So I’ve Been Reading Books Lately

(Spoiler warning for Song of Achilles)

So I’ve been reading books for fun for the first time in about 4 years now, and I just finished Song of Achilles.

One word: devastating.

That’s not to say it’s bad- in fact, it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. However, it was horribly sad, which is expected with Greek myths and renditions of them, since everybody dies in most myths.

A quick synopsis of the book would be “two boys fall in love then go to war and die,” but there’s so much more to the story than that. It’s exciting, sweet, sad, and heartbreaking. There’s a ton of angst in it, especially during wartime, which is honestly my favorite part. It does end with a bittersweet happy ending, though, so it’s not just emotional torment to read.

If you read the Percy Jackson books, you’ll probably love this book. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes Greek mythology, gay love, and angst. It’s got a ton of all three.

http://www.amazon.com%2FSong-Achilles-Bloomsbury-Modern-Classics%2Fdp%2F1408891387&psig=AOvVaw29CFHCo4eSGdPCIhGvhDZY&ust=1649951931864000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAoQjRxqFwoTCICRxo20kfcCFQAAAAAdAAAAABBT

Masculine or Feminine … or Neither?

Over the summer, I had one homework assignment for AP Psychology. It was to read Forty Studies That Changed Psychology and write two paragraph summaries for ten of the forty studies that caught my eye. In normal fashion, I read only ten of the studies and wrote the paragraphs the night before the due date. One of the studies that caught my eye was a study called Masculine or Feminine … or Both? that explored gender in psychology and proposed the idea that instead of masculinity and feminity being measured separately based on sex, they would be two variables on the same graph. Not only did this study introduce the idea of androgyny, but it also completely changed how psychologists studied gender.

The study was done by a professor who gave her students a list of positive attributes and asked her them which ones she felt were desirable to the opposite sex. This made it so that it strictly abided by gender norms in society. She then took the list and turned it into a test in which different attributes were listed with an “agree-disagree” spectrum with masc attributes contributing as negative variables and femme contributing as positive variables. She then made scoring guidelines: anyone -.05 or under was on the masc spectrum, anyone 0.5 or over was on the femme spectrum, and if the score ranged from -0.49-0.49, the person would then be considered “androgynous”.

In 1974, this was one of the most progressive gender studies in human history as it suggested that gender attributes weren’t exactly tied to sex. However, this study was done in 1974, not only have gender studies come a long way, but some of the research methods are outdated. For example, the attributes that are labeled “masculine” or “feminine” are only based on hetero-normativity and do not consider same-sex or other forms of attraction. Although it is likely a lot of the attributes will stay the same, some might change which is very important if something like this is to be measured. Then there’s the possibility that androgyny as a measurement of gender is outdated as well.

I’m not saying that we should all remove androgyny from our vocabularies altogether, as it is a good adjective for someone who has physical attributes of both sexes. What I do think, is that it limits psychological studies of gender as it still somewhat adheres to the idea that there are only two real classifications/identifications of gender. Realistically, a study such as this is really more useless than anything. In today’s world, there are so many gender identifications such as non-binary that completely exclude masculinity and femininity altogether. It might even be better to exclude gender identification in psychology altogether as it is extremely difficult to study something that has an actively growing number of variables.

Art by Frida Kahlo

Born Again

She is a woman

and who

by chance

was born a man

the mirror was simply inaccurate,

what she craved to see was a tall woman

a beautiful woman

slenderly wrapped in breasts and fragility,

the stubbled facial hair

the broad shoulders pulled together by biceps and chest muscles

was heart breaking,

and for a long time

too long of a time

all she felt was confusion she did not know why she hated herself

why she felt disgusted by her body

why she looked at herself and didn’t feel like she was actually looking at herself

it wasn’t until she was a teenager she broke free of her confusion

experimented with her happiness

broke social norms to find herself

she looks back now as a 24 year old,

as a tall beautiful woman

and feels remorse that she let herself suffer for so long because she did not search for what made her feel most herself

“Hormones to surgery to life style changes, the hardships and black holes of sadness and isolation made me who I am today. And baby, I am better than ever.”


Photo:Keith Rosen


Things that make no sense

Stocks make no sense to me, and I do not want them explained to me. I just know they control the economy around the world and are used as a pastime for rich people and teenage boys.

Bats. They make no sense to me, like I know they are animals, but they confuse me. Just the thought of bats sleeping upside down is a no-no for me.

Photo credit: U.S department of the interior

Homophobia, how can one hate someone for loving someone. Love is Love, do not hate on someone for being themselves and loving someone.

Racism, why the heck does racism exist? Like seriously is it so hard to be a decent person to someone no matter their race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and religion?

Dress codes, they are stupid and only invented for girls. Girls get dress coded because their skirts are too short or their stomach is showing. Guys don’t get dress coded because dress codes were created to sexualize girls.

Women Issues

Today in the United States, women make 82 cents to their male counterparts 1 dollar. Then this is broken down into different races and ethnicities. “Black and Hispanic women workers are paid only 65 cents and 58 cents on the dollar, “stated epi.org. “Compared with 81 cents for white, non- Hispanic women workers and 90 cents for Asian women.” Inequalities between different races and ethnicities between women are also so different. Women who are white and Asian get a step higher than those who are Hispanic and black. Women are treated like shit still to this day.

We can not leave our houses without protection- pepper spray, knives, tasers, and more. We fear our lives; wondering if we are going to be killed, sexually assaulted, or raped. We are scared of our shadow and men. When we say all men, we do not mean all men, but we do not know who will hurt us and who will not.

The Pink tax exists. Products that are geared towards women and females are marked up higher than products that are the same but are geared towards men. This makes feminine products more expensive and harder to buy. Menstrual products are expensive, and these products should be free. Every person who experiences menstruation should be able to have these products for free.

photo credit: Indy100

Media and Society pick women apart for their bodies, thus creating lots of body dysmorphia in women and teens today. If someone is not the perfect hourglass figure or what society deems as skinny, then they are considered fat or overweight. They could be healthy and still be deemed overweight, and this could cause lots of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. But if someone is too skinny, then society comments on their weight as well. Society and the media love commenting on women’s bodies.

Speaking on commenting on women’s bodies brings up the topic of abortions. Men love commenting about women and what they should do with their bodies. There are laws set in place against women having abortions, such as the gestation limits. This law states that “43 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the women’s life or health, after a specific point in pregnancy, ” (guttmacher.org). These laws are made by men who try and restrict women and their bodies.

Women all over the world experience inequality.

Bibliography

“An Overview of Abortion Laws.” Guttmacher Institute, 1 Mar. 2021, http://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws#.

Gould, Report • By Elise. “What Is the Gender Pay Gap and Is It Real?: The Complete Guide to How Women Are Paid Less than Men and Why It Can’t Be Explained Away.” Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/what-is-the-gender-pay-gap-and-is-it-real/.

Mural

Right now I am planning for a mural I will be painting on former OVS teacher, Ms. Pasqua’s house. She has inspired me to paint a scene of Ojai with the Topa Topa mountains lined with inspirational quotes. This mural is an outlet for me to express my passion in the fight for equity.

The Ojai Valley has given me so many opportunities to improve myself as an artist, and painting a mural visible to its residents is my way of giving back to the community. I have had practice with this form of art in middle school when we worked on large-scale projects. I helped to work on the Fourth of July parade floats as well as life-size paper mache projects. I painted giant decorations to add to our OVS float, and created letter-signs that spelled out the name of our school.

Growing up and seeing the beautiful murals in Ventura County, I have always wanted to add my own color to the town. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to gain more experience with painting and share my art with the Ojai community.

The Ventura Mural that inspired me to paint on a larger scale.
Image Credit: Lu Ross Academy

Daily Mandala Challenge: Everything You Need To Know About This New Self-Care Trend :)

A Mandala is a symbolic spiritual geometric design which, when reflected on, has the ability to bring out profound inner transformation.  The Mandala is self-expression in the design, meant to represent the universe. The first evidence of Buddha Mandala art dates back to the first century. The Mandala is rooted in Buddhism but later became present in Hinduism, new age spirituality and other religions. Each Mandala has significance and represents an aspect of wisdom and is supposed to remind the meditator of a guiding principle. The Mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones with the assistance of deep healing. 

The “Mandala a day” challenge was created by Australian artist Elyse Lauthier and it is now showing up in select areas across the world. Drawing, painting or somehow creating a Mandala a day helps express yourself creatively in ways you wouldn’t normally. It promotes self awareness and Chakra alignments. 

The Challenge is simple: Each day you make a Mandala and simply let your creativity flow, embracing your originality. Creating Mandala is therapeutic because you can express your feelings through art. The Mandala a day challenge is a form of meditation and art.  Mandala’s take “The meditator on a wordless journey into the minds deepest mysteries” said in Eastern traditions. 

Another way to fully grasp Mandala’s intentions is to work/meditate with them. I would recommend investing in Mandala Source Book by David Fontana and Lisa Tenzin-Dolma, as it gives you specific guidance while approaching the artworks. The book includes 150 Mandala’s grouped in four sections: beginning Mandala meditation, healing mandalas, nature mandalas, And other mandalas. This book is a good reference for your own Mandala challenge or meditations. 

Obtaining Mandala mindfulness is a path of self discovery. This challenge challenges us to open up and learn more not only about our conscious minds but also our unconscious minds as we remain unaware of the deeper mysteries of our inner selves through Mandala realignment.

Image from Pinterest.com

Here’s to Strong Women

She’s strong, she’s talented, she’s smart. My friend is headed towards great things.

Soon we’ll be in college, I know I won’t be going to the same school as her anymore, but I know I’ll never forget her.

You know someone is extraordinary when they have so many amazing goals that they don’t know what to pursue.

Sometimes I think, what will she be doing in four years?

Will she be a influential member in race and resistance studies, standing up to oppression and persecution?

Will she be a rising scholar in gender and feminism studies, striving to create a more equal world?

Will she be a social justice worker?

Will she be a photo journalist, not only using her power with words to inspire, but her talent with captured memories, also?

Will she be filmmaker and editor, creating barrier-breaking and revolutionary films?

Will she be a gender sexuality savant, fighting for the LGBTQ+ community?

Will she be a sociologist, endeavoring  to generate social polyphony?

Will she be a lawyer fighting for human rights?

I don’t think she’s just going to chose one of these. I think she’s going to do all of them, because if she sets her mind to something, there’s no stopping her.

I know sometimes you get nervous. You wonder how you’ll accomplish everything you hope to. You occasionally struggle to understand your identity, what path to take. You get down some times. You make wrong decisions and question your worth.

I know you are strong, but I know we all have our doubts and struggles. But never forget, I’m here for you. I’m rooting for you. I love you.

You are an inspiration, an amazing friend, and you are going to make such a big difference in the world.

Never forget your goals, for I know, you can and you will achieve them all.

Photo Credit: edgefunders.com

Respect My Existence, Expect My Resistance.

It’s so sad that we live in time where we have to march for facts.

 Our democracy, planet, and justice are being eroded away.

Why are women’s bodies more regulated than guns?

Women’s rights are human rights.

Why are we destroying the one and only place we have to live?

There is no planet B.

How come people are persecuted and judged by their beliefs, place of origin, and skin color?

We are all immigrants. 

Why do people who are black have to constantly fear being arrested even if they are innocent?

Black lives matter.

Why can’t people love who they want?

How come six in ten LGBT+ students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation?

People can love who they want.

How come one out of six women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime? How come women are paid less than men?

Pay me more, touch me less.

It’s time to ditch Putin’s bitch and stand up for what’s right.

Our democracy, planet, and justice are being eroded away, and we must stop this. 

Photo credit: Zazzle.com

 

 

 

A Letter to Past Generations

Dear people of the past,

I am one person out of millions. I may be small, but my voice will not be silenced. We will no longer be silenced by beliefs made centuries ago.

We will not be silenced by beliefs that are killing innocent lives, or by the beliefs that are discriminating against the people who are finally becoming proud of who they are.

We are the new generation. We are the millennials, the Gen. Z kids, and the generations to come, and we are proud of ourselves for the world we’re determined to create.

We may be young, and we may not know everything about the world, but we are still learning, still improving, and we are definitely still fighting.

We are strong

We are resilient.

And we are powerful.

But we aren’t defined by adjectives; we are the future. In just a few years, most of us will be given the power to vote, and we will remember when you ignored our pleas.

Photo Credit: ABC News.

You ignored our pleas for equal rights, our pleas to not feel afraid to walk into our schools, our pleas for an equal opportunity you pride your country over yet fail to fulfill.

We will remember what you refused to give us, and we will take it ourselves.

The years will come, and the world will become ours. Not just for one percent of us, but for everyone.

A world where students can walk into their schools without the fear that they’d never walk out.

A world where people are free to love who they wish to.

A world where people are judged by their personality or by what they bring to the world. Not by the color of their skin, or their preference of who they love.

So remember this

We may be young,

But we are angry.

And you can try silence us, but we will rise, and we will scream louder than ever.