Sunday, May 31, 2015

All White Everything

5.31.15 marks the day of New Trier High School's Class of 2015 Graduation. But before a New Trier student can graduate, along with meeting all the graduation requirements, students must find the perfect dress or get fitted for a crisp white tuxedo. While at other schools in the Chicagoland area, students dress in caps and gowns and dresses of a variety of colors. But New Trier students must follow the "Dress and Tuxedo Guidelines" and dress in all white. Here is a screenshot of the guidelines below:
This unique tradition has been around since the origins of New Trier. But here's the real question, why all white? Does the color white symbolize the upper class? The color white has the connotation of being pure, clean, and blemish free. The denotation of white according to is  "of the color of pure snow." In  F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, white is used to describe the "rippling and fluttering" white dresses of two very wealthy female characters, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker. Maybe white signifies the upper class because if you get a piece of white clothing dirty, you need to have the money to take it to the dry cleaners to get it removed.

Due to the affluent area that New Trier resides in, does wearing all white for a high school graduation signify the upper class? Is it symbolically saying that "we are apart of the upper class?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Everyday Things Women Pay More For Than Men"

How much do you pay for your everyday products? Recently I watched a Buzzfeed video that explored the price differences between women's and men's health and beauty products. You can watch that video here if you want but what I found was shocking.

For a standard Degree brand Deodorant marketed towards women, the cost was $4.69. But the cost for the equivalent Degree brand Deodorant marketed towards men, the cost was $2.99. For one stick of women's deodorant, a man could buy 1.6 sticks of his own. I also find it particularly interesting that the women's deodorant bottle was more brightly colored with light pastels and pretty blues versus the dark and harsh blues and greys of the men's deodorant bottle. This just begs to ask the question, why does this happen?

According to this Business Insider article, a California study done in 1995, "revealed that women pay $1,351 a year more for the same products as men" which proves that gender-based pricing also known as the "pink tax" is very much a real thing. Some companies defend that women pay more due to other factors such as complications in the bottle and packaging.  But why is the packaging different  for women than it is for men? Is it fair that women have to pay more for the same products as men?

This kind of related to my junior theme topic of the gender wage gap. With women already making less than men and having to pay significantly more for products, should the government get involved and do something to further make way for gender equality?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Getting Started

On April 12th, Former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton released a video called "Getting Started" on her official YouTube channel. You can watch the short 2 minute video down below:

The video starts to depict what people around the nation are "getting ready" for. From families getting ready to move to a new area, to people getting ready to retire; a wide variety of age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation were represented in this video.

I found it interesting how every single group of people in America that you could think of were represented in her campaign announcement video. What is also interesting is that Hillary Clinton herself does not even show up until about ninety-seconds in the video. She states, "I'm getting ready to do something too, I'm running for President."

I think that the reason why almost every single group of people were represented in this video is because one of the large criticisms of Hillary Clinton is that she is not relatable what so ever to the general public. If you even Google her name one of the top websites that comes up is the Daily Caller's article on "Here Are 17 Reasons It's IMPOSSIBLE for Hillary Clinton To Relate to Normal Americans." I think that the purpose of this video was not only to announce her 2016 Presidential Campaign, but to also make her more relatable to more Americans. The way that she says that shes getting ready to do something "too" hints at that. '

Did this video successfully make Hillary Clinton more relatable to the general public? Or does her campaign team have more work to do?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14th is National Equal Pay Day--For A Reason!

As many of you may or may not know, April 14th is National Equal Pay Day declared by the United States Department of Labor. This date may seem like random date to choose but in reality, this date has a lot of meaning. April 14th 2015 roughly marks how many more days women must work to earn what a man made in 2014. (Times). 

I find it completely unfair and absurd that women still make less than men even in the same jobs. The gender pay gap has been something that has interested me because it affects so many lives of American families today. Women make up half of the labor force of the United States and some how women still make less than men do. With the start of my Junior Theme Research Paper, I decided to do my paper on the general why question: Why do women earn less than men in America? 

I think that it is completely insane that even in an advancing generation like ours, the pay gap has still not closed. Many factors such as education, gender roles/stereotypes, and discrimination play a role into why the gap exists but what else can we do as a society to close it? Women should not be treated as second class citizens so isn't it time for equal pay? Due to the Junior Theme Research Paper, my blog will now feature more posts about the gender pay gap and women's rights due to the research of my paper. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Netflix Warns its Viewers to "Binge Responsibly"

With Spring Break coming to a close, that means its time to get off the beach and back to the reality of school work, not sleeping in until an ungodly hour in the afternoon, and for many, not binge watching Netflix. Netflix is a digital streaming company that gives its viewers seasons upon seasons of television series/shows.

On April 1st (April Fools Day) Netflix began to warn its viewers who watched more than two consecutive episodes of a show about the effects of "binge watching" TV. All the messages that warn viewers about the affects of binge watching were taken off after April 2nd. Binge watching is defined by Google as "watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession." A message such as this one would often pop up to tell its viewers to take care of their personal hygiene:
Netflix advises its viewers to Shower as an April Fool's Day joke
But in all seriousness, binge watching television programs can actually effect your health. According to Lilian Cheung, Director of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, she states, "There's convincing evidence in adults that the more television people watch, the more likely they are to gain weight or become overweight." Sitting and watching Netflix in a sedentary position for a long period of time seems to be linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. So although Netflix was kidding around on April Fool's Day, Netflix viewers should take into account the affects of binge watching and remember to: binge responsibly.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

University of North Carolina: Fake Classes and Fake GPA's

College sports have been the center of attention lately due the Final Four college basketball tournament coming to an end. Collegiate student-athletes often have a lot on their plates whether that be practice, a social life, and school work. An article on CNN brought to my attention that at the University of North Carolina (UNC), a prestigious university known for their many sports teams and rigorous academic curriculum, thousands of student-athletes for over eighteen years were enrolled by academic advisers to take fake "paper classes" to keep the athletes eligible to play in collegiate sports. The fake classes were called "paper classes" that never met and only had a "final" paper. The university is now being held under investigation by Kenneth Wainstein, a prosecutor hired by the university to independently investigate the academic fraud.

The scandal was brought into light by Mary Willingham who is a learning specialist on the UNC campus. Her job was to help athletes who weren't prepared for the academic work of the university. She stated that she, "kind of panicked" when she was helping a basketball player who could not read or write. CNN states in their article that, "many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level."

After reading the many articles about the academic fraud committed by UNC, my first reaction is complete shock. But my question is; if there were students that couldn't read past the eighth-grade level, then how the hell could they get into college? The college process in general is quite the journey so how are universities such as UNC allowed to let illiterate students in? The answer to that is simply: sports. 

College sports teams such as UNC who've won many national championships in various sports often receive a hefty amount of money and funding. Therefore, colleges across the nation tend to focus a lot of their attention on sports. UNC is most likely not the only college who "aid" athletes by offering fake classes to raise GPA's. But to what extent is this fair? Should our nation's love of sports and athletic affairs cloud college life and the college admissions process? What about that one kid who has a perfect 4.0 GPA and studies to become a lawyer or a doctor but, does not get into because they chose an athlete over that one student? Should we value sports over academics?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Germanwings Crash: Searching for Answers

Three days ago a Germanwings passenger plane crashed into the side of the French Alps killing all 150 people on board the aircraft. There has been speculation that the co-pilot of the flight, Andreas Lubitz crashed the plane purposefully. The Germanwings flight was en route from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. You can see a timeline of events of the plane here.

It has now been revealed that the Germanwings co-pilot Lubitz had an illness that he had kept secret from his employer. CNN states that, "investigators found ripped, recent medical leave notes, including for the day of the offence (crash)." This leads to, "preliminary conclusion" that "[Lubitz] kept his illness secret from his professional environment." The prosecutor did not reveal what the illness was.

The use of the words "preliminary conclusion" is interesting to me because it shows that what they have found is not final and that there could be more answers. A lot of people have jumped to conclusions thinking that the Co-Pilot crashed the plane on purpose, but in reality, no one really knows yet.

I find it interesting throughout this whole tragedy that mostly everything is inferred from the evidence that was given. Everything that is said on the major news networks such as Fox News and CNN is an interpretation.There is no one answer to this tragedy yet and it still remains a mystery why the plane was crashed. It could have been intentional or it could have been an accident. It is interesting to see how every country is helping somehow to find the answers as to why the crash happened.