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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Video of the Week: "This is Not a Feminist Song" - Saturday Night Live

With feminism being injected into mainstream media more than ever before, it's fairly easy to take any “girl power" song from the Top 40 and call it a feminist anthem. As a young and very connected feminist, I'm even guilty of buying into this immediate adoption of popular, girl power-y songs without always listening to them critically.

That's why I chose “This is Not a Feminist Song" as my video for this week. This SNL skit, (which has actually existed for a year), comically calls out the lazy writing that goes into some girl power songs. The lyrics satirize the half-hearted “Get up and fight!" anthems in the mainstream. The women of Saturday Night Live (and Ariana Grande), sing in the chorus “This is not a feminist song. We tried real hard but it took too long." They say they've tried to write about everything feminism includes but it was just too much and they gave up.

I think that this satirical criticism of mainstream “feminist" music nails it. I'm not saying that every popular song about feminism is inherently half-assed or a poor attempt at activism. But, I think this skit highlights the way that mainstream feminism is watered down. It creates a dialogue about the commercialization of feminism and how a lot of songs that may not necessarily be feminist, are being considered as such.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

No, We Aren't Making Fun of You

A while back, my classmates were talking about how they feel judged when they hear someone speaking another language around them in public.

"I swear they're making fun of me." 

This comment was met with resounding agreement around the room. It took a lot of willpower on my part not to tear into everyone around me. It's been a while since this happened, but I definitely regret not speaking up. Truthfully, I was afraid to say something. Communicating how I felt to my classmates that speak mostly or only English at home was daunting. The way they expressed their discomfort with hearing languages other than their own frustrated me to no end.

For me, speaking and hearing Greek is a comfort. For other people, speaking a different language with their family is necessary for communication. Whatever the reason is, we aren't using our ability to communicate in a second language to pass judgement on those around us.

I have been learning Greek since I could speak, and writing Greek since age six. The Greek language has always been part of who I am. It is damaging to hear the assumption that people similar to me are only using other languages to be secretly judgmental.

I realize that I can't necessarily change peoples' minds on this subject, but I still implore you all to take into consideration how hurtful these assumptions can be. Language is a beautiful tool that has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. It brings people together and allows us to share knowledge. Reducing somebody's actions down to simplistic thought such as “they're gossiping about me" devalues the power of language and communication.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Peek at my Podcasts

I made my first foray into the world of podcasts when I was in sixth grade. MuggleNet, a Harry Potter fan news source, started recording episodes of a podcast called Alohomora! From there, I've done some exploring and I now have a little podcast library on my phone. Through suggestions from Tumblr blogs, teachers, and my own research, I have discovered some pretty entertaining and informative shows. Here's a quick rundown of what's in my podcast collection. If you listen to any podcasts, leave a comment below with which one is your favorite!

1. Alohomora!: A Global Reread of Harry Potter - MuggleNet

Like I said, this was the first podcast I subscribed to several years ago and I still listen to it today! The global reread is over but there are still episodes published on a fairly regular basis. The podcast discusses plot holes, character growth, and how social issues tie into the Harry Potter series. Any nerds with serious nostalgia will appreciate how Alohomora! still makes it feel like we are right  in the middle of the pottermania.

2. Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig

I started watching Grace Helbig on YouTube my freshman year and I quickly found her podcast and fell in love with it! She interviews a score of Internet stars and celebrities and never fails to make me laugh. A warning: do not listen to this in public. I have cracked up way too many times on quiet bus rides or during classes while listening to Not Too Deep. Anyone who needs a laugh should give this podcast a listen.

3. Welcome to Night Vale

This fictional podcast is recorded as if you're listening to a radio station in a very weird little town. It is definitely a favorite of mine for this reason. When listening to Welcome to Night Vale I feel like I am transported somewhere else. I appreciate how different it is from any other podcast I've heard. for people looking for something on the weird side, I recommend Welcome to Night Vale. 

4. Invisibilia - NPR

So far I've only listened to one episode of Invisibilia, but just like most NPR-produced shows it is absolutely intriguing. This was suggested to me by a teacher after we listened to an episode in her class about how emotional norms differ between cultures. Invisibilia is the Latin word for invisible things and that is just what this show focuses on. Episodes explore assumptions, emotions, ideas, and beliefs. Invisibilia is certainly on the more intellectual side and encourages you to think outside of the box. To challenge your mind, check out NPR's Invisibilia. 

5. Popaganda - Bitchmedia

Much like its thought-provoking online articles, Bitchmedia's podcast, Popaganda, makes incredible feminist commentary on pop culture and news. They cover music, politics, sports, television, movies and everything in between. Popaganda invites a wide range of guests to participate in their weekly discussions. For any feminist, Popaganda is a must-have in your podcast library.

6. The Productive Woman - Laura McClellan

I recently discovered this podcast and so far I am really enjoying it. Laura McClellan gives awesome advice on staying organized. She tries different organization methods and reviews them and shares how she stays on top of everything she does. I'll admit that if you aren't interested in organization or planning, you will probably find this kinda boring. But I recommend The Productive Woman to people looking to explore new methods of organization.