Culture

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This College Paper Just Decided To Start Using Gender Neutral Terms

Back in 2010, the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, was approached by roughly 30 students with a petition containing over 430 signatures that demanded that the paper use gender neutral terms-  chairperson instead of chairman, first-year instead of freshman.

This week the paper decided to make the change to gender neutral terms.

“We don’t really believe in leaving things the same way just because it’s the way it’s always been, and now more than ever, we all see a pressing need to be inclusive in the way we write about people.” Paige Ladisic, editor of the paper said in a message explaining the decision.

These changes, like the Associated Press Stylebook, considered by many as the Bible of journalistic standards, seem to reflect society.

For example, Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant, tracked news media’s use of “illegal alien” to convince outlets to use the term “undocumented immigrant” instead.

But was the Daily Tar Heel in the right to make the change?

“Gender neutral titles have slowly been making their way into everyday usage for decades. For instance we don’t call a female flight attendant a ‘stewardess’ anymore,” Jason Parsley, Executive Editor of South Florida Gay News said in an interview. “As for ‘chairperson’ there doesn’t need to be separate terms for men and woman because both positions are equal.  Men and women are equal. Period. And ultimately that’s what this gender neutral movement is all about.”

Marimar Toledo, a 20 year old freelance journalist also supports the use of gender neutral usage, because it was more respectful to people in the LGBT community.

“You’re just never gonna know- and just to be on the safe side, and be on the respectful side, you should use the gender neutral terms, rather than the ones that specify which sex you are.”

While people may be of different opinions, The Daily Tar Heel‘s decision seems here to stay.

Rise News reached out to DTH editor Paige Ladisic and will update this story when she responds. 

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. (We can keep your identity hidden.)

Cover Photo Credit: William Yeung/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Could Sexism Be Behind The Success Of John Green’s Books?

For the reader, whether partial to the Young Adult genre or not, John Green’s name is a familiar one.

Recognizable film titles like The Fault In Our Stars and more recently, Paper Towns are easy sentimental watches for many, based on Green’s meandering narratives of young people juggling life-threatening diseases, big swelling crushes on the girl next door, and generally attempting to survive life with all the emotions of your common teenager.

Green’s success as a writer is one which has enabled him to have two of his books translated to film already, and with another prospectively in the works, many now place him as the face of Young Adult literature.

Whether it’s the realism that is seen as relatable in his writing, or the fact that his fame partly derives from Green’s Internet presence, creating educational videos with his brother under the name Vlogbrothers, there’s no getting around the fact that John Green’s name is one which is either greeted with contempt, or adoration.

Teenagers have no qualms listing Green alongside J.K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephenie Meyer. While his books are not so widely renowned as the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, or The Twilight Saga- some see this as indicative of substance.

Green’s books feature stand-out lines readers of his find relatable and inspiring at the same time. To search his name on any social media source is to come face to face with this outpour. But exactly what is it about this man’s writing which has propelled him to book-to-film fame? To be hailed as a permanent, important member of the Young Adult genre?

Sarah Dessen. Tamora Pierce. Judy Blume. Meg Rosoff. Lois Lowry. Laurie Halse Anderson.

Before and alongside Green’s writing, chock-full of painful love, identity crises and existential doubts that plague his intelligent-pretentious-boy-protagonists, there existed, and exists, a treasure trove of Young Adult books and writers who delve into those exact same feelings.

Dessen was given one shot at the silver screen when two of her novels were combined to produce the 2003 rom-com How To Deal.

Rosoff’s How I Live Now, a staple of formative reading experiences as a recurrent feature in classroom book collections and libraries, took 9 years to reach the big screen.

“It is no surprise that the Young Adult genre is dominated by women writers. To place Green on a pedestal then, is to reinforce the notion that the creative white male voice is the most important.”

This isn’t to say that the measure of a book’s success, the integration of it as a frontrunner of the Young Adult genre, relies on whether it has been converted into a film or not. It is merely significant to note exactly the size of Green’s cultural impact and how the cinematic treatment of his books bookends this. The truth is, Green’s writing being centralised as the most prominent of the Young Adult genre in the minds of teenagers and teachers feels unfair, and a little sexist.

After the release of The Fault In Our Stars in 2014, The Wall Street Journal was happy to congratulate Green in “ushering in a new golden era for contemporary, realistic, literary teen fiction following more than a decade of dominance by books about young wizards, sparkly vampires and dystopia.

Now that Paper Towns is out and talks on Looking For Alaska’s screen-time are rumoured, that ‘new golden era’ looks to be continuing. But actually, there is nothing new about this golden era. Where book editors are looking for ‘contemporary realism’, relatable characters after what some call ‘the John Green effect’, writers of important teenage discourse, Anderson’s Speak, Dessen’s Dreamland, Blume’s entire track record, are shoved to the background, ignored despite their effort to communicate important experiences like body issues, mental illness, sexual and physical abuse, alongside relatable characters. Contemporary realism at its ignored best.

It is unfair to also argue that the genre, as diverse as it is, is only valuable if it is solely realistic. Books about young wizards, sparkly vampires and dystopia do not feature somehow superficial sentiments if the character in goofy infatuation also happens to wield a wand or if the girl struggling to save the life she knows is living in a dystopia which, actually, may not be so dystopian depending on which part of the world one lives in. To take this view of the Young Adult genre is to erase the significant triumphs of many books and their effects on the consciousness of young people.

Hank Green (L) and John Green (R) speaking at VidCon 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Hank Green (L) and John Green (R) speaking at VidCon 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

After all, as Slate’s Ruth Graham said in her controversial article Against YA:

“crucially, YA books present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way.”

It is this perspective which is truly indicative of the Young Adult genre and which deserves to be lauded, whether it is by Green or by his contemporaries.

Alongside those I have mentioned previously, Meg Cabot, Malorie Blackman, Lois Lowry, and many more equally deserve to be congratulated for well-written analyses of the teenage experience, of teenage emotion, whether they have the Internet, book agents, and Hollywood idolizing them or not.

It is no surprise that the Young Adult genre is dominated by women writers. To place Green on a pedestal then, is to reinforce the notion that the creative white male voice is the most important.

It is to, as literary tradition makes the mistake of doing and despite both their valued contributions to literature, cast aside Austen’s voice for Salinger’s. To portray the male narrative as a bildungsroman with all the integrity we afford men speaking and to cast off the female narrative as YA self-satisfying trash, just one part of a much bigger pile.

Green himself seems to be aware of the issues surrounding discourse on the genre. He said the following on his Youtube show, as quoted by The Atlantic:

“From a pop culture perspective, or a general media perspective, there can only be one thing…. There can only be paranormal romance, there can only be dystopia, or now, there can only be The Fault in Our Stars. But it’s not the truth, that isn’t the way the actual world of YA books looks or has ever looked.

“To me, the real story of young adult literature is not actually about whatever the big cultural book of the moment is. The real story of young adult literature is that more than a thousand books are read by at least ten thousand teenagers a year, that we have incredible breadth, that we have great dystopia and great fantasy, great sci-fi, great mystery, great romances, and all of that stuff can live together and be in conversation because they all – we all – share the same shelf.”

So it is important to recognize that the general media perspective is not the one we should consistently place value in. When it comes to something as immersive, as personal, as the reading experience, it may be beneficial to pay attention to the reading trends, but it is a significant move to take stock of the whole shelf.

It is the shelf which is the most important feature of a teenager’s love of literature, and if that literature is mostly of the YA genre, it may feature John Green’s writing- and may also feature the writing of many, many others.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. (We can keep your identity hidden.)

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Hey Bros, Here’s 6 Tips To Avoid Mansplaining

The term “mansplain” was one of many words added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015. Mansplain is defined as an informal verb meaning “(Of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.”

While a condescending explanation isn’t something that is limited to men, it is something that many women have experienced over and over. Being silenced is something that many have experienced in one way or another, and mansplaining is one of the ways that that happens.

A good example of mansplaining is something you might have already seen from recent news – Matt Damon explaining how diversity in the film industry works to Effie Brown, producer of Dear White People during a discussion on Project Greenlight, which can be viewed in the TMZ video below.

He later released an apology, saying that, “My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight which did not make the show. I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation about diversity in Hollywood.”

Damon’s apology has its own issues, starting with the fact that the discussion about diversity in Hollywood has been going on for years, but it certainly did add to the discussion about diversity in a way.

Now, I know that you would never want to be accused of mansplaining, so here are some ways to avoid it in all of your conversations.

Tips:

1) Before jumping in with your thoughts, ask yourself these questions:

A) Did your conversation partner ask for your opinion about the topic?
B) Are you an expert on the topic?
C) Does your sentence start with “I don’t think you understand…” or “No, you’re misunderstanding….”?

2) How much does your conversation partner know about the topic? If you’re not sure, ask!

3) Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something. You aren’t always going to know everything about every topic. If you don’t know about it, open your ears and give it a solid listen – You’ll probably learn something!

4) Is your conversation partner plastering a fake smile on their face or responding with nods or “mmhmms”? If so, they probably aren’t listening to you anymore. Watch your social cues.

5) Limit your assertions to your own experiences or research that you have fully read and understand. If you don’t fully understand it, say so.

6) Last but definitely not least, respect your conversation partner’s experiences and viewpoint. It may be different from yours, perhaps even wrong by your beliefs, but you still need to respect them.

Cover Photo Credit: ☻☺/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Liberal Men With Agendas Can Be Dangerous To The Feminist Movement

Feminism as a movement is one which sets to confront the patriarchal structural inequalities that oppress women across the world.

From the wage gap to conceptions of femininity and existing in spaces dominated by the male presence, the focus given to men in feminist discourse is not something which can or should be taken lightly, especially when taking male influence into context.

Margaret Atwood’s fictitious The Robber Bride makes significant comments on this:

“Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it’s all a male fantasy: that you’re strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.”

For many women, the male gaze and influence is one which permeates views of oneself: from the applying of make-up to choosing to go without it, from sitting on a train to walking down the pavement, from speaking aloud and recognising the voice inflection of a female to increase in pitch, a questioning, unsure manner.

So what happens when patriarchy is molded to a male’s intent? Well, many things: rape, prevention of abortions, standards of femininity, abuse, and the list goes on.

The socialisation of gender roles is one which means the most casual of practises deserves to be unpacked; girls going for pink, boys going for blue, and feminism wondering exactly why all these things exist.

This isn’t to say that every man is afforded the same privileges of his male neighbour: the intersections of race, class, sexuality and religion are valid. A white man may not experience racial profiling. A black man from a deprived area may not be afforded the same consideration as a white man from a wealthier neighbourhood in a job interview.

These differences are significant and deserve to be paid attention to in the wider scheme of things. But when it comes to notions of masculinity in life, men share a common factor of dominance and space-taking, informed by weighted upbringings and casual exchanges. It is therefore easy to recognise how this would translate to their practises of feminism.

I once came upon a quote which argued that men shouldn’t call themselves feminists: rather, they should take the spaces they inhibit and make them feminist. This is a notion which accepts that men are privileged but argues that they have the chance to use this privilege to benefit women. When looking at a number of male feminist figures, from the failed to the somewhat successful, the distinction of success is one which should be clarified. Feminism as a movement is one which cannot be simplified to misandry.

For men, it is a far from simple exchange which harms just as much as it benefits: with toxic standards of masculinity and social cues for dominance comes a questioning of exactly how comfortable one can be to do this, and whether some even question this. In bell hooks‘ ‘Feminism is for Everybody’, it is noted that:

“Most men are disturbed by hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women, even the men who perpetuate this violence. But they fear letting go of the benefits. They are not certain what will happen to the world they know most intimately if patriarchy changes. So they find it easier to passively support male domination even when they know in their minds and hearts that it is wrong.”

So what happens when patriarchy is molded to a male’s intent? Well, many things: rape, prevention of abortions, standards of femininity, abuse, and the list goes on. The male fantasy, as Atwood mentioned previously, is perverse. It can also color a male’s practice of feminism, and this is precisely what happened with Tumblr’s Josh Macedo, known online as confusedtree.

For the Internet-savvy, this is old news, a drama concluding in 2013: a 20-something lover of nerd culture builds up his following through a mixture of meme humour and feminist discourse, maintains himself as a defender of misogyny, and then is revealed to have sent sexually-explicit material to underage teenagers.

Pedaling the guise of the awkward loner, the scandal that followed Macedo was one which took notice of the undercurrent of manipulation which plagued his actions. His fame was one which was credited to a cause he took little notice of except to manipulate to his own intents: Macedo was aware of the benefits of his masculinity but could not shake off the allure of its benefits.

Prompting hesitant, terrified responses to his sexually-explicit behaviour, these exchanges are typical of the pressurizing male, aware of his power and using it to his own advantage. Aja Romano said it best for the Daily Dot:

“When you frame yourself as an outside-the-establishment liberal who understands the struggles that women face, it puts you in an elevated, respected position—and it becomes easier to abuse your power in the community.”

The influence of social media is one which, paired with the fast-evolving rate of social justice and feminist discourse, is dynamic, and which can be both negative and positive. A community which is both effective and which can amount to nothing is difficult to comprehend, but for many, saying the ‘right’ thing can be backing women’s rights while remaining divorced from them, refusing to support victims of abuse or to understand the dangers of the male gaze but accepting the number of likes or shares something you penned acquires.

The male voice is one which requires being conscious of one’s actions. It is to recognise that where an intention is positive, an effect can be negative and to speak is to speak with an awareness of patriarchal repercussions.

For a male, it is easy to use feminism as a tool, to speak over a woman without realizing one’s influence or that a woman’s voice has already articulated your words. Male influence within feminist discourse is powerful in this way.

For Matt McGory, star of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and self-proclaimed feminist, a male understanding of feminism is to recognise misconceptions and to fix them, to know the limits of your knowledge and to expand on it further:

“The people we have to convince who are gonna be allies, like me—the people I feel like I’m trying to go after are the good people who just maybe have blind spots about gender inequality like I did. Or, didn’t know what the term feminism meant. You know, a guy who’s a bigot who hates women is not gonna care what feminism means anyway, so I don’t need to go after him. But I’m trying to incorporate an easy way in for those people that don’t know a lot about it. Who actually have good intentions.”

While intention is not sacred and while one can be aware of the privileges afforded to them based on race, gender and sexuality, the idea that an ally is protected from ever making a mistake is an unfair demand. McGory’s estimate of a male ally is simplistic, but fair. In speaking about the wage gap, trans rights, and the importance of intersectionality, his handle on feminism is interesting and somewhat significant.

While it is already regarded a dilution of the value of feminism that we now place celebrities (with personal agendas) as the faces of the movement, the value given to a voice is only worth something if it corresponds to an awareness of power, an awareness of domination, an awareness of how masculinity is detrimental in its effects for society.

The male voice is one which requires being conscious of one’s actions. It is to recognise that where an intention is positive, an effect can be negative and to speak is to speak with an awareness of patriarchal repercussions.

It is to divorce the self’s need for approval, to ignore the modification of social justice as ‘trendy’, to prioritise the need to improve the standard of living that women so ardently require, and to be happy with this decision. The most important thing comes from an awareness of the history of male oppression and dominance: to recognise that your support will always be secondary to the issues women face.

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Cover Photo Credit: AK Rockefeller/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s The 10 Best Nickelodeon Shows From The 1990s

By  Danielle del Pico

With the return of classic 90’s Nicktoons presumably coming to Nickelodeon later this year, we thought it would be smart to take a look back at some of the best shows from that era in our lives.

So here’s our top 10 best Nickelodeon 90’s shows. Tell us in the comments if you agree or not:

10. Ren and Stimpy

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

With its crude humor, animation style, off the wall situations and chaotic relationships, Ren and Stimpy was the most controversial show on Nickelodeon for its time. It was that cartoon show that you watched while your parents looked on behind you in absolute disgust. Mission accomplished. This was one of the original three Nickelodeon shows and changed the playing field for cartoons to follow since its release in 1991. Unlike many of the shows on this list, it didn’t provide any moral ground for the characters. It was just good fun. Isn’t that what we need sometimes?

9. AAAHH!!! Real Monsters

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: Nickelodeon

This show is high up on the list simply for the animation style, a style that is just quintessential nineties. That “dirty animation” has influenced cartoons for future decades to follow. This show taught that the monsters you’re afraid of are actually not so different from us. It was set around monsters in training, adolescents in a monster school trying to figure out their place in the underground and pass class. The show features characters Oblina, Ickis and Krumm set against the backdrop of New York City.

8. Rocko’s Modern Life

Photo Credit: carol-wyatt/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: carol-wyatt/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

This makes the list because of its nuanced adult humor. A second watching of this and you may pick up some things you missed when it first debuted in 1993. Today, there are instances of censorship of the beloved Wallaby. Most of the characters are rather eccentric and play into Rocko’s displacement as an Australian in his new home, O-Town. The show played into the mundane ins and outs of daily life and showed the humor and excitement that can happen in those “in betweens”.

7. Rocket Power
Probably not the most popular show on this list, but definitely worth a mention simply for the female character of Regina alone. She totally deconstructs feminine stereotypes and is an equal amongst her male counterparts. This show revolved around four diverse friends residing in a California town that love to participate in extreme sports and getting themselves into different oftentimes sticky situations. It originally aired in 1999 and ran for four seasons.

6. Clarissa Explains it All

Photo Credit: Michael Coté/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Michael Coté/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Melissa Joan Hart was the 90’s sitcom princess, also starring in the title role of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, part of the TGIF lineup. This show aired from 1991-1994, and was also presented in a narrative style, much like Doug. This time, Clarissa helped explained all the tough, typical dilemmas teens have to face set against the backdrop of a video game narration style. It was supremely edgy for its time. Sort of the ‘Sex and the City’ for teenagers. Without the sex.

5. Kenan and Kel

jvictor.ar/Wikimedia Commons

jvictor.ar/Wikimedia Commons

Who loves Orange Soda? Kel love Orange Soda! Now comedian Kenan Thompson continues to entertain audiences on Saturday Night Live. This creation of Kim Bass (Sister, Sister) was wildly popular with teenagers, even spawning a cult classic movie. The show followed the dynamic duo and the different shenanigans they would get themselves into. Special nod to the awesome theme song by Coolio ‘Aw, here it goes!’

4. The Wild Thornberrys
Who doesn’t want to travel all around the world with their family as they film their own nature show? Eliza Thornberry is the original Cady Heron from Mean Girls, except she can talk to animals and doesn’t have to deal with Regina George, just her moody sister Debbie (who doesn’t remember the episode where Debbie tried to make her own shampoo? Talk about being organic before it was a thing!) Eliza Thornberry, (voiced by actress Lacey Chabert, who played Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls…these cannot just be coincidences) may not conventionally be your typical heroine but in the same vein, she is the best heroine. Here is a girl who stands up for what’s right and moreover, will do anything for her friends. Fun fact: their little brother Donnie (found in the wild and raised as their own) is voiced by Flea, bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tim Curry voices the father, Nigel Thornberry. Can Nickelodeon get any cooler?

3. Doug

Photo Credit: Viacom

Photo Credit: Viacom

When Doug first debuted on the air in 1991, it wasn’t just kids that were talking about it, teenagers quickly identified with Doug’s confidence issues and finding his place in his new hometown of Bluffington. This show featured a wide cast of characters, and took on a narrative style of storytelling. Think ‘The Outsiders’ meets ‘The Wonder Years’. Much like other shows on this list, Doug never talked down to its audience and connected well with the struggles that adolescents face every day.Jim Jenkins, the creator of Doug, based the cartoon on his story growing up. This show focused on much of Doug’s experiences with bully Roger Klotz, his love for Patty Mayonnaise and his friendship with Skeeter Valentine.

2. Hey Arnold!

Photo Credit: Carolina Alves/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Carolina Alves/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Like many Nickelodeon shows, the characters of P.S. 118 and other residents of Hillwood never talked down to a young audience. The subject matters could range from social class to parent/child relationships. Running for five seasons, many episodes of Hey Arnold! centered on the hierarchy of public school and the microcosm of adolescent experiences. Many episodes focused on finding the good in people, doing the right thing and using caution with harsh judgments. Arnold oftentimes found himself in a position of leadership and never faltered with his good character. He always tried to be a friend to everyone, earnestly, This example is somewhat lost in mainstream cartoon shows, relying mostly on sarcastic comebacks to illustrate what “cool” is. Arnold’s individuality amidst all the other students of P.S. 118 showed you never have to conform, it’s okay to be who you are. Lastly, Helga is hilarious and made unibrows a safe conversation topic.

1. Rugrats

Photo Credit: PROBonita de Boer/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Yes, they have their own Hollywood star. Photo Credit: PROBonita de Boer/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Who doesn’t remember running from the next room when the theme song started? Not only did it run for nine seasons (with a reboot in serious whispers) and spawned two spin off TV shows, All Grown Up! And Rugrats Pre-School Daze and three movies, The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris and Rugrats Gone Wild (featuring the Wild Thornberrys), Rugrats also spawned various merchandising, like video games, confectionary items, and even a live stage show. Rugrats is an empire. This TV show takes the number one spot because these cartoon babies were far more entertaining than most adult TV shows on at the time, let’s be honest. Rugrats instilled in audiences an understanding that parents and children will not see things in the same perspective, but at the end of the day they still love you, albeit in their own wacky way. It also emphasized friendship, loyalty and caring for one another set against the imaginative world of a child. Who didn’t want a friendship like Tommy and Chuckie? This show is also number one for its eccentric cast of memorable characters such as the devious Angelica, sweet Grandpa and the rebellious twins Phil and Lil. This style of animation is now considered iconic, and is often emulated but never duplicated.

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Cover Photo Credit: Carolina Alves/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

It’s Hard Out Here For A White Rapper In Miami

By Victoria Nilbrink

Grizzy Gary is an aspiring rapper from Miami. He’s twenty-four years old and currently studying in college for a degree in music technology. He’s also white. And that’s a problem.

Gary has been rapping and ghost writing for 6 years, as well as making art and customizing shoes. He also attended the Art Institute in Miami for his artistic competence and his passion for designing clothes. When he isn’t in school or making music he says that he likes to ‘Netflix and Chill.’

“I don’t rap anything like Eminem or Macklemore at all, but 9 times out of 10 before I spit my verse that’s the first thing people mention.”

As any upcoming artists he’s faced many challenges. But the hip hop scene can sometimes prove especially difficult for white rappers to break into.

Watch: Grizzy Gary’s “After Life”:

“Personally I think with image it’s really hard. Being a white rapper you have certain quota and its hard because there aren’t so many established white rappers, so you always get compared to them,” Grizzy Gary said. “I don’t rap anything like Eminem or Macklemore at all, but 9 times out of 10 before I spit my verse that’s the first thing people mention. It’s not even me but its always a comparison. It’s to a point where I have to show my music first and tell them its me after to get a real honest opinion, which is annoying because I work hard at it. Often I don’t get taken too seriously, people will think I’m joking but music is really all I do.”

Listen: Grizzy Gary’s “Pretty As Fuck

In the near future he hopes to get a major deal as a recording artist. If not he would like to ghost write and start making beats. He is also working on a few projects with Red Table Studios, and Vice Cult- a company he co-owns with another Miami rapper, OldBoy Cab.

Vice Represents- Versatile Independent Creative Entertainment. In addition to making music, they also sell merchandize.

“My music represents the exaggerated thoughts that are in my head. It takes me and all the crazy things i think about and merges into one thing. Grizzy Gary I would say is my alter ego, my duality,” Grizzy Gary said. “Look out for whats coming out this year. I’m gonna close 2015 really strong. Music is what I’m gonna do no matter what. All I have to say is, Don’t look at the artist, listen to the artist.”

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Cover Photo: Submitted

One Direction Fandom Is A Cute Little Cult- But It’s Still A Cult

Boy bands have always been a staple of Pop music culture. They come in numerous, eclectic forms, ranging from The Jackson 5, The Beatles, and The Bee Gees, to New Kids on The Block, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC, and most recently, One Direction.

Flashback to 2010. Five boys came together on popular British TV show “The X Factor.” Even though they collectively finished in third place, England nor the rest of the world were ready for the mass hysteria of One Direction.

Watch: One Direction final performance in 2010 X Factor

In a sense, Harry Styles, Niall Horran, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik have been compared to a modern day Beatles. Not only are both from England, but they also stole the hearts of millions of girls when they transitioned overseas to America.

But why did these kids transition into fame instantly?

“The Internet is what made One Direction what they are today,” Kelly Brickey, One Direction fan and journalism student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee said. “Online resources like Twitter and YouTube gave the boys a platform for fans to jump on the bandwagon. Even [the band] themselves have credited online fan presence for their success.”

The increase in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter have skyrocketed conversations between fans from all over the world.

At any given moment, there is always at least something “One Direction” related trending. Some of the hashtags used range from, simply #OneDirection and #DirectionersRunTwitter, to more obscure fandom references like #BodyShotsWithHarry and #LiamWearsThongs.

“These days there’s more of an ability for fanship to manifest itself on social networks and other kinds of internet channels that point out just how intense fanship is,” Dr. Eric Weisbard, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama said. “[Popularity] is something that we measured before through screams and people standing in Times Square, outside of MTV studios, and we can now measure it in more concrete ways.” Like social media.

Fast forwarding to 2015, One Direction fans, “Directioners” as they are called, had their worlds turned over: within a three month span, member Zayn Malik announced his departure from the band. Rumors then started forming about a potential hiatus.

In typical Boy Band fashion, sometimes the members “age out of the category” Weisbard said.

“They have been working nonstop for five years now,” Brickey said. “They may get a couple weeks here and there for themselves, but their dedication to their job is hardcore. They just need a break.”

So there you have it, girls love music more passionately than others. When they come together for a common purpose, fandoms form. A new language evolves between members which could be attributed to a cult. But something about these five boys from England has made a lasting impact on society and is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

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Cover Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A Comprehensive Guide to Dumpster Diving And Alternative Food

By Allyn Farach

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buzzing out to Walmart for a can of spaghetti in red sauce, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with making the food you’re eating yourself. Taking it a step further – going out and acquiring the food yourself can be even more rewarding than picking it up at a grocery store or restaurant. Forget convenience: Below are ways to get creative with alternative food sources. Before we begin, let’s address that some of these methods are not for the weak-hearted.

Dumpster Diving

To be clear, Dumpster Diving doesn’t involve actually diving into dumpsters.

“You can open the lid and gingerly pull out goods or jump in and dig deep. If you’re grossed out by the idea, wear rain boots and bring gloves,” writes Vanessa Alvadaro, native Floridian and dumpster diver. Furthermore, what you pull out probably won’t be overripe produce and rotting meat.

Approximately 40 percent of food bought in the US goes to waste, so what may be found in a dumpster may be okay, if not in perfect condition (unless it’s covered in mold. Don’t eat anything covered in mold.)

Luckily, the dumpster diving community is pretty open to new people, and almost always ready to help. R/DumpsterDiving is full of people giving advice to newbies, people planning to make runs together, and even a map that lists good diving spots. With an engaging community, free food and stuff to resell, what could possibly be the downside to such a concept? The law.

The owners of the Miami Produce Center were cited after video cameras captured people going through their dumpsters for food, some of which was later resold to restaurants. Furthermore, some business owners may set up cameras, dumpster locks and signs warning people not to trespass or go through the garbage. If they catch anyone, they may have them taken in by police.

So what can potential divers do? They can travel in groups to be safe, be discerning about what they pick out so that they don’t get sick, scope out spots before they leave, ask business owners before they dive and be wary of cameras!

Urban Farming

If Dumpster Diving isn’t your cup of trash, gardening might be a more appealing route to alternative food sources. A community garden offers people who register a small plot of land to grow whatever they want, from decorative flowers to bountiful fruits and vegetables. Laura Lafata, who runs social media and organizes meetings for the South Beach Community Garden, elaborated that the garden offers all kinds of things for people.

“It’s a piece of paradise in a very densely populated part of the city that allows one the pleasure of digging in the soil and the joy of producing one’s own food supply,” Lafata said. Indeed, the benefits of a community garden are being allowed to pick what you want to grow and owning a little plot of land in the urban jungle.

“Everyone can grow whatever they want, but we encourage gardeners to grow what will grow best in our climate with a focus on heat tolerant varieties, Asian and Caribbean vegetables, lettuces, sprouts, okra, sweet potatoes, radishes, beans, tomatoes, snow peas, eggplants.”

So there’s no risk of getting bored when it comes to food and the garden, Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department offers a budget for hoses, trash cans and water, so the simple parts of taking care of a garden and growing your own food are covered as well.

Growing your own food isn’t always easy. The Garden covers the basics, but the gardeners have to bring their own soil and seeds, build their own boxes and maintain their own plots. The prices of soil, seeds and wood are steep, so the cost of urban farming can easily add up.

Gardeners are left to the whims of Mother Nature when it comes to the fate of their plots. Frosts can kill a crop, hurricanes can tear them down, heat can dry them up, and rain can drown them.

“Heat is a bigger issue here, along with rain, sometimes not enough, sometimes too much.” Lafata said.

With Miami having an average of roughly 60 inches of annual rainfall, along with a dry season that runs throughout winter, the best that gardeners can do is prepare and prevent for the worst. Gardeners have to prepare against pests such as the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper and even iguanas, all which want to chow down on fresh garden greens. Finally, simply, and most importantly, running a garden takes a lot of work.

“The biggest problem we have at the garden is commitment,” Lafata said. “You need a lot of time to nurture and care for your plot to successfully grow anything.”

Smaller plants such as radishes and cucumbers can take up to three weeks to grow, while larger plants like pumpkins can take even longer. The combined factors can easily wear anyone down, but reaping your own delicious rewards in the form of a salad or a fruit tart can be a great joy at the end of the day.

“Everything grown tastes sweeter and better when it’s just picked,” Lafata said.

If the messiness of Dumpster Diving and the arduous labor of gardening threatens you, Farm to Table (FTT) is an alternative food source that you don’t have to work for.

FTT is a movement primarily for getting food locally and serving it to local customers. It also keeps customers informed about where their food came from.

Jensen Eddings, the director of Media & Marketing for Batch Miami, explains the benefits of those contacts: “Farm to table and using fresh ingredients benefits everyone: the supplier has the client, the restaurant enjoys the lower costs, and the customer gets fresh, local food. It’s a win-win-win…Through strengthening relationships with regional purveyors and highlighting local ingredients, South Florida cuisine has a chance to set itself apart from the rest of the country.”

Eddings also said that FTT is an easy, effective way to get fresh food. The quick access to local suppliers means that food can be used the same day that it’s picked, caught or slaughtered.

Like the rest of alternative food sources, FTT doesn’t come without its costs. Using local suppliers means that FTT restaurants can only use what grows in the area, and it can impact what gets cooked.

“Using local ingredients definitely forces flexibility,” Eddings said. “Sometimes people just run out of things. We do our best to stay ahead of slip-ups and make up for when it does happen with fun specials.”

Essentially, diners probably won’t be seeing things like cherries or Atlantic salmon on tables at FTT restaurants. Furthermore, some people are beginning to see FTT as a fad that’s quickly fading. Vanity Fair published an article titled, “Is It Time To Table Farm To Table?” dissecting how FTT is merely a fad popularized by good PR – a buzz word for fast food companies to use to prove that their food isn’t processed.

Eddings writes that FTT is more than just jargon to turn heads-it gives people the information that they want about the food that they want to eat.

“People love to get more out of their dining experience than ever before, so it’s raising the bar for everyone,” Eddings said. “In turn, we’re getting higher-quality restaurants. It’s awesome and an exciting trend to embrace.”

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Cover Photo Credit: Wei Tchou/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Correction (9-17-2015, 12:27 PM): The original version of this story incorrectly identified the person who runs social media and organizes meetings for the South Beach Community Garden. Her name is Laura Lafata. We regret the error and are happy to correct the record.

How One ‘Disney On Ice’ Performer Turned Skating From Fairytale Into Reality

By Natalie Alatriste

Yearly, Disney on Ice travels to over 50 cities, bringing with it the “Magic of Disney” to youngsters worldwide. Currently, one group of performers, costume designers and stage personnel are traveling for its show Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt.

This particular performance celebrates Disney’s 50 first features beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves through Tangled. The show will include the best Disney moments and will feature eight princesses, such as the stories of Ariel, Belle, Jasmine and Mulan.

But Disney on Ice isn’t just great because of its storyline and characters — it’s great because of the passion that each performer gives at every show.

One performer, Tokyo-native Midori Sano, started skating at the age of six. Her father, a medalist at the 1977 World Figure Skating Championships, inspired her to begin this venture at an early age.

After competing in figure skating competitions for years, Sano quit at the age of 19. She was unsure of where her future led her until two years later—when she had the opportunity to audition for Disney on Ice.

Ten years later, she plays lead roles in Disney on Ice shows, like Mulan, Young Nala from The Lion King and Jasmine. She has visited over 40 different countries and has learned how to speak English.

“I get to travel around the world to places I’ve only ever dreamed of going to,” said Sano. “I’ve made a lot of friends, seen so many different cultures and have eaten plenty of delicious local foods, but best of all, I get to see the look on the audiences’ faces when I perform, and that’s the most rewarding part of it.”

“My ‘worst’ day at work is better than a lot of people’s best.”

She says the crowd’s energy is what drives her, and she’s not just talking about the kids.

“One thing I particularly love witnessing is the adults jumping up and down at their seats,” said Sano. “We all have to deal with stressors in our lives, and having the ability to bring the adults into our stress-free world for even just an hour makes me happy. When I see them enjoy themselves, I know I’m doing my job right.”

Though the performers are a huge part to the success of Disney on Ice, they can’t do it alone. There are so many components to making the experience a magical one, including what the performers wear.

Feld Media

Feld Media

Dawna Oak, the director of costumes for Feld Entertainment, expresses the challenges to make Disney on Ice perfect for each performance.

“It’s nice that the function of ice skating is a unifying factor in costuming the DOI shows, but what makes it challenging is all of the different types of skating, and having to meet the specific technical needs of each skater’s individual talents,” said Oak.

Los Angeles-born Oak began her journey in the industry as a performer at a young age. As she got older, she realized her passion for design and costuming, and is now one of the most trusted individuals for the visual appeal of each performance.

“I make my living doing something that I love!  I get to travel quite extensively so I have had the opportunity to experience a wide range of cultures,” she said. “I feel truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing company that brings so much joy to so many people around the world. My ‘worst’ day at work is better than a lot of people’s best.”

Disney on Ice presents Treasure Trove will be traveling to South Florida on Sept. 17, 2015, as its next stop. The show will follow with performances in Missouri, New Jersey and New York.

For more information on when Disney On Ice will be near you, visit http://www.disneyonice.com/tickets.

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Fresh Faces of Feminism: Why You Should Listen To The Teen Women Of Color

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.09.36 AMFeminism is both simplistic and complex, which lends itself as a concept to be inaccurately conveyed or misunderstood. In truth, ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes,” as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is an advocacy which takes into account the contexts of the time.

In this sense, the evolution of the theory of feminism, from the 19th century to Third-Wave and beyond, is seen as natural progression. In focusing on women’s suffrage, gender neutrality, reproductive rights, sexual harassment, autonomy, and equal pay, it aims to address every facet of the female struggle.

Yet modern feminism lacks awareness about race issues and the nuances of the gender spectrum. These are important issues within our society, seen as part of feminist theory due to their influence. Modern feminism treads a difficult line, one which desperately needs to consider the concept of intersectionality – the inclusion of race, gender and class in feminism discourse – when following the example of prominent feminist celebrity figures.
For Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Emma Watson, the label given to the feminism they practice is a reflection of their privileged positions: White Feminism.

White Feminism addresses the issues of only those who are straight, cis-sexual, white and middle-to-upper-class. Though not all white feminists practice White Feminism, it refuses to place emphasis on anything but issues which are reserved for those who fit this standard. It is a sheltered, inaccurate movement which has not only bred a dissatisfaction with this definition of feminism, but which has emphasized inequality between lives of women.

One example of the struggle of feminists of color can be found in the words of Sandra Cisneros in her book Chicana Feminist Thought:

“I guess my feminism and my race are the same thing to me. They’re tied in one to another, and I don’t feel an alliance or an allegiance with upper-class white women. I don’t. I can listen to them and on some level as a human being I can feel great compassion and friendships; but they have to move from their territory to mine, because I know their world. But they don’t know mine.”

From the fact that white women make more money than women of color, to the appropriation of different cultures and the objectification of the black body and black culture, our society is one which features a multitude of oppressions. The feminism of these privileged white women, then, is not cutting it.

But what is surprising is just who is now championing the need for a feminist discourse which does not casually discriminate, which calls to attention the flaws of White Feminism, which attempts to fill in the gaps of all the disparities. 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, actress and activist mostly known for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games, and 13-year-old Rowan Blanchard, star of Disney’s Girl Meets World, can both be recognized as trailblazers in noting that there is more to feminism than blanket statements about equality and the lives of the privileged middle-classes.

Two brilliant young actresses, Amandla Stenberg and Rowan Blanchard, dispel the myth of the apathetic teenage voice, as they champion the need for intersectionality and articulate oppressions faced by women of color.

From Stenberg’s school-project video on cultural appropriation ‘Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,’ to her using social platforms like Twitter and Tumblr to offer insights on police brutality, America’s relationship with the black community, essays on representation and more, comes a keen awareness in youth feminism which has a pulse on social justice. To scroll through her Instagram is to come face to face with the thoughts of someone who refuses to let her age hold her back from being vocal. An example of one of her posts:

For this 16-year-old, race issues and being aware of the nuances of social oppressions are not only a valid component of feminism, but should be integral to one’s practices.

Similarly, when 13-year-old Blanchard answered a question by a fan on intersectional feminism, posting it on her Instagram later, she joined Stenberg’s crew of progressive, young, clued-up female voices:

 

So what does it mean when teenagers are showing up their adult contemporaries in recognizing the facets of social justice and the depth of intersectionality paired with the practice of feminism? It reveals a shifting of tides and the acceleration of social justice in our modern world. As Stenberg noted for Dazed:
“I think people discredit teenagers and how wise they can be. Sometimes I meet teenagers who are much wiser than many adults I’ve met, because they haven’t let any insecurities or doubts about themselves get in the way of their thoughts.”

Blanchard and Stenberg seem to understand the need to open up dialogues through the social medias which are open to them, utilizing their fame to further causes. This also suggests that within the fractured nature of our society, of race issues and power structures which have manifested themselves in shows of police brutality, appropriation of cultures in the music industry, one does well to learn about these things and speak up on them than to stay enclosed in the protective bubble fame could trap.

Stenberg and Blanchard have shown this to be true. The pair sit comfortably along the likes of 19-year-old Rookie Mag creator Tavi Gevinson, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka under the label ‘youth feminism,’ using the influential nature of their age to their advantage by refusing to stay silent about issues close to them and choosing to remain open to that which they can educate themselves on.

The fact is, their feminism is intersectional and so the truths they dish out are aligned to not only their age, but their intelligence. The face of feminism they portray is inspiring because it exists with little ego, and perhaps this is a trademark of youth: it posits the desire to continue to learn, to listen, and to grow. It is refreshing in its honesty, compassion, accepts the existence of flawed feminist theory, but aims to change it. It’s something many would do well to learn from.

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