Blogging

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As I’m finishing up my semester, I’d like to discuss how this new experiment of blogging has contributed to my journalism skills. Even though I found the website pretty easy to use, I found that when I did reach a roadblock at times it was challenging. Sometimes I had to do a lot of Googling, which usually helped, but when that didn’t work, I realized how time consuming it could be to learn a new platform and why it was better to learn now and not when I’m on the job. Blogging also helped me contribute for the first time on a topic I really cared about in a way that other forms of social media did not. It was interesting trying my hand at writing full article instead of just making single statements. It also gives documented examples of my work in case I need to give an example of my writing skills.

I found most of the tools effective and the basic guild lines of pictures and links helped make the blog more appealing and credible. I did not feel Storify was very useful to me, but all the functions within the blog have purpose. For improvements, I’d say I’d like to learn to create my own media a little better. Maybe get better equipment- a better camera and video camera, a better computer and software. Also, possibly rework the coding of the site to make the theme more original and fix issues that I found were not user friendly. If I had to manage a website or a blog in a future job, I would say this at least gave me some ideas on how to organize things and the importance of making sites full-featured.

I plan on posting some more videos over the break. Here is my Youtube Channel.

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Women and Bisexuality

As far as being comfortable with their sexuality, women, for the most part, beat men by a landslide. In fact, in this day and age, many women are expressing their attraction to both genders. With LGBT lifestyles gaining acceptance, it is possible that the lines between gay and straight may become more lax, but what makes women more likely to explore their sexuality without fear of crippling judgment from society?

First of all, women have no masculinity standards to live up to. Although women may be pushed for many society standards, such as beauty, beauty, and more beauty, they are never really expected to be masculine. For a man to date another man, it would be feminizing in the eyes of the general norm. Women, who worry less about taking up traits of the opposite gender and never worry about seeming feminine, have exponential times more freedom on the subject of their sexuality.

Also, the media is obsessed with sex, and sexual images of women are more prevalent than men. Women, along with men, begin to appreciate and even be attracted to the female form. Society recognizes women as the standard for what is sexy, and women take notice. For example, a picture of two women kissing would probably be considered simply twice as sexy as one woman alone, whereas a picture of two men kissing may be viewed as offensive and more racy.

Lastly, from childhood, women are not taught to put up physical boundaries against other women. another example: two little girls holding hands- completely normal. Two little boys holding hands- very strange. In general, women are accustomed to other women’s nudity even from an early age, possibly more so than men. For these reasons, if a woman was having sexual feelings toward another woman, the action of sex would be far less uncomfortable.

For more information on the LGBT community, or to get more involved, check out Human Rights Campaign to help end discrimination no matter who you love!

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The Abortion Issue: Why We Can’t Choose To Do Away With Choice

Women’s reproductive rights have been under the most scrutiny since Roe v. Wade. President Obama’s call to make preventive care covered under all insurances invoked the typical Republican backlash. Taking it one step further, the Republicans began to attack not only contraceptives, but women’s right to privacy in making their own healthcare decisions that was fought for and won all the way back in 1973. Many states have launched new attacks on abortions, fighting for more and more restrictions on the practice. New restrictions on how long after conception a woman can legally obtain an abortion vary between different states: some lowering it to twenty weeks, twelve weeks, and even six weeks (stats). In Texas, new, excessive requirements on clinics preforming abortions are forcing about a third of the clinics to close, significantly reducing access to the procedure (Supreme Court allowing it). Arizona’s attorney general seeks to reestablish the overturned law that excludes Medicaid patients from obtaining any family planning services from providers that preform abortions (asks Supreme Court for decision).

The restrictions on abortion procedures are a barely disguised attempt to slowly rob women of their right to decide their own healthcare. Forcing women into unwanted pregnancies dictates not only their medical but their life choices, traps women in a archaic role that robs them of purpose outside of reproducing, forces them into second-class citizenship, creates financial turmoil, and impedes ability to seek economic advancement. Fathers are obligated to help financially support the children they equally helped create, yet the amount of support is determined by their income and NOT the cost of raising a child, which could be significantly higher. Fathers are under no obligation to help raise the child in any way, leaving the sole burden of care on the mothers. Not to mention there is a harsh physical strain on a woman’s body to undergo pregnancy and labor. Attacking abortion is even more illogical when the same politicians that fight against it also do not support making preventative measures accessible. Forcing women into motherhood would act to keep women lower in society by making it harder to obtain a college degree, take demanding jobs, and support themselves without welfare. To make a right impossible to exercise is a removal of that right. Any abortion restrictions, besides unreasonably late termination, should be ruled unconstitutional. Even forcing a woman to view an ultrasound and wait to make her final decision, is a way to exploit and guilt a woman’s psyche. If women really have a right to privacy and a right to choose, stop pressuring them with outside agendas. THAT IS NOT PRIVATE.

Even in Texas, certain politicians disagree with and fight against this tyranny. Senator Wendy Davis conducted an eleven hour filibuster against the recent abortion law passed in Texas (she is my hero y’all!). This self-made single mother will be running in the 2014 election for Texas state governor. If you’re in Texas and like me are tired of these damn republicans, show her your support on election day!

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Image from: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/local/slideshow/Abortion-filibuster-in-the-Texas-Senate-65317.php

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A Model for Feminism: Lady Gaga

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For this article, I would like to discuss the woman I feel is the most profound feminist of our time, Lady Gaga. Not only is she an activist for issues such as gay rights, but her music itself is a mixture of art and personal account of her struggles as a woman on top.

These lyrics go beyond sexual freedom and into the realm of acceptance, individuality, and even personal doubt. From her most recent album, the song “Do What U Want” may sound obscenely sexual with lyrics like “do what you want with my body,” but on closer observation, we find the focus on lyrics such as “you can’t have my heart and you won’t use my mind.” This highlights the physiological warfare women sometimes face in their sexual relationships. The song is mostly relating to her trying to ignore her hurt from being slandered. Another new song, “Aura”, has the line, “I’m not a wandering slave, I am a woman of choice.” Upon reflection of that line, it brings up the point that those who roam free can still be slaves by not making their own choices. In “Mary Jane Holland,” she voices problems with her success by saying, “I know that mom and dad think I’m a mess, but it’s alright because I am rich as piss.” Despite her fame, her means are questionable, even by her parents. She expresses a love for individuality, but is also honest about what that individuality has cost her. Songs like “Dance in the Dark” call for women to stand up judgments their lovers might pass on them. In “Bloody Mary,” she makes a moving statement about retaining her identity even when someone she loves leaves her.

Although a lot of her songs represent strength and determination (like “Marry the Night), “Princess Die” is a song that openly discusses suicide and a lack of inner strength. In this piece, she longs for someone to love her who she can lean on. The song is an honest account of how alienating it can be to be a successful woman. However, the most profound and openly feminist song she has written is most definitely “ScheiBe” with openly feminist lyrics such as “If you’re a strong female, you don’t need permission” and “Blond high-heeled feminist, collect your femmes for this. Express your woman-kind. Fight for your right.” The song’s true meaning is related through her contradictory lyrics “I wish I could be strong without somebody there” and “I wish I could be strong without permission.” Even though it would be nice to always be self-reliant and strong, it’s not always possible because we are human. Gaga’s music and her career embody feminism by advocating individuality above societal standards, but also relating to the costs of being nontraditional.

For a compilation of videos of the main songs discussed:

For more information on Lady Gaga, check out her official website.

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Self Without Gender

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When we think about it, it’s hard to imagine an image of a person we know excluding their gender. Gender plays a large role in perception, even of a person’s personality. Even some personality traits are considered either masculine or feminine. If you were to meet a woman who was dominant and aggressive mixed with loud an forceful, she may be considered an anomaly to her gender. It may even be harder for her to be taken seriously than if she was a dominant and aggressive male. Yet, these could be considered personality traits, unrelated to our gender, but we find ourselves constantly mixing the two ideas.

With gender in the way of personality, interests are also effected. Why don’t more women go into certain fields like scientific research? Why don’t we have more women getting promoted to the top of companies? Perhaps because they would be considered odd for their gender and possibly not accepted or not be believed of their capabilities. Feelings of being outcast or rejected create doubt, and doubt can create a shift away from certain interests. Yes, you could put a woman in charge of a science experiment, but would her male counterparts trust her abilities? Would other women even trust it? I believe more often times then not, women learn to put other women down just as much as men.

Appearance is not reality, yet we let what we see judge easily about things we cannot see. If you were to see a beautiful young woman, clearly having concern about the way she looks, some might conclude that she is not very smart. Intelligence has nothing to do with the way we look or dress, yet we have a definition to what a nerd looks like. If someone didn’t fit our profile, we may have trouble accepting them for their true traits. How many preconceived notions do we have about what an intelligent person looks like, what a feminist looks like, a computer tech, a mechanic, a CEO, or anything else for that matter? How many times do we imagine something that we would not fit a woman into?

As the lines between men and women blur, I hope the notion of personality having any association with gender will be put to rest because honestly, I feel there are few things I do that don’t involve people thinking girl, girl, girl.

I thought I’d have a little fun with this post’s pictures. The top is me dressed in male drag! Below is a picture of me in the same year as a girl.

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For some more reading on this subject, here’s a article discussing personality differences amongst boys and girls in relation to differing approaches to parenting styles.

 

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Voting App

Here is an idea for an app that I believe could revolutionize voting here in the US. We may keep up with the presidential elections pretty easily, but do we all vote for our national congress, state congress, governors, mayors, city council, judges (we elect our judges here in Texas y’all!), ect? It’s a lot for busy people to keep up with, yet our representatives are our only outlet through which our democracy is truly expressed. As we can see by our government shutdown, there’s a lot of important positions within our government besides the president, but how do we sort through all these candidates to make educated decisions?

This voting app could be a way to compile important information voters need to know without countless searches. The app could list what candidates are running for what positions, include a brief platform of what they stand for, their qualifications such as education, and any other relevant facts. The information could be read quickly, so the voter could still have a chance to make a decision even if they were very pressed for time. I believe this would create a higher voter turnout, especially for our house representatives and senate for both state and national, which have trouble getting the attention they deserve. It could also improve voter turnout for the younger age group, who is shown to vote less than their elders.

Other features of the app could include GPS locator to determine instantly which district you belong to (if you used it at home). Alerts could be set up to remind when election dates are. Another feature could be tools on how to get registered and where to go to vote.

The complication of voting seems to exclude more people than it should! This app could assist people in getting their voices heard in every office that represents them. I hope that in the future, we can register and vote right on our smartphone devices. Here are some example I made for what the basic app layout might look like, broken down into simple categories:

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