Cultural News Analysis- The “Alt-right” Movement

The last several weeks of studying Intercultural Communication have opened up my eyes to just how differently individuals may view the world. Before taking this class, I probably would not have even read all the way through Texas Monthly’s, “When the Alt-right Meets the Aggies”, by Christopher Hooks. Instead I would have looked at what “Richard Spencer, the Dallas man that coined the term ‘Alt-right’”(Hooks) had to say and would not have even bothered with reading the rest of the article purely because I did care to read what another individual’s outlook on life looked like. Through Intercultural Communication though, I have learned that not only is my worldview completely unique, but it is just as true to me as other people’s worldviews are to them.

“When the Alt-right Meets the Aggies”, written by Christopher Hooks, a clearly anti-Spencer and anti-neo-Nazi author, discusses the events that took place at Texas A&M University on the sixth of December. Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, was invited by Texas A&M alum Preston Wiginton and scheduled to deliver a hate filled message to whoever was willing (or unwilling) to listen to what he had to say. Richard Spencer’s non-profit group, “which promotes the white nationalist movement, is dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European descent in the United States” (Chris Graham). Due to the school’s regulation that states that anyone is allowed to reserve certain areas for private events, not even the president of the university, Dr. Michael Young, was unable to prevent the newly self-proclaimed Alt-right leader from showing up. Although the university’s regulation and The First Amendment protected Richard Spencer’s freedom of hate-speech, there were plenty of thousands of people that were more than ready to rally and stand against what he had to say.

Crowds and crowds of people, ranging from Texas A&M students to out-of-towners from all over, gathered peacefully (and a few, not so peacefully) to try to tune out the white nationalist. Counter events were even scheduled and held at the same exact time in order to protest the guest speaker. These events including things like Aggies United, “an exceptionally earnest pep rally for American pluralism and Aggie values attracting a crowd of several thousand” (Hooks), a “#BTHO Hate Protest, an Ags Against White Nationalism Lecture, a Silent Protest Group, protest music, a Make Racists Afraid Again Protest, and a Houston Socialist Movement to Shut down Neo-Nazi Platform” (Mugdown Staff). When the time came for the highly dreaded and anticipated speech in a Memorial Student Center conference room, four hundred people, mostly made up of anti-Spencer hecklers and antagonizers, showed up in attendance. “Inside the student center, Spencer gave a brief press conference, spoke for only a half-hour, and took questions for an hour more” (Hooks).

By the end of the day, evidence of the event at Texas A&M University was surfacing all over every social media platform. Images and videos of protestors holding signs saying things like, “Heil No” and “Bash the Fash” flooded the Internet. So much attention was drawn to the event that not only local networks but also major networks like CNN and ABC were on the scene in College Station, capturing both the peaceful and chaotic protestors. As nightfall came and the numbers of people were doubling by the minute, the intensity of the protests eventually called for a police presence, fully decked out in riot gear, eventually causing the crowds to disperse and the event to end.

Now that I have taken Intercultural Communication and am able to read this article with a fresh pair of eyes, I cannot help but to pick it apart piece by piece. History, for example, plays a huge part in understanding this story. For one to truly understand the degree of offense felt by those who feel mistreated, one must understand exactly what values “alt-right” members stand for and what kind of beliefs and behaviors are often associated with the term. Before making his way to Texas A&M University, Richard Spencer made his debut at a conference in New York following the election of president-elect Donald Trump. Spencer, after have “gaining prominence by riding the coattails of Donald Trump’s presidential election” (Hooks), delivered a speech that was intended to gain attention to the “alternative-right” movement, “alt-right” for short. After calling white people ‘children of the sun’ (Hooks) and then sharing his dream of a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” where a “new society, an ethno-state, would be a gathering point for all Europeans” (Graham), the audience reacted by “giving the Nazi salute to an exhortation to ‘heil Trump’” (Hooks). Although Donald Trump and his campaign completely deny any association to the white supremacy group, there is no wonder as to why one might associate the two, given Trump’s hate-speech fueled campaign, other than Richard Spencer’s outright support for the president-elect.

Over the last year leading up to the presidential election, our country was able to get a taste of just how “united” we really are. Although tensions over presidential elections usually tend to run high, this year was unlike any other we had ever seen. Right now our country is experiencing an epidemic that is not so unfamiliar to our history, racism. President-elect Donald Trump has been both praised and had stones cast his way for the way he chose to run his campaign. The manner in which he chose to conduct himself in and the rhetoric used both seemed to hold a common tone: hate. Hate for Muslims, hate for Hispanics, hate for women who chose to get an abortion… hate for any one that he deemed “wrong”. Trump rallies and protests often turned violent, as the hate speech that was shown first hand by their candidate flooded the nation. Trump, instead of being torn down and defeated by criticism, only fueled the fire of hate and separation across the nation by encouraging his supporters to act out. One cannot help but to think that this kind of strange and widely-accepted racism, brought on by Trump’s hate speech, lead to the creation of movements like Spencer’s “alt-right” group. One also might associate the two men together because of their more obvious traits, both men and coated with white privilege.

The article written by Christopher Hooks also provides excellent examples of different cultural values coming into play. On one side, you have the white Nationalist, Richard Spencer. Given the article and information at hand, one can take away that Spencer’s cultural values reflect the idea of white supremacy, even stating, “at the end of the day, America belongs to the white men” (Barker). Spencer seems to feel that just because he is white that he is above anyone else that falls under a different racial category. He has been recorded time and time again talking about his goal of building an ethno-state and does not seem to be changing those intensions any time soon. Choosing, instead, to promote his movement at any given opportunity.

On the other side you have people like the thousands and thousands of Aggies and people-alike who’s cultural values involve acceptance to diversity. Although “Texas A&M University was ranked the most conservative college campus in the country, according to Princeton Review in 2016” (Hooks), the university is known throughout the nation for it’s upstanding moral behavior. As an Aggie, you are taught to uphold the six core values: excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. This article and the events that were held on campus stand as proof to the kind of cultural values the university holds dear to their hearts. By allowing Richard Spencer to speak on campus, even though they were completely against everything the speaker stood by, Texas A&M honored one of their core values by respecting his difference in opinion. They showed leadership by proving to a nation that it is possible to stand up in the face of adversity and peacefully protest against something that you do not agree with. They showed integrity by showing up to the multiple events in large numbers and standing with their fellow brothers and sisters to “celebrate the triumph of human spirit over hateful spirits” (Hooks). Texas A&M University proved to the world that in a time of heat, anger and hate… love, indeed, conquers all.

Although staring into the face of someone that does not share the same cultural values, ethnic backgrounds, or worldview may be challenging, it is important that we stand as the UNITED nation that we sell ourselves to be. We must remember that when the time comes where you are challenged with a point of view like Richard Spencer’s that is so radically different than your own, to instead challenge that hatred with love. The key to love and acceptance is realizing that the truths that others hold so dear are just as true to them, as yours is to you. Namaste.

Works Cited:

Graham, C. (2016, November 22). Nazi salutes and white supremacism: Who is Richard Spencer, the ‘racist academic’ behind the ‘Alt right’ movement. In The Telegraph.

Hooks, C. (2016, December 9). When the Alt-right Meets the Aggies. In Texas Monthly.

Mugdown Staff. (2016, December 6). 7 Ways to Show Your Friends You Are Not a White Supremacist Today. In The Mugdown .

Texas A&M University. (n.d.). Aggie Core Values.

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Identity Reflection

If you would have asked me to identify myself a month ago, you might have got an answer that sounded something like, “I am a college student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi” and I probably would have stopped there. Now that I have dove more into depth about how many identities I am actually able to associate myself with, that question may be a tad more difficult to answer. Although I could sit here and list off at least two handfuls worth of identity examples that I associate myself with, I am only going to talk about what it means to be a white woman in today’s society.

Ever since we have started discussing white privilege in Intercultural Communication I have opened my eyes to see just how much leniency I am given based solely on the fact that I am white. I have come to be able to see the every day examples of separation between those who belong to the majority group and those to the minority groups more and more each day. Today, for example, I walked into Wal Mart with my mother and immediately my attention was drawn to the employee that was in charge of standing at the entrance/exit to make sure that no one walks out of the store without paying for his or her items. I was able to realize that my mother and I (both white, attractive, and “well-off” looking women) were able to walk straight into the store and have each of our “hello’s” met with a bright, eager grin. As my mother was busy gathering a cart for us to use while shopping, I happened to catch an African American walking out of the store after checking out her items. As she walked by the Wal Mart employee she took the initiative and, without skipping a beat, held up the receipt for the items she had just purchased. The employee had not even asked her for the proof of purchase but it was clear to me the woman felt, whether it had been done consciously or not, that she had to prove to the clerk that she had the ability to pay for her groceries on her own.

A typical day-to-day situation that I would have never even caught on or paid attention to even a month ago, was suddenly completely visible to me.

I know that I have never personally had to consider someone else looking at me and questioning if I had already paid for my groceries before but that is just a benefit and privilege that comes along with being white, fortunately for me and unfortunately for anyone that is not of the privileged race. I know that it is because of my white privilege that I am able to walk peacefully around any store without worrying about someone following me, just to make sure that I do not steal anything. Being white means that I will not have someone immediately question my morals, income or status when they first glance at me.

The other identity that I often associate myself with is being female. Being a female in our society means being in a “de-privileged” position. Our job opportunities even inexplicitly enforce this rank of power by providing a man who is in the same exact employment position as a woman a salary significantly higher than their female counterpart, solely because he is a male. In fact, our male dominated society is what is responsible for deciding the norm that men are just constantly going to be working harder than women and therefore should be compensated as so. This is just one way of identifying and explaining how identities are socially constructed.

Way back when America was “founded” by the settlers, the majority of these people were white, English men and these men were the ones in charge of establishing the new “norms” of their society. Fast forward a couple hundred years and these same behaviors, patterns, and habits that were established in the 1700’s are not far off from the societal norms that are still being practiced even today. History has continuously tried to show women that they are not capable of doing the things that men can do, that they only really belong in the household. Men still try to question my capabilities and skills every day just based on the fact that I am a girl and may not historically be known to be able to keep up with them.

For example, I once dated this guy that constantly tried to suppress my desire to “hang with the boys” by making me feel inadequate or unable to keep up with them while they participated in “guy stuff.” When they would play video games, I was never even given the opportunity to hold the controller because I was automatically expected “not to know how to maneuver myself through a racing game” because I was a female and females did not play video games… I thought that I would take that opportunity to gain access of the controller and educate them on what a successful female gamer looked like by stealing first place right out from underneath them so quickly that they did not even see it coming.

The next time I was discriminated against by the same group of guys based solely on my gender was when we had all planned on playing a game of basketball. If you have ever been a girl trying to play a sport with a bunch of guys, you have probably experienced exactly what I am about to say. Being female means that you are going to be picked as one of the very last members of your team. Then, when everyone does start playing, you barely get to see any playing time because no one ever passes you the ball based on the assumption that you cannot handle the pressure or competition.

On the other hand, there is also power in knowing and realizing these biased, gender-based assumptions. When you understand that someone is undermining you, you are then able to come out of nowhere and “wow them” with your just-as-impressive skills and hopefully make them wonder why they felt the need to question your capabilities in the first place. Being female means constantly trying to prove to yourself and everyone else that you deserve just as much recognition and respect as your male counterpart. Being female means constantly having to try to find ways to prove your competence when your male counterpart sits back, criticizing, and watching you struggle to do so. It means being expected to be okay with having to sacrifice your own desires, wants, and needs for a man’s because society has deemed them the superior gender… Well I, for one, am not okay with that. We need to get away from these kinds of gender and race-based discriminations. We need to get away with the obsession of power and privilege.

Our society is constantly overly consumed with the “us v. them” way of thinking and until we realize that the only way to make it through this world is if we do it together, we will never be able to alter these socially constructed and supported identities.

A Tribute To An Amazing Man

Jorg, I have been at a loss for words and my heart has been in so much pain. I will never be able to say enough wonderful things about you, old man. I have never loved playing softball for someone so much. You were the glue that held our team together. You were always encouraging us to become the best versions of ourselves. You taught us to stand up and look fear in the face and not only conquer it, but beat the living hell out of it. You taught us to be strong and to never give up. You taught us to Kick It In and to Get Big. You were the silliest and happiest old man that I knew and you had a smile and laugh that would make every one else roll on the floor in tears… You were not only my coach but my mentor throughout high school as well. When I was struggling with my classes I was forced to choose a teacher that would help encourage and inspire me to do better. I chose you. I couldn’t think of a better person to do that job. There has never been a person that has kicked my ass and pushed me to excel in every aspect of life more than you did. I will carry the life lessons that you shared with me for the rest of my life. You were a huge contributing factor to the woman that I have become. You believed in me when I couldn’t even believe in myself. You had the biggest heart and I’ll always be eternally grateful for all of the love that you constantly showered over myself, my family, and the rest of the team. I’m so thankful that I was able to keep coming back to visit you and the team these last couple of years. I remember when I told you about my big trip this summer (before I had even told my parents), that you were over the moon with excitement and pride for me. You told me that you had no doubt in your mind that I would be able to conquer and finish my trip with flying colors. I know that when I stand on the top of Mt. Whitney this summer that you will be there with that goofy smile and those sincere eyes and you will tell me how proud you are of me. I remember that I would laugh when you used to say that to me and you would say, “I’m serious!” and I knew that you weren’t lying. I can’t even begin to explain how much of an honor it was to play for you for three years and to have been able to have you as a mentor and friend for six. You were loved by many and now you will be missed by so many more. I’ll never be the same because I knew you.  I’ll miss and love you forever Jorgy. May your soul find the peace that you were looking for. 13015193_666589668436_2985985239711971641_n.jpg555815_479184638796100_1668197122_n.jpg13001235_10208251014786409_9011886817508640172_n.jpg13043645_10209414585387431_3472062845015681649_n.jpgIMG_0260.JPGIMG_0552.jpg13055436_10209346357635713_8246855156409237734_n.jpg269913_10150280188583255_374978_n.jpg

Manipulation Through The Media

In American culture today it is imperative that we are aware of the kind of manipulation and corruption from all sides of the media that we, as the consumer, are constantly being showered with. When dealing with the mass media we need to look at everything that we are given not only thoroughly, but critically as well.

Whether you are a journalist, a reporter, in marketing, or even working in public relations, there are certain codes of ethics that you are encouraged and expected to live by. However, the lines seem to be getting more and more blurry between what is ethical and what is not. As a young woman growing up in American society, the type of ethics that I am particularly interested in are the Ethics of Care. Ethics of care, or feminine ethics, challenges many of the traditional ethical systems and speaks to issues in modern society and communication” (Pavlik & McIntosh, 2015). Our nation is constantly focused on one thing and one thing only, money. Companies and corporations from all over the country will do what ever it takes, whether it may be ethical or not, in order to make a buck. This kind of attitude that we have been programmed to accept can be problematic in more ways than one.

An issue that is in the forefront of my mind is the medias sexualization of women. In every advertisement, whether it is on television, online, in a magazine or on a billboard, you are bombarded with images of what our society has deemed as “attractive”. The mass media is so focused on the idea of making money that they go as far as hyper-sexualizing the beauty standards. We are taught through the media that you are only beautiful if you have large breasts and a large behind, do your hair and make up every morning, and are also skinny. Women are being taught that if you do not look this certain way that you will not receive attention from a potential mate. Young women are making conscious decisions to send out or post pictures up on their social media accounts half or even fully naked and then parents and other adults from latter generations are always wondering why on Earth they feel the need to degrade and objectify themselves. One might find it easy to be able to just shake their head, to call these girls “sluts” and go on about their every day life, but it is important to realize where these kind of behaviors derive from.

If you think about it, these same young women have been growing up with nothing but hyper-sexualized advertisements being shoved down their throats their whole lives. The only thing that they are being told is what you should look like in order for people to like and accept you. The media, from day one, teaches women that what we look like on the outside trumps what kind of person that we are in the inside. The thousands of young women who are falling into these traps, including myself, are only being set up for failure. Even the models that are constantly being flashed throughout the advertisements of different company’s products do not look as good or “perfect” in person as they do in the images. Young women are being fed false expectations and then are being expected to live by this “norm” that has been created by corporations and companies whose only concern is whether or not their products are selling. Media and society sets the unrealistic bar on what women expect themselves to look like, how women are supposed to be seen in the world, and how they view themselves. What everyone tends to forget to tell these young women though is the fact that it is all complete bologna.

It should come to no surprise to anyone that sex, does indeed, sell. The media, knowing this tidbit of information, sends out the message that woman need to be beautiful in the eyes of others, particularly men, to be accepted into our society. We are being shown in the media from time and time again through music videos, certain sporting events, car advertisements, etc., that women are only good for “looking pretty”. This is the underlying reason behind why young women feel the need to reach out and grab acceptance and love through exploiting their bodies. They feel that if they are “beautiful”, by society’s terms that the rest does not necessarily matter because that is exactly what the women are being indirectly told. It does not matter if a woman is smart, or strong, or accomplished, because whether we like it or not, we do not gain the same kind of respect and authority that a male does. This can be shown through looking at the minimum wage for women versus men. Women, no matter how hard they fight for their degree or education, will never make the same amount as their male counterpart who may or may not have worked just as hard as she did, simply because he is a male. Knowing this, why does it come as a surprise to every one when women are more focused on sexualizing their bodies instead of fighting harder for their education if no matter how hard they work, they will still be the fairer of the sexes? This is not the women’s fault because these standards are created and maintained by the media. In order for our culture to make more changes in the way that women view themselves as a whole, we need to first set the standards for every man or woman equally.

The authors of Converging Media, Pavlik and McIntosh, go on to discuss that mass communication, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, helps reinforce the roles of men and women in society. With knowing this information it is clear to see why it is important that we, as a society, are aware of the type of messages that are being sent out into the world because whether we know it or not, the information that is getting fed into our brains by the mass media shapes how we view the world and our own self worth.

 

 

 

References:

Pavlik, J. V., & McIntosh, S. (2015). Converging Media: A New Introduction to Mass Communication (Fourth ed., p. 294). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The Liebster Award

I would just like to thank my dear friend, Sea the Sunshine for nominating me for the Liebster Award. To my understanding, the Liebster Award is a way to promote, support, and get to know your fellow bloggers! It is a pretty cool feeling knowing that someone thinks that what I have to say is something important enough to check up on every now and then. Thanks for all of the love and encouragement that you continuously engulf me in, Val. You inspire me in more ways than you know.

Here are my answers to the questions that Sea the Sunshine asked:

  • If you could create one law in your country, what would it be and why?
    • I would make marijuana 100% legal. There are way too many people being criminalized  and imprisoned for a beneficial plant that was put on this Earth by “God” himself. The fact that the government is still able to call a NATURAL HERB that has been growing on this Earth since the world even existed illegal is absolutely ridiculous. How about we focus on more important and horrible things that are going on in the world and stop imprisoning innocent people that are just trying to enjoy THEIR life they way that THEY want to. 
  • The doctor just told you, you have 24 hours to live, how do you spend them?
    • I would want to spend my time letting all of my closest family and friends know how much I love and appreciate them. Time is too short. Tell your loved ones that you love them while you still can and hold them close. 
  • What is your latest music album recommendation?
    • I am going to recommend West of Calgary by Shakey Graves. If you like listening to pure, raw vocals along with some guitar picking, he’s your guy. Shakey is a blues/folk/rock musician straight out of Austin, Texas. This album is perfect for easy listening and letting your creative juices flow while you’re busy stuDYING, doing homework, blogging (like I’m currently doing to “Unlucky Sin (Show Me Shows)”), etc.  
  • What is one thing about you that you wish everyone knew?
    • I wish that everyone knew their self worth. It is so important that we are taught self love from a young age. The way that we view ourselves as a young child tends to play a huge role in the way that we carry ourselves in the future. There are already plenty of people trying to tear you down and make you feel bad about yourself, why be one of them? Love yourself. 
  • If you could go back and change 1 thing from your past, what would it be and why?
    • I would have taken AP or Pre-AP classes in high school because only taking level classes my whole life did not prepare me very well for college work. Plus, nobody tells you this, but starting your college career with absolutely no credits really sets you back. I am technically supposed to be starting my senior year next year but due to starting college with 0 credit hours, a major change and two school transfers, I’m going to be graduating a little later than expected. Be sure to try and knock out as many college credit classes in high school while you can so that you will be prepared and give yourself an extra foot in the door from the get go. 
  • Who is your #1 role model and why?
    • I’m just going to go ahead and group my parents into one person, but I would have to choose them. They choose to stand by, support and love me all while I continuously throw curve balls their way. They both have given me so much in life and if I turn out to be half the parent that they were to me then I’ll be incredibly lucky. 
  • What inspired you to create your blog?
    • I have always been the person to have a diary of some sort so it really should not be a surprise to anyone that I have started this WordPress blog. Whether it’s a diary, a journal, a blog, or a Word document on your computer, I believe that it is important to write your thoughts and experiences down because some day your memory might not serve you as well as it once did and having your memories jot down already lets you relive your favorite (and maybe not so favorite) moments as often as you read them. Reading about old thoughts and memories also serve as an excellent learning tool. When I go back and read my entries, I am able to see living proof of my personal growth and it encourages me to keep pushing and moving my life forward in a positive direction. 10/10 would recommend doing this. 
  • What is your favorite city in the world and why?
    • I have seen a very limited number of cities in the world but my favorite city so far is Jackson, Wyoming, more commonly known as “Jackson Hole”. It is one of the top tourist cities in the United States and it is not hard to see why. The city sits in a valley with Yellowstone National Park on the north, the Tetons on the west, the Gros Ventre Mountain Range on the east, and the Wyoming Range on the south. It is the most beautiful, quaint little Midwest town that you will ever visit. Even the sights you see on the drive into the town will take your breath away. Although it is nearly impossible to find a permanent place to stay there since the property value is so high and ignoring the fact that it is a wee pricey, it is definitely a place that is worth your time, investment and vacation destination. 
  • Recommend your #1 travel destination.
    • Yellowstone National Park. From being greeted by the magnificent Tetons on your way in and the vast wildlife throughout the park, the beauty around you is endless. This beautiful park will leave you riding around in the car (or walking around) with your mouth hanging wide open in awe. Again, 10/10 would recommend. 
  • Share your favorite memory from your life so far.
    • As you can probably see, my trip to Wyoming last summer is my favorite memory so far. There were way too many wonderful things to say about this trip to capture only one favorite memory so I am just going to leave the link to the video my best friend of 8 years, Hannah, and I made of our adventures (starring my other best friend of 8 years, Cynthia). 

Ten Random Facts About Angela:

  1. I have one older brother and two younger sisters
  2. I have always wanted to live a part of my life in Australia, or at least visit
  3. I never want a 9-5 office job. Life is WAY too short and the world is WAY too big to be cooped up in a cubilce all day. Life can be an adventure if you make it. Don’t limit yourself to a 90 sq. ft. work space.
  4. I was a softball player and a dancer all the way up until college
  5. I am a “yogi”
  6. I am going to be hiking the 211 mile John Muir Trail in California this June
  7. I wanted to be veterinarian or zookeeper growing up until I visited Texas A&M’s vet program and realized how much school I would have to go through… no thank you, I’ll just continue to be a pet owner!
  8. I’d consider myself more emotionally intelligent than “book smart”
  9. I used to want to be named Maggie growing up. I even went as far as writing “Maggie” on my lunch box and water bottle in elementary school. Don’t worry, I quickly outgrew that phase. No offense to anyone who might be named Maggie, I just really love the name that I was given now.
  10. My favorite past time is hammocking! Alone or with friends, either way it is relaxing and the perfect way to spend time in the beautiful outdoors!

My Nominated Blogs: 

Inner Afflictions

Guardian Esma

Rhinestones & Luggage

Florence Advocate

My Questions for the Nominees:

  • Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
  • Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
  • What has been your biggest challenge?
  • What is your biggest success up until now?
  • What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already?
  • What does your perfect day look like?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
  • University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
  • What does your life say about you?

 

The Official Rules of The Liebster Award. 

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions from the Blogger that nominated you.
4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
5. Ask your nominees to answer 11 questions.
6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1,000 followers.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so they can learn about it and know what to do! (they might not have ever heard of it!)
9. Post your Liebster Award blog post link in the comments of your nominator’s Liebster Award Post
10. This is no official rule but it would be nice if you followed the person who nominated you.

Women and Peer Pressure Due to Social Media

Growing up as a woman in today’s society comes with many day-to-day issues and pressures that many people, particularly men, do not understand. At all hours and minutes of the day women are bombarded with different kind of advertisements that are describing to us what physical appearances society views as acceptable and beautiful. We, as a society, need to kick what ever kind of unrealistic views that we have about the word “beauty” aside and open our eyes to what beauty really is; confidence, peacefulness, radiance, and happiness.

Ever since I can remember I have had a problem with my self-image. As a little girl I would watch television, walk around, read magazines and see advertisements all explaining to me how society expects a girl to look. She needs to be healthy, skinny, have a full figure, wear make up, act a certain way, etc. If you looked at my childhood picture you might notice that I kept my baby weight a little too long. I had chubby cheeks, a little belly, wavy, short hair and glasses. I was a dorky looking tomboy that was secretly paying attention to the way that boys would would chase the other smaller girls around the playground and I would always be thinking that, “maybe if I lost some weight that they would do the same to me”. I began sucking in my stomach when I would walk around school, I became active in many sports, and after I went through puberty and started taking care of myself, boys began to notice me and I started to gain a lot of confidence from the feedback that I was getting.

Keeping that image of a healthy, skinny body after you have gone through a weight change before is what I struggle with today though. Looking around at pictures of today’s models and girls on the internet that boys and society agree on being the “ideal body” for a woman, it is hard to look in the mirror and constantly be happy with what you see staring back at you.

In high school I particularly struggled with the sickness of bulimia and as sad as it is to say, it is a disease that way too many girls fall into the trap of. The trap of believing that your God given body is not good enough for a man, not to mention you, to love. Bulimia is a very serious, dangerous and addictive disease. Personally, as I would look around at all of my beautiful friends and advertisements and pictures of the “ideal bodies for women”, it became a mission to push myself to do anything that I could to meet those requirements. This included falling into a victim of bulimia, diet pills, obsessive work out regiments, and simply not eating. The problem was though, I was not the chubby little girl that I used to be. I was considered healthy, skinny and “normal”, but when I looked in the mirror I saw myself to be a lot larger than I actually was. According to the authors of Eating Behaviors, one variable that has consistently predicted increases in disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction is internalization of the thin ideal (ITI). The authors of that same article go one to say that “although some degree of ITI might be healthy, problematic ITI often occurs among those who perceive themselves to weigh too much, but who are in the healthy weight range”. This is the kind of trap that I was stuck in and that I still struggle with today. I am considered a skinny girl for my age, but I as I stand at 5’9” and 147 pounds, I am not and will never be considered a “small girl” either. This kind of thought process is all too common with women of all shapes, sizes and ages, it always has been and it unfortunately always will be.

Those kind of self-image, bad habits peaked my freshman year of college; I gained 15 pounds, on the dot, without even realizing it. I was too focused on all of the fun I was having that I forgot about the calorie intake that I was consuming on a day-to-day basis. Being the kind of person that I am, driven and obsessive, I began to dive back into working out and started eating clean and healthy for the first time. I decided that I wanted to push myself to lose weight the healthy, right way and to learn to love myself in the process. I wish I could sit here and honestly tell you that I have stopped that kind of behavior all together, but I have my occasional slip ups where I fall back into old temptations of taking the easy way out.

The pressure of being perfect and looking perfect constantly surrounds the public and masses with the minds of millions of people every day. All social media outlets are full of advertisements for beauty products, weight loss pills, and so much more. When I go onto my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account I immediately see hundreds of pictures of beautiful women every where and when you are surrounded by those images being thrown at you it is hard to not be affected by the way that it makes you feel about your own body.

As I grow older though I am becoming more and more aware of the pressures that companies and corporations are purposefully putting on the public with their only motivation being that of making money. Do not fall into the trap of the marketing world. Do not let them tell you what beautiful is and that it can only have one kind of look. Understand that every person is beautiful and that as long as you are healthy, happy and confident with yourself that you should not worry about what your body looks like; you should know that true beauty comes from within. Be proud of who you are.

 

References:

Juarascio, A. S., Forman, E. M., Timko, A. C., Herbert, J. D., Butryn, M., & Lowe, M. (2011). Implicit internalization of the thin ideal as a predictor of increases in weight, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating. Eating Behaviors (Vol. 12, pp. 207-213). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Ltd.

More Information About Bulimia

 

JMT

I either just have made a really stupid mistake or a really wonderful decision. I guess it all depends on how from now to June goes…

I just bought a train ticket from San Antonio, TX to Merced, CA. My friends Mauro, Martin, David and I are all getting off in California and hiking the 211 miles of the John Muir Trail for almost a month, starting June 7th. I have never been so excited and nervous about something in my entire life. It will not only be physically exhausting but I am sure it will take a toll mentally too. I am prepared to be challenged in ways that I could have never even imagined. I am excited to see what I am really made of and to see if I am actually the adventure type or if I have just been all talk. I am ready to do something extremely out of the box, adventurous, random, and challenging for myself. This is how I have always imagined my life to be. This long trek that takes almost a month to complete is going to test my patience, my relationships with my friends and my body (both mentally and physically). Time to start training and mentally preparing myself. I am ready to take on this challenge.

Adventure is out there people, you just have to be confident enough in yourself to make it happen! I cannot wait to turn one of my dreams into reality!

For those who do not know anything about the JMT, here’s a link to find out the basics of it if you’re interested.

http://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/john-muir-trail/

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Lost

“It’s normal for young adults to feel how you’re feeling. It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life….”-Every adult, ever.

For almost two years now I have been feeling really lost and have not felt like myself. I often try to think and come up with things that I excel at. To be truthful, I am good at a lot of things. I am athletic, I am artistic, I make pretty good grades… etc. If I really start thinking about it though, there’s not something that I am excellent at.

Maybe my problem is that I just do not care enough. I did not care enough to want to play softball in college. I know I could have done it, but I did not want to put in the extra 1,000 hours of practice in order to achieve that goal. I can sing well, but I never had the courage to actually do anything with that talent. I am a pretty decent artist-I can sketch, but nothing that compares to the Van Gough’s of our generation. My grades are alright… mostly A’s, B’s and the occasional C, but I could never be like my 4.0 older brother and little sister. Maybe this is the reason that I never had an idea of what I wanted to grow up and do.

I have decent things to offer the world. I have a kind heart, a positive attitude (most days) and I am a hard worker when you need me to be, but I just have not found my niche. I just feel like I am constantly trying to find my place in the world and I am walking around with a blindfold on. Honestly, I take things day by day. I picked Communication as my major in college only because I had no freaking clue what else I would do instead. As a junior in college, this is not your ideal situation. People my age know exactly what they want to do. They know exactly what to study, what to specialize in, what to minor in and what to get their masters in. They are already out getting internships for companies that they are dying to work for in the future, they are already getting stable jobs, hell, they are even getting married and having kids. I feel like I am just incredibly lost. That I am completely unprepared for the real world and that I am being thrown to the wolves. I wish I would just wake up one day and have a goal for my future, but I just don’t. For now I am just blessed to be able to wake up, take a deep breath and begin my day every time the sun rises, and that is good enough. I am just hoping that I find where I fit in this world sometime soon.

Isn’t everyone?

“I’m not looking to be found, just want to feel (un)lost.” -The Maine