🖤 Black Lives Matter! 🖤

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It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Somewhat forgot it existed. But so much has happened this year and it’s only June. We had World War Three Scares, the fires in Australia, the pandemic and so much more. But I’ve come to revive this blog to speak up on the #blacklivesmatter movement and the murder of George Floyd as well as many other black people, who did not deserve to get their lives snatched away from them.

Educating yourself is important in bettering society and opening our eyes to the reality and cruelty that is racism and discrimination. You can skip this post and disregard it but you should be playing your part in educating yourself.

 

#blacklivesmatter

trayvon martin

On February 26th 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American student was shot to death, unarmed. Martin was visiting relatives at the Twin Lake housing community in Sanford where George Zimmerman, a community watch member, reported to the non-emergency police number that “there’s a real suspicious guy” and that he “looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something”. The police suspected Zimmerman was following Martin in which they told him “we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman replied by saying “okay.”

After the call with Zimmerman and the police, there was a violent dispute between Martin and Zimmerman, even after agreeing not to follow him and that was when Trayvon Martin was shot by the back door of the house he was staying at.

At first Zimmerman was not charged but eventually, he was charged and tried but in July 2013, he was acquitted by the jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

 

A petition to prosecute Zimmerman was created on Change.org in 2012, resulting in 2.2 million signatures, the biggest petition in the site’s history. There were marches and rallies, one of the biggest being the “Million Hoodie March” where protesters wore hoodies to symbolise how Martin too wore a hoodie that night and they protested against racial profiling used against non-white youths who wear hoodies. Social media blew up with opinions on the acquittal of Zimmerman.

In 2013, Obama gave his speech about the trial and race in the US, adding “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” There were peaceful rallies that followed this across many cities.

 

Black Lives Matter - Wikipedia

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The 2013 acquittal of Zimmerman on the charge of murdering Martin, inspired a Facebook posting that included #blacklivesmatter, which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement created by Black organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.

That’s how the movement began.

 

George Floyd

Jay Park, Tablo, others speak out against murder of George Floyd + ...And now, as you all know George Floyd was murdered, also unarmed. And many more black people before him. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Samuel Dubose. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Terrence Crutcher. The list goes on.

George Floyd was murdered by white policeman Derek Chauvin with the help of three other officers, who kneeled on his neck preventing him from breathing. Much like Eric Garner, he repeated “I can’t breathe” multiple times before he died. His cause of death was asphyxiation AND RACISM!

He was arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20. Compare this to Dylann Roof, a white mass murderer, who executed the Charleston church shooting. Unlike George Floyd, only suspected of forgery, Dylann Roof was arrested peacefully for his murders. He was not killed.

Floyd’s death was a result of inhuman police brutality. And that police brutality stems from the already existing racist system. It did not become like that, it was built like that. Built on black slavery.

 

But George Floyd will not die in vain.

 

White Privilege 

A lot of people over the past weeks have been unclear on what white privilege is. It’s the advantages that come from simply being white. It means that as a white person, you do not need to fear that your skin colour may jeopardise your survival. It means you don’t have to deal with uncomfortable conversations in your day to day life. It means you don’t have to feel alienated, ostracised, judged, isolated, ridiculed in many situations just because of your skin colour.

You can be poor, disabled, gay, struggling and still have white privilege. We’re not saying that your life isn’t hard but your skin colour is not one of the things making your life hard.

It exists due to historic and enduring racism. As Little Marvin stated, “your white skin privilege is not a benign and celestial gift bestowed upon you. It is a benefit accrued over generations of erasure, and genocide, and enslavement, and torture, and capture, and segregation, and redlining, and predatory lending, and prison pipelining, and exclusion, and dismissal, and contentment, and convenience, and complacency, and neglect, and apathy, and silence. It didn’t materialise. It calcified. It wasn’t earned. It was stolen.”

 

White privilege allows more opportunity. I watched this video a while ago but it still stands and portrays white privilege quite well.

 

Yes, all lives do matter but not all lives are in danger. Black lives matter is shining light and attention onto the fact that society does not think that black lives matter. Blue lives, on the other hand, do not exist as being a police officer is a choice not an unchangeable identity; a job that requires you to protect others but that is not what is being demonstrated.

 

You may not have even realised you have it but it’s important to acknowledge it and use your privilege to help those who do not have it. There’s no shame in deciding to educate yourself and changing your opinions and actions because of it.

You need to play your part as a non-black member of society. Having to constantly educate and spread awareness can be emotionally and physically exhausting for black people so don’t let it rest on their shoulders only. It’s not just their responsibility to educate.

Use your privilege to fight black oppression.

“One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.” – Ibram X. Kendi

 

What to do

It’s easy to say black lives matter and to say you stand as an ally. It’s easy to simply post a black screen for #blackouttuesday but what else are you going to do? It is not enough to just not be racist, you should step up and be actively antiracist. You should not stay silent. 

 

»Donate:

Donate if and where you can. I’ve listed below places that you can donate to. However, if you can’t donate, Zoe Amira has posted an hour long YouTube video of art and music from black creators that will create a lot of ad revenue that will be split between different black lives matter organisations. All you need to do is stream it. Click here. Do not donate to change.org as donations only go to them, not the causes.

Organisations to donate to:

 

»Petitions

we live in a world where trained cops can panic; act on impulse but untrained civilians must remain calm with a gun in their face

If legally able to, try and sign these petitions below.

 

There are many more organizations and people to donate to and other petitions to sign HERE. Ones including those related to other black people who were murdered.

Signing petitions does make a difference. The three officers are now charged and the degree of murder was raised to second degree.

The George Floyd petition is now the biggest on change.org with over 13 million signatures.

 

»Learn and Listen

Go that extra mile in being an ally and educate yourself and others through films, books and podcasts, articles, etc.

TV Shows and Films:

  • When They See Us
  • The Hate You Give
  • 13th
  • Dear White People
  • Selma
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • Black Power Mixtape

Books:

  • Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria
  • White Fragility
  • Me and White Supremacy
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  • So You Want To Talk About Race

There are many more things you can check out HERE including other books, films and podcasts, articles, websites, etc. Please have a look.

 

»Social Media And Protests

how to protest safely

Use your social media platform to spread awareness and information for others to learn from. Even if it’s just ten people viewing, that’s still ten people you’re influencing. Spread awareness amongst family and friends by bringing up these conversations.

Protest if you can. Make sure you bring water, food, hide anything identificable on your body, wear masks, know your rights. I understand going to marches and rallies may not be accessible or an option for you but you can protest in other ways for example, calling out the behaviour of racists, support marginalised businesses and refuse to support companies who are not fair or who are not antiracist.

 

This is not just a trend – black lives always matter.

“It may take a while to comprehend your role in racist systems, but keep in mind that people are dying while they wait for you.” – Jen Winston

 

-Shay

What Is Schizophrenia?

As you may or may not know, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week so I feel obligated to make a Mental Health Awareness post.

However, I feel like on this blog, I have spoken about depression and anxiety quite a bit already, educating and informing and even sharing my own experiences and others. Overall, mental health isn’t really talked about as much as it should. Depression and anxiety, two very common disorders, aren’t even talked about enough so imagine other disorders, which aren’t as common. Such as Schizophrenia.

(I’m going to litter this post with a bunch of art done by people with schizophrenia because I think it’s really interesting and beautiful)

 

At the beginning of this year, I learnt about Schizophrenia as a whole topic in my Psychology A Level. Before we first started being educated about it as part of our course, many people in my class were led on by some misconceptions, which I will clear up now since they are very common misconceptions.

  • Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder (it can change qualities about a person’s persoanlity but it doesn’t cause a split personality).
  • It’s not necessarily a violent mental illness (a small amount of people with schizophrenia can be dangerous, the same way a small amount of people with depression or no mental illness at all can be).
  • People with schizophrenia need to be hospitalised (they do not and I will go more into this as the post progresses).

 

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is considered a mental illness, consisting of positive symptoms (an excess or distortion of normal functions) and negative symptoms (a loss of normal functions), which is why schizophrenia is so hard to diagnose and classify. Disorders like depression consist of mainly negative symptoms like poor hygiene or loss of pleasure for hobbies, rather than both positive and negative so can be easier to diagnose.

Here are just a few schizophrenia symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorder
  • Avolition
  • Speech poverty
  • Slow movement
  • Poor hygiene
  • Changes in emotions and body language

There are actually many many more symptoms of schizophrenia, which can also be symptoms belonging to other disorders. Avolition and poor hygiene, for example, are also symptoms of depression. Hallucinations and changes in emotions are also symptoms of bipolar disorder. People with schizophrenia also tend to possess other disorders too; a study showed that 50% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia have depression, 29% have PTSD and 23% have OCD. This makes classifying and diagnosing schizophrenia difficult, which can be really dangerous for the person as they may get inappropriate and/or ineffective treatment.

 

Some Interesting Facts!

  • It affects about 1-2% of people (% may be higher depending on if you are related to someone with schizophrenia).
  • Suicide is a severe risk in those suffering with schizophrenia.
  • The risk of schizophrenia is the same amongst all genders, countries and cultures, however some cultures and genders may be diagnosed more due to racism, sexism and ignorant perspectives.
  • It is most likely to affect people ages 16-30, especially if there is a big change in that individual’s life.
  • You can recover from schizophrenia but it’s the chance of this is not that high.

 

What Causes Schizophrenia?

The cause for schizophrenia is a hard one to pinpoint, as it is for most mental disorders. Schizophrenia is also aetiologically heterogenous, which is just a fancy word for ‘different combinations of factors leads to it’. I’m only going to explain a few factors today.

  • Genetic: Some people may have genetic variations associated with increased risk for schizophrenia, usually coding for dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter.
  • Dopamine: The brain may produce abnormally high amounts of dopamine and/or there’s too many dopamine (D2) receptors in dopamine synapses.
  • Ventricular Enlargement: Some people may have an enlargement of their brain cavities, which may be a result from the season of birth effect. People born during winter months may be more vulnerable to this, supposedly, as medication taken by pregnant women, who have viral infections, can cause foetal brains to be damaged.
  • Expressed Emotion: The disorder may result from being in a family characterised by hostility, critism, over-involvement and over-concern.
  • Schizophrenogenic Mother: A result of living with a cold, rejecting, controlling mother, who creates tension and secrecy, leading to distrust and paranoia. (This theory is a little sexist and outdated).
  • Dysfunctional Thought Processing: Metarepresentation, the ability to reflect on your thoughts and behaviour and have insight into your own intentions and goals, may be impaired. Central Control, the ability to suppress automatic responses while you focus on something else instead, may also be impaired. (This sounds, to me, more like the result of having Schizophrenia than the cause)
  • Childhood Trauma: Events in the person’s childhood can lead to the development of schizophrenia later on.

 

There are many treatments as a result of these different explanations such as drug treatments to tackle the dopamine problems, therapy treatments to target family issues and own personal issues. Token economy is also used within institutions for severe cases. These treatments are much better than what was once used a while ago. Schizophrenia is feared and rejected from society, even now, but a while back, it was considered this terrible thing and was treated maliciously. People were cut to allow them to ‘bleed out’ the disorder. Some people were kept in cages, some were rotated. Lobotomy was used, as well as electrocution. It was pretty grim. Although treatment is 100 times better now than the olden days, it still isn’t perfect.

 

Scientists and doctors view schziphrenia as an “illness” that needs to be “cured”. However, there is a big difference between what the scientists/doctors’ explanations and the actual sufferers’ experiences. A more humanistic approach looks through the eye of the sufferer and focuses on the human capacity to overcome hardship and pain by sharing experiences rather than just taking drugs and being hospitalised. And yes, the drugs may help the biology aspect of the disorder but taking drugs and being talked about as a crazy person, who is ill, can cause the person with schizophrenia to internalise the stigma put on them. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy and actually make their schizophrenia worse. It can also lead to suicide as they may feel like a burden.

It doesn’t help that there is a Western emphasis on taking drugs for literally anything mildly wrong. An internet survey found more than 1/2 of schizophrenia websites are funded by drug companies so there’s already a bias towards taking drugs. Drugs may not be the best option, for most people. A Dutch man, Hans, said to his schizophrenia support group that the voices he was hearing started to become nasty and mean. The support group told him to demand the voice for respect in return for respect to the voice and the voice actually became nicer and easier to live with. Therefore, a possibly better option for people with schizophrenia is to stop looking at them as ill people and instead as people going through a different experience to most people, helping them to adapt their lives to live and cope with their schizophrenia rather than trying to get rid of the disorder. In fact, there was a study that found out of some post-mortem examinations, only the patients, who received anti-psychotic drugs, had increased levels of dopamine and/or resistance to drugs.

I personally think that a mixture of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes/adaptations and support from people around the person suffering, is the best treatment. However, this can be quite demanding for the person suffering.

 

Prevention And Coping Advice:

  • Make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Practise relaxation techniques.
  • Look to friends, family and others for social support.
  • Don’t do drugs, kids.

 

Schizophrenia is a rare disorder but should still be made aware of. You shouldn’t be scared by people with schizophrenia and empathise with their situation rather than fear it. The crazy man talking to himself on the bus may just be responding to voices he is hearing – it’s not harmful. People with schizophrenia are just like you but are just dealing with different experiences, which can be very tragic (some lose jobs, relationships and even lives). It is a complicated disorder, in which treatments, causes and the way we view it are all up for debate but at the end of the day, it’s another mental illness, seen as a taboo, which it should not be.

Spread your awareness for schizophrenia!

 

-Shay

Everyone’s Unique!

Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions, stated by Wikipedia. And also apparently known as astrology for smart people. Choose what you believe! 😂

 

The idea is, you are categorised into one of 16 different personality types depending on your mind, energy, nature, tactics and identity.

You can take the test here or allow me to explain what each letter represents in the types. However, take the test anyway (it’s obviously more accurate than me explaining).

 

Mind

Mind is in regards to how we interact with our surroundings. In terms of MBTI, you’re either introverted or extroverted. But what about ambiverted, Shay? The test gives you a percentage of what you are so you may get 43% introverted and 57% extroverted, indicating you’re about 50/50 (an ambivert) but shows you’re predominantly extroverted.

‘I’ obviously stands for Introverted. Introverts prefer activities they can spend by themselves and have to recharge by being by themselves. They can get exhausted by social interaction and can be sensitive to external stimulation like sounds and smell. A misconception is that introverts are quiet. This is not necessarily true as it’s more about social preference rather that how much you speak, etc.

‘E’ stands for Extroverted. Extroverts prefer social activities and are energized by social interaction. They may be more enthusiastic and excited than introverts but again, being an extrovert does not necessarily mean you are loud and talkative. There can be quiet extroverts too.

 

Energy

Energy refers to how we see and process the world and are divided into: observance or intuition.

‘S’ stands for obServant and describes people as “highly practical, pragmatic and down-to-earth…focusing on what is happening or has already happened”.

‘N’ stands for iNtuitive and described people as “very imaginative, open-minded and curious…preferring novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.”

 

Nature

Nature is all about how we make decisions and cope with emotions. There’s either thinking or feeling.

‘T’ stands for Thinking and focuses on “objectivity and rationality, prioritizing logic over emotions.” T personalities usually hide their feelings.

‘F’ stands for Feeling, explaining these people as “sensitive and emotionally expressive…more empathetic and less competitive.” These types focus more on peace and harmony.

 

Tactics

Tactics reflect on our approach to work, planning and decision making. You’re either judging or prospecting.

‘J’ stands for Judging, people who are “decisive, thorough and highly organized…valuing clarity, predictability and closure.” I see these types as the planners and organizers! A big misconception, I’ve noticed, is that these people are bossy and boring. This is far from the truth as I know many fun and easy going J’s.

‘P’ stands for Prospecting. These people are “good at improvising and spotting opportunities…tend to be flexible, relaxed, nonconformists.” I see these people as spontaneous and procrastinators. A misconception on these types is that they are active and love the outdoorsy kind of people. P’s can be lazy and can even hate the outdoors. It’s more about being spontaneous with how you make decisions and your approaches to situations.

 

Identity

This type shows how confident a person is in decisions and abilities. You’ll find no one really mentions this part of their personality but it is still part of it.

‘-A’ is Assertive, meaning “self-assured, even-tempered and resistant to stress”.

‘-T’ is Turbulent, meaning “self-conscious and sensitive to stress…likely to experience a wide range of emotions”.

 

 

My personality type is ENFP-T, A.K.A The ‘Campaigner’. I did the test around 2014, then at around 2017 and again, today (2019), and I’ve gotten the same ENFP-T result (but not exactly the same percentage) suggesting it is quite reliable. My type means I’m extroverted (I do feel more energized when with people and get very depressed when I haven’t had social interaction for a while). It also means I am intuitive, feeling and prospecting as well as turbulent. However, I feel like I’m a bit 50/50 when it comes to Thinking and Feeling but my percentage says otherwise. I, however, still think I’m about 50/50. ENFPs are part of the diplomat group. Yes, there are groups:

  • Analysts (_NT_)
  • Diplomats (_NF_)
  • Sentinels (_S_J)
  • Explorers (_S_P)

 

 

I, personally, think MBTI is really interesting and useful.

  1. Mental Health – The decision making, abilities and approaches of an individual can help with mental health as it takes into account the person rather than isolating and reducing them to just their mental illness. For example, as I said, I get depressed when I haven’t had enough social interaction. I feel like I need to recharge by socialising instead of being by myself to recharge. This can be taken into account to help to encourage people to place themselves in situations, which satisfy them and ‘recharge’ them. Keeping an extrovert alone will only make them more depressed.
  2. Understanding Perspectives – These personality types can help people to come to grips with the fact that everyone has different approaches, decision making, abilities, etc. Therefore, I feel like it encourages people to  understand we’re not all going to see the world and certain situations in the same way and encourages us to be accepting of everyone as we all have different personalities. For example, a J (judging) is more likely to approach schoolwork, for example, with schedules and good planning whereas a P (prospecting) is more like to procrastinate and be more spontaneous with how they work, doing it when they get bursts of motivation. It can help you appreciate the differences in how people are.
  3. Story Writing – For a while, now, I’ve been using MBTI to build up characters in my stories. The types help to see how characters may respond in situations in the story and can help to develop them.
  4. Realizing Your Flaws – If you lack insight into your personality and weaknesses, MBTI is good at pointing out your strengths and weaknesses, highlighting areas you can improve in, for example I can improve in my practical skill and limit how much I overthink (cause I do that A LOT).

 

That all being said, the little letters you get as a result of the MBTI test is just a brief outline of your personality. Obviously, you have more depth that four/five letters and it doesn’t do justice to your identity but it gives insight. One INTJ may be funny whereas another INTJ may not be. The 16 personality types does not mean there are only 16 kinds of people in the entire world.

I do highly recommend doing the test, though. It’s interesting and fun and highly highly detailed if you read through all the information they give you about your personality type and you can find out what celebrities have the same personality type as you! Amy Schumer and Danielle Radcliffe apparently have the same personality type as me. 😄

 

Comment your personality type!

 

-Shay

 

P.S. All the images used are from the 16 Personality Types website as they’re so vibrant and well drawn. Credit to the illustrator (it’s not specified who).

Women In Science!

In celebration of both International Women’s Day and the start of British Science Week (8th-17th March), today I’m making a post dedicated to and appreciating women in science.

 

In the 19th century, women were excluded from formal scientific education but later on in the century, there was a rise of women’s colleges, providing scientific jobs and educational opportunities for women scientists. Also in the late 19th century, on November 7th 1967, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win the award twice. As of 2018, 51 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize. (This could actually be a higher number as you’ll see if you continue reading.)

Women in science has greatly motivated and inspired me to work in science and get involved in that community. I bought a book, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofksy, entitled Women In Science, which is a collection of pages dedicated to the work and achievements of different women in science, so I picked eleven to share with you today!

 

Hypatia – Astronomer, Mathematician and Philosopher

Image result for hypatiaHypatia was one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians, born between 350 and 370 CE in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father, Theon, a famous scholar, instructed her in maths and astronomy and she became an expert in both. She was one of Alexandria’s first female teachers and people travelled from faraway lands to listen to her speak. However, the religious tensions in the area became violent and she was killed around 415 CE, due to her ‘pagan’ teachings, by extremist Christians. Hypatia is a symbol for education in the face of ignorance.

 

Elizabeth Blackwell – Doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell set  herself on the path to becoming the first female medical doctor in the Related imageUnited States. She was accepted into Geneva Medical college but had to sit separately from the male students and even the teachers were embarrassed by her presence in the anatomy classes. She made her thesis on good hygiene and how that can prevent the spread of typhus. In 1849, she graduated first in her class. With her sister, they opened the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1857, where they treated the poor and taught female medical students and nurses and later, in 1968, went on to found the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, and the London School of Medicine for Women, in 1874. She made it possible for women to become doctors and called for better hygiene standards in hospitals and homes.

 

Nettie Stevens – Geneticist 

Image result for nettie stevensStevens worked hard to save up money for her undergraduate education at Stanford University and PhD at Bryn Mawr College. She was a geneticist and found male insects had an XY chromosome shape but females had XX. She published her groundbreaking research in 1905, which changed many misconceptions like the sex of a baby was determined by what the pregnant mother ate. However, around the same time of her discovery, Edmund and Wilson made the same discovery of XY chromosomes and Edmund was awarded the Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, she will not be forgotten for her amazing research.

 

Mary Agnes Chase – Botanist and Suffragist

Mary was born in 1869 and enjoyed learning about botany, sketching plants and using her savings to take botany classes at the University of Chicago and Lewis Institute. She worked with Reverend Ellsworth Jerome Hill as he mentored her and she illustrated plants for his papers, which eventually landed her a job at Chicago Field Museum, where she was a scientific illustrator for museum publications and then, an illustrator for the US Department of Agriculture in 1903. Despite all this, another amazing thing she did was protest for women’s rights to vote in the US, even though she was at threat of being fired. She participated in hunger strikes, was jailed but helped to gain the right for women to vote in 1920.

 

Lise Meitner – Physicist 

Meitner was born in Vienna in 1878 and worked at a Chemistry Institute in Berlin in 1907, after receiving her PhD, but as she was a woman, she was unpaid and wasn’t even allowed to use the labs or toilets so did her radiochemistry research in a basement. She worked with another scientist, Otto Hahn, as they tried to create new elements but with the Nazi’s rise to power, Lise fled to Sweden since she was Jewish but exchanged letters to Otto about their research. Lise ended up discovering nuclear fission but was unable to return to Germany so Otto was awarded a Nobel Prize for their work without her.

 

Alice Ball – Chemist

In 1915, Alice Ball became the first African-American and first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii. At age 23, Alice developed a way to isolate ethyl esters in it’s fatty acids, found in chaulmoogra oil, to blend with water for injection as a treatment for leprosy. Those suffering with leprosy, at the time, were arrested and isolated but due to Alice’s treatment, the ‘Ball Method’, they were freed from exile. She found a cure for a what was thought of as a hopeless disease.

 

Gerty Cori – Biochemist

Gerty Cori became a biochemist at the University of Prague and received a doctorate in medicine. This is when she met Carl Cori, who she fell in love with and married. Not only did they become partners in life but also partners in science as they worked together and solved the mystery of how cells us sugar for energy (now called the Cori Cycle). They both shared a Nobel Prize, in 1947, but Gerty soon developed a bone marrow disease as she continued to work in the lab. Carl ended up carrying her to get around when she got too weak and she died in 1957.

 

Joan Beauchamp Procter – Zoologist

Joan was a zoologist, who endured chronic ill health. She kept snakes, frogs and crocodiles as pets and started working at the British Museum, in 1917, as an assistant keeper of reptiles and fish. She then became the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles, in 1923, and discovered a new species called the Peninsula Dragon lizard. She built houses for the reptiles specifically for them to make them feel comfortable and made it seem like their natural habitats with help from her artistic talents. Under her care, the reptiles lived longer in captivity than ever before. Her health, however, caught up with her and she made her way around in a wheelchair with her pet Komodo Dragon on a leash. She died at the age of 34.

 

Mamie Phipps Clark – Psychologist and Civil Rights Activist

Racial segregation meant Mamie wasn’t allowed in shops owned by white people and had to attend poorly funded black-only schools. She met her husband and future partner in psychology at Howard University, where she learnt psychology could be used to prove segregation is wrong. Mamie and her husband conducted the Doll Experiment, travelling the country and comparing responses of children from segregated and integrated schools. They found evidence that segregation damaged children and caused self-hate and this was used in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools.

 

Rosalind Franklin – Chemist and X-Ray Crystallographer

Rosalind’s father disapproved of women going to  university but she went anyway and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from Cambridge University. She spent hours, at King’s College, using X-rays on fibres of DNA, capturing a famous photo providing DNA is a double helix. James Watson and Francis Crick were also trying to figure out the structure and peeked at Rosalind’s work without permission, using her findings to publish their work. She was not credited in their work and they won the a Nobel Prize four years after she died from cancer in 1958. Watson wrote jeering comments about Rosalind in his book, The Double Helix, and admitted to looking at her data. We remember her as the woman, who should have won the Nobel Prize.

 

Valentina Tereshkova – Engineer and Cosmonaut

Valentina dreamed of exploring the world but her family was so poor they couldn’t afford bread. When the space race began between the US and USSR, where she was born, the USSR wanted to be the first to send a woman to space and since Valentina was in a parachute club, she was a perfect candidate. She was selected to compete with four other women and the training was intense but she was eventually chosen as the first woman in space. Valentina flew by herself on the Vostok VI shuttle in 1963 and orbited Earth 48 times, which set a new record. Her photographs in space helped us gain a better understanding of the atmosphere. She had a very bumpy ride back, nauseated and disoriented, but she earned a doctorate in engineering and worked closely with the cosmonaut programme after her trip. She now works for world peace. She is an amazing example that women are strong and tough.

 

It was very difficult having to pick a small amount of women from the Women In Science book. I highly recommend reading it as it is filled with such inspiring women from marine biologists to inventors and neuroscientists to psychoanalysts. A lot of these women were not only scientists but also film actresses, senators, authors, etc, which makes it that extra bit inspiring. Rachel Ignotofsky is also an amazing illustrator as the book is so beautiful! Most of what I wrote above has been taken from the book.

 

Although today is International Women’s Day and we should spend the day appreciating women, let’s not forget that everyday is a day to respect and appreciate women as well as other people.

 

-Shay

The Forbidding “Reds”!

I’ve talked about this before but deal with it, I’m talking about it again.

Periods, AKA this monstrous Saw III blood bath experience, is something most cis and trans women, as well as trans men, go through. And it’s really not a monstrous Saw III blood bath experience.

There’s a huge stigma around the topic of periods. Anything to do with it, really. Period poverty, sanitary pads, the symptoms, etc. It’s considered this taboo thing that we can’t talk about. So many people, even adults, laugh at the idea of it whenever it pops up in conversation or in the media.

 

But what are periods?

Periods, also known as menstruation, occur every month when the thick tissue lining the uterus breaks down and is discharged out the vagina (period blood). This all happens with the help of two steroid hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. However, periods are much more than this bodily function in bodies that help with preparation for a fertilised egg for a baby to grow. It’s an experience. There are several symptoms, which include bloating (that feeling you get when you eat too much because we’re all fat pigs) and cramps (they’re basically minor contractions) and acne, fatigue, headaches, muscle and breast pains, lower back pain, discomfort (especially at night lying down which leads to trouble sleeping, and something I call ‘period poos’ but we don’t have to get into that.) It’s also the experience of leaking and not being able to do certain activities normally e.g. swimming. Don’t get me wrong, periods shouldn’t be considered a burden and there’s always a way to overcome these issues and inhibitions because of it but I feel like not a lot of people, especially cis men understand the whole experience of it. Some people think periods are just a tap that we release when we go to the toilet, some think it’s a continuous non-stop thing, etc. The average menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days but periods last about four to eight days.

 

These stigmas and misconceptions and ideas are influenced by our education.

When I was in year five, doing sex education, we had a day where we learnt about menstruation. All the girls, and only the girls, were taken away. Not to another room away from the boys but away to another building (this cabin in the playground) so that we were secluded from the other year classes and from the boys in our class (because god protect their innocent little ears). Despite all this, our teacher spoke in a really soft quiet voice. This, I think, conditioned us to keep any talk of periods within the community of people, who have periods, and to be secretive about it. It made it seem as though periods are some dirty secret us girls (and trans boys) must keep to ourselves. In addition, I barely learnt anything from that lesson. I learnt that we bleed about one/two eggcups of blood but I don’t remember being specified how long periods lasted. I genuinely thought once you started your period, it would never stop until menopause (about 50 years old).

In fact, us girls also had to learn about what happens to boys even though the boys didn’t learn about what happens to girls. We learnt about sperm cells, obviously, but we also learnt about wet dreams and boners. We even learnt about masturbation! Not directly but we were told it’s okay to touch yourself and explore and discover parts of your body, whatever that means. So we learnt all of this, yet learning about the menstrual cycle and menstruation was such a taboo. It’s not very fair that the girls learnt about the experiences of boys but boys don’t learn about the experiences of girls. The argument that “boys are silly so we won’t teach them all of that” isn’t valid or acceptable at all. Boys may be “silly” because of the self fulfilling prophecy that they’re considered silly so must be treated in a way to accommodate to that. Not teaching boys about periods “because they’re silly” means when they grow up, they’re going to be silly about the idea of periods. It’s a cycle. And it support the quote “boys will be boys”, which is also an unacceptable excuse.

 

To tackle this issue, the education system needs to change. Teaching children, at a young age, while their brains are still developing, can create positive schemas, a framework that helps to interpret information, for periods. Sex education and PSHE lessons need to be changed so that every gender learns about periods to help normalise and take it seriously. We need to take it seriously not just because almost half the population experience it but because there are so many issues regarding periods such the financial and environmental cost (many menstruation products take ages to decompose) and period poverty, which is not being able to buy sanitary products due to financial issues and constraints. This is a big issue for homeless people, refugees, asylum seekers, etc. Period poverty is also a big topic that needs to be taught in schools (possibly in RS and PSHE). Here are some shocking statistics I found from Free Period

  • 40% of girls in the UK have used toilet roll because they couldn’t afford menstrual products.
  • Over 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty. If a girl misses school every time she has her period, she is set 145 days behind her fellow male students.
  • 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products according to Plan International UK.
  • Menstrual products cost more than £18,000, in a women’s life (£13 every month).

 

Education changes and matures attitudes towards topics, such as periods. And that’s exactly what we need! If people become educated, I’m so sure we could  make a huge difference to societal approaches to periods and issues revolving it.

I also think teachers and people, who have periods, shouldn’t talk to younger girls in a way that my teacher did with me and my class. We should discuss periods with girls so they feel comfortable with it and not scared of it and make them understand it’s a normal thing. The majority of the population wouldn’t exist without periods!

 

Here are some period charity websites you can donate to and learn from:

  • Bloody Good Period – “We supply 16 asylum seeker drop in centres based in London and Leeds, and our ambition is to supply many more food banks and drop-in centres across the UK, so that everybody has the right to a bloody good period!”
  • Action Aid – “Provide sanitary kits in our humanitarian response work, alongside other essentials including food, water and shelter. We have distributed sanitary towels (and aid) in crises.”
  • Freedom4Girls – “We actively support women and girls in both the UK and in developing countries, who struggle to access safe sanitary protection by offering not just disposables, but environmentally-friendly, washable re-usables and menstrual cups.”

 

What do you think? Do you agree with what I said? What are some other ways you think we can normalise and overcome the issues and stigmas revolving periods?

 

-Shay

Should White People Say The N-Word?

Today I want to talk about something that is very controversial, even though I don’t think it should be.

 

My school has several societies that involve debating, in which one would have discussed the issue of white people saying the N-word. However, this debate topic was cancelled due to it’s controversy and potential of making people upset, which I think was not a valid excuse to cancel a debate for. Debates are supposed to be controversial and is supposed to tackle and even cause cognitive conflict in order to bring right social change and justice. Anyways, I felt this was an important topic to be discussed since a lot of white people and people from other ethnic minorities that aren’t black throw around and use the N-word, without thinking. People that I am even friends with.

I’m not just talking about people who use the word as a way to discrimate and belittle black people. I’m also talking about, particularly in this post, the people who use the word casually, with no bad intentions, and in songs. I mean, I’ve had so many arguments at parties with white boys about this issue and have heard of so many situations where white people will agree not to say the N-word but will hypocritical say it when there’s an absence of black people. That’s still racist.

 

The History 

But before I get into my own personal opinions, let’s recap on the history of the N-word. It started with the word ‘niger’ in Latin, meaning black. Other languages adopted and adapted from this latin word, for example “negro” became the word for a black person in English, but not derogatory, and became the colour black in Spanish and Portuguese.

However, it was in the 1800s when it became a derogative term to use as an ethnic slur. It was and is mainly used against black people but other ethnic minorities have been targeted too. It became heavily used amongst people in day to day lives, featured in literature and was a term that “put black people in their place”. See, black people were considered less evolved cognitively, psychologically and socially, deemed as stupid, aggressive, and inferior. White teachers taught the white students, who were the children to grow up to be the next generation, that black people are less evolved in this way. The media portrayed and represented them as dangerous people and here to serve white people, etc. Everything was very unjust, in terms of education, treatment and the criminal justice system. Some of these unjust qualities are still prominent today but more of that in a different post. The N-word holds these racist connotations. It was normal and socially acceptable at the time to use this word and was heavily used to insult black slaves during the slave trade.

But times are changing.

 

Yes, They Should Be Allowed

Well, it’s just a word. The N-word consists of racist connotations but by using it today in society, we can create new connotations, that are more positive. And when used casually, there are not bad intentions.

Black people use the word, which is seen as accepting, but when white people (and other ethnic minorities) it’s seen as racist. That’s a double standard.

The N-word is in songs, films, literature. We are surrounded by it in society so we should not be blocked from using a word that exists. Freedom of speech!

 

No, They Shouldn’t Be Allowed

White people have more power and privilege in society than ethnic minorities, in general.  The same way white people have had more power in the past. When a white person uses the  N-word, it’s almost reinforcing a time of extreme oppression for black people. The word was formed as a degrading, dehumanising and racist slur by white people. So the use of it by white people, in this day and age,  is like passing on the word to generations like the white teachers taught the future generation of white children that black people are inferior. Not the exact same level of racism but the same sort of principle.

Other ethnic minorities shouldn’t use it because it’s still a racist slur against black people and racism is one group being discriminative to a minority group.

 

So why are black people allowed to say it? Because it’s being used within the sub group of people, who are the target group for the word. The N-word was formed to be demeaning and discriminative to black people, referring to them as property of “the superiors” rather than people (especially during the slave trade). Therefore, it’s more acceptable for a black person to use it because it was a word to oppress them. It’s all about context!

Let me paint you a picture. If my best friend came up to me and said “Hey bitch!” that would be more socially acceptable than a random stranger coming up to me and saying “Hey bitch!” Although the word “bitch” is still deemed a rude word, much like the N-word, it’s more acceptable for my friend to use it to me than a stranger  because me and my friend are on the same level within a subgroup, which is friendship. Me and the stranger are not within the same subgroup. Same with black people. It’s more socially acceptable for the N-word to be used amongst black people because they’re in the same subgroup, which is the black community.

And it is a double standard. Deal with it. A lot of things are and for good reason.

 

But what about songs?

click above for article on Kendrick Lamar calling out white fan for the N-word

Whether you feel that fate is leading your lives or God has a plan for you, you are responsible for your actions. Full stop. There’s this thing called locus of control, which is the extent to which people believe they are in control of their lives. And there’s two types. High internal locus of control, where people take responsibility for their actions and are more resistant to social influence, and high external locus of control, where people have fatalistic, ‘luck’ dependant attitudes and are not as resistant to social influence. In this situation, you need to have a higher internal locus of control. Just because Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West wrote a song that has the N-word in it, does not mean you can blurt it out just because “it’s in the song”. You have a responsibility to not say it. That’s if you have morals. And it’s not difficult either. Just don’t say it.

 

Also, as a side note: I’ve heard white people argue with the point that “it’s racist to use the term “cracker” against white people if they’re not allowed to say the N-word.” First of all, reverse racism doesn’t exist. Second of all, “cracker” was created as a word to empower white people as it represented the sound the whips made when beating black slaves. It was made to empower white people not dehumanise them.

 

My Opinion

Should people, who aren’t black, say the N-word. My answer: no.

It’s a racial slur, with racist connotations and history that it still holds, even in this modern day and age. I understand that it can make people feel uncomfortable, which is also why I think the word should be limited in use amongst black people but I think it’s okay for them to use it.

It used to be socially acceptable (in primarily white societies) in the past decades but as a society, now, we’re moving on to more equality and equity. 

That all being said, I strongly believe in freedom of speech. Say what you want. But with that, be prepared for the consequences of your actions (consequences like me arguing with you at a party XD ). And think before you say things. We need to minimise the amount of discrimination and the use of demeaning words like the N-word as well as, of course, staying woke. You can’t really afford to be ignorant right now so take responsibility and educate yourself on issues and controversial debates like this one!

 

What are your opinions?

 

-Shay

Study Drugs: Trick or Treat? | St. George’s University Spotlight on Science

Last Thursday, I attended a lecture at St. George’s University, about ‘study drugs’.

Study drugs are defined as  prescription stimulant medications that are used improperly by a person with a prescription, or more often, illegally by a person without a prescription, increasing concentration and stamina.

That’s the proper, fancy definition so to put it into simpler terms, they’re basically drugs that people use to help them work better or study better, kind of like the pill in Limitless, except these drugs are made for medication not solely for doing better in school, etc.

Minor examples of this include caffeine and cocaine but today I’m going to be focusing on other examples. Examples that include Strattera, which increases noradrenaline (a hormone with is involved in the fight or flight response), Ritalin and Adderall, which increase noradrenaline and dopamine. Modafinil is also an example but there’s not a lot of information known about it.

 

Raymond Hill, a professor in pharmacology, stated there has been a 56% increase for Ritalin prescription in the past five years, in England. He also claimed that they are being “regularly approached by students who feel under pressure to take drugs as they feel like they are falling behind their peers.” And that being said, I feel like it’s important to specify that Ritalin in a class B drug and can result in prison for five years just for possession of it.

 

Students are feeling pressured to take these study drugs to do well and survive the education system by consuming and even overdosing on these drugs, risking the fact they could end up in prison. I even know of someone, who takes study drugs to do well in school. Dr Jennings, a science communicator, showed the effects of increasing the dose of dopamine and noradrenaline, which some of these study drugs do. These are the stages of increasing the doses:

  1. Wakeful (cognitive enhancement)
  2. Vigilance
  3. Hyper-locomotion
  4. Mania
  5. Euphoria
  6. Psychosis
  7. Coma
  8. Circulatory Collapse

You might be thinking Hmm, why can’t you just stop using it when you feel like it’s going too far. Well, Ritalin and Adderall are addictive so it can be hard to stop once you start.

So far, we know study drugs are often taken by students to get an advantage in school but these drugs have severe side effects. You might be thinking these students are cheating and are too stupid to think about the consequences. And don’t feel too guilty if you do think that because I’m @ing you right now. I kind of thought the same too.

But then, Neil Gibride, a lecturer in education, opened my mind.

 

Me and My Best Friend in Chemistry

Gibride explained that GCSEs and A Levels, which are academic qualifications taken in secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges, in most of the UK, are designed so that 30% of students will fail! 30%!

The education system is a competition amongst young people, which parents and students try their hardest to get through. 1/3 of parents knew of other parents that used ethically dubious strategies to secure a good school place for their child, like using their grandparent’s addresses or moving house temporarily so they are considered in the catchment area of the school, which gives them more of a priority into getting in. Some parents send their kids to private tuition for the 11+ exam, which, by the way, has a substantial bias against some ethnic groups.

And once you’re in the school, if your grades are suffering, the school can do this thing called ‘off-rolling’. It’s the ‘removal by one means or another, of students from a school’s roll.’ They informally exclude students so they cannot impact the exam results and make the school look bad.  Off-rolling is basically a way to boost results and climb up the league table. It’s like one big unethical game.

Ofsted should really change the focus from competition to curicuulum. That way students would probably enjoy school and learning more and suffer less in terms of anxiety and mental health AND consuming dangerous ‘study drugs’.

Therefore, it’s ignorant and inconsiderate of us to neglect the understanding of human behaviour since it’s a dynamic between the individual and context, as Neil Gibride said. You can call it cheating but it’s almost as if society is designed to force people to end of seeking these drugs.

 

In conclusion, are study drugs a trick or a treat?

They are dangerous and can be lethal but they can work in enhancing cognitive functions. And students are regularly using them to pull through the competition pinned on them through the education system and Ofsted and because of their own mental health. Personally, I think it’s not worth taking. I understand the education system is corrupt and puts pressure on getting the best grades but they can take your life or ruin them. However, I don’t think it’s cheating, even though it may be considered that. Yes, these study drugs put students at an advantage but so does private tutition and the ‘ethically dubious’ methods I mentioned earlier, which are tactics that aren’t considered cheating.

 

What do you think?

 

-Shay

P.S. Don’t do drugs, kids, unless it’s paracetamol or calpol.

Disney Princess Lessons!

We’re back to life, back to reality. And back to school, learning, socialising, anticipating death to take us away. You know, the usual.

Most of the people reading my blog are still students and even though you probably had a bunch of lessons today, listening to your teachers, I wanted to reminisce and write about the OG childhood teachers, most likely if you are a girl. The Disney princesses.

A while ago, I saw the new trailer for Wreck It Ralph 2, which features the Disney princesses, and seeing them all together made me realise how much I actually love them, despite the negative implications they had on me and younger girls. 

There are a lot of negative connotations, morals and examples in the world of the Disney princesses, for example waiting for your prince to make your life better. However, today I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I’m going to focus on the positives, even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.

 

Snow White

Snow White is probably the dumbest Disney princess ever. But she’s cute so whatever. I think her stupid mistakes allow younger children to not make them. 

🍎 Snow White taught the lesson of not accepting food from strangers and in general, don’t randomly trust people you don’t really know because you can be taken advantage of.

🍎 She also showed that you shouldn’t be vain and arrogant as it won’t get you anywhere, exemplified by the Wicked Queen, and looks aren’t everything. Instead, sit down and be humble. Personality is important.

🍎 Be kind and considerate. Help out and be selfless and you’ll make good, trusty friends, who you can rely on, like the seven dwarfs and animals.

 

Cinderella

Cinderella isn’t one of my favourite princesses. I liked the mice more than her, in the film. I also had a doll of her, when I was younger. I scribbled on her face.

👠 Cinderella, let’s be honest, is a really hard working princess. And she ended up living a pretty decent life. It’s not everyday you get to be a princess. Although the fact she worked hard, cleaning, didn’t link with her becoming royalty, you can tell that the general idea is hard work pays off.

👠 Ignore your sisters when they’re being horrible.

👠 Don’t let people get you down like the stepmother and stepsisters.

👠 And never stop dreaming. Cinderella didn’t constantly feel sorry for herself, crying about her situation. She went to that damn ball.

 

Aurora

I’m not particularly fond of Sleeping Beauty, even though for most of my life, I convinced myself she had the same birthday as me. Princess Aurora barely speaks in the film so I couldn’t really think of much.

😴 Invite salty people to your parties because they may curse your children otherwise.

😴 Love can help you get through a sticky situation, even though it’s very creepy that some guy wondered over and thought it would be great to snog a girl in a coma.

😴 Also, that love may take some time to come into your life. Just be patient?

 

Ariel

I love Ariel! Personality wise, I think I’m the most like her. She used to be my number one favourite!

🐡 Never stop questioning and always be curious! Curiosity leads to knowledge and I think learning is so important. It can lead to loads of opportunities. Ariel was always exploring and trying to learn new things.

🐡 Ariel had a beautiful and powerful voice and although this may be a stretch, it could symbolise the power of freedom of speech. Voice your opinions and remember you can have your say. Don’t let people silence you like Ursula did to Ariel.

🐡 Parents are annoyingly over-protective sometimes and they’re doing it for the best. But Ariel showed that you don’t need to lead the same lives your parents had or you don’t need to live the life they want you to have. And it’s okay to want to do your own thing.

 

Belle

Belle is also one of my favourite princesses. I loved how she loves reading because I was such a bookworm. Back in the day…

🌹 Never judge a book by it’s cover. It might actually be a good book. But also, in terms of people, they may have a beautiful personality if you think their appearance is ugly. The Beast turned out to be a pretty nice guy and Belle gave him a chance.

🌹 Reading is great! So is intelligence.

🌹 Belle was kind and loving and that ended up creating a lot of joy and positivity whereas Gaston’s war and hate led to violence, darkness and negativity.

 

Jasmine

Jasmine was the first coloured Disney princess, which is exciting for a coloured girl, who barely saw coloured women on TV. Jasmine is a sassy, strong woman and I love that!

🐯 One of the biggest lessons I think Jasmine taught was to be yourself and don’t let other people tell you how to act like marrying some prince. And don’t let people boss you around.

🐯 Be independent. Jasmine showed that she isn’t to be controlled and does not belong to anyone. I feel like in the olden days, it was right for women and men to think that a wife is a possession of a man but that’s not true. You’re not a trophy on a shelf.

 

Pocahontas

I’ve only watched Pocahontas a couple times so I don’t remember as much as the others. Her hair is pretty cool though and I love how brave and courageous she is.

🍃 The song Just Around The Riverbend shows that there’s always hope and you should never give up.

🍃 Look after nature and do not exploit it. Pocahontas tries to tell John Smith that Earth isn’t something you can just claim and take advantage of.

🍃 Be brave and bold.

 

Mulan

I’ve always thought that Mulan is the coolest Disney princess. I also think the film was ahead of its time.

⚔️ She shows that women are just as strong as men are. It’s a shame she had to pretend to be a boy to be considered strong but she proves that women are just as much capable of doing certain things as men are.

⚔️ Family is important, which Mulan emphasises when she risks her life to save her father.

⚔️ As a girl (or even a boy), you do not need to be polite and sweet and dainty. You be whoever you want, just as Mulan did.

 

Tiana

When The Princess and the Frog came out, I was so excited! Disney was really doing well with whipping out all the ethnic princesses, which is so healthy for young girls to see, helping them feel represented.

🐸 Personality is key. Prince Naveen fell in love with Tiana, clearly, through personality as he didn’t care about the fact she was a frog. No offence to frogs.

🐸 Work hard and always aim for a goal/dream. Tiana opened up her restaurant through hard work and persistence and I think that’s a very important learning lesson.

 

Rapunzel

Rapunzel has a child-like, curious personality, which is something I deeply connect with. I absolutely love her! And the film is amazing!

🍳 She teaches the lesson that you shouldn’t be taken advantage of, like Mother Gothel took advantage of Rapunzel for her magical hair.

🍳 Rapunzel was brave, even though she was also scared, and stepped out of her comfort zone. I think taking risks and stepping out of what you’re used to opens up a ton of new opportunities and life experience, which you’ll never regret!

🍳 Don’t believe everything you hear. Mother Gothel lied to Rapunzel for her whole freaking life! You should always question things and make sure you understand everything going on. Also, don’t believe everything you see. as in The Snuggling Ducklings, the ‘pub thugs’ looked hardcore and fierce but all had goals and dreams and soft sides.

🍳 Rapunzel takes on like a billion hobbies to make up for her stuggle living in the tower. From experience, I can say new projects and hobbies help you through difficult times.

 

Merida

Along with Mulan, I think Merida is a boss! From her hair to her personality, she screams fierce and fiery.

🏹 Quite obviously, first lesson is to be brave. Merida is so bloody brave and it’s very inspiring.

🏹 Merida is extremely independent, choosing to control her own destiny instead of waiting for a prince, unlike some other princesses. *cough* Cinderella *cough*. Independence is so important, which I know varies amongst different cultures but it helps to make you your own person and build intuition.

🏹 Archery is Merida’s thing and she stands up for herself, stating she’ll be shooting for herself and going against the norms. Non-conforming in some instances is bad or inappropriate but right now, in this day and age, it’s what is propelling society in the right direction. Standing up for what you believe in and going against the norms is powerful and bold.

 

Elsa & Anna

I’m not gonna lie, Frozen is my least favourite Disney princess film. I’m not huge fans of the princess sisters but I do love Olaf.

❄️ Anna wanted to marry a man she had just met. In the end, we discover he’s the  bad guy. This just shows that ladies, put your books before your boys.

❄️ Elsa goes through a hard time, discovering herself and her body (not puberty though). She hides away but the film shows that your loved ones are there to support you and can help and comfort you. Don’t shut them out, whether they be friends or family.

❄️ Along with not accepting yourself and body…you should accept yourself and body. It’s a big ask but try and be confident.

❄️ Let It Go tells us to let our worries go and don’t let it break you down.

 

Moana

Moana is my absolute favourite princess, at the moment! She’s the first princess I highly relate to as she’s a brown girl from a tropical island! I was so excited when I heard it was coming out and I loved the fact that it’s one of the only princesses who don’t have a male love interest involved.

🐚 Moana followed what her heart told her, since she felt the ocean calling to her. Even if it means facing your fears.

🐚 Although this wasn’t Moana, Grandma Tala says she wasn’t afraid of what other people on the island thought of her. This shows that you shouldn’t be afraid to be different and unique.

🐚 Be strong and have confidence. Moana sails a boat, even though she didn’t know how and she set sail on her journey. She struggled but gained the strength to carry on, which is really important for everyone to remember.

🐚 Maui stole the heart of Te Fiti, which was a huge mistake but Moana helped to fix the issue. Don’t run away from your problems. Tackle them head on and it will reduce the stress building up.

 

In conclusion, most of the Disney princesses teach bravery, perseverance, kindness and the important of knowledge. I think those are pretty good lessons. When I was younger, I wasn’t a big fan of the Disney princesses and found them overrated but now that I’m older and there’s so much diversity amongst them, I understand and appreciate them more.

 

Currently, my favourite princesses are Moana, Rapunzel and Ariel!

Who are yours?

 

-Shay

Outrage Culture!

Today, I want to talk about something that’s important but everybody disregards. And that is, the fact that schools force children to learn different languages, different from their own, which in my opinion, is a clear form of cultural appropriation. Conditioning these young people, the future generation, to normalise and glamourize speaking a language that belongs to another country and culture is wrong!

OUTRAGE CULTURE!

 

What is Outrage Culture?

Outrage culture, also known as outrage porn (don’t ask), according to the great and brutally honest Urban Dictionary is:

“When people play the victim card and bend over backwards to be as offended as possible when they really aren’t. Using hissy fits, political correctness, character assassination, and a false sense of moral authority, the outrager hopes to gain power and public recognition for their brave act of justice as well as a sense of control over their meaningless existence. Often accompanied by demands for financial compensation for their “pain and suffering.”

 

With the positive that is the progression of society and social justice, a negative must follow. I think that negative is outrage culture… and arrogant, brave conservatives.

I’ve seen a lot of people use topics like feminism to the extreme in a way that is just ridiculous, for example, getting outraged at the fact a girl on a TV show wore the colour pink. What’s wrong with the colour pink, you ask? Well, it’s obviously stereotypical of women to wear pink and by wearing pink, that character is conforming to the stereotypes and enforcing other women to follow it, DUH. It makes serious topics like feminism seem stupid and something a group of overly sensitive people are a part of, when it isn’t.

 

One in particular case I want to talk about is the ex Cbeebies presenter, Cerrie Burnell. She was born with part of her arm missing. Parents complained about her due to the reasons that  it could “possible cause sleep problems” and “scar toddlers”. They also complained because it forced parents to raise a discussion about disabilities with children before they were ready, apparently. Let me repeat: parents complained. They went out of their way to complain and discriminate a woman, who has a disability, which she can’t change. Because. They. Were. Outraged!!!

I don’t understand why people go out of their way to outrage against harmless things. A disabled presenter on a kids show exposes children to the real world because there are other people in the world with disabilities. And other children, with missing parts of their arms, might feel represented and more comfortable and normal.

 

With all this outrage culture, content creators and social media influencers need to be extremely careful about what they say and put out online, in fear or offending and upsetting. I’ve heard people say that it’s the liberals getting too offended but it’s actually illiberal liberalism. It’s hate and negativity. Okay, it is important to educate and voice your own opinions but there’s no need to get overly offended and patronise and belittle people.

 

However, I was having a conversation with a boy, who is pretty homophobic (that context is important). We were talking in a group about outrage culture. At the end of the conversation, the boy said that there are so many people trying to promote more diversity and representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media and that it’s silly how people are so passionate about it since in real life, there aren’t that many people in the LGBTQ+ community anyway. I was a bit shook.

You best believe I put him in his place. This “outrage culture” is valid because it will allow society to move forward, positively, and it’s true that more representation of the LGBTQ+ community is needed. It’s important to note that this boy is slightly homophobic, of which he has admitted himself, and hence, would surround himself with similar people or at least, surround himself with no one involved in the LGBTQ+ community, so is probably why he thinks there’s not a lot of non-straight people.

 

Outrage culture can be, at times, quite debatable, for example, the whole fiasco with Moana and how Dapper Laughs, a comedian, whose UKtour was cancelled due to the rape jokes he made.

I personally think we all just need to chill. It’s important to raise awareness, promote positivity and diversity and point out when people are wrong and educate them but at the same time, everyone should be chill while doing it. I guess there are certain valid exceptions but at this point, it’s almost as if we’re not even allowed to talk anymore without offending anyone.

What’s your opinion of this dark side of social justice?

 

-Shay

Tears Are Okay.

Crying is seen as a weakness.

 

I find a lot of people prefer hiding their emotions and tears, which is also fine, but reinforcing to others that it’s a sign of weakness. I also find that amongst boys, it’s seen as weak, ‘gay’ and ‘girly’.

 

Today I’m going to tell you why it’s not.

 

It’s going to get a little science-y but I hope it’s not too confusing! When you’re stressed and depressed, your hypothalamus, in your brain, basically instructs the pituitary gland (the ‘master gland’ that controls secretion of hormones) to order the adrenal cortex to release cortisol. Cortisol is, basically, released to combat and deal with stress.

However, excess cortisol or high levels of cortisol can be really damaging, for example, it can cause:

  • High blood pressure (could lead to strokes)
  • Insulin resistance (can cause type 2 diabetes)
  • Carbohydrate cravings (provoking you to binge eat)
  • Fat deposits on face, neck and belly
  • Suppressed immunity (weakened immune system)
  • Loss of muscle mass (so actual physical weakness)
  • Loss of calcium from bones (again, physical weakness)
  • Loss of cognitive function (e.g. reduced memory, problem solving, etc)

 

Crying, however, releases excess cortisol in your tears.

The behaviour we do and the bodily functions we contain are there for a reason, no matter what you believe.

If you believe in Darwin’s theory, then you know that everything that aids us in survival will carry on in future generations and our genes that help us succeed in survival and reproduction will get passed on. Crying is something that has been passed on to EVERYONE so it’s not there for no reason. Why do you think we feel like crying when we’re sad? It doesn’t happen for no reason!
If you believe in God, then surely God would have put the behaviour of crying in you for a reason.

I could go on.

 

Emotional crying is there for a reason. You don’t need to suppress it.

At the same time, do not wallow in your tears forever because too much of something, as you probably already know, is bad. Even vegetables.

 

And if you don’t trust me, trust Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. He stated that stress “tightens muscles and heightens tension, so when you cry, you release some of that” and crying “activates the parasympathetic nervous system“, which is involved in resting your body and digestion, “and restores your body to a state of balance.

 

So if you think crying is weak, remember that not crying can actually weaken you.

It’s okay to cry. 

 

-Shay