Saturday, October 27, 2012

Idolization of Celebrities

       This is a satirical paper I wrote for AP English last year. I found it on my old USB drive so I decided to share it. Enjoy.
        “Celebrities are people too.” What a ridiculous thought. It is common knowledge that celebrities are gods of entertainment, caged animals on display for the world to enjoy and ridicule. They choose to be famous and they know that being an actor or singer means paparazzi and gossip magazines focusing on them.  That is why they go into those careers. However, despite the monumental amount of attention stars are receiving from loyal fans and critics, they still feel as though they are not getting enough time in the spotlight.
          Buying every single one of their movies or albums is not enough. Posting videos of them performing every ten minutes on Facebook is not enough. “Following” their every word on Twitter is not enough. Talking about them as if we know them personally and passing judgment on them is not enough. Browsing through embarrassing pictures of them on the internet is not enough. Stalking their romantic partners and making up rumors about their relationships is not providing the amount of attention they need. Famous people deserve to have all the attention they desire, so we need to show our appreciation by giving them what they ask of us. As ordinary people, we need to utilize our right to the knowledge of celebrities’ personal lives even more than ever before.
        Some people already are very close to worshipping their favorite celebrity. We need to follow their visionary example. The first step is to choose a top famous person. After that, add them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and learn everything there is to know about them. Check Youtube and Google hourly to make sure you stay up to date on every aspect of his or her life. It is crucial to know who his or her significant other is, favorite food, favorite color, and even where they went to high school. Do not stop there! Any other scrap of information you can find furthers your demonstration of devotion. Make sure to emulate the chosen celebrity in every way possible. Eat what he eats, dress how he dresses, talk like he talks. It is impossible to take it too far. Most importantly, buy everything that has anything to do with him or her. Money is the loudest form of support and our poor celebrities are craving our praise.
After mastering the idolization of a celebrity, take on this challenge: worship as many celebrities as can be handled. Some can be bundled together for convenience. For example, one could easily stalk all three of the older Kardashian sisters simultaneously because they frequently appear on the same television shows, in the same magazines, and at the same events. All celebrities ought to have the amount of affection they yearn for so do not only focus on one.
         Additionally, we can give celebrities attention indirectly through supporting the companies that focus on celebrities and their personal lives. Always tune in your television to catch the latest episode of Entertainment Tonight and E! News. They are amazing at spreading news of celebrities’ families, failures, mistakes, and anything that one would never want televised about themselves. There are also many websites that are faithful in revealing private information about stars. By visiting these websites constantly, one is giving famous people the notice they hunger after. If an article about how Miley Cyrus has cellulite receives numerous views, then more paparazzi will be following her wherever she goes. These paparazzi will wait hours to photograph her and yell rude comments to trigger negative reactions out of her. Consequently, Miley Cyrus would be much happier because she would feel loved and important.
      Stars do not value privacy like normal people. It is a concept that is far too complex for our common heads to understand. We need to honor our prestigious celebrities by satisfying their desire to be animals in cages full-time. We have a duty to stalk them all the time, not just when it is convenient for us. Follow the above suggestions and America’s celebrities will feel extremely fulfilled in their purpose to serve as entertainment and the topic of gossip. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Big Scary D-word.

      I have been procrastinating on writing this post. I know I need to tell this story, but sometimes it still feels too raw and uncomfortable to talk about. I am afraid people will judge me for this experience. However, I recently found out that October 11th is National Depression Screening Day. Here in Ann Arbor, this means that there are a few locations around the city where you can receive a free, anonymous consultation with a health care professional to check for depression. I took that as a sign that it was time to write. This cause is important to me because I recently had a bout with depression and before that, I never thought it would impact me. This post is to clear up some misconceptions about depression by telling my story.
        First off, I got voted "most happy" in my school's senior mock elections. I was super involved, friendly, and outgoing. I had a great home life and I was supported by my loving family. This does not fit the description of someone who is vulnerable to becoming depressed. I thought it was for people with rough lives and bad situations. I was completely wrong. My last week of summer before my senior year I was ecstatic to begin school. I had waited three long years to be a senior. I could not wait for fun classes, homecoming, time with friends, etc. 
        A few weeks into the year I became overwhelmed about college and my future. I had no clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I was paranoid about not being smart enough for a few of my classes. I fell into a bad depression. It was a sick cycle. I would feel extremely sad and then I would feel guilty about being sad. I thought, "I have an amazing life, I have no substantial problems, who am I to feel this way? Others in horrible situations are still content. I must be ungrateful." The guilt I made myself feel made me become more depressed. I only told a few people about it. When they would ask, "What happened? Why are you depressed?" I did not really have a good answer. I did not understand why this was happening. All my other senior friends dealt with hard classes and college decisions seemingly well. 
       What is it like to feel depressed? The worst feeling I have ever had. I questioned my intelligence, I felt ugly, overweight, unwanted, socially awkward, I couldn't keep up conversations. I lost my shine and my bright personality. I felt like a source of stress for my parents because they were so worried about me. I dreaded Thursdays because that was when I had to lead the meetings for my anti-bullying club, EFA. I was scared to drive because I often zoned out and found myself miles away from where I stopped paying attention. I could not trust my own mind. "Did I perceive that wrong, did I over-think this, am I imagining that?" Every day tasks seemed daunting. I wanted so badly to just snap out of it. Everyday I woke up hoping it was gone. I prayed every night asking God to help me shake it off. I wanted to know the solution. The weekends were the worst. I stayed in the house a lot and I could feel the weight of my parents concern and their watchful eyes on me. They suggested going to the doctor for help, but I was afraid that medication would make me stray farther from my identity. Plus, the depression came so fast, could I even label it depression yet? 
      This lasted for about three months. I did not just magically wake up one day and it was gone. I became myself again, pieces at a time. It took lots of encouraging words from loved ones, acknowledging my success in school, finding a direction with my future, and I finally stopped marginalizing my problems. I was lucky. For some people, things like that are not enough to pull you out of it. I was very scared that the transition from high school to college would bring it back. I am SO grateful that is not the case. I am extremely happy here. Every now and then, something will remind me of those months and I will cringe. I wanted to share this story of mine because I know that I am not alone in experiencing this. There are probably others who kept their depression hidden by trying to act happy at school or work like I did. If you think you might be depressed, I encourage you to tell someone you love/trust. I could never have gotten through that experience without all the support I had. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hey professor, that skirt is too short for me to take you seriously

     *This post is a work in progress because my understanding of gender equality evolves and grows everyday. I would love for you to contact me with questions and comments. 

       Gender inequality in our society is something that I have paid a lot of attention to in the last couple years. This  semester I am taking a Women's Studies/ Sociology course titled "Gender and the Law." I also have a first year seminar about social identity, justice, and community. One of the main social identities we analyze and discuss is sex. 
      There really isn't any disputing the fact that sexism is alive and well. Men are praised or overlooked for their promiscuity while women are disrespected and gossiped about for theirs. What can be done about the double standards that exist for women in American (and many other) societies?
       The other day we studied an employment discrimination case that involved a woman not being promoted because she was not "feminine" enough. She would have been promoted to partner in an accounting firm. My professor said that "One of the criticism's her employer brought up was that she cursed and that 'professional women do not curse.' Fuck that." My professor's language made the whole class crack up but it caught my attention in a different way. I did not like that she cursed. I asked myself why. Cursing is such a double standard when it comes to sex. A man is just a man when he curses but a woman becomes trashy and foul-mouthed. Do I perpetuate this inequality by not swearing? 
    What about the fact that I dress modestly? It is recognized that a girl who covers up her body is usually more respected by men than those who keep their bodies on display. Is this not a double standard? Why can't I walk around in a tank top and short-shorts and be judged for what I say and do? Why do I have to hide my body to gain respect from men and women alike? Why is there a connection with clothing choices and honor only when judging a woman? Shouldn't we be judging women on their character and not what they do or don't wear? The girls that choose to cover up aren't even judged for their words and actions. They are just judged positively based on their choice to dress modestly.
Is gaining gender equality a game that needs to be played by men's standards, i.e. not cursing, covering up, etc. or is it rebelling: dressing how we want, and cursing if we please, until it is the norm?