, what the full anatomy of the male of female sexual organs are, and how to respond when someone is being pushy or abusing you sexually.

Rape is taboo. The female body is taboo. There are boys that don't even know females pee and menstruate out of different places! The subject of sexuality is never even touched on. All because adults are afraid and because of that, their kids will be afraid. Our country sexualizes the female body all the time but never bothers to talk about how crazy cool it is! If we want to, we can carry small people in our uteruses! But carrying those small people is a choice that everyone with a uterus deserves to have. Countries with the lowest abortion rates are Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. They all have liberal abortion laws, good healthcare, comprehensive sex education, and accessible contraceptives. Megan had this to say about the importance of accessible contraceptives. "[Not having accessible contraceptives] is a safety issue for women and not having this access means a lot of women dying preventable deaths." She is right in saying this. Easy access to contraceptives has saved a lot of women from a lot of pain and difficulty and that will hopefully continue. It is imperative that eventually every woman has the ability to choose. Although it is a hard goal to reach, I think we can do it.






Sources:
feministing.com
everydayfeminism.com
plannedparenthood.org
rookiemag.com
rhrealitycheck.org
tumblr.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Video of The Week: The Front Bottoms: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

The Front Bottoms are one of my all-time favorite bands. I know almost all of their songs by heart. Their music makes me feel good no matter how upset I am and I almost cried when I got the vinyl version of their Talon of The Hawk album in the mail. This video is a bit longer than the ones I usually post but this is so worth the watch if you like pop punk music. So click below to hear one of my favorite bands play live. You won't regret it.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Simpsons on Sexism

It is an undeniable fact that gender roles are introduced into children's lives from birth. People talk about how "she'll grow up to be a great mom." or "he's probably gonna play (insert sport here)." Parents who let their sons play with Polly Pockets or their daughters play with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures are ridiculed. When I was little I didn't question that girls played with "girl toys" and boys played with "boy toys." But the older I got I realized that there wasn't even a reason to assign genders to toys. If I wanted to play with a lightsaber I would play with a lightsaber! Although I didn't even learn that sexism was a thing until I was twelve, this episode of The Simpsons opened my eight-year-old eyes. This 2004 episode  titled "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" speaks volumes about the sexist ideas that are fed to young girls through the toys they play with. Below I added a piece of the script from my favorite part of the episode. The dialogue I included takes places right after Lisa goes to the Malibu Stacy factory to complain about the blatantly sexist doll.


"Don't you have anything relevant to say?"

Lisa: It's awful being a kid. No one listens to you.
Grandpa: It's rotten being old. No one listens to you.
Homer: I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me -- no matter how dumb my suggestions are.
(Homer holds up a can reading "Nuts and Gum, Together At Last")


What I Learned My Freshman Year Is...

So, I wanted to write some reflections on my first year of high school since our final week begins Monday. I heard a lot of different things about high school and had my own preset notions on it but really I made some discoveries this year that you can truly only make on your own. I was terrified of high school and the thought of moving from a school with about 700 students to a school with about 2,500 students. Every time high school was mentioned I started to freak out inside. Scheduling made me panic, orientation made me panic, so did open house and getting my schedule.

 In the weeks leading up to the first day of my freshmen year I was crying and freaking out a lot. Like, a lot. I tried asking for advice from upperclassmen I knew but no matter what they told me, nothing was helping. After weeks of panic and nervousness the first day finally came and by the end of the week I realized that my fear of getting lost in the halls and being late was something that wouldn't be a problem. Another thing that freaked me out was that I wouldn't have any friends in my classes and that I would totally lose touch with everyone I knew prior to that year.

 I thought I would end up completely friendless. That did not happen. Although I definitely grew apart from some people I still talk to and spend time with a lot of my friends from middle school. I made quite a few new friends this year too. I have surely made some friends for life. It hasn't really come through on this blog but I love theatre. I did my first musical in sixth grade and ever since then I have really wanted to perform onstage.

 Theatre brings me a kind of joy that I've never found in anything else. I knew that I wanted to be in the shows at my high school and when I got cast in the Children's Play I felt so proud of myself even though I only talked in one scene. Through that show alone I met a lot of the upperclassmen in the theatre program and finally felt like a real high schooler. It's worth noting that my high school does three plays and a musical each year but because of other shows I was part of outside of school I only auditioned for the spring Children's Play. Being in that show though, and meeting all of these other kids who loved stage performances as much as I did made me feel like I had finally found my niche in my giant ass high school.

 As you can probably tell, I've avoided talking about the bad parts of my freshman year and I'm doing that for a reason. Being positive is a difficult thing for me sometimes so as I reflect on the school year I am trying, not to ignore the bad parts of it but rather to just focus more on the good things that happened and the little lessons I learned. This year I was not like a white kid from a teen novel who learns all the answers to life's questions in her first year of high school. But, I am satisfied.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April Playlist: I Didn't Want To Call This "Good Vibes"

I really wanted to make a super upbeat playlist and I couldn't come up with a good title so I decided on kind of a sarcastic one. I spent a lot of my spring break working on this and I'm so pleased with the result. These songs put me in such a great mood even when I'm feeling absolutely awful. So, as I sit outside in the grass, barefoot and surrounded by magnolia leaves, I bring you this month's playlist.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Video of the Week: "Skirt Steak Girls" by Blythe Baird

Every Video of the Week I've posted until now has been a song. This week I wanted to change it up and post this incredible poem written by Blythe Baird (the girl in the video). She perfectly voices the feeling me and my feminist friends have discussed so many times before. You're with a bunch of guys that you feel like you can trust, they like you, they are your friends... Until one of them catcalls a passing girl. Or they start to pile rape joke upon rape joke and in a matter of minutes you're angry and disgusted and you want to walk away. I've listened to this poem several times and I cannot get enough of it. If you only watch one YouTube video today, let this be it.
You can follow her on Twitter @blythe_baird

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

International Transgender Day of Visibility

Yesterday, March 31, 2015 was International Transgender Day of Visibility. I showed my support by reblogging lots of selfies on Tumblr and encouraging others to do the same. This day brought a lot of attention to the recent suicides of transgender teens Leelah Alcorn and Blake Brockington. I wanted to use this day as an opportunity to share information with you on the deaths of Leelah and Blake and to also talk about the positive happenings on International Transgender Day of Visibility. Rookie provides some information on the life and death of Blake through this piece and they talk about Leelah in this one.

 

 

Also, I have watched the video below like, five times and every time it has made me smile. This little boy, Alex wrote this rap about being transgender with the help of his mom and it is so adorable.


While we're on the subject of music I'm going to take this opportunity to talk about one of the coolest musical characters, Angel Dumott Schunard from Rent. She's breaking the gender binary and through the whole musical, until she dies, she brings love, and sass to the cast. Her character glues the main group of friends that the musical focuses on together.
"Today 4 U" from Rent 

I didn't know much about the transgender and non-binary communities until I started using the Internet more and it amazes me how much hate they have to deal with. I'm so glad that things like Transgender Day of Visibility exist because it's so important to show trans people that they are valued and they can get out of bad situations and that things will get better for them. It's crucial to acknowledge the deaths of people like Blake and Leelah because they happen more often than we think. Cisgender people (people who identify with the gender they are born with) have to help. We can start by simply educating ourselves and doing small things like using the correct pronouns when addressing or talking about a trans person. I hope that International Transgender Day of Visibility will continue to be prominent in the media and on the Internet and that things will only get better for the trans community. 


Sources for this article:
rookiemag.com
tumblr.com
youtube.com
rent.wikia.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Video of the Week: "Suggestion" by Fugazi

One of my friends sent me the link to listen to this and I listened to it at the first chance I got. I'll admit that I actually listened to it about three times before I had a definite opinion on it. The thing that really draws me in with this song is the lyrics. They provide excellent commentary about street harassment, sexual harassment, and victim blaming. I find it incredible that media from over twenty years ago can still be so relevant today. This song shows the power that musicians have with their work and the messages they can send.


Monday, March 23, 2015

What a Woman Wants

She wants "talented", "clever", and "interesting."
She wants "gorgeous" not "pretty."
She wants to be paid the whole dollar, not just seventy-seven cents.
She wants "takes charge" not "bossy."
She wants a challenge.
She wants to be treated like the woman she knows she is.
She's got the power inside but nobody will let her be in control.
She knows she is worth more than people make her out to be.
She is worth love and respect.
She wants what the women before her wanted and a better future for the women that will come after.
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                -Kalliope

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March Playlist: Fightin' Like a Girl

My Fightin' Like a Girl  playlist is dedicated to all of the incredible women around me. Even if they don't feel super strong right now. Please remember ladies, it can and will get better. The inspiration for this playlist came from another girl power playlist, called Where My Girls At? made by one of my favorite online girl magazines, Rookie. I really love encouraging my fellow women and I think it's important to always be doing that. Seeing women lifting each other up and standing up for one another fills me with so much joy. Keep fighting ladies, I know you can!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February Playlist: Oh Just Forget It

Ann and I made this playlist for the times when you really feel like giving up. For when you just want to throw out that paper that you've rewriten four times. Ir when you don't make the team after working your butt off. We're hoping that this mix will help pick you back up after you've fallen. Stay strong everyone! You can listen to the playlist here. Happy February!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Video of the Week: "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners


I saw this movie and read this book at thirteen and loved it and two years later I still do. This scene is one of my favorites in the whole movie for so many reasons. The song in this clip, “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, had always been a song I liked but this scene presented it to me in a new way. After I saw the movie I fell in love with this song on a whole new level. Also, Sam (Emma Watson), and her step brother Patrick (Ezra Miller), call this little dance they do their “Living Room Routine.” Possibly the most terrific part of this scene is when little freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman), joins in. Every detail about this movie scene and song makes me ecstatic. I hope you all like it as much as I did! Happy Sunday!
                                   I should note that this version used in the clip is not the full version and was shortened for the movie.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Video of The Week: "Mad Sounds" by Arctic Monkeys


This song has always reminded me of something but I couldn’t place it until a few weeks ago. It really makes me think of The Beatles. To me it just really sounds like something off of their Please Please Me album. Alex Turner’s gorgeous voice and carefully crafted lyrics make this track from their 2013 album AM, so incredibly good. I love everything about this song. This version especially is so great to me. So, check out the live version of “Mad Sounds” below. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

January Playlist: New Year, Same Me


We hear the phrase “new year, new me” every January so Ann and I did a little something different with our January playlist. The two of us spent two hours trying to make a collaborative playlist on Spotify and finally had some success. I came up with the name and theme for this playlist because there are a lot of people that do the whole shebang at the beginning of January. Some people don’t change just because it’s a new year. This playlist is for those people; the one’s who don’t have a resolution. The one’s that go with the flow and don’t suddenly become go-getters just because it’s the first month of the year. We’re providing the soundtrack so you can stay up to your same old stuff. Click the here to listen to our "New Year, Same Me" playlist. 


Friday, January 2, 2015

Video of the Week: "Winter Solstice" by Cold Specks


I found Cold Specks while on an Internet quest for new music to listen to. Winter Solstice is absolutely beautiful. This singer is wonderful and she’s so calm and sweet sounding. I especially like this version as opposed to an official music video. Live versions are always nice to me (unless they like, really suck.) I feel like you can gain a lot from seeing the artist perform an unedited version. It’s almost like you’re learning something about the artist from live versions. I’m probably the only person that thinks that. I hope you all like this song as much as I did. Enjoy!