Friday, April 23, 2010

A Woman's Voice

I recently attended the Women's Studies Research Symposium on campus and listened to a very interesting speaker from The Ohio State University, Linda Mizejewski. She is a professor of women's studies herself and has written books on how women are treated in pop culture. The purpose of her speech at the symposium was to give the audience a preview of her new book entitled "Women on Top," which discusses women's place in the comedy world.

One part of her speech mentioned "bodies" in pop culture, mainly how women are viewed compared to men and what is considered beautiful by the masses. I thought it was a very intriguing topic and decided to share a bit with you to show how we, as humans, have the tendency to create certain standards when it comes to attractiveness in society.

I apologize for the audio. My voice recorder is on the verge of a breakdown...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Wrong Way

In class the other day, my professor posed a question. The question isn’t the main point of concern, but rather the manner of the answer. A classmate raised his hand and gave a response. My professor began her retort with the infamous, “Well … ,“ which led to my classmate to give the equally infamous “But, uh, um, wait … that’s not what I meant,” response.

It seems like a lot of people are afraid of being wrong, like as soon as they say something incorrect it’s going to be stamped to their foreheads and the whole world is going to judge them. Being wrong shouldn’t be, well, wrong. It’s just a part of life like everything else.

An article from explains this fear a little more. It starts out by calling “failure” a “dirty word.” People feel that failing makes them losers, and people feel sorry for losers in society. The article also suggests that no one likes to be pitied, so failing is simply a taboo.

Learning how to fail is the best way of dealing with it. Accepting being wrong instead of being ashamed of it can be a way of becoming successful. Only if a person allows their failure to defeat them does that person really fail.

The article goes on to say that unless a person fails well, he or she probably didn’t learn too much from the experience. It says “truly successful people not only have failed, but also are good at failing.” The key to success just may be learning to fail well.

In my own opinion, being wrong can make a person feel inadequate, but copping out and not accepting the failure is cowardly. A person who is truly confident with his or herself will try to grow from their mistake and only learn more. It’s not wrong to be wrong. And that’s the right answer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thank You For Being A Friend

I was sitting in the park on a gorgeous spring day when I saw a group of old women talking and laughing at a picnic table by an old oak tree. They were all wearing red hats, so I assumed they were probably members of the “Red Hat Society.” For those unfamiliar with the group, it is for women over the age of fifty who come together in friendship. They are like a flock of beautiful birds, often seen perusing theaters, parks and other places of social gathering just to enjoy each other’s company.

As I was sitting in my car, alone, seeing these women taking pleasure from just having others to talk to, I hoped that I would have friends when I became older one day. It must be nice to have someone to talk to who can relate to the things you are going through yourself. But, after reading an article on, there is much more good in having friends at an elderly age than just the conversation.

A new study suggests that older people who spend less time engaged in social activities tend to decline faster in motor function than those who do. Participating in mentally stimulating activity, socializing often and regular exercise may actually help protect age-related decline.

Carl Cotman, a neuroscientist from the University of California who studies aging and dementia, said that physical exercise produces a protein that helps keep neurons from dying and formulates new connections to the brain.

Furthermore, a study conducted in Illinois shows that on a 1 to 5 range scale, where 1 is the least active and 5 is the most, each one-point dropped meant a 33% physical decline, a 40% increased risk of death and a 60% higher risk of disability.

So tell Grandma to get off her rocker and go make some friends. It’s good for her.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I feel pretty and witty and...

Just the other day, I was in the library looking for research on a paper I have to write for my art history class on “Lesbian Artists.” The subject of gays and lesbians isn’t really something that bothers me. I’ve always believed that a person should spend their lives with the one who makes him or her the happiest, no matter their gender. But as I walked up and down the aisles of books filled with gay content, I started to feel uncomfortable.

Seeing the words “The Lesbian Menace” or “Boy Meets Boy” as I filtered through the books wasn’t the issue; more or less, I didn’t want anyone to see me looking at them. I didn’t want anyone to think I was gay.

As I say down with my stack of research literature, I made a point to cover up the titles of the books. A girl passed me, and I never moved so fast in my life to hide what I was reading. It was then that I thought to myself, “What am I doing?” I had never had a problem with gay people, why would I fear people believing I’m one? Though I am a not afraid or offended by homosexuality, I fear being viewed as one. I wondered if maybe I, along with many others, have a form of homophobia.

I had always thought throughout my lifetime that being homophobic meant hating the gays and not wanting to have any sort of contact with them. But according to, there is a range of homophobia. It can be seen as:

1. Hostility toward or fear of gay people;
2. Negative feelings or attitudes towards non-heterosexual behavior or identity; or
3. Social ideologies that stigmatize homosexuality

I tried looking for more information on why people are fearful of being seen as gay in a society that accepts the lifestyle, but “fear of being gay” didn’t even register in Google’s top searches. It’s interesting to see that even in today’s world, homosexuality is still difficult to discuss. I’m interested to see what others feel about this situation, so please leave a comment if you have an opinion.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Morbid Thought

As I was driving home through a small community of houses, I spotted an old woman walking toward her mailbox. She was moving very slowly, her body dripping with wrinkles and her head wrapped in a rag. Watching her move down her driveway so vulnerably, I couldn't help but feel sympathy toward her because I figured she is in the final years of her life.

Then, as I thought more, who is to say that she won't live more years than I will? As I'm driving along, watching old people along the road, apparently, I could easily drive off the road and crash into a tree, and my life would be over. Death can come to anyone at any time, and that idea is a fear that many people think about day after day. But death is inevitable; no one can escape it. So why fear it? An article from dealing with, though extremely spiritual in nature, greatly describes a few ways in which people can better come to cope with the idea of death, rather than be afraid of it.

First, the article suggests planning for death as a way of coming to terms with it. Wearing a seat belt while driving can be a way to rid the sense of danger, the possibility of death, while on the road. While there's nothing that can be done about the how the other drivers conduct themselves, at least the person wearing a seat belt is trying to hold avoid death as long as possible.

Additionally, living life without regrets and avoiding the idea that life is meaningless can also be helpful. Live life wisely, and leave an imprint on the world of positive actions. Instead of being afraid of death when the time comes, the article advises to "feel like a child returning to the home of its parents, and pass away joyfully, without fear."

It is an extremely touchy and emotional subject, but it is one that every person should consider in his or her life. Though it's not something to dwell on, being prepared is a way to grasp the ordained which cannot be escaped. For now, focus on the life you are given and make it worth the experience.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weather You Like It Or Not...

The sun has come out, along with the long-lost people from the winter months. Looking around at the smiling, active faces of those taking advantage of the warmth and sunlight, it can truly be said that the outdoors can improve a person's mood.

An article from says that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can actually cause depression in the long, gloomy days of winter. When the sun finally breaks through the clouds, melatonin and serotonin hormones begin to flow throughout the body, causing mood to be elevated.

"We tell people to take advantage of the sunny days," says Dr. Ani Kalayjian, professor of psychology at Fordham University. "Leave the computers and the indoor games and get out there in the sun. That's when they can recharge their batteries—recharge their serotonin—and maintain higher mood.

Taking the doctor's advice, here at 10 outdoor vacation spots around the country that can show the beauty of nature as well as keep your spirits alive.

View 10 Outdoor Vacation Spots in the U.S. in a larger map

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eye Can't Look

As I was walking down a long hallway to class, I recognized a girl on the other end coming towards me who was also going to the same classroom. I saw her, she saw me, we both made eye contact then quickly darted our heads to the side like we didn’t see each other.

Afterwards, I thought to myself, why did I just do that? I didn’t dislike the girl, and I’m normally not an unfriendly person, but I felt as if avoiding eye contact was something I just habitually did and it has finally become a natural reflex in my day-to-day routine.

Living in a society where confidence with others is seen as a powerful characteristic, I was brought to understand that eye contact is essential in a social forum. I also believed that thought was universal around the world. After researching the subject more, I found an article on that explained how many different cultures actually treat eye contact in different ways.

United States- Here, eye contact means that you are interested in the other person. Looking away shows disinterest or distraction. It can also be seen as a lack of self-confidence.

Western Europe- Eye contact is similar to that of the United States. Eye contact here often sparks conversation. Also, it can be considered more flirtatious than in the U.S., meaning travelers to Europe should be careful of how eye contact is made.

Middle East- It is much less common and less appropriate to make eye contact because of class issues. Muslims have strict rules about eye contact between the sexes, where woman can hardly ever look a man in the eye. Intense gazes between men can show sincerity and dominance.

Asia, Latin America, Africa- Extended eye contact can mean a challenge of authority. Long gazes at a superior can be disrespectful. Brief eye contact is considered polite between the different social registers. Japanese women avoid eye contact to be polite.

Just remember when traveling to other countries, the tourist attractions are a sight to see, but depending on where you are, maybe eye contact is better kept on the monuments.